Life of a Unicorn
OITNB Season 3: A failure or a force to be reckoned with?
By Koleana M.
Netflix released its third season of Orange Is The New Black last month, and it has been widely panned in the internet world. Rotten tomato released OITNB’s audience rating and the results were an interesting 74%. That’s only 3.8 out of 5 stars for Orange is the New Black: Season 3. Many critics claim the season is anti-climactic, flashbacks are poorly integrated, and the drama is lukewarm in comparison to the previous 2 seasons. While you’re free to compile your own feelings about how this season stacks up to the first two, I’d like to highlight the ways in which the third season converges dramatization with exploitation of society’s parochialism towards things that are different, while still maintaining its pervasive nudity; which is exactly why everyone needs to watch and learn.
Let’s take a looksie at some of the societal issues this season brings to light and how the characters work through them.
In Ruby Rose’s first scene on the show as an inmate, Piper Chapman (Taylor Schiling) asks her if she considers herself as belonging to the category of ‘women’ and Rose responds with “Yes, but only because my options are limited”. Rose gracefully and directly exploits Piper’s (and the world’s) need for placing people in gender boxes and only allowing a human to either be a man or a woman. Why do we feel this need to categorize? Gender can be fluid and identification can fall somewhere on a spectrum. Just as we have progressed into considering sexuality as a spectrum as well, it’s clear that we should open up to the concept of gender fluidity too. And it worked out wonderfully that the character who spearheaded the notion of gender fluidity in this show is a rather androgynous and extremely gorgeous Australian model named Ruby Rose. See her self written and directed music video addressing and showing us that she is the quintessential example of gender fluidity here.
This season we also learn more about our favorite butch Big Boo, who also struggled with her parents’ and society’s need to impose their expectations of appropriate gender representation on her, and she fought with this all of her life. She’s a woman who loves women and also loves dressing like a man. Big Boo doesn’t fit into heteronormative stereotypes that the world tries to place upon her. Why can’t we just accept her for who she is!?
Currently battling Caitlyn Jenner for the number 1 spot as America’s favorite Trans woman is Laverne Cox, who plays the character of Sophia in OTINB. Sophia is an inmate and the prison hair stylist- a job that perfectly embodies her interests in hair, make-up, and all things feminine. Her fellow inmates love her, her services, and coming into her prison salon for weekly gossip and beautifying. Until a little tiff with one Latina inmate causes a riot against Sophia and she is attacked in her salon by 3 inmates, cursed and beaten for being a man pretending to be a woman. In speaking with her prison counselor about that hate attack, Cox reveals that although she has undergone gender readjustment surgeries and taken every step she can towards becoming a woman, she’ll never really feel accepted in the eyes of people who don’t want to even try to understand transgender. Preach honey. We may never truly understand a struggle that’s not our own, but the least we can do is try to be accepting and supportive.
In this season, the extremely controversial Tiffany Doggett, or ‘Pennsatucky’ (played by Taryn Manning) evolves from being a crazy meth head hick to a character whom becomes humanized as we learn she has suffered and continues to suffer through mental manipulation and sexual abuse. Her mother didn’t raise her to understand that she has dignity and a voice in sexual encounters, but rather told her to ‘keep her mouth shut and let him do whatever he wants to do’ to her. With this mindset, she grew into a teen prostitute, drug addict, and ultimately ended up in prison, where she continues to suffer sexual abuse from correctional officer Coates. He repeatedly forces his sexual will upon her and then coddles her with donuts and ice cream leading her to think that these transactions are acceptable. The trauma Doggett endures makes it evident that parents need to have clear and in depth conversations with there children to help them understand their bodies, sex, love, healthy relationships and dignity.
White dominance in the work force:
Also in this season, Piper begins a dirty panty smuggling business and employs a band of inmates to provide the goods for sale. Through this business venture, she exploits her workers in many ways and fights very hard to keep her slavedriver position. The moment Flaca conspires against Piper because she wants fair pay, she fires the Latina panty girl and blackmails her to keep her mouth shut. Piper gives her employees an unreasonably low pay, keeping the profits for herself and her family. When Ruby Rose succeeds in stealing the profits- Piper plants contraband all over Rose’s cube and drops an anonymous tip to the correctional officers that they need to search Rose’s bunk. Upon discovery of the planted makeshift weapons, lighters and drugs, Rose is immediately hauled off to maximum security prison just 2 days before she was supposed to be released. Piper’s descent into madness as a mob boss of a panty business accurately depicts white dominance. Piper has been challenged to understand her white privilege throughout the entire series, and now that she is in a position of economical power, she fails to show us that she has learned anything of value. Instead of mitigating white supremacist conventionalisms, she makes it clear that she comes from a historically dominant ethic group and is incapable of leading with a more modest and balanced role.
Through season 3 we learn a lot more about our token mute, Norma, who develops a loyal following of inmates that are seeking spiritual enlightenment, solace, connection to a higher power, and probably the most important thing for prisoners- mental and emotional acceptance and perseverance to make it through their prison sentences. The show does an exquisite job of helping us see what a slippery slope it is between spirituality and cultism, and how easy it is for a person to codify a spiritually operatic culture. It’s normal for people to want to believe in something. An entire level of Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs is dedicated to human’s innate desire to feel like they belong to something. We are social creatures and find a great deal of fulfillment in being accepted, which is what makes organized religion so popular. This is also why certain people have so easily talked others into ‘drinking the kool aid’. I don’t think Norma has any deeply malicious intent with her followers, but she likes the attention she gets- her followers constantly refer to her as their God, savior, mom, grandmother, guide and prophet. And her followers are excited to have something to believe in, someone to believe in, and are relentless in their quest for signs from the universe. This all seems fine and dandy until this cult becomes exclusive, its followers assume elitist attitudes and begin bullying an inmate so much so that she is driven into a depression and attempted suicide via pill swallowing. Whoa. Sh*t got heavy real quick. People can believe in whatever they want to believe in, but it becomes a problem when their ‘beliefs’ are harassing, bullying, and intimidating others all in the name of their ‘God’.
Alcohol & substance abuse:
My personal favorite character, Poussey, struggles hard with alcohol addiction in this season. And I understand it. She’s sad she’s in prison and she’s lonely. She just wants someone to love! I feel for her, I really do. Unfortunately, her character seems to be very misunderstood by her group of friends so she finds release in concocting her own homemade hooch and indulges in drinking it and napping all day long. While this blossoming alcoholic is meandering through her sentence, Soso tries to commit suicide in the library by downing a bunch of prescription pills she stole from the doctor’s office. When Poussey sneaks into the library to take a swig of her hooch she stashes in the ceiling, she finds Soso’s unconscious (but not dead!) body laid out on the floor among the shelves of books. I see what the writers did there. Having Poussey discover the body of an inmate who also was trying to find escape through substance abuse is probably the most effective way to get the woman off the hooch. And all of our hearts are warmed in the final episode when we see Poussey and Soso holding hands, having found what they were looking for all along – LOVE.
So while the first couple of seasons were all sex and naked women, (no complaints here), the third dives head first into some very serious societal issues. Every episode has layers of conflict, exploitation and oppression and the characters fight all these injustices while dealing with the fact their they live behind prison walls. OITNB directs spotlights over a lot of things that we struggle with, struggles other people are having, and how we may not be the person enduring the struggle but the least we can do is be allies for the cause.
And whether you watch the show for all the drama and deep sh*t, or you just like seeing all the naked ladies, this season has a lot to offer its audience – and her name is Ruby Rose.
UMF – South Africa
I’ve never been to South Africa, but after reading Koko’s review of Ultra Music Festival SA, I kinda wanna go now. So if you like festivals and South Africa or just wanna give this a read, check it out!!!
I love me some music festivals.
UMF, or Ultra Music Festival, is an annual music festival of the electronic persuasion. It originated in Miami, Florida in 1999 and instantly gained popularity in the EDM world. With close to 200,000 attendees and tickets selling out every single year, the event grew and began holding international shows. It has debuted in over 9 countries worldwide and finally hit Africa in 2014.
This is the largest EDM event on the African continent, and after hearing great reviews from other PCV friends about the 2014 event, some friends and I decided 2015 was our year to venture to Johannesburg and steal a slice of this magic, which started at noon and went until the wee hours of the morn.
We walked into the expo grounds and all I can say is…oh. my god. So many beautiful people. Like I can’t even.
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Races: #4. SuperSpar Bela Bela Marathon
A successful race! Read about KokoKai’s epic journey at the SuperSpar marathon in Bela Bela.
“Another marathon down. Sometimes I forget I’m in South Africa” – KokoKai
It was hot as balls, but I survived!
My first alarm went off at 1:50am and by 2am we were in the car and on the road. We arrived at the race site by 5, giving us just enough time to check in at registration, use the restroom and get ourselves prepared. My host mom gave me a big, warm hug and we wished each other good luck [she was running the 5k]. The gun went off at precisely 5:30 and away I ran!
The SuperSpar marathon in Bela Bela was a race of contrasts. The first 20km or so was pretty flat and I was feeling good about it. It would be quite misleading to any runners that hadn’t already studied the course map for elevation gains. I was constantly checking my posture and making sure my alignment was good. I knew that if I was kind to my…
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There is No ‘first date’ When Being a Peace Corps Volunteer.
An assumption my family & friends are constantly buzzing around is that I’ll find the love of my life while serving in Peace Corps. Let me clear the air by stating that Peace Corps is not a dating service nor a marriage agency. With that being said, there may be some truth to the saying that when you surround yourself with people on the same mission as you- I suppose it can be relatively easy to fall for one of them.
Peace Corps Volunteers are grouped together in cohorts and sent to developing countries for our service. We don’t get to pick who is in our cohort, headquarters put us together based on the type of work we will be doing abroad. I met the other 34 members of my cohort in Philadelphia, then we all hopped on the plane together to South Africa.
We all fall in to 1 of 3 categories: 1. married and serving with your spouse, 2. in a relationship with someone back in America, or 3. (most are) single…wondering what their romantic life will be like these next two years. Speaking from personal experience, I came to this country without dating being on my priority list, I hadn’t given it much thought (ahem, already kinda wifed up at the time). I came to work, to immerse myself in my village and to try to make an impact in whatever way I can. Saving the world and such. After being in country for a bit, I quickly realized that Peace Corps can be like an extension of college life . . . if you replace the college keggers with humanitarian work.
“How often do you see other volunteers?”
Volunteers work full-time, most weekdays, but when weekends come around, we look for every opportunity to get together with other PCVs and rage face for 2 days before starting the cycle all over again. There are a lot of Dr. Phil venting sessions fueled by booze and tears, and yes, there is sex too, all mixed in with hikes, safaris & a general interest in exploring Africa’s terrain. Here is a funny read about sex and the Peace Corps from a fellow (sex ninja) RPCV.
I didn’t expect to be in such close proximity to other volunteers, to be able to see them basically every weekend. I didn’t expect booze to be so readily available, and so God-awfully cheap! It’s like summer camp for over-sized kids who want to save the world! And most of all, I didn’t expect romance to creep up into volunteer life as much as it has.
“Do people date in Peace Corps?”
The struggle is that there are no ‘first dates’ in Peace Corps. While people in first world countries can say things like “let’s get to have coffee” or “let’s get together for lunch one afternoon” if you want to spend a little time getting to know someone interesting, us PCVs are trying to navigate through a different structure of dating…“Wanna spend the weekend together?”
Yeah, you’re going to have to speed through a feeeeeeew steps.
We have to travel several hours on public transportation to visit each other, so visits are not simply for a few hours only. If you think you might have a connection with someone, you spend an entire weekend together to explore that spark. Nightlife and other forms of entertainment are so uncommon here, that you’ll spend a lot of face time just getting to know each other without the distractions of other people or noisiness of clubs.
So it’s like the opposite of Tinder . . .
Here is a video for someone else P.C. love story:
“Do PCVs only date other PCVs?”
I’m glad you asked. There are PCVs who date HCNs (host country nationals), but that’s a whole nother beast. We came to this country to fight HIV, and sadly some PCVs leave this country having contracted the virus themselves. So while mixing & mingling with South Africans may seem enticing and easy, a lot of PCVs steer clear of this temptation and turn to other PCVs to satisfy the natural need for carnal embrace.
“Is it true people will want to marry because they want to become US citizens?”
The answer is Yes, and it’s extremely annoying. Walking to and from work everyday, it is common to hear “I love you baby I want to marry you” being shouted in my direction from across the road. These guys are partially just being asses, but mostly serious. They will cat-call, stalk you, and shout marriage proposals over & over until they get your attention- all over the assumption that marrying an American girl will somehow grant them American citizenship, wealth and fame. It’s almost like being creeped on by Sype at a club.
The host country females are on this same hype too. “Do you have any brothers?” is a common question chicks like to ask me. I guess in the hopes that I’ll organize a betrothal for them to an American man. Why does everyone think America is so great? Hahaha. If they only knew the truth . . .
Romantic relationships blossom in a peculiar way when serving in the Peace Corps, and maneuvering the ebb & flow of volunteer life becomes more bearable when you have another PCV to hold your hand through it. They say roughly 80% of PCVs return to America in love. I don’t know how much I trust stats floating around the internet, but it gives you an idea of what Peace Corps dating is like.
Don’t feel sorry for us though! At least we are able to avoid the awkward self consciousness that comes with first dates, as described by Wedding Crashers’ Vince Vaughn:
Top 10 Things that K&A Hate and Love About EDC (or any other festivals as well)
By: Koko and Airec
The Electric Daisy Carnival is the most magical place on Earth (sorrywerenotsorry, Disney). Over the years the location of this magical insomniac wonderland has changed, but that doesn’t mean that the aesthetic feel of its importance is lost. (Dem feels bro). The current home of this electronic fairy tale, that is waiting to be written by the likes of 400,000 attendance , is in the Graceland, or Sin City, of Las Vegas.
There are so many reasons to love EDCLV! This event has got it all. DJs, rides, art … and of course your best friends by your side. With the good comes the bad, and the world wouldn’t be balanced if there wasn’t a sense of Yin & Yang to the Electric Daisy. Here is a list of the top 10 things we utterly hate and absolutely love about the past 3 years of Las Vegas’ Electric Daisy Carnival.
Please feel free to add your hates & loves in a comment below!
1. LACK OF SANITATION
This is more of a personal problem but we know we’re not the only ones with our panties in a bunch about it. Not all port-o-potties have hand sanitizer in them. Yuck! Come on Insomniac.
Sype: Dudes, just make sure you drip properly and try to not get any piss on yourself. Being drunk isn’t an excuse. However if you do, just wipe it off on your pants; no one will know if you don’t tell anyone . . . not even your bros . . . cuz that sh*t is gross
2. DJ OVERLAP
Insomniac forces us to make some serious life decisions when they decide to have some of your favorite DJ’s playing their sets at the same time. If only it were possible to be in 2 places at once, but this isn’t Harry Potter and we can’t all have Hermione’s magical pendent. (We both LOVE Emma Watson FYI. Especially Sype because he’s a creeper).
Sype: So plan your time wisely. Even if you do plan on seeing half a DJ’s set to make it to another, you can still miss out on some of the best drops or musical performance the set. Tip: see your favorite DJ last 30 minutes instead of the first. I know this because Ish was forced to carry me KICKING AND SCREAMING as we left Mat Zo’s set when he dropped “Rebound” last year. I will never forgive him. Also remember that sometimes things change; I didn’t expect to leave Above & Beyond for Fedde Le Grand, but hey, it happened (thanks Koko).
3. THE SUNRISE BOOT
When the last DJ finishes the his/her set, the Speedway security will try to kick everyone out right away. Thus abruptly ruining your magic as you’re reminded that once you leave the top stairs of the Speedway- reality awaits you.
Koko: It would be really nice to ride a few rides and refill my water bottle before making the journey back to the strip.
Sype: Girls, don’t forget to use the restroom or else you’re gonna be like that one girl at EDC 2012 rushing out of the shuttle bus and peeing on the side of the road as she beaver shot everyone. Guys . . . well we’re pretty much covered. Thank you penis.
4. DOUCHEBAGS & BITCHES
And when we say D-Bags and B-Word, we mean it in the most constructive, positive way. Maybe we don’t understand you, so we don’t know why you’re acting like this; maybe you had a bad childhood and the only way of life that you know how to live is one full of rudeness and vile attitudes that cause you to lash out in society with your scowl. But please, even with all of your baggage, this does not give you the right to be a fugging as*hole!
We hate it when someone is pushing through the crowd with fierce elbows, stomping on our feet as they try to bull-rush to the front. We also hate it when someone runs into you without saying sorry. We also hate . . . well, we simply hate it if you’re just being plain rude! (Exclamation marks times infinity!)
Why you gotta be like that?!? We understand you may be high or whatever, but please be considerate of the people around you and mind your manners. We know yo mama didn’t raise you to be no fool!
Koko: So be kind, practice your PLUR.
Sype: Or just don’t be an AS*HOLE!
5. PEOPLE ASKING YOU FOR DRUGS
We understand that you like to party, but please stop asking us if we have drugs. And if we say no, please don’t nag us with statements like: “we know you have some” or “please, it’s my first rave.” That just makes you desperate and a rave sl*t. And girls, don’t whore yourself to guys for free hits of molly, just because you have a pretty face doesn’t mean it will always get you what you want. (Like those hot Canadian girls who tricked our friend at EDC 2012, his little head won their battle but lost his war)
Sype: Also, just because I’m Asian and I’m wearing a panda cap smiling as wide as my eyes, doesn’t mean I’m rolling!!!
6. LOSING YOUR FRIENDS
Losing your friends is never fun. It’s dark, it’s loud, and there are a million people around you. SO DON’T FREAK OUT. You wanna see your favorite DJ but you fear never being able to find your friends again in all the madness.
Losing your friends sucks, but what’s worst is losing your girlfriend or boyfriend, then that would really suck. You don’t know who’s trying to squirrel up your nut. The worst part about this is that there is slim to none cell-phone reception so . . . good luck.
But if you’re a #zip then you know your crew has specific meeting times in case anyone is ever lost. Genius!
Just try to enjoy the moments as EDC throws them at you when you get lost. Make the best of it. Sometimes the most fun is when you’re by yourself and free to do whatever you want.
7. HAVING TO LEAVE WHILE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CROWD
This has happened to all of us, we’re enjoying a set and we have leave for some reason or we just gotta get out of there. Leaving a crowd always sucks! You gotta push and shove your way out of a sea of sweaty, angry people because you’re disrupting their experience as they brush off your “sorry’s” and “pardon me’s.”
Then to tack onto this not-so-pleasant experience, the trip back. If you left a girlfriend/boyfriend or your crew, you are faced with the decision of fighting your way back through the same people you just pissed off or, do you enjoy the set from outside of the mass? Your choice.
Sype: Yeah, fugg that, I’m old. I’ll just stay out there and enjoy it from afar. My friends know where to find me.
Koko: Especially at Circuit Grounds. WTF is going on that there is a 20 degree temperature difference if you walk an extra 5 feet toward the stage? Eff that. I’ll stand in the back where I can get a breeze. Or get a VIP wristband from somebody and enjoy that Very Important Person view 😉
8. HIGH WINDS/BEING COLD
High winds in Vegas can ruin your EDC experience . . . like how the vicious winds of Las Vegas robbed us of Markus Schulz EDC 2012. We had just experience a pleasing set from Calvin Harris and had just arrived at Markus before the winds kicked it. WE WERE ROBBED!!! Our 2nd day ended early. This maybe unrelated but our friend DeathMetal puked his brains out after Markus reluctantly told the crowd they had to leave the majestic A State of Trance stage . . . but that might be because of something else.
Koko: Being a girl, we know that when we go to raves, we might not be wearing the most father-approving clothes. So when those high winds kick in, we’re freezing out little tutus off. Burr. This is the most appropriate time to create a cuddle puddle in the grassy field or ask a guy friend for his sweater (;P)
9. LEAVING THE SPEEDWAY
When the sun is already high in the morning sky that can only mean one thing, the festival for the day is over. This also means another thing . . . RAVE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!!!
And trust us, nobody looks good in this zombie light. When the day is over, there are hella amounts of brainless ravers trying to rush out the Speedway in a slow Walking Dead like fashion. Everyone smells like cigarettes, body odor, and of course Vicks.
Don’t even get us started on leaving the Speedway parking lot. There is no such thing as PLUR in the Speedway parking lot. It’s over packed with people who are coming down and trying to GET THE HELL OUT! Everyone is cutting each other in-line and doesn’t seem to know where they’re going.
One time leaving the Speedway on the last day of EDC we saw some ravers get out and start shuffling outside their car in traffic . . . while they must have still been high, this irritated us. Get in your car and move! While stuck in traffic, the only thing we could have done was channel our anger to these kids who were still living EDC . . . damn those kids.
Koko: While stuck in leaving-the-speedway-traffic, we exchanged booze and kandi with some nice ravers in the car next to us. Traffic isn’t all that bad when people uphold the PLUR.
Sype: DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE! Be safe.
10. SAYING GOODBYE TO YOUR FRIENDS AND RETURNING TO REAL LIFE
After spending an amazing week in Vegas and living in a magical wonderland of EDC, no one wants to leave. Trust us when we say there will be water works; floods of tears will fill hotel rooms as one-by-one your crew starts to take off into the abyss of adulthood.
It’s hard to say goodbye to something that made you really happy for a whole week, it’s also hard to say goodbye to your friends who you only see once in a blue moon, or this could have been one of the rare times where everyone is together, fact of the matter is that no matter how tough you are, saying goodbye at EDC is going to feel like one giant Death Cab for Cutie concert. It’s clinically depressing.
Koko: Every time I leave my friends after EDC I cry. I just can’t help it. We’re all depressed, the highs have plummeted to painful lows, and everyone’s climbing aboard the feels train. All we can do is start the countdown for the next year’s EDC.
Sype: We men don’t cry, but we can go on walks. Trust me, when everyone is leaving just say a quick goodbye and give a light hug so you can jolly-off on a dark stroll down the bright neon lit Vegas strip, it helps.
1. FREE WATER!!!!
Need we say more? Don’t pay for that shiiiiizzle.
2. FREE RIDES
What other carnival/fair offers free rides!? Pretty dope.
3. FRIENDLY COPS
Once you’re inside the motor speedway, the security and cops are super nice! You can always spot them fist pumping at a stage or trading kandi with ravers. It really makes the whole experience more comfortable when you know that the cops will party with you and protect you at the same time.
4. LAS VEGAS LOVES US.
The city of Las Vegas had no idea what hit them EDC 2011. L.V. citizens were like ‘WTF is EDC and why are all these kids running around in tutus!?’ Now the city welcomes us with open arms by holding EDC week where all major hotels, clubs and pools are on board with the raving mayhem. They love us for bringing in millions of dollars in revue in a week’s time, and we love them for being so accommodating.
5. EDC SCHEDULE
We love that the EDC website has an interactive schedule maker so you can create your schedule for each day and even share it with your friends through social media! Remember the days of having to hand write a schedule of DJ sets? Yikes.
6. THE PRODUCTION
What makes EDC standout from other festivals is the time and money that Insomniac puts into their production: the art, the variety of colorful stages in tuned with the music that is being preformed there, the lights, the vast amounts of performers and entertainment, ALL OF IT!
Sype: One of my favorite memories of last year EDC was after Koko and I left Above & Beyond to see Fedde Le Grand and she pointed out the lights in the sky. As I looked up, I saw multiple streams of white light from all around the Speedway that met in the middle. This I thought gave EDC that final touch of a magical environment that sealed off any influence of the outside world and strengthened the illusion of being in a magical wonderland. Unless that production *cough Art Cart cough* blocks your view and plays loud amateur DJ music robbing you 10 minutes of Ferry Corsten’s set, then yeah the production sucks! But everything else is awesome.
7. RANDOMLY FINDING YOUR FRIENDS
As anyone would know, getting lost fugging sucks. And to make this worst, due to the massive amounts of people at EDC, that smart phone that you flashed to all of your friends with its bells and whistles (and especially in front of that one friend who still has that museum-grade-flip-phone) is now useless. It basically becomes an overpriced camera with a digital clock. When you’re lost and really really really want to find your friends, this can kill your experience. But somehow with a stroke of luck and a pinch of EDC magic you do happen to find your friends, there is a sheer thrill of happiness that one cannot describe. Finding your friends allows you to not only create memories, but it also allows you to have the pleasure of knowing that you created those memories with your friends and loved ones.
8. NEW FRIENDS
You know that song “No New Friends” by DJ Khaled featuring that crippled guy on Degrassi Drake? Well that’s bullsh*t! That kind of mentality does not fly here at EDC. Sure you came with people, but you got to realize that you have the potential of making 400,000 new friends in this magical wonderland.
Given if that person isn’t an as*hole or a c*nt. Then steer away from them; they’re just here for the beer and b*tches. Try to look for goodness in everyone, but try not to get taken advantage of.
We started our festival group with a handful attending EDC 2009, and now we’re about 70 people large and GROWING! #ZipperSquad So make some new friends, it’s totally worth it!
9. SEEING YOUR FAVORITE DJ/ THE MUSIC
Why do we go to EDC? WELL IT’S FOR THE MUSIC!!! We love the music that EDC offers us. Or else we wouldn’t be spending a bunch of money risking our health by dehydrating ourselves in the middle of a freaking desert.
Sype: If I wanted to do that I would have stayed in Fresno. There is something about the combination of music and friends that when you combine those two, that song or DJ set will forever hold a place in your heart. So every time you listen to an old live set or hear that special song, your mind will be rushed like a fireman’s hoes with euphoria as your body shivers as your reminded of that time and place where you and your friends jumped in joy when that song first encompassed you guys like a warm blanket of merriment.
10. THOSE MAGICAL MEMORIES
We may not know the meaning of life, and it’s probably not hidden in the subtext of EDC, but we do know the meaning of “live in the moment.” Not YOLO, because that is a load of bullsh*t young kids say before they do something stupid or slutty. But EDC is our favorite place to create these magical memories which was forged by “living in the moment” that will forever binds us to our friends, helping us on the road to happiness down this “meaning of life.” Despite the constant alcohol abuse and head injuries, we will never forget the magic that we and our friends have fostered at EDC, in the Las Vegas Speedway or on the Strip.
May it be the memory of someone clogging our toilet on the third day of six at EDC 2012, forcing us to use the lobby bathroom every time we had to pee or poo, or may it be the memory of seeing the sunrise on the last day of EDC that year as we watched and heard Aly & Fila perform their hit “We Control the Sunlight.”
All of these joyous times we will carry with us until the day we die. We will forever remember our time at EDC and the happiness we felt. It truly is a magical place, we hope that you guys will be able to make your own magic during your adventures there because even if, God forbid, EDC gets shut down, EDC will forever be alive in our hearts and memories.
Till next time, please have a safe and fun EDC from Koko and Airec. Laters.
P.S. A last note from Sype: Koko will not be attending EDC this year due to her amazingly-awesome responsibility (and representing us #ZipperSquad) in the Peace Corps in South Africa. I will have to admit that my group and I will be deeply sadden with her absence. Not having a partner in crime, who has been with me closing out EDC for the past 4 years, is going to not feel (opposite of happy feelings words jumble). But when she comes back, we will rage. Even in 20 years when we all have kids and are married, we shall meet up and live it up, cherishing our moment, everyone’s moment, together. It’s a promise.
What do people listen to in South Africa?
Well, I’m glad you asked 🙂 Africans love their dance music! This is what they consider ‘house music’. It kinda has a drummy beat with some build ups, definitely a different style of composition than that house we love so much back in the States. One of the most popular songs I’ve heard since arriving in good ol’ Afrika Borwa is Y Tjukutja BTW, ‘Y Tjukutja’ means ‘shake your body’ in the Xhosa language (one of South Africa’s 11 official languages). Congratulations, you learned something new today. You’re welcome 😉 This chick Mampi is from Zambia and sings in Bemba. Also very popular in South Africa. She’s singing about her lover, it’s a love song, but she really does know how to get you up & moving! After all, that’s the point of dance music right? Then there’s these weirdo Afrikaaners who are creepy as fuck, but they’re well liked for their shock value. Die Antwoord translated means The Answer. Not gonna lie, their demeanor, costume choice, props, everything about their video production in fucking nuts. But I like it. They’re pushing the limits of normalcy, and their outrageous IDGAF attitude makes me want to watch, holding my breath with anticipation of what the next barbaric scene has to offer. All in all, I’m really digging the spread of musical entertainment in South Africa. A lot of the music is in any of the South African languages I don’t understand, but still there’s so much energy to it. And what I’ve discovered is that it doesn’t matter if you understand the lyrics or not, the beat still lifts you out of your chair and makes you wanna dance. 😀 -Kokokai
31 Old People Things (So Far)
This was co-written over a Skype Sesh by myself and Sype, at 3am, bantering about how our lives have changed as we’ve finished college and are finding our roles in adult society as we near our quarter life crisis. We’re getting old.
1. Starting a sentence with “back in my day…”
2. Referring to things by the decade in which they occurred
3. Explaining your jokes that have references to 90’s TV shows
4. Buying khakis and cardigans
5. Taking aspirin daily
6. Eating TUMS, pepcid AC and Pepto Bismol
–Having heartburn and indigestion
7. Experiencing a 24+ hour hangover
8. Staying in on a Friday or Saturday night
9. Avoiding crowded bars and clubs
10. Monitoring your sugar intake
11. Lying about your age
12. Being able to read a map and formulate directions
13. Craving and enjoying vegetables
14. Uttering the words “I’m never doing that again”
15. Leaving a bar at 11pm
16. When your pre-game is a nap
17. Pretending to still be a student so you can get a discount
18. Having developed a taste palate for alcohols
–and not needing a chaser
19. Looking forward to happy hour
20. Buying health insurance/being kicked off your parents’ plan
21. Being sore from everyday life, not just from working out
22. Reading the newspaper
23. Being picky about what toothpaste you’ll use
24. Craving wine after a hard day
–or craving whisky [Airec doesn’t like wine]
25. Picking comfort over fashion
–like how Airec wears his running shoes everywhere
26. Being picky about types of socks and underwear
27. Choosing the right pens and notepads
28. Being particular about hygienic products
29. Staying cautious about cancer triggers
30. Budgeting finances
31. Tipping at restaurants
New Years Day 2013, KokoandAirec Syle
In 2013, Koko decided to come to San Francisco for New Years Eve, a special event where our friendship and blogging idea took off! This blog was created in Dec 2012, but wasn’t really utilize until after NYE of 2012. I don’t think it was just out of laziness but out of lack of mechanics and rhythm.
This video that we made was probably the first thing that we ever created for the blog; it’s a video that recapped our ending of Christmas to New Years day. It was actually a fun few days racing to the end of 2012. We even created a list of things to do before she visited the Main Land.
Koleana and Airec’s To Do List
[ ] – Force Cat to drive us around as we get drunk like old times
[ ] – Go to an Underground rave
[ X ] – One of us passing out in a bar while the other catches a cab
[ X ] – Trying out vegetarian food
[ x ] – scorpion bowls at trad’r sams!!
[ ] – do some crazy work outs
[ ] – beer pong at your (airecs) frat house
[ ] – Make illegal fireworks for NYE
[ x ] – Have a bomb NYE
[ x ] – Ice Skating
[x ] – Hoodrat Things
[ ] – House of Air
[ ] – Sit on Santas Lap
[ ] – Try on expensive clothes that we aren’t going to buy at MACY’s
[ x ] – TAKE A BUNCH OF PICTURES!!!!
[ X ] – Ride a rickshaw through downtown =)
[ X ] – get Airec drunk on fireball
[x] – get a dog to lick our faces
[x] – Rage to Hardwell
[x] – Leave a bunch of Tango messages
[x] – Play Halo when Koleana isn’t watching or when she’s sleeping
[ ] – Make a picture book
And here is a Facebook conversation that followed this list:
Koleana Kai McGuire bahahaha
Koleana Kai McGuire and commented on eachother’s at the exact same time
Airec Syprasert i know. we are either really retarded or really excited for xmas
Koleana Kai McGuire uhhh a little bit of both??
Koleana Kai McGuire I’ll delete mines…we’ll just work on yours
Koleana Kai McGuire I like the new additions for NYE! whatever we do, Im sure it’ll be epic
Airec Syprasert haha lets figure it out soon! i need to know how much moeny i need to save
Airec Syprasert will this be the first nye together?
Koleana Kai McGuire i think so!
Airec Syprasert its gonna be grand!
Koleana Kai McGuire EPIC is the word, my friend =]
Airec Syprasert updated
Anne Quarnstrom i wanna do hoodrat things!
Airec Syprasert yes yes, this will be the best xmas/new years in airec sypraserts life. and im going to be there for it.
Jovani Rene Melendez Kennedy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rmo0VdPpkDA…
A remix of the 7 year old gangsta kid from Florida who jacked his mom’s SUV beca…See Koleana Kai McGuire Doing hoodrat activities
Airec Syprasert hoodie hoodie hoodrat
Koleana Kai McGuire I’m confident we will be crossing off 10-12 of these activities. That’s roughly 75%…not good enough! LOL
Airec Syprasert just today or the whole 3 days ur here?
Koleana Kai McGuire 3 days
Airec Syprasert we can do this. . . and still play halo
As I read this list of things, I can say that we didn’t finish half of it, nor do I remember doing some of this stuff. Like I mean, where the fuck did this dog lick my face. The only thing that I don’t see on this list is watching the movie Love Actually, our favorite Christmas movie. (Which is a pretty fucking good movie. It isn’t gay or emasculating to watch that movie, it’s a fucking good movie and anyone with a heart will love it!)
But the stuff that I did remember doing (like ice skating, going to POPNYE, and doing HOODRAT THINGS!!!), it was pretty fun.
Let’s just say that the stuff that wasn’t fun was the little kids that were tripping us during ice skating (which probably had to do with the Fireball whiskey that we drank), the hangover, and the goodbyes. Koko probably didn’t like me waking her up one morning with the sound of gunshots and aliens screaming as I play Halo 4 . . . don’t blame me, I just got the game a few days earlier and was trying to kick ass!
As I read this list and watch the video, it really does make a year seem like ages ago. So here it is, a look inside of the the dark minds birth; watch it and enjoy it, laugh with us, and please don’t judge us for the things we said. (Because we were pretty drunk when this video took place and we are only joking in fun . . . #nojudgingzone)
PS, don’t judge me on Love Actually.
PSS, here are some pictures from NYE:
Hoes vs Pros: An Empowering Women’s Guide to EDC
Hoes vs Pros: An Empowering Women’s Guide to EDC
We’ve written about EDC many times in previous posts on our blog, mostly mocking the stereotypes that revolve around going to raves, and poking satirical fun. Well it’s a kicks and giggles until someone gets taken away on a stretcher. Now is the time to buckle down for some serious rave talk.
This year may be your first EDC ever, or maybe you’ve been around the massive block once or twice. Whatever your situation may be, there is always room for improvement in the massive game. Where to start? Well, there is a hell of a lot more to EDC than just attending the event. Here are some tid bits that may help…learned from friends and through personal experience.
Every day leading up to EDC has an impact on the whole experience
When you’re standing in the middle of a 300,000 people mosh pit…
holding hands with your best friends…
surrounded by the ones you love…
and you could cry over how beautiful it all is…
everything is so perfect…
That is what EDC is all about.
Lets make sure we prepare ourselves for it this magical moment.
Disclaimer: These tips are coming from a female perspective. Although some points are applicable to all genders, if you’re a guy you’ll want to check out my male-counterpart’s dude version: Bros vs Pros- A Male’s Guide To EDC 2014.
Getting Prepped For EDC
Diet & Exercise: You want to act as if preparing for a 3 day marathon. Meaning that you need to eat lean, train mean, and be ready for the most intense cardio you’ve ever experienced in your life. I won’t go into dieting details (I’m vegan so I doubt you’d follow my dietary recommendations), but to put it simply, EAT WELL IN THE WEEKS LEADING UP TO EDC. Don’t scarf down pizza and burgers every day then find yourself in the motor speedway huffing and puffing for dear life after only 5 minutes of fist-pumping. That being said, don’t starve yourself either. Your muscles need protein and some carb storage to fuel this 3 day carnival. Carbs are your friends.
ABS: Abs are made in the kitchen- not in the gym. NUFF SAID.
Pro Tip: Cardio – Do whatever cardio form that floats your boat. Aim for keeping that heart rate between 100-120 beats per minute without passing out.
Pro Tip – Spend significant time on a calf-raiser machine. You’ll thank me when you find yourself in the mosh pit of Kinetic Field, trapped shoulder to shoulder with glittery chicks and sweaty bros, no shuffling room, no elbow room; the only dance move you can attempt is a completely vertical up-and-down jumping motion, with an occasional fist pump thrown in. Your gastrocs need to be formally trained for this.
Supplies: Gum & chapstick: You are allowed to bring gum and chapstick into the motor speedway as long as they are sealed. So go to the store, buy 3 individually sealed packs of gum, and 3 individually sealed things of chapstick. Bring 1 to each day of EDC. If you’re the type of person that doesn’t usually chew gum or need chapstick when you’re feeling yourself – bring them anyway. Trade them for light shows, massages, or just give them out for free because you’re a nice person. DO IT. Vics nasal inhaler – you’re not allowed to bring these in, so you must sneak them in. I’ll let you figure out how to do that on your own.
Pro Tip: A small pack of tissues. As sucky as it is- you will find yourself in a port-o-potty that doesn’t have toilet paper. Also bring a small bottle of hand sany. Disclaimer: some security guards might not let you bring these 2 things in, while others won’t care. It’s a hit or miss, but it’s always worth a try!
Pro Tip: Bring a fanny pack/small backpack (must be smaller than 12 in x 12 in – Insomniac regulation). CanNOT be a plush material.
You do not have enough pockets or bra space for all the shit you will need for EDC. Trust me on this- you need something that straps to your body to hold all your shit. Phone, keys, 3-day pass card, chapstick, gum, kandi, any and all other random whit you will accrue throughout the course of the night. Don’t ask me how, but you will accumulate random shit…3D glasses, sunglasses, stuff you buy at the merchandise tent. Oh, and of course your Insomniac reusable aluminum water bottle.
Pro Tip: A watch- You don’t wanna dig through your bag and pull out your cell every time you wanna know what time it is. That will create too many opportunities for losing your phone, and also drain your battery. If you’re like the Zips and you have 8-12 DJs to see per night, it’s extremely helpful to have a wrist watch to keep track of the time and know when you need to move stages or when you have a meeting time with the rest of the crew.
Attire: OH boy, this is all individual. But some pro tips I have for attire would be:
1. Sunglasses. When the sky starts to lighten around the 5am hour, and dawn breaks over the motor speedway, you will really really really appreciate sunglasses to hide the mascara and glitter streaked around your dime-sized pupils. Cover that shit up. Keep sunglasses in whatever stuff-carrying-device you choose to strap to yourself.
2. Comfy shoes. Ladies, do NOT wear heels, slippers, or strappy sandals. Full-foot-covering tennis shoes are the way to go. Common choices also are TOMS,Vans and slip-ons like Ed Hardys. My advice is to go with something similar.
DON’T’S: Steer clear of anything you will constantly have to fumble with all night. Realistically, you will be in that motor speedway for at least 10-12 hours (if you go as hard as the Zipper Squad). The last person you wanna be is that girl who stops the whole group asking for help readjusting, re-tying, “help me I don’t know what to do because my wimpy bra strap just broke,” type of person. Anything you wear into that motor speedway is gonna come out dusty, dirty, covered in sweat, glitter, body paint, and tears. Accept this fact and you will have graduated to the level of Pro EDC outfit planner.
Don’t bring anything into the speedway that you aren’t prepared to lose, damage, or break. Shiz happens. Leave valuables at the hotel.
Pro Tips: Re-enforce all of your bra straps – meaning get a needle and thread and make sure you sew that shit solid, so there will be no wardrobe malfunctions in the middle of the night. Do this for everything and anything you think might be flimsy and easily breakable on your outfits. Tutus are the way to go. Life would be better all-around if we could just wear tutus all the damn time, but we can’t. So take advantage of this 3 day circus and wear a tutu every day. Tutus are simple, low-maintenance, and super effing cute.
Pro Tip: If you drove, take pictures of everything around your car: landmarks, light poles, scenery. This will help you find your car when its 6am and its time to leave. The last thing you want is to be roaming the dusty desert parking lot for 3 hours because you can’t find your car and don’t remember where you parked because you were too excited to pay attention the night before. (This has happened) -_-
Solidify The Night’s Schedule: Take a few minutes to run through your crew’s plan. What time you’re leaving, what sets to see/your set schedule, what time you’re leaving, group meet up times and group photos. If you roll with a large crew (50+), this planning time is absolutely necessary. Or even if it’s just you and a couple friends, communication is key to enhancing everyone’s EDC experience. Don’t just assume people know what’s going on.
Pro tip: Have a meeting time & place every few hours.
Example: meet at the drop-zone, OR THE ZIPPER, at 10pm, 12am, 2am and 4am. This way, if anyone is lost, or if you just wanna connect with other group members, you’ll always have a time and place to gather together.
Inside the speedway: Zipper Squad always meets at the Zipper.
So the magical moment has come. You begin your descent down the bleachers and are holding back the tears while looking out at the shimmery heaven that is the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. What do you do first? MERCH TENT for water bottles, potty break, then hit your first stage. Or if your crew doesn’t have a set you wanna see at that moment – pick a ride to go on! But first things, first. WATER. Hydrate the f**k up. Stand in that line, get your reusable Insomniac bottle, and worship that thing for the next 3 days. Hoes allow themselves to dehydrate. Or if they do choose to down some agua, they buy plastic bottles and trash the planet.
Pro Tip: reusable Insomniac bottle. DO IT. Plus it’s a super awesome souvenir to take back to reality. I still use mine erry damn day.
Before the magic set in and your eyes are too jittery on euphoric emotions to read the speedway map, mentally mark out where each of the restrooms are. Hint – there are four, one in each ‘corner’ of the speedway.
Pro Tip: When facing the stands, the restrooms in the corner on the left of the bleachers are the most well-lit, least-used, and therefore cleanest bathrooms.
Pro Tip: ALWAYS GO WITH YOUR GROUP. NEVER SOLO-MISSION TO THE BATHROOMS!!! Make your group go together all at once. Even if someone says they don’t need to go, remind them that it’s better to at least try now then to be in the middle of a rage-fest set and to have to dig out to find the bathrooms alone.
Pro Tip: Always kill 2 birds with 1 stone when it comes to water and bathrooms. You’re already out & about. Might as well make sure everyone is good on water & bathrooms in the same trip.
Pro Tip: Wanna boost your magical experience back up? Eat a fresh orange, and wash it down with some fresh-squeezed lemonade. You will not be disappointed. There are tents for fresh fruits and fresh lemonade. TAKE ADVANTAGE!!!
Keep from cramping!!! Buy some Powerade and alternate your water intake with Powerade intake.
Pro Tip: Don’t wanna pay $6 for a 16oz Powerade? Sneak in a Pedialyte electrolyte powder pack. It’s tiny- like the size of a stick of gum. Mix that shiz in your Insomniac bottle with some water. I personally prefer the Pedialyte route. But whichever you use, don’t be a hoe and think you only need water to survive. ELECTROLYTES SAVE LIVES.
Pro Tip: Designate a meeting place. Whoever you drove with or took the shuttle with: Have a meeting point for when the night is over. Hoes be like “I know we won’t separate so its fine”. Then you do separate, all of your cell phones die, or you don’t get reception. It’s 7am, you can’t find anybody. You don’t wanna go into the parking lot because what if they’re not out there? But security is kicking you out of the speedway. You don’t remember where the car is. Or you don’t know where the shuttle picks up. What do you do?? Take the leadership role early in the night and tell your friends what’s up. Say “Hey at 6am, we all meet at the Hug Life bear sign”.
Pro Tip: ALWAYS PREPARE FOR THE WORST!!!!
The Next Day
So It’s Time To Leave The Speedway: Refill your Insomniac bottle BEFORE you leave the speedway. You’ll want water for that 2 hour traffic jam getting out of the parking lot. ESPECIALLY if you’re shuttling it. If you drove, keep some water in your car for the drive home. Having water on hand is ALWAYS a good idea.
Pro Tip: the volunteers working the water refill stations abandon post usually before 5am. Get water before it’s too late. Make this a priority.
Supplements: You better bring whatever supplements you normally take at home, to Vegas. If you don’t normally take anything, well now is the time to start. It’s 8am. You have less than 12 hours to sleep, shower, and re-nourish your body before you’re back in the speedway again.
Pro Tip: bring a bottle of ibuprofen (your feet will hurt), a bottle of Rave Aid or 5-HTP (balance out your serotonin), and a bottle of potassium (reduce muscle cramps). Hoes will leave Vegas super dehydrated, nutrient-deficient, and sick with a fever. You just put your body through absolute hell. There is a right way to get it back to rage-face preparedness. Vitamin and water up.
Food After EDC: What to eat? Your body is going through a weird combination of still feeling magical so you’re not really hungry, but you need to feed your starving muscle children (broscience reference), all while you’re fighting that I’m-about-to-throw-up feeling. Stick with something simple.
Pro Tip: Have a bag of bagels and jar of peanut butter in your room, along with hella bananas. That way you can throw some nutrients into your stomach before noon, without having to leave the room. Take a shower, take a nap, and once you’ve digested some basic calories, you’ll be ready to brave the Las Vegas strip in search of a meal.
Pro Tip: Earl of Sandwich inside Planet Hollywood… perfectly sized hot, fresh sandwiches! They also sell a number of side pastas, fruits, and pastries. Plus, while part of your crew holds down your place in line, the rest of the crew can shoot over to Fat Tuesday (one Conveniently located in Planet Hollywood also!). You’re in Vegas: it’s never too early to start drinking! Not a day goes by where the ZipperSquad doesn’t snag some Earls and Fat Tuesdays!
Pro Tip: More sleep. Squeeze in another nap if possible. Even if only 30 mins to an hour. Mentally, you don’t think you need it. But physically, your body is DYING for a little more rest time. You don’t have to actually sleep if you really don’t want to. But fully lay down in bed and allow your legs to recuperate.
Pro Tip: Massage some lotion into your legs and feet. They need the extra TLC, moisture, and it will help with the soreness a lot.
I hope now you feel slightly more prepared to tackle the EDC beast. It’s a magical journey, you deserve to have the best possible experience.
Once you leave Vegas, the emotional after effects can be severe and it’s best to acknowledge the emotional roller coaster that you will feel in the days and weeks following EDC. For tips on dealing with PEDCSD (Post Electric Daisy Carnival Stress Disorder), see this blog.
A lot of these tips seem like simple no-brainers but, oh boy, do they make a world of difference in your experience.
I wouldn’t say I’m a master…there’s still so much to learn; through surviving countless massives, there are a lot of things I’ve fudged up. And through those mistakes- I learned the right ways to rave.
Don’t be a hoe raver; BE A PRO RAVER!