Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pacific Arts Festival 2

I'm a little worn out. It was great that we actually had things to do on a nightly basis. But, it is just a week and a half of events, so most people felt like we better see as much as we can while it is here, so you end up staying out late (by American Samoa standards) every night.

So, did the miracle weather and overall lack of problems despite the overall lack of planning continue?

Amazingly it did. It had rained so often during the past few months; I can't recall 24 hours without rain since April or so. I think it rained maybe one hour during the entire festival. And not just no rain, it continued on with the best weather since I have been here. About 78-82 every day, low humidity, lots of sun. It has been great. The arts festival participants along with the passengers of a huge cruise ship that was in for a day got the best face of this island. They will surely tell their friends this place is an island paradise.

Here are some pictures from the Arts Festival:

OK, wait, why was I worried about this? Well, you can read back on some other accounts of problems here, but on the lighter side, here are some of the pre (ok, when I say pre, I mean, maybe finished the day before or even the 2nd day of the festival) festival decorations:

OK, back to festival pictures:

When Taiwan got done, their leader yelled: " yay Samoa, go! go! go!" It was hilarious and ridiculous, but she was very enthusiastic and a big hit with the crowd:

Torabind Islanders (between Australia and Papua New Guinea).

"my hat is like a shark's fin"
Torabind Islanders are huge LL fans.

In the middle of the festival was Oscar's birthday party at his house. It was a 70s/toga theme. Doug, Nate, and I tried to do both. It was fun, as are most events at Oscar's.

Doug got tired:

Have you had pulse energy drink/liquor drink? Anyway, I had 2 and by the time I got home, I figured it was around 1am or so. Yeah, it was 6. I was first alerted to this possibility when I noticed it getting light while I was jabbering at Naomi and torturing her by preventing her ability to sleep with said jabbering. So, it was probably reasonable that Doug was tired. Happy Birthday Oscar!

And, some more arts festival:

The festival officially ended yesterday.

It was supposed to end on Saturday, but the Governor had to go to the coronation of the new king of Tonga, so it was cut short. That is just ridiculous. But, with the festival not being a disaster, the gov probably is looking pretty good for re-election (if you believe that very many people vote for who they want---I'll get into this later). Looking good because of the festival working out well in general, but even more for the fireworks. These were some of the best fireworks I've ever seen. Imagine having a fireworks display for 4th of July at a medium size American town (maybe somewhere between Longview, WA and Redding, CA). Then put yourself IN the fireworks. This was a decent display for a town that size, but the fireworks only got shot about 50 feet off the ground before they blew up. It was really cool, and a little scary, but mostly just great:

Add to this that a lot of people had never seen fireworks before. It was aweseome! People just screaming because either they had never seen these in person before, or didn't know fireworks like this even existed.

It was too bad that the finale happened on a Wednesday and everyone had to go to work the next day because everyone was really jacked up after the fireworks and possibly could have stayed up all night.

Movie reviews:

The Devil and Daniel Johnston:
(groan) I remember watching Jeepers Creepers with Seigel and both of us were pissed about the time the movie ended. He said something like, "WTF? I guess you can just throw any pile of crap idea for a movie at a studio and get it made". Well, that's kind of how I felt at the end of this one. No, not the end, the whole thing. This movie is really not good. Don't watch it. It isn't entertaining because of it's awfulness. It is just crap. This is a documentary about a crazy guy that some people think is famous and some sort of a music God. There are only two groups of "famous" bands and people that I've ever even heard of however. One of them is Sonic Youth. OK. The other one is Butthole Surfers. I saw Butthole Surfers once in college and that was a pretty decent show. But, Butthole Surfers were playing at a UW Kappa Sigma party. Anyway, that was the best part. Don't watch it! Just because it is so weird, and not horribly done, I give it a 1.

Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay:
Dumb! Really really dumb! Not believable. Totally inappropriate humor. Also, pretty funny: 6.5

Everything is Illuminated:
Not too boring, not too exciting. Kind of weird (in a good way), but not funny enough to be really good. If you run out of movies to watch, this might be tolerable: 3.8

Ms/Trade deadline:
I think the Ms got a fine deal for Rhodes.
I don't know what was really offered for Ibanez. If it was 2 major leaguers, I can only guess they were ones that Toronto wanted to get rid of, so no problem with not taking that deal. I can't believe the Ms weren't approached about making Ibanez part of the Manny deal; maybe they preferred Bay, I don't know. But, if the Ms got the same offer the Pirates got, we should have taken it: again, just speculation.
Washburn: If the Yankees offered Gardner and Igawa for Washburn, I don't know why we didn't take it. Gardner could be good, could be worthless; probably he'll end up like J.Reed, but it is better than nothing. Igawa probably won't be great, but he could be decent and still, he makes about $8M less than Washburn.
WHY ARE CAIRO AND VIDRO STILL ON THE ROSTER????????? Cairo even started today! What is going on!??!! I'd rather see us lose all the rest of our games this year than see Vidro or Cairo start another game. If Riggleman is trying to win games to keep his job, he's losing any chance to keep it, at least in my mind.

It'll be August 1 by the time you read this: my birthday!

Oh, and in honor of my birthday, the Governor gave us a day off Monday. Don't you get Monday off? Really, we need it from all the arts viewing. Now if they could only mix in some things to do and see throughout the year...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pacific Arts Festival

So far, it is a miracle. No humanitarian disasters yet. Lots of the venues here would be mudholes and the audiences (should they show up) would be drenched if it rained. But, after months of routinely bad weather, it has been perfect weather, with the exception of a little drizzle for maybe an hour a couple nights ago.

Yesterday was probably the best weather day since I've been in Samoa. 79 degrees, low humidity (comparatively), and almost no clouds (very rare here). I was sick though and didn't get to enjoy it, but it looks like today is about as nice and I'm feeling much better after 11 hours of sleep and pretty much resting all day yesterday after a very brief morning court appearance.

Also, the Arts Festival events have been really great and entertaining. It is such a novelty in the first place to have a bunch of people walking around that you don't know, but the performances have been very interesting and the groups are so friendly and happy to have people interested in their culture and art, it has made for a really fun time so far.

The internet is so slow today that I'm going to have to cut my update short here because I have to go. It took about 3 hours for it to finally upload just these pictures.

I'll have more later.

Now I'm off to Oscar's (and sort of my) birthday party at his house. It should be really fun.

Update for Goat Island review:
It can't be a 9.5 and 6 or whatever. We went again, the service was unbelievably bad even for here. As bad as the Deluxe Cafe. The food was also nothing special this time. I was pretty disappointed. So, like most places (every place except Sook's, McD, and Carl's), it is inconsistent at best. So I'm going to have to lower it to 7 on island (still is a nice location) and 3 or so off-island, though my last experience was a -10.

OK, I have to go

Monday, July 21, 2008

Food poisoning

I think. Either that or some flu type thing has been kicking my ass from the inside the past couple days.

I left my camera at Samoa Steve's place I think, so I'll have to retrieve it before I can add some more pictures. This weekend was not super eventful, but mostly enjoyable. Golf Friday. It continued to be bad weather here, so we played Risk most of the day Saturday. Then Saturday night we went to Liz & Markus's wedding reception put on by Liz's co-workers. That was pretty impressive. It was quite a production, and all done by her co-workers without any request or expectation on Liz's part. They had tons of food, a live band, and had 2 sets of traditional outfits made for Liz & Markus.

Then Saturday night around midnight, I started to feel not so good. Yesterday, I pretty much couldn't move. I even had a fever, which is pretty rare for me. Today is better, but still, I can't go to work, unless I can work from the restroom, which if you've seen the restrooms at my office, you'd think is not a viable option.

Check out Jeremy's blog. He got to go to China for work. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Manu'a Flag Day

We got today off from work to commemorate the anniversary of the islands of Ofu, Olosega, and Ta'u joining Tutuila under U.S. control.
I think having Wednesdays off should be made a more permanent feature of work weeks.

Today Team Puppy (Matt, Doug, Naomi, and I) did a couple of short hikes. First we went to the hospital to eat lunch, but of course the cafeteria was closed for the very important holiday. So we hit the hike which starts in a rock quarry (very safe looking excavation) back behind the hospital.

There is a lower falls and pool, which we thought was it.

At the top of the falls we walked around a little and around the corner of the creek, there's another falls.

Today was another really cool weather day (maybe a high of 78). We got in the pool, but it was a little chilly due to us not being used to a heat index under 90.

Here's Matt jumping in:

Afterwards we went up to the big WWII guns that are on the west side of the harbor (there are apparently some on the east side as well). This is a newly cleaned up tourist attraction.
There's a shantytown on the way to the guns.

It is really nice at the top of the hill though:

There is another gun up there as well that hasn't been restored yet.

Check out this very safe, permanent, and professional wire stringing job we noticed up near the guns:

At Sadie's by the Sea, they recently finished building their new restaurant named the Goat Island Cafe!!!

Restaurant Review: Goat Island Cafe
It is really hard to believe that this place is on Tutuila. It feels like you're in Western or some other place. It is nice in there, there is outdoor seating and sliding glass walls. You would think that in such a warm place, there would be many locations to sit and eat outside. Incredibly there are hardly any.
Maliumai has outdoor seating, but their food (aside from their poke) is not edible. The food at the Goat is good. We were all shocked and spent about two hours there on a little mini-vacation from Pago. On island: 9.5 Off-island 6

The other day a whale was apparently stuck on the reef near my house. Some local kids hauled it in. Guess what happened to the whale next?

If you guessed: (x) tie its tail to a rock, you were correct.

It died of course, but according to Alden and April(in this picture with the whale) it was probably from being attacked by other animals at sea.

Naomi is getting pretty good at Bust a Move