Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Top Tracks 2006

How deep are my powers of procrastination?

So deep they can drive me to this, my list of the best tracks of 2006.

Despite my efforts to the contrary, the list is weighted heavily toward tracks I heard first this fall and thus are at the sweet spot for me. Since my hard drive on my laptop is pretty small, a lot of older stuff gets put on the big drive and is a pain in the butt to search.

I am not including links to the songs but I think all of the songs are either on the Summer Mix or the soon to be emailed Winter Mix.

20. Decemberists. The Perfect Crime #2. Crane Wife just missed this album list because I really haven't given it a good listen. I just listen to O Valencia! and this track.

19. Easy All Stars. Let Down. So these raggae guys decided to recreate OK Computer! song for song but in reggae fashion. Sounds awful huh? I would have thought so but then Pitchfork told me it was cool so I got to listen to it. C and my brother were not convinced by the argument. Anyway this song is the best. No Surprises is - ironically - surprising.

18. Medeski, Martin, Wood, and John Scofield. Julia. Yes. It is a cover. But what a cover.

17. Professor Murder. The Mountain. This song is nice but I think it needs a little more cowbell.

16. Phoenix. Consolation Prizes. See the video included for their #1 album.

15. Herbert. We're in Love. So very smooth.

14. Malajube. Pate Filo. In 2006, I redicovered music videos. I think I thought I was too cool for them but then we rented a DVD of Spike Jonze's old videos and I was hooked. Before he was wiping the tears from Sophia Coppola's eyes, he directed the awesome Happy Days themed Weezer video, Buddy Holly and some amazing videos for the Pharcyde. Anyways - I found this video on Youtube and I was hooked on the tune.

13. Asobi Seksu. Thursday. I download a bunch of Japanese stuff because Pitchfork says I should. And then I can't bring myself to listen. I am getting old and new sounds frighten me. Especially after I listened to Boris. But I think you will be pretty happy with this little track.

12. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. Bobby Malone Moves Home. This year, I got into some sad music. Okkervil River tricked me with some upbeat tunes on their first album but the majority of the album is just hilariously sad. Then I finally listened to SilverJews after initially judging it "terrible." Caroline was justifiably ticked as she had pushed it a long time before I listened again on the advice of Ace Steamroller. Finally - this album. It's sad and gay as hell. What's not to like?

Here is a hilarious video someone made of their own sad life with the sad song over top:

11. Gnarls Barkley. Smiley Faces. I will assume that if you are reading this, then you are alive and therefore have heard this song.

10. Tilly and the Wall. Lost Girls. This gets me every time they get to that chorus.

Warning! This video contains tap dancing.

9. Final Fantasy. He Poos Clouds. I honestly don't know which is worse. The name of this band or the name of the song. I like the video though.

8. Lupe Fiasco. Kick Push. Finally - a great hip-hop song about skateboarding. With this song and an I pod, I might actually give it a go.

7. Whitest Boy Alive. Golden Cage. That bass line to start is just too much.

6. Gil Manteras Party Dream. Emotion Road. This is the song Rant sang for us. I do not know the actual lyric, but it sounds like "No more monkeys jumping on the bed. Grab a piece of chicken, rub it on your head." That can't be right.

5. Soulwax. NY Lipps. "I'm getting loud with you!"

4. The Pipettes. Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me. Hetreosexual males, try and control your emotions here:

3. Girl Talk. Bounce That. Breeders sample. Stevie Wonder sample. Garbage sample. It is all about transitions.

2. Vetiver. I Know No Pardon. Try not to get choked up listening to this.

1. Royksopp. What Else is There? (Trentmoller Remix). C and me saw Royksopp in Hollywood with a good man. And this is the version of What Else is There that they did. It came out in Dec. 2005 but screw it. If it can score this high this many months later, it deserves the top spot.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Favorite Albums of 2006

15. M. Ward. Post War. When I think back on the opportunity to attend the Bright Eyes / M. Ward show at Plush in 2004, it makes me growl. Especially because I would have cried through Bright Eyes's set and then punched him in the face. Support the Troops!

14. Joanna Newsome. Ys. At this point, I still prefer Milk-Eyed Mender but 2006 was the year I finally came around to Joanna. After someone told me she was cool, of course.

From Milk Eyed Mender:

13. Lily Allen. Alright Still. What do you know?– I am listening to it right now! I knew a feisty little 9-year-old girl who was going to get a (burned) copy of this in her stocking, until C pointed out the lyrics focus exclusively on flaccid penises and getting in cat fights.

Best of Death Row Records Vol. 2. – You may not know this about me: I missed the beginning of white folks listening to rap music back in 1989. I was listening to the oldies station. So imagine hearing 2Pac for the first time after all these years. Yeah it's– pretty fantastic.

11. Belle and Sebastian. The Life Pursuit. Welcome back to my year end list guys. See you back here next time you make an album.

Sorry about all this but damned if I don't love Youtube. This is from the (incrediblyibly good) Coachella DVD. Old song but check that sky.

10. Herbert. Scale. This is the future of electronic music. Sounds a lot like the past of pop music. Good for a party or headphones.

9. Oh No! Oh My! Oh No! Oh My! This list is a bit contrived in that I just don'’t really listen to albums much anymore. My I did listen to this one. Because it was the only unscratched disc in the car for a while. And it is testament to the consistency of this pop gem that I was able to do this for at least five listens. It's a new world.

8. Gil Manteras Party Dream. Bloodsongs. OK -– so this technically 2005. But I have a big (figurative) stack of late 2006 albums here that I haven'’t listened to so late 2005 entries get counted. Besides, I didn'’t hear them until this summer when I actually saw it lip-synched (with routine) by one Ranty McDingDong. And I liked it. Immediately.

What is it? Ummm. Check it out here:

7. Girl Talk. Night Ripper. Guaranteed crowd pleaser. No multiple listens required. Pop it in and enjoy. Mashes appeal to our basest desires. So it is nice to see this, the musical equivalent of the Carl's Jr. Six Dollar Burger. That is - the very best of the worst. And if I have made myself unclear - this album is completely wicked.

6. Tilly and the Wall. Bottoms of Barrels. More Tilly and the Wall to cry over. Especially that Lost Girls track I put on my Summer Mix. Gives me the chicken skin.

5. Rock Plaza Central. Are We Not Horses? Called by some wags a mix of Neutral Milk Hotel and the Shins. It is a concept album about android horses ala Blade Runner . . . wait . . . come back . . .

Here's is their awesome cover of Justin Timberlake's SexyBack set to the video of same:

4. Band of Horses. Everything All the Time. Like My Morning Jacket? High Lonesome Sounds? High Altitude grasslands? Awesome -– me too.

3. Hot Chip. The Warning. What no more horses? Top three are always tough to sort out. Fortunately, my top three are all overly clever white males my age making pop music. And I fall hard for it.

2. Whitest Boy Alive. Dreams. Straight up, Erlend Oye is my fricking hero. Every song he touches is pure gold. This is basically a Kings of Convenience album with a little more bump. Every song is perfect.

1. Phoenix. It'’s Never Been Like This. Look -– I don'’t make any excuses. I love pop music. And several times this year, I have turned to Caroline and said: this is the freaking album of the year. 2006 Phoenix is 1995 Guster. And not 2006 Guster who, I think it is safe to say, are done now.

Interested in owning these albums? Drop me a line and I will provide. Stay tuned for the top tracks of 2006.

And please tell me what you think would have made my list if I had just listened harder and/or had your refined tastes.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Today G-fresh turns the big 4!!! That is 28 in human years, which means Gaffers and I are the same age! Yeah!

Please enjoy this photo gallery of the most wonderful, good-looking, well-mannered (well, at least around people, not other dogs), most popular, well-loved dog on the island of Hawaii and beyond!

And happy birthday also to all you December babies! I have been to three birthday parties already this month, and I know of at least two of you readers who are nearing their third decade! What's up with all these December birthdays?!?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

"We keep them fit to fight"

Today is the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Memorial services are being held today in Hawaii, and all flags are being flown at half-staff to remember the service-people and civilians who died that day.

The NY Times sent a reporter to follow the rebuilding of the fleet after the attacks. Apparently, all his reports were sequestered by the government at the time, and only have recently been released. The paper published some excerpts from the stories today. The Honolulu Advertiser also has a nice story about a man making what will likely be his last trip anywhere to visit the memorial today.

I find it really eerie that all of this took place 15 miles from my door. Could it happen again? Maybe. People at work like to scare me by talking about attacks from North Korea. Another high price for living in paradise, I guess...

In other Hawaii news, Colt Brennan, the UofH quarterback, was not considered as a finalist for the Heisman award. Better luck next year, Colt!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving with the Hamptons

Hope everyone had a great Turkey day. Here are some pictures of our adventures at the Mushroom house, our home away from home for a few days while Kyle's brother, Keith, and his wife Christina, were in town visiting. The house was on the windward side of the island in Kualoa Valley, home of the velociraptor scene in Jurassic Park (which, incidentally, was showing on AMC Thanksgiving evening!) The house was gorgeous, and luckily there were no tsunamis from the mini earthquake Thanksgiving morning. Mad props to the service we rented the house through: Vacation rentals by owner, which you can use to rent places anywhere in the world for reasonable prices. I can't wait for the trip to Maui (hint, hint, Keelay...)

Overall, Thanksgiving with the Hamptons was a rocking good time. I can't wait for the next visitors, but currently we have no scheduled guests...Who will be next!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Oh, I almost forgot!

Happy birthday to Barno!

For he's a jolly good fellow!
For he's a jolly good fellow!
For he's a jolly good felllllllow!
Which nobody can deny!

SUV's cannot go everywhere

I couldn't help but giggle when I saw this story. I am guessing the driver was intoxicated.

I am taking a small hiatus from blogging for awhile so I can work on Christmas presents. Enjoy your Turkey day!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hopu time!

Hey y'all. K and I will be partying, Ultimate style, out at Waimanalo this weekend for the Hopu Ka Lewa Tourney! I am really excited. Camping on the beach, boat races at dawn, 4 games of frisbee per day....K is not so excited about that part, but I think we have enough male subs that he'll be fine. And how can you complain when you get to wake up to this each morning:

Gaffney's favorite part? Chasing these little guys!

Enjoy your holiday weekend.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Medeski, Martin, and Wood have a new collaboration with John Scofield.

I only mention it because their cover of Julia just gave me the chills.

Has anyone heard of this?

Today in the mail, I got a copy of this book, Pro Evo. Apparently, I am not the only one who has received it or been totally weirded out by its presence. From the few internet reviews I found, the book is a religious and/or political statement sent out randomly to people, especially emotionally fragile women (thanks "Mad_scientist", the sole Amazon reviewer of the book). Besides my obvious delicate nature and need for careful handling, I do wonder how I got on this mailing list. Was it you, Dacks?

Tomotom Stiftung, the author, has some interesting things to say. His main premise is that what you should be doing makes you feel joyful, and what you should not be doing saps you of energy. Your purpose in life, you may wonder? "To be a transition and step in the course of evolution." Can we live forever? Only if we evolve ways to "transplant healthy brains from their dying or hopelessly damaged bodies" and thus reach "such a high level of consciousness that (our) further development would proceed more rapidly and efficiently without death."

Intriguing, and I have only just skimmed the contents. It sounds at least entertaining. If anyone is interested, I will gladly send you the copy when I'm done with it. Or maybe, if you are female and emotionally excitable, you will be sent one of your very own!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween traditions, a guest post

Happy Halloween! I got a lovely email last week from Miss Meg regarding the stellar tradition of making Halloween gingerbread houses. Who better, then, to do a guest post for today's events. Here are Meg and Shiloh's thoughts on the spookiest day of the year:

Hello, all!!

Please enjoy our Halloween haiku:

First gingerbread house

Cayman bound girlfriend and I

Happy Halloween

OR, if that doesn’t work for you, then perhaps a short narrative will.

It could have started as a Nightmare on Elm Street, had I not moved to Blacklidge and then Dale Avenue most recently. This Halloween, we Saw the opportunity to make a gingerbread house on Friday the 13th. Even though we wanted to kill each other at times, we resisted the urge to Scream or have her Lone Star self yield the Texas Chainsaw out in the shed. The Scary Movie in our kitchen played out quickly enough that we finished the house, pictured below. Since she leaves in a week, we will not replay this Nightmare Before Christmas. Our first gingerbread house may be the last for quite some time.

(Personally, it’s getting harder and harder for me not to bite off a corner.)

Meg and Shiloh send out a Happy Halloween to all. Go Orange!!

Thanks, ladies! I sure do miss you. And good luck in the Cayman's, Shiloh. Island living is AWESOME!

Friday, October 27, 2006

So Tsunami

My department head just sent me this delightful little video of yet another terrifying potential calamity threatening our home.

Do note that living as we do on the backside of the giant crater pictured in the video, we would have ample time to scramble up the slope of the crater.

With thirty minutes warning, I imagine that we would not be alone.

Friday's Island News

For only 5.5million dollars you can own your own Hawaiian Island! Does anyone want to go in on it with me? I promise to look after it!

In other "island" news, last night, K and I discovered that Coconut Island, home of the University of Hawaii Marine Lab is Gilligan's Island! This makes me very happy indeed, because Coconut Island is where I depart for all my collection trips. A couple times, I have thought it was a very familiar place, and now I know why!

The final piece of island news (no quotes this time, peeps) is that I may get to go on a cruise in February to collect animals around the Hawaiian Islands. Deep sea zooplankton! I am so EXCITED!

That's all for Friday's Island news. If the news here has left you disappointed and yearning for more, check out Phillipe's Friday Facts. I am thinking about using his celebrity disguise as a Halloween costume.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fall is in the air

Last night I carved pumpkins with the Sally girls and I couldn't help but reminisce about the good ol' days when I actually lived in a place with seasons.

I miss fall. There I said it. I am jealous of everyone who gets to smell fallen leaves, feel the crispness in the air, wear a whole different set of clothes, and contemplate the knowledge that the days will only get darker, shorter, and colder before the long winter of snow starts.

Fall is not going to happen here.

The only distinct features of fall here include: a) The sun setting at 6pm and b) the waves are once again enormous. Here's a picture of Sandy's yesterday, the body boarding beach on the South Shore:

The other good features about fall here are that the temperatures go down a whole 2 degrees and the trade winds came back after a long October of humidity, vog, and no wind. I am longing for the rainy season, which begins soon too. From what I understand, that feature marks the beginning of "winter".

I live in a tropical paradise, and I still find something to complain about! Enjoy your fall, everyone. I sure do miss it sometimes, especially today, thanks to this picture from my mother of Maple Lake in WV.

So beautiful! Country roads, take me home....

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Crazy still!

Well, the earthquake did relatively little damage here in Oahu. But things are still crazy. On Monday, we discovered mushrooms growing on our doormat. Our lanai never gets any sunlight, so we have our own miniature rainforest!

And yesterday, after frisbee, we came back to our car only to discover a mass of feathers on the front of the hood. My immediate thought was that someone had placed a dead animal there. After all, we were up in one of the valleys and we had taken over the local hooligan football players fields to play Ultimate. As we got closer, we realized it wasn't dead. It was a chicken! And it was not going anywhere. I poked and prodded it, only to move it closer to the wipers, which it firmly attached itself to even as K turned them on. You should have seen this thing, going back and forth and back and forth, as Gaffney drooled in the backseat! Finally (and this was like 5 min later), I shoved it off into the road. We wished we would have had the camera.

So, why did the Roman chicken cross the road?

Drum roll, please......

She was afraid someone would caesar.

More jokes here and please feel free to come up with your own. They have got to be better than that one.

Monday, October 16, 2006

6.6 on the Crazy scale

Hi everyone. The power is back on so I can announce to the world that K, G, my parents, and I are all safe and sound in Hawaii. Of course you probably all knew that before we did since the only source of news yesterday was from the am radio, and sadly, we only have radio in our car which we were not supposed to drive yesterday because there were no traffic lights for directing traffic. Thanks for all your notes and I would have written back sooner, but internet doesn't work without power either.

The quakes made for an interesting day, to be sure. I was in bed dreaming, when suddenly I was awoken by a rumbling which seemed to start in my belly, and then move to my extremities. Either I was having a very strange bowel movement or it was an earthquake. I say to K, " I think it's an earthquake". His eyes get a little wider and then we hear our landlord yell, "Get in the doorways!" We bolt. Gaffney barks, as the rumble continues. And then it stops. Minutes later, I am sitting on futon wondering what to do next, when I pull out my computer and check the local news website. Suddenly, no power. And another rumble. We decide to get the hell out of the basement.

The day continued with a rain-soaked walk down to the Diamondhead Grill; they had no power but had the great entrepreneurial insight to put every single food item they didn't have to cook out on tables. I bought breakfast and a little lunch thinking that there may be a rush on food later. The rest of the day, the place was slammed. And most of the stores, while open, would only allow a single or a couple of customers in at a time to prevent looting. The store worker would guide them in by flashlight, and charge cash, since the credit card machines were down, and then they would write down the purchase on a piece of paper with a pen. There was talk of price-gouging on the North Shore. Mahem I tell you ! Oh, and did I mention how the loss of power caused kids to PLAY IN THE STREETS! I reflected on this awhile, and got a tad sentimental like most folks, until one of the kids forgot how to catch a football and tore off our driver-side rearview mirror. I couldn't really be mad, I mean, it was an accident, and they were bored out of their minds. What a crazy day.

We ended up cooking dinner on the charcoal grill. My parents were thrilled since everyone else at their hotel was eating cold sandwiches. An impromptu feast of tri-tip steak fajitas, complete with onion and corn, served with Tecates and an Oregon Reisling my summer student had sent me and I was "saving for a special occasion". 'Tis as special as it's going to get, I hope.

The power came back on around 8pm, and by that time I had actually fallen asleep since candlelight isn't really bright enough for reading.

Today, I have no doubt that work will be full of crazy adventures like ours. I can't wait to hear everyone's stories of braving the elements. And this experience of course, begs the question (at least in my mind): Which was scarier: the rumbling in our bellies, or our inability to blog about it? A day without electricity is a strange day indeed, but not nearly as strange as it could have been. I hope the rumbling in the earth stays benign, the electricity stays on, and the water keeps running. At least until I can get to the store and get some more Tecate.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Coconut life

Yesterday K & I came back from our Big Island adventure, Part II. My parents rented this awesome "Paradise Dream house" south of Hilo, and it was beautiful. This place had it all: an upper balcony overlooking the coast, a pool in the backyard, and coconut trees and orchids scattered everywhere across the volcanic rock surrounding the house. We spent all day Saturday lounging around drinking terrible fruity rum drinks I butchered.

Of course with all the awesomeness, K and I decided we wanted to live there. We would need new jobs so I decided I would make beaded necklaces and K would shuck cocos for the tourists. He would be the best coco shucker ever, to be sure.

On Sunday, we drove down the coast to the Southern most point in the United States.

Another beautiful coastline complete with a boat drop, in which you use a pulley system to lower your boat 50' down to the water. There was a ladder that you could take to get back up the cliff, which I took a picture of but I didn't quite get the perspective right. Just interior to the cliff there was a hole in which the local 10 year old keikis were jumping 40' into the ocean-filled cave below. These kids, including one girl, must have some big kahunas. After you jump in the cave, you have to hold your breath, go under the cliff, come out into the open ocean and then climb up the scary ladder. I would have done it myself, except we had to leave next for the Green Sand Beach:

Three miles away from any paved roads, most people get to hike to get out there, totally exposed to the elements. But my parents did it right, and got a 4x4 car which thrilled my dad and terrified my mother. We arrived without so much as a scratch on the car. The beach was beautiful, although the approach was a bit steep. The sand is an eerie green from the compacted ash which forms the mineral olivine. The water there was warm and refreshing after all the dust of the road. On the way back, we bottomed out once, but the oil pan held true. It was a great adventure, and I would recommend everyone check it out. We ended the day with beers, fried mahi-mahi, and Teri-burgers at the southern most bar in the United States (Shaka's, of course!) I discovered that a burger is even better with teriyaki sauce then just the bacon and cheese. Umm, bacon.

Now, back to work and I can't help but wish I were still there beside the pool. At least I have the memories, I guess.

Friday, October 06, 2006

FF Blues

Good luck to all the Fantasy Football players this weekend. Hopefully none of my players get injured at the last second since I will be away from the internet at the beach house on the Big Island.

This is my 5th year playing FF (does anyone remember playing in Brian Harvey's league in 2001?) My intention this year was to play in only one league, Decorating Panties, so I could pay close attention and not play people with byes. Then, the night before Kyle's Coast to Coast-league draft, Bart asked if I might step in and play in their league. Curses. Curses especially since the draft was at 5:30am Hawaii time, and I was not awake for any of my selections.

But it has worked out well enough, with the P-Town Awesome-O's and The Edge both at 4-0. Too bad I am #2 in the CtoC league, with the #1 guy twice badgering me to trade him Reggie Bush and Darrel Jackson for, gasp, Mike Bell and Santana Moss. I didn't do it. I'm pretty sure I made the right decision, but who knows. I feel like most of this is luck anyway.

The thing about Fantasy Football is that I try not to care; I try not to devote too much time to it and get sad when I lose. But I do care. I do want to do well. I do want to prove all these boys that girls can manage teams too. There are 4 teams managed by women in Decorating Panties, and only one in the CtoC league. We have to win, ladies!

So good luck to everyone out there, especially Adams College Atoms and the Foggy Bottom Bureaucrats, my opponents for the weekend. And may the best man, excuse me, woman, win.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

USS Arizona

I took Ma & Pa out to see the Pearl Harbor Memorial on Tuesday. It is a really nice (and free) memorial in which you get a ticket upon entrance for the tour. Depending on the number of people in front of you (it took us 45 minutes), you next watch a 12 minute movie showing actual footage and photographs from Americans on the ground and Japanese planes. After the movie, you board a US Naval ferry which takes you to the USS Arizona (shown above). Since it is a graveyard, they urge you to be completely silent when you are out there.

Oil still leaks from the hulls of the USS Arizona, which I tried to capture in this photo. The museum had an exhibit which said 2.5L of oil per day leaks out of the ship. Some marine conservationists protest the memorial for this reason, citing that the oil hurts marine life and the ship should be removed from the harbor. I saw sergeant majors (you know, those little blue and yellow- striped fish you see when you snorkel in Mexico) living to the right and left of the oil slick, so I think it's probably not as bad as some people make it out to be.

A lot can be said about the Memorial and the war, but I have to get to work so I will keep this light for now. Hope everyone is having a great week.

Friday, September 29, 2006


Today, Chris Onstad wrote a funny story about his heritage, centered around the realization that he is 1/16th Seneca Nation Indian. Many of you may not know this, but I grew up in what used to be the Seneca's summer hunting grounds. I remember my brother, Sam, used to find arrowheads all the time when he was playing in the woods. He also had a box of at least five more, which I can only assume was purchased at the local flea market by my mother. The local flea market also had a guy who sold turquoise jewelry, which my mother bought religiously to mark all religious occasions for KK and I (First communion, etc.). Part of me always wished I would have gotten the arrowheads, but years later, I still have the jewels, and the arrowheads seem to have been lost forever.

Anyway, in an attempt to try to learn more about the Seneca Indians, and to waste the 1/2 hour before the seminar this afternoon, I looked them up on Wikipedia. At the bottom of the citation, I found a link to Wikimapia which I haven't used yet. Powered by Google maps, it provides built-in squares you can click on for more information on geographic locations.

Am I the last to know of this brilliant technology? It is probably a good thing I just discovered it, because I will probably now spend hours on this, clicking on random locations, finding out more about places I want to move to next.

In my quest for locations, I eventually searched most of the Seneca and my stomping grounds in Western New York and Northern Pennsylvania, only to come back to good ol' Le' ahi. Here it is in all it's glory:

This is where I live, and tomorrow, my mother and father get to join me and K tomorrow for some fun adventures. Maybe I'll even convince my mother to take me to the local swap meet and buy me some turquoise to mark the occasion!

Friday, September 22, 2006

A Post About Going to a Football Game

Ah college football season. The leaves are changing, there is dry crispness in the air, and the beautiful people are getting drunk in the parking lot on Jim Beam, Miller Light, and Jello shots. The fried chicken and pork BBQ are out on checked tablecloths under events outside forty foot land yacht RV's. And some young freshman pledge is bleeding for reasons unknown to him.

Because he is really drunk.

Well I guess so. Sitting two thousand miles from anywhere else, who even knows? All I know is what I see projected onto my wall each Saturday. And damned if it don'’t give me a hankering to hear radios playing AM tailgate shows sponsored by the local credit union.

But not to worry. Here in Hawai'i, we have our Warriors (formerly known as the Rainbow Warriors). And since the day we found we were coming, I have been excited for the chance to take in a Hawai'i football game.

All real college football fans have an intimate knowledge of Hawai'i football. That'’s because their home games are often the nightcap of ESPN's midseason quintuple-header. They start at midnight on the east coast, nine on the west, so when the once lust for football has not been sated by the day's events (or a huge win for your favorite team has you watching ESPN for every mention of your beloved) you settle in to watch the always exciting game.

This is WAC football ladies and gents. Perfect for those that can'’t get excited about a 7-3 Auburn beat-down of LSU. This is non-stop offense, gadget plays, and mistakes galore. Huge comebacks are de rigeur and everyone gets to play on a blue field at some point (Hawai'i does this weekend).

So C and me decided to take in a game at famous Aloha Stadium. This is the home of the Pro Bowl and was always a favorite of mine when playing College Football 2003 for the Xbox. It is not fully enclosed but has four high sections on each side of the field. Best of all, and unique to this stadium, the sections are connected by curved bridges, something I have always wanted to see.

The bridges are some how a feature of the stadium'’s capacity to be reconfigured into many different shapes including a baseball stadium and a large scale concert venue. Another consequence of this capability is a stadium built almost exclusively of steel (as opposed to concrete). It is kind of wild looking. Girders running everywhere.

We parked far far away and far too late to get a sense of the tailgating scene. It looked pretty fun though. And I am sure there was no shortage of rice. On the way to the stadium the first utterance of a common refrain, "Why didn'’t we bring the damn camera?,"” was occasioned by an enormous rainbow with its end situating right on the field. So neat.

Walking through the parking lot, we chugged the mini-bottles of Vodka and Jager we had brought along and hid some rum minis in the back pocket of my pants. See -– drinking is not allowed at college sporting events.

Not true it turns out. Only at places where people would clearly drink to the point of violence, like South Carolina. There was beer a-flowin' at the stadium. Every twenty feet or thereabouts. So we felt pretty silly acting all secret agent with our minis.

Then there is the matter of food. I imagine my father would have choice words if he saw me eating sushi at a football game. Teriyaki chicken, kalbi ribs, and dim sum. All the Hawai'ian faves. And even something traditional like roasted corn on the cob came with a twist. They have this stuff out here called Li Hing. It is kind of a sour candy powder. The put it on plums and eat them saldito style. But there was a big shaker of it sitting right beside the Old Bay and the kids were dousing their corn in it.

Other cultures are soooo stupid.

We took our seats (fifty-yard-line! Awesome!) after Hawai'i had already scored one TD on their first possession. UNLV was the opponent and they were as jetlagged as every other team forced to make the trip. Hawaii went up 42-0 before they knew what hit them. Yes. 42-0. Now that is the sort of game you can really enjoy. The offense was running four-, five-, and even six- receiver sets. The field was completely spread out and the UNLV defenders did not have a chance. No one wants to play against an offense like this.

And now that Jerry Glanville, another former Falcons head coach, has taken over the defense, they looked pretty dang good. Good enough to hold Alabama under 25 in their house. It'’s funny -– it is traditional for the coaches to wear aloha shirts and leis during the games but old Jerry Glanville is still wearing his all black "2 Legit 2 Quit"”-era duds. Given that he is about five foot tall, this makes for laughs.

Hawai'i looks like they will do alright this year. They have Boise St. and Fresno State on the road (nearly impossible) but may be able to get seven wins nonetheless. WAC road games are brutal. The conference stretches from Hawaii to LaTech.

The atmosphere was pretty good. The smallish crowd made a little noise and were helped out by Polynesian drummers in the corner of the endzone. They just kept the beat going throughout the whole game and were in native Hawai'ian regalia. Nearby, a fan wore ti leaves as a hat native style and was going bananas (not native).

Because Caroline was freaked that our car was going to get towed from the Kmart parking lot, we bailed early. Along with everyone else. Nice to know that with all the differences in the college football culture of Hawai'i and SC, we all still want to beat traffic/get drunk in the parking lot.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Boogie boarding Queens Beach

When you first move to a place, you take the camera everywhere so you can document every new corner, every vista. Slowly, you start to get used to the idea that you live in that place, and the days all just pass without notice, without documentation of its awesomeness. Until one day, when you're about to go to the beach and you realize you need the camera. You need to capture these memories of the sun setting on the 2-4ft swell you just rode. This is Queens Beach, sunset, last night. Less than a mile from our house, this is where we go boogie boarding, or at least where we have started to go, since I bought fins two weeks ago. I can't believe I didn't do it sooner. There is nothing funner than catching a wave and riding it sideways down the long tube. Especially when you meet a local, named Tyrone (yes, after Tyrone Powers, can you believe it, Taryn!) who gives you free lessons. I am hooked.

Thanks to Kyle for remembering the camera...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Goodbye Anna-Banana

Goodbye meine gute Freundin Anna-Banana!

Ich bin traurig, dass du gehst. Wir hatten viele schoene zeiten zusammen (cookies backen und essen!) und auch einige nicht so schoene zeiten (Kraempfe an der Hanuma Bay).

Vor allem aber hatten wir viel spass und viele Erinnerungen zusammen. Ich wierde dich vermissen. Viel Glueck mit deinem weiteren Studium und denk an uns, wenn du im kuehlen Deutschland bist. Die hawaiianischen Regenboegen warten auf deine Rueckkehr.

Deine Freundine, Caroline (Ich liebe dich!)

Many dankes to Agnes for help in translating...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


The Advertiser had this awesome picture today: 12" mortars atop Diamondhead from 1916.

I think all that remains is the wall and the small 4' crawl space you have to crawl through to get to the top. The big guns are long gone, replaced by hundreds of daily tourists looking at the 360ยบ views of the beaches. It sure is pretty up there, and historical too! Cool.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Move to Hawaii and live longer!

The statistics are in: people in Hawaii live longer than the rest of Americans. Actually, it turns out that the all the Asian women here are boosting the numbers, with an average life expectancy of over 80 years.

The author of the study, Christopher Murray, suggests there are eight separate "Americas" based on their ethno-econo-geographic breakdown (1982-2001):

  • Asian-Americans, average per capita income of $21,566, have a life expectancy of 84.9 years.
  • Northland low-income rural whites, $17,758, 79 years.
  • Middle America (mostly white), $24,640, 77.9 years.
  • Low income whites in Appalachia, Mississippi Valley, $16,390, 75 years.
  • Western American Indians, $10,029, 72.7 years.
  • Black Middle America, $15,412, 72.9 years.
  • Southern low-income rural blacks, $10,463, 71.2 years.
  • High-risk urban blacks, $14,800, 71.1 years.

  • I wonder if a Middle American living among Asians in Hawaii can boost her numbers? I think I'll eat more fish and rice, and then wait and see what happens.

    Friday, September 08, 2006

    The quest for shrimp

    I am a lucky girl. I love my job and the people I work with. By the light of the full moon last night, members of our lab went out searching for shrimp. We were looking for a particular family of shrimp, the Hippolytidae, which haven't yet been checked for myelin. In case you ever need to find them, go out to the tidal flats, search for glowing red eyes in between the crevices of the coral, and then sneak up on them from the side. They are about 2-3" long, and like to flip their tails quickly when caught.

    Today I got to cut out their nerve cords, and I swear that they were quite sad about it. Look at those eyes! As I was cutting them, I kept thinking about Star Wars. Finally I figured out why: the shrimp kind of look like JarJar!
    Or Gaffney on a bad day:

    Incredible apologies...

    Hey y'all. I'm sorry.

    Why am I sorry? Yesterday, in a fit of pouting, I erased my "September Days" blog post because it was riddled with historic AND scientific inaccuracies. You all knew I was a whiner, now you can add pouter to the list. "Pout-o-whine" is a pretty complicated nickname but I hope I'll get used to it. I just hope you will one day forgive me for saying that 12 is not below freezing...

    In other news, tonight is the first night of the fall Ulitmate league. I am nervous for the first time in a long time about league.

    Why am I nervous? I am co-captaining with Mr. Rob Whitton on Team Incredibles! I hope everyone gets along. I hope everyone is laid-back and nice. And I hope no one gets mad when I throw a terrible chopping outside-in forehand into the wind, or when Kyle throws too long out of the endzone to a wide open player. But how can they be mad when we will be wearing face masks and dressed in red?

    Don't you think Kyle looks just like the little boy?

    Friday, September 01, 2006

    What makes Kyle happy?

    Pork Laulau and other Hawaiian luau foods:

    The Gamecocks winning their season opener.

    What a relief...

    Thursday, August 31, 2006


    Kyle's beloved Gamecocks are playing today, 2pm Hawaii time. Which means he gets to leave work early, and I have the convenient excuse of having to work. Don't get me wrong. I love football. I may even love the Gamecocks. But I do not love the agony or ecstasy that will no doubt ensue. Win or lose, the drama will be thick, every play will be analyzed over and over again.

    Some may appreciate this. Some of you grew up with a team, went to a college with a great team, or even marched in a band for a team. I envy you because you have what it takes to watch these battles. I fear my heart is just too weak, my ego just to fragile, my excuses just not polished enough to explain away the possible losses that could be due to luck alone.

    Good luck, Gamecocks. I will try to be there for you. Maybe someday I'll even be willing to leave work early to watch you play. Maybe that day will be today if I can get my act together. I promise I will try to do my best to be a fan.

    Tuesday, August 29, 2006

    Andre Agassi is the man too!

    Did anyone catch the Agassi / Pavel match last night? I was more excited than I had been in years to watch tennis. Long points. Aces. Net play. This game had it all. Not to mention Agassi coming back from a 0-4 deficit in the 3rd set to win in the third tiebreaker of the match! Wow. Agassi, of course, will retire after this US Open which means any of his games could be his last. But he isn't going out with a wimper, that's for sure.

    I was a Sampras fan in the days of the Agassi / Sampras battles. But I fear that Agassi may just have more heart than Sampras. I read yesterday that Sampras has come back from retirement and is playing some competitive tennis once again. Maybe we'll be treated to a reunion tour someday. Wouldn't that be awesome?

    Friday, August 25, 2006

    Mark Twain is the man!

    Mark Twain spent a considerable amount of time in good ol' Hawaii (btw, please send back the Sandwich Island book you borrowed, soon to be Mr. and Mrs. you know who!). Yesterday, I was trying to remember his famous statistics quote ("There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics") when I found these other gems:

    I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.

    I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying that I approved of it.

    I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.

    I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week sometimes to make it up.

    Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

    See this page for more Mark Twain quotes if he makes you giggle. Happy Friday!

    Thursday, August 24, 2006


    I remember learning all the planets in the solar system when I was 10. I made a model of it right after I made a model of a black hole (fold a piece of black posterboard in a conical shape, and voila! A black hole!) Now, according to the powers that be, we have to relearn the planets of the solar system. Pluto is officially no longer a planet.

    Percival Lowell, who the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff was founded by, was the first to predict that Pluto existed in 1905, but never saw it before he died in 1916. Only in 1930 was it discovered, and named after the god of the underworld (and the name was also fitting because it contained Lowell's initials). Now, 76 years later, we have to say goodbye to planet Pluto and hello to dwarf planet Pluto.

    I'm not sure why it bothers me so much. After all, it is merely a logical change in definition (Pluto's orbit overlaps that of Neptune's and thus it can't stand alone as a planet). We are constantly learning more thanks to new technologies and ideas. We have to accept these changes and move on:
    After you've done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully. After five years, look at it with suspicion. And after ten years, throw it away and start all over. ~Alfred Edward Perlman, New York Times, 3 July 1958
    I can't wait until someone redefines a neuron in a whole new way. . .

    Tuesday, August 22, 2006

    Freshmen frenzy!

    Not too much going on in paradise. K went back to work yesterday with the start of the UofH fall semester (he's so psyched to teach everyday of the week!). The campus, shown above, is bogged down with thousands of floundering freshmen. Yesterday, I was walking down the hall when someone ran up to me and asked "Where is Biology 101 held?" I guess I looked like I knew because I was wearing a lab coat.

    Ah, to be a freshmen again. I have great memories from that year at Allegheny, but alas, a lot of terrible ones too. So, in honor of the start of the school year, I am listing the top five things I wish I would have known when I was a freshmen:
    1. Ride a bicycle everywhere (this wasn't really possible in Meadville during the winter, but for four months of the year, it would have been fine)
    2. Study outside, preferably by a pool or body of water
    3. Drinking on weekdays is bad for Chemisty grades
    4. Find a friend with a car and get off campus
    5. Relax and savor your time
    Lame list. Oh well. Feel free to list your own advice for the Class of 2010!

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Long live the King!

    The history of Hawaii today in the Advertiser includes this factoid:

    1977: Elvis Presley dies at the age of 42. His first Island appearance was on Nov. 10, 1957, in a concert at Honolulu Stadium. His Bloch Arena concert on March 25, 1961, was a fundraiser for the Arizona Memorial.

    Elvis made three movies in Hawaii (Blue Hawaii, Girls Girls Girls and Paradise, Hawaiian Style) and apparently visited here several times on vacation. Check out this site for more information on the King's time in Hawaii.

    I am not a huge Elvis fan, but I think I should try to watch at least one of these movies. Does anyone have a favorite?

    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Almost paradise

    I just finished reading Paul Theroux's Hotel Honolulu. Apparently it is a true story about his time as a manager in a worn-down Waikiki hotel. He tells funny short stories about his employees, guests of the hotel, and locals which made me laugh out loud. Some of the stories end kind of darkly with at least 5 of these forlorn souls committing suicide, and also there was considerable talk of the pests around Hawaii.

    Recently, I posted on our mouse problem, which apparently wasn't the last of the pests to enter into our lives. I discovered something that looked like a tick on Gaffney about 2 weeks ago, and I took it to work to look at it under the microscope. This "tick" only had 6 legs, which was strange, since ticks are arachnids, so they should have 8 legs. I asked around and found out that ticks were pretty uncommon in Hawaii, besides Gaffney is on medicine that is supposed to prevent them.

    Yesterday, the AP ran a story on bed bugs. Apparently they are making a comeback, especially in hotels in, gasp, Waikiki. I looked at the pictures carefully, and sure enough, that is definitely the insect I found on poor G. Today, K&I got bit for the first time, which led us to completely go crazy washing everything in our bedroom in really hot water and vacuuming the entire house. Hopefully they go away, but they are apparently really hard to kill without professional intervention. Sigh.

    Theroux makes light of the pests of Hawaii, so perhaps I should too. As he writes:

    In Hawaii there are always rats, and always sharks just offshore, and cockroaches patterned like tortoiseshell, and geckos and moths and ten kinds of ants. These were the certain proof and reminder that Hawaii was paradise.

    Aloha, bed bugs...

    Sunday, August 06, 2006

    Big Island Pictures

    The pictures from our Big Island trip have been posted on Flickr. Some of my favorites:

    The lone tree on the pali; we backpacked down the pali to Halape Shelter Beach where we camped here:

    It was paradise.

    We hiked out to the car, the last 1.5 miles was over 1984 lava:

    We spent the next day exploring waterfalls,
    watching sunsets over Maui,
    and drinking Budweisers:
    The final day we snorkeled and visited the lava trees:

    K & I get to go back to the Big Island in October, when my parents are going to rent a house south of Hilo. I can't wait!