Monday, May 31, 2010

Dead Locke

My high school bud Ian and his wife Mary are in town to visit this weekend and next. Ian and Mary live in San Jose, where he works for Specialized bicycles. His job involves setting up promotions and events for Specialized nationally and internationally. Typically I'll see Ian at least once a year as he passes through town on the way to represent at the Kona Iron Man. It's an added bonus when we get to hang with Mary too.

They are celebrating their half-versary honeymoon here in Hawaii. They will be here this weekend, then off to Kauai for the week, then back again next weekend. The guest bedroom is back in business while they are on our island.

This afternooon, we took in some surf at "Baby Haleiwas" on the North Shore. It's the break where a lot of groups rent boards out to newcomers. It's off to the right of Haleiwa Park. You might have seen it if you watch Lost. I'm pretty sure it's the beach they use for the scene where the guardians tote dead-Locke up in a cargo container on the beach, ark-of-the-covenant style. Lapidus gets a rifle butt to the head.

It would be funny if some of these surf breaks started taking on new bad-ass "Lost" names. Like: "Dead Locke", or "Lapidus Butt". I've often wondered what's in a break name. There are some crazy ones for sure: Gas Chambers, Green Lanterns, Paradise, Swabby Land. Anyway, I'm digressing...

Later this evening after we all came back sunburned and had a siesta, Ian, Mary, Sue (who is awesome) and I all went out to La Mariana. It's the Tiki bar near Sand Island. That place is so classic, leaky roof, bamboo walls, and lanterns made out of puffer-fish. It looks like a potential neighborhood bar for Gilligan's Island. Ya know, a swell place to hang out and speak-easy after a day of helping professor and the Harlem Globe Trotters build a submarine out of coconuts.

Ian an Mary are off to Kauai tomorrow. We'll have more adventures with them when they get back.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fund Raiser

I'm having a little trouble getting my Kiawi channel swim put together. Originally I was planning to swim from Molokai to Oahu a week before Father's Day in June. The major issue as always is money.

To compensate a Kiawi channel fisherman for the escort, and pay for about thirteen hours of fuel it costs about a thousand dollars total. That doesn't really factor in the cost of other supplies, and covering for incidental costs of volunteers.

A typical crew will have a captain, a spotter and a paddler. Often swells separating the line of sight between the boat and the swimmer are mitigated with a proficient paddler. The paddler will also run food, water and ibuprofin from the boat spotter to the swimmer. The spotter keeps his eye on the swimmer at all times, and gets nourishment ready at preset intervals. The captain? Well, the captain drives the boat, and understandably, makes his living doing it.

For the Kiawi, I'm trying something different. Rather than absorbing all the costs myself, I'm asking for your help. I'm sorry if this is a bit awkward, but I'll try to make it up to you with some value added. I'm throwing in this illustration and my thanks in exchange for support. If you want to give me a hand with this, just go to the cafepress site, and purchase any of the "Red Buoy" products there. So far I have a couple of different sized posters with the illustration. My mark-up is about 60% of the cost of the poster. I will put that toward the channel.

I'm totally blown back by the events in the Gulf of Mexico right now. That coastline will never be the same. Ever. I've never really been an environmentalist, but this issue really tugs at me. Seriously, it's time to start using some of our energy alternatives. Anyway, I digress, anything raised in excess of my fund raising target ($1k) will be donated to a worthy Gulf clean-up related fund. Please post me your comments if you have any suggestions.

About the art. If you scroll down a couple entries you can read about the day I did the hand made illustration. It was inspired by a training swim I did with Brian. We started at sunrise from Kaimana beach hotel, and swam the length of Waikiki, then looped around the red Ala Wai buoy. From there we went in to the Sheraton. Last weekend, I brought a scan of that art into Adobe Illustrator, vectorized it, and brought those paths into Photoshop. I did the painting affects with a Wacom tablet on an iMac. The sketch took about 2 hours, the computer rendering about 5. I hope you enjoy it, and more importantly, I hope it inspires you to reach your own goals as well.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


After the ten thirty service at Trinity United Methodist, the five of us all scrambled into the van, and grabbed lunch before our Sunday adventure. First stop, Hank's Haute Dogs on Coral Street in Honolulu.

If the cost of living on this island isn't high enough for you, stop in to eat at Hank's for an elite hand shipped carnivorous casing comestible. The dogs are flown in from Chicago, and elsewhere. It depends on whether you go with the classic Hot Dog, the Portuguese Sausage, Bratwurst, Chorizo... should I stop? Okay.

My only gripe is, when you are talking seven dollar dogs, size really IS everything. I was expecting an aspiration hazard, what I got was little more than a fist-full. Oh yeah, and they laughed at my wife when she mispronounced "Chorizo". That's a little too Soup-Nazi. Oh well, when you are haute you're haute. Hank's definitely is.

After our fine dining experience, the Sunday afternoon adventure led us to the Honolulu Academy of the Arts for the Family Sunday event. The beautiful structure housing the academy is almost more like its own campus than a building. Inside the massive exterior stone walls are several class rooms, exhibit halls and grass courtyards big enough for performance art.

There, we met up with Paul (a friend of Sue's from work), and his family. Their little girl is about the same age as our Naomi. All the kids enjoyed sitting on the grass in the courtyards watching a magic show by "The Amazing Mr. O", and then trapeze and aerial silk performances. After the A.D.D. set in, there was another courtyard set up for kid crafts.

The professional performances by the acrobats were both rehearsed and improvised. It was a beautiful fusion of gymnastics, theatre and dance. Students performed following the opening act (pictured). There was a tense moment when a young lady attempted to execute an elaborate spin while she was ten feet off the ground. When she failed, she hit the mat with a hard thump. Her weight tugged the silk so hard that the bamboo frame supporting the rig cracked and broke. Everything went quiet, and it was a huge relief when the student managed to collect herself off the floor, nothing broken.

As a lifetime swimmer, the cost of under-performing is just coming in last. Maybe throwing up in the pool gutter, and feeling humiliated. For these young ladies and other gymnasts, failures like the one we saw first-hand can result in broken necks and disfigured bodies. It takes a lot of courage to do that kind of sport. Even more to perform again later in the day after failing. I suppose I wish I had the courage to stay and watch her perform again later. I hope her mother did.

Friday, May 14, 2010


THe Chocolate Moat Cake won an honorable mention for originality. The company bake sale went well, maybe a little too well. If someone even says chocolate one more time today.. I might throw up.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chocolate Moat Cake

The company was asked employees to enter in a Bake Sale and competition in order to raise money for the events committee. The theme of the bake sale is chocolate chips. Yes I know I misspelled "moat" in the video. As soon as iMovie stops crashing I'll make the edit and reupload the video. Yawn.. for now, I'm going to bed.

Red Buoy

As of the Popoia Race, the local swimming community is officially into the outdoor season. The Outrigger Canoe Club hosts a race in a couple weeks, and the North Shore Swim Series starts after that. Then there is the Waikiki Rough Water, and for the hardcore, the Double Roughwater.

Brian, a friend of mine from the University of Hawaii Masters group, and I have started training outside instead of doing the usual pool swim. We did our second swim together today.

We started at the Kaimana Hotel near the foot of Diamond Head at about six in the morning. The plan was to swim the length of Waikiki, around the Ala Wai buoy marker and then about a third of the way back to the Shorebird. That was the plan.

Brian and I swim at different speeds, so we staggered the start. The first time I see Brian is forty-five minutes later when we are rounding the red buoy. He starts tapping my feet. When you are half a mile off the coast in pitch-blue water rounding a buoy bigger than a Volkswagen Beetle and something yanks at your feet, you notice it. It was Brian, so we stopped for a little chat. The subject: his car key.

The key for the car Brian parked at the finish, was still in my car, which was parked back at the start. The swim just got a little longer. We decided to swim about halfway back, to the Sheraton, get out and then run from there back to the start.

It's pretty shallow coral there so it took a while, (swim, scull, float, swim) to make it to the beach. We walked for a few minutes and then broke out into a run. Both of us, barefoot, and in racing suits. I wore a 'drag' suit over my racer, but still.

Anyway, we made it back to my car by twenty of eight. I got to work a little late, but it was worth the good times.

epilogue ..from a Facebook thread later today:

Brian Spotted you this morning in nothing but a speedo jogging down Kalakaua Ave!

At least I was in drag.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Orange is my new favorite color for the first time in my life. Except for a couple of short runs, I have oscillated between blue and red every two or three years. There was this time from about fifth to seventh grade when my favorite color was purple. I outgrew that because it was silly. Later about the time we moved to Hawaii my favorite color was green for about a year or so. I think orange is like pink for guys. When you wear it, you can't help but be in a better mood. Try it, next time you are in a funk, put on some orange underwear, shoes, or nice bright orange T-shirt. I guarantee things will improve.

Okay, good talk.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Popoia Momma Mia

The Flat Island race is the first open water race of the 'summer' season. It's about 1.6 miles, starting from the the NorthWest end of the Kailua beach park, around Flat Island and back. I did a YouTube movie of the race last year . It was pretty much the same thing; I finished fastest, and even got the same body marker, "45", somehow.

The biggest difference between last year and this year is that there was no cigar shaped orange buoy to swim around at the finish turn. I did a lot of water polo-style heads up swimming trying to sight the marker, didn't see it and decided to just swim parallel to the beach before turning in to the finish. Bummer for me: the last marker for the race course was considered to be the ever-present channel marker in lieu of a buoy (white pipe in the center of the picture). Though my time was fastest, the award went to a deserving Brook Nottage, who did swim a slightly longer course.

I was glad that Kailua Masters, who organized the race, went with electronic timing this year. That was nice. I re-learned a couple of lessons the hard way today. First, listen to the pre-race announcements, and listen extra close if they are being done in windy conditions without a bull-horn. The course announced at the pre-race might not match with the map drawn at the registration table. Never assume that the course is the same as last year. Second, with electronic timing, never (ever) stop running until you pass the yellow box. Today's finish was 50 yards up the hill from the water, and the chute only went half way to it. I actually stopped for about 5 seconds thinking I was done before the crowd frantically pointed out I wasn't there yet. It's good to get these kinks worked out before the North Shore Swim Series starts at the end of next month. Now, I'm ready.

The Flat Island race is unfortunately always held on Mother's Day. I say unfortunately because she is not a swimmer. We should have been cheering her this morning not me. Sue does a lot to keep our family running smoothly. Some years more than others. I asked the kids each to name something great about mom today. I liked Nate's answer best. "She does homework with me".

Nate struggles with school. He is only in first grade, but even this early on, he and Sue often spend more than two hours a day going through lessons at the kitchen table. Instead of complaining about it though, Nate picked Mother's Day to point out how grateful he is to his mom. Go Nate! Go Sue! First place you!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

We had the Kozlovichs, the Palfreys, Bill Goding and Forrest Nelson over for dinner. Of our diners in attendance more than half have crossed at least two Hawaiian Channels, and Jeff Kozlovich, has paddled across at least three of them.

Jeff, Nelson and Bill were all on Penny's boat. They were a part of Penny's courageous attempt to cross the Ka`ieiewaho. Measuring more than seventy miles, it is the widest channel in the islands. It spans the water between Oahu and Kauai.

I was on the boat with Chris Palfrey last week, stroke coaching and assisting him as he became the thirteenth person to cross the Kaiwi. The twenty six mile channel spanning between Molokai and Oahu. Chris is now the new record holder.