Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Garden Isle wrapup...

Merry Christmas! I hope your holiday was wonderful. We're enjoying the island winter, full of wind and rain, mosquitoes, and pre-Sugar Bowl jitters. The island is going bananas with anticipation...can we beat Georgia???

A wrap-up of our vacation is past due. Our trip to Kauai was AMAZING!!! The summary includes a drive to the north shore, a day of relaxation, a day of hiking in the highest swamp in the world, and a day of driving through the mud to the most secluded, beautiful beach I have seen.

Without further ado...

GO! to Kauai. This plane was actually going to Maui, but we couldn't resist the rainbow advertisement for this Mesa-airlines based carrier. If you don't follow Hawaii airline wars, this is the "enemy"; Hawaiian and Aloha airlines have even relegated go! to a different terminal that lacks any sort of perks (including a proper entrance to your plane; you have to walk on the tarmac!)

Day 1: Northshore. Nenes and heiaus and caves, oh my! Here is a whole family of Nene geese, the native Hawaiian bird. We also saw endangered I'iwi , breeding humpback whales, and DEER!! along our travels.

There was plenty to do Princeville side, but we were headed for the southside, to our little villa in Poipu.

Sunset in Poipu, at Baby Beach. This was the closest beach to our house.

Day 2: The next day we rented hybrid bicycles and rode them to the end of the road. K took kindly to the sandstone cliffs (that small white speck on top is me!) and incredible waves that day. And, once again, another incredible sunset... It was a perfect day.

Day 3: Hiking the Alakai Swamp. This swamp is at the end of the road leading up Waimea Canyon:
It made us reminisce about its cousin, the Grand Canyon, in Arizona. Very similar colors, but obviously not as long.

Kauai is full of wonderful hikes. We decided to retrace the old route the Hawaiians used to take to the north shore when the weather prevented ocean-based travel. Six miles each way, our guidebook told us that we would mostly be walking along a boardwalk through the Alakai swamp (the highest swamp in the world!). We slogged through a mile of mud before we got to said boardwalk, but after that, the hike was quite pleasurable.

Here's a view towards the end, when we were at about 4,000ft in high bogs. There is nothing quite like this on earth (except apparently, in Alaska, according to at least one source).

And, happily, the view from the end of the trail. Overlooking the bay at Princeville. Boy was it cold (probably 55d, but our blood is thin and it was windy, I swear!...)

Day 4: Last day...we decided we HAD to go to the western shore, Polihale Beach. On the map it looked like a three mile dirt road. The book warned that it should not be attempted in the event of rain. It hadn't rained for two days or so, so we decided to try it. Three miles of deep mud in a the low-clearance compact rental car later (I was sooo nervous), we reached the beautiful beach. We were one of 5 couples on the 17miles of undisturbed heaven. The pali cliffs are in the background. They are the reason you cannot drive around Kauai.

The perfect trip almost ending, we enjoyed some shave ice at the end of the Waimea pier, went snorkeling, and caught our airplane home.

I now believe that when you visit Hawaii, you should go here, to Kauai. It is a paradise. With no high rises, fewer people, and beautiful wildlife, vistas, and beaches, it seems superior to the other islands, but especially Oahu. But it is not for everyone. We heard several people say they preferred the hustle and bustle and warmer weather in Oahu. Now that we are back, it is clear that this place is still paradise too. It will always be the functional island where work has to be done for us, but there are moments of utter wonder when we get to sit back and say, "Wow, we live here." I felt it in Tucson too. Will the next place on the map offer up such moments? I sure hope so...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This is K talking.

Here are my top twenty-five albums of 2007. As usual, my fear of the unknown means at least a three month lag between when something comes out and when I actually listen to it. So logically, I should wait until March to compile this list. Like the Oscars. But Christmas is really the only time when I don't feel guilty spending time compiling something this frivolous.

So here goes:

25. Sound of Silver - LCD Soundsystem - Pitchfork Review

This album has taken awhile to grow on me. But it has some really stellar tracks.

24. Open Field - Taken by Trees - Pitchfork Review.

This semester, I was ecstatic to see a flier for Camera Obscura on campus. I hadn't heard them but I knew they were Scottish and had been compared to Belle and Sebastian. I downloaded their album in anticipation of the show. I wrote an email to all my friends here getting them fired up for the show. Then I found out that Camera Obscura shares their name with a local hardcore outfit who sucks. And so it goes here in paradise. The good news is that the Camera Obscura album (Let's Get Out of this Country) is absolutely awesome, and would not have been notched by me if not for this happy accident. Their album came out last year

What does this have to do with Taken by Trees? I think they sound similar. And the lead singers look almost exactly the same.

23. We Walked in Song - Innocence Mission - Pitchfork Review.

When I was just honing my crying skills in college, I bought a tape at Wal-Mart by the Sundays called Static and Silence. Boy - I did love that album. Some people may think that liking bands like this (Sixpence None the Richer, Cardigans, St. Etienne, etc.) speaks ill of my manliness. I think that is fair.

22. New Moon - Elliot Smith - Pitchfork Review.

Because Elliot Smith stabbed his heart several years ago, he is no longer making videos. My apologies.

21. † - Justice - Pitchfork Review.

My #1 album of 2006 was French. So is my #21 album of 2007. Pretty rad video this.

20. Love - The Beatles - Pitchfork Review

So George Martin got senile enough that his kid was able to take advantage of him in a moment of weakness. The result is a delicately remixed album of Beatles tunes that serves as the soundtrack for the Cirque du Soleil show, Love. Sounds pretty awful, huh? It isn't. It sounds phenomenal. Of course - I am a Beatles dork from waayyy back.

19. The Budos Band II - The Budos Band - Pitchfork Review

This video is awesome. Great instrumental album of latiny jazzy grooves. A little like last year's Quantic.

18. Walls - Apparat - Pitchfork Review

This year I discovered that IDM stands for "Intelligent Dance Music." Isn't that obnoxious? Here is a song of this description being used as a soundtrack to someone's travel film.

17. Kala - M.I.A. - Pitchfork Review

I just started listening but I love it so far. This song is my favorite.

16. The Reminder - Feist - Pitchfork Review

I think I am safe in assuming everyone has heard this artist by now. "1-2-3-4 . . "

15. Octopus - Band of Bees - Pitchfork Review.

Totally unique sound. Well - I guess not that unique because Pitchfork says they are "like the Beta Band without all the artsy detours and experimental tendencies." I guess you could be worse things. This band is just called The Bees in the U.S. (there is another Band of Bees). Cool video.

14. Armchair Apocrypha - Andrew Bird - Pitchfork Review

This year, I listened to a lot of new albums from bands that had made good things in the past. I really couldn't get into most of them. Clap Your Hands Say "Eh." But this new album is really stellar and probably the best I have heard from the A-bird. Please watch this video if you like him. I get a little emotional each time I see it.

13. Cozy Endings - Artanker Convoy - Pitchfork Review.

Completely off-the-wall and fun. Take a listen.

12. Wizard of Ahhs EP - The Black Kids - Pitchfork Review

When their full length comes out, be ready. It will be the hottest thing ever. Every song is really a gem but this is the one that is paying the bills. And yes - they do sound like the Cure.

11. Emotionalism - Avett Brothers - Pitchfork Review

I am sure that Caroline would want me to tell you that this is her #1 for the year. Of course - she may be exaggerating to make a larger point. I am not bringing any decent alt country music into the relationship leaving her to her three year-old Gourds albums, Ryan Adams, and even new Robert Earl Keen songs (gross). Instead, I make her listen to Animal Collective and Grand Buffet. It is a wonder she is still around.

This video is mostly for her.

10. The Stage Names - Okkervil River - Pitchfork Review

OK. Now we are getting into the good stuff. I came to love Okkervil River when they made comically slow sad music ala the Silverjews. Now they make kicking sad music and I like them even more. Especially great is the appropriation of the Beach Boy's "Sloop John B" for their final dirge. Good stuff.

9. Graduation - Kanye West - Pitchfork Review

Another great album by Kanye. But nothing compared to what will come in the wake of his mother's tragic and profoundly significant death. Lil' Wayne sounds shitty on "Barry Bonds" and "Drunk and Hot Girls" is pretty weak also but Kanye takes chances and has better batting average than the aforementioned slugger. Included is the fantastic alternative video for "Can't Tell Me Nothing."

8. In Rainbows - Radiohead - Pitchfork Review

I would have never imagined a new Radiohead album would rank outside the top five. This video is silly.

7. No Shouts, No Calls - Electrelane - Pitchfork Review

Now this album was a revelation. I have to say Stereolab because that is what everyone says. But it is just those breathy vocals. The songs themselves strike me as far more exciting than anything Stereolab did. Great driving music.

6. Night Falls in Kortadella - Jens Lekman - Pitchfork Review

Did you know that Jens Lekman was just about to quit the game. He had been touring for years and nothing was happening. Then someone at Pitchfork got their hands on Oh You're So Silent Jens, a mishmash of b-sides and cast-offs, and he was on his way. Now he has put out the #6 album of 2007. Check out this wonderful video of his covering Arthur Russell.

5. Andorra - Caribou - Pitchfork Review

Top five time. Caribou is awesome. Not as awesome as Grizzly Bear, but pretty dang awesome nonetheless.

4. From Here We Go Sublime - The Field - Pitchfork Review.

Simply stunning soundscapes. Goes great with drugs of all sorts.

3. Boxer - The National - Pitchfork Review

The first National album, Alligator, was a dud in our house. It just doesn't jump out at you. In our setup, albums get played off our 20G ipods. Everyone gets their shot at the big show but, if they fail to impress within a month or two, most albums get shuttled off to the external hard drive never to be heard from again. In rare instances, albums are brought back for another try.

Boxer is the album that brought back Alligator. It is a stunner. Please give it a try.

2. Person Pitch - Panda Bear - Pitchfork Review

Magic. This album will be a fork in pop music's evolutionary tree. I know Animal Collective is far more experimental and risky. But this album strikes me as the distilled essence of everything great about Animal Collective. Of course - by great, I mean listenable. And by listenable, I means listenable by people in their thirties.

1. Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? - Of Montreal - Pitchfork Review

This album came out last February and within a few weeks I was ready to crown it my number one. It is hard to overstate how much I love this album, this band, and in particular, Kevin Barnes, the lead singer. It is nice to see a man having a nice time. And having a bad time.

If you have the opportunity to see this band live, I recommend it. That means you, Dacks.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Off to the Garden Isle!

The semester ends today for me, wahoo! Teaching this semester has kept me pretty busy. I realize my 4 credit class isn't as difficult as what some people do, but I do have another (full-time) job too which makes me pretty darn overwhelmed sometimes. K and I both work almost every weekend and lots of nights too, so we are quite ready for a break.

And so we are headed off to Kauai this weekend for a little R&R. No dog. No computers. No time to be anywhere. And absolutely zero plans.

This will be the first time I go on vacation in the last few years that does not involve going to a wedding, playing frisbee, attending meetings, or cleaning houses. While it is only 4 days, 3 nights, I plan on enjoying every minute of it.

The best part? We got a new camera so we can actually take pictures again! And I have a feeling that this will be the best island yet. Secret tunnels? Grand Canyons? Rainiest place on earth? Or maybe we'll just stay at our cottage, snorkel, and bask in the sun. Isn't that what you are supposed to do when you visit Hawaii?

Monday, December 03, 2007

"We Believe!!!"


Never in a million billion years did I think Hawaii could do what they did.

And we were there to see it. Oh my gosh, it was amazing. What a perfect day. We spent the afternoon tailgating with the Zoology grad students, who awesomely prepared, among other things, a fried turkey (memories of Karl's fry parties made me happy). After partying, we had to walk a mile, downhill, to the stadium. This was no biggie, unless of course we lost, and then we would have to trudge back up the hill in the cold, December rain. (Incidentally, our island snow has now lasted 3 weeks. Welcome to the winter rainy season. Side note, the rain isn't really cold.)

We sat at the north end zone, in what we found out later were not our seats at all. Here we are, with Castle, before the game:

Our seats were pretty decent for costing $5. I am technically considered a "student" at UH, since they lack a category for postdocs. While this typically angers me immensely, I have learned to take advantage of the $5 tickets and suck it up. Kyle was my $32 guest, and it was really the best $44* I have spent in Hawaii (*$7 for beer).

The game began dismally. Washington scored on their first drive. We fumbled. Washington scored on their 2nd drive. Colt got sacked. Washington just looked too big and too fast. We were too slow and too nervous. 0-21 after the first quarter. Boy were we sad.

Not as sad as the couple sitting in front of us. They slept through the entire first quarter (slept is really not the right word, more liked passed out). More on them later.

We held the Huskies in the 2nd and even managed to score three. 21-28. Things were starting to look possible.

Third quarter, nothing but defense. Could we pull it off?

4th quarter, Jason Rivers, 40 yard touchdown. WAHOO! When we took the lead 35-28 in the 4th quarter, with 44 seconds left to go, I was worried. That was a lot of time. Cheers of "BCS, BCS, BCS" started to fill the stadium. The pom-pom girls were pretty sure of the win and showed off their new 12-0 tee shirts. Washington got the ball back to Hawaii's 3rd yard line. The pom-pom girls, realizing their impatience, took off their shirts and scowled. Everyone held their breath.

Everyone except the couple in front of us, now joined by the girl's sister, who insisted on badgering the man beside us. He had called them "haole bitches" earlier after they decided to smoke in the stadium. Throughout the game, words were exchanged, cops were called over; it was a nice side-story as long as nothing was going on. Now that our entire season came down to this play, and they were still not watching the field, I grew tired of their antics and pretended to call the cops. They finally shut up and left.

The next-to-the-last play of the game was UH intercepting a well thrown ball to a what appeared to be a wide-open Washington receiver in the endzone. The last play of the game, where Colt took a knee, was about 10 minutes later after fans were cleared from the field. It was incredible.

As you may have heard, Hawaii is going to the Sugar Bowl. This sort of sucks for fans, since it is a long way to travel, and it is a lot closer to Georgia. But I think we'll represent. Being a part of football in Hawaii has been something special. The whole entire state is behind this team. The team motto: "We believe".

Huck the Fuskies, and Damn a Dawg. The Warriors will show those leg humpers how to play football, ya heard! 13-0, 13-0!

Wouldn't that be a sweet? I can honestly say, it has been nice to be a part of something this special. Football, it may be, but damn, it sure does feel good.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A little "Island Snow"

Radar from 6:16pm, Oahu.

Since it is always 85 and sunny here, we get a little excited when we see something like this.

We are looking forward to a night of rain, homemade meatloaf, potatoes and spinach. A cozy autumn evening, finally.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Hawaiian word for crazy is...

Pupule, lōlō, hehena, hewahewa.

Also: ʻūlala, uluāhewa, ʻōpulepule, pahuluhope.

I have been feeling a bit lōlō lately (sounds like loco so it is easiest to remember). Between work, traveling for work, frisbee tournaments, and teaching, I am a wit's end. The good news is that:

a) Next week is a 3 day week of work! Wahoo!
b) I only have 4 more lectures left for teaching, and they are all about the brain so I don't have to review as much.
c) We are going to Kauai the day after the semester is over and not doing anything but relaxing for a couple days. I can't wait.

Other than feeling lōlō busy, I really have had a nice November thus far. It was AWESOME seeing all the ol' crew in San Diego at the Neuro-nerdo meeting. I saw friends from Allegheny, Illinois, Arizona, Bermuda, and even peeps that had moved away from Hawaii. Special thanks to D&K for hosting and feeding me! San Diego is a beautiful place and I loved being off the island for a few days.

As soon as I got back, I had to get over a cold to play in the Hopu ka lewa frisbee tournament. The Sally team rocked it, as always, with a 1-7 record. Winning one game is all that matters.

Here are some pics taken by Kaveh of the tournament:

Updated Kyle's nose picture:

(It is healing rather well, I think!)

This next picture was my awesome, soon to be patented, "Box out and catch" move, completed during our game against the eventual winner of the tournie, Hana hou ("do it again" in Hawaiian; this was the 2nd year in a row they won the tournament, so it was a fitting name):

And finally, the whole Sally team. "Vote Sally for President" on the front of our shirt. "Throw Discs, not bombs" on the back. Bunch of frickin' hippies.

OH, one more thing. Tomorrow is McBarno, da'Barn's birthday. Happy birthday to my daddy!

p.s. I almost forgot. Welcome Anne-Marie to the blog world. Check it out here and on side bar (Core and Rind):

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Less than one mile from home...

Keith and I are having a contest to see who can take the most beautiful picture less than a mile away from home. Since the picture of Kyle's nose was taken over a mile away from home, it cannot, unfortunately, be entered into the contest. So, instead, I give you Queen's beach at sunset. Over 1 million people a year get to see this very same sight, although the sun only sets over the ocean during the fall-spring months.

The winner of the contest gets an all expense paid trip to.....

their own backyard! Yeah! Way to go Keith! We ROCK!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Broken nose, broken dreams

The picture says it all. All it took was Ben's backhand huck into Kyle's bridge of his nose. Dreams of future beauty contests shattered as blood spurted everywhere from the one inch gash of Kyle's face. Sure to scar, he laid there, paralyzed, knowing that when he got up he would be a different man, an uglier man with a big gash on his nose. Just to be sure, he reached into the gash; oh yes, that was cartilage for sure. Girlfriend, thinking it was a punch in the face, brings over a cold MGD in lieu of ice, only to see all the blood and know she will spend the night in the ER holding boyfriend's bloody ice on his soon to be diagnosed broken nose.

One drive to the ER, one X-ray, one crazy lady on meth who pulled out her IV in the waiting room when not "treated properly" and then bled all over everything including 2" away from poor Kyle's shoe, and 5 stitches later (by the most handsome doctor I will ever likely see; sorry, Rob, he looked like Jude Law but HOTTER), we left for home, a team. Team bloody nose.

It was a not-so-fitting end to Kyle's perfect week of South Carolina beating Kentucky (#7 in the AP), his department talk that went "awesome" and his beloved stock holding strong. Right before the accident he said to me, "I have to be careful. Everything is going so well."

ESP? Self-fulfilling prophecies?

Nah, just bad luck.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Society for Broken Noses.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Athletes for Aerosmith

Did you know that Hawaii is further away from the mainland than any other island chain? Maybe this is the reason why we don't get a whole lot of bands "passing through" here. The few that do are typically big names like Pearl Jam, Gwen Stefani or Kanye West (Kyle and I went to see him when we first moved here; it was cool except we couldn't really see him over the screaming girls holding their arms up to take pictures from their camera phones; boy did I feel old). We also get some old guys like Hootie and the Blowfish or Earth, Wind, and Fire that are probably here to take a cheap vacation. In any case, K and I feel quite deprived after listening to some awesome bands in Tucson.

So when it was announced last week that Aerosmith was canceling their Maui show for reasons unknown, no one was suprised. A lot of big name bands, like U2, have cancelled their shows here. I think they get to the end of their tours and just don't want to make the trip. I can't really blame them, it is far away.

But it turns out Aerosmith is still doing a concert for the Toyota dealers convention here on Oahu. Toyota is renting out the baseball stadium at the U of Hawaii for the festivities. And get this, the $500,000 to rent the facilities is all being given to the athletic department. Classic. The university really knows how to allocate funds. Maybe it will go towards improving the facilities; the football players really could use some soap in the locker room, after all. They also took out the speedbumps on lower campus so the buses bringing people in didn't have to slow down. This made me pretty excited, since I have to go over these bumps on one of my ways to school. Actually, this is now my preferred way to / from school because there are ZERO police officers that can give me tickets there...

Hawaii plays Idaho tomorrow. If they win, it will be one more step towards Colt Brennan winning the Heisman trophy. Colt winning a Heisman would be a huge boost for Hawaii. I think the university may even spring for some soap, even without Aerosmith's help. Good luck, Warriors!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Not a day over 50...

My mother, Susan, turns 60 today. Happy birthday! I'm pretty sure she'll be around for many, many more years. Her father lived to be 87, her mother 83, her grandfather 92, and her 90 year old uncle is still alive. Long live the Kaminski's!

In other news, I got my first traffic violation yesterday. $219 for failure to stop at a stop sign....on my bicycle. Yes, on my bicycle. Also, failure to register my bicycle and failure to use the bicycle lane. Other than the bicycle lane issue, I am sadly guilty of said "crimes", but in all accounts I am quite sure this police officer was either very angry at something other than me or was filling a monthly quota of traffic violations. He was very, very mean to me.

I was upset yesterday, even in tears (because a bad day only gets worse when you find out you have to pay $219 for riding your bike home in the rain). Today, I have quietly resolved my anger into a steady rage complete with the telling of the story to get sympathy at work (everyone with one notable exception agrees it is an outrage; notable exception is the overly rational boyfriend). By tomorrow, I am sure I will develop a quiet desire to break every law possible just to see how many bad things I can actually get away with. And then, by Friday, I will return to rational mode and pay the ticket because I don't want to bother with it or think about it further. After all, do I really want to spend a day in court? The only easy way to get to downtown is on my bicycle, and I am reticent to be in such a public arena on the ol' Voodoo. Voodoo, I am not mad at you, I am mad at the man.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stuck in Houston

Traveling to/from Hawaii can be a big pain in the ass. Having to get off the plane after you have already gotten on it? Even a bigger pain in the ass. It is perhaps one of the most annoying features of traveling I have experienced. Twice. Both times going to Hawaii.

I have to wonder what kind of special checks / balances a plane traveling to Hawaii must go through. Did they forget to put in extra fuel? Do they stash a few parachutes for the pilots that didn't quite make it there? Naive to these issues, I just get to sit here and stew and contemplate the greater "good" that will come out of this: I will arrive safely at my destination hopefully only 2 hours late (or so they guess). But those 2 hours in Hawaii mean the difference between no traffic and traffic, which is the most important feature of scheduling an arriving flight to Honolulu as far as I am concerned.

In the future I will not have so many beers the night before getting on a plane (Thanks, B! Durham was kick ass!) AND / OR not leave on a 6:15am flight from the east coast when I haven't slept the whole week. These are valuable lessons learned in a life that seems to short to spend sitting in airport. Ah well. Just a part of traveling to the Big Rock in the sea.

UPDATE #1 (12pm): Two hours have now come and gone; they said it will be another 90 minutes. The altimeter/ barometer are leaking and / or not aligned. From Wikipedia:

A pressure altimeter (also called barometric altimeter) is the traditional altimeter found in most aircraft. In it, an aneroid barometer measures the air pressure from a static port outside the aircraft. Air pressure decreases with an increase of altitude — about one millibar (0.03 inches of mercury) per 27 feet (8.23 m) near sea level.

They are currently "trouble-shooting" by taping said static port with bright yellow tape and attaching another port to what I guess is a pressure gauge of some sort. Continental has given us free food vouchers, coupons for up to 25% off your next flight, free drink vouchers, and they are having a raffle to give away 5, $100 vouchers before we get back on the plane. It's just like the circus! But without cotton candy, elephants, or most notably, children laughing.

UPDATE #2 (2pm): "Mechanics don't know what is wrong. They're going to keep trouble- shooting. Another update in an hour...looking into getting a new plane." I am preparing myself for a night in Houston. I think it is time for a drink.

UPDATE #3 (2:30pm): I WON!!!! I was one of the 5 lucky bastards who won a travel certificate!!! Forget the circus, this is just like VEGAS!!!

UPDATE #4 (4:20pm): The rush from winning the travel certificate wore off very quickly. But luckily, now I can relax. They got us a new plane with a new altimeter and I should be home by 8:30 Honolulu time. I will use my drink voucher to drink a bloody mary or a red wine and pass the hell out. This is the last update. Deadwood in Houston, signing OFF!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

T-birds and aloha

This weekend is the beginning of the Aloha festival, "Hawai'i's premier cultural showcase, a celebration of Hawai'i's music, dance and history intended to preserve the unique island traditions". I only heard of it for the first time earlier this week; I guess I completely missed it last year. But this year, I am teaching so I have to keep up with what's going on in my student's lives.

Plus, how could you ignore the Aloha festival when the Thunderbirds were practicing twice today for the festivities (also to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Air Force). Here is an awesome image of the T-birds going over the surfers at Ala Moana Beach Park (from the Advertiser):

The festival kicks off with a parade on Saturday, which will likely cause a lot of downtown traffic, meaning I have to leave for the airport earlier than usual. Transportation is constantly on my mind these days since I "commute" 13 miles to work twice a week to teach and it can take up to an hour to get home. Anyway, I will be heading to Durham, NC, to present my research to a bunch of myelin experts (small meeting, less than 30 experts in myelin evolution; I am sooooo nervous). Along with teaching, this talk has been consuming all my energy; I promise to update more after I get back.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lunar eclipse

We stayed up last night to watch this beauty. Copper moon. It was so cool. Image from the Honolulu Advertiser.

Friday, August 24, 2007

TBBB and lots of other things

Lots of exciting adventures have occurred since Flossie failed to come for dinner. Meg ended her wonderful visit, and it was so AWESOME having her here. I hope she will send along some of the pictures of her time here since we still don't have a camera.

And then, last weekend was the Tweedle Beetle Beach Battle (TBBB). I was co-director of the tournament, which essentially means that I had to make sure the keg arrived on time. K and I also made mixed cds for the event; if anyone wants one, let me know as there are leftovers...

Here are some pics from the tourney. The beach where we play is right next to a military base, and they were having "maneuvers" that weekend, so Kim awoke to a lovely scene of 20 National Guardsmen/women in uniform above her hammock. Classic.

Gaffers always looks miserable at the beach. Especially while I am eating hot dogs..

We played afternoon ultimate, but everyone got tired, so it regressed into Double Disc Court (DDC) to allow people to practice for the Hawaii State Overalls this weekend:

The players:

Enjoy the pictures. I am off to work, where I have to cram in a day and a half's worth of time into one half day. I started teaching this week at Leeward Community college (Anat & Physio), so I am now working two jobs (and likely getting paid less in the process...oh silly me.) The good news is that K and I are going sailing this afternoon with one of his students he met this summer at a workshop. I'm really looking foward to being out on the water at sunset. I am going to try to take pictures with our broken camera and hope for the best....

Thursday, August 16, 2007



And, to top it off, the tsunami warning from the earthquake in Peru has been canceled.

The "weather" here. Pathetic. Absolutely abysmal.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

updated weather

it's getting windy!!!

FYI: The hurricane is hitting the Big Island currently and they're expecting 10" of rain, 50mph winds, and 30' waves. Oahu (where we live, 2nd of the larger islands from the top) is not supposed to get more than 3" of rain, >15-30mph wind gusts, and 6-8' waves.

Just in case you were worried...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Flossie Friday?

Hurricane Flossie is fast-approaching the islands of Hawaii. It probably will end up going south of us, but it is exciting to think that we may actually get some weather around here.

Meg is coming this weekend and we are planning to go to Ka'ena point Saturday night to watch the Perseids meteor shower. Gaffney is very pumped to see her friend, Meg, who is the only person ever to send the poor thing any mail.

Last Sunday, K and I finally ventured to the Maunawili trail and then to Lani Kai beach. It was a wonderful afternoon, especially since K and I discovered wild mountain apples were ripe and ready for picking. Here is a picture of a mountain apple:

Mountain apples have a texture a lot like pears, and taste sort of rose-watery; it's a nice, light flavor, perfect for a summer treat. "Picking" the apples involves shaking the tree and trying to catch the fragile little pears before they hit the ground and explode into a million pieces. So, you can imagine my excitement, when K grabbed a tree full of very ripe fruit, shook it vigorously and then, and then, got COVERED with fermented fruit shards. The best part? He actually caught one despite the deluge. Too funny.

And finally, happy 28th birthday to my lil' sister KK. Party hard, KK!!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

RIP LaCretia

Yesterday, Kyle discovered our pet gold algae eater, LaCretia (similar fish shown, our camera has been broken since March), at the bottom of our fish tank sucking on what appeared to be not algae at all, rather one of our larger snails. That was certainly surprising.

"Oh", he says, "LaCretia is not eating the snail; the snail is eating LaCretia. She's dead."

And so ends the tragic life of our little one, leaving us with a mere 13 fish, forever destined to the same fate as our little algae imbiber. LaCretia was a good fish, although I did find her skills of late to be dropping considerably. But she lived probably a good 2.5 years or so (I have had her only a year; I inherited the fish from a friend leaving the island).

Which begs the question: do I get a new algae eater if I, myself, plan on leaving?

and, inevitably,

Should I really be keeping fish in an aquarium anyway?

I like my fish. I like coming home from work and watching them dance around in the water, with ol' Blacky, the shark, chasing the striped ones whom we haven't bothered naming. I like taking care of something too, which I'm sure is some kind of deep mothering affectation I can't completely satisfy by having a dog or a boyfriend. The fish just seem to be there for me, which is why the loss of one is not entirely ignorable (although, admittedly, the small tetris disappeared a long time ago, and I have no recollection of when it died or got devoured at all...)

In any case, I am sad to see the little one go. This loss comes at the end of a summer of many changes: friends leaving the island, my grandfather's passing and subsequent cleaning of his entire house full of memories, and the end of me playing around as a student, and starting a job as a teacher. The inevitable progression of life. I guess I will have to embrace it; I'll go to the pet store tonight and pick out a new algae eater. I hope it will live up to the legacy that was LaCretia.

Monday, July 16, 2007

And now the future...

There is an interesting comment string on the Scientist online today. Does tenure need to change? The overwhelming majority of those writing in seems to be against the tenure process as it is today. Too much emphasis on publications and grant money, and not enough emphasis on innovation and student support. It looks like a lot of bitter postdocs are waiting in line for jobs. Ah, I should get out now while I still have my sanity.

Tuesday update: The link above should work now!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Lost days of my youth, and such and such

Life goes by in a blink of an eye. I realized today I had not updated the blog in quite some time, and my only excuse is that I have been busy building sandcastles.*

Just kidding, I have never and probably will never build anything this cool in my life (although my knitting is coming along well, I don't think building scarves and hats count; btw, Lisa, I loved the "neurotrans-knitters" group. too funny). If you would like to look at more awesome sand art, check out this website. I have seen sand art like this only one time in my life, in Siesta Key near Sarasota, FL, during one of the AChemS meetings. A nine year old girl was the artist. Some people have all the skills...

I hope to get some sandcastle builiding in this weekend while camping with the Sally crew at Waimanalo beach. That is, of course, if I get all my real work done!

* Technically I have actually been writing a grant, rewriting a manuscript, preparing a frisbee tournament for August 18, preparing to teach Anatomy and Physiology this fall, preparing for a workshop in Durham in September, taking care of the dog since I'm by myself since K is on the east coast partying with Bart and teaching workshops, and last but not least, preparing to leave for the east coast this Thursday to go to two weddings, visit with my family, clean my grandfather's house, and maybe sit by the pool one day and enjoy the upstate New York summer. This has been the busiest summer I can remember, and I don't think it will let up until Christmas. C'est la vie!,

with love, Caro-whine

The Line abides

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Episode 56 is a big disappointment

So far, Episode 56 is about as exciting as Star Wars Episode 2 (ZING!). After the initial new crack formed, little lava came to the surface. The earthquakes stopped, and the flow into the ocean that has gone on steadily for years, also stopped. Apparently, the lava is being rerouted, but no one knows where. Could it be that we won't have to hike 3 miles the next time we go to see it? Oh wait, I forgot, Kyle and I only walked one mile and then collapsed (Brian, Dacks, Penny, and Carolina went further, but they too, turned around. Hiking 9 miles with packs in the same day probably did not help...)

Here is the update. I hope this isn't the end of the volcano as we know it. That would make me sad. How sad? As sad as this girl:

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Episode 56

The volcano gods are smiling. A new crack in the Kilauea crater formed this morning resulting in a new lava outflow. The geologists thought something big may happen after a series of hundreds of mini earthquakes hit on Sunday.

See info here and here.

This is the first time there has been a change in the lava flow since K and I have lived in Hawaii. We may have to plan another hiking trip to the Big Island, although I expect Halape Beach, where we stayed last time, is going to be a prime tsunami target after any major changes. Here's Halape after the October 6.7 earthquake.
You can see the plume of brown water from the rock slides:

Can't wait to see what the gods have in store for us next!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Happy King Kamehameha Day!

Today is a state holiday in Hawaii, which means no work! Yeah! King Kamehameha (Kah-may-ha-may-ha) established the united Hawaiian islands in 1810 by brute force and, oh yeah, guns. If you ever visit Oahu, you will visit the Pali lookout where Kamehameha's troops forced thousands of the other guy's men over a three hundred foot cliff to their deaths (when the Pali highway was built in the early 1900's, the engineers discovered several of the skulls). Once, he was reported to carry a 1000 lb. rock between villages without dropping it. What a guy.

To celebrate the day, I am going to work at home. Part of working at home is procrastinating, so I decided to post some pictures of some of our latest adventures.

First, I reported a couple weeks ago that I was going to ride around the whole island on the back of a motorcycle. It was amazing, and now I want to own one.

Here is my driver, Megan, and I cruising around Makapuhu:

And here is the hang glider who flew above us (can the sky get any bluer than this?):

It was Kim's first time driving around the entire island. She was nervous, but she finished in record time!

And Andjrez and Brandee completed the biker gang:

And then last Friday, we went to the top of Kokohead to watch the almost full moon rise. It was a beautiful hike, although a bunch of us got cold in the 75d winds. Pathetic, I know.

Here are Kim, Kim, Kyle, and I overlooking Hanuma Bay:

Enjoy your King Kamaehameha Day, wherever you are!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Slight update...

Hi y'all. Things have been busy here. K just finished teaching / running experiments and I am in the tangles of collecting the last data for a paper. In the meantime, we have been checking out the best bread puddings the island has to offer (thanks Honolulu weekly's article) . So far we have tried "European with a twist" and "The best of both worlds". The Grand Cafe and Bakery (B of BW), by the way, has an excellent outdoor patio where we also enjoyed smoked salmon and regular eggs benedict, the best corned beef hash since Ghini's in Tucson, and apple banana french toast with vanilla gellato. I am drooling just thinking about it now.

What else, oh yeah, I am seriously considering buying everyone this for Christmas. After all, who wouldn't want a deed to a piece of an island that may or may not break the surface of the ocean in the next 10,000 years?!? (Mahalo, Meg, for this article!)

Well, I am off to go collect slipper lobsters today. And by collect, I mean I need to go meet a guy from NOAA who will present one to me in a wet cardboard box. What fun!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Who needs men? Not sharks!

Hawaiian waters are full of hammerhead sharks. One of the guys we play frisbee with even studies their electromagnetic sensing capabilities. And now, researchers have discovered that female hammerheads can reproduce asexually through parthenogenesis.

The last line of the article reads:
“I would be concerned about a lot of other things than whether or not a female shark can get a date for an evening."

It makes me giggle to think about sharks looking for dates.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Attack of the killer jellies!

Eight to ten days after the full moon, box jellyfish descend upon Oahu's beaches, threatening Hanauma Bay and Waikiki tourists with their stinging nematocysts. One species, the sea wasp (Chironex fleckeri), is:

"claimed to be the most venomous marine animal known," according to the Australian Institute of Marine Science. They state that it causes excruciating pain to humans, often followed by death, sometimes within two or three minutes, and that the chance of survival if stung while swimming alone is "virtually zero."

The body of Chironex is the size of a basketball.

Luckily, here in Hawaii, we have the Carybdea alata and Carybdea rastonii species. They're not so big (less than 6") and not so bad (only cause anaphylactic shock in the lucky individuals allergic to their venom) as their relatives in Australia. One of the ladies in my department, Angel Yanagihara studies their venom and goes on regular collection trips in the middle of the special "8th night".

I would also like to comment about the figure the author of the Wikipedia article chose for the box jellyfish. It is a drawing by Ernst Haeckel, my new favorite scientific rebel who apparently made up some data to support his pet hypotheses. A case of artistic license, maybe? Some of his famous "fakes" were included in the embryo drawings, shown here in Romanes's 1892 version where the background has been changed to white from black:

He later admited that 6-8% of the images may have been "falsified" (translated).

Tomorrow, we plan on going to the North shore to snorkel Shark's Cove. The jellyfish are not so prevalent up there, so we should be fine. I am more worried about riding up there on the back of Megan's motorcycle. An hour and a half on a cruiser. I can't wait...

Friday, May 04, 2007

The quaking ground

Friday fun facts!!!, by Caroline

The Big Island has had three earthquakes this week, two at 3.5, and today's at 2.1. No tsunamis have formed, but I have a feeling a bigger earthquake may be coming soon. The Hawaii Electric Company (HECO) has replaced their ill-fated mercury containing switches, with new ones so our electricity should fortunately not magically disappear during the next earthquake. Note to engineers: do not place a movable liquid in a switch when the liquid may move from the shaking of the ground.

And did you know, "The brain is the only organ that hates crime"? I love Achewood.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The end of an era...

The Maui Land & Pineapple company, the last exporter of canned Hawaiian pineapple, is ending its operations on June 30. This marks the end of 100 years of canned pineapple exports from the state of Hawaii. The loss of the cannery is, "is a victim of cheaper overseas producers" like Costa Rica, Mexico, and Ecuador. Moreover, it marks the decidely necessary, but disappointingly bitter shift from Hawaii's agriculutural heritage to one of land developers and tourist dollars. Aloha, canned pineapples!

Don't worry, though, Hawaii still exports fresh pineapples! For now, anyways.

Read more at the Honolulu Adverstiser.

p.s. Did you know pineapples grew on the ground in these crazy agave-like configurations? I always thought they grew on trees until I moved here!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

UFOs in Hawaii?!?

A Katysux original....

p.s. I don't really believe this is a UFO. This is actually a picture I found on the internet. In the "Where's Waldo?" tradition, I have hidden the words, "Katy sux" somewhere in the picture. Can you find it, Katy?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Now presenting....

Creatures of the deep....

The science journal, Marine Biotechnology picked my image of a Labiodocera sp. copepod for its cover for next month! Last June, a colleague here at U. of Hawaii, Gabor Macz asked my boss, Petra, if any of the local copepods expressed green fluorescent protein (GFP). Petra, who was in Maine at the time, asked me to take a look. We discovered that the local species, like some of the other Labidocera, likely contain (a previously undescribed!) GFP in the female sex organs.

Here is the caption for the image:

Confocal microscopic image of the Pacific copepod Labidocera muridae with green fluorescent protein-like fluorescence. Colorful fluorescent proteins (FPs) occur in hydrozoan, anthozoan, and copepodan species, and are the source of exciting research opportunities and technological development. Copepodan FPs are among the brightest FPs in general which lends special value to this class of proteins. FPs have been used to address questions relevant to evolutionary and developmental biology and aquaculture. Photograph by Dr. Caroline Wilson, University of Hawaii, 2006. See the article by Mocz, pp. 000-000.

Isn't science fun?