Tuesday, July 31, 2007


24 hours and I'll be on a plane for Ireland. I've got a spanking new Visa card (my first ever - I finally succumbed to the machine and got a credit card), borrowed Rudy's camera (mine was killed permanently in Wadi Rum), did all my laundry, sorted my personals, turned in most of my reports at work, and did my final paddling practice for the next week and a half ... and now I guess it's time to pack.

20-some hours from then I'll be in Dublin. I have an eight hour layover in LAX, but I'm not even worried about that. I've stocked up on books, and am looking forward to digging in. I'll start with Michael Chobon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union, and bring either Arturo Perez-Reverte's The Club Dumas or Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore on the plane as back-up. I'm thinking Murakami; Perez-Reverte writes thrillers (sorry, make that gothic noir metafiction, according to the cover) and that might be better for the return.

I've got twenty-four hours in Dublin to act up, and then I hop a bus for the west coast. I'll meet the kin at McGann's Pub in Doolin 7:30 Saturday night, and then the party will begin. I just heard that John won't make it, which is sad; I don't know that it will feel fully complete without him.

Meanwhile, I think Cadiza got exorcised last night. Poor demon. I fessed up to the director that I was the a-hole to told 'em to shut up - they had blamed the other neighbors. He was flattered that I thought the drama was real.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Demon Cadiza

I finally snapped and told the gang upstairs to shut up. I really had planned on being nice and quiet about it, but what came out of my mouth at full blast wasn't excuse me could you keep it down thank-you, but Keep it down it's been four nights and I'm tired of it already!

It worked.

Only it turns out that Les and Jen & co. aren't as lame as I thought. They're just poorly written. If I got it right, Les needs to break up with Jen because the demons are eating his soul and telling him to murder her. U. is the demon queen Cadiza. "Lady Catherine" (that's her name, not me being catty) and some director I've never heard of has been filming an independent horror movie upstairs. Soul Savior. You heard it here first.

This explains the endlessly repetitive dialogue. If I had a higher opinion of people I might have figured this out on my own, rather than simply thinking damn these people suck. Lucky they think it's the other neighbors that yelled at `em.

And it's really good I found out, as I woke up and found that three of my koi had died. My first thoughts were, it's that psychotic Les upstairs. Guess not.

Although it still might be Lady Catherine, mad because I interrupted the filming of her Buffy sequel.

I need to clean the pond, just totally empty it out, but Hau caught me & will insist that I save every single one of the ten thousand guppies swimming in there. It will take forever, and I still need to pack for Ireland today. I'm hiding inside, hoping that she'll have to go to work & I can get to work on a guppy massacre.

Friday, July 27, 2007


The fight upstairs is still going on. Tonight's dialogue is new, but just as repetitive. Froggy-voiced Les says Jen kick her out, she's full of lies (and I've heard that verbatim close to a dozen times already), and friend saysyou cheated on her. you cheated on her.

That's it, the extent of the dialogue for the past hour. In between there's lots of stomping around.

Who are these people, and why are they breaking up here???


We officially started distance practice this week, and everything feels like it's getting jacked up one more level. Tuesday was long runs, and it felt good. I know I'm getting in shape, as these would have killed me a few months ago. And Thursday we had an escort boat so we could practice ocean changes.

Roz and Lorna had told us we were, but I blocked it out & didn't remember until practice started and I saw the boat. I saved myself a good dose of stress and anxiety there. Changes are basically this: three guys dive out of the escort boat, and tread water while the canoe approaches. They line up with the canoe, and as it barrels down at them three guys toss themselves over the right side while the three in the water try jump up and in on the left. Ideally the canoe doesn't lose any speed.

You name it, I was apprehensive about it. I was running on pure adrenalin and nerves Thursday. I didn't fuck up too badly, but I was far from graceful. I was diving in the canoe head first, slipping and belly flopping off the escort boat, doing flips trying to smoothly roll out of the canoe ... and I have the bruises and bumps to show for it.

It was pretty much pure stimulation, and I think I'm still flying a bit from it 24 hours on.

Roz has been helping me develop a better work-out routine. The plan is to add a day of spin class (if I can - the spin instructor at 24-hour, Leanne, is some kind of rock-star and people line up for hours to get a seat. My only hope is to make the 6am class), and another round of some type of aerobics on Sunday. I'm thinking trail running. I bought the shoes already, after all. I'll keep a day of yoga, limit weights to once per week, and add a day once in awhile of one-man canoe runs.

Hopefully I'll get up early and do my one-man run tomorrow. Us novices have been told to do a run up the Ala Wai to the library and back, which is about 3.5 miles (sez Google Earth). And: no way am I doing that. When Scott, Kapena, and I went out I huli'd about every ten minutes. That's fine in the ocean, but not in that frakkin' sewage outfall we call a canal. I am not going under that. I'll do an ocean run with the big boys, and tell the coaches after.

Roz also had me start a food log, and that has been a rude shock for me. I just ran the numbers, and they aren't pretty. I've been getting close to 50% of my calories from fat, and around 30% from carbs. This has to change.

I ran some numbers (I'm only partially geeking out now ... I'm not even going to try and go into types of fat and carbs and sugars ... this is anal enough as it is), and I got this:

Base Metabolic Rate for men:
BRM = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) - (6.8 x age in years) = 1889
BRM * 1.725 for highly active men = 3258

So that's 3258 calories a day for me. I'm rarely close, which explains why I am ravenous 90% of the time.

Breaking that down into a training diet with 25% protein, 60% carbs, and 15% fat, and I get a goal of 200g protein, 500g carbs, and 55g fat per day.

That will take some effort.

I need to work in beer into this before I leave for Ireland. The training tables say you can sub 5% of your carbs with alcohol while training. I'll run the numbers before I leave, and then - of course - apply them if I'm in the mood.

Not sure how I'll do training while in Ireland. I need to keep some of this up, or I'll be too far behind afterwards. Hopefully bog jumping counts towards something.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Creme Yvette

Crème Yvette is the one that intrigues me - a liqueur made of candied violets and flavored with vanilla & other unknown spices. The manufacturer discontinued it sometime in the 60's. France that still produces Crème de Violette, which is similar, but close to impossible to find.

I haven't done the Mixology Monday party in awhile, but was on the site & saw that there is a conference on lost cocktail ingredients this weekend in New Orleans. Attendees will learn how to make falernum (got it!), pimento dram (got it!), bitters (sounds complicated), crème yvette, and crème de rose.

There's a rumor that Dr. Cocktail (of the Internet Cocktail Database fame) knows the recipe and makes it for his friends ... but so far no one has leaked the recipe online yet. I looked. Hopefully some nice fellow will blog about it after the conference!

And while looking, I found this strange liqueur on the Household Cyclopedia. It's a website that reprints articles from the an 1881 series of how-to manuals. It covers everything from mettalurgy to whisky making. Just reading the site conjures up a lost world of back-yard stills and American self-sufficiency, of the age before everything became commodified and standardized. Recipes call for ambergris and cochineal, herbs that we don't grow anymore & fruit varietals that I have never heard of (bigarades and cedrat, anyone?).

Most of the recipes are beyond me - I don't have a still. This one - a Crème d'Orange flavored with saffron - intrigues me. I haven't been able to make a decent orange liqueur yet. It might be worth another try ... assuming I can figure out what all the terms mean and how to do all this in a modern kitchen.

Creme d'Orange of Superior Flavor

Take 3 doz. middling sized oranges; orange-flower water, 2 qts.; loaf sugar, 18 lbs.; spirit of wine, 2 galls.; tincture of saffron, 1 1/2 oz.; water, 4 1/2 galls. This will produce 7 1/2 galls.

Cut the oranges in slices, put them into a cask, add the spirit and orange-flower water, let it stand a fortnight, then boil the sugar in the water for 1/2 an hour, pour it out, and let it stand till cold, then add it to the mixture in the cask, and put in the tincture of Saffron. Let it remain a fortnight longer, then strain, and proceed as directed in the receipt for Cremes de Barbades, and a very fine cordial will be produced.

To make Real Creme des Barbades

Take 2 doz. middling-sized lemons, 6 large citrons; loaf sugar, 28 lbs,; fresh balm leaves, 3 lb.; spirit of wine, 2 1/2 galls.; water, 3 1/2 galls. This will produce about 7 galls., full measure. Cut the lemons and citrons in thin slices, and put them into a cask; pour upon them the spirit of wine, bung down close, and let it stand 10 days or a fortnight then break the sugar, and boil it for 1/2 an hour in the 33 galls. of water, skimming it frequently; then chop the balm-leaves, put them into a large pan, and pour upon them the boiling liquor, and let it stand till quite cold; then strain it through a lawn sieve, and put it to the spirits etc., in the cask; bung down close, and in a fortnight draw it off; strain it through a jelly bag, and let it remain to fine; then bottle it.

The best I found for flowers was to take 4 cups of vodka and 1-2 cups lavender leaves (or 1/3 the amount dried), let steep for two days, and 1 cup sugar, shake to dissolve, let steep for two weeks, and strain. I'm assuming this could work for violets also. It looks too simple to be the right recipe, and it doesn't look like a creme. It might be a start, though.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Talk to her already, Les

Someone upstairs is on night two of a very public break-up. It started last night. All I could hear was her, shrieking in some harpies voice, over and over, Talk to me! TALK to me! Why won't you talk to me? ... interspersed with the occasional Don't you DARE turn your back on me!

I never heard the guy's response. It was just her voice, cutting through wood and concrete. It went on and on, and so my night was a strange blend of Italian neo-realism (I was finishing up Visconti's Le Notti Bianche) and Latin drama.

Though, honestly, I always thought U. upstairs was kind of cool, and was surprised how shrieky she could get.

Well, the drama continues tonight (intermingled with Ichikawa's The Burmese Harp).

They've expanded their dialogue a bit, as well as their cast of characters. I've heard at least five voices - apparently this is a very public drama. U. isn't one of them. I don't know who they are, or much about them beyond the fact that I think they are the most god-awful boring drama queens I have ever come across. I have heard the same three conversations, starring the same three shriekers (harpy Jen, froggy-voiced Les, and bitchy friend), half a dozen times each.

There's not even much variation on the themes - they repeat the same shit word for word, pause for a few minutes, and then start over. I have it down by heart now ... if Les needs to take a break I can go in and pinch-hit for him & no one would miss a beat.

Theme 1
Friend: Do you love her Les?
Les: Not that it is any of your business, but (his voice gets extra froggy here) yes, I do.
Friend: So why did you dump her, Les?
Les: You don't know me!
Jen: So Why did you dump me?

Theme 2
Friend: So why won't you talk to her?
Les: Who are you people?
Friend: We're good friends. I'm just asking.
Les: This is OUR problem, Jen.
Jen:So why won't you talk to me? Why won't you talk to me? Why are you doing this to me? Why did you dump me? Why won't you talk to me?
(silence, presumably because Jen has temporarily passed out from lack of oxygen)

Theme 3
Friend: Ask him what I told you to, Jen.
Jen: I already know the answer.
Friend: (gasp) Do you really?

I don't lie - it's been over an hour and there's been no progression. Occasionally someone says something funny that I don't hear, and then I do hear a large group laughing. Beyond that it's the same conversations over and over and over. I'd be throwing tomatoes at the stage already if I were up there.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Small World

What a waste of a day! 9pm & I've hardly done a thing beyond work on a new Manhattan recipe (muddle some orange slices and sugar, add 1 shot Jim Beam Rye and 1/2 shot of Noilly Prat sweet vermouth, add a dash of orange bitters, and some ice cubes). I think I'll have one now.

I'm into muddling these days ... I've been working on a margarita with muddled limes, like a caipirinha but with Cazadores tequila blanco and Caravella orangecello. That one is almost there.

But I logged on now 'cause I've just had my second trippy "what a small world" experience of the weekend. The first was yesterday. I got a call from Drew, who I met in Montreal, visited in Jersey, and went to Orlando with last year. Turns out his neighbor is Robert D, a friend from Hawai`i who I lost track of when he moved to NYC. They went to Gay Days at some Jersey waterpark this weekend, and a friend of their's brought his nude yoga instructor .... Hollis (which, for the record, we went through a rough patch earlier but it's patched up now).

The next one is even more extreme. Before I went to
İstanbul I was talking online with this guy, Salih ...

Yummy, right? But he was in London the weekend I was there, so we never met.

But we stayed in touch, because I'll be back in
İstanbul one day! We were chatting online this afternoon, and he had shown my picture to a friend of his, and it turns out that his friend is ...

Hailey, a South African girl who I had met in Fethiye in 2005. We spent a great day hiking along the Lycian trail from the coast into the mountains, to the abandoned Greek village of Karaköy. And now she's staying with Salih for a week!

I love when things like this happen, these strange coincidences that hint that there's some pattern amidst all the chaos and randomness. And it makes me wonder how many other unknown times the lives of people we know have intersected.


Still recovering from the Love Festival here. From the whole day, really.

I picked up Scott A & we headed to Ke`ehi around 9am. Our crew did ok. We had a new line-up (X and Y are on vacation, although in public they are both on separate 'work trips' on separate continents), so it was Kapena in stroke, Chris in 2 (just back from Tahiti, and it's only our second race with him in the wa`a), Phil, Scott, Me, and Eli. We never did get that amazing glide that we only seem to get on long runs during practice, and I know Eli was pretty frustrated. Still, the gap between us and the big boys was closer than other, and we creamed Lokahi, so I feel good about it. We had one of our better times.

I wanted to stay for the Pa`ina, but by 4:30 I was beat and there were still plenty of races to go. I snuck out. Got home, took a quick nap, and then turned around to pick up Dave L and Dave C. Headed to Quinn's place in Makakilo for cocktails, then hit the waterpark.

And what a night that was! The crowd was young, and endlessly interesting. It's cool to see rave culture still going strong after so many decades. G-Spot and Ikon, both local, opened with a pretty solid set. It was different than the music I was used to, but it was good & got the crowd moving. And then this ... Q-Bert thing ... took over the turntables, and gave us two hours of scratching. It was painful. Horribly, awfully, painful. We kept thinking his set was ending ... and then he'd scratch some more. We took off for a side stage, and discovered AMFM Alexander. Never heard of him, but I think he played one of the more fun sets of the night. Too bad there were only a dozen or so of us dancing there. His music was fun and upbeat, and the kind that was geared towards interaction. Dave L and I danced there for awhile, then headed back to the mainstage. Swedish Egil was on, and he was amazing. It was full peak-hour on the dancefloor music. The Circuit would love him.

Then the headliner came on, Christopher Alexander, number four dj in the world. And ... eh. He was good, but his music was kind of simple, and after a couple hours we started to fade. He kept us going for close to 90 minutes, maybe 2 hours (who can tell time at these things?) - so that's pretty solid - but it's hard not to compare him to a Manny Lehman or a DJ Paulo who can keep the energy up 'til dawn.

Quinn bagged early when his friend got sick. Poor guy (Quinn, that is - the friend was an idiot who dropped 3 ecstacy & promptly collapsed.). We all left around 3:30. Debated doing after-hours, but ... it had been a full day. Came home, unwound for an hour, then collapsed into bed as the sun was coming up.

It feels good. I haven't done this since last July. It was a fun crowd, there was a small representation from the gay world, and a few of our crew finally showed up.

And today is all about recovery. And laundr, and doing dishes, and cleaning my place again.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Firday Night

It's going to be a go-go-go weekend.

The billionaire met the governor yesterday and told her he wanted the permit done now. As in: today.

His permit's position in the queue remains unchanged.

We had our last practice as novices yesterday. Tomorrow is our final regatta. The remnants of hurricane Cosme are somewhere out there, but it's only a depression now, it's far to the south, and it's rapidly dissipating. It'll probably be either super muggy or windy and wet tomorrow. And I'm fine with that - we actually place better when the ocean is a bit rougher.

And then comes distance season, which I'm both excited about and dreading. I see the guys eyes light up when they talk about distance, so I'm trusting them and pushing forward.

And then tomorrow night is Love Festival. I hope it's good - I haven't had a long hard night of good dancing since ... I don't know. Maybe last June. That's too long.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Money Talks

The Billionaire is coming to town, and wants to meet.

The Governor jumped.

The Chair's Office jumped, and is still jumping.

I can't be bothered. I'm behind on all my permits, and his is at the bottom of my queue. I told his representative I could meet next week, or that he could submit his testimony in writing. Just like anyone else, really.

Day ten of no smokes ... and I'm feeling aggro. This is not a good week to cross my path.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


We had the Beachboys Waikiki Invitational today - and we finally placed! I'm still in a daze - we came in fifteen seconds behind Ka Mamalahoe (typical, but the closest to them we've been), three seconds behind Lokahi (we've beat them the last half dozen regattas) ... passed Koa Kai and Beach Boys in the final stretch, and flat-out beat the other two!

It was open steering & we had Ramos, which put Eli up in stroke, followed by me, Kapena, Scott L, and Chris. It was a new line-up for us, but damn I guess it worked.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


They needed a crew to bring the boats to Waikiki tomorrow at 6am. I joined the crew. at 11 am it's easy enough to think you can wake up at 5 the next morning. It doesn't sound so nice when you're looking at it from the night before.

So Tuesday I finally hurled in the canoe. I might be the first, I'm not sure. I know guys have been close. We did some long runs, and then I just hit a point where my body rebelled. Bent my head close to the water & let it rip. Felt better after, too. Roz took us into the waves & let us ride some swells, which was a first. It was also a blast. Our Waikiki race is tomorrow, and that's all swell riding (if it comes in). I'm psyched for it.

This morning was man against nature. We made it to the Diamond Head buoy without trouble, and then Roz had us push on to Black Point. Then the ocean got big. I was stroke for our canoe, and most of the time I was either being thrown airborn & staring at the sky, or under water as our canoe punched through the waves. I tried to keep a good time, but it was tricky. The other canoes both huli'ed. The masters took on too much water until a wave finally knocked them over. The opens got picked up by one wave and thrown under the another. They never had a chance.

So didn't do much the rest of the day. We had started with another hard land work out, and then were in the water hours past what we were planning on, so I was burned & beat. I finally finished another mix, finally cleaned house, and now am ready to pass out.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Our canoe placed fifth in this past race at Ma`ili. We had the normal line-up (Scott, Kapena, Scott A, Me, Phil, Eli), and set our best time at 4:12. Still wasn't enough - the top canoes all came in under four minutes. I think we've been fifth almost every race we've been in. It seems to be our spot.

I'm still sore from Saturday. I got to the park at 5:59, and barely had time to put my bags down before Roz had us off on a 1.25-mile sprint. I finished in 11 minutes, but it hurts bad. I figure this is the fifth time I've run over a mile since 1985 - and that includes the three runs I've had to do with the Yacht Club. The other two times I was trying to escape from predators (a gang in DC, and a cannibal in Sumatra ... and I really wish I had photos of that last incident). In other words, I don't run. I was stressing about having to run with the team, and managed to avoid two of the longer runs.

So my quads feel like they've been smacked hard with a 2x4. I walk with a limp. All this for the team.

Camped out at Ma`ili Saturday, then raced Sunday, barbecued the rest of the afternoon, and pretty much passed out by 10pm last night.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Poor little orphan blog. I do think about you. Don't take it personal. I've been neglecting everything and everyone this season.

Start with the car. She broke down just before I left for Jordan, and I didn't get around to trying & fixing her until last weekend. I don't cook any more - it's all fast food or microwaved food. Friends on the mainland are thinking I'm pissed at `em 'cause I don't write or call anymore. Friends here don't even bother - they just roll their eyes and tell me they'll see me when the season is over.

I've lost friends to paddling before. Now I see why. I love the sport, but it takes over. Tues and Thurs we're on the water. Mon I do weights and then yoga. I try to do weights Wed and Fri morning before work, but don't always make it. I should be running, and will need to start if I'm going to survive distance season next month. Saturday we have brutal practices, and I end up curling up afterwards and sleeping all afternoon. Sundays are regattas, and we spend the day at the beach racing.

Time left for the rest of the world: none.

Sure I've taken some time off. I smoked and drank and went out with Ron and Beth when they were here. I fell off the wagon again for a week when I met Chip from St. Louis. Other than that, I've been pretty good.

And still I need to train harder! 3 more months until the world championships, the Moloka`i Hoe, and ... I've got no illusions that I'll be competitive in it, but I at least want to earn a seat.

So, forget recapping the last x months. I'll start from Sunday, catch up to today, and then try and maintain ...

Sunday - Regatta at Kihei. We place 6th. Kumulokahi Elks beat us for the first time. Last week we did well, and were within spitting distance of placing. This week our time improved a bit, but everyone else improved a lot & the big four teams left us in the dust. X & Y stress that the guys know they're a couple and spend the day pretending not to know each other. Funny thing is, none of the guys seem to care who's queer and who's not. Jeff M and I pick up a six pack and a pack of smokes and chill in my garden after, which was a very cool way to end the weekend.

Monday - Bring the van into the repair shop. Work. Get a call from the repair shop telling me the bill will come close to 2G. Resolve to send the van to the glue factory. Gym. Yoga. Bike home. I'm exhausted.

Tuesday - Work. Practice. It's brutal - a twenty minute 'warm-up,' then four 10-minute sprints, then two 8-minute sprints, then ten one-minute starts, then ten ten-second starts. I can barely move by the time I get home.

Fourth of July - Have breakfast at Lulu's with Dave C and Dirk. We behave (!) and only have one round of Bloody Mary's. We cruise around a bit, and I head home and try and mix music. I'm not inspired, and don't make much progress. Evening time they pick me up, along with Aussie Michael, and we head to Alan's for the fireworks. It's a mellow crowd. We're all home be ten.

Thursday- Work. I go to the Credit Union and sign up for my first loan so I can afford a new (used) car. I prepare myself to go into debt for the first time. I've never had credit before. I apply for cards, and my name comes up blank. I don't have bad credit, I have zero credit. No banks can handle that. Lucky we have a State Credit Union! And then Practice. I'm still suffering from Tuesday, and feel like I'm ready to puke in the canoe. I feel good about my own stroke, but we switch seats around and some of the guys in our novice canoe are outside their comfort zone. We rocked so hard a few weeks ago, but haven't felt that magic since.

Friday - Work. Meet David L at Ocean Club afterwards for mojitos and poke. I like Oceans on Fridays. The location isn't great, but it's a nice club. I always associate it with late nights and hip-hop, so this is a pleasant surprise. Afterwards we head to Pfleuger Honda, David helps me out with the cars and bargaining, and ... hours later ... I walk out a bright shiny 1985 Honda Accord SE with only 69G miles on it. It's older than I wanted (I had my eyes on a 98 Cadillac, and in fact had been singing Springsteen songs to myself all day in anticipation, but it was not meant to be), but this car was the shiniest thing they've had. It's actually in better shape than any car I've owned - from a nice paint job to pretty leather seats - so I better change my grungy ways and try to keep her looking fresh.

Downside is, I was hoping to meet Keiko and Greg for their going-away bash at 6pm. Somehow I don't have their number in my phone, and I got their late. This hurts. Keiko is one of the first people I met here, and we later discovered that we had arrived in Hawai`i the same afternoon. She got married, I turned more queer-oriented, and we haven't hung out much in recent years. The first couple years here it felt that every summer I'd spend saying goodbye to everyone I met over the winter. Keiko and I were always the last two standing. Lately we've both been talking about making a break for it. I feel more settled now that I'm paddling - it really has calmed me down - and I feel better about staying on. Still it's sad to see her go.

I guess that's another mark of the modern age. One by one we lose our links to the past. Some people live one life their whole life. I've lived so many lives, and with precious few threads connecting many of them to today.

Time for bed. Tomorrow it's a 6am practice, then a cost-co run, and then heading to camp out in Ma`ili for the night. The regatta is there tomorrow, and our canoe is up for providing food. We're going for a full-on barbecue instead of the standard Cost-co produced wraps - our team should be happy!