Tuesday, April 27, 2010


(double click on the movie frame to start)

I was just writing to a friend tonight about how to stick with blogging, when I realized I hadn't put an entry in here in about a week. To tell the truth though, I have been blogging, just not here. I've been helping a guy (Chris Palfrey) out with a channel swim. He swam from Molokai to Oahu (the island I live on). The name of the channel spanning the 26.5 mile wide distance is, the Ka`iwi. We did great, Chris did it in under 13 hours, breaking the old record.

Jeff Kozlovich, an Ala Moana beach lifeguard, and HUGE outdoor Hawaii sportsman, asked me to guest write on my experiences with Chris last weekend. Those entries are on his blog. It's been a pretty busy week for the kozhawaii blog as Chris Palfery wasn't the only Palfery swimming this week. His wife Penny, decided to try and take on the only Hawaiian channel still left unswum, The Kaieiewaho, the 76 mile wide channel spanning from Oahu to Kauai. Jeff was a paddleboard escort on Penny's crew. Penny and Chris both started their channels at approximately the same time.

Ain't I a stinker? I'm not going to tell you how things ended up for Penny? Did she make it? You'll have to read for yourself. No spoilers here ;)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"I'm on a Boat..."

I will be serving as boat support for Chris Palfery's swim from Molokai to Oahu this weekend.

Friday, April 16, 2010


I was beach combing over lunch break again. This time I enjoyed the stroll with Ceci, it was good to catch up. While we walked we looked for more beach glass and the perfect piece of drift wood.

We wandered off the walking path over near the section of the boulder retaining wall by the surf break. A lot of wood pieces from the ocean wash over that wall. The top soil by the barrier is worn away and there is a rocky brambly area for the x-mariner sticks to lay in. By the time the ocean has leached the oil from them, and the sun has bleached them white, they are as light as balsa and easy to shape with files and sand paper.

Ceci spotted a nice cropping of drift wood and we wandered over the rugged stretch to inspect them. I should have been more cautious. Two or three times I felt the prick of a thorn through my rubber slippers (flip-flops). I just pulled them out of the soles and kept walking, picking up the ghostly branches.

Heading back, I lunged forward and felt a shot of pain so strong it was actually confusing. I looked down to see the woody spine (picture) stuck, ..to the hilt.., into the sole of my footwear. My hand shot out, and I grabbed Ceci's shoulder. She steadied me and instinctively I pulled at the impalement to get it out of my shoe and my flesh. It was stuck so far in, it didn't budge.

I paused long enough to wonder out loud about it. Cec said something like, 'Just ya know, count to three and pull da buggah out'. Her handsome mahogany skin, was going more of a chartreuse hue. I probably was too. "Okay", I said, "here goes" and pulled as solidly as I could. It came out in one piece, sticky and slow at first, then accelerating as it slid free. We hobbled back to the car.

I called my doctor, it needed a tetanus shot. After work the kids and I went to Queen's in Kapolei. I am grateful they were willing to see me at closing time, and just before the weekend. Dr. Okimoto stayed late and treated me with a tetanus shot, a beta-dine soak, wound massage, antibiotics and codeine. I'll be back on my feet in no time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sand Island Treasures

Sue worked Wednesday for the first time in a while today. She packed up the van with suits and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. After she putted off to work in the Green Dragon, the kids and I headed out from my work parking lot to Sand Island.

Sand Island is mostly an industrial depot on the side of the harbor across from Aloha Tower. Huge boats are unloaded on the harbor side, and cruise ships are often heading in to dock.

The South strip of Sand Island facing the Pacific is in contrast to the rest of the island. It's an enormous beach park. There is cove on the Western corner mostly protected from the surf by a retaining wall of rock, and a kind of a jetty. The kids can play there without me worrying to much.

After swimming for a while, we all took a break to walk around and look for 'treasures'. Today's cache: A plastic ninja, sharks teeth I picked out of a dried up jaw, a poker chip, a half of a Hula Girl playing card, a rooster skull and a hand made friendship bracelet. Not pictured a fake flower from an ABC store style lei.

After the walk, we circled back to cove, the kids played until they got cold. I showered them, dusted them off and we camped in the (relatively) warm van for our tastey PB&J sandwiches.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


(2): Used and made by all Southwestern Indian tribes, fetishes are objects which represent the spirits of animals or the forces of nature. ...

I'm still kind of stuck on assemblage art, but I don't think I really have what it takes. It seems creation in that style of art requires a willingness to kludge just about anything together, and create a curiosity as interesting as it is useless.

As much as I say I'm a creative, I'm also somewhat begrudgingly an engineer. The right brain vs. left brain issue is something I've struggled with my whole life. I think I could be an inspired artist if only I wasn't so concerned with function. I think I could be a productive engineer if I wasn't so concerned with elegance. So here I am again in my own creative purgatory. New art-form, same issue.

So, bringing order to my creative chaos, I needed a theme for the assembled collection. I couldn't just go with arbitrary dander, so I focused specifically on beach junk. I think that the closest I will ever come to an assemblage collage is maybe a cuckoo clock made out of drift wood and beach glass. If I actually perserve and finish it, perhaps this wooden hula girl will be in it. Maybe gyrating on the hour. Who knows.

So, maybe I'm not artist, but I have found out this week, I CAN whittle drift wood.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

On the Road Again

I think it's been about a year since I biked to work. When I first started making the 13 mile trek from Ewa Beach to the Airport plaza, it was out of frustration. Ft. Weaver, the main access road to all of 96706 was down to two lanes and one of them was under construction. I was spending an hour on the road to travel only 15 miles, and more than half of that time was spent on Ft. Weaver.

On a dare to myself I thought, "This is stupid, I'll bet I could bike to work in the same amount of time it takes to drive it". Despite the fact that I can swim between islands, I had never biked more than three miles. So I felt a little crazy when I set out on a course around Pearl Harbor. It took me over an hour and a half. So much for my lifestyle hack.

For about a year I went at least one way to work twice a week. I did get the time down to about an hour. I also lost about 15 pounds in the process. I'd also found a new athletic outlet, one that got me to work alert and refreshed. After some time, my Gary Fisher bike pretty much squeaked to a halt. It was easier to drag it than peddle it. I figured I'd killed it, and left it in the garage, a repair project for another day. By then Ft. Weaver was up to 4 lanes (thanks to the governor) and the car commute wasn't that bad anyway.

What I didn't know was that all it needed was a routine tune-up. Just last week I took it to Boca Hawaii off of Nimitz, prepared to pay more than I really had on hand. In three days and $62 they had my bike running maybe better than new. I got the bike back last weekend. I biked to work yesterday, and then used the bike to get back home today.

If you didn't know about the bike path around the harbor, you should check it out. Every morning people stroll it, run it, and bicycle commute on it. If you scroll down you will see a map inset in the margin of this page. Click on the link underneath it to see a larger map. The bike path is traced around the harbor, I added some pictures on the map as well.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Go Fly a Kite

I've started developing an interest in something called "Assemblage Art". You could think of it as an art form which makes sculptural collages out of old relics. The trick is that things have to be kind of grungy and preferable found, not bought.

The One Ula beach park, also known by surfers as "Hau Bush" is fairly run down. There is a lot of history to the place. Apparently it used to be an out of the way place for rough-necks to gamble drink and bet in cock-fights. Hau Bush is now accessible by road, and despite the initial appearance, it really is a fairly friendly (local but friendly) beach. Besides all that, the surf there is nearly okay.

On the way into the park it gets a little intimidating street signs with bullet holes, and always a few piles of junkyard dander. Strange, the piles never get much bigger, but always keep changing. This must be thanks to a beach clean-up crew.

Around an hour till sunset I went with the kids down to Hau Bush, hoping I might find some new junk to incorporate into my forthcoming assemblage masterpiece. First though, the kids got a chance to romp in the sand and surf while I looked for beach glass.

The surf was a little bigger than expected in the strong winds and I pretty much ended up sitting on the concrete parking barrier and playing life guard. 'Nomes, always very sensible for her age, thought she would be better off sitting and playing near me than in the turbulent break.

While we were watching the boys, a local man (henceforth: Uncle) danced his homemade kite just about 10 feet over our heads. My daughter started grinning and pawing at it like a cat. After a while Uncle gave it to her. I think that was his plan all along. He gave me brief instructions on how to pilot his contraption and then left Nomes and I to fly it. When started climbing back into the van, he wouldn't hear of us giving it back. It was a gift. Thank you Uncle.

Driving out of the park, kids wet and sandy, I pulled over and found a wooden box, a rusty bicycle chain, and several pieces from most of a decorated porcelain cup and saucer. I selected these as my artifacts for the evening.