Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ofu 2

We wanted to leave Friday night, but Samoa being Samoa, that was just not possible. They were taking empty flights to another island (Ta'u) about 6 miles from Ofu to pick people up, but they couldn't arrange it to drop us off on Ofu after work on Friday. So, we left Saturday morning.

Here's an arial view of Tutuila where I live:

We got to the lodge and headed pretty much straight to the beach, which is right there. The end of the runway is about 40 yards from the lodge. Then from the lodge, it is about 80 yards across a nice lawn to the beach.

In the above picture there's a tornado thinking about coming down and picking up one of those dogs. That's the first real funnel cloud I've ever seen.

On the other side of the lodge is about 1200 or so foot sheer cliffs. It is a spectacular setting. You can see white birds flying around way up the cliffs. It kind of looks like the opening sequence when you first see the island on Jurassic Park (hard to get across in this picture though).

You can just go walk and hang out on the airport runway too. Here's me doing that with a sour apple blowpop:

The water is just fantastic. There is so much colorful coral and fish that you can see them just standing out there without a snorkle. We hung out by the lodge beach for a few hours and you could see neon blue fish swimming around you the whole time. I can't fully explain how clear the water is and how fantastic the snorkling is at Ofu.

Then we headed to another stretch of the beach about a mile or so away. It was (as always) really warm out, which doesn't get across in this picture. It actually was a nice day too, come clouds just had rolled in by the time I took this picture as we left to go back to the lodge:

Where the little jagged mountain and the big mountain come to the water in the above picture, there's a channel which seperates Ofu island from Olosega island. There is a bridge connecting the two islands:

When you jump off the bridge, this is the water you're going into:

Here's Weave, Me and Fred jumping off the bridge between Ofu and Olosega.

Once you jump off there's a little beach at the bottom, but even better there's a large area where the water is maybe 3-4 feet deep where you can just hang out in the water. We did that for a long time. It was a great day.

After most of the day by the bridge, we drove over to Olosega village.

Staying at the lodge comes with meals as well which are very good. We even had Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday night. That was great.

Sunday night we got a fire going on the beach after our poker game finished (ahem, which I won). There was tons of gigantic lightning strikes and flashes in the distance, but mostly the rain left us alone.

Then Monday we headed back home. Here's Ofu from the air (and at an angle):

Today was AWFUL at court. There were something like 30 initial appearances. I think the most I'd had before was 16. The morning session got done at about 1255, just in time for traffic court to start at 1.
Then, when I finally got back to the office at 345, our wonderful staff just let some lady come back to my office unnanounced. She sat down and told me how she wanted her domestic violence case against her husband dropped, and I told her for 20 minutes how I can't/won't do that. I'm exhausted. But, Tuesday is the worst day and it's over.

Movie Review:

Waiting for Guffman: This is an old movie, but I hadn't seen it. It's a Christopher Guest movie, like Best in Show and This is Spinal Tap. It wasn't too bad. The folk singer one was pretty excruciating, so I did not have high hopes for this one (about a small town play). But, it was pretty funny and not too boring. Better than Spinal Tap, not as good as Best in Show. 5.5

The M's seem to be playing better, but they coughed one up today. If they could just get the starting pitching turned around, they actually might have a chance. Amazingly, they are leading the league in batting.

If Ron Mexico gets suspended from the NFL for dog fighting he could probably set up shop out here. There are tons of extra dogs and they seem to like fighting.

Smoke on a plane

Smoke is no problem, yes? Ya ok.

The above is video from the Ofu-Tutuila(here) flight.

It really isn't smoke though, it is just steam because of the super high humidity here.

So this weekend Fred, Nikki, Weave, Naomi, Markus, Liz, and I went to Ofu. It is really, really, really nice there.
The place we stayed is right on the airport.

This is no problem at all since there is a max of 1 flight a day.

Ofu has a couple just spectacular beaches and the best snorkling I've ever seen. It really is incredible. The water kind of makes the other super clear water places I've been to here seem like a sewage treatment plant.

Also, there is an adjoining island, Olosega with a bridge between the islands that you can jump off. Here's a video of Markus and Liz doing that:

I'll add more pictures and info, but I'm tired right now; I just wanted to at least get something updated. Have a good Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It is sunny and hot again today. The "cool" stretch was nice, but I was ready for some sun today. Jogging in the sun and heat makes running's usual suckiness even more severe, even when you're running very slowly.

While running, I had some time to think, and I decided that I should put Nate's videos in here.

So, here's what happens when a guy who drank 10 torpedoes is trying to talk with a guy who drank 9 torpedoes. Justin was asleep and Nate woke him up when he was done with his 10 and was trying to tell him that he'd beaten his 9. Enjoy:

Then, Nate went outside and was trying to get into his truck. Weave took me to McDonalds to get breakfast for the drunkards; when I left, Nate was on his tailgate trying to get into the back of the truck. When we got back, he was still there. Then he was trying to tell Maximo something about someone juicing fruit and making jelly or something, try to descipher it yourself:

Today was mostly clear of stink.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

When it is raining here, there isn't a whole lot to do. So, that leaves us to do things that are dumb. I've mentioned it before, but Vailima is the "local" beer here. There are no brewerys in American Samoa, but there's Vailima in Western Samoa. It grows there. Right on the label it says "Produce of Samoa". They must use a lot of natural fertilizer on this crop becuase it really tastes like shit. Regardless, we went ahead and got alot of it.

Eight of us decided to take the Vailima challenge. In order to pass the challenge, you had to drink at least 5 torpedoes of Vailima between about 7pm and 7am the next day. Torpedoes are 750ml of the "special" imported version of Vailima. It is special because it tastes even worse than regular Vailima and it has 6.7% alcohol. You could go for the record if you liked. I finished 7 torpedoes by about midnight and decided that was enough.

Mike Keyser made the effort on this one:

though he ended at 3 1/2.

Justin managed to finish 9.

Nate sandbagged Justin. He stayed up waiting for Justin to pass out. This lated for a long time. Then, once he went to bed, Nate totally shafted him (and himself) by pounding 3 more torpedoes to make it 10 right around 7am. I hadn't even looked in the fridge until Nate was getting his last one. I was just shocked about how much Vailima was drank.

Once he had the record, we went over and woke up Weaver, who then took us to wake up Sharon. Sharon deserved it since she didn't show up for the contest. I have some video of Nate during this time, but I'm not sure if it is fit for the blog or not. You know the part when Farva is at the governor's party in Super Troopers? That's about how drunk he was (no puking though).

Then Maximo, Sharon, and I took the garbage walk to Airport Beach since we were already up. The garbage trail to Airport Beach really sucks. It is way longer and much more unpleasant than taking the blowhole route. I do not plan to ever take the garbage route again. The tide was all the way in and the water was rough, so we didn't stay too long. But we took the blowhole route to Maliamai and the blowholes were really huge because the tide was in. There were sprays probably 40 feet high out of some of them. Then Ben was kind enough to pick us up an Maliamai. I went to sleep from 11-3p and then I went to bed again at 730p.

You never know what you are going to get here. Samoa shafted me the other day. I was going to make Tzaziki dip for the Vailima Challenge because I finally found some plain yogurt at the store. It was $4.50 for one large container, but since I hadn't seen plain yogurt at all on island, I figured I should get it.

So I made the tzaziki and was looking forward to it the next day. I hadn't tasted it though. When I did, I noticed it was sweet! Why would you sweeten plain yogurt???? I just don't get it! Sweet tzaziki is not very good.

The M's won today I see. If they would have lost, I think that might have put Hargrove and Bavasi over the edge. This still leaves them 5.5 games out of 1st. That's dangerously close to too far out. If it gets to 8, they have to be gone.

This weekend, we're going to Ofu. Its another American Samoa island that I haven't been to yet. It's on the Travel Channel's list of best beaches in the world. http://travel.discovery.com/ideas/best-beaches/guides/region-list.html It isn't set yet if we are leaving Friday afternoon/evening or Saturday morning becuase that's the way things work here.

Movie review:

Night at the Museum
It has some funny parts and some cool effects. But, it is fairly cheesy and not all that exciting or entertaining. One part in particular was crappy: the girl in the movie has been writing a dissertation on Sacajawea for something like 3 years. Ben Stiller is talking to her about it and mispronounces Sacajawea. She corrects him, but she corrects him to the way most people say it. If you seriously were working on a book about someone for 3 years, and you were going to correct someone about how they said that person's name, wouldn't you at least get it right? I think yes, Night at the Museum says no. 4.5

Today's stink level was clear in the morning, then partly stinky midday, but clear again by mid afternoon.

I can't believe the Blazers got the #1 pick.

Check Weave's blog for more Vailima info and pics.


Well, it looks like they are saved. Getting Durant will probably be exciting enough for someone to give them some money for a stadium.

The bad news is that the Blazers are now going to be the best team in the history of the NBA. They have young stars at every position and 2 deep at some.

Friday, May 18, 2007

May 18th

27 years ago today, this happened:

Mt St. Helens erupted blowing off its top 1800 feet or so and totally destroying the area for miles around:

It used to look like this:

Here's what it looks like now:

From Silver Lake (where we spend a big part of summer in the Rock) it looked like this a few days before I moved to AS:

The last few days have been cool and rainy. Right now is just perfect for sleeping- 79, raining and breezy. I went jogging (slowly of course) in the rain today and it was great. Sometimes when you run in the sun it is almost too hot and humid to handle.

Sorry to disparage The Unit, Brian, but it does kind of suck so far. I've only watched the first couple episodes, but the new guy and his wife on there seem pretty unlikable and incredibly stuipid so far. For example, they wouldn't have breifed them on how things are going to be prior to joining The Unit? She's shocked that this is secret stuff? Come on. Why would terrorists jack a plane in the middle of Idaho? Why did they have to parachute into the airbase when they could have just driven up like everyone else that was there? And the episode where they get ambushed by the Taliban after kidnapping a guy... come on!!!!

Nothing terribly interesting has happened at work this week, and that is good.

Having internet is just great! Listening to M's games and The World is wonderful. The only bad thing is that Morning Edition is over by the time I'm getting ready for work.

Here's a video of Meg and Adrian doing the Hasselhoff at Black Sand Beach in Western Samoa.

(I guess it didn't like the format, sorry)

Let see, here's a picture of Ed in front, Stinky Petunia on the right, and Grandpa in the back. Grandpa is on my shit list for partially ruining my garden.

This is a picture of one of the many blowholes on the walk to Airport Beach:

Stink level today was zero.

I found some good tomatoes today and had 5 for dinner tonight. They're hard to find so it was a rare treat.

Well, it's 945p, so it is past my bedtime.

Any picture or info requests?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lion's Park

You know in the Lion King when the hyenas take over and you can hear them barking and fighting all night.

That's kind of like it is here; sort of. Since our houses are sans walls, you can hear the things going on outside. The things that are going on outside right now are a ton of dogs barking and fighting.
In the Lion King, eventually the lions take back over. Despite the fact that this neighborhood is called Lion's Park, there are no lions to keep the dogs rounded up.

Monday and Tuesday usually are mostly sucky. This wasn't really an exception. Per request, Monday was slightly stinky in the morning and cleared out in the afternoon and Tuesday was clear (of stink not clouds). The stink never gets close to Lion's Park- so that is a bonus.

Jeff Weaver is "hurt". That's probably the best solution. He can just do rehab starts all season until he pulls his head out. Being able to listen to the M's games when I get home is really nice. Neihaus was in especially rare form Sunday for the Yankees game. I think he enjoys announcing when Putz is playing more than any player since Edgar.

I have found a solution to my spending too much on long distance cards and still running out of time too fast. I signed up for Vonage. So, at some time in the future, I'll get my Vonage equipment and then will be able to call the mainland all I want at no per minute charge. This also provides sort of a fix for anyone on the mainland that wants to call me. I'll have a 206 number so it won't be international rates. But, the drawback is that I'll have to be home in order to get me. I'll let you know the number once I get the equipment.

Movie reviews:

Rocky Balboa: Pretty good. We're not talking Rocky IV here, but still pretty good. Above average: 6.5

Blades of Glory: Also pretty good. There were a few parts that were really funny. I'd say it is about as good as Anchorman, not as good as Old School of course, but I liked it much, much better than Ricky Bobby. 6.5

TV shows:

The Unit: Nate downloaded some episodes of this one.... why?
It isn't terribly boring, but it is pretty stupid and several parts don't make much sense at all. 3

For tonight, I'll leave you with this: Some of you have probably seen this picture on your email:

It certainly looks fake or at least altered. It's represented as real (kind of like how if you post enough comments on tonight's posting, Bill Gates will give you a free Xbox). Anyway, Adrian thinks it is fake for sure and sent this even more incredible version back to the people that sent it to him:

I thought that was hilarious, um, I mean incredible. But then I found this even MORE incredible picture:

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers Day

Hi Mom, I hope you had a great Mothers Day.

Friday we played poker at the Keyser residence again. I got 2nd, but I had to rebuy to do that.

Saturday we played sloshball. It was another exciting end. This is the 2nd game in a row that came down to the last at bat, but this time we won. Great success!

Notice how it looks like it just rained since we're all wet? Some of that is beer, but most of it is sweat. It is incredibly humid here.

Then, we came over to my place and hung out.

Ed and Jeff were tired.

Once Jeff passed out, Ben and Ed pulled the switcheroo on him.

After being there for quite a while and some harsh games of red, black, high, low, we went to the bowling alley.

There, I demonstrated that my dancing skills have not improved since moving. No surprise, but I shamed palagis by assoiation anyway.

After the bowling alley, apparently we had not had enough dancing, because this happened:

Now I'm headed over to little Argentina for some hanging out at the pool and video games. Very nice.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Jeff Weaver must go! (to Tacoma)
Weave, is this your fault?
He is on his way to being the worst starting pitcher in the history of the Mariners. That is definitely saying something since they didn't make the playoffs for the first 20 years of their existance. I think Ken Cloude has the record (and at least at one time I think he had the major league record) for worst ERA of a season-long starter. But that was around 8.00 or so as I recall. Weaver (Jeff) is on his way to destroying that record. Through 30 games this season, Weaver has 6 starts and a 14.32 ERA. He also has 6 losses. Take half of those away and the M's are in 1st place. There is only one other pitcher with at least 4 starts that is even within 5 era points of him, and he's a distant second. If Hargrove starts him again he should be fired immediately. If he remains on the major league roster past today, Bavasi should be fired tomorrow morning. (I have since learned that Felix may come off the DL on Tuesday, so if Weaver hangs around til then I guess it is ok. Might as well bring somebody up for those days though like Morse or Campillo).

Today's weather is a cool, pleasant 82. It has been raining most of the day. But if I had to sum it up in one word, today's weather is stinky.
Maybe one time a month, you can smell the tuna canneries at my office. Today it isn't that bad, but you can smell them at court. That's still not next door though so it is worse than partly stinky.

I got out of court about 115p today. Now I have to put together a program to teach the police academy about evidence for tomorrow morning. Should I make it like a law school class?

Andy- I finally got into watching Entourage. Now I'm addicted. I'm up through the part when they fired Ari. I need to know what happens next!

I got some decent sleep last night, so I think I'm on my way to being cured of my illness, hopefully tomorrow.

I have an exciting evening of laundry scheduled for tonight.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Yay! I have internet

I finally got internet at home. Now I have no excuse for not updating.

So, what has happened lately? Meg and Adrian came out here for a week leaving last Thursday. They got to meet Randy on his last weekend in town. It is really too bad that Randy and Emily had to leave. I only knew them for a few months, but its a big loss to the island and the Association.

Meg and Adrian got in around 10pm on April 26. So Friday, they walked down to Airport Beach from my house. I've been there before, but I haven't taken the walking route from my place which is the garbage walk.

So after most of the day there in the sun, Adrian was pretty red.

I was stuck late at work, so they were forced to occupy themselves by walking to Maliamai, which is a bar/restaurant at the end of the alternate trail to the beach. While they were waiting for me, they had a couple torpedoes of Vailima. Torpedoes not only taste like shit but they have something like 6.8% alcohol.

So I picked them up in my girlmobile (I'll get to this on a later post) and took them back home where Adrian proceeded to sample all the island's best: Red Horse (also malt liquor), San Miguel, and of course other alcohol. That along with his singlehandedly trying to absorb all the radiation the sun had to dish out that day did him in. By the time people finally rolled in around 9, Johnny T had about had it. Soon after, he passed out and pissed his pants:

He didn't really piss his pants, but he was sabotouged into looking as he did. He did actually take an involuntary nap pretty early though.

The next day we left for four days in Western Samoa. Once you are here for a couple months, Apia is something to see because they have stoplights, bars that people go to, and a few buildings over 3 stories. It does however have far less bars, tall buildings, and stoplights than Longview, so it isn't too impressive for those with access to real cities. So, we just went straight for the sliding rock.

I missed most of it but this crazy local guy, probably about 60 was doing crazy things. He was sliding down the top two slides on his feet, which is completely insane. Then he did somersaults down the last one:

Then we went to Lalomanu and stayed there for three nights. We'd stayed there during my previous trip to WS. It is a great place. Fantastic beach, stay in a fale right by the water, $25 per person for lodging and your meals.

The next day, black sand beach and hanging out in the waves.

There's this series of giant holes in the ground that we visited. They are connected by underwater tunnels to the ocean and to eachother. You can walk down some stairs and swim from each hole to the other and also out into the ocean. It did look a little less than safe though, so we passed on the swimming part.

Also, we stopped by to check out some falls:

We also checked out Aggie Greys which is a luxury resort on the north part of Upolu. I don't really know why anyone would stay there. The beach there is unspectacular as is the resort in general. But, the rooms are around $300/night. Lalomanu is the way to go for a beach, and if you want to stay in a real hotel, stay at the Manusina- Maximo's place.
But, we found some of these nearby Aggies:

We came back to this island on Tuesday evening. I worked Wednesday while they went around the island.

Then Wednesday night we went to a traditional Samoan dinner at Tisa's Bar. It was a full moon and perfect weather out. Not even terribly hot.

Thursday, I worked and they went snorkling and saw some turtles.

I think they both enjoyed it here. It is pretty nice; you all should think about coming to visit.

This weekend, we went to a Cinco de Mayo event Saturday night at the yacht club. That was very nice, plus $8 buckets of Corona.

So I'm sick now (thanks Meg).

Movie review:

Children of Men: Not too bad. Kind of a dark movie, but entertaining and interesting. 6.7

Also, I finished F&F, Tokyo Drift. Total crap throughout the second half as well. 2

Jeff Weaver sucks at baseball.