Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Return to the Circuit

My Year without the Circuit is almost over. Love Fest was fun but more of a lark, Volcano was regrettable (and yes I'm still bitter), and I miss that feeling you only get at 5am when you've been dancing all night & still have hours to go before the sun comes up.

It looks like I'll be able to hit a couple spots on the Circuit in 2008. Wish it was now, but I'll have to be patient. I'm being overly ambitious, & trying to work in Black Party in New York and White Party in Palm Springs. I haven't done either, I want to do both, but ... they're only three weeks apart & it would be silly to blow my wad & all my serotonin for the year in one month.

I change my mind on the best plan every thirty minutes. Now I'm thinking fly to SF the week before White Party, visit Nino & Paulo, then drive down to LA, visit Gary & Papi, pick up Drew, then drive into the desert.

Which, now that I type it out, sounds like a better plan. I was trying to figure out how to work Mexico or Paris into a New York trip, but I'd have to have a lot more dough than I actually have to pull that off.

In related news, my friend Bugie (left) - of Miami, but Wai`anae born and raised - just got his first big gig: spinning White Gold at Miami's White Party this November. Good luck to him, wish I was there, and I hope this is the first step on his road to international stardom! His write-up definitely works [DJ Bugie ... has established himself as an integral part of the South Beach music scene. Bugie has a dark, throbbing, sexually-charged tribal beat and an unmistakable style].

I'm not quite sure what his 'unmistakable style' is, though. I have a dozen of his cd's, and what I like is each one is unique - though he loves his hard beats & minimal vocals - and that he can change his styles to fit the mood of a party. It's a nice change from other dj's who will play the same set whether it's an after-hours or a Sunday picnic.

Drew's also been tempting me with a fall Cruise. Bad Drew! I mean, Good Drew! It's a possibility ... but the dates are tricky. Moloka`i Hoe is October 12 - it's already in my calendar & that obviously takes priority. And xxx is supposed to be making fall wedding plans & he better frakkin' hurry up and give the chick the ring & set a date. Pronto. The fantasy now will be that XXX will set his wedding date after the Hoe, and Atlantis will set a Cruise for the weekend after, and I'll be able to do both with two weeks off.

Fat chance of that, really.

And if the wedding is the week of the Hoe, or the week before ... I'll just cry.

Dance when you're broken open; Dance, when you've torn the bandage off
Dance in the middle of fighting
Dance in your blood
Dance when you're perfectly free.
Struck, the dancer hears a tambourine inside her
Like a wave crests into foam at the very top begins.
Maybe you don't hear that tambourine or the tree leaves clapping time
Close the ears on your head , listen mostly to lies and cynical jokes.;
There are other things to see, and hear: Music. A brilliant city inside your soul.

Jelaluddin Rumi

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lost Dip

I've been scouring the net for this dip recipe. With the right tomatoes and cheese it's awesome. I made it a couple years ago, loved it, then lost it. This is why I need to post recipes here when I like them.
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil leaves, stems removed
  • 4 oz partially sundried tomatoes, plus 3 Tbsp of the marinade oil
  • 4 oz sheep's milk feta
  • 6.5 oz marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 4 T mayonnaise, homemade
  • 1 Tbsp capers (optional)
Blend it all in the cuisinart.
Quick catch up ... I've been a total sloth passing two weeks now. I say to myself, no drinking, no smoking, go to the gym. Then I head home, pour a glass of wine, and crash on the couch with a cigarette.

I didn't smoke yesterday, and haven't today, so hopefully I'm over the hump.

Hollis was out at Kalani Honua last weekend. He loved it - everyone I know who stayed there loves it - but spending a week in the jungle with a bunch of naked hippies paying big money to smoke their way to enlightenment sounds like hell to me. The owner actually has close to fifty volunteers running the place for him - they're even building him cabins on the rift zone which he is planning to sell to more Californians and New Yorkers.

Back to Honolulu - Hollis came in for a few nights after playing wildman in Puna. It was good hanging with him again. I took him hiking up Ka`au Crater. I forgot that he was still a New Yorker at heart - it was a rough hike for him! I'd warned him that it would be an adventure, that we'd be climbing a mountain and playing GI Jane and using ropes to get up waterfalls & that it might take close to five hours. I guess he didn't realize that I was being literal.

The last night we cruised Waikiki, then put him on a plane in the early morning back to New York.

Our last neighborhood board meeting went well - probably because MM wasn't there to instigate trouble. We did have a UH Professor of Engineering deliver a shockingly misleading report on mass transit, bordering on the unethical. It was full of false correlations and unwarranted assumptions. I need to look up his name and post a rebuttal.

And I was wrong about the legislature. They convened the special session on the Superferry. The big boss's confirmation hearing will be Tuesday. We've been hearing mixed stories about how rough they'll be with her. I'm done trying to guess what will happen, so I'll just watch, wait, and see. Whichever way it goes, it should be a tense and exciting week.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Egypt Travels

This is still a work in progress! I'm using it now more for my own notes, and will repost once I know dates and places for sure. And once the boss ok's it, of course.

Dec 30-31: Rome

Jan 1-5: Cairo
Hotel Longchamps
($48) or Mayfair Hotel ($18).
Settle in / Museum & Giza / Islamic Cairo / Wadi Natrun /Dahshur & Saqqara

ﺑو ﺴﻣﺒﻞ
Jan 6: Abu Simbel
Temples of Rameses II and Nefertari

7, 8: Aswan. Coptic Christmas
Keylany Hotel
Monastery of St Simeon, Tombs of Nobles, Midnight Mass / Aglikia (Philae) , Gezira Sehel

Jan 9-12: Luxor.
Ras as-Sana / Islamic New Year
($9) or Senmut B&B ($15)
Arrive via Edfu / Karnak / Thebes / Day Trip to Abydos

Jan 13-17: al Wadi al Jedid: The Great Desert Circuit
و وارارة
Kharga (via Dush?) / Dakhla (
al Qasr Resthouse) / Farafra (al Badawiyya)

Jan 18: Return to Cairo.
Last evening in Egypt.

19: Fly to Rome,
2:45 pm

Jan 20: Fly Home,
11am; arrive midnight

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Domino Effect

The governor requested that the legislature open a special session to allow the Super Ferry to operate while an EIS is being prepared.

If they open the session, they will also need to begin the confirmation hearings on Department of Land and Natural Resources' interim chair Laura Thielen.

The last DLNR confirmation hearings, on Peter Young, got very messy. He was eventually rejected.

The cultural groups will be able to use the hearings to once again push for changes in Historic Preservation. They should be even more appalled and active than normal after this morning's story on the Lahilahi incident. Live at Five stories showcasing children's bones left on the beach because DLNR and the City couldn't get their shit together tends to rile people up.

My money says: no way will the legislature open session when people are this mad. The Super Ferry is dead.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Crossing

It started to feel like a dream before it was even over, and by Monday evening I could sit on the beach and wonder did that all really happen? Did I really just do that?

I was nervous all week, but by Friday I was pumped. Bouncing off the walls pumped. I didn't think I'd be able to sleep ... but all it took was half a pound of pasta to knock me out totally. I'd set my alarm for 4:15am, but was awake by 4:05. I grabbed my bags and paddle and headed into Waikiki. It was still dark. All the best adventures lately seem to start here, in the dark, before the rest of the world is moving.

I was on the first charter to Moloka`i. When the second arrived we hopped on a wheezing school bus and headed to Hale o Lono harbor. We rigged our boats, and got our first glimpse of the other canoes and crews. We're just a regular crew, working guys, but now we'd be paddling with A-List teams from all over the world. There were over a hundred canoes at the harbor, from Brasil, Tahiti, the Mainland, Italy ... it was a sight.

The day went fast. Like all dreams, it's left more a series of images in my mind than a strict narrative. We lined up at sunset for our oli. A kupuna leading us through traditional protocols. Waking up again in the dark to head to the harbor. Setting the boat in the water, and paddling out with the other 110 canoes to the starting line up. Watching our offering drift for a few seconds before being swallowed by the waves.

And then paddling out to sea, with helicopters filming and hundreds of escort boats tailing us.

All five of us novices were in one crew: Chris, Scott, Kapena, Phil, myself. It was nice arriving at this point together. We missed Eli, who was out with an injury. Geoff and Ray steered. We picked up a guy from New Zealand to round us out.

I sat in for two changes. We were well past the point and heading to the open sea before I took my first break. I was feeling strong - I had timed everything right after all. I felt like I could paddle all day.

We had fallen pretty far behind the main pack early on in the crossing. The waves weren't huge, but it was like a washing machine - the swells came from different directions, and there wasn't much we could surf on. We had one line-up where we came up and passed a few canoes, but we lost ground later on.

It's a strange and amazing feeling to paddle a boat out to a horizon where you can't see what's on the other end. I'd been in denial that I would actually do the Moloka`i Hoe (I'll go to practice, but I wasn't committing to that). Now that I was here, in the middle of it, I realized that all the last six months of training were coming together here, now, on this one day.

And then, somewhere in the channel, I started to feel light-headed. I wasn't sure what it was at first. I was hydrated, and wasn't thirsty. It wasn't hot. My pulse was ok. I was breathing fine. But then I suddenly couldn't remember which way to hold my paddle. This wasn't a good sign. But I couldn't tell what was wrong, why I was feeling this way ... and then my stomach went flip inside out, and I tossed.

Doh. I haven't been seasick all year, and I naively thought that maybe I was over it. I was wrong. And this was a bad time to find out.

Next change. I swam to the boat as fast as I could. Downed a gatorade. Tossed it back up. Damn.

And that was the story for the next couple hours. Seasickness comes in cycles. You toss, and then feel really, really good for a spell. Maybe ten minutes. Then you feel average. Then the nausea returns. I timed it - the full cycle takes 30 to 40 minutes, and I cycled through this five times at least. I had to lie down on the escort boat, and so missed one change. I was pretty delirious, although I had no option but too paddle.

Lorna asked if I was ok to get back in. Part of me though, just play dead. Instead I jumped up and said I wanted to paddle. And I did. We came too far, and I couldn't let anyone else pull my weight. So I'd paddle hard for my sets, and then pass out in between. I did the second half of the crossing in a complete delirium.

And then, finally, I got control of my body back. I remember swimming to the escort boat and telling Lorna, ok, I'm back. And I felt pretty amazing again for the last hour or so.

It wasn't the hardest race we've done physically - the Big Boy Iron used me and spat me out. This was the longest, though, and by far the most mental.

And I'm already for next year.

(We finished 104 out of 110, and were only a couple minutes behind a half-dozen canoes. Total time: 6 hours 45 minutes. Not bad for what I'm sure was the least experienced boat out there! The Tahitians blew everyone away, again).

This week I've been useless. No gym, no yoga, no nothing. I go home, make myself a Manhattan, and watch all the tv shows online that I've missed over the past year. I'm caught up on Ugly Betty, watched the entire season of 30 Rock, and just started on Friday Night Lights.

Tonight is the Neighborhood Board ... life moves on. I'm pumped and ready for battle!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Our Crew

The Moloka`i Hoe was an amazing experience. I'm still too much in a daze to describe it with any justice. Once my brain and body settle I'll try to put my thoughts in order.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Rapd Cycling

One minute I'm psyched and ready to go, blasting the music and feeling almost giddy. The next I'm picturing massive waves and a canoe hurtling at me while I dive for safety.

I'm packed. Eight more hours and I'll meet Jake in Waikiki, and join the carpool to the airport. I've got six power gels, two bags of poi (I'll share), two cans of Starbucks double-espresso and cream (I won't share), a bag of candied ginger, a bag of cashews, two packs of power-blocks, and a bag of all-natural (right down to the stevia sweetener) electrolyte powder. I have them scattered in variuos pockets, with the idea being: where ever I am, there will be food.

I could have trained more. I shouldn't have smoked last weekend. I should have done more aerobics. And gotten more sleep. And had less tequila. & so on, ad nauseum. I am where I am, and I am ready to go.

It is rare that I live so much in the moment. Right now I can hardly see past Sunday.

Next stop is the Crossing.

Countdown Time

41 hours to go.  I'll be ready.  I just need to relax, and that ain't easy.

We all went to Spaghetti Factory last night (it was a nice building, but
the pasta was almost inedible). Ramos was telling us to take it easy,
that stress consumes energy and we need out energy.

Ramos says relax. Easy to say. Easy to believe. Hard to put into practice.

It didn't help when Lorna gave us the weather forecast: east wind, and
8 foot swells. Which, for non-Hawaiians, translates to waves with a
16-foot face on the open ocean.

I've never been in water like that before, much less raced in it.

Patti sent out this revised forecast this morning:
Good morning... Checked again this morning & the
small craft advisory will continue until Monday
morning. If the winds lay down a bit, even Saturday
evening, Sunday morning the seas will have calmed a
little. Weather pattern here is calmer in the evening
& night, wind picks up in the afternoons. Since the
wind is from the East, Oahu offers no "lee". So the
course should take you into Oahu around Koko Head.
Don't get pushed up against the point & have to work
your way out. Tide will be pushing to land on a
rising tide. There will be no releif up against land
until Sandy's & Haunama Bay. Then the wind, current
and swell (E) should push you along the island.
So ok. We do this for fun. We do this for love. And once we're in the
water I'll be fine. Terrified, maybe, but fine.

It's making it through the next day and a half that will be the challenge.
Mentally I'm already gone.

All five of us novices are in the crew, though. That feels good. It'll be
nice to be with the guys I started this with. It's hard to believe that we
actually made it to this point. Eli is out with an injury, which sucks;
otherwise it's all of us. We have Ray steering, plus Twayne - a guy
from Outrigger who we haven't met yet. The ninth will be either Ramos,
Rodney, or Geoff. Our guess is Rod.

Lock Down

Growing up we were always told that the US and Canada shared the longest free border in the world. We could cross the bridge with a wave at the guard.

Those days are over. The Dept of Homeland Security - which, six years on, still sounds like something Mussolini or Stalin would have dreamt of - is moving forward with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. From the State Department:
At a later date, to be determined, the departments will implement the full requirements of the land and sea phase of WHTI. The proposed rules require most U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry to have either a U.S. passport; a U.S. passport card; a trusted traveler card such as NEXUS, FAST, or SENTRI; a valid Merchant Mariner Document (MMD) when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business; or a valid U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders.

The implementation date will be determined based on a number of factors, including the progress of actions undertaken by the Department of Homeland Security to implement the WHTI requirements and the availability of WHTI compliant documents on both sides of the border. DHS and DOS expect the date of full WHTI implementation to be in the summer of 2008. The precise implementation date will be formally announced with at least 60 days notice.
I don't believe that the world is any more dangerous than it was during most of the 20th Century. In most ways I think it's safer - fascism, Nazism, and communism offered a far darker vision of the world than Islamism does.

They chip away at our freedoms, bit by bit. I'll miss it when it's gone.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Slow Mo Paddling

Lorna shot this at last week's practice.