Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Unidentified Sign in the middle of nowhere

What does this sign mean?I first saw this sign in the mid-80's. I took this photo in the mid-90's. This sign appears in the middle of nowhere on the road to Kings Canyon National Park.
The first time I saw it, I had to wonder about what the hell it means. It shows a white and hilly road leading into a mountain through a forest. The strange thang is that it is not posted at the beginning of such a road. It's posted in the middle of nowhere, long after you are on such a road. The sign is too pretty and too faded to serve as any warning unless the message is, "Warning, you are already on a scenic road in which you may be in danger of enjoying." I took this photo the next time I saw this sign because it's hard to really describe how pointless it is unless I can show it. As far as I know, the sign is still standing where I last saw it. Anyone else ever see sumfin like this?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Big 2001 Vacation: Part 12: 11/18/01 and Epilogue

I woke up and went about the business of getting ready for the flight back to the mainland.

My trip to Hawaii served as a turning point for me. Before the trip, I had poor job satisfaction and reduced motivation. I think I was still grieving too. Living my life had become a chore. I didn't admit it to myself at the time. There are many reasons for these issues. I'm not going into them now. However, after the trip I was able to focus and self-motivate again. Over time, subsequent events and changes grew to be even more drastic, allowing me to free myself from the shackles of my past. My grieving ended. I finally opened my eyes to religious truths which, ironically enough, allowed me to have no need for religion in my life. I had a progressively better outlook on life. What does this have to do with the trip to Hawaii? As far as I can tell, nothing. Yet, there it stands at my crossroads, like a strange figure giving me a wink and a nod as he watches me walk past and continue towards the horizon along my path.

Final Entry
I'm going to end this series with a brief annotate from Hawaii that wasn't included in my written journal. I made it my mission to try authentic Polynesian Hawaiian food. I spent a lot of time tracking down a place. I quickly found that no Hawaiian restaurants exist in Waikiki. Finally, on day three, some locals pointed me in the right direction. I found this little-hole-in-the-wall called Ono's. I told the owner that I had been trying to find a Hawaiian restaurant for days. He seated me and then walked me through the menu. I remember having a large meal of many different Hawaiian dishes and sides. I don't remember the names of the food, but I remember my experience was enjoyable. One dish I remember is poi. It was a Polynesian staple for thousands of years. I didn't like it. It tasted like flavorless applesauce. For the main course, I had pork steamed in leaves. I really enjoyed that item. Overall, the meal had way too much salt. It tasted good, but I think all that salt it through my body outta wack for months. Next time I have a Hawaiian meal, I'm going to remember one word, moderation.

Brilliant idea for new IM software at Hey Freak

Brilliant idea for a new IM program


Monday, March 28, 2005

Big 2001 Vacation: Part 11: 11/17/01 Night

Clubs in Waikiki
Well thangs with Nicole fell completely thru. So, I went out. Two girls from the hotel [I stayed at] and I went looking for a club “W”. That ended [up] not being open on Sat night, so (after walking clear out of Waikiki [to find it]) we got a cab back and ended up [at] the Maze in the hip hop room.
[We] danced the night away. {Sheeze, why did I feel so compelled to write such completely lame statements in my journal?} [Their] names were Morgan (a model) and Andrea.
{I remember that Morgan was a cute, petite brunette. I was a little attracted to her, but at the time, I had no game. In fact, I had negative game. lol More than a few times in the past, I’ve been able to turn away interested females with the dumb cunning, all against my actual wants. Damn, I was such a dork. Of course, the fact that girls are so easily scared off is another problem. lol Anyways, if anything at all might have happened with Morgan, I soundly blow my chance at even making a friendship that would last beyond the night with her. We did have fun though, with an eventful night at the various clubs and wondering around the streets afterward. I lost Morgan and Andrea for a time, but when they found me again, Andrea had collected a few men to entertain her. :) Later on, I sensed I scared or annoyed (or sumfin) Morgan beyond repair, so I choose the right moment to graciously call it a night. Over all, it was a great night.}

Friday, March 25, 2005

National Annoy Matt Week

I'd just like to say a few parting word to National Annoy Matt Week. This week has been filled with little annoyances. Good riddens to this week. Well, the week hasn't been bad. I've spent some quality time with my g/f, a couple of my best friends and m...ok...I'm starting to figure this out. It's not National Annoy Matt Week. It's National Annoy Matt During the Day Week. Honestly, my evenings have been pretty good. It's the daytime hours that are annoying. So, good riddens to the annoying times at day. A fond ado to the rest. Please hurry up and get here, oh weekend!

Big 2001 Vacation: Part 10: 11/17/01 Evening

[I took the] catamoran off the coast [of Waikiki] for the sundown. The mai tais were flowing nonstop. [Everyone] watched the sun set.
A group of us sat on the netting in the front and talked and took pictures and had a good time. Two friends were named Jenn and Jenn. Kinda funny, even if it wasn't [their real] names. I enjoyed relaxing [on the] ride.
{Relaxing, downing mai tais, watching the sun set, and chatting made for peaceful and relaxing evening. I did feel a bit out of place at times though, going stag and all. Plans to meet up with a couple of people had fallen through on the trip, so I made the best of it. Thankfully, it wasn't an issue often. There are a lot of friendly people in Hawaii. Side note: the corrections I made to this journal entry are more for clarity than the fixing of errors.}

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Big 2001 Vacation: Part 9: 11/17/01 Morning

Hanauma Bay

I snorkeled for hours. There were tons and tons [of] schools of tropical fish. Beautiful. The reefs were beautiful. There was a [small] shark and eel too. I didn’t see them though.
It was very fun. I was able to swim in deeper waters and in the reefs. The fish were everywhere. It was incredible. Hanauma Bay reefI made sure I was well protected by sunscreen. There are a ton of new freckles. [M]y back shoulders look like I’m a [cheetah].
{This is a surprisingly short and poorly written journal entry, given how much I enjoyed snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. I’ll go into more detail now. I got to Hanauma Bay very early in the morning. If one doesn’t get there early, one will have to wait in line behind large crowds of people all waiting their turns. I snorkeled for about an hour, then sunbathed for ½ hour, on and off all morning. Hanauma Bay has two reefs areas. Hanauma Bay fishThe inner area is very rocky and shallow. The number of fish is moderate, prolly because this is the area where most of the human kids cause a ruckus daily. However, I so amazed by the variety of fish, clarity of the water and rock/coral formations, I used up my underwater disposal camera there. One time I played with this poor little baby flat fish (I forget what type). It was the color of the sand. To hide, it simply laid down on the sandy bottom and fluffed up sand over itself. I remember seeing a huge, full grown version of this critter in the submarine ride the day before.
I wish I hadn’t used up my camera in the inner reef area because the outer area was Hanauma Bay reefeven more incredible. Large schools of all kinds of small and large fish were on patrol. I managed to swim into a couple of schools a few times. I wish I had pictures of the outer reef area. I remember looking down from the surface to see schools of fish swimming around the coral reef formations that stuck straight of the unspoiled sand 30 feet below me. At about 11:30am, the beach and water got too crowded with people. It got hard to swim without some dumb kids bumping into me. After sun-drying myself, I took off. On my out, I noticed this one golden skinned girl blatantly take off her top to sunbath topless on the beach. I had to mention that cuz it’s not a common site in the U.S., regardless of location. I think she wasn’t American. On the tram ride back up to the parking lot, I looked back to take in the beauty of Hanauma Bay from high up. I’m sure there are much better places to snorkel, but even this lowly experience blow me away.

The photos in this blog entry are links to their full size versions.}

UPDATE: By complete randomness, I just came across this blog entry of Waikiki pics.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Big 2001 Vacation: Part 8: 11/16/01 Night

The Wave Night Club
The music wasn’t [as] loud as I expected. Still had a good club volume, but not ear numbing. A band of two female leads did covers of Blink 182, Linkin Park and others. It was fun.
I [hung out] with a couple of girls [for much of the night], but they [were] there with their men. {For the record, they were flirting with me. At the time, I just didn’t feel like getting involved with the drama.} Oh well.
After I was done drinking, I got a water and hung out at the bar, getting ready to head out. Th[is] one girl sat next to me and started leaning on me and sticking her cigarette in my direction, try[ing] to get my attention. I didn’t have a good feeling about her, so I tried to ignore her. Didn’t work. [S]he started telling me [about] the cab {which she rode in} had those auto[matic] doors, and she fell [out] on[to] her ass [when it opened on her]. {To this day, I don’t know what she was talking about. I’ve never heard of automatic doors on cabs before or since. I do know that this girl annoyed me.} I rubbed her hurt tush for a little bit, but started to [try to] find a way out. She finally went off to dance [with her girlfriend]. I was done for the night, so I headed back to the hotel about 3a.m. It was a fun time in general.
{There are tons of errors in this entry. I must’ve written this right when I got back to the hotel.}

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Big 2001 Vacation: Part 7: 11/16/01 Day

I went on a beautiful submarine ride [off] the [coast] of Waikiki. [When] I first went snorkeling the other day; I was impressed by the number of fish in the water right [off] the beach. Well, multiply that by 1000 at the artificial reefs at 75' under the Waikiki bay waters.
There were large schools of tons of tropical fish. Three large turtles showed up, and a ray, and a small shark. {The deep water was so blue, as if we were in the largest swimming pool in the world. Many of the natural reefs had been destroyed by a large storm about a decade prior to my visit. Several sunken ships and some old airplane wreckage served as the start of new reefs. The submarine ride cost $99. I feel I more than got my money’s worth.}
{As part of a promotional consideration, after the submarine ride, guests were bussed to a coral driver jewelry maker for a tour of their facilities.}
Time keeps slipping by today. It seems like hours vanished throughout the day…kinda sucks. I was going [to] go snorkeling today, but lost track of time somewhere. Don’t know how.
Anyways, a friend gave me the number of his friend on the islands. We’ve been playing the longest game of phone tag I’ve ever played. Humorous and annoying. She left a message saying she has bron[ch]itis. That sucks. Kills my original plans for the weekend…still going to go out, but not as much fun alone.
Man, I hope the pictures I took from the sub came out…we’ll see. {Who’s this "we" that I keep talking about? lol}Ya’no, I miss Kaua’i. :)
Now, let’s see how tonight shapes [up].

Monday, March 21, 2005

Big 2001 Vacation: Part 6: 11/15/01


No words can do this place justice. The island is very very beautiful. It’s called “The Garden Island.” This must be a reference to the Garden of Eden. Today, I’m told, is unusually clear for a fall month. {No clouds shrouded the volcano summit.} My God, it is beautiful. I drive up to the North Shore and was frustrated that I had to keep my eyes on the road instead of taking in the isle’s glory.
Everyone here is so laid back. I even picked up a hitchhiker. His name was Tim. [H]e was in his 50’s, but was young for his age. I didn’t take him far before we were at his destination. Hitchhiking is still common place here, like what I’ve heard the early 70’s were like on the Mainland.
{Arg, I really did use the word “Mainland.” LOL Ok, I got to the island early in the morning. As I was driving up to North Shore, I noticed a 10 year old boy hitchhiking. It was like 6 or 7 in the morning. I was thinking about what the hell his parents were thinking letting him do this. Later I figured out that the locals treat hitchhiking same as mass transit. They line up at what appear to be specific locations, as if waiting for cabs or a bus, taking their turn as cars pulled up.}Canyon wallsThe helicopter ride was awesome. The island is awesome to behold. [W]ords just don’t do this place justice. {Didn’t I say that already?} The canyons are…I don’t know the word. The tour had a video to sell at the end, but the video doesn’t do this isle justice, and neither do photos. Landing and Take-off locationThe helicopter ride itself was fun, going in to valleys, over the ocean, into the great crater of the volcano that built the island. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I’m in love with Kaua’i. {Check out these two silly photos I took with my I-Zone camera. :) I took real photos too. See the link at the end of this entry}I drove down to Poipu after the helicopter ride. The beach was good…on the surface, nothing special, at least until [I swam] in it. The water is crystal clear, and (for the time of day) clam. I snorkeled in Waikiki, but didn’t have the gear to snorkel here. I wish I did. I swam in the waters, then sunbathed dry. It hit [me] on the drive back to the airport that I felt completely renewed, energized, refreshed. Wow!
I’m setting [here] at the [airport] bar chatting with the barkeep and the waitress talking about “[written unintelligibly]” and “Dakine” (sp?). Hawaiians use these words excessively. (Dakine) = anything that is usual. “I’m going to the store” = “I’m going Dakine.” It’s kind of funny. The waitress’ name is Berrie. She’s interesting, about my age, two kids and was pretty much telling me her life story.
I’m coming back [to] Kaua’i again, maybe next year.
{Check out my photos from the helicopter ride.}

Thursday, March 17, 2005

An old visit to Las Vegas

Ren and Stimpy at peace

I took this sweet picture of Ren and Stimpy at peace when Michela and I visited the Stratasphere in Vegas, sometime in the early to mid-1990's. I've visited Vegas about once a year since I was 24. I haven't been there yet this year. There's a new ride at the top of the Strataphere where you hang over the edge and spin around. Sounds like a great reason to go back soon. :) Woohoo!

Big 2001 Vacation: Part 5: 11/14/01 Evening

Well, I attempted to snorkel at Waikiki beach. [A]fter a little while, I started to get the hang of it. I saw lots of little fish and hopefully my underwater pictures turn out. It’s a new experience I want to explore again. The waters of Hawaii are warm. Something which I’ve also never experienced before cuz Cali waters are very co[ld].
{Man, my narrative writing skills were in serious decline at that time. Maybe I was writing in hurriedly?}
I spent some time late at the bars tonight. The Irish pub down the way was ok, had a couple of beers there and listened to a good cover band doing a lot of older stuff and the Counting Crows. {I meant to say that the band was also covering the Counting Crows songs. Maybe my writing sucked because I was drunk? lol}.
I spent more time at the bar in my hotel. {Ok, yeah, I was hella drunk. LOL} This older gay guy (a local) had a wonderful conversation with me. {Not THAT drunk. ha ha} It was fun hanging out with the locals for a little while. But now, I have to get up very early tomorrow, for my flight over to Kauai.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Amateurs built the Ark

“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember: Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic”
Anyone that says this doesn’t think for themself. For starters, the Ark is part of a myth that couldn’t have possibly happened. The myth describes a god committing the ultimate act of genocide. The Titanic also involved many people dying. What kind of person turns such monstrous events into a trite quip about not being afraid to take chances? This is on par with making jokes about 9/11, D-Day, the attack on Pearl Harbor, or the Indonesian Tsunami.
This isn’t me being sensitive. Often such ridiculous statements are made with conclusionary smugness. This is me seeing that bullshit and attacking it head-on.
Apology to offended readers: If you used that phrase yourself in the past, don’t take my words here personally. This is just a call to people to think about where this stuff comes from before blindly repeating it.

Big 2001 Vacation: Part 4: 11/14/01

Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor's Arizona Memorial and Bowfin Museum were interesting. I've see[n] just about everything there on the Discovery Channel, though seeing the Arizona first hand does make you remember the sacrifices made [by] all [who fought] in WWII. I was most impacted by seeing the Arizona bleed its oil, one drip at a time. They form the occational rainbow colored film on the surface of the water. That, to me, is the greatest reminder of all those who died there.
{I felt that the experience leading up to the visit to the Arizona Memorial was cheezy. First, you are given a number. You wait around for a couple of hours. They finally call your number. You get in line. You are then filed into a theater. You watch a short documentatory on the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the sinking of the Arizona. Then, everyone is herded onto a ferry that takes you to the Memorial that stands over the Arizona. Interviews with vets and battle sounds are piped through the ferry's speakers. I felt this was complete unnecessary. My journal entry referred to how I felt once I reached the Arizona Memorial itself. Everything leading up to that felt like someone was telling me how I should feel once I reach the memorial. As I said, cheezy.}

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Big 2001 Vacation: Part 3: 11/13/01

Hawaii [Oahu] Honolulu
Right off the plane, the air was a surprise, but not bad, just humid. {Apparently, my writing skills have improved in the years since I wrote that statement.} The flight itself was pleasant and smooth. I sat next to Julie from the San Francisco area. She told me how she used to love to fly but now had a phobia cuz of one flight to Chicago last year, which was really bad. She’s an ER nurse and related several tales from her job. Some of them included strange thangs guys got there dick stuck in, oh and this one guy with a bullet in his head. {On our Oahu approach , I was amazed at the sight of the Hawaii Island chain from our altitude. I could see island after island to the horizon. Each island appeared to be nothing more than a rock sticking out of the water.}
Tuesday, I spent settling in and doing a bit of exploring around Waikiki. I feel asleep around 8:00pm, woke up at 6:45am Wed. I’m now on Hawaii time for sleep, but still adjusting to different eating times. I’m not hungry and hungry at odd times…my stomach is still on Cali time. I spent some time on Waikiki beach and had dinner at this restaurant at the end of Lewere St. near the beach. It was ok, a coconut chicken plate, but it as a bit dry.
{Wow, I talked about sleep and food. I really had an exciting first day in Hawaii. lol}