Friday, February 29, 2008


I'm still in a bit of a daze from my last email. I just logged on before crashing, and Allen had sent it four minutes before.

The Yacht Club voted to only let members paddle. Which means: most of us are out. I can't afford to join the club. Or rather, I'm not about to cut my budget down to afford it. I have zero interest in the place other than that they sponsor my team.

We're supposed to start tomorrow. I was ready. I was looking forward to being back with our Novice A's, the guys I trained with, the guys I did Moloka`i with. I'll go tomorrow, get the scoop, but will be looking at other clubs. Scott A is an outrigger member, and I think Chris and Eli are. The rest of us - is it just Phil, Lance, Scott L, and myself? - are out.

Of the gang? Jake is in. Not sure about Dave and Rudy (who is in Brazil now, setting contacts for the Rio race). Jeff isn't, though he's in DC for the season anyway. I don't think Allen is. Or Roz - how does that work? Maybe I'm wrong there.

I know Kapena is going to Koa Kai, and I guess they're an option. Lokahi sounds too aggressive - a lot of guys were jumping ship from them to WYC. I've met a few of the guys with Waikiki Beach Boys, but they're a lot more competitive. I don't think Kumulokahi-Elks or Kamehameha do long distance, so that's out. And those are the only ones I know in my neighborhood.

This sucks.

The Hallmark Candidate

All the pretty people like Obama:

And I am officially creeped out.

After 9-11 you anybody who criticized Bush or his war or the Patriot Act was labeled as being against mom and apple pie and the flag and the country. Those who aren't with us are against us.

I get the same vibe from Obama followers lately. If you criticize Obama you are against hope and dreams and puppy dogs. You like to kill unicorns and would piss on the end of the rainbow.

At least the Catholics wait until people are dead before they make 'em a saint. This guy has been elevated and he hasn't even done anything yet. His speeches don't even say anything. They're as vague and non-threatening as a Hallmark Card. I mean, he's a local boy who rose up through the Chicago political machine. I like him. It's just his followers that are creeping me out.

What Was Lost?

Obama said he would consider talking to Raul Castro "without preconditions." Good for him.

Bush was critical. What's lost by embracing a tyrant who puts his people in prison because of their political beliefs? Bush said in reference to Castro. What's lost is it will send the wrong message. It will send a discouraging message to those who wonder whether America will continue to work for the freedom of prisoners. Sitting down at the table, having your picture taken with a tyrant such as Raul Castro, for example, lends the status of the office and the status of our country to him. He gains a lot from it by saying, 'Look at me, I'm now recognized by the president of the United States.'

I wonder what was lost by Bush & Co. sitting down with the following dictators, then?

(rankings and write-ups taken from the list of the world's twenty worst dictators, by David Wallachinsky)


Number 5: Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan. Age 67. In power since 1990.
Karimov's name is synonymous with torture, and there is strong evidence that the United States outsourced the interrogation of terror suspects to Uzbekistan to take advantage of his relaxed moral standards.

Until 2005, the worst excesses of Karimov’s regime had taken place in the torture rooms of his prisons. But on May 13, he ordered a mass killing that could not be concealed. In the city of Andijan, 23 businessmen, held in prison and awaiting a verdict, were freed by their supporters, who then held an open meeting in the town square. An estimated 10,000 people gathered, expecting government officials to come and listen to their grievances. Instead, Karimov sent the army, which massacred hundreds of men, women and children. A 2003 law made Karimov and all members of his family immune from prosecution forever.
Statement by the Press Secretary, September 2002: Uzbekistan President to Visit Washington

President Bush will welcome President of Uzbekistan Islom Karimov to the Oval Office on March 12, 2002. The Presidents discussion will reflect the new relationship that is evolving between the United States and Uzbekistan. The countries unprecedented level of cooperation first became evident in the fight against terrorists in Afghanistan. The United States looks forward to deepening cooperation not only on security matters, but also on human rights and political and economic reform, all of which are essential elements of the robust and lasting relationship we hope to build with Uzbekistan and its people.
Number 6: Hu Jintao, China. Age 63. In power since 2002.
Although some Chinese have taken advantage of economic liberalization to become rich, up to 150 million Chinese live on $1 a day or less in this nation with no minimum wage. Between 250,000 and 300,000 political dissidents are held in “reeducation-through-labor” camps without trial. Less than 5% of criminal trials include witnesses, and the conviction rate is 99.7%. There are no privately owned TV or radio stations. The government opens and censors mail and monitors phone calls, faxes, e-mails and text messages. In preparation for the 2008 Olympics, at least 400,000 residents of Beijing have been forcibly evicted from their homes.

From the Office of the Press Secretary, September 2005: President Bush Meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao

THE PRESIDENT: I'm pleased to welcome President Hu back to the United States. I've been looking forward to this meeting. We've got a lot to discuss. We will, of course, discuss areas of interest, like economic matters. We will discuss North Korea and Iran. I look forward to a discussion about making sure we work together to deal with a potential pandemic in the avian flu.

We'll talk about -- I will bring up human rights. Most importantly, I view this visit as an opportunity to continue a dialogue in dealing with a very important relationship with the United States and the world.

Number 7: King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia. Age 82. In power since 1995.
Although Abdullah did not become king until 2005, he has ruled Saudi Arabia since his half-brother, Fahd, suffered a stroke 10 years earlier. In Saudi Arabia, phone calls are recorded and mobile phones with cameras are banned. It is illegal for public employees “to engage in dialogue with local and foreign media.” By law, all Saudi citizens must be Muslims. According to Amnesty International, police in Saudi Arabia routinely use torture to extract “confessions.” Saudi women may not appear in public with a man who isn’t a relative, must cover their bodies and faces in public and may not drive. The strict suppression of women is not voluntary, and Saudi women who would like to live a freer life are not allowed to do so.
From the Office of the Press Secretary, April 2005: Joint Statement by President Bush and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah

While the United States considers that nations will create institutions that reflect the history, culture, and traditions of their societies, it does not seek to impose its own style of government on the government and people of Saudi Arabia. The United States applauds the recently held elections in the Kingdom for representatives to municipal councils and looks for even wider participation in accordance with the Kingdom's reform program.

Both nations pledge to continue their cooperation so that the oil supply from Saudi Arabia will be available and secure. The United States appreciates Saudi Arabia's strong commitment to accelerating investment and expanding its production capacity to help provide stability and adequately supply the market.

Number 10: Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Equatorial Guinea. Age 63. In power since 1979.
Obiang took power in this tiny West African nation by overthrowing his uncle more than 25 years ago. According to a United Nations inspector, torture “is the normal means of investigation” in Equatorial Guinea. There is no freedom of speech, and there are no bookstores or newsstands. The one private radio station is owned by Obiang’s son

The tiny West African nation of Equatorial Guinea was catapulted onto the international scene when major reserves of oil were discovered in 1995. Since then, U.S. oil companies have poured $5 billion into the country. The majority of Equatoguineans live on less than $1 a day because the bulk of the oil income goes directly to Obiang, who managed to transfer $700 million into personal accounts in U.S. banks. In the words of former U.S. ambassador to Equatorial Guinea John Bennett, Obiang's regime "is not really a government," but rather "an ongoing family criminal conspiracy."

from the US State Department:
Rice: Good morning. Welcome. I'm very pleased to welcome the President of Equatorial Guinea, President Obiang. We will have a full set of discussions about our bilateral relationship, about some innovative social programs that USAID is involved with and about the range of regional issues that we both confront. So thank you very much for your presence here. You are a good friend and we welcome you.
Number 13: Pervez Musharraf--Pakistan
Musharraf, supposedly an ally in the fight against Islamist terrorism, seized power in Pakistan in a military coup that overthrew an elected government. Musharraf agreed to step down as head of the military at the end of 2004, but then changed his mind, claiming that the nation needed to unify its political and military elements and that he could provide this unity. He justified his decision by stating, "I think the country is more important than democracy."

from the Office of the Press Secretary, December 2004: President Bush and President Musharraf Discuss International Relations
Bush: We talked about our own bilateral relations. The President and I are absolutely committed to fighting off the terrorists who would destroy life in Pakistan, or the United States, or anywhere else. And I appreciate very much your clear vision of the need for people of goodwill and hope to prevail over those who are willing to inflict death in order to achieve an ideology that is -- the predominance of an ideology that is just backward and dark in its view.

I -- we talked about commerce between our countries. The President is very concerned about whether or not Pakistan goods are being treated equally, fairly, as other goods coming into the United States. I listened very carefully to what he had to say. He had some constructive ideas as to how to deal with that situation.

Having brought up his economy, however, I reminded him that he's doing quite a good job of making sure that the economy grows in Pakistan so that people have got a chance to realize their dreams. And I congratulate you on the good stewardship of the Pakistan economy.

All in all, our relationships are good, they're strong, and they will remain that way. And I'm honored you're here.

Number 18: Meles Zenawi--Ethiopia
In 1991, Isaias and Meles teamed together to liberate their respective countries from the brutal Ethiopian dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam. Seven years later, Isaias and Meles subjected their own people to a bloody and useless border war that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people and served no purpose other than to distract their two citizenries from the terrible job the two dictators were doing in running Eritrea and Ethiopia.
from the Office of the Press Secretary, December 2002: President George W. Bush welcomes President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia to the Oval Office
Bush: First, it's an honor to welcome President Moi and Prime Minister Meles to the -- this is where we do our work, the Cabinet Room. We welcome two strong friends of America here; two leaders of countries which have joined us in the -- to fight the global war on terror; two steadfast allies, two people that the American people can count on when it comes to winning the first war of the 21st century. And I'm so pleased that the President and the Prime Minister have agreed to come and have a substantive visit. I thank their delegations for coming with them, and I look forward to a good and open discussion about how we can advance our respective interests.
19. Paul Biya--Cameroon
Every few years, Biya stages an election to justify his continuing reign, but these elections have no credibility. In fact, Biya is credited with a creative innovation in the world of phony elections. In 2004, annoyed by the criticisms of international vote-monitoring groups, he paid for his own set of international observers, six ex-U.S. congressmen, who certified his election as free and fair.
from the Office of the Press Secretary
On the eve of the war in Iraq, President Bush meets with President Paul Biya of Cameroon for a bilateral meeting and dinner at the White House Thursday, March 20, 2003. The President congratulated President Biya on Cameroon's successful record of reform, and encouraged him to continue to tackle sensitive issues, such as governance and privatization. President Bush praised Biya for his leadership to resolve the Bakassi dispute peacefully. President Biya has been supportive of U.S. effort to combat international terrorism.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

5:00 am

We got the first batch of photos from Swamp Romp. This is us before the race:
Not too bad for an ungodly hour.

And I won't be posting the latter pics. Or I'll wait for better ones to come in. We all look so ... soft ... in the pictures. Maybe it's because we're surrounded by marines & everyone would look soft in comparison, maybe it's the light and the angles, maybe it's because the photographer was evil & photoshopped muffin-tops onto us. I don't know. I just know that our teams were made of athletes: marathon runners, paddlers, guys who stay in shape and hit the gym.

And yet you wouldn't know from the pictures. If it was just me I'd blame it one the standard gay body dismorphia; but either I'm projecting my own dismorphic tendencies on others or ... or ...

... or I'm not as ready for White Party as I thought. Really, that's what it's coming down to. In general, I want to be in shape. Occasionally, it's important to look in shape. Apparently they're two separate things.

I have six weeks left. So it's back to the gym, hard. We paddle four days a week, so the only way to fit it in & get some muscle back is to go before work. And so this morning I set the alarm for 5:00 am and made it to the gym shortly after 6.

I've tried this before, to work out before work. It seems like such a great idea, yet I've never lasted more than a week at it. We'll see how this round goes.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Very Exciting Magic Carpet

  • February, 2008: My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants. By the end of the week every elementary school child-geek will have this memorized. That is, if they haven't already.

Here's the time line leading up to this:

  • 1846: Urbane Le Verrier predicts the existence of Neptune based upon perturbations in the orbit of Uranus. He sends his predictions to Johann Gottfried Galle in Berlin, who finds Neptune the night after receiving the news.
  • 1930: Astronomers world wide race to discover "Planet X," which was (wrongly) predicted to exist based upon perturbations in Neptunes orbit. Clyde Tombaugh, a 22 year-old Kansas farm boy, is the first to spot it. Planet X becomes Pluto.
  • July 2005: Mike Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David Rabinowitz discover an object larger than Pluto in the Kuiper Belt. It is known officially as 2003 UB313, and unofficially as Xena. Is it a new planet? And if not, should Pluto be demoted?
  • August 2006: The International Astronomical Union (IAU) officially defines the word "planet." Pluto doesn't make the cut. The IAU names UB313 Eris, and announces that it, Pluto, and Ceres in the asteroid belt are now dwarf planets.
  • Today: Mary Smith, a fourth grader from Montana, enters the geek hall of fame with her winning mnemonic device for remembering the order of the New Solar System.

Mercury - Venus - Earth - Mars - Ceres - Jupiter - Saturn - Uranus - Neptune - Pluto - Eris

Got it?

There's a silly online petition to reinstate Pluto. I'm more curious about why Quaoar didn't make the cut. Or what a Quaoar is, really:

(image from Caltech)

Swamp Pigs

I never knew how many different kinds of mud you could have in one place. Last Saturday we saw them all.

I ran the swamp romp this year instead of taking photos. I had a great time, and it's Wednesday and I'm almost recovered. The skin has started to grow back on my heels, at least, and I can walk without limping much.

Yeah it hurt. But it was also insanely fun.

Our team was Allen, Keoni, Frank, Harry, Cliff T, and myself. Keoni, Allen, and I hung back more (re: we walked a lot), while the others were more solid runners. Although in the end I did pretty well in the rough spots - the crawling and swimming and jumping over things. It was the running in boots that killed me.

And this is how the race went: You run down a dirt track for a few hundred meters. The first obstacle is a slippery, muddy ramp, with a nice big lake of muddy water on the other side. You run a bit through the woods. There are monkey bars, slippery as well, from which I did a graceful belly flop into the muck below. You then come to a 200m stretch of water and mud to wade through. Then it's more running. This is where things started to really hurt. My sucks went down, my moleskin slipped off, parts of my boots started gouging holes into my feet. This part sucked.

Then: mud mud mud. Sloppy gloppy mud that splashed all over. Thick viscous silver mud that threatened to swallow you alive, and from which people had to be rescued. Mud that was easier to swim through than walk through. More obstacles to jump over or slither under. Drainage pipes you had to crawl through. Some beach walking. A bit of ocean swimming. And one final maze of waist-deep mud.

And then you finish, two hours later, and you strip down to your skivvies and firemen hose you &the marines down.

It was worth all the pain. Hopefully the Queer Leaders will email me their pics soon. The one above is from last year.

Lessons for next year? Secure the moleskin better, and wear tight socks.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lost Weekend

It wasn't really lost, per se. I've had true lost weekends. This last one was more of a: I'm not doing anything I don't want to do. No paddling. No training. No prepping for Swamp Romp.

I was busy enough. Did a deep cleaning, which I needed to do. I shopped for Friday's carb loading dinner. And I went to Big Tom's party. The last took up more prep time than it should have. I can find a crowd for a night of dancing in half a dozen of the world's great cities ... yet could barely manage it in my own home town. My crew came together and fell apart. One girl dropped when she learned there wouldn't be Booty House. Which: there will never be "booty house" at any party I go to. I'm not that white. A few others just faded out. Some of the usual suspects predicted it would be a waste of time. In the end, it was just David and I.

And four to five hundred people. That was a nice surprise. It was a good, happy crowd. It was nice to dance again in my own town, without having to get on a plane.

And yet ... I was ready to go until dawn. By 2:30 the dance floor was empty. The DJ, Cary Stringfellow, was strong for awhile. He made a fatal mistake, though, of going to hard at the wrong time. I took a break - the music didn't sound right to me. Maybe it was too early to go hard. Maybe the sound system couldn't handle it. Maybe I just wasn't wasted enough. Either way, I started to fade.

As did everyone else. People took cigarette breaks and never returned, they sat down on the couch and never got up. A few left, then more followed. The party went from rocking to dead in less than fifteen minutes. I think the DJ realized his mistake and went back to happy music, but it was too late. There was no longer critical mass. I went back to the dancefloor - and I could name every one of the other four groups out there. Sure we were the diehards, but we weren't enough to resurrect the party.

It was too bad, though I hope it went well enough we'll get more. For me it was only a warm up for Palm Springs, anyway. That is pretty much guaranteed to be non-stop fun.

Hit the gym hard twice since, I'm up to 750 crunches a set, and went running twice. I still hate running, but don't want to shame myself in this weekend's Swamp Romp. And I need to be buff for PS.

At the moment I'm hot and stinky form being in the kitchen all evening. I thought I took notes last year when I cooked, but I can't find them, so I'm guessing at quantities. This year I'll do better, and post the recipes & how much was left over. I did the bulk of the cooking tonight (though just realized I forgot a few things & will need to make them up tomorrow). The menu, for 30 Rompers:

Heuvos Rellenos de Atun - 30 eggs
Cochinita Pibil - 15# pork shoulder
Andalusian Salad - 5 c rice, 5 c soybeans
Colcannon - 10# potatoes
Melon - 4 honeydew & half a bottle of honey liqueur

notes: The eggs went, and the pork was good the next day at the race. Both were the right amounts. I had twice as much potatoes and melon as needed. Johnny brought bread, and that was a needed addition. The soybeans took forever to cook & I ended up not even using them. People liked the rice salad, though I thought it was just ok. People didn't drink much - only two of the eight bottles of wine.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Closet

Every couple months I stay home for the weekend and tell myself I'm going to do a deep cleaning. I usually don't get past the dishes and laundry. If it's a good day I might donate some books to Goodwill, or arrange my cds. Every year or so I make it deep into the laundry room, or ransack the drawers full of items I once thought might be useful, or clean out clothes that have gone out of and won't ever return to style.

But not once since I have moved in have I tackled the closet. It's too dangerous, and the danger has only grown over time.

At first I stored boxes with old photos, letters, college papers ... and the only danger was nostalgia. I'll save the reminiscing for when the doctor says it's terminal & my tomorrows have run out. Otherwise, it's too easy to get trapped in the past. The closet was also a good place for camping equipment. And luggage. And cooking utensils that I thought I absolutely needed but rarely used. And cat food. And emergency supplies. And tools.

In time it became super-saturated. I would only use what was on the surface (cat food and a cuisinart). Everything else was in too deep. I know I have a hammer in there, but it became easier to use a poi pounder to pound nails into the wall than attempt to find the hammer.

Today I took it on. Today I went deep. I started in the laundry room. That took most of the day. It was getting super-saturated too, and you needed intuitive knowledge to pass through there alive. I mailed off two boxes to Roy, and condensed the rest into three. There were two very large boxes of trash, dated stereo equipment from three generation of housemates, dishes from upstairs (who eats when they do laundry???), empty vodka bottles from ---, and a collection of electric toys from Paulo's brief and failed stint as an erotic masseur.

I made it to Goodwill twenty minutes before they closed, with two boxes of books, two boxes of clothes, and the aforementioned speakers and toys. I'll need to go and see if those make it on the shelf.

And the closet is now empty and scattered across the house. I've collected an additional box of junk, but decided not to open the box full of letters and photos and cards. Soon I'll dump my shelves onto the floor. I'm in a throwing out kind of mood.

It's all tonight, 'cause there's no time tomorrow. Paddle at 8am, then Allen and I go shopping for the Carb Loading dinner. I still need to make my menu. Then nap, a final meal, a run with the Swamp Pigs, and then I'll meet Renee and David, head to a pre-party at Doug Simonson's, and then end the night (and dance until morning) at Big Tom's party.

I'm using the party as my excuse to clean. I want to come back to a sparkling house in the morning, especially if the others are too trashed to drive and I have to host.

The wine of the evening: Birbet Mosto d"Uva Parzialmente Fermentato, a sparkling red from Italy. It's pretty awesome - it tastes like a prosecco mixed with ripe berries. It might be my new favorite dessert wine.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bikes and Pigs: Neighborhood Board No. 5

February 14, 2008

I just got back from our Neighborhood Board meeting, and am settling in with a glass of wine (luzon verde, a red from Spain made with organic grapes. It's a basic table wine, nothing special). The meetings have been far less traumatic recently, and this one mostly went well despite the return of the divas.

Public Safety Reports. The cops are getting better at speeding through this. They used to take up most of the meeting, letting us know that there was a theft on Kapahulu on Tuesday and a break in on Roberts on Wedensday and so on in the slow and relentless drone that school kids get when they have to stand up and read their book report against their will. We got our monthly fire safety tip from the police department rep, a new guy, pretty handsome, and I was trying to figure out how old he was and forgot to listen to the very important tip. The crime prevention tip: don't leave your valuables in your car and in plain site. The public safety tip: don't step off the sidewalk and into oncoming traffic unless you are sure the drivers of the cars in the oncoming traffic see you.

All good.

The Skateboard Park Task Force reports that they are hoping to get City money to build their Park, which made Board member Roxie laugh. It's always nice to see Roxie laugh. She recommended trying for public funding.

... and then, at the 45" mark, we did something useful and effective. It might be a first. I almost did a little happy dance ....

Solar Roofs Initiative - Roxie introduced, and the Board approved, a resolution to publicize a City plan that allows low and middle income families to apply for loans at 0% to 2% to install solar water heaters. I never even knew this program existed. Nor did most Board or community members.

Then it was time for our elected officials.

I pestered the Governor's Office with questions on bikes and pigs. On bikes, I asked for the status on a bill that was passed in July 2007 authorizing the Department of Transportation to access federal funds to make bikeway improvements. He'll get back to me on this.

Then I brought up the World Society for the Protection of Animal's report on the long distance transport of pigs for slaughter in the islands. I'll post the video after - basically we have been tagged as on of the world's perps for animal cruelty. Pigs are bought in Alberta, Canada, placed in containers, shipped live to Hawai`i (a seven to nine day truck and boat trip, during which they aren't fed, watered, cleaned, or let out of the bins), where they are then slaughtered and sold as "Island Pork." It's needless cruelty, all for a label.

The gov's rep wasn't familiar with it. I'll make sure that he is. I'm already shaping up to be the pest on bikes, and I've got no problems being the pest on pigs too. Shoots, maybe I can even base a campaign around this. Save the Pigs, Vote for MC. It has a nice ring to it.

Senator Les Ihara gave some good information on updates to the sunshine law. Speaker Calvin Say didn't send a rep, Rep Scott Nishimoto's rep had nothing to say and we had no questions for her, as usual I ignored Councilmember Djou's rep, and Councilmember Kobayashi returned to her usual rail-bashing routine.

Walea, from the Mayor's Office, reported back on all the questions we piled her with last time (bus pull outs, status of the charter amendment, traffic safety, recycling etc.). She does a good job - but the reports she had to deliver were bullshit. At least, the ones from the DOT on bike and bus planning were. They're going to update the bike master plan. That's their response to Charter Amendment 8 mandating that they engage in active planning. Active doesn't mean rewriting a plan that has gotten rewritten every three years for the past three decades. It means doing something.

I'll be following up on that too. Bikes and Pigs, my new kuleana.

Deborah (kuleana: recycling) pushed for news on the recycling program here. We have had three pilot programs and, as Deborah put it, it's not rocket science. It's time to stop studying and doing it.

The divas made a play for chaos when it came time to approve the minutes from last month, but the Chair kept them in line.

And then at 9pm on the dot the Kapahulu Parking issue came up and the meeting went completely off the rails. Since it involves my employer I kept my mouth shut and abstained from all the decisions - and had to watch as the divas put forward a call for an audit of the General Fund (i.e. the source of my paycheck). The relationship of the fund to parking is negligible, but the Board is pissed and just wants to fight. They were inspired, however, to see the whole community come together to fight for so important an issue (except for me, who was hiding behind a partition during the protests taking less that 100' from my desk).

And of course, we talked about potholes - within seconds, in fact, of the Chair saying he didn't want us to focus on potholes.

Back to the pigs. I think I might end up with some unlikely allies on this one:

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Charlie Bit Me

I hate cute. And yet ...

Friday, February 08, 2008

Blanche Vitero

I would love Hillary forever if she had cojones like Blanche:
(Willie) Brown devotes an entire chapter to his philosophy of womanizing. Just after he was elected mayor, he relates, a friend of his wife, Blanche, asked her about his latest paramour. Listen, she may have him at the moment, Brown quotes her as saying, but come inauguration day and he’s up there on the platform being sworn in, I’ll be the bitch holding the Bible.
From the NYT Review of Willie Brown's memoirs, Basic Brown.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Age of Innocence

Lawrence Welk introduces one of those "newer songs" on his show ... a "modern spiritual" he calls it at the end ...

From Russia, With Love. Or Something.

Once in awhile I get these random emails from guys who've seen me online. Here's one from a 29-year old guy in Russia. My guess is I'm one of several hundred who got this. I'd post the pic he included, but I'd lay money it's not him.

I do not know, that to me now to write, I for the first time try such dialogue of dialogue, from me up to you huge distance,

but it pulls me to your structure more.

Riddle, you for me a huge riddle, you for me that the man which I want to subdue. I for you the interesting the guy? I have interested you in the structure?

I wait from you the answer to my e-mail

I am interesting to you, how the young and lonely the guy for my years? I wait from you for news my far idol.

As you can write me the electronic address what I have sent to you more about myself!!!!!
Lonely riddle for Internet Alexey:)

Ripped Force

Something in this drink kicked my ass. Again.

From the website:

** Caffeine (as caffeine anhydrous) ** Bitter Orange Extract (citrus aurantium) (fruit) (standardized for synephrine, n-methyltyramine, hordenine, tyramine, and octopamine) ** Octopamine (as octopamine hydrochloride) ** Evodia Extract (Evodia Rutaecarpa) (fruit) (standardized for evodiamines) ** Grapefruit Powder (fruit) ** Guarana Extract (Paullinia cupana) (seed) (standardized for caffeine) ** Coleus Forskohlii Extract (coleus forskohlii) (root) (standardized for lorskolin) ** Kola Nut Extract (cola acuminata) (seed) (standardized for caffeine) ** L-Tyrosine - 250mg

I don't even know what most of that is. There's no ephedra or ma haung, and as much caffeine as two and a half shots of espresso (that's a sleeping pill to me, as in: nothing).

I do know that I had a killer, full-body, 2-hour session at the gym last night. It's what I wanted and needed; I can only lift twice a week, so I need to do it hard when I do. But damn. I spent a couple hours last night mixing music, too wired to sleep, and today feel hung over. I tried to read over lunch, and could barely make it through a chapter.

Which is pretty much what happened last time I tried this drink.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Yakidoshi, Day One

So far, my year of being haunted by ghouls is going all right - although I think my sink might be harboring evil. It's been draining slow, so I poured half a bottle of drano down into the drain. That clogged it up. I came home from the gym to find a toxic pool sitting there. I borrowed a plunger from Yurena and managed to evict whatever was down there. For now. Drano is supposed to kill things, not make them stronger.

I've been pondering all the things that can go wrong with my life, most of them based on experience. I figure, I've never once managed to predict anything properly, so the more bad things I think of, the less likely those specific things are likely to happen again. Since most of my anni horribili (1991, 2001) involve a combination of break-ups and unemployment, and since I'm single with no one in the wings and in a civil service position, the ghouls are going to have to try harder and be a bit more creative this year.

I intend to have a grand time of it. I always intended to do a mid-life crisis in style. If this is it, I'm ready.

I skipped the Western New Years this year (Cairo sucked and so I went to bed early), and so I missed the drunken morning-after pondering of the past year. Too bad; it was my favorite part of the hangover. For eighteen years life went pretty well as ordained. Life's in small towns usually do. There's not much variety, and relatively few themes to pick from. I hit eighteen and left, and things got interesting. I'd spend the morning after New Years Eve marveling at all the completely unexpected things that had happened the year before. Jan 1, 1984, I would never have guessed that I would go from class dork to Big Ten athlete by the end of the year; 1985, that I would become a frat boy; 1986, that I would have a skinhead in my kitchen trying to talk a girl in a mohawk through a bad acid trip; 1988 that I'd be doing street outreach with Detroit gangs and really, really enjoying it ... maybe a bit too much ... every year just seemed so random and unpredictable.

Sure, though, things slowed as time went on. It reached a point where I pretty much new on Jan 1 where I'd be the coming Jan 1. There'd be surprises along the way (that I'd be a circuit boy at 35, or single again in my 40's, or actually paddling the Moloka`i Hoe), but nothing totally outlandish.

But do I really want to be where I'm at now this time next year? Solid friends, a good apartment, I have a positive credit rating for the first time ever, I love paddling, I mostly like my job ... it's all good ... except the damn dating scene. Which sucks.

So my New Year's resolution is, I'm going to be a bar rat for my yakidoshi. Yeah, I hate the gay bars here. But I used to like them, and the problem now is that I go so rarely that when I do I either 1) don't recognize anyone, pirouette, and leave; or 2) see guys I haven't seen in forever and spend the night chatting with them. There's no room for meeting new guys, all I meet in paddling are straight guys and partnered gay guys, and the only Hawaiians online these days are tweakers.

So it's back to the bars. That's my New Year's Resolution. For now, Friday nights (we train Sunday mornings). Come March, Saturday nights (we train Saturdays). Come June it's racing season, so it all ends then.


Tomorrow is the Asian lunar New Year, and I just found out it's my yakidoshi. I can't find out much about it online, beyond that I'm going to be hounded by bad luck and evil spirits for the next 365 days. I'll be joined by other men aged 25 and 61, and we'll be joined by women aged 19, 33, 37, and 61. Go team!

Looking back ... I was 25 in 1991, my last yakidoshi year. It was a year that began with me being unemployed and broke in San Francisco, and ended with me being stranded on a typhoon-devastated island with a manic-depressive and occasionally filicidal navigator known locally as "the missing link."

There were some good times in between those two lows, but overall: 1991 was the shittiest on record in this man's life. 2008 can't possibly sink lower than that.

Since I'm not superstitious, I ain't gonna be worried.

Surfing for Peace

Kelly Slater and Doc Paskowitz try to use surfing to build bridges between Israeli and Palestinian kids. What could possible go wrong?

Hamas, hashish, and paparazzi for starters ... from Outside Online .

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Price of Hate

I haven't seen this in the US papers yet.

A couple in Germany threw their baby out of a third-story window into the arms of rescuers below. The baby lived, the rescuer sustained some injuries. At least nine people died in the fire, including five children. No one knows yet if the parents survived. The apartment was crowded with spectators watching a carnival in the streets. Police suspect the fire was arson, set by neo-Nazis to harm the building's Turkish residents.

From The Guardian.

Fat Tuesday

I've been a total media junkie all week, following every poll and every candidate hiccup. I keep checking the news, even though I know the first results of all the primaries and candidates are hours away.

And for all that, I don't even have a favorite yet. I'd say the odds are 60% I'll vote for Hillary, 40% for Obama. Hillary is tough, and has shown she can get difficult legislation passed. On the other hand: I've got Clinton fatigue, I worry that she's too much of a hawk, and I thought her campaign in S. Carolina was dishonest & was an early sign of how she would govern.

Obama has a fresh energy, and I like his background, but ... really, I can't say what he's done, he whined his way to victory in S. Carolina, I don't like his "I've been shouting for Jesus for twenty years," and I really, really dislike the way some have elevated him to Sainthood. I want to like him more than I actually do. I keep waiting for him to really show me what he's got.

I'm getting whiplash from going back and forth on who I like.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Pigs and Paddlers

This is a public service announcement ...

1. Swamp Pigs.

If you want to do this:

With guys like this:

Then sign up to join the Swamp Pigs for the annual race through the mud at the Marine Base and against the Marines.

Cost: $40.00 (includes race fee, 2 T-shirts, carbo-load dinner)

Registration Deadline: Now!

Training Sessions: Sundays, Feb 3, 10 & 17 at 1630h (4:30 p.m.)
Meet at Kapiolani Park zoo entrance
We will run around the park and take a brief swim.

Carbo-load Dinner: Friday, February 22, 2008 at 1800h (6:00 p.m.)

Event Date: Saturday, February 23, 2008 – 0700h (7:00 a.m.) start

Queer Leader Cost: $15.00 (includes 1 T-shirt & carbo-load dinner)

To register: send an email to the Swamp Pigs care xxx include your name, cell phone and email, T-shirt size, and birth date (with year). Make checks payable to xxx. PayPal is also an option.

2. Paddling Season is Here!

If you want to do this:

With cool guys like this:

then email Roz at

Practice Days & Times:

Regatta Soft-Start (February) - (All practices @ WYC)

Kane: (Begin Saturday, February 9) – 1x a week
4:00 pm Saturdays

Wahine: (Begin Sunday, February 17) – 1x a week
11:00 a.m. Sundays – Immediately following Winter Season Session

Regatta 2008 (March 3 to July 19) (Start times subject to change.)

Wahine*: (Begin March 3) – 5x a week

5:15 pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
AM TBD One other weekday except Wednesdays
8:00 a.m. Sundays (If no Regatta)

* Senior Master Wahine – Dates/Times/Frequency flexible as mutually determined by Senior Master Wahine participants.

Kane: (Begin March 4) – 4x a week

5:30 pm Tuesdays, Thursdays
AM TBD Wednesdays
7:30 am Saturdays

Distance 2008 (July 28 to October 5)

Same Practice Days & Times as Regatta

Friday, February 01, 2008

Back to Life

I am finally feeling normal again. Next time I look at a cigarette I need to remind myself how long it takes to kick it. Not that it's over - I know there will be a couple roller-coaster weeks ahead - but at least I got over this hump.

The weekend was cool. I spent two days in Kaua`i, and reconnected with Carlos after a couple years of minimal contact. Cost-Co still lists us as married ... but that was over (if it really happened) four or five years ago. Sunday we hung out, Monday I spent the day in the field, and Tuesday I flew to Moloka`i for more site inspections.

I felt mostly human then, but ... not all systems were in working order. Now they finally are.

I'm coming up on my first rock and roll weekend of the year - three parties, two paddles, a surf, and a practice run with the Swamp Pigs. If I make it through this, and I should, I ought to be good for another month. After this, the next hurdles are Big Tom's party Feb 17. Then it should be smooth sailing until April.