Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mid Season

This summer is going by fast.

My life has been pretty much reduced to bike / work / bike / paddle or gym / play with cat / eat / jelly battle / sleep.

Weekends were simpler: Eat. Paddle. Sleep. Repeat.

I've been too tired to do much else. I was going to blame it on age, but ... nah. But something had to give - my house was a mess, I wasn't going out with friends outside of paddling, and my cats were acting love-deprived.

So. No more gym for the season. I'm big enough. And it's been a bit of a luxury - I actually go home and cook dinner now. I have time to fold my laundry instead of tossing it on the couch. And I could (if I wanted to) actually have a social life again!

In theory, at least ... I haven't really put that into practice. But my dance card is already half full for the next month, so I'm feeling alright. This weekend we'll be camping out at Maile as part of the regatta. July 4th is Allen's annual bash. July 14 I organized a group of 15 to see Peter Rockford Espiritu's new show, Waikiki Nei. Two weekends after Allen has organized a group of 25 (!) to see Rocky Horror at the Manoa Valley Theater.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pride Sucks

I remember my first Pride in Honolulu.

It was sad. A ragged and disorganized 'parade,' and a concert in the park that few people attended.

I went to a few more before quitting. I'd go surfing instead of participating. I'd surf in Brazilian-cut shorts instead of baggy Hawaiian style trunks, but that was my only nod to the day. There were a couple years where Dave C and I got totally stinking wasted at McCoy Pavilion, and those days were fun. The events still remained lame, but we .

This year Honolulu Pride almost got canceled because, as the papers say, all the gays were too apathetic to care. Count me in with the ones who just can't give a fuck any more.

The cover story in the Honolulu Weekly is on Pride, and how a straight couple, plus the last volunteer standing from last year, decided to save it this year. Yep. Pride Honolulu is being run by a straight couple. They are "friends of the LGBTQ Community." Which means, they own Fusions, a dirty and run-down club with some of the rudest staff you are likely to come across in any gay bar in this country. It is one of the last after-hours left in the state, so it still gets business, though the bar appears to be completely contemptuous of its clientele. It's bad drag queens and arrogant pseudo-straight strippers until around 1am. They play an hour of dance music, then switch to hip-hop. And not the music of the streets, mind you, but the ear-screeching hip-hop of rich suburban kids.

If I really cared I'd do something about it - though I'm not sure what. I tried to get involved with Volcano, and I'm still sad over my utter and complete failure to get that Board and its Director to do anything creative. I watched D___ suffer trying to bring some hint of coolness or modernity to the Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. I watched party promoter Big Tom get hen-pecked and back-stabbed for years by the more established bar owners, until he finally took his business elsewhere.

Every town and city has its velvet mafia. It's a shame that ours is so absolutely fucking dull.

I lied above. I know exactly what I'd do about it all. It's just, I'm not sure if I have the time or desire to go about doing it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tinto de Veranos and Kısır

I haven't been doing a lot of cooking lately, and most of it has been basic. Though, now that I look, there are a few things that I need to post before I forget them (from Swamp Romp: Heuvos Rellenos de Atun, Andalusian Salad, and Honeydew in Honey Liqueur; from Easter: Lamb with Feta, Aspic Salad).

From this weekend, though, I have two for the records:

This is Turkish bulgur wheat salad. It's a bit richer and spicier than tabouleh. I made this the day ahead, and re-seasoned it with pomegranate molasses and lemon before serving. The pomegranate molasses (it's the new balsamic vinegar, say the cognoscenti!), I think, takes it to a higher level.
  • 1.5 c bulgur wheat - soak for 30" + in 2 c hot water. Add more water if needed. Soak until wheat is soft but not mushy. Squeeze excess water out of wheat.
  • Red pepper paste - puree 2 red peppers, half a habanero, and a few Tbs water in a blender. Heat over medium heat until reduced by half.
  • 2 tomatoes - remove seeds, grate, discard skins.
  • 2 banana peppers - seed and slice
  • 1 cucumber - seed and dice
  • lots of fresh parsley and fresh mint
Mix all the above ingredients. Add, to taste:
  • Spices - I ground equal amounts cumin, black pepper, Spanish paprika, smoked Turkish pepper, & black cumin. A smoked Mexican pepper like dried chipotle might work instead of the Turkish pepper, since you have to go to Istanbul (or bribe me) to get some.
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Pomegranate molasses - Heat 4 cups pomegranate juice, 1/2 c sugar, and the juice of one lemon. Do not boil. Reduce to 1 to 1.5 cups. Let cool. It should by syrupy and tart.
Serve on a bed of red cabbage leaves, and garnish with lemon wedges.

Tinto de Veranos
Campari's reign was short-lived as my drink of summer. She's been replaced by a cheaper and fruitier Mediterranean neighbor. Tinto de Veranos - a mix of red wine and orange soda - is my new choice.
  • 2 liters orange soda. Dump out 3/4 liter
  • Add 1 bottle cheap Spanish or Italian wine. Bonus points if it comes out of a box.
Serve over lots of ice.
I would have never even tried this, except that I had bought a bottle of Sicilian red that was close to undrinkable. It had looked intriguing, or at least as intriguing as a seven-dollar bottle of wine can be. Now that Spanish wines are gaining attention - Fukioka's now has a whole section for them, complete with a giant stuffed black bull - the price is going up accordingly.

I need to find a new, undiscovered and under-priced region. Sicily seemed like a good bet. But the wine I got was rough, and I don't think I even finished one glass. I put the bottle in the fridge and forgot about it.

On to the weekend. I wanted to make a good sangria for after the race. I went online ... and learned that you never order sangria at a bar in Spain. Or rather, that only tourists do. That was news. Apparently sangria is like punch - you make it for a party, but not really for an individual. Which makes sense - sangria tastes a lot better when the fruit sit in the drink all day.

What the Spanish drink, instead, is this Tinto de Veranos. It sounded rough. It also sounded like a good punishment for the bad Sicilian.

Somehow, orange soda made the bad Sicilian good. Good enough that I bought another bottle, mixed 'em, and brought it to the regatta Sunday. I only made 1 2-liter batch, as I'm not always sure that everyone will share my tastes in drinks. As in: most people don't.

This one went over well. It's light and summery, low in alcohol, and easy to drink. I could have made more. Next time I will. Since I can make it in 60 seconds and for about 4 bucks a liter, I'll make a lot more.


It's Monday and I don't want it to be Monday. I want it to still be the weekend. It's going to take some serious mental effort to get me into work-mode this morning.

Friday started with a date with the enemy - a realtor and vacation-home owner from Lanikai. There were so many strikes right off the bat - he's a realtor, and I spend my days fighting with land speculators. He uses his home as a vacation rental. We prosecute guys like that if they try it in Conservation Lands. And he lives in Lanikai, a Stepford-community that is one tsunami away from being paradise.

Lucky for my soul, there were no sparks. It was a pleasant enough evening - there weren't any bad sparks either.

Saturday morning practice was nice and hard. We did sprints, and sprints, and then some more sprints. We kept our Novice A lineup (Eli, Mark, Me, Joe, Scott, Lucas) for most of the runs. A new guy, Mike, and Kaiwa sat in for Scott on some of the runs. The boat felt so fast, so strong ... we were all set for Sunday, so sure that we would do well and make up for last week's average performance.

Yeah. Didn't happen. Sunday morning we took a line on the wrong flag, and cut diagonally across the race course. We were fast, we were strong, and we collided quickly and mightily with two other boats.

It was ugly, there was lot's of cussing, and we were dq'd. It hurt. We really could have placed. Our steersman took it hardest, as he was the one who took the wrong sighting. We finished, and stayed together the rest of the race. At one point it looked like we could still make a decent showing, but we were in the wrong lane and had to brake to let a boat pass so that we could get back over.

But it was a beautiful day in Kailua, and we couldn't pout for too long. We had more scratches, and didn't put in some of our strongest boats, and in the end only the Women's Open 4 scored points. I'm not sure what happened - the first two regattas it looked like Kamehameha was going to put on a decent season.

We had a barbecue after, and that was fun. Steve made a killer jamabalaya, Scott grilled some dogs, Keola and Lucas played ukulele, Aka, Diane, and Roz danced, and beer and wine made everything better.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Doh! The biggest news, of course, and the one that I keep reflecting on every couple hours, is that our crew took third in Sunday's regatta. That is the best we've done, ever. We're actually competitive.

Look, ma, I'm a contender! I've never said that in a sport before. Never even come close (except for the one fluke day in 1984 where our sculling team kicked Notre Dame's ass, but we all knew that it was because we got lucky and caught a fast running inside current ... we were the D Team. We didn't even merit a uniform, and Notre Dame was internationally known).

This was an honest win.

I sat in one, stroke, for the first time in a race. The first 1/4 mile was awful. My mouth was dry, I couldn't breathe, I was getting tired too fast, I was thinking it was a mistake to ever put me in that seat. I felt better the second 1/4 mile. I became more responsive to the crew, whom I could feel behind me. And when we made the turn at the 1/2 mile flag, and realized that we were ahead of most of the teams, something clicked inside. Wa`a lele we flew through the last 1/2 mile. Waikiki Beach Boys and Kamamalahoe still stayed a good five canoe-lengths ahead of us, and it will take serious work to close that final gap.

Men Novice A Results
1 Waikiki Beach Boys 08:11.3
2 Ka Mamalahoe 08:11.6
3 Kamehameha 08:45.3
4 Manu O Ke Kai 09:00.4
5 Kumulokahi-Elks 09:22.0
6 Lokahi 09:27.0
7 Windward Kai 09:33.0

Eil steered for Lucas, who was out. I replaced Eli as stroke, Mark moved to 2, and Joe joined the canoe. Aka and Scott filled us out. All seven of us, I believe, are here this coming weekend in Ke`ehi. I don't know who Roz will put in the crew - there are now seven of us, and six spots. It's a hard choice. I'm glad I don't have to make it.