Dec 31, 2008

Users baffled as Zune MP3 players freeze up

Some things never change, eh Microshaft? Nothing celebrates winter like technology that freezes.

Most of us are already forced to use their operating system at home, school, or work, so I can't imagine why anyone would want to go out and willingly invest in another product of theirs for themselves when many other options are so readily available.

Dec 30, 2008

Mother Nature's fury knows no boundaries

A couple days ago, on another refreshingly dim, cloudy, and very windy afternoon, I took another trip down to one of my favorite spots on Earth, Pololu Valley. I encountered more crowds of tourists that I expected for such a weekday (there were actually only around 20 people down there, but even that seems excessive for such an isolated locale that I'm used to seeing so deserted). Craving absolute solitude as usual, I opted to leave everyone behind and go somewhere... well, no one else ever goes.

And it's a place no one ever goes for a reason. Most people wouldn't even dream of going that way, and even if taking the risk crossed their mind, wouldn't be stupid or gutsy enough to try it. I have been stupid or gutsy enough to do it several times, and have always been rewarded with complete isolation and a slight sense of satisfaction for testing nature and prevailing.

The coastline is comprised of sheer, vertical cliffs, at the base of which lies a narrow stretch composed of round boulders between Pololu Valley and the next valley mouth about half a mile away. There are basically two ways of reaching that remote second valley- take the switchbacking trail that ascends up the wall from Pololu Valley, traverses the ridge, and descends down the second valley wall, or take the route that is much shorter and easier, but much more risky, and hop along the boulders at the base of the cliff.

The trail used to be the much easier way, before "The Big One" of '06 triggered a rockslide that undermined a significant portion of the trail, and necessitated a detour which involves scrambling down a very steep, slippery slope while holding onto tree trunks and a network of strategically placed ropes. It's exhausting, to say the least, whether one is headed up or down.

Most of the shoreline route actually isn't that bad, as long as one is physically fit for half a mile (seems like much more) of unstable, slippery boulder hopping. The first couple portions are the worst, though, as the going is so narrow that practically nothing lies between the raging ocean and the cliff. One has to proceed with just the right timing to rush on through between waves rolling in, so as to avoid being pounded by one against the cliff face. The worst I always get is a bit wet with salt water, but it's always a gamble.

After I made my way around the point and left the mouth of Pololu out of sight, I suddenly came upon the majority of the wreckage from the boat I mentioned a couple entries ago- a wide variety of objects the ocean simply deposited on the shore. And this wreckage was far more interesting, because it apparently had not been picked over at all, and I was likely the first person to investigate it from anywhere but in the air.

The first object I stumbled upon was the craft's steering wheel, all bent out of shape but still intact. Nearby were several fragments from the engine system, though the engine itself was probably lost somewhere out at sea. Four bright red gasoline containers were strewn about the rocks, a couple of them still retaining fuel.

Here are some of the other odd, random little items I discovered amongst all the sea-logged fragments of lumber:

-fire extinguisher
-wheel from a child's bicycle
-couple of children's life vests
-a battered VCR
-self-inflating bed roll with a name and phone number on it
-grey Zodiak boat that appeared in reasonably decent shape, but not necessarily related to the wreckage of the other boat
-couple of chair cushions
-the nautical compass
-the muffler
-a flare gun set with flares

I took the nautical compass and the flare gun set home as souvenirs. Finders keepers.

If I was a cast away out there, I would have been delighted to discover such a wreck. The things I could do with all that wood, plastic, and rope, not to mention a functioning flare gun! As it was, though, I found it fascinating, surreal, and creepy all the time. I couldn't help mentally inquiring as to how it happened, or whether any fatalities occurred because of it. It's not everyday one simply happens upon such an accident, but it just goes to show the ferocity of the rough seas out there, and that Hawai'i isn't nearly as tame as many people seem lulled into believing.


just an annual excuse to get wasted

I was hoping I would get the chance to work up on the mountain all night on New Year's Eve, but it appears wintry weather might again prevail and the shift will be canceled due to an excess of snow and ice on the summit.

All that happens in this neighborhood on said holiday are billions of firecrackers going off, as well as equally as annoying whistling fireworks. This is the perfect time to make a bunch of obnoxious, unnecessary noise and do it legally, so why not take advantage of it? I hope it's windy enough so all the smoke doesn't linger, and damp enough to minimize people's willingness to make as much noise as they humanly can just for the hell of it. Up on the mountain, it would be a peaceful, surreal snowy winter wonderland, an environment I wouldn't mind spending all night in as everyone carries on with their mindless partying and boozing and noisemaking somewhere thousands of feet below the clouds.

I can hardly wait for this holiday to be over, too. Then soon thereafter the old, stale president will be out and replaced by someone who shows a lick of promise, and we can all try to move on with our lives in relative comfort. Or maybe not; who knows how much worse it will get. I try not to depress myself with such thoughts. At least the dawn of a new year feels like somewhat of a fresh start. Actually, it will probably just feel like business as usual, which is actually welcome after how I've reacted to the holidays this year.

If I don't get the blessed chance to work tomorrow night, I'll likely just stay in the warmth and coziness of my room and listen to music, indulge in playing my recently acquired copies of Okami or Galaxy on the Wii, and maybe watch some movies. For someone as willfully introverted as I am, who experiences the most pleasure in doing solitary activities, having one's private little oasis to hide out in where no one can intrude without permission is extremely important. I'm glad I have that, especially on occasions like New Year's Eve.

Dec 28, 2008

Don't look back in anger

This morning, I really wanted to pick up the stand-alone vanity mirror in the bathroom and slam it down onto the counter as hard as I could. I was able to maintain enough composure to merely pick it up above my head and simulate the behavior as best as I could without damaging anything. I really, really craved the satisfaction of destroying something, but I wasn't in quite enough of a rage to not be able to think ahead of what the consequences would be. Having to clean up a few hundreds shards of broken glass, possibly pull some out of my skin and then mop up the blood, purchase a replacement mirror, and perhaps be stricken with seven years' bad luck. So with all that in mind, I just put it down and chewed on a bath towel instead.

It makes me wish life was more like a cartoon, where I could break the hell out of something to my heart's content and then it will magically clean itself up and replace itself five minutes later. After all, the mirror did nothing to instigate my wrath, and I have no reason to prefer it remain in a million pieces. It just happened to be standing up and staring back at me at the wrong time. The key is to be able to control myself well enough to not always grab the nearest handy object to throw, but rather the nearest available object that isn't important and won't cause any real damage.

Maybe I simply need a safer, more reliable outlet for my frustrations. A punching bag, perhaps, or some manner of effigy?

Dec 27, 2008

Eat my shorts, teacher sir

For second and third grades of my elementary schooling, I was enrolled in two different public schools on the island of Kaua'i. For some reason, both schools required students to perform a certain ritual each morning that I did not have to deal with in either of the two Big Island elementary schools I attended.

The class was expected to stand up immediately after the tardy bell rang at 8:05 and recite the pledge of allegiance. You know, the one where you supposedly pledge your allegiance to the oh-so-wonderful United States of America. We had to pledge our allegiance every day of school, and there were 180 days in the school year. I sure pledged my allegiance often.

Of course, being as young as I was, I had no idea what pledging my allegiance even meant. They didn't even tell us what it meant. I just stood up and recited what everyone else was because I was told to. And being an impressionable, unquestioning seven year-old who believed adults are truly all-knowing beings, I did so. It seemed senseless to me even at the time to stand up and chant and then listen to a bugle rendition of some patriotic American-the-great anthem on the P.A. speaker every single goddamn morning, but I did it so as to avoid the possible pain of receiving a spanking from my dad as punishment for disobeying the all-knowing adults and the infallible system that governed my youth.

If I could go back in time with the mind of an adult who is willing to stand up for himself and object to performing senseless rituals designed to mold us all into obedient little servants, I would gladly re-enter the eight hour of the day on a second grade school morning, and do what good ol' Bongo here did:

In truth, there are many, many things in school I wish I had done, and had not done. But when you're a kid whose happiness in life is determined so strongly by your parents or guardians, the right thing to do is simply to try and stay out of trouble and do with the adults say. I truly detested school and all the ridiculous things they made us do, and I can say I wish I hadn't wasted 12 years of my life in the public school system, but who knows whether I would be a better or worse person today if I hadn't had to suffer through it. Some people say high school or college is the best time of one's life, but I disagree. Life only got better after high school and college.

Dec 26, 2008

What made my Christmas, 2008 edition

I'm glad Christmas is over with for another year.

I don't loathe the holiday, but unfortunately, people just make too big a deal out of it. I am not religious and certainly don't aspire to be, so that eliminates at least half the potential appeal right there. All I really do value it for are the memories of years past, when I was young and naive enough to believe in Santa Claus, and that world peace was achievable. When I got so excited about opening my presents I could barely contain myself, and I could easily lose myself in the majesty of the outdoor lights and a tree filling the house with a warm, colorful glow in the middle of the night.

This year, it simply felt like more of a chore than anything else. What do I get for a retired dad who invests in gold and silver and apparently can buy whatever he feels like having? I don't know, but of course, I feel obligated to place some miscellaneous crap under the tree for everyone. I still enjoy the holiday lights and the fragrance of imported pine in the house and... well, what else? Christmas brings home my brother, whom I seem to have nothing in common with, and whose dirty glance in my direction at the dinner table was the only communication we've shared in years. I got some seasonal employment with UPS, which enabled me to earn a few hundred extra dollars which was certainly worth it, but I can't say much for the environment I had to work in this year. As I had stated in LJ earlier, it's a "culturally homogenized snooty hell hole of golf courses and gated mansions." If all of Hawaii was like that, I wouldn't have anything to do with this place. And of course, there is the shopping. Thousands of consumers stampeding through the stores like cattle, snatching up the best bargains they can find as if they depend on those huge sales for their very survival.

All I really cared for this Christmas was someone to snuggle, or at least enjoy the company of, rather than having to act polite around my family and put up with their various attitudes. Well, maybe next year.

The actual highlight of Christmas day was taking off in the afternoon by myself. Just me, my music, the open road, and the freedom to do whatever I want and voyage wherever I please for the rest of the day. Such therapy. It also just so happened that I wandered right into an intense rain storm, in an area where rain is hardly a common occurence. Rain in the desert is really a special experience, to witness a landscape that is usually bone dry and barren experiencing a total deluge. I savored that for at least an hour before heading back around to the lush, foresty side of the peninsula and traveling down the road until it terminated at the Pololu Valley lookout. Since it was a holiday, the parking lot was infested with tourae, but as I made my way down the steep hiking trail into the valley I left them all behind. That was perfectly fine with me; I've had enough of humanity for the week.

Pololu Valley is one of the most beautiful, not to mention spiritually soothing, places on Earth. It's just a completely uninhabited, totally wild, densely forested little valley surrounded by dramatically steep walls that preclude 99% of human souls from bothering to venture into it to experience its majesty. Of course, it's also possible to sail in from the ocean and land on the sprawling black sand beach at the mouth, but the sea is usually much too rough and the waves too intimidating to make landing there anything but too dicey of a thing to plan for. In fact, I discovered a boat washed up on the beach yesterday. It was all in pieces, dozens of little fragments of wood that appeared to have been floating about in the saltwater for quite some time. One of them contained the skeleton of a marine loudspeaker, and I came across several beached cabinet doors, clothes hangers, and other odd miscellaneous items. All of this debris was washed up on only a small section of the beach.

The coast was being positively buffeted by wind. Warm, salty Pacific trade winds, gusting strongly enough to force me to lean into it slightly to properly stroll forward. It felt wonderful. Aside from the constant roar of the ocean right beside me, I could hear the wind whooshing through the ironwood trees that densely forested the lofty dunes just behind the beach. Myriad sea birds announced their presence over those lulling sounds of nature, and that was all I could hear. A fragment of a vivid rainbow was visible in the sky over the sea, as rain clouds made their way closer and closer to shore, and eventually treated me to a nice light shower.

I could have stayed out there much longer and would have, were it not for the expectation that I should be home for dinner.

Dec 25, 2008

Tribute to Mirrors of the Wolf

I am admittedly impressed with how this blog has endured through the years and weathered all that I've put it through. I've gone through and permanently deleted all the entries in my LJ on several occasions due to fits of paranoia or rage. My old website and its sequel were around for a few years, but that failed the test of time after I decided I simply didn't want to bother working out its many bugs anymore. Truthfully, the main reason I disposed of it was because I had been ignorant enough to include my real name on the front page, and I became gravely concerned that just anyone in the world could look up my real name and be linked to my website, which contained a great deal of personal information and musings about myself I don't want just anyone reading. I'm much better off not including my real name anywhere on this blog, or anywhere online.

I had been under the impression for awhile that I deleted this blog along with everything else. Hence, my completely neglecting it for a couple years. After I finally rediscovered my account and found that all the original posts are still intact, I decided to convert it into a dump for my negative and cynical thoughts, and a place for venting during a bad mood. Just take a look at all the nastiness I've posted. Good thing it's a fairly harmless method of releasing steam.

But yes, nothing of mine online, save for my account at a certain video game discussion forum, has lasted nearly as long as this blog, and for that it deserves my utmost respect. Lifespans for personal content in cyberspace are so incredibly short, yet this is still here for me after all these years. Thank Google.

I usually feel rather mixed about how much I actually want to write about myself and my life. Livejournal usually isn't very conducive for going into great amounts of detail about my experiences; it feels more like a tool to update others on what I've been up to. But here, I feel at liberty to ramble on as much as I please about whatever I feel like, and I should hope it shows. It feels private, secure, and cozy here.

And that's why, for the new year, I would like to get back in the habit of posting. Not just venting, but stories and accounts of what I've recently experienced. It seems I used to be quite a bit more prolific than I am now, but I would like to try to regain at least some of that enthusiasm for describing my adventures and my deepest thoughts and feelings. I know they don't go unappreciated by some readers, anyway, and if for no one else it benefits myself in that it helps me remember what is most worth recalling.

We'll see how it goes, I suppose.

Sep 25, 2008

Comfort Zone, Act I

Lately, whenever I turn on the TV, I find the programming to be much too 'human-centric.' I wouldn't mind at all if TV mainly consisted of a camera simply following another species of animal and its behaviors. There wouldn't even have to be any narration. If I had the option of paying a dollar a month for just one channel showing such footage constantly, I would. I would enjoy that more than any of the other shit I find on television. After reading Call of the Wild by Jack London, I'm only more inclined to read a story told through the perspective of a dog or some other intelligent animal besides a human. *shrugs* I'm sick of people and their petty bullshit, and how they always focus everything on them. I think I'd much rather watch an informative and intelligent documentary about meerkats or some relatively obscure species of rat than the news, daytime talk shows, shitty aspiring pop stars, or 'Hole in the Wall.'

The misanthropic tendencies that I often feel must be partially bourne out of all the verbal abuse and bullying I suffered throughout childhood for being "strange," and my just feeling like an entirely different animal than humankind most of my life. But that can't be all. Regardless of my personal past experiences, it's impossible for me not to strongly dislike humanity as a unit, and I know many others feel the same. I am unable to love my "fellow man" and I've no desire to try. It just does too many despicable and outrageous things. Considering that the public I have to deal with in my own town is simply a tiny sample of the population at large, I know why I am ashamed rather than proud of this species.

Some might say the Devil is the ultimate corrupting force, but the Devil is simply power. Humanity is charged with a tremendous excess of power but its actions are guided by a tragic lack of wisdom. Not a promising combination. For its own short-term benefit it eliminates hundreds of thousands of other species, scars the very planet on which it depends to survive, and disrupts the natural balance of ecosystems, all of which only comes back to hurt the population in the end. It's just a highly evolved, extremely intricate parasite with funny-looking hats sucking the life force out of the Earth and giving little back but the belches and farts of its factories, machines, and bred-to-be-butchered livestock on broad swatches of deforested land. Maybe once humanity wisens up enough to learn how to live in harmony with the natural environment again, I'll respect it a bit more. Until then, I find hope in more and more people becoming environmentally conscious and taking such small steps as picking up litter, planting trees, or volunteering in animal shelters.

So I may inherently love and respect and admire all other members of all other species, save for my natural enemies who are after my blood or seeking to contaminate my food, but humans are the one exception. I can only love and respect and admire certain, select individuals, the ones that have earned it. For example, Trent Reznor through his vast catalogue of splendid music, and my friends and family for their love and support and simply being their selves. But regardless of what it has accomplished and the marvels it is responsible for, I can't be proud of humanity, any more than I am proud that I have elbows. I'm proud only of my parents for raising me to be a steward of Mother Earth, to respect all animals, and care for and appreciate the natural environment.

I've also realized that I'm not really antisocial. I'm just not too socially inclined or interested in "chit-chat," or meeting bunches of people. I'm awfully introverted, that much is true... but only around humans. With dogs, for instance, I act perfectly natural thinking nothing of it. With people, I can't behave anything close to naturally. They are so touch-phobic, yet they have no problem directing soluble words in my direction all the time. I jump whenever someone touches me, intentionally or accidentally, simply because I'm not used to it. But people talk at me all the time, while I choose to only talk to people. Blabbermouths can really annoy me, while I almost always use speech as a tool, not a pastime. I prefer to maintain a sort of dignified aura of mystery, so it's no wonder I have no interest in facebook or myspace and putting my life up for everyone to see. Anytime anyone asks me if I use either of those, I just say, "never heard of it," and then enjoy the bewildered looks or incredulous comments that ensue.

If people spent more time hugging each other and less time fishing for topics of superficial conversation to cover up perceived 'awkward' moments, the world might be a happier place. No wonder I just sort of naturally fell into the furry niche. It suits me like nothing else ever would, and has been responsible for bringing more love, warmth, joy, security, and genuine companionship into my life than I ever could have imagined years ago. I guess even the most socially estranged have a place somewhere... I'm just glad I discovered mine while I'm still so young.

Sep 21, 2008

It's too early. Go back to bed.

I'm getting tired of all these political sign-holding pricks in my town who wave at you fanatically when you drive to try and get your attention. Hey, standing on the side of the road at 7 a.m. waving at me with one hand and holding a sign bearing the name of your favored candidate with the other is not gonna sway my vote, no matter how toothy your stupid-looking grins are. I just want to get home from a 14 hour shift without being pandered to so obnoxiously. I mean, it's not like I'm gonna vote or care who gets elected. It's all the same, they're all puppets who just want to win for their own sake. Guess that's why it annoys me so much to see all these idiots out there everyday making such a huge fuss over it and trying to distract my attention from the road, not to mention interfering with my taking in the otherwise pretty roadside scenery. It makes me wanna mow 'em down all in a row for thousands of points.

Sep 11, 2008


A certain storm is responsible for keeping my Lone Star State-trippin' Cubs from playing in Houston for at least the next two days, which means I'll actually have to care about what this one does.

Hurricane Ike appears to be several times the size of Florida. On one of the recent satellite images I saw, he appears to nearly fill up the entire Gulf of Mexico, if you count all his pretty little outer bands as well.

This storm is fantasically huge. Texas don't look so gargantuan no more, ah reckon. Thank Mom for breathtaking acts of nature like these diverting some of the media's attention away from certain other matters. Gives me a reason to look forward to watching the news.

Sep 4, 2008

If you don't dig the J-Mac, you must be whack, like a stack... of tacks

Palin: "Do you know what they say the difference is between a hockey mom and a pitbull?"
McCain aide: "No, Governor."
Palin: "A hockey mom wears lipstick."

I wouldn't doubt that is she just as aggressive and brainless as most of the pitbulls I've met. I want to take a hockey stick and wipe that annoying smirk off her face. No man, present commander in chief excluded, could irritate me so much by appearance alone.

Besides, this about says it for me regarding most of the opposite gender:

Aug 22, 2008

My TV antenna won't pick up the religious channel. GODDAMNIT!

Aug 16, 2008

nothing says "expressing your individuality" like this trendy device.

It allows you to make your own individual statement.
Clip it on and wear it as a badge of musical devotion.
No matter where you wear it, it speaks volumes about your style.
With a wide selection of colors to match your bold and fun-loving personality.

Show the world what YOU are all about...


kids and leashes

As posted by Beachboy on Punaweb:

"As I await a flight back to Puna at the Honolulu Airport. I tend to enjoy people watching something my grandparents were experts at. But what caught my eyes today was this tourist/father walking around with his daughter. THe daughter appeared to be under 3 of age, I'd guess. But what caught my attention with these two was the leash!!! I hate to see parents who walk their kids on leashes. This is some real disturbing stuff for me! I really, really get pissed off with parents that take this lazy route with their children. I have gotten into the faces of these parents before too. It really breaks my heart to see kids with leashes on them. I mean it's somewhat disturbing for me to see animals on leashes too.

Am I be crazy with this? Or do the majority of you folks agree with me, in that no kid belongs on a leash,...never This kinda crap really ,really bothers me because I love kids so much!"

Well, have you ever stopped to consider that maybe some unruly children belong on leashes? Surely, it's not just for show. When I'm strolling through public places, such as stores, and I see little screeching monsters recklessly careening down the aisles, or (as I witnessed one time at Costco) swinging from an electrical cord hanging from the ceiling, I wish their parents would equip them with choke collars and keep them on a very tight leash. I am a proponent of kids on leashes. That ought to learn them, since it's obvious the parents have no disciplinary control over them otherwise. And for those who point out in disgust that using a leash on a child is akin to "treating them like animals," might I point out that many animals act more civilized than most kids that age that I come across.

If you think that's "real disturbing stuff," then I hope you get a chance to witness what some other people do with leashes in public. Ever heard of "slave/master" relationships?

Mind your own business, Mr. Beachboy.

Aug 13, 2008

Obama not "American" enough, some say

HONOLULU -- While Sen. Barack Obama enjoyed his vacation home to the islands with his family, it is also possible his Hawaii roots may be used against him in the presidential campaign.

First, an ABC network commentator said his Hawaii vacation made no sense. Others said his upbringing in Hawaii and Indonesia can be used to make him seem less American than Sen. John McCain.

Three days from celebrating the 49th anniversary of statehood, Hawaii is once again defending its place in America while some say it is still too "exotic" a place to visit or even be born.

ABC's Cokie Roberts said Obama's Hawaii trip made no sense when he was not ahead in the polls.

"But it has the look of him going off to some sort of foreign, exotic place. He should be in Myrtle Beach," Roberts said on ABC's This Week.

"She's a bit of a fool. That's the only thing you can say," U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie said.

Hawaii Sen. Dan Inouye said he was shocked and saddened by the remarks, which reminded him of pre-statehood attitudes.

"We've been fighting this for 50 years now," he said. "I think we've conducted ourselves in an American way."

Meanwhile, the idea of directly using Hawaii against Obama was apparently floated within Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign last year.

Clinton Strategist Mark Penn wrote, "Obama's boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii... exposes a very strong weakness for him -- his roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited... I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war... who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and values..."

Clinton rejected the strategy, but some say an ad from McCain hints at the same theme.

Inouye hopes the campaigns are not going there.

"The question comes up" what is America, and who is American?" Inouye said. "I would resent anyone suggesting that my roots are not American."

McCain's Hawaii co-chair Kimberly Pine said McCain talks about being an American to emphasize his own values, not to contrast with Obama. There are anti-Obama groups trying to emphasize Obama's race or upbringing, she said. The orders from McCain are not to use those tactics, which she said they consider un-American.

Neither the Obama campaign nor Cokie Roberts returned KITV's calls.

I had a feeling Obama's Hawaiian background would eventually be used against him by anti-Obama whiners. Why not? Jealousy, probably, that he's from a place as exotic and foreign as Hawaii and he gets to spend a week there, while they're stuck with Myrtle Beach, or some shitty overdeveloped spread of sand in florida.

People come up with the most ridiculous bullshit to use against the opponent of their politician of choice, and others just hop on the bandwagon and say "yea, he's right, i mean think about it that's sew unamerican LOL. i bet he eats weird foreign hawaiian stuff like sushi and poy (sp?) and spam musubi, WHATEVER THAT IS LOL. i even heard hawaii has lotz of rainbows, that sounds pretty exotic (woops even the word 'exotic' is too exotic), i mean gay. yeah, rainbows just scream gay. and you know what 'foreign' translates to. TEARERIST!!!lol."

That is why I pay only very limited attention to this presidential race. It often makes me feel like I'm in fourth grade all over again.

Timothy Shriver's comments on 'Tropic Thunder'

This guy needs to loosen his tie and pull the rod out of his ass:

I agree with most of the article's commenters. I'll probably go see it in the theater just to spite people like him.

Aug 5, 2008

a very expensive enema

there are people who are fanatical over this "miraculous advance in alternative healing" known as "colon cleansing." apparently, it's supposed to relieve all sorts of ailments not even related to the colon and make you a happier person overall. colonix is just one example of the myriad colon-cleansing products available.

in case it isn't obvious already, just look up a website with actual scientific facts and you'll quickly realize these people are so full of shit that no miraculous product is really going to help their asses. but this is just another way for people to make money off of something your body does all by itself or there are simple homemade remedies for. you can support the bowel movement without donating to these capitalistic assholes.

some of the testimonials on the right column remind me just how fucking weird people are.

"I've eaten my words, and digested them quite well thanks to your program." that is hilarious.

"Yes, [Colonix is] an expense, but will cost you less in the end, and maybe even your life!" uhh...

my favorite: "54 years of constipation and finally my prayers have been answered."

Jul 24, 2008


According to my original paperwork, the desktop computer I'm using has officially turned eight years old today. How old would that be in computer years? I should note that she's still purring like a kitten. A sluggish, obese, gassy kitten.

I'm also driving a pickup truck which is going on 20 years old and has more miles on it than hairs on my fursona. It's grey with... uhh... rust... discoloration. Much like my computer, it looks as attractive as a sack of rotten potatoes, but it gets the job done. I'm content with that.

However, I am facing pressure by the media and high-tech consumers to purchase myself a brand new flat-screen 1080p LCD HDTV that measures at least 50 inches. That sounds like true happiness right there. You know what they say about a man with big appliances. Then I'd get to buy HD programming, a high-definition player, movies formatted to take full advantage of the high-definition player, and uh, pay it all off next year. Then true happiness will just sit there collecting dust as I work 60 hours a week just to pay off all the interest and finance charges on all the materialistic indulgences I have to have sitting in my room to make a statement about my place in society. Well, never mind.

I find greater happiness riding my bike around town in the rain in the middle of the night. Last time, though, a drunken idiot in front of a bar made a little remark as I passed him by: "are you crazy, man? You're riding in the rain?" What struck me is that it didn't just seem like a predictable sarcastic quip from a person with reduced inhibition. He seemed sincerely shocked. Oh, sir, if only you had some clue about who I am or some of the other things I do in my life. That would surely make you faint. Riding my bike in the rain, through public property, with clothes on even, is tame, tame stuff.

It reminded me why I'm usually avoiding people. Many of them are fine, but others can't seem to mind their own business. I don't really care too much about how they regard me, and they can gawk at me as much as they want, but it would be nice if they could keep their annoying judgmental remarks to themselves.

Jul 19, 2008

The AMV must be one of the most retarded inventions of mankind, and they're all over the internet. Stop disgracing good songs by pairing them with Dragonball Z episodes, AHHH!!!

Jul 13, 2008

Miscellaneous thought dump pt. 1

Another thing I like about Super Mario All-Stars is that the updated level music for the original SMB game sounds as if it was reorchestrated by Jimmy Buffett after a few margaritas. Makes me want to grab a jug of rum and swing in the hammock while heaving fireballs at flying turtles.


John McCain, you're old. And frankly, you're not at all attractive to look at. Are you storing acorns in your cheeks? You look like you belong in a coffin. We don't need all your experience being a politician. Barack Obama, you're from Hawaii, you look youthful and handsome, and seem like a man who will get things done rather than just say they'll get done. And you getting elected would piss off a lot of republicans. I'm totally voting for you, brother, so keep chillin'.


I'm going camping under the moonlight for awhile, but I'll be sure to bring my iPhone with me and stay constantly connected. That way all my dope sk8r budz can stay in touch with me wherever I go, and know exactly where I am all times using the sick built-in GPS feature. Haha, psych. I'm going somewhere so remote I may as well be slipping off the face of the earth, and I would never waste my money on something that lets others keep constant track of my exact whereabouts. I'm reaching out and connecting to mother nature, and I shall have excellent reception.

Jul 12, 2008

Rotten Apple

The launch of Apple Inc.'s much-anticipated new iPhone turned into an information-technology meltdown on Friday, as customers were unable to get their phones working.

"It's such grief and aggravation," said Frederick Smalls, an insurance broker in Whitman, Massachusetts, after spending two hours on the phone with Apple and AT&T Inc., trying to get his new iPhone to work.

In stores, people waited at counters to get the phones activated, as lines built behind them. Many of the customers had already camped out for several hours in line to become among the first with the new phone, which updates the one launched a year ago by speeding Internet access and adding a navigation chip.

Enthusiasm was high ahead of the Friday morning launch of the phone. Alex Cavallo, 24, was one of hundreds lined up at the Fifth Avenue store in New York, just as he had been a year ago for the original iPhone. He sold that one recently on eBay in anticipation of the new one. In the meantime, he has been using another phone, which felt "uncomfortable." Video Watch people lining up to purchase the iPhone »

"The iPhone is just a superior user experience," he said. The phone also proved a decent investment for him: He bought the old model for $599 and sold it for $570.

Nick Epperson, a 24-year-old graduate student, spent the night outside an AT&T store in Atlanta, Georgia, keeping his cheer up with bags of Doritos, three games of Scrabble and two packs of cigarettes. Asked why he was waiting in line, he responded simply "Chicks dig the iPhone."

IPhone fever was strong even in Japan, where consumers are used to tech-heavy phones that do restaurant searches, e-mail, music downloads, reading digital novels and electronic shopping. More than 1,000 people lined up at the Softbank Corp. store in Tokyo and the phone quickly sold out.

"Just look at this obviously innovative design," Yuki Kurita, 23, said as he emerged from buying his iPhone, carrying bags of clothing and a skateboard he had used as a chair during his wait outside the Tokyo store. "I am so thrilled just thinking about how I get to touch this."

It's such grief and aggravation... yeah, I imagine it is, when your happiness seems to be so dependent on acquiring and expressing yourself through overpriced digital gadgets, and buying a trendy new cell phone to be one with the rest of the clones is actually a momentous occasion in your life.

Jul 4, 2008

Tear it down.

*snorts* I honestly wish some vicious storm would suddenly come along and wipe out all these cheap beer-guzzling, bass note-dropping, smoke-fanning, horn-honking revelers. After it was over, I would walk out and stand amongst the rubble, gazing up at the beautiful post-tempest cloud formations, breathing in the fresh air while the birds and other wildlife emerged safely out of hiding to join me, all of us enjoying together the aftermath of immaculate silence and tranquility.

I'm already detached from society with most of my psyche, but days like today only make me wish I had quite the audacity to completely extricate myself from civilization. Every instinct of mine points away, away, away.

p.s. The Pink Floyd show was the one thing I had to look forward to but it was canceled this week because of the stupid fucking holiday.

Jun 30, 2008

Human stupidity knows no bounds.

As if the practice of "texting" alone wasn't annoying enough.

This is different from some brainless teenager wandering into an area he shouldn't be to retrieve his ballcap and having his head taken off by a speeding rollercoaster. People do this texting while driving shit all the time, so it's no freak accident. If constantly "reaching out" is so important to these consummate texters and their precious little digital social networks stocked full of imbeciles who are equally as embarrassing to mankind, then reach out and jerk me off.

Jun 27, 2008

No, really, it's free. Promise.

The way things have been going in the world in recent years (read: downhill like a roadblock boulder on a sled), people feel they have countless excuses to feel miserable and depressed. Most people can't afford to drive as much, fly as much, or eat out as much. The American Dream, it seems, is quickly becoming a nightmare.

Adjusting to changing economic conditions is a pain, isn't it? When people are forced to cut back significantly just to survive, they often rather uselessly long for the old days when things were cheaper and they could live more extravagantly. They wish their neighborhoods are still as safe as they used to be. They feel a dread sense of emptiness wash over them when they realize they won't be able to finance a trip to Orlando next winter and will have to involve SPAM in a home-cooked dinner at least three nights a week. They will be tied to their jobs year-round, providing they're lucky and won't have their jobs slashed. And once they can no longer cover it up with evening trips to elaborate restaurants, annual vacations to overrated tourist destinations, and drives across the city to the biggest mall in the country for excessive shopping sprees, many of them will begin to realize just how superficial and empty their lives were in the first place, because it mostly revolved around money.

My life is much less about money and materialism, and I think that's why higher gas prices, more expensive seats on flights, and a suffering housing market doesn't really get me down much. I admit that I am fortunate in my circumstances, being a young bachelor living in a magnificent tropical wonderland of rainbows and waterfalls. I'm hardly immune from many of the economy's problems, but I feel as if I'm somewhere on the edge of it rather than inundated in the middle of it. I feel the creature comfort of being able to dash off into the rainforest or the mountains and leave it all behind at any time, if only temporarily, is vital for me at this point. If it wasn't for my profound spiritual connection with Mother Earth, and the love in my heart transferred to and fro the other beloved hearts of my friends and family, I would probably be one with the miserable masses. What else is there to live for? Oh yeah, all the simple pleasures that can make each day unique... and don't require a dime.

Jun 23, 2008

Entering World 4-1

I'm surprised just how cool my apartment keeps, even throughout an overly warm and humid summer afternoon (this afternoon was the first time since I moved in a week ago that I've seen the sun shine in Hilo). I know having a large floor fan right near my bed and dual ceiling fans helps, but I think it's more so the fact that the main living area where I sleep has some bunker-like qualities. It's halfway below ground, and it has a very cool tile floor. It's nice to have it so cool and comfortable without A/C. I imagine the upstairs is quite a bit warmer, though. There's no mystery behind our coyote friends digging their dens below ground in the desert. Comfortably cool and dark is how we like it.

Went out and explored a hedge maze in the moonlight last night. It was kind of lame, though, since the hedge is only about four feet tall, so I wasn't actually surprised by any dead ends. I guess it could have been a blast for kids, midgets, and things that don't stand tall on two feet. I wish we had a maze like the one from The Shining, or something out of Starfox Adventures to explore. Still, it was a wonderfully serene little stroll through the rain forest. Surrounded by abundant life and plants so cartoonishly large I felt like I was touring World 4 from Super Mario Brothers 3, thick vines wrapping their fingers around everything they could get a grasp on, and amidst it all, a gently cascading mountain stream.

Also took a drive up the road from where I live... a narrow, winding paved road that ascends up the hills, traversing lush gulches and narrow wooden bridges into beautiful lush countryside. Only a few residences are scattered about up there, ranging from modern palaces to humble (putting it kindly) squatter shacks teetering on the edges of cliffs with blue tarps compensating for rotted out walls. The road seems to twist and turn up the mountain forever before it turns to gravel... then just keeps on going. There's a small church and a pleasant little park with a pavilion way up there. With everything covered in a veil of mist and sweeping grassy knolls amongst large patches of forest, the whole area reminded me of something out of Ireland rather than Hawaii. There are all kinds of side roads leading off into the woods and rugged trails heading toward small secluded swimming holes. Not much traffic on the main road, either. What a sensational place that would be to bring a mountain bike, day or night. Flying back down would be even more fun than climbing up. Can hardly wait to restore mine to working order.

Here are a few shots I took of my place and the surrounding neighborhood:

Jun 18, 2008

Will it ever be found again?

I got into the rainforest late Tuesday afternoon. Drove just a few short miles out of town, parked alongside an old scenic route, and followed a muddy trail down into a deeply forested gulch which eventually terminated at the rugged shore of the roaring ocean. I can leave it all behind here and immerse myself in raw, wild nature as easily as where I moved from, and that must be one of the many reasons I treasure this place so. As there was of course no one around I felt free to be a naturist as I wandered about the lush foliage and took a dip in a cool cascading stream. The waves rolled in to meet its mouth, mixing in slightly warmer salt water. All that could be heard was the tranquil clamoring of the sea amidst the relentless birdsong in the heavy canopy above.

When I noticed a couple of ancient automobile carcasses dumped over the side of the cliff and overrun by ferns, moss, and other vegetation, I began to dwell on something. Why has humanity become so detached from nature? How could it have so largely lost its reverence and respect for other species than its own in mere centuries? How can a person think absolutely nothing of backing up to the edge of a cliff and dumping a large crate of used car batteries into a river? Has our species become so mechanical, machinelike, and insensitive to the rest of the world that so many of us will gladly do such things in the interests of efficiency, profit, and the advancement of mankind? Apparently. As far as the triforce is concerned, humanity has most of the power in this world, and it definitely has courage (unprecedented gaul), but wisdom is the one thing that it will probably never learn how to steal from other animals. Humanity has intelligence, sure, but wisdom? Not much.

One of the hottest trends these days is "going green." I see it everywhere. Corporations are going green, consumers are going green, wise little Martian men have already gone green a long time ago. Obviously, we have finally begun to recognize the threat we pose to ourselves. It's not that anyone with any real power gives a damn about wolves or polar bears or spotted owls, and why should they? The reason they're in power is because they appealed to the people and promised helping humanity toward a better future, not because they went out and physically stood in the way of the forcible slaughter of 100,000 tortoises. Wouldn't affect them any either way. It's all just a grand ol' play. The latest Bush just so happened to weave it into a seemingly irrerversible tragedy.

But who cares, we're the dominant ones, and we have the power. The world belongs to us, right? Fuck anyone or anything that can't compete. Must exterminate. Must control. Must consume far more than necessary.

What else saddens me is observing how few people seem to appreciate the majesty of nature anymore. They resemble cattle in feedlots, pushing each other along in massive droves as they dip their noses into the grain, completely oblivious to the spectacular rainbow that stretches across the sky right above their heads. Just going about their business, from point Abattoir to point Butcher, with what appears to be little to no capacity to pause and appreciate all the beauty in the world, if only for a second. If life's finish line is death, what's the point of racing through it all the time?

Jun 12, 2008

A post about movies

Oh great, yet another fucking superhero movie has been on the tip of everyone's tongue. *does an Incredible Sulk*

You know, The Hulk just made an appearance on the big screen five years ago, but this time, he's incredible. An Incredible Hulk of Shit. I'll just go ahead and admit that I dislike most movies based on comic books to the point nearly to the point of hating them. V for Vendetta is an exception, but that wasn't quite the same as all the Batman, Spiderman, Cuntman, or whateverman movies that have come out in recent history.

I've got an idea for a new one: The Ambiguously Fabulous Four. I bet that one would have plenty of flamboyant eye candy, especially if it stars the Star Fox team. We're definitely overdue for a Starfox movie already.

Generally, I'm not a huge sci-fi fan either, which may seem bizarre coming from a furry. Star Wars is ok I guess. The latter three episodes at least. I've never been much into movies about aliens or galactic empires. I'd actually rather watch non-fictional documentaries about scientific advances in outer space. Something relevant to the world and universe in which I live and breathe. The Matrix is my kind of sci-fi, though it's more a cross-breed of action.

I'd say my favourite "superhero flick" was Donnie Darko, because it was subtle, thought-provoking, disturbing, and requires several watches to appreciate and even begin to understand. Of course, your average popcorn-munching 13 year-old and his junior high school buddies probably wouldn't have the attention span to sit through the first half hour of it, as there are no high-speed chases through the streets or outer space, scantily clad supermodels, totally hawt actors, and mindless corny dialogue to bridge the gaps between action-packed scenes full of sick [sic] special effects. Hey, I don't mind special effects, but I prefer movies that are heavier on substance and plot. I prefer movies that mess with the mind. Psychological dramas like K-PAX and psychological thrillers like The Sixth Sense are very much my cup of energy drink.

Of course, I like pretty much all types of comedies: quirky, black, slapstick, romantic, British. Just as long as it doesn't involve Eddie Murphy or Martin Lawrence in a fatsuit, or anything close to the degree of reprehensible shitfuckery that is Little Man.

And I naturally love adventure movies full of fur-raising escapades out in the wild or in some booby-trapped dungeon. Into the Wild was a good film. Action is of course an enjoyable genre as well. The Hunted is a superb chase-down-the-fugitive film featuring a great deal of majestic scenery in and around Portland, Oregon and Oregonian rainforests. Can't go wrong with movies like Snatch or Fight Club either.

Then there are mobster movies! Can't get enough of those. And for contrast, there are cute and clever cartoons like Over the Hedge, Madagascar, and Flushed Away.

I do enjoy coming across people with similar tastes in movies; people who don't just settle for gobbling up all the shit that regularly comes out in theaters.

Jun 2, 2008

Men's Health Magazine called Baskin Robbin's Large Heath Bar Shake the worst drink in America. It has 2,310 calories and 108 grams of fat. You would have to eat 11 Heath bars to reach that number of calories. (

The question is, why on Earth would anyone even order something that large unless they had plans to provide dessert for 10 people. NOBODY needs that much junk food in a cup, no matter how fat they are. All I'd want is a few nibbles off the top. But of course, this is America, where serving portions have become obscenely oversized and overpriced. Woe to those who misread Heath as "Health."

May 26, 2008

Set phasers to stun

Memorial Day is a pretty depressing holiday. I set aside several moments of screaming as I remembered the past seven years of idiotbush and his henchmen fucking the country up. I'm so glad i'm working tonight and I slept pretty much the whole day. It's yet another night full of star simulation with adaptive optics. We're getting some excellent infrared imagery this evening. I was really surprised to notice the final remainder of twilight didn't fade away completely until 8:30 or so. Up here has to be like the only place within hundreds of miles one can observe twilight that long. It's just very cool being thousands of feet above the cloud ceiling, with just a little imagination feeling like you're on a floating island.

On the way up I noticed just the very tip of the summit of the much smaller Mt. Hualalai peeking out, like a barren island in an ocean of cloud cover. The stars this high up seem so much more brilliant and close. I feel like I can reach up and grab a handful of them. I was playing 'Scaling' by µ-Ziq on my player while observing, and it was incredibly appropriate for the setting. I've been using the time spent outside to learn the constellations as well. I can now identify more than just the Big Dipper!

Even cooler is watching the sodium laser as it's fired up into the cosmos. Seems like something out of a science fiction movie. The natural surroundings are otherworldly. Rocky, barren, devoid of all life, insect or plant, and eerily silent and still. Add some futuristic-looking, high-tech spinning domes resembling R2-D2's upper half perched on various hillsides, and this definitely seem like a good setting for a sci-fi flick. It's pretty stellar.

I also love the cozy lounge-esque atmosphere of the computer control room as well, with the subdued red and ultraviolet fluorescent lighting. Lots of comfy sofas for dozing when I feel like it. It's always nice to head back down to a lush planet full of abundant life at dawn though, descending into and underneath the thick blanket of rain clouds before the brilliant sun with its horribly intense ultraviolet rays has a chance to show up.

The commute to this job is always fascinating and exciting, involving a considerable drive over a fairly infamous and primitive Saddle Road everyone drives down the middle of to avoid pits and potholes, even though substantial segments of it are cloaked in dense fog on a daily basis. But with gas over $4 a gallon, I'd rather live in such a place near the university astronomy center where I hardly have to commute at all. Hopefully I can make enough to move back into my college town in June for awhile.

Speaking of the astronomy center, I heard there is a museum around there with an eatery called the Sky Garden Cafe which serves good food with space-themed twists and the atmosphere is pretty rad. I've gotta remember to check that place out, if only because of its name. Anyway, uh, time to go play more NES games with the horrible handicap of a keyboard for a controller and the unfair advantage of save/restore states.

May 10, 2008

Broadcast from above the clouds, 5/10/08

Keck Observatory's facilities are world-class compared to Gemini. The toilets are space-age, the kitchen is clean and well-stocked (with a proper range), the lighting is very comfortable and dim, the internet is several times faster than my broadband at home, there is much more space to move around, the temperature is kept at a much more reasonable setting, caffeinated beverages are well-supplied, and so far I've had this dark computing/conference room entirely to myself.

The time seems to pass slightly faster during the alternating hour in which I'm inside screwing around, as opposed to the hour in which I'm outside sitting around in the below freezing outdoors watching the stars and letting my imagination carry me away. Neither is that bad, though. I just got the zipper on my luxurious Polar-Tec jacket repaired, so that helps.

I would join in on the video gaming, but apparently all everyone wants to play are games like Medal of Halo Duty Recon 4 and a half. Yawwwwwwwn. I really want to bring a Wii and some Mario Kart up here, but that will have to wait until I'm not broke. I wonder what they would say to SNES?

Hmm... after an introspective entry in my handwritten journal, I was surprised at how many possible or likely reasons I came up with as to why I have been feeling anything but chipper most of the time. I suppose it helps to try to get to the root of it all, rather than continually attempting to kill my feelings. Up here, I have all night to think about things, and that can be both good and bad. But when I'm at work I can at least experience the satisfaction that I'm doing something productive, even if I don't always have a blast.

I really need to remember to bring some good movies up here with me next time, like Balls of Fury and Raising Arizona. I get the impression I'm not the only one who up here who would enjoy such movies, and I've been getting back into ping-pong since I started this job. No kidnapping though, yet.

Head for the hills

Clean-Air Credentials: According to Russell Schnell, Hawaii can receive significant pollution from China but still it manages to record the cleanest air on earth. How? By rising above it, literally. Pollution particles stop climbing when they meet the inversion layer, an atmospheric boundary of warmer air. At 11,145 feet, the Mauna Loa observatory is above the clouds and, therefore, virtually free of pollution.

Take a Breather: To sample the subtle difference, start at sea level, paddling a traditional outrigger canoe. Next, hop in a car (a hybrid, of course) and go where the air is truly clear: the Mauna Loa scenic trail—one of the few locations on earth where it’s possible to drive above the inversion layer—and hike the six miles to the summit.


Meanwhile, far below the inversion layer and near the coast where most of the island's population lives, most of the western side of the island is regularly smothered in a thick grey haze of airborne volcanic particulates. But even during regular tradewind weather, the air blowing in from sea on the eastern cape is also usually very clean and refreshing. It's when the persistent winds stall that islands as far away as Oahu begin feeling the effects of the volcanic pollution and Honolulu begins to resemble a typical North American city.

May 9, 2008

The best ballpark names in major league baseball

The major league ballparks of America have such awe-inspiring names these days. Allow me to examine a few of them and make some recommendations.

If you're into beer, you've got plenty of selection. There's Miller Park, Coors Field, and Busch Stadium. What else is memorable about St. Louis other than it's the home of Budweiser? The Colorado Rockies used to play in Mile High Stadium, which made sense considering they played a mile above sea level, but ah hell, let's just name the new field after a beer instead, 'cause it's Colorado and all you know? Tap the Rockies. Wait, not those Rockies! On second thought, yeah... go ahead and tap them.

Maybe you'd just prefer a tall glass of orange juice. I'm sure Minute Maid Park in Houston or the Devil Rays' Tropicana Field would be appropriate places to have breakfast. The Houston Astros used to play in a park named the Astrodome, but that name tended to imply that they were a franchise destined to reach the stars rather than just struggling to wake up.

There seems to be all sorts of ball parks named after banks and insurance agencies. The loud and boisterous Phillies fans gorge on outrageously fatty foods at Citizens Bank Park, the Diamondbacks slither into the shade of the climate-controlled oasis known as Chase Field, the Reds put on an unforgettable show of homestyle mediocrity at Great American Ball Park, and the Pirates now have a stellar view of a less than stellar Pittsburgh skyline in a park named after PNC Financial Services. I guess a sensible, non-corporate name like the "Three Rivers Stadium" they used to play in was just too lame for the modern age.

But wait, there's more. The Indians bang their drum in Progressive Field (that's Progressive Insurance, of course), the Seattle Mariners praise the grey skies above for the miracle of auto insurance in Safeco Field (even though the team is owned by Nintendo), and the Tigers deposit their checks in Comerica Park. If that isn't the coolest name for a ballpark ever, I don't know what is. It doesn't roll of the tongue quite as smoothly as the home of the White Sox, "U.S. Cellular Field," but it's still pretty damn good. Not to be outdone, but the San Francisco Giants love playing in AT&T Park. Sprint users, go home!

The San Diego Padres would love to let the dogs run loose in Petco Park, but it appears they've forgotten their training on how to win a game.

Then there are the ballparks most people, even those mildly into baseball, have never heard of, like Kauffman Stadium and Rogers Centre. Good thing names like Angel Stadium and Rangers Ballpark are much more self-explanatory.

Wrigley Field is a different story. William Wrigley just so happened to be the owner of the Cubs and the Wrigley chewing gum company, so that's the reason the stadium was named after him in 1926. No Juicy Fruit or Big Red advertisements all around that park, I'm afraid.

The Oakland A's are the only major league baseball team playing in a "coliseum," which appears to be named after a mainstream anti-virus software manufacturer. McAfee Coliseum. What an awesome name.

ALL SARCASM ASIDE, the best-named ballpark out there is clearly Fenway. Now that's a damn fine name. And it doesn't immediately remind you of a beer commercial, your credit card bills, or a cell phone ad. How nice. Coming in second would be Wrigley, because I love the way that name rolls off the tongue (and mind, this has nothing to do with favoritism toward the Red Sox or Cubs).

May 5, 2008


I'd like to take a trip back to the island of Kaua'i sometime this year. While the Big Island is picturesque, Kaua'i is even more so. 'The Garden Isle' is a nature photographer's dream. Though much smaller in size, it boasts more breathtaking and exhilarating beauty per square mile and around every turn than any other island in this archipelago. Kaua'i is also the most untamed and unexploited of the four major islands. Of course its economy relies heavily on tourism so it's got a few golf courses and big box stores, but it's nature, rather than development, that runs rampant.

Another interesting fact about the island that you won't find in tourism pamphlets is that it receives about 5-10 sunny days per year. Granted, the sun shines, for bountiful sunlight is equally necessary as moisture to keep a place so lush and green. The key (not the caveat) is that with the exception of those very rare days where the weather turns -completely- stagnant, it seems to be raining there nearly as often. Not only is it the wettest and lushest island, it also has the most dramatic topography. The famous Na Pali cliffs, for example, are almost too astonishing a sight to be real.

There are of course the sandy beaches, many of which stretch on uninterrupted and devoid of development and people for several miles. When I checked out Pacific Beach in San Diego for the first time, I thought, "take away all these buildings and replace them with rolling green mountains in the background, turn all these people into sand crabs, install a pleasant tropical breeze, throw a few cottony clouds in the sky, remove the urban stench, add a huge splash of vivid color, and you'll get Kekaha Beach." Even the beaches here on the Big Island are fairly lackluster compared to those on Kaua'i, since this is the youngest island in the chain and consequently many of the beaches here are still composed of pebbles and coral. One of the many delights of Kaua'i is exploring ancient trails that run along the coastline and discovering a perfect swimming beach hidden amongst the trees which you will almost certainly have to yourself.

Then, of course, there are the mountains. I still vividly remember often visiting a densely wooded hollow that could only be accessed by crawling through a secret cave, the mouth of which was mostly obscured by dense undergrowth. I'm not sure how my parents ever found it in the first place to show it to their kids, but my father especially used to be quite the adventurer as well. It's safe to say I got it from him. Koke'e State Park consists of seemingly endless dense tropical rainforest perpetually bathed in fog and mist and Waimea Canyon, which many would say is probably more visually impressive than the Grand Canyon, and not nearly as overrated (hey, Arizona has to have something to be proud of besides saguaros, right?) I truly miss the abundance of gorgeous hiking trails up there, the only means of accessing the heart of the wilderness. Many people naively think, "well, it's such a relatively small island, it's hard to get lost, right?" Truth is, it's all too easy to get lost and never find your way to civilization if you happen to follow a false trail and become disoriented. From the sky, the wilderness might not look so vast, but when you're actually in it, it's a different story.

The spiritual power of the island is especially enrapturing. It's all to easy to surrender to its captivating beauty, mystique, and ancient mana. I could camp on a different beach or place in the mountains each night for a week, and all the time spent alone with the wild would be remarkably soul-soothing. So many fascinating ruins to explore, too. One of the best things about Kaua'i is that camping is more popular and permitted there than on any of the other islands, where a decent place to camp can be hard to find. Certainly beats shelling out for an expensive hotel every night.

Just a week spent there would do me a lot of good. I know I would return with hundreds of exceptional photos, which would certainly boost my portfolio. But most treasured of all would be the memories themselves.

May 2, 2008

So much time, so little to go see

Baby Mama - A successful, single businesswoman who dreams of having a baby discovers she is infertile and hires a working class woman to be her unlikely surrogate.

Sounds like the perfect formula for a comedy I will never want to watch!

One Missed Call - "In this remake of the Japanese horror film "Chakushin Ari" (2003), several people start receiving voice-mails from their future selves -- messages which include the date, time, and some of the details of their deaths."

They've done movies about a video tape that kills you if you watch it and a game that kills you if you play it, but never a movie about voice mail. This is original! After watching this I might never feel the same about checking my voice mail again.

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay - Follows the cross-country adventures of the pot-smoking duo as they try to outrun authorities who suspect them of being terrorists when they try to sneak a bong on board their flight to Amsterdam.

The funny thing is, watching movies like these from start to finish is more destructive to brain cells than getting stoned on a daily basis.

The Forbidden Kingdom - A discovery made by a kung fu obsessed American teen sends him on an adventure to China, where he joins up with a band of martial arts warriors in order to free the imprisoned Monkey King.

This is probably the only movie playing in town right now that I would actually accept payment to see.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall - Devastated Peter takes a Hawaii vacation in order to deal with his recent break-up with his TV star girlfriend, Sarah. Little does he know Sarah's traveling to the same resort as her ex ... and she's bringing along her new boyfriend.

The obligatory Hawaiian imagery is probably the only reason I'd want to see this, so I can look at the background of a scene and say, "hey, I know that place!" Unless, of course, they're just cheap bastards and decided to film in some place like the Keys and try to pass that off as Hawaii.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - The Pevensie siblings return to Narnia, where they are enlisted to once again help ward off an evil king and restore the rightful heir to the land's throne, Prince Caspian.

I knew it was only a matter of time before another Narnia movie came out for me to ignore.

Iron Man - Billionaire industrialist and genius inventor Tony Stark is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Instead, using his intelligence and ingenuity, Tony builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man.

I never was into superheroes or superhero movies, and this appears to be no exception. Bleh.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - Famed archaeologist/adventurer Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones is called back into action when he becomes entangled in a Soviet plot to uncover the secret behind mysterious artifacts known as the Crystal Skulls.

Of course he hasn't retired yet. Grave robbing never gets old.

Apr 28, 2008

Miscellaneous notes

Just started a new game of FFVI after finishing SFA again. What I really want is a Wii and Okami, and my tax return check would cover the expense. But I have already decided that I am going to pay down a credit card with it instead, and work quite a bit harder in May so I can both afford the things I want and continue to make a significant dent in my credit debt.

I really don't like Evanescence at all, but their songs are pretty fun to remix.

I hardly ever go up to the town of Waikoloa because it's the closest thing to a Southern California suburb there is here, but I went the other day (mostly to get a better view of a lightning storm) and discovered that they have a really nice grocery store and a very cool pub full of blacklights known as Sharky's. The weather has also been scaring away most of the sun-worshiping golfers, so that's a definite plus.

I'm pretty tired of not so much the internet in general, but the way so many people express themselves online. What the hell is with "teh," "ftw," "moar," "pwn," and "zomg," not to mention countless other horrible abominations of typographical decency? Also, "fapping" is probably the worst onomatopœia I've ever heard of. Seems much more like a sound that would be made during sex.

Our active volcano has been gassing up the islands quite a bit, especially when the winds shifted. It's pretty surreal to suddenly drive into a thick veil of vog, wherein the sky is pretty much completely blotted out and the sun resembles some ominous red planet. Fortunately I can breathe just fine even in heavy levels of SO2.

I've been thinking about how I could sell my photography locally in order to generate a profit. The fact is, tourists will spend money on pretty much anything, as long as it's Hawaiian-related. They love souvenirs. What better to take home and show people than beautiful shots of the islands they could hardly muster with their little disposable Fujifilms? It probably wouldn't be much more complicated than making a few dozen prints of my best work, placing them in travel-size frames, and getting a space reserved at a farmer's market to showcase them. I've seen other local photographers do just that, and they seem fairly well off. Of course, I have this problem with a little thing called motivation. I feel even less motivated to continue searching for conventional jobs, but fortunately I can relax a little now that I'm doing odd hours as a spotter.

Just got a 100 pack of Sony music CD-R's at Costco. Let this be a kick in the tail to finally burn those CD's I owe a couple people

Seems like the old truck needs a valve adjustment. I can hear the valves click-clacking during acceleration, and it feels more gutless than it should be. Of course, just one wayward valve makes a much more significant difference in a four-cylinder engine than it would in a six-cylinder. Definitely needs to be timed as well.

I wish it would rain up here like it rained in Waikoloa. At least the wind is back after a few days' absence, so moisture usually follows. It's such a beautifully dark afternoon right now, I shouldn't even be inside.

Piece out.

Apr 26, 2008

Must be the rugged type

ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania (AP) -- A man survived a 500-foot fall into a strip mine Friday, astounding rescuers who spent hours on a risky descent into the abyss to bring him back out.

Police said Nathan Bowman was trespassing on coal company property around 1 a.m. Friday when he slipped and fell into the Springdale Pit, an inactive mine about 700 feet deep, 3,000 feet long and 1,500 feet wide.

Bowman tumbled down a jagged slope and then free-fell several hundred feet, his descent broken by a rock ledge not far from the bottom of the pit, said Coaldale Police Chief Timothy Delaney, who helped direct the rescue effort.

"If you look at that drop, there was no way somebody could survive that," Delaney said.

If you're going to trespass, at least don't put yourself in a position where you have to be rescued. And if you're going to slip and fall 500 feet, at least die like a mortal.

Apr 23, 2008

Self own

The convenience of possessing a cell phone is barely worth the complications. There is the monthly bill, and the total expenses come out to between $450-$600 a year... providing you are careful enough not to exceed your monthly minutes. Much time and effort is wasted in trying to sort through all the policies, restrictions, and strings attached with a cell phone plan. Then there are all the BS bonus features carriers try to sell you on, like 10,000 free smilies for your phone, 3,000 free text messages per month, and 500 monthly ringtones. I never use any of that shit, but I've already been a victim of not reading the fine print close enough and accidentally checking some box somewhere that signed me up for it.

I would love to not be a customer of these greedy, scammy carriers, and I still don't feel comfortable being bound to a 2-year contract, either (which, by the by, cost $175 to break, unless they jacked that price up as well). I bring my cell phone nearly everywhere I drive, but it's mostly because I have one. There is no point in leaving something I pay for at home, especially if it could potentially get me out of an emergency. But I'd rather have a pay-by-the-minute plan since I never come close to using all of the monthly minutes I pay for. The display screen on my current phone is jacked to the point where I can't read anything on it, and I'll probably have to get a new one, but I'm not entitled to a new free one until September. In truth, even after owning a cell phone for several years, I think I could easily adapt to having no cell phone at all and just use a home phone with an answering machine. That would be one less accessory I feel the need to carry around with me and pay for.

As for the iPhone, I don't need a computer with me everywhere I go, either... and I don't even want to always be reachable.

Apr 18, 2008


I'm sick of the melodramatic emonoid bullshit that goes on in social networking sites. I know most people are so busy concealing their pain in the real world, and online is about the only place they can surrender to the illusion that people actually pay attention to them when they rant about their lives. Why must some people constantly insist on being so goddamn depressing, though? I know, I know, if you can't get into the school or win the job or be with the person you want, why even go on LIVING in this meaningless hollow existance (sic), right??!?!?!?!?!!! I know you must feel life is little more than a seemingly endless series of terrible tragedies, but surely you can send your doom and gloom to the backseat for a few moments and pull something positive out of your ass now and then, even if it's just a polished turd.

It's a beautiful evening. Once I grab a shower I'm off to Waimea to hit the supermarket and enjoy a little walk in the woods. Thank goodness it's so easy to at least physically escape from what irritates me.

Apr 15, 2008

Closer to gods

Gemini Observatory on LGS, Mauna Kea, Hawaii

I began work as a laser spotter on Tuesday evening, and I must declare it was the coolest work shift I've ever experienced.

I met the spotting team for that evening at the astronomy center in Hilo. The lead spotter is responsible for driving the team up to the summit (an elevation gain of 13,000 feet), and the scenery all the way up is nothing short of spectacular and surreal. The weather was dark, rainy, and overcast from Hilo most of the way up, but once we reached the 7000 foot level or so, we broke out of the clouds instantaneously. It truly takes one by surprise to be under the clouds or in the fog for several hours then suddenly be greeted by deep blue sky and sunlight, as well as be granted commanding views of the other mountain summits, which rise like floating islands from a blanket of clouds that seems to stretch forever into the heavens.

From the summit, and even on the way up from the visitor center, one gazes down at a thick blanket of clouds, often aglow with a variety of orangeish or pinkish hues at sunset. One can easily feel like they are on top of the world. Of course, up here, with just a little imagination, you can fool your mind into believing you are on another planet. Another impressive sight is the mountain's shadow projected against the clouds. It's similar to being in an airplane late in the day and watching the plane's shadow from a window seat, only one can imagine how much more significant the shadow of the world's tallest mountain is.

We stopped at the astronomers' living quarters just uphill from the visitors center for dinner. Plenty of good free food, and a very nice open, airy ambiance for dining and lounging, with a kind of view one would expect at 11,000 feet. The building also has a nice dark TV lounge, several recliners, and a couple pool tables and darts, so it's not a bad place to hang for a little while and become acclimated before heading up to the summit.

Gemini is the absolute highest observatory up here, and yes, the air is very thin and cold. So we've got our warm clothes, snazzy orange jumpsuits, and oxygen masks. We spent the first two hours or so in the observatory just sitting in the base floor control center surfing the web while the operators used natural guide star (which, unlike LGS or laser guide star, isn't necessary to spot for).

The non web-surfing, hot cocoa-drinking, movie-watching aspect of the job involves sitting in an SUV and watching the night sky for aircraft that may fly over and interfere with the laser during LGS operations. We just have to record any sightings of aircraft on a data sheet, and if any aircraft happens to stray too close, notify the telescope operator, or in the event of a rare emergency, press a magic button to shutter the laser. We take turns, one of us going out to watch the east sky for an hour, one of us the west sky for the same amount of time, then come back inside and break for an hour while the other two spotters go outside for an hour. Theoretically, we do this from sunset to sunrise, depending on atmospheric conditions such as the presence of the thermal inversion layer (which usually ensures the sky above a certain elevation is cloudless and free of volcanic emissions which can directly interfere with telescope operations).

I will say that the summit of Mauna Kea is very otherworldly and indescribably peaceful on the middle of a moonlit night. The temperature is around 30 degrees up there, but I certainly don't find that too cold. I'm accustomed to climbing mountains day or night for leisure, so I don't object to standing at the edge of the world in a location which offers some of the best stargazing on the planet. That one night I worked so far, I witnessed the most gorgeous moonset I had ever seen. It appeared almost as a subdued sunset, staining much of the western horizon multiple colours of orange. Now that is some celestial brush. Though, even that wasn't as beautiful as watching the stars up there once the sky darkened completely. The stars seem so close and in such great abundance up there I nearly felt like I could just reach out and grab one.

As I write this, we are actually on standby, waiting in the lounge while the operators at the summit decide whether they're going to do any LGS at all tonight. The weather conditions are not ideal due to a storm moving in from the west, cutting off the trade winds, and sending gas from the volcano up this way. In the meantime, this is a very cozy place to chill.

Loving island weather

I drove down to Kona yesterday to apply for an afternoon/evening job at the distribution center of the west side's newspaper. It was a typical Kona afternoon; completely overcast with massive, dark rain clouds hovering over the upper mountain slopes, volcanic haze obscuring the sky and ensuring the sun was nowhere in sight, and heavy southbound rush hour traffic. I did make it to the office by 4 pm to file the application, then, as usual, left the masses behind by driving up the mountain and into the pleasant rainshowers.

The funny thing about Kona is that I really don't like the place in the morning, since it's almost unbearably sunny and hot and still in the early daylight hours, but when afternoon rolls around, the sea breezes pick up, which almost always causes dark heavy rain clouds to form over the mountain slopes, and blows in the massive amounts of sulfur dioxide emitted from the active volcano over land, bathing the landscape in an odd haze. It's not unsightly like L.A. smog, but rather just peculiar-looking. It does make for unforgettable sunsets, since viewers are able to gaze directly at the sun as soon as an hour before it dips before the horizon without harming their eyes. It appears an almost scarlet red and resembles another planet. This is part of the reason Kona sunsets are world famous. Kona is far from my favorite location on the island, mostly because of how congested with tourists it usually is, but it can be a wonderful place to spend time in during late afternoons and evenings.

For the longest time I've been fascinated with island weather patterns. Where I live, the air is pure, and rain and strong winds are frequent at any time of day or night, whereas Kona receives 95% of its rain in the late afternoon. Just five miles southeast of my house, annual rainfall is around 100 inches. Five miles southwest, annual rainfall is less than 10 inches. Since I live near the middle of a peninsula which is nearly symmetrically divided lengthwise between a wet side and a dry side, depending which direction I decide to travel down the highway, I'll either end up on dry, dusty coastline riddled with thorny mesquite trees or on a damp, foresty coastline characterized by dramatic sea cliffs buffeted by trade winds and spontaneous rain showers much of the time. Depending on exactly where one lives in the town of Waimea, they are usually either basking in the sunshine or wrapped in the cool embrace of fog and drizzle most of the time throughout the year.

Hawaii weather is truly unique, and frankly, mainland weather is very boring by comparison. It's no wonder so many of my local photographs include rainbows. Here, it seems to be raining while the sun is out more often than either or.

Apr 13, 2008

The virtue of embracing the inevitable

I'm glad I am not a god of this world. I would loathe having hundreds of millions of people blaming me for their problems because they refuse to take responsibility for their stupidity, or begging me to fix a world they fucked up all by themselves. There is no need to worry about saving the planet, however; she will have no trouble correcting herself soon after our departure, for she has several billions of years' experience dealing with much worse calamities. Humanity's arrogance knows no bounds, but the same is true for nature's ability and unrelenting fight to restore equilibrium. So bring on the monster storms, throw in some killer waves, and let our "progress" unravel. The forces that be, no matter what you choose to call them, and whether you choose to bow down or simply admire them, shall always prevail. It's inevitable, you see.

Apr 10, 2008

Practical living

We were told by the mechanic initially that only the damaged rotor would have to be replaced for just under $350. Several days later he tells us that the caliper, cable, and whatever else are also bad, and the parts will have to be ordered from the mainland. Now parts and labor totals around $1150. I've seen this happen more times than I care to count, because mechanics are notorious for ripping you off with great frequency.

Admittedly, though I know it does the environment no good, I enjoy driving. Just me, my music, lovely scenery, and the freedom of the open road. However, I believe the sooner I can situate myself where I can commute wherever I must sans automobile, the better off I'll be. When I think about how much money and effort people pour into purchasing, fueling, insuring, maintaining, repairing, and worrying over their automobiles (another example of the things you own ending up owning you), it's enough to make me strongly consider forgoing ever owning my own car again. I would rather forget all the little problems I experienced with the previously owned Honda Civic I drove around Arizona.

I know that owning a car (or two, but preferably at least three) is a critical element of the 'American Dream,' but lately, most of my dreams have been taking place outside of America. I'm fairly disgusted with this country as a whole, but if I do move anywhere else within its borders, it's likely going to be to one of the least 'American' places possible.

On this island, everything is so ridiculously spread out, it's impractical not to have and use a car unless you can afford to live right in the middle of one of the two 'major' towns. If I lived somewhere like Honolulu or Portland, Oregon, however, I would be happy to rely on mass transit, a bicycle, and my good old-fashioned legs. If all else fails, a simple moped would do. Not nearly so much can go wrong with a moped as a car, and they're safer than motorcycles, at least in the sense that you can't really go too fast on one. They would be perfect for an island like Oahu, where steep hills often preclude commuting comfortably by bicycle, but everything is much closer together, and traffic and parking can be a nightmare for those driving automobiles.

Meanwhile, $1150 to replace one disc brake on a pickup truck that is nearly as old as I am. I could get a luxurious widescreen 1080 dpi LCD HDTV for that amount of money... not that I need or even care about having one. Rather than grumbling about the cost of gasoline or food, people need to learn how to adjust to changing times. The media is always convincing people that they absolutely must have this or that, when in fact they don't need it at all and would be better off without it. As paradigms shift rapidly in these bleak economic times, those who possess sound financial judgment and practice better spending disgression today will find it much easier to adjust and ride the wave rather than getting pounded by it. Contrary to what many people seem to believe, it's not how hard you work or how much money you make so much as how you handle the money you do earn. I would prefer a lifestyle where I am working to live, not living to work.