Thursday, August 28, 2008

Four Day Weekend

I'm taking tomorrow off, giving me a four day weekend. I'm going to try and cram a week's worth of living into it.

I fly into Hilo tonight, and then drive down to Puna. I'll crash with Dave at Kalani Honua tonight. It's a strange place, an 'eco-resort' where guys from New York and California pay the landowner to work there. They're building him some kind of alternative community, which is all fine and good. I just don't understand the part where people pay him to work for him, although I'm told it's all about the experience. Part of the experience should include a hot tub under the stars, and I'll be fine with that.

Friday morning we'll meet Kale, members of the Kanaka Moku O Keawe Council, and some representatives from Office of Hawaiian Affairs to walk the coast around Opihikao. There are a lot of development pressures in the area, and I'm hoping to learn from these guys more about what we need to protect. As I am on vacation I think we'll have the freedom to explore a bit more deeply than if I was there in my official capacity.

Friday afternoon we drive to Kailua Kona. I've rented a 3BR condo in Keauhou for the race, and was originally going to share it with Dave and the women's crew. Now the women's crew has collapsed, and I don't know for sure who will be there. I'll be out of cell phone range, so I'll find out when they knock on the door.

Hopefully, we have time to stop by Volcano NP. I want to see the new vent at Halema`uma`u.

Friday afternoon we rig. Friday evening I'll cook a carb-heavy dinner for the crews. I picked up a lot of ingredients at Tamura's already - Italian Pomi tomatoes that I hope don't blow up in my luggage, Flott tuna from Sicily, Novia del Sol anchovy-stuffed olives, capers from Turkey, and anchovies. I just don't trust the stores in Kona to have what I want. I'm making pasta all puttanesca, and I'm a picky putta.

OK. Dinner for 16, then we make our ho`okupu, our offering to Kanaloa, for the next days race.

Saturday is the Queen Lili`uokalani Canoe Race. The women will race the canoes 18 miles from Kailua Bay to Honaunau, and the men race the canoes back. We're hoping for calmer waters - the race is long and hot. It's also the largest long distance canoe race in the world - 100 international teams will be competing.

Saturday night is a torch-light parade through Kailua-Kona, and then what is rumored to be a massive and legendary blow-out that night.

Sunday is more racing (not us), then a luau, then Dave and I drive back to Hilo side to Akiko's Buddhist Bed and Breakfast. I'm really looking forward to this place. It's in Wailea, a fading plantation village that seems to have skipped past most of the latter part of the 20th century.

I guess we can relax on Monday.

And then it's back to Honolulu, and back to work, Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Hostile Witness

Just once more, and for the record - and since both of you will end up reading this - I saw two aggressors last week. Two. I did not see a victim and a perpetrator.

I've written my own statement, in detail, that will be ready if I am ever called to testify.

Only I am increasingly confident that I will not be called to testify. Because if I am, I will fuck your cases up. All I have to do is relate what I heard and saw, and then name the other witnesses. The simple truth, and you will both have a credible defense against the other's claims ... and both of your own claims will collapse.

Neither of you can win. Sit back, think about it, and then drop this - as you both should have before it reached this point.

The Interventionist

Kristin Chenoweth does an intervention, in song ...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Distorted Tunes

The scientists have spoken. I'm tone deaf. I took the Distorted Tunes Test, and failed. It's not a lack of training, and it's not poor self-confidence; I have a genetic reason for not being able to carry a tune!

I am now officially and forever excused from karaoke night.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Kailua Men's Iron Challenge 2008: Interesting Water

After last week's Duke Race Jake told me that his favorite races were on the windward side, because the water was more interesting there.

I'm still getting used to "interesting" water. We train so much off of Waikiki that we're a bit spoiled, and we don't always have enough strong steersmen to take all the crews out past Diamond Head and into more challenging waters. Last weekend was my first time in big waves since last year, and so I wasn't totally prepared for this race at all! I did ok; for one of our guys it was his first time in water like this, and ... as he put it ... it was eye-opening humbling. But he kept going, and kept up with us, and sometimes that was all I could manage last year.

Our open crew line-up for the Kailua Men's Iron was Dave S, Lucas, MC, Scott A, Steve, and Alex. Three Novice A's and one B - we were an inexperienced, if older, crew! It's funny being a novice after 40. Each year your skills are going to increase, even if you're strength doesn't.

We had a good practice with this line-up on Thursday. I was playing around with my stroke, trying to work in more leg power. The only part of the Olympics I really watched with any dedication was the 1000-meter C2 sprint canoeing. It was stunning to watch how in synch the men were, and how much power they were getting from using their whole bodies in the stroke.

What I want to be when I grow up

I wanted to bring some of this into the wa`a. And I was dropping more off my seat and onto my knees, and paddling from a lunge position. It worked ... in the relatively flat waters off Waikiki.

It didn't work so well at all in choppy Kailua! We were drenched by a sudden downpour right at the start, and had water in the canoe before we even began. Still we hit hard, and made for the first marker - Mokoea islet, about 2.5 miles offshore.

Mokoea looks so close ...

And we learned real quickly that we weren't as solid as we thought we were! We kept up with the pack until the islet, but past that we watched the other canoes disappear into the distance. We weren't bad, we just couldn't get out groove on in this water. I was having trouble too, and was focusing too much on balance and not enough on power.

Our line was for the right hand side of Mokumanu, an island I never even knew existed until Saturday. Of course I had heard of it, but I thought it was probably just another pile of rocks. Turns out it's a 200' high big chunk of rock surrounded by big waves. And though it was only 2.5 miles beyond Mokoea, it seemed to take ages to get there. And I kept thinking, I'm a master. I'm over 40. I'm a flat water paddler. Why am I in this race? The other master's got to turn right at Mokoea. Why are we still heading another 2+ miles out to sea??? Next year I'm claiming my spot in the masters' crew!!!

and Mokumanu looks so far ...

We took on a lot of water, and had to bail more than the other canoes around us. It was frustrating, as each time Scott or I would stop to bail another canoe would creep past us. Still, it was necessary - last week we learned the hard way what happens when there is too much water in the boat!

OK, so I was tired and sore & vowing never to do this race again before it was half over ... but it was pretty cool seeing Moku Manu up close. It's a seabird colony, and as it's just off-shore of the Marine Corps base it's rare that anyone is allowed near it. A beautiful brown booby sailed past us on the ama side just before the island, and there were hundreds of shearwaters and terns flying around the rock faces. The far side of the island had some sketchy waves, but the leeward side was refreshingly calm & offered us (or at least, me) a nice break from the turbulence of the first five miles.

Life got easier for me on the five-mile downwind run toward the Mokuluas. The swells were still decent, but at least they were predicatble. I relaxed a bit more, and was able to put more power into my stroke. I think the other guys must have been feeling better also - Alex picked a good line to the outside, and we passed 2 or 3 canoes. Yeay. Finally. There was one bad point where I felt pretty light-headed and faint, but I had loaded my camelback with cytomax and a few gulps of that helped it pass.

Passing through the channel between the Mokuluas was fun, as usual. We caught one really fast wave, and that kind of made everything worth it. In the final sprint we were next to a Lanikai boat; we'd creep up on them and then lose power, and they beat us by a couple minutes.

We're still waiting for them to post results. Roz guesses that it took us 2 hours and 20 minutes. The lead canoes finished in 1 hour 50 minutes, so ... we've got some work ahead of us!

Friday, August 22, 2008

SNS Ghosts

I have zombie profiles all over the web, and I don't know how to kill them. Classmates and Hi5 and Friendster and Plaxo keep reminding me that they miss me and don't I want to come back and see who has said hello? I don't even know what Hi5 is. I tried doing a MySpace page once, but got irritated after five minutes and never went back. My page is still out there, lost. I wonder if it is in an actual place, if there is an actual physical serverin some back corner of North Dakota with a few lines of code devoted to me.

Facebook is fun. I found some old circuit brothers, can drop notes to other paddlers before and after a race, and keep up with my relatives. I discovered I have a cousin named Øyvind Gletne, and that alone was worth the effort.

I want an Ø in my name.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Dance Mixes 2008

These are some mixes I did earlier in the year. I emailed the links out to my list, and about twenty people downloaded them. Which leaves about 80 downloads each on my account, so I'm tossing them out into the ether. It's all harder dance music, and they're great for a pre-workout pump. I'll post-em on CPI in a week or so, and use up the rest of the bandwidth.

Just click on the link and save the mp3 to file.

Twelve Inches of Summer (July 2008)

This is the tape I made for Allen's Fourth of July party, and we could've blasted it if the cops hadn't have shut down the party. I took the Billboard No 1 Dance Hits for July from 1977 on, and mixed and mashed 'em up.

Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam - Let The Beat Hit `Em (Ultimix)
Bomb the Bass - Beat Dis
Deee-Lite - Runaway
Todd Terry - Something Going On
Madonna - Ray of Light
opus iii - When You Made the Mountain
Maurice - This is Acid
Yazoo - Nobody's Diary
Kristine W - Feel What You Want
Ultra Nate - Free
D Ream - U R The Best Thing
Saint Etienne - Nothing Can Stop Us
Frankie Knuckles - Rain Falls
Everything But the Girl - Wrong
Alicia Keys - Like You'll Never See Me Again
D Ream - U R The Best Thing (Paul Oakenfold Remix)
The Jackson 5 - Forever Came Today
Taste of Honey - Boogie Oogie Oogie
Donna Summer - Last Dance
Tavares - Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel

Wildcats Gotta Move
(June 2008)

This is my experiment with funkier dance beats.

Freedon Dub - Emotional Rescue (2 Many Beats Remix)
Ursula 1000 - The Big Score (Dropped Remix)
Thunderball vs. Liftoff - Welcome Back Cooper
Rex Riddem - Salvador Diaspora (Fk5 Remix)
Club des Belugas - Wildcats Gotta Move (Becker vs. Gaetner Der Lueste Remix)
PM Dawn - Trippin' (DJ Icey Remix)
Freemasons - When You Touch Me
Max Sedgley - Devil Inside (Kraak & Smaak Remix)
Motorcycle - As The Rush Comes
Abba - The Visitors (Best Rollin' Mix)
Fragma - Toca Me (Inpetto 2008 Remix)
Madonna - What It Feels Like for a Girl (Stephane Pompougnac Remix)
Watch TV and the Primetimes - Voodoo Royale (Thunderball vs. Fort Knox Five Remix)
Deep Sensation - Somehow, Somewhere (There's a Soul Heaven) (Maw Dub)
Frankie Valli - Beggin (Pilooski Remix)
Betty Brooklyn - Dirty Things (Sheldon Romero Club Mix)
De-Phazz - The Mambo Craze (Ur Craze Remix)
Woody Herman - Mambo Herd, Part 1 (All Good Funk Alliance Remix)
Godley & Creme - Golden Boy
Godley & Creme - Save A Mountain For Me
Bob Marley - Duppy Conqueror (Fort Knox Five Remix)
Rare Earth - I Just Want to Celebrate (Mocean Worker Remix)

Has Your Man Got Soul (Spring 2008)

And this is standard, vocal happy house.

Erasure - Sunday Girl
Alison Moyet - A Guy Like You
Milk & Sugar - Has Your Man Got Soul (Jamie Lewis Dark Room Mix)
DJ Chus pres. The Groove Foundation - That Feeling (Chris Mucho Drums Mix)
Dario G - Ring of Fire (Young Punx Mix)
Rihannna - Don't Stop the Music (Jody den Broeder Big Room Mix)
Ron Perkov - Live Love Dance (Tony Moran Full Mix)
Amuka - I Want More (Bermudez/Klubjumpers Mix)
Hugo Rizzo feat. Drumkode - The Pursuit of a Dream (Southern Brothers Remix)
3Ficherspooner - The Best Revenge (autokratz Righteous Retribution Mix)
Banco de Gaia - How Much Reality Can You Take? (Jack Dangers Mix)
Roisin Murphy - Let Me Know (Joey Negro Origin)
Boogie Macs - Girl From Ipanema
Titan - Corazon (Nortec Remix)
Erasure - Storm in a Teacup (Koishi & Hush Club Mix)
Paul van Dyk - Let Go (feat. Rea)
Everything But the Girl - Five Fathoms (Club 69 Future Mix Edit)
DJ Chus meets Pete Tha Zouk - There is a God (Paco Buggin Jo)
Banco de Gaia - I Love Baby Cheese (Skippy Mix)
Tamarra's World - Trampoline (Akabu Dub Exploration Mix)
Louie Vega - Africa ... Brasil (Isolee Dawn Mix)
Belle - Surfacing (Rize & 7th Heaven Mix)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Duke Kahanamoku Race 08: Swamped

Our canoe swamped, half way through the race, and we had to be rescued at sea. Ten more minutes and we would have made the point and been in calmer waters.

But honestly, we were doomed before that. You could feel it there, at the end. In retrospect it almost seems inevitable.

5:00 am: Wake up time. I try to eat, but I'm too nervous & I can't even keep down a cup of coffee. I check the weather reports. There's a southwest swell, strong trades, and a tropical depression off the Big Island. It sounds like it could be messy. I have the usual why do I do this? reaction I always have on race days.

8:00 am: Kailua. The canoe is set and we're ready to go. Nothing to do now but wait. And wait. The race is delayed. We wait. The winds pick up. We still wait. I take a nap in the shadow of the boat.

10:00 am: Holo's Escort Boat. I take the first leg with Eli and Hala in the escort boat. Mark and Rob are on hand to help Roz out. The race won't start until 10:10. The seas are really big. I have the patch on, and hope that's enough. There are 47 canoes in the race. The start, I hear, is a mess. Too many va`a crammed too close together. At least one canoe hulis early.

We wait in the escort boat for Kamehameha to appear. And there we are, a few boats from the end. Damn. I'm not sure how we're so far behind already.

First Run: Waimanalo. Seat 3. I jump in just outside Bellow's Beach. Victor is stroking, and Alex is steering. He's never been in waves that big, but he handles them like a pro. The ama is popping constantly, but we catch it each time. We make good time, and pass some other boats. Our second crew isn't as quick, but we hold our place in the lineup. I can feel the adrenalin coursing through me like ecstacy, and I love these guys in our boat with all my heart.

Second Run: Makapu`u. Seat 3. This was the roughest part in both races last year. This year it was challenging, but it was actually far rougher before this. We're battling with Outrigger and Imua through the channel. We pass Beachboys on the inside, and that feels good. I feel strong, and am not ready to change when I 'm called. Funny how this feels so much less tiring than practice.

Escort Boat: We do a change just past the channel. Alex comes in, and Rod takes over steering. The three canoes are right on top of the rocks, and at one point we collide with Imua. I'm glad I'm in the escort boat for this; it looks scary as hell. I start to get a bit nauseous on the escort boat from being tossed around, and hope that I don't get seasick.

Third Run: Alan Davis. Seat 4. The waves are behind us, and we catch a few runs at the beginning. I had to rock and roll it into the boat from the water - a swell came just as the boat was approaching us, and I had to dive up (not sure how I did that) and swing off the `iaku like a little Chinese gymnast. I'm not sure how I did that either, but I land in the boat. But I feel light headed. We're not running cleanly, and I so don't want to get sea sick but I just can't shake it. I try not to focus too much on the future. Just make it past this, is all I'm thinking. Focus on technique, and don't pass out.

And then on the first change we huli --- outside Hanauma Bay, at almost the exact spot we did last year. The other guys hadn't even made it to the escort boat yet. I'm convinced it was too much water in the canoe. The waves were coming from the side, and the water in the boat sloshed up and put a few extra hundred pounds of force on the downwind side. Over we went. I pop out ok, but Phil seems to be stuck underwater. I can see his hand struggling to free himself, and he finally makes it.

We flip the boat up quickly, and Rudy and I try to bail. Water is coming in fast, but eventually we gett enough out to continue racing. We're all scattered. Phil looks bad, and is still in the water. I dive in and he takes my seat.

So I'm back on the escort boat, earlier than I thought I would be. We let the canoe run another fifteen or twenty minutes, and then Lance and I get back in the water and prep for our change.

Fourth Run: China Walls, Seat 3. I get in the boat, and things are not good at all. You could just feel it. Victor has slown his pace down a lot, but Hala in 2 is having trouble keeping up. I'm greatful for the slower pace, because I'm still a bit light. Behind me Lance is pulling strong. Rod is steering. We seem to be close to the rocks, closer than I like, and we're mostly paddling on the left trying to stop us from flipping and then fuck fuck fuck we're upside down and in the water again.

We get the boat up, but it's fucked. Big waves poinding against the cliff, and we can barely hear the person next to us. OK, we're all ok so far. We right the boat. Victor gets in and tries to paddle us out. I jump in and try to paddle from five. Lance is bailing, and the other guys seems like they're in a bit of a daze. Phil's shoulder is hurt, and he's cramping. Water keeps coming in. The canvas is broke where I am, and it won't close in seat six either, and every wave dumps water in the boat and it's faster than we can bail and we're not going anywhere with the paddling and then it's too late, not that we even had a chance. The boat is swamped. The gunnels are underwater. We can't get out.

Holo tosses us a rope. It gets tangled in the canoe. I can't hear Roz or Holo, and we have no idea what they're yelling at us to do. And I am so tired from hanging on, and I go under every other wave, and it looks like everyone else is struggle also. We try to tow the boat a bit, but the back rim, where the rope was tied to on Holo's boat, comes ripping off.

I don't know how long we were out there. No one had any strength left. I'm burned, I swallowed so much water - it was rough. Lance and I swim to a fishing boat that was nearby; Phil is cramping and can't let go of the canoe. But even if we had experience and technique down, our canvas was torn up and we were taking on water.

We all survived. We stuck together. That's the key. We're still a team. We had beers and barbecue after and processed it and found a few things to laugh about, amid all the drama.

But I'm gonna have some scary dreams tonight.


Monday: I am so sore and beaten up today. I slept well, though!

The results are in. I thought that 46 canoes started off from Kailua; only 38 finished the race. We saw at least one with a broken iaku, and had heard that another boat had gotten caught on the reef outside Diamond Head.

Lanikai finished first with 2:58.42, followed by Outrigger with 3:04.29. Healani, with Jake, Romos, and Aweau, finished at No. 22 with 3:35.33. Of the canoes we were battling with at the channel, Outrigger 55s pulled out ahead to finish at No. 28 with 3:45.23, and Imua came in at No. 34 with 3:57:14.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Kahanamoku 08

We have a solid crew for tomorrow: Victor, Eli, Rudy, Lance, Hala, Phil, Alex, Rod, and myself. Conditions might be rough, but we should be competitive.

I had hoped to join Dan and his mom on their circle-island drive today, but had a rare rational moment and backed out. It's a good thing, as we didn't finish rigging the boats until 2:30. I got in an hour nap, and a fair amount of eating, into the rest of the day. Did my prep work, and picked up all my gels and liquids. I still need to do some pre stretching, and do one more round of carb-loading. I'd be dying if I had joined them & still had to do all this tonight. I needed the rest, too - I've been fighting off that stupid cold that's been going around.

Had a busy day yesterday, and got to spend a fair amount of time with Dan. We went surfing in the morning, and Dan managed to catch one really solid wave - his first one ever! Had a lot of shorter rides after that. In the afternoon we went to Chinatown, then to the Nu`uanu Pali. Evening it was Waikiki Nei, which Peter has really punched up a lot. The result is spectacular; it should have a solid run. After it was a round of mai tai's at the Moana, then a seemingly long run of shopping. We had planned dinner tonight, but it's already to late for me ... so hopefully I get to see them again tomorrow before they leave.

Back to the race: last year it took us 4 hrs 18 minutes, in six segments, with rough conditions. Three of us were first-year Novice B (Lance, Chris, myself) and no second-year Novice A. This year we have four Novice A (Eli, Lance, Phil, mself) and the rest are more experienced. Should be a good run.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Foretaste of Kona

We had five boats in the water tonight - it looks like we might have a women's crew after all! My crew was Victor, Alex, Eli, Me,open, and Hala. It sounded like a superstar line-up, but we struggled. I'm not sure why. Eli thinks that Victor has a unique stroke, that he hits before you're expecting him to. That's a good thing, but we're not used to it and we spent the time trying to keep pace.

We juggled a bit and tried Victor, Eli, Hala, MC, with Alex steering. And we flew - the canoe seemed to fly off the waves. And that's pretty close to our Kona lineup (Victor, Eli, Phil, MC, Rudy, Alex). We should do well!

Roz will name crew tomorrow for this weekend's race. I think the four of us are in, but can't be sure. Hope so.

Now, though, I need to grab a nap. I am so incredibly tired, and was aiming to call in sick all week at work, for at least half a day, but there just wasn't the time. Dan gets in in an hour, so that's time enough for a quick refresher! Lucky thing tomorrow is a holiday.

Deconstruct This:

The headlines are all over the place today: American Whites to be a Minority in 2042.

And yet, no where in any of the articles does anyone back this headline up with straight-forward facts. Read it carefully ... each of the authors is very careful to only report a fraction of the story, and to leave out any numbers that contradict the dramatic headline. They can only say "Whites will be a minority" by excluding all Caucasians of Latin descent from the count. Otherwise, the numbers seem to hold: the US will be 76% Caucasian in 2042.

OK now, race is a social construct and there is no real science behind terms like "white" or "black;" while "Asian" covers such a wide range of cultures as to be an almost worthless term (Japanese, Russians, and Israelis are all technically Asian, yeah?), and "Latin" is a culture (and since California probably has more folks of Spanish descent than Argentina couldn't we argue that everyone born in California is also Latin?).

And so I'm wondering what the motivation is behind all these headlines. I can't tell if they're based on fear mongering, or wishful thinking, or what. I do know that the only way to make the headlines true is to exclude anyone whose recent ancestors spoke Spanish from the definition of white. Racial classifications are stupid and irrational enough, but this seems to be stretching things a bit much.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gauguin in the ER

Emily called yesterday from Queens. She had gone to the ER with chest pains at 1am, and was admitted a few hours later. I went down to check on her, and she didn't look good. She had lost her cell phone, her boyfriend's phone was busted (of course), and she couldn't reach anyone from the community.

I only have a few numbers, but managed to reach Theo and gave him a brief rundown. Not that I knew much: her blood pressure had fallen, her chest and lower back hurt, and she was scared. The doctors were going to run some tests. "OK." said Theo. "I know what this disease is."

I don't know what he meant by that. Did he mean that he understood my broken Chuukese? Or that he could diagnose her with such little information? His father - and my uncle - was one of the island's top navigators, and his father's father was famous for his knowledge of traditional medicine. Knowledge in Chuuk is guarded closely, so most of us outside any given lineage never know what has been lost and what has been secretly preserved. Theo is the de facto steward of the Re Fananu in Honolulu; I assume he learned a lot from his father.

So maybe he can tell things the western doctors can't.

This morning the traditional doctor called me in to translate. Emily has an infected gall bladder, and they want to remove it. The best I could manage worked out to "there is this thing, small thing, right about here near your stomach, and it is sick, and they want to open you and take it out and throw it away. They will enter you through your belly button with this other thing, this tube thing, unless that doesn't work, then they will cut you open."

That didn't calm her down much. It was the best I could do with my low-level fluency.

I went back in the afternoon, and some of the Fananu women were there, all piled on the bed around Emily. One was massaging her forhead, and the other massaging her hips and thighs. And this is part of Chuukese medicine that I really liked - it is heavily touch and massage based. They can do incredible things with massage - from birthing babies to setting broken bones to clearing infections.

It is not Western, or even Asian, style massage. It can be brutal, and it can hurt. A lot. As in, have your friend hold you down hurt. They were gentle with Emily; they were doing it more to calm her down and ease the pain. And it looked for all the world like a Gauguin painting, only set in a hospital room. There was a beauty there, in a culture learning to navigate in a foreign world, in knowledge surviving modernity, and in the basic humanity of it of family watching out for family.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Meteors and Rain

Now it rains. We're in a frakkin' drought, my garden needs the rain, the islands need the rain, we all need rain ... I just wish it wasn't tonight. An hour ago we had light cloud cover, and could see the stars and moon clearly.

In ninety minutes I'm supposed to meet a group at Hula's to take them to Makapu`u lighthouse for a night hike to watch the Perseids. We had about fifteen guys ready to go, plus a handful of 'maybes.' I was looking forward to it. I took a nap afterwork and everything. And woke up to the gentle sound of falling rain.

I'll play it by ear, I guess.


10 pm - The rain seems to be drifting west. We're heading east. I just talked to Tom, and he's still game, so there are at least two of us. That's all I need.


Three Brazilians walk into a bar. I walk out.

If only it were that easy. These guys have some kind of preternatural gift for skewing the best laid plans.

11pm, and Jake and Tom are en route to Makapu`u, and Kristine will meet us out there. Everyone else has decided to stay home. They all had to process first, though: Should I go? It's up to you. Do you think it will rain? I don't know. Chance 'em. Will we even see anything? I don't know. It's an adventure. You just go, and see what happens. Not everyone seems to understand that adventures, by definition, don't have guaranteed outcomes. Sometimes you get wet.

I decide to swing by Hulas to see if there are any surprise visitors. Paulo while I'm on the road, and he and Tanea are coming and can I wait for them it will only be ten minutes? Sure. I'm surprised - I really didn't think he'd make it.

I walk into Hula's. I see Paulo's boyfriend sitting at the corner of the bar with an old man pressing into his space and buying him drinks. And I can see the future. I can name this drama in three notes. I head out, and wait in the lobby.

Twenty minutes. No Paulo. No Tanea. I'm late, for the hike I organized. Frakkin amazing. I hit the road.


We lucked out. There was no rain at all on the east side. There were a lot of clouds, and I misjudged where the moon would set, but we still managed to see about half a dozen shotting stars each in the breaks in the clouds. And it was fun just being out there at night, meteors or no. And after bad mouthing them a bit, I was pleasantly surprised when Paulo and Tanea really did show up around 1am.

And in the end six was just about the right number for the night.

Ghosts of Xmas Past (and Future?)

The Brazilian (circa 2001) has been in town for a week with his hot sexy new boyfriend, and I forgot all about them. Literally. We met for a drink last week, and though he still looks hot I just didn't have the patience for the drama and the flakiness. I had a drink, tried to be social to the pretty attachment, and left.

And then, quite literally, forgot that he was in town until Friday afternoon.

It's either early senility or a sure sign that I am over this.

Saturday I got a call from the Drill Instructor (circa 2002). Doh. Forgot that he was in town too, and has been for ten days.

Talk about moving on. I've gone from mooning over past affairs to forgetting their very existence. For me, this is progress.

I can blame paddling, in part. Now that distance season is in full swing my mind and body have switched gears. When I'm on the water all that exists is the va`a and the six of us in the crew. My life on land is sometimes just a prep for my life on the water.

I'm not totally dissing my friends. Dan is in town with his mother, and I spent Sunday afternoon with them before putting them on the Superferry. They come back to O`ahu Thursday, and I'm looking forward to spending as much time as I can with them. I really like his mom, and Dan is cool as hell, so this'll be a good thing. Too bad he lives in New York.

Labor Day weekend I'll head to Puna to visit Dave, then I'll be dragging him across the island to Kona for the Queen Lili`uolalani Race. I've rented a 3 BR condo with a bunch of the wahine, and the weekend should be a complete blast.

And I'm still doing a half-assed job of staying in touch with friends on island, and though I could do better at least their still in my thoughts.

But I just don't have enough brain cells left, or enough time in the day, to worry too much about the flakes.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Obamas at Ke`ehi

Yeay! I've been hoping Obama would make a public speech here, so I was happy to get this in my email. I've already spammed my address list with the invite (less the three token Republicans). I'm all little-kid style excited to see him. On one hand, he's just a candidate I like. I agree with him on most issues, and have significant concerns about him on a few others.

But on the other hand the history of this moment awes me. I look back on all the generations who have been jailed or killed to bring our country just to this point, where we have a black man on track to win the presidency, and it's happening now ... I might lose it.


Post Script

So that was a bit anti-climatic. I was expecting something a bit more dynamic. Instead it was a perfectly nice little rally. Obama certainly seems presidential enough, but it was such a curiously sedate afternoon.

Jeff picked me up at 1pm, and by 1:30 we were in a line that stretched half way across Ke`ehi Park. For those who don't know, it's a big park, and it was a long line. Talked to Cliff on the phone, and they had been in line over an hour already.

You have to be HOT to work SWAT.

It took us just over an hour to arrive at security, crisped by the sun to a nice red. Security were the same charming thugs that man the front doors to all the clubs here, only today they wore orange instead of black. We sipped our waters for them to show that the bottles weren't full of something sinister and unsippable, turned our phones and cameras on and off for them, were patted down, and then forced to give up our contraband. Contraband like the whistle on my keychain. Thug monkey one pointed it out to thug monkey two: that's a whistle. Thug monkey two passes the info on to thug monkey three: he's got a whistle. Thug monkey three tells me: that's a whistle. Yes, I say, feeling as if I'm missing something important. It's a whistle.

I can order a sandwich in seven languages, but I still can't understand basic thug. After a brief game of twenty-questions I figure out that the whistle is banned, that I am not able to simply leave it at the gates, but that I am able to leave it in the grass outside the gates - presumably far enough from the stage that it can't cause any damage.

Meanwhile, a good proportion of the crowd is carrying umbrellas. I think about telling the thug monkeys about Georgi Markov, but Jeff was already well past security and patiently waiting.

Cliff and Tim were inside, but by 3 pm grew tired of waiting and went back to work.

Fifteen minutes later our local politicians took the stage. Senator Akaka kicked it off with a big Aloooooha! That was the high point of his speech. He talked a bit about how Obama was a keiki o ka `aina and so we know he has good values. Like, if a school needed painting we'd paint it, and if an old person was hungry we'd feed them. And if a man is homeless, I thought, we'd treat him like a criminal and run them out of town. And if the school needed books we'd build the students a pro football field.

Akaka explained that malihini, those of us who weren't born here, might not always understand these values. It was actually a bit of an offensive speech, so it's probably a good thing he mumbled through it and that no one actually paid attention.

Then he said that it was Hawaiian style to keep things pono, and so it was time to pray. Everyone bowed their heads but me. Fucking sheep. Senator Akaka rambled on and tried very hard to keep it non-denominational, though he almost tripped up at the end with and we ask you this in the name of ... uh ... hmmm ... the heavenly creator. Amen.

Amen, and Rep. Abercrombie took the stage and started to testify. I've never seen him act like this before; maybe they showed Sister Act on the flight over. Maybe he changes personality around black people. Some people do. The problem is, he's a short little hairy thing and at first I though it was a joke and I started to laugh but, oops. Nope. Not a joke.

But it really does look like a stand up comedy routine, right?

Mufi spoke about JFK, and so I tuned him out. Later Obama would call Mufi one of our country's greatest mayors. That was interesting.

So. Barrack Obama in the flesh. Seemed like a nice guy. He's much more handsome than I realized, and Michelle was beautiful. Funny, I didn't expect that. I find strong women beautiful anyways, so I don't know why I was surprised. But I was.

The Homecoming King and Queen

We got a normal speech from him. She waved, he talked about his vacation. Thanked us all for our hard work, said that he was going to relax on the beach with his daughters and eat plate lunch and body board at an undisclosed location and visit with his grandmother. He got a little political, but it was standard stuff: we need to care for our veterans, we need to educate our children, we need a rational energy policy, etc. If any theme stood out, it was that our nation finally needs an "energy policy." It seemed to play well with the crowd, so I expect we'll see more of this at the convention.

We don't listen to speeches anyway. We just take photos of them.

He seemed like a nice guy. He was relaxed and casual, and ... sure ... he seemed presidential. Good enough for me, and I don't say that often about politicians (see above).

Someone tell FOX news that this is a secret terrorist radical shaka he's giving

I did learn that I've been pronouncing his name wrong all along. I've been saying "barrack" like the building, as in I snuck in the barracks last night to rendez-vous with a soldier. I didn't know it was" buh-Rock." These things happen when you read more than you watch tv.

Jeff says his butt is too big, but I say it's just about right

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Man in the Garden

A new homeless man just took up residence in the Native Garden outside our office window. He has his sheets spread out on one wall, his belongings and clothes are further down on the picnic table, and now he's stretched out and sunning himself outside the Assistant Chair's office.

This one won't last long. I never say anything when I see the guys setting up camp at night, long after the types who like to call security have gone home. This guy is a bit too obvious, and it won't be long before someone who is better fed and better sheltered takes offense at his existence and has him chased away.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Rites XXX

I'm there.

The In Crowd

I finally signed up for Facebook, and was surprised at how many people I know have pages there.

I'm also a bit surprised how dated it feels. I've gotten so used to using open-source programs like Mozilla that Facebook is just frustrating me. Open-source is so robust and dynamic that it makes proprietary sites seem a bit lumbering and stodgy.

I wonder if I could dig up some refugees and see if they're game for developing an open-source social-networking site. Could be our ticket to the big time.