Saturday, May 31, 2008

Another Night Before

We had a decently hard practice today, and I ended up sleeping most of the afternoon away afterwards. Spent the evening trying to remix some electro funk. It's not coming along.

Our Novice A crew, though ... it feels strong. Lucas is out this week, so Eli is moving back to steer, I'm up to stroke, and Joe is in the boat. For once, I'm not anxious about the race in the morning. I'm eager. I've been ready since last Monday, chomping at the bit to see how we do in Hale`iwa.

It's a strange and new feeling. I've always been B-String , the boy in the dugout who gets to play a token inning in the 9th, . I've never been a contender, at least not for anything physical. I think I might be setting a new land record for "late blooming."

The lineup tomorrow is MC, Mark, Aka, Joe, Scott, Eli. It'll be my first time stroking a race.

I'm bringing Emily and Donna (from Fananu) up to Hale`iwa to watch. I talked to Rommel, but they guys all have basketball practice. I really want to get the Pááfeng guys involved, but it will be a slow process. One day I'll get them to watch. Then a second day. And, someday, they'll make a decision to come with us.

It's still a communal group. I won't get one. Tiomen will wait until there's consensus, and then bring the guys over. I'll be patient until then, and take it step by step. These guys, though - they grew up on the water. Their fathers were navigators. They could bring so much, and also preserve so much that might be lost with the life they're living.

One more hour to fuck around, and then I crash for the night ...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Memorial Day

We took fourth in the season's opening regatta! This is the best we've done during the regular season, and ... it feels good. It's nice to be battling with the lead canoes rather than the trailing ones.

Eli (stroke), Lucas (steer), MC, Aka, Scott, Mark

Lucas is gone next week, so I'm not sure who we'll have instead in the canoe.

Men Novice "A" Results
1 Ka Mamalahoe 7:43.39
2 Waikiki Beach Boys 7:49.43
3 Manu O Ke Kai 8:17.20
4 Kamehameha 8:25.67
5 Kaneohe 8:43.18
6 Kumulokahi-Elks 8:44.41
7 'Alapa Hoe 8:45.30
8 Pukana O Ke Kai 8:50.30
9 Lokahi 8:50.96

Next weekend is Hale`iwa, and if we stay focused we should be able to pass Manu O Ke Kai. I'm ready.

It was a good weekend overall. Kamehameha hosted, so we were busy from Friday evening to Sunday evening. Friday we paddled Manu Kai from Kamehameha to Ke`ehi. Saturday we set up at Ke`ehi. Sunday was race day. Sunday night we cleaned up and then cracked the beers. I was set to leave early, to sneak out the back, but I'm glad I didn't. We melded more as a team that night, and some of the divisions between the WYC guys and Kamehameha slipped away. Integration is a process, and we made some major progress this weekend.

Friday, May 23, 2008

First Regatta

Regatta Season starts this weekend, and we just got our line-up:

Event # 18 Sr. Mix Mst 45: Phil, Jan, Di, Vinnie, Barb, Dirky
Event # 19 Novice B: Rob, Chris, John, Fanua, Steve, David Jones
Event #27 Novice A: Eli, MC, Scott A, Mark, Aka, Lucas
Event #31 SO Men: Kulani, David, Anthony, Allen, Keola, Eddie
Event #33 SR Men: David, Rudy, Alex, Martin, Lance, geoff
Event #35 MM40:Rudy, Lance, phil, chris Z., John M., Rod
Event #36 W Open 4: Roz, Anita, Linda, Ulu
Event #37 M Open 4: Geoff, Martin, Joe C., Alex
Event #38 Mx Mst 40: Rod, Jan, Di, Chris Z., Feleicia, Dirky

I like our crew. We'll find out Sunday how we stack up.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rio Calls

I did it ... I closed my eyes and hit send and used my miles to get tickets to Miami. Rio is only one stop away.

We have a full crew, and maybe two, for Rio Va`a. I'm thinking of spending the second week in Buenos Aires. I'd really like to see the Pantanal, but it looks hard to arrange on the time I'll have.

First, sometime this summer, I need to convince some friends to join me in Miami. A couple guys are possibilities, though I'm not sure how all the potential combinations would work out. Some would be disastrous.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Kai Poha Iron

We took second!

Kamehameha Masters Crew: John, Rob, Rudy, Phil, MC (Lance P missing)

And the wahine open took third, out of fifteen canoes!

That was unexpected, at least on my part. I was in four, which is a seat I normally like. It's easier to apply power, and you don't have the stress of being in 1 or 2.

The vog was pretty bad in town, and downright oppressive as we climbed over the plateau and into the North Shore. It seemed a bit clearer out on the water. Our crew had a decent enough start, but halfway to Waimea we lost a bit of energy and the crews we were battling with pulled ahead. We had a great burst of energy when we finally turned at the Waimea buoy. Half way home, though, we seemed to run out of steam. We were running so fast, and were stroking in unison ... all the good things ... and yet the other crews were pulling away. I know I felt myself start to drag.

They haven't posted the times yet, so I don't know how full the masters division was. There were still a lot of canoes ahead of us, but they must have all been youngsters. I was surprised when we got our ribbons.

So it feels good, and it was a nice way to wrap up the season. Regatta season kicks off this coming weekend - which means 8 weeks of (more or less) behaving on the weekends.

final shot: Coach Roz before the women's race.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Donuts are Bad

Or maybe vog is bad. Or donuts and too much coffee too late in the afternoon, combined with sprints on the Ala Wai on a day where the vog is so thick that the air seems to shimmer, is bad.

The upshot is that I upchucked in practice yesterday. We were doing time trials. I felt fine going in. The first 1/4 mile sprint, and it was like I was smoking again. I just couldn't get a full breath. After the 1/2 mile sprint, I tossed a little. I tried to make it subtle; I just leaned out close to the water and made like I was spitting. Only Geoff noticed.

Then I realized it was all going to come out.

Made it through the next two mile sprints, and then I had to wimp out and tell the coach. I wasn't even sick, is the funny thing. It was just, my body wanted those donuts out.

Lesson learned. No Donuts before Sprints.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

When the DJ Hates You

you just need to make your own music.

Or, if you are totally lacking in any musical talent, make your own remix.


I emailed the link out a few days ago to friends who I know like dance music ... but my $2 bought a lot of bandwidth and I think I still have something like 120 downloads left on this account - so I'm going public, and tossing this one out into the ether.

It's basic circuit music, which means - this season, at least - vocal and tribal house. I put it together after returning from Palm Springs. I do a couple mixes a year, when the mood hits. If the mood doesn't hit I can't do it; when I'm in the zone I'll stay up all night tweaking it. I'll post more over the coming weeks.

DJ's that hate me all play at wedding parties, and seem to be concentrated in the Midwest. I don't know that I've ever heard a good DJ at a wedding; they're just varying levels of mundane. I was out 2 weeks ago with a guy I met from California, Dave (another frakkin' Dave!); we went to the beach to grind on Thai take-out and could here a wedding party over at the Hale Koa. This guy was spinning the standard wedding set: The Village People, YMCA; Madonna, Holiday; Kool & the Gang, Celebration.

The DJ for Jeff and Anne had different ideas: booty. We got our one token Irish jig, and one token swing. He played some songs that Jeff and Anne must have requested - Bob Dylan was a nice surprise. And then he took a look at this predominately Irish & Nordic crowd and thought: hip-hop. Bad hip-hop, at that.

Oh it hurt. I'm dancing with my aunt and listening to Nelly tell me he wants to explode all over her body. It was so wrong for the context. Does no one listen to the lyrics? Then, of course, the inescapable Baby Got Back. It must be the new White Girl national anthem - all the Alpha Phis rushed the dance floor for that one. I tried to talk to the DJ, to point out that we were an Irish family and maybe he could back off all the hip hop (he was, for the record, a fat white guy himself). He said ok.

The next song was Vanilla Ice. And after that, it's 9 Inch Nails and I'm dancing with my sister-in-law and cousins to I want to fuck you like an animal. I couldn't even make eye contact with anyone, and spent that song staring at the ceiling.

That's when I knew the DJ hated us.

I went over and tried to spell it out for him: it's a wedding. Play happy dance music. Christina Aguilera, how about her? Fat boy makes a face, and he doesn't have anything by her. He should be shot. How about Shakira? Maybe, he thinks, he has one song of hers.

Sometimes it's so lonely being the only gay in the village.

I got home and knew that I needed to start the above mix off with Shakira, ¿Dondé Estás Corazon?. I had been a bit stuck before then; I knew the songs I wanted, but couldn't get them to flow. Now they were flowing.

Most of the songs were ones that I associate with this past White Party. Alexander played my favorite set, so it's heavy on tunes from his after-hours, Ultra Nate's Love's The Only Drug in particular. I can still see Dan singing along to Tamia's Me, so that one had to go in. Taylor Dayne performed, and she made the cut. Manny Lehman played Donna Summer's MacArthur Park during the fireworks, so that had to go in. And so on.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers' Day, II

That was unexpectedly fun. I forgot that my island wasn't quite like the other islands. I see Micronesian groups all the time in the parks - groups of large and stern looking women in colorful muumuus sitting cross-legged on the ground while some guy reads at them from the Bible. It's a depressingly constant scene.

But those are the (relatively) well off islanders, the ones from the Marshalls, Pohnpei, or Chuuk Lagoon. They've been exposed to the west longer, and have built up a few more defenses. Or lost them ... the missionaries did quite a number on the main islands.

The outer islanders are back somewhere in the margins, out of sight, behind the buildings and in the shadows, and having a bit more fun. It's less bible, more beer.

It took awhile to find them. Emily's directions were weak. We're in the park. Come down and maybe you're gonna see me. The park, mind you, stretches for a mile along the beach. It took five phone calls to narrow it down. Her ancestors navigated across the Pacific. Some skills have been lost to time.

But I found them eventually. There were so many! When I moved to Hawai`i I looked for the people from Fananu, but none were here. Now? Maybe a dozen adults, and who knows how many kids. Here are my old students:

Cute, yeah? I like how they are all flashing different gang signs. My babies are all grown up. The guy on the right is Rommel, one of my close buddies from the islands. His dad was one of our island's main navigators. He knows some ... probably more than he lets on. I wanted to get him paddling, but it'll be a challenge. It was good to see him.

I didn't get a chance to get all the women in one shot, but here's Emily, her daughter, and two women whose names I hope to remember before the next party (Father's Day):

And the grinds:

Chuukese food tasted better than I recalled. From the lower left, mai (poi `ulu, pounded breadfruit, which I honestly do miss), barbecued turkey tail (basically, a chunk of grilled fat; still nasty after all these years), potato salad underneath, smoked reef fish (I don't know what kind, but it was pungent and oily like mackerel, and actually pretty good), poi (real poi, thick and chunky, and not the watered-down glop that you get at restaurants here), barbecued chicken, and a hotdog. A cheap but tasty hotdog - it had lots of filler in it, and tasted more like Irish bangers or bread pudding. It's probably the same thing, come to think of it. Missing and already down the gullet were the plantains cooked in coconut cream.

Also not in the picture was the bottle full of "hot stuff" that the guys were secretly passing around. It was jagermeister and red bull. I don't know who taught these guys jager-bombs - that was after my time.

I passed on the post-picnic drinking session in Waipahu. It might have been fun ... so maybe another time I'll go for it.


I woke up at 10am, feeling pretty hung over. I'm not sure why, since I didn't drink last night. This must be some Pavlovian reaction to Sunday mornings.

Yesterday's practice wasn't even that hard. We ran (which sucked as usual), did our core workout, then did a half a dozen 10-minute runs out in the ocean. I was stroke for half the time, but felt pretty good. We rigged the canoes afterwards, and I was home by 1pm.

And yet, was exhausted, as usual on a Saturday. It was as if we had had our normal killer workout. All I can think is, blame the sun. We were outside five hours, and I wonder if that's what drains me more than the actual workouts. This is my typical outrigger weekend ... work out hard Saturday morning, nap all afternoon, early dinner, bed early, wake up late Sunday. Regatta season starts in two weeks - so Sundays are going to be taken also. Good thing I just had three rock&roll weekends in a row. It'll be awhile before I get any again.

I might still be recovering from the wedding. We had two pretty solid nights of all-night drinking. That can take it's toll! I finally downloaded the pics, and will post those soon.

I wanted to today, but I got roped into going to a Micronesian Mother's Day picnic at Ala Moana. And ... I am just not in the mood. It promises to be excruciating. We'll sit around, and eat, and eat, and eat. That's a Micronesian party. I'm bored already.