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.