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.