Sunday, December 30, 2007

Equate Nite Time--Original Flavor



Appearance: Deep green...almost glows.
Smell: Old School Medicine
Taste: Medicine with notes of honeydew and paint thinner...like a bottle of the blue MD 20/20 that's been opened in your fridge for over a year
Mouthfeel: thick and burning
Drinkability: N/A

Overall Grade: F
The Old School NyQuil flavor is awful. I'll always go for the cherry flavor, no matter which generic variation I try.

Vicks NyQuil Cherry Flavor




Appearance: Pours like a thick red juice.
Smell: Mediciny laced with essence of cherry
Taste: Sour cherries with a thick medicine aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Thick, producing a slight burning sensation...like a bottle of old wine or MD 20/20
Drinkability: Must be chased by a ton of water

I've been alternating between a bottle of Vick's Cherry flavored and Equate (Wal Mart Brand) Original flavor (review to follow). This is the better of the two. I'll review strictly based upon taste, as it's hard for me to tell if either are doing their job.

Overall taste grade: D+
PQ: 0.91

Friday, December 28, 2007

I was making balloon animals...

Ocean, Mountains, Rocks and Car Bombs

Yesterday we decided to take a walk towards Kaena point, the Northwestern-most spot on Oahu. In the parking lot, we saw a group of men holding hands in prayer. After they left, Sonya and the boys said a little prayer of their own.


We didn't get too far, as the boys were walking on their own...lots of rocks and hills to distract them. Those rocks weren't going to throw themselves, so now I have a sore arm trying to hurl big rocks into the ocean.




It was a very windy day.



Here's the highlight of the trip, at least for the boys...a bombed out car. This was the biggest piece of litter we found, but not the most common. Like much of Hawaii, the ground here is littered with Heineken glass. They love their Heineken in Hawaii. Heineken's advertising campaign locally is "Keep Hawaii Green". They've taken that slogan to heart here, peppering the roadways with broken glass. This shit's everywhere. Too bad, because this looks like a fun spot to ride a mountain bike, or better yet a BMX...though dodging the glass would be a real hassle.




Not shown in this picture is the mobile meth lab the boys found. Sonya's describing how it works.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Brew Masters Private Reserve




Finally opened the much anticipated 2007 Brew Masters Private Reserve from Budweiser. This 46.5 ounze lager born on 15 Oct 07 weighs in at a hefty 8.5% alcohol/volume.

Here's the label description:

"Decades ago, Budweiser brewmasters started a holiday tradition carried on to this day. Once each year, the brewmasters create a rich, flavorful reserve brew, prized for its unusual smoothness. This limited edition brew is then shared exclusively with family and close friends. Introductin Brew Masters Private Reserve Vintage 2007. This year's brew, a blend of four malts balanced with Bavarian Hops is copper in color, with ruby highlights and a rich caramel aroma. The enticing taste of the 2007 selection is a malty Doppelbock, full and quite smooth, with a classic noble hop finish - perfect for the holidays to share with your family and friends."



This was a damn good beer. Hard to believe Budweiser created this brew. I give it a solid B+. Sonya gave it a B...not sure why she couldn't give it higher marks. I can't find any real flaws with the beer. I've had a few Doppelbocks, but am no expert on that beer style. This was one smooth beer, and I could hardly tell by taste that it packs an 8.5% wallop. The only downside to this beer is that it's only sold in 46.5 ounce magnum bottles. At $11.50 each, it's not cheap. I guess it's like buying wine.

Strap's PQ =13.3
Sonya's PQ = 12.1

**Note that this beer was $.2473 PPO. Very high, so it skews the PQ. This is definitely a "special occasion" beer. I'll buy again in '08.


Also watched Superbad tonight...funniest movie I've ever seen. I talked Sonya in to agreeing with me there...couldn't convince her the Brew Masters' a B+.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Bavarian Wheat



This was the last beer of the Michelob Ales and Lagers sampler pack and hands down the best. Overall grade = B. It tasted just like a Hefeweizen should. Only critique was it was slightly bitter. I have one other Hefeweizen in my fridge--a Gordon Biersch. The Michelob kicks its ass.

PQ = 36

The sampler pack has a PQA (PQ Average) of 30.9.

Merry Christmas



Once a year I get to wear my festive holiday t-shirt.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Porter



I also tried the Porter last night. Overall, a C+. I like a good Porter, especially the one I brew or Kona Brewing Company's Pipeline Porter (brewed w/ 100% Kona Coffee). The beer was very drinkable, smooth...hops weren't too strong. It was somewhat creamy, leaving a slight aftertaste of butter...or maybe margarine. That's the only downside to this beer. Without the butter aftertaste, would've been a solid B+.

PQ=27.6

I had planned on cracking open the Brewmaster Reserve tonight, but Sonya came down with the flu...I definitely need to share this monster brew.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Michelob Pale Ale



Give this one a B-. The Pale Ale is my favorite style of beer, as I'm a huge fan of Hops. It's hard for me to pass up on a Sierra Nevada, as they seem to do it best. Like their Marzen, Michelob's Pale Ale is a watered down version of the style. The beer was hoppy, but didn't have the same bite as a Sierra Nevada. The beer poured very clear, and you can tell that Michelob heavily filters their beer. For this style, I like a little sediment.

Although this doesn't compare to my favorite beer, it's still a mighty tasty beverage. If Anheuser-Busch sold this beer at Budweiser prices, I'd start drinking it on a regular basis.

PQ=32.4

Michelob Marzen



This is the first of the Anheuser-Busch specialty beers I've tried. Overall, I give this beer a C+...nothing special, but I'd drink it again if you handed me one. Seems a bit watered-down...granted not as watery as a Budweiser or Michelob Ultra, probably a bit too filtered for my taste. For this style of beer, I prefer the Sam Adams Oktoberfest.

I'd use the standard beer rating scheme I see on beeradvocate.com, but I'm not quite certain what they mean by "mouthfeel"...feels like beer to me.

PQ=27.6

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bud




Was looking for something different yesterday and ran across these beers at the local Class Six. It appears Anheuser-Busch has gotten into the specialty beer market with its release of a Michelob variety pack (includes a Pale Ale, Bavarian Wheat, Marzen and Porter). In the center, we have the 2007 Brew Masters' Private Reserve--a rich, malty Doppelbock that features a toasted malt flavor and ruby red highlights.

I was just on the Anheuser-Bush website and noticed all the specialty and so-called microbrews they're producing. They also have a big hand in the import market. They practically own the American beer market.

Reviews to follow...

Latest Poll


Poll: Mitt Romney Is Candidate Most Voters Want To Get Into Bar Fight With

Friday, December 14, 2007

Crazy Ride

Warning...this is a rant.

Hadn't been able to ride in a couple of weeks, so was anxious to get on the bike this morning. Met up with another rider, Casey and headed to climb one of Oahu's steeper hills, Tantalus. Weather report called for a slight chance of rain and 30mph winds in the afternoon....however, as I've learned recently, weather forecasts for Oahu are notoriously inaccurate. It began pouring as we reached downtown Honolulu in the middle of rush hour. Aside from the heavy rain and pools of water, the ride to the base of Tantalus was uneventful. The five mile climb was great...took it fairly easy, as my legs aren't back at full strength. Got to the top, and the wind started to really pick up. As we started to descend, the wet roads, cool winds, wet socks made the ride very interesting...descending sucks to begin with, but cold feet and slick roads make it even more miserable....not to mention the truck that decided to drive in the middle of the road...we can call that near death experience #1. Aside from that, the climb was great and worth the trip out..on the other hand, the trip back made me never want to do it again. As we re-enter town, traffic was still pretty thick. One car attempted to cut me off, just after the driver laid on his horn as a 70 year old woman crossed the road. As we stop at the next traffic light, the car decides to weave around us and make a right hand turn in front of us...as it turns, the Hawaiian woman sticks her head out the window and calls us "Fucking white trash!"...I couldn't tell if she removed the Marlboro from her mouth to utter this ironic slur. As we get into town, the rain starts to pickup...this time it's raining sideways, and it's damn cold. So, we have to get off the road for a few minutes...during the next leg of the ride, I had 2 cars cut me off. Normally this is now big deal...they cut me off, I yell, they give me the finger, I tell them I love them, we move on. The rain and wet brakes add another element, as I have very poor reaction time. At this point, I'm hyper-vigilant and ready to get on a highway with a bikelane. Turns out those are pointless, as many cars decided to block them out stop lights and the city finds it okay to sweep trash into the lanes. As we're riding down the bikelane, I'm riding about 10 yards behind Casey...next thing I know, I see a truck ease over into the bike lane, nearly pushing him over the curb. We both yell at the guy, but doubt he could hear as he was glued to his cell phone.

I've had some shitty rides before, and usually have a couple of run-ins with idiots when riding through the city...this ride seemed unusually bad. Not sure if I'll be doing much riding through Honolulu, especially during the week. It's too bad, as it's necessary to pass through there in order to get to some of the better rides on the island.

Was in Borders tonight thumbing through Bicycling Magazine...found this article on bike-car crashes. It's too bad that some folks show more empathy towards drivers...doesn't make much sense to me.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Honolulu Marathon




Sonya and I ran the Honolulu Marathon last Sunday. Earlier in the week, I was feeling good about how well I'd perform at the marathon...thought for sure that I'd finish under 4 hours. Despite all the hardwork and preparation, it all does come down to how well you perform on that one day. Things weren't looking good Saturday morning when I woke up with a sore throat. Did all I could to combat it throughout the day but didn't have any success...felt a little bit of a fever when I went to bed. Still, I felt decent enough prior to the race start. The weather sucked, and there were some massive downpours right before the start...the road was wet and it was still humid. Standing at the start in the middle of 27,000 people didn't help cool things down. I started off at my planned pace...probably wasted a bunch of energy weaving around all the Japanese tourists running with their video cameras and Hello Kitty backpacks. Things were going OK the first 3 miles, but I did notice that I was drinking a lot more GU20 than normal...then there was a downpour...then my ipod broke...then i had to stop to pee...fast forward to mile 13...I was on track for my 4-hour marathon. I'd planned to do the first half in 2:05 and the last half in 1:55 or better. When I tried to pick up the pace, got the first indication that my quads were stiff...not good as I knew full blown cramps weren't that far away. Time to reassess goals...I was able to keep up my pace until about mile 18, then it all fell apart...walking through water stations, 11 minute, 12 minute miles...then Sonya passed me looking super strong. I finally crossed the line at 4:26...17 minutes after Sonya. Oh well. I still beat Oprah's time, and was 9 minutes faster than my first marathon. This one hurt a lot more though...I could barely walk afterwards...lots of pain.

Luckily we stayed nearby at the Hale Koa hotel the night prior and of the marathon. Here I am about 2 hours after the race.





Here are my toes.



Best part of these races is that you burn a lot of calories...you've got to replenish. So, we went out for a few beers at the Yardhouse. We were crazy...barhopping like the old days. Had a whopping 6 beers at 4 Waikiki bars. We were wild!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Law of Time


Thought it was time for me to shift out of the Gregorian calendar paradigm, so I ordered a 13 month calendar.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Black Friday


Woke up yesterday pretty early and turned on the news. Yesterday was one of the most patriotic days of the year, Black Friday. (Like Bush said after 9/11...patriotic Americans need to get out and shop, or the terrorists will win) Each year, the real heroes due their part for the global war on terrorism and get up at the crack of dawn...some make real sacrifices and camp out up to 2 days prior....all in the name of defeating Bin Laden.

It's usually the same story every year...cabbage patch, tickle me elmo, xbox. Everyone's gotta be the first to get one. The local news team was out in full force, with on the spot reporters filing frequent reports from Toys R Us and Best Buy. Some interviewees began their quest to defeat terrorism on Wednesday night. Others were late to the game and were disappointed by the 30 person line at Best Buy on Thursday night...I guess they were afraid the 30 folks would buy out the store, so they moved to Toys R Us or COMPUSA to be #1 in line. I'm not sure what you get for being #1 in line...everyone wants to be #1 at something. Being #1 guarantees you an interview with the local news reporter, who looks at these line leaders with great reverence.

I think the Canadian Mennonites have it right...but they must be pro-terrorist.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving



Had a great day...woke up this morning and did an easy 45 mile ride with the HACC. It was a nice casual ride for the most part, with a couple of short climbs and good sprints at the end, just to get the heart rate up and burn a few extra calories. That was necessary for the binge today. We dropped off some pork last night to be cooked in an imu for some phenomenal Kalua Pig. Of all the Hawaiian cuisine, Kalua Pig is hands down the best....we've got enough of this stuff to last a couple of weeks, so I"m looking forward to Kalua Pig Nachos, Burritos and anything else I can make with this stuff. Also made some kickass potatoes I saw on Emeril. Oh yeah, don't forget the beer and wine...too much of that. Tomorrow's run is going to suck.

Monday, November 19, 2007

MySpace

Help! Sonya's addicted to MySpace. I'm afraid she's going to leave me for a 13 year old boy.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hometown



Was looking though some old files and ran across this picture. This memorial's on the courthouse lawn in my hometown...parked near the WWI and WWII memorials.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Running

Been training for the Honolulu Marathon. Today was my longest run thus far, a 20 miler. For me, runs of this nature take lots of mental and physical preparation...on the mental side, it's a simple question of motivation. I need to come up with a plan to get myself out of bed in the morning, and pick a route that will keep me going. I mapped out a route off of Hickam AFB, so I was excited to finally run a new route off base. Of course, off base I don't have the same luxuries as running on base...frequent water fountains, and places to stash energy gels and anything else I may need. So, I had to gear up for this run. On the physical side, aside from the obvious...stretching , good night's rest, etc. Then, since I never went ahead with this procedure, had to apply lots of body glide.

After gearing up, I finaly realized I have grown up to be the tool I always despised. If you told me back in say 1998 that I'd be geared up like this to go for a run, I would've pre-emptively kicked my own ass. My first run EVER was in '93, prepping for the ROTC PT test. I never ever ran in anything other than a cotton t-shirt, shorts and cross-trainer shoes...no way in hell I'd buy any clothing (to include shoes) specific for running. In a short time, I did get pretty fast...under 6:00 for a mile and could take the 1.5 mile run in as low as 9 minutes. But that was it, never ran much further...didn't need to. After college, I gave up running altogether. No need for it. I did pretend like I was a runner a few times...went on a couple of Hash runs in Korea, but realized I was better at the drinking aspect of Hash running, and felt that area needed my undivided attention. When I met Sonya, she asked me if I wanted to do a half-marathon...I said I was a runner, but in fact this was my first race ever. I was hanging tough for about 6 miles, then reality set in...I was passed by Koreans in blue jeans, Koreans smoking cigarettes, wearing high heels, etc. I experienced my first nipple chafing.

Started running again in 2004...it took 3 years, but here's how I've evolved.


Monday, November 5, 2007

Sprinkler Update

Huge rainstorm entered the islands Saturday night. Parts of Oahu received over 10 inches of rain. My little area probably got about 7 inches spread over the past 2 days. This finally caused most of the folks in my neighborhood to lay off the sprinklers. But, as always, Hickam AFB has ignored its own water policy. I went for a run this morning, started off by driving to the gym (it was still raining). I noticed sprinklers operating at 4:30 am. Ran the first 7 miles on the treadmill...A/C was off, so it got unbearable. I finished the run outside since the rain had let up for a bit. Sure enough, the base was running sprinklers in all the common areas.

I understand these things are on timers, but can't they just shut them off when it's raining? And why do we need to open up the fire hydrants in the middle of the day to water a seldom viewed piece of land? This base wastes way too much water, for no good reason.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sprinklers

Watering your yard is very popular in my neighborhood. Most folks here water frequently and some do it for very long periods of time. Got one neighbor that waters for hours at a time, to include several overnight waterings and also waters during any rain shower. They're looking for maximum saturation.

Here's a rundown of this neighbor's recent waterings:

Thursday night...overnight watering, even during a significant rain shower
Friday...started sometime before 10:30 AM...I finally shut it off at 6:30 PM. They did get the water on the ground during the hottest/sunniest part of the day, trying to beat the evaporation
Saturday...started sometime before 11:00 AM. I finally shut it off at 2:15 PM.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Say it ain't so...

Of all the crap we've seen in the sport of cycling the past couple of years...top cyclists banned from the sport, doping at the tour, lost titles. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, one of the sport's legends does this.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Porter

Did another tough ride on the North Shore yesterday...2 climbs up Pineapple Hill and some fast intervals. There was a massive headwind on the climb, so it was extra hard. Had extra motivation to get through the ride...made a big pot of chili and opened up the latest brew...a Porter. Was happy with the way the beer turned out. Unfortunately, Oahu's only homebrew store closes down in 2 weeks. Looks like my next brew will be the last for awhile.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Falling Behind on Left Behind

It looks like I'm having trouble keeping up with my modest goal of reading 1 chapter per week of Left Behind. Can't seem to get motivated, maybe it's because I've been satisfying my apocalyptic cravings with other things, like Daniel Pinchbeck's 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl or several global warming articles in last month's National Geographic. Some random Internet readings led me to the Share International on the Reappearance of Maitreya the World Teacher website. I read a book a few years ago that talked about Maitreya and this Benjamin Creme character. Interesting stuff. I find the 2012 prophecy and this Maitreya stuff far more interesting and maybe even more believable than the Left Behind BS...not saying I subscribe to any of their views, but I really don't want to buy into that violent petty God destroying the world bullshit thrown about by Lahaye and others. It's scary that our President and several of the folks running for President say they believe this stuff. I think I'm done with Lahaye...not enough free time to devote to that trash. I seriously think I'm dumber for having read 4 chapters of his trash.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

24 hr Race




Last weekend, I rode the 24 Hours of Hell in Paradise MTB race on Kualoa Ranch. It was a great event held on private property that's rarely opened to bikers or campers. From what I hear, this is some of the best mountain biking on Oahu. The course was great...it had everything, starting with a steep climb, slipperty downhill and rocky and at times muddy singletrack. The HACC fielded 2 teams, and I rode on the Coed team. Our only goal was to get some good riding in, sans injury. We had no strategy, just rotating through our 5 person teams, each riding a lap. The day basically consisted of 1) Ride, 2) Clean Bike, 3) Change Clothes, 4) Drink beer, 5) Eat, 6) Rest, 7) Drink Coffee, then repeat. For the most part, weather was good, but the rain showers during the day on Saturday made the course difficult late at night. We decided that 2 of us would pull double laps late at night...goal was to make up some time and give the rest of the team a break. Little did I know that the single track was going to turn to mush. I pulled the first of the double lap at 1:45 am...the lap was going fine, just had some mud buildup...not enough to slow me down. Before taking off for the 2nd lap, I decided to clean off some of the mud. The 2nd lap started out well. Legs felt strong as I made it through the climb and downhill as quick as any other lap...then came the singletrack. At this point, it was slick and unrideable. I could barely stay up on the bike, so I decided to run and push the bike. This became difficult...eventually I looked down and noticed that the entire drivetrain, fork, and wheels had large clumps of mud caked on it. Nothing on the bike would turn. Eventually I pulled off enough mud to make the bike rideable. Once I got back on the bike, I noticed a much larger problem...my light was dimming. Looked down on my watch, and saw that I had lost tons of time...I should've been at the end of the lap, but still had a couple miles to go. I was way off my pace, and I miscalculated how much light power I had for the lap. I learned that these halogen lights fade pretty quickly, as it became pitch black in a matter of seconds. So, had to ride with a maglight in one hand for the last couple miles...this was way more challenging that I had expected, as I had to navigate rocky single track with one hand, while I tried to keep the light steady. When I rode the course again in daylight, I was amazed that I made it through that lap without crashing into one of the many large rocks sitting in the middle of the trail.

Thankfully, my next lap was just after sunrise. The course at this hour was much drier, and full of amazing views of the Kaaawa Valley. It's a shame this area isn't open to the public more often.

We exceeded our expectations by taking 2nd in the Men's Team Division and 3rd in the Coed division. In the middle of the night, we learned that both teams were winning...was very shocking to us, since no one had really put in many miles mountain biking. For me, this was my 4th ride this year...and it's been 7 years since I rode on a regular basis.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Left Behind: Chapter 4...still in awe of the rapture

After that action packed Chapter 1, Left Behind's coming up weak. It's getting really repetitive...Rayford's realizing he's a self-centered man, Lahaye won't shut up about how Buck Williams is a hot-shot young reporter, and folks everywhere are realizing everyone's disappeared. Even a few are calling it the rapture. Here are a few notes from the chapter...

We learn a little more about Nicolae Carpathia...this guy's a badass. He's some politician in Romania. He speaks a bunch of language and wants world peace...sounds like Satan to me.

We learn that Rayford's son is named Raymie...both Raymie and Rayford's wife have been raptured.

Page 63: "one of the women behind the counter hollered at him that he'd have to unplug" Can't say I've ever seen the word hollered in a book.

Rayford makes it to his home and noticed that his radio was on, tuned to the Christian radio station, which was still on the air. How does a Christian radio station operate during rapture conditions?

-----------------

I was in a Christian book store a couple weeks ago, with nothing much to do. I perused the Left Behind section. If you're looking for children's gifts, there's the Left Behind Kids series. If the reading is too hard, you can watch one of the great movies starring Kirk Cameron, in his best performance since 'Growing Pains'. I also decided to skip ahead, reading the jacket of one of the later novels in the series, and I discovered that Nicolae Carpathia becomes Global Community Supreme Potentate.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

West Coast

Went on a ride yesterday up the west coast of Oahu, from Kapolei to Kaena Point (about a 55 mile round trip). After riding around the island a few weeks ago, this was the last unexplored major road for me on the island. I sure wasn't missing anything. Most of the roads on Oahu suck...covered in Heineken glass and full of potholes. The roads on the west side have even more Heineken glass and more dangerous hazards. There were several burned up cars that could easily pass for vehicle-borne IEDs, washing machines, bags of trash, stray dogs, etc...all along the side of the road and covering the shoulder. A group ride requires extra-vigilance for this crap, not to mention a bit of defensive riding is necessary to protect yourself from the folks that cruise these roads. The lead rider has to be on his toes calling out all the junk for the rest of the riders. At one point, we (a group of about 10) come up on a piece of fresh roadkill (a cat). The leader doesn't call it out. Most of the folks swerve to miss it, except the guy in front of me who rides right over the middle...his tires spat up a chunk of cat that hits the top of my helmet.

Wish I had the camera to get a picture of this other side of Hawaii. I'd bring it next time, but I highly doubt I'll do this ride again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Left Behind: Chapter 3...coming to grips with the rapture

Chapter 2 left off with Rayford trying to land the plane. Chapter 3 picks up with Hattie prepping the passengers for landing. Really, there's no logical need for a new chapter here. I would've continued, as this is yet another chapter with folks trying to figure out what the hell's going on. Buck lands the plane safely in Chicago. O'Hare is hectic, so all the passengers have to walk back. Being the noble Captain, Rayford rejects the idea of riding in a crew bus...he'll walk with his passengers. Why wasn't this great man raptured? The airport's hectic, and Rayford and Hattie both are trying to arrange transportation to the suburbs. More and more stories about the rapture are told...which raises a couple of questions for me. Corpses disappear in the middle of funerals. Why are corpses being raptured? Why does God need the body? I thought the soul was the only thing of importance???? If corpses are raptured, then does God rapture up the remains of anyone that ever lived, indifferent to the state of decay? If someone dies in a horrific car accident moments before the rapture, is their maimed body raptured? If so, then does that person have to live with that maimed body when he's chilling with all the raptured folk? It seems that all children are raptured. Is there an age limit on the automatic rapturability of children? Since not all children develop the same, are the more advanced kids penalized with a narrower window of automatic rapturability? Back to the book....

Rayford and Hattie finally find a helicopter that will take them to the suburbs. The helicopter is crowded, so Hattie has to sit on Rayford's lap. Lahaye goes on and on about how much Rayford had wanted the slut Hattie, but now he feels "no emotional attraction". He mentions this 3 times. On page 53 in describing Hattie, Lahaye writes "She was beautiful and sexy and smart, but only for her age." I'm not sure what to make of that statement. We know that Hattie's young, but her sexiness would be less appealing if she was older? What's Lahaye trying to say here? He does make a big deal about the age difference between her and Rayford.

While all this is going on, hotshot reporter Buck Williams is checking e-mail trying to get in touch with his boss in New York. He gets an e-mail from his boss talking about all kinds of crazy shit...this is where Lahaye interjects all the crazy paranoid conspiracy stuff, to include:

1) "A mysterious Jewish Nationalist conference that has something to do with a new world order government."
2) Conference of Orthodox Jews "giddy over the destruction of Russia"
3) "leaders of all the major religions , from the standard ones to the New Agers, talking about a one-world religious order"
4) UN international "monetarist confab" trying to decide if we should go to one world currency

If you follow conspiracy theory, these are all things that Alex Jones and others try to warn the American people about. After throwing out all the conspiracy, Lahaye gives us some foreshadowing of his anti-Christ...some charismatic Romanian named Carpathia. The name seems a bit over the top.

Check this site out...Kirk Cameron proves there's a God in under 3 minutes without the use of the Bible or faith. Unfuckingbelievable!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Porter

Noticed that my beer closet was full of empty bottles. Had a couple of options here...recycle, redeem for $.05 each, or start mass producing beer.

Brewed a Porter tonight. This is a repeat of one of my recent beers...probably my best beer to date.

Original gravity was 1.055.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Left Behind: Chapter 2

Chapter 1 was action packed...we had a war, near-adultery and a rapture. Chapter 2 picks up with the immediate aftermath of the Christian disappearance. Everyone's still trying to find out what happened to all the missing people. Rayford's having trouble communicating from his aircraft, but he finally gets in touch with the Concord. He learns from the Concord that almost every airport in the world is closed, except for Chicago. All aircraft are landing at Chicago...this is probably due to the fact that real Christians don't live in Chicago, as that's the only place with enough employees 'left behind' to operate an airport. News continue to report the disasters in the world. Buck Williams thinks he has a great story with all the disappearing people, so he somehow rigs up the airplane phone to work with his modem. Lahaye goes into a lot of detail here, with about a page or so discussing modular connections and such. It's interesting how Buck has little trouble rigging up some communications while Rayford had a lot of trouble with the plane's communication systems. Finally the aircraft plans to land in Chicago, and Rayford thanks the passengers for remaining calm. The next line in the book had me puzzled "...although he had received reports of doctors on board who handed out Valium like candy." (Page 34) That was interesting...didn't know that doctors kept M&M like quantities of Valium on hand, just in case there's some crisis like the rapture. I guess doctors that aren't raptured up may carry them. Any truth to this Keith?

In case you don't know a lot about the rapture, here are some answers to frequently asked questions from my good friends at raptureready.org.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Dick Evans Road Race

Yesterday I rode the Dick Evans 112-mile Road Race. This is the biggest cycing race in Hawaii with about 200 riders lining up to start. Sunday was a great day for racing with only a few moments of rain at the start and light winds...that's a rarity for some parts of the island, and since the route is 'round the island' some bad weather is to be expected. We started at 5:45 am in Hawaii Kai at a controlled pace (20mph) with full police escort through Honolulu and the Pearl Harbor area. At about the 30 mile mark, the official vehicles move out of the way and the race is opened up on a short 2-3 mile climb that sorts out the contenders from the rest of the pack. I thought about charging up the climb with the lead pack and then falling back with a slower group...would've been cool to see how far I could've gone, but I didn't want to burn out. Instead opted for the more sensible strategy of finding a handful of teammates on the climb, then riding with them for the rest of the race. About halfway up the hill about 5 of us from my team linked up and started working together. It was good to have them around, since I knew they'd all pull their fair share. After the climb and the folowing 4 mile descent to the North Shore, we'd formed a group of about 20 folks from various teams. Things got a bit more complicated, as about half the guys were doing all the work. We flew through the North Shore and before long we were down to a group of 10...at that point I only had 2 teammates, and I felt like popping off the back. The pace was tough...we were probably only a couple of minutes behind the lead pack. At around 70 miles, as I was struggling at the back of the line, teammate (and my ride to the starting line) Dave was up near the front when the ead guy dropped his water bottle. Dave hits the bottle, then flies off his bike at 20mph headfirst into a telephone pole. Needless to say, that ended our charge as a few of us stop to make sure Dave was OK and call an ambulance. That was the second headfirst crash I saw in this race...there were plenty of folks falling down when the peloton was all together at the beginning, but this was by far the worst accident I saw. After we confirmed the ambulance was on its way, we took off again...eventually latching on to a slightly slower group of about 15-20 riders. This group had a lot of passengers with only a handful of us doing any work. At one point, it seemed that teammate Corey and I were the only ones working, so I decided to ratchet up the pace on a couple of hills to drop all the passengers. Eventually we end up linking up with another teammate on this nasty 2 mile hill at the 100 mile mark. The hills began to take their toll on my legs and at the 107 mile mark I got a massive cramp in my calf...I waved goodbye to the guys and decided I just needed to do what I could to survive. The cramps shot up through both legs, then I started having troubles with my chain...luckily I was able to get the chain back on the ring just by shifting. If I had to get off the bike, that would've been the end. A couple miles later on the Mokapu climb, I got my legs back and started closing in on the guys...couldn't quite close the gap. I was still able to finish strong at 5:56...very satisfied with this time, since I just started riding again back in May, and really didn't focus on the longer distances until July. This ride was 40 miles longer than my longest ride of the year. If I had another month or so of training, I really think I could've hung with the peloton for most of the race. Too bad I won't be here to ride next year...hopefully there will be a few bike races before I deploy. Of all the events I participated in this year (3 x triathlons, 1 x duathlon, 2 x running races, 1 x swamp romp, 1 x metric century), this was definitely the most fun.

It was good to see the family at the end. Carter and Jack seemed to enjoy themselves, especially all the post race snacks.




Sonya was excited, 'cause she got to take this picture of THE BACHELOR. Although I'm in the foreground, I'm just a prop. My goal for the day was to give him 'the look' similar to what Lance Armstrong gave to Jan Ullrich during the 2001 tour. Thinking that I probably wouldn't see him on the road, I managed to do that at the pre-race rider's meeting...when the guy next to me turned around and asked him a question, I turned around as well to give a quick stare down.



Here's a partial team photo...some of the guys had a really good day. As a team, we finished 3rd overall.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Left Behind

Picked up one of the great novels of our generation last night, Left Behind. It's sold over 60,000,000 copies...those are big numbers, only Harry Potter comes close. After years of mocking, yet fearing, Evangelical Christianity, I felt it was time to read something produced within the cult...err, I mean faith. Instead of reading another book or watching a documentary produced by someone from outside the faith, I decided to pick up a book written by the evangelical movements' Hemingway, the great Tim Lahaye. Finding Left Behind for 25-cents at a used book sale helped me come to this decision as well. Let me tell you, this one's a page turner. I zipped through Chapter 1 last night and could've kept on reading, but stopped for fear of getting sucked in. Thought I'd provide a recap here:

Chapter 1:

Starts on a Trans-Atlantic flight with the story of Rayford Steele. As you can see from the Wiki entry, he was born 42 YBR, which makes him 42 at the start of the book. Rayford's a married airline pilot, that lusts after one of his flight attendants (Hattie Durham). From what I can gather, Hattie's a real slut Rayford goes to church occasionally, but he's turned off by his wife who has become a big time evangelical, always talking about the rapture. At this point in the story, Rayford has never cheated on his wife, except for one "nekking" incident where he got wasted at a company holiday party.

Running parallel to the Rayford lust story, we've got the story of hotshot reporter Buck Williams. Buck just returne from Israel, where he interviewed some great scientist that was able to make sand fertile. Apparently that was all that was needed to make Israel a peaceful land and economic power. "The Holy Land bacame an export capital, the envy of the world, with virtually zero unemployment. Everyone prospered"(page 8)....such vivid prose. I almost believe it. While Buck's there in Israel, at a military camp. Russia gets jealous and invades Israel, with the help of its staunch allies and military powerhouses Libya and Ethiopia. Motivation for the attack is unclear as Russia appeared to be jealous and wanted to "dominate and occupy the Holy Land" while at the same time they "made it clear their mission was annihilation." (page 10) In the next paragraph, we get an idea why Buck Williams is such a hot shot reporter and an example of the great metaphor used by Lahaye. "To say the Israelis were caught off guard, Cameraon Williams had written, was like saying the Great Wall of China was long."....beautiful. From here, Lahaye gives an account of Russia's attack, one where they launched a sneak attack with a shitload of "Migs" and every ballistic missile in their arsenal. Somehow they were able to get everything up in the air and cover the long distance to Israel without anyone detecting it. This must be the greatest feat ever accomplished by airpower and the worst intelligence failure ever. Despite all the firepower, nothing's destroyed...apparently God shot down all the airplanes and caused "anything atomic and explosive to erupt high in the atmosphere."

Now we shift back to the airplane. Rayford's flying the plane, and finally decides he's going to make his move and bang Hattie. So, he leaves the cockpit, and she comes running scared. Apparently people are missing. She doesn't know what the hell's going on, but he knows the rapture just happened and they've all been 'Left Behind.'

To recap: Guy's looking to commit adultery, massive attack on Israel, then rapture. Lahaye comes out swinging with an action packed first chapter.

If you don't like reading and want to get in on the Left Behind action, pick up this video game.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Thousands Standing Around

I've never been a fan of the TSA. It's the one jobs program to result out of Bush's so-called War on Terror. It's an incompetent organization that is reactionary at best and an infringement on privacy at its worst. They certainly cause unnecessary hassle at the airport following their ridiculous "remove your shoes" and "no more than 3 ozs of liquid per bottle enclosed in a 1-quart ziploc bag".

Travelling alone, they're an annoyance. I only remove shoes when told and never smile at these folks...sure, they're just doing their job, but in my mind they can find a job that serves the greater good. Traveling with small children, they're a downright nuisance. No TSA "officer" "agent" or whatever the fuck they're called is authorized to make a common sense decision. They're useless automatons that follow policies and procedures developed in response to the latest Al Qaeda reject's failed plot, such as the shoe-removal and liquid policies. On our trip Tuesday, I had to not only empty my pockets and put my shit up on the table, I had to remove Jack from the stroller...of course he begins running around. That's a pain in the ass, since no one in the airport has a sense of humor...they probably think he's a baby terrorist trying to jump through the checkpoint. Once I grab him, I'm told that he can't wear shoes...I guess his baby flipflops could be used by a baby terrorist to make a baby bomb. What the Fuck? Reminds me of a trip through Reagan Airport w/ Carter when I asked a question about these senseless checks on the baby. Some dumbshit behind me starts talking about the "shit he saw in Nam with Charlie using babies". What the Fuck? Do I look like VC? Are we to suspect all to be terrorists unless proven otherwise? A terrorist with half a brain could defeat TSA's security...no doubt about that.

Kauai



Just got back from Kauai. Looking through our photos for a picture to sum up the trip, I settled on this one...unfortunately, I was unable to capture the entire scene...the folks sitting up on their balcony, sipping mai tais, enjoying their tropical escape only to have their view obstructed by my son taking a crap in his diaper. He spent a good 15 minutes working on this one. As you can see, he had his head down and was fully focused on the job.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

More from Rudy

Did I ever mention that I dislike Rudy?

The douche is running on his foreign policy credentials...not sure why anyone would buy that load of shit. He apparently recently outlined his foreign policy in a recent issue of Foreign Affairs. Here's a critque from Slate. I don't plan on wasting my time reading Rudy's essay in Foreign Affairs, especially after looking at the excerpts singled out by Fred Kaplan. From these passages, it appears that Rudy's as naive and idealistic as Bush.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Motivation

Went to Spin class this morning. A new instructor showed up today. She fancied herself a motivated work-out addict. Reminds me of that guy with the ponytail on the elliptical trainer infomercial...I think his product is called the Gazelle. Her introduction rambled on liked that of a a hyperactive new commander speaking at his change of command ceremony...full of tired cliches and motivational words to the troops ...words that really lack substance. Anyhow, Spin instructor (from hereon known as Gazelle lady) not only barked the normal orders related to the exercises, she also threw out gems like "everyone's a champion" or "ride this interval like it's your last". At this point, I started to tune out. I'm not one for cheerleading, that's probably why I wasn't a star performer at SOS or ROTC camp. During one interval she threw out something about "focus on the goal that motivates you" and threw out some generic goals like weight loss, faster 5k, etc....basically rhetorical gibberish. At this point some tool in the front of the class screams out "...the freaking pit bull is chasing me". Of course, anytime there's a weirdo in the room, that's sure to get everyone's attention. Looked over and saw this guy pedaling at about 150rpm. As we proceed through this interval, pitbull is looking over his shoulder yelling at the imaginary pitbull. Gazelle lady is left somewhat speechless, but still manages to encourage pitbull's behavior. By the end of the ride, the guy's taunting the imaginary pitbull chasing him. Then to top it off, after the interval, he pulls out his imaginary gun and shoots the imaginary pitbull. Then gazelle lady tells him what a great job he did, way to work hard, etc, thus encouraging this buffoonery.

All this is unfortunate, since I enjoy spin class. What I do not enjoy is silliness and motivational words from the instructor. I prefer my normal riding group...if someone has a good ride, or climbs a hill exceptionally well, someone will say "good job". That's about all I need...and about all the motivation I'm willing to put on others. I really don't give a damn about an imaginary pitbull.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Freedom to Fascism

Watched Freedom to Fascism over the weekend. In the past few years, I've watched several documentary films critical of the Bush administration, big business and threats to our civil liberties. Some are well done productions, all have an agenda to pass, all contain at least a bit of truth, and almost all are flawed in some regard. Freedom to Fascism was one of the worst of the bunch. I agree with some of the basic assertions...mainly that our income tax system is not fair by any means, and that the Federal Reserve Bank gives too much power to the bankers. In the end, the film touches on attacks on civil liberties...a real concern while Bush is fighting his war on terror.

In the end, I thought this was a sloppy film by "award-winning" producer Aaron Russo. I had to put "award winning" in quotes, since Russo makes this claim several times throughout the film. The wiki page has a few Freedom to Fascism criticisms. If I had some more time, I could probably come up with more. Using the Google a couple times throughout the movie, I noticed that Russo was stretching the truth just a bit in order to make his point. Russo has proven himself to be a poor man's Michael Moore.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Giuliani's a Douche

There are many things I don't like about Giuliani.

Here are my anti-Rudy posts from TP's blog:

More Drivel from Rudy

Rudy

A lot of other comments scattered throughout the blog have my anti-Rudy rants, as well as Louis Winthorpe III's defense of this douche.

Giuliani Time provides a scary look of what a Giuliani Presidency may look like.

Hopefully as the campaign goes on, Giuliani will be exposed further. I really don't understand the evidence that says "Giuliani's tough on terror" or that "Giuliani's a 9/11 hero." These comments are ridiculous and unfounded. Aside from Bush, this man's done more to exploit 9/11 than anyone in the world. Good on the John Edwards campaign for stepping up and calling out this dildo for exploiting 9/11.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Mock Chicken

Had something today called "mock chicken". Best I can tell it's a chicken substitute made from tofu. It tasted a little like chicken, but was very dry. It also left a bad aftertaste. Even worse, I've felt sick all day...can you get "mock salmonella" from "mock chicken"?

I must not have a firm grasp on veganism. I thought the basis of this philosophy is a love for animals and a desire to not harm them. If I love animals and detest the idea of eating animals or products derived from animals, then why am I creating substitutes for them, such as tofurkey, mock chicken, and vegannaise? It seems this is taunting the animals by eating their likeness. If you truly loved the animals, just eat the bland tofu, or vegetable tofu...don't create a substitute for meat. If you like meat, eat meat. Eating mock chicken is like drinking non-alcoholic beer...where's the joy in that?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nipplectomy

Usually the day after any long run, I experience a lot of pain. It's even worse after a triathlon, since I'm usually pretty well soaked before beginning the run. There are a few ways to protect you from the pain, but there are times when you either forget about the pain, or proper protection is inconvenient (such was the case on Sunday's race). Anyway, I was thinking about some sort of surgical procedure to alleviate the pain. So, I actually started researching procedures, and saw this page. Looks even more painful...I guess I'll just stick with the nipguards.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tinman



Sunday was the Tinman Triathlon (800m Swim/40K Bike/10K Run). It started at 5:45am, with a much earlier show time. I was pulling into a parking lot in Waikiki as a lot of drunks were stumbling to their cars. Of course that made me reminiscent of the old days, but now I've come full circle...starting my day as they end theirs'. One thing I knew is that both of us were going to feel like crap by noon that day...just with different means to arrive to that same end. Ultimately there's some gain in mine, and all these folks had to show for their night was a smaller wallet.

Overall, it was a good race. I had my typical lousy swim. Although I didn't drift into the breast stroke or doggie paddle, I was slow...I was in a nice rhythm with the freestyle, but it took forever. Knowing I had a lot of time to make up on the bike, I hauled ass through the transition and jumped into my shoes sans socks. Took off accelerating quickly until my chain popped off...thought I had it back on track when I jumped back on and the crank locked. Spent awhile looking for the problem and noticed the chain off track jammed in the derailleur...anyway, that took a couple minutes to fix. Then I took off again, up the hill around Diamond Head and lose the chain again...this time, it destroys my uphill momentum. Other than that, the ride was good...passed lots of folks, particularly those that had trouble handling their tri-bikes in the rain. I was glad I was on a less aerodynamic road bike that handled well on the wet streets...I saw lots of folks with road rash at the finish line. The run was a pleasant surprise. My 10K was just a few seconds off a 10K I did a few months back...I had low expectations for the day, since I hadn't really focused on running. I was amazed that the run wasn't slow after the transition. It's normally pretty painful for me to go from bike to run.

This was a fun race...was dreading it before, and even regretted signing up since I had to miss a 'round the island group bike ride. Glad I did it...it will probably be awhile before I do another tri...I should probably master the swimming first.

Here are the results.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Still Praying...

This prayer's still up on the PPT website:

"Pray peace upon the city of Baghdad and the nation of Iraq, asking God to defeat his enemies there and bring about His greatest plan for that nation..."

I'm not sure how long it's been up, but God's not listening. Or, he's waiting until September to present his plan after Gen Petraeus reports to Congress.

Here's a good website about prayer.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hoolualea Ale--Bottled

Finally bottled the Hoolualea Ale tonight. I meant to do it a few days ago, but since bottling's the biggest pain in the ass it had to wait. Drank a few before bottling, so I'm sure I cut a few corners. Instead of really sanitizing the bottles as I'd done in the past, I threw them in the dishwasher. I did follow some of my Sensai's advice and rinsed the mouth out with some Jack Daniels before siphoning the ale into the bottling bucket...if you haven't tried gargling with some JD, it's a real treat. The beer looks pretty clear and I think it will taste decent...it had a pleasant taste uncarbonated, and the secondary fermentation really helped clear up some of the nasty yeast remnants. My early beers were full of sediment.

Doing the Tinman Triathlon on Sunday...good thing I did some carb-loading tonight with beer and cake.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Banana Harvest



We harvested our first bunch of bananas. I cut down the bananas and removed the tree, while Carter poured a bucked of dirt over Jack's head. The next step is to ripen these things...best I can tell from my online searches is that I need a room full of ethylene with a controlled temperature of around 68F. Most of the banana info online is for the standard Cavendish variety. I can't find much on the apple banana.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Supernanny

Developed a new technique for getting Carter to listen to me. I now threaten him with the Supernanny. He's never seen the Supernanny, but the legend we've created is that she lives in England, flies on a broom and can descend on the house almost immediately when she senses something going wrong. I knock on the wall, and Carter immediately snaps to attention, thinking the Supernanny is at the door. At that point, he's extremely nice to Jack, while he tells the Supernanny to go back to England. The Supernanny has replaced other bogeyman, to include the "muffin man" and invisible alligators that will bite your feet if you jump out of bed. The muffin man and alligators have since lost their magical powers...Carter has befriended them. Hopefully Supernanny will last a little longer. She's been a very powerful weapon over the past few days.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

2012...End of Time

The Mayan 2012 prophecy offers an alternative to your run of the mill, Book of Revelations end times theory. The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and Discovery have devoted a lot of time to the Revelation subject, probably due to the 'Left Behind' series and its popularity. The Mayan prophecy is intriguing, probably because I don't know a whole lot about it. Every time I listen to Coast to Coast AM, or any of the other fringe media programs I come across, folks speak about the Mayan 2012 prophecy as if it's common knowledge. I'm going to pick up this Daniel Pinchbeck book as soon as it's in paperback. In the mean time this article, originally from the NY Times, is a good synopsis of this prophecy and some of its believers.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Can We Blame Iraq's Problems on God?

Here's one of today's prayers from the PPT:

"Pray peace upon the city of Baghdad and the nation of Iraq, asking God to defeat his enemies there and bring about His greatest plan for that nation..."

So that's it. Franks didn't have a plan for the aftermath. Neither did Paul Bremer. W certainly hasn't had one. A lot of the Republicans have put their faith in General Petraeus...or so goes the latest GOP talking points. But, now we know who's to blame. God has not brought forth a plan! When Petraeus delivers his assessment to Congress in September, God should be there with him. He needs to come up with a plan and present it to his hand-picked leader of the free world, W.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The President's Prayer Team?


Was walking around the block tonight, and noticed a sticker on a neighbor's car. He's a member of the Presidential Prayer Team. I'll have to read more about these guys later...I knew there was some serious bible thumping going on around here, but didn't know it got this political.

Here's one of the things the PPT has tasked its members to pray for today:

"Pray for President Bush today as he visits the Nashville (TN) Bun Company before making remarks on the budget at Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville... "

What might happen at a bun factory that requires this precautionary prayer?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Minding your own...

I was heading back to work today on my mountain bike. I didn't fasten the straps on my helmet due to the fact I had just finished a fast 1hr ride in the midday Hawaiian heat. Needless to say, the helmet's pretty nasty after a ride like that, so I just cover my head rather than put the sweaty straps over my chin...it's only a 1 mile ride to work, and I do a casual spin on the MTB. Anyhow, as I'm turning the corner onto the main road a guy at the stop sign yells out his window "Sir, you need to fasten the straps on your helmet". What motivated this young man to say that? Does he have a vested interest in my helmet being strapped? Is this a personal crusade of his, akin to my crusade against jackasses on cellphones that nearly run me over on a weekly basis? I have a vested interest in jackasses getting off the cellphone, because they're a threat to my survival. How is my strap-less helmet a threat to this guy's survival? Why does he care? In the end, I just gave him a polite wave and thought "at least the guy used proper etiquette when admonishing me".

That incident spurred another thought on the way to work, as it made me recall other unsolicited, somewhat ballsy admonitions and concerns other junior military members have expressed to me. The most recent happened last week at the doctor's office, when in the waiting room a young airman looks at my boots and says "you should let me shine your boots"...found that ballsy, maybe rude, but odd. I didn't know how to respond other than to say "wow, you have shiny boots, i bet you'd do a good job. mine do look bad, but that's not important to me." I don't think I'd ever comment on the boots of someone senior to me...guess I don't have the balls.

The other memory is from several years ago. I was in Korea, nursing a big hangover, but still in my uniform at the food court. I felt awful, and probably looked a bit nauseous. Out of the blue, a young airman came over to me and said, "Sir, I noticed that you look troubled. Would you like me to pray with you? I think you need Jesus in your life." Needless to say that one really threw me off...never thought I'd be accosted by an evangelical on a military base. Although there are lots of those in the Air Force, most know when to keep their mouth shut, and they'd agree that they shouldn't try to convert another military member that is not their peer, regardless of whether they're at work or drinking a cup of coffee at a food court. Secondly, this guy's in Korea...how could've not assumed I was hungover like everyone else and just left me alone. Or is this how the guy works? He sees us hungover sinners and tries to convert us when we're most vulnerable? How is this in his interest?

These are three instances, where I would probably say nothing...is it that these people are more interested in looking out for their fellow man? Does it make me more selfish that I wouldn't correct someone doing something "unsafe" so long as it doesn't affect my own safety? Is it that I am somehow less proud about the appearance of a uniform if I neglect to tell a senior officer his boots aren't shiny? Can't I assume that he can judge his boots' shine for himself and would shine them if he gave a shit? Should I try to impose my religion or lack thereof onto vulnerable hungover sinners next time I'm in Korea?

Monday, July 16, 2007

New Used Bike

After 9 years of riding the same Lemond, I picked up a new (used) road bike last week. It's a 2006 Felt F2C. Got an incredible deal from one of the guys in the local bike club. The bike's done a couple of things. First, it has motivated me to get out and ride...did 160 miles last week, the most I've ridden in years. I even did a 5:30 am ride before work on Friday...beats the hell out of spin class. Secondly, it has made climbing a hell of a lot easier. I've been riding a lot of hills over the last few months on the Lemond, dragging the heavy frame over some of Oahu's steeper climbs. The higher gear ratio and light weight of the carbon Felt makes the climbs much easier. The last benefit from purchasing the bike is that it's cured my bike envy...at least temporarily.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Beer

Must document the latest on the Holualea Ale: Moved it over to secondary fermentation, checked the gravity at 1.012. So, we're looking at approximately 4.5%-5.0% alcohol content.

Yeah, I know...not that exciting.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Badonkadonk


If you've got $20K to blow and have always wanted your very own tank, check out the JL421 Badonkadonk Tank available from Amazon. They'll customize it for you...not sure if that includes weapons. You may have to weaponize this beast yourself. You can buy anything on Amazon...I was shocked that you could buy this thing, used nonetheless. But I never thought I'd be able to buy my own tank through Amazon.

Sprinklers

It's 5am, heading off to spin class. As I was checking my e-mail, I noticed that I could hear my neighbor's sprinklers running...they were running when I went to bed last night. Note that it also rained.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Happy 4th of July

A little late, but I just read the latest special comment from Keith Olbermann. Keith usually says what I'm thinking, albeit without all the F-words and d-bags that I usually use when referring to these 2 individuals. January 2009 won't be here soon enough.

Ho'olaulea Ale

This is a post that is sure to bore my loyal reader from Smoaks, but I need a good way to document beer recipes and dates I brewed. Here's today's:

Ho'olaualea Ale (Recipe from Hawaiian Style Homebrew)

Grains: 1 lb. Medium Crystal Malt (80)
1/2 lb. Dextrin

8 lbs. Pale malt extract

Hops: 1 oz Chinook at 60 minutes
1/2 oz Cascade at 10 minutes
1/2 oz Cascade at 0 minutes

Yeast: White Labs 001

Original Gravity: 1.046

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Down Goes Kobayashi!


Woke up this morning in time to catch the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating competition at 6:30 am. It was a dramatic event, since 6-time reigning champ Takeru Kobayashi came into the competition with rumored jaw soreness. It was a close battle. American hero Joey Chestnut came out early posting a couple of 10-dog minutes early on. He was up by 5 dogs at one point using the Chipmunk method. Kobayashi stayed steady throughout the competition...he looked strong, and any doubt about his status was quickly erased. Kobayashi used a variety of techniques, including the Chipmunk method, his patented shake which clears his throat...he also alternated between separating dog from bun and shoving the whole thing in his mouth. Kobayashi closed in on Chestnut in the last couple of minutes, even pulling ahead by a quarter of a dog at one point. In the end, Chestnut pulled through, and Kobayashi suffered a reversal. Chestnut brought the Mustard Belt back to the good 'ol US of A and set a new world record with 66 dogs! What a way to begin the 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

More Than Meets the Eye


It's only been 1 day since the release of Transformers and I'm getting antsy. I need to see this movie. The anticipation is too great to bear. Reading this Slate article, despite its nostalgic preference for the original, makes me want to see it all the more...I don't care that the favorite cartoon of my youth was all one clever marketing ploy. It was a damn good story, with kickass robots kicking the shit out of each other. It didn't matter that it was silly that a flying robot with weapons would transform into a fighter jet with guns...seemed redundant at the time, but it was still badass. It didn't matter that Megatron (for my less-educated readers, he's the leader of the bad guys) was a robot with guns that defied the laws of physics by transforming into a handgun small enough to be held in the palm of the hand of a robot who was smaller than him...still, it was badass. Of all the 80s cartoons that were just half hour long advertisements for toys (He-Man, MASK, GI Joe), this was clearly the best. The movie may not live up to the expectation (much like Star Wars Episode I)...then I can write a condescending post like the d-bag from Slate.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Strap And The Google

So, I was wondering how someone from Smoaks, SC or Brandon, MS finds my blog. Typed Strap in The Google, just to see if it came up. I did find this as the #2 entry. Kinda scary...especially the chin straps. Someone did put a lot of effort in this wiki entry...even scanned in photos and detailed instructional diagrams.

When someone asks how I got the name strap, I hope this isn't what they're thinking about.

Smoaks, SC


Decided I needed at least one fancy blogging tool if I was going to make it in the blogosphere, so I installed this Neocounter (to your right) in order to track the location of my blog visitors. Most of the locations I've seen so far make sense to me...places where I can pinpoint who the visitor may be. All except one location that came up today...Smoaks, SC. Even though I lived in SC for 3 years, I've never heard of Smoaks.

I feel somewhat privileged to have a Smoakian visit my site...there are only 140 Smoakians living in 68 houses. There's an 85.71% chance the visitor from smoke is white. Only 28.8% of the household have children under 18 and a whopping 57.6% contained married couples. The largest age group is 45-64, and for every 100 females, there are only 91.1 males. So, more than likely my Smoakian is a married female around 55 years old...she either has children over the age of 18, or has never had children. She is white, and has an income of around $27,750 per year.

If you're a Smoakian, please leave a comment and tell me if I'm that far off base.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Long Rides and Random Thoughts

Did a long group bike ride. Although this was with about 15 guys, and there was some chitchat here and there, my mind tends to wander on rides like these....especially when I'm about 3 miles into a 4 mile climb up Pineapple Hill, at the end of a 50 mile day. My thoughts today turned to the Transformers Movie...I've been excited about this one for awhile, and can't wait to go see it next week. Most of the hype came when I first heard about a "live action" T-formers movie...initial thought is that it would be guys in cardboard boxes colored to look like Optimus Prime. I still think that would be a funny movie, especially if the guys made "transformer noises" as they somehow converted their boxes from robot to vehicle. The thought of the Transformers movie being only 3 days away led my mind further astray...got me thinking about one of the top 5 funniest guys I've ever known. I can't remember the guy's name, as he was just another dude at ROTC field training 12 years ago. Anyway, we had to lead our flight of 30 or so cadets around, barking out marching commands...instead of "Forward March", he insisted on the command "Autobots Roll-out". I remember him getting his ass chewed a couple of times for making a mockery of procedure, but he kept doing it, no matter who was watching. Also, instead of leading us in chants about flying an F-4 in Vietnam, or jumping out of a C-130, he'd lead us in the theme to "Facts of Life" or "Different Strokes". The guy truly didn't care when he got his daily ass-chewing. It was all in the name of humor. I doubt this guy ever actually made it into the Air Force...too bad, as the military sorely needs funny mofos like that guy. At least it gave me something to think about today...to keep the mind off the kind of suffering you feel on a long climb.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

2007 Tour

The Tour de France usually consumes my entire month of July…everything is planned around viewing of this race. Since this year’s race is only days away, it’s time to pick a favorite and some predictions down. The sport’s taken a crazy turn over the past year. Guys that would normally be favorites: Basso, Landis, Ullrich….all out of the sport on drug-related charges. It’s rather unfortunate. All of these seemed like stand-up, genuine nice guys…that was their image. They were easy to root for, and it was hard to believe they’d be cheaters. Same goes for Tyler Hamilton, a guy that was a contender…an Olympic Gold Medal winner, and a guy that pulled off a 4th place finish with a broken collar bone in the 2003 Tour.

If pressed to pull for an American, I guess I’d have to go with Levi Leipheimer. He’s been a top 10 finisher and a solid racer his entire career. Despite solid credentials, he’s never pulled off a remarkable stage in the tour…seems pretty boring. He does have a good chance at a podium finish. Discovery has a strong team, probably much better than his old Gerolsteiner team…this should help Levi with a stronger finish.

My pick this year is going to be the Kazakh rider, Alexandre Vinokourov. This guy has been impressive over the years. He’s an aggressive rider that’s taken stage wins and has placed high in the GC. In his last tour in 2005, he looked like a much stronger rider than Ullrich. He probably could’ve been on the podium if he was the team leader, with Jan working for him as a domestique. His aggressiveness always makes the race much more interesting to watch. Too bad that his team was caught up in the doping scandal last year and he didn’t get to start due to them having only 5 riders. Now he has a Kazakh sponsored team…probably a first for the Tour. If he wins, he’ll do more for Kazakhstan than Borat…well, at least in Europe anyway. Most Americans forgot about the tour after Lance retired.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Beer Sommeliers?

I'm only a week into my career as a blogger, and I'm noticing a trend...this is turning into a beverage blog. This morning I heard NPR was going to air a segment about food and beer pairing. As an experienced beer drinker and part-time home-brewer, I had to keep the radio on for this one...I usually tune out early on Sunday's for fear of hearing a second of "Prairie Home Companion", can't stomach that show.

I'm not a huge beer snob, but I do have my limits...no light beer, even if it is Heineken Light, it's still LIGHT beer. There are apparently much bigger beer snobs out there. When I heard mention of a beer sommelier, I knew the wine yuppies had made there way into the beer world.

Here's the Brewer's Association's recommendation of beer/food pairings--

Pale Ale: Wide range of food: meat pie, English cheese; great with a burger

Amber/Red Ale: Wide range of food: chicken, seafood, burgers; great with spicy cuisine

Dry Stout: Hearty, rich food: steak, meat pie; a classic with raw oysters

Hefeweizen: Great with lighter food: salads, seafood, sushi; classic with weisswurst

Classic Pilsener: Great with lighter food: chicken, salads, salmon, bratwurst

Amber Lager: Hearty, spicy food: barbecue, hamburgers, chili

Brown Ale, Altbier: Hearty foods: roast pork, smoked sausage, grilled salmon

Friday, June 22, 2007

Good Video

Check out this video. Although this is an extreme example of what a national ID card can do, there are probably some elements of truth. Marketers today compile tons of info on all of us. A national ID card could be the missing like that allows corporations and the government to do even more detailed tracking.

My brother set up a link on my Mozilla browser called "Stumble!". It takes info I provide and spits out links such as this video any time I hit the button. I can vote on its quality and it uses that data to recommend other links. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks there's some sort of marketing use. Coincidentally, I did tell the folks at "Stumble!" that I'm interested in Conspiracy Theory and Civil Liberties...they then probably forwarded my name to the FBI or DHS, to put me on "The List".

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Movement



I find it interesting that anyone can subscribe to one religion or philosophy. None appear to be universally good. Although many make a positive contribution to society, there is a considerable amount of suffering and ill-feelings that have been created in the name of religion. Seems like there's too many to choose from. I find it hard to believe that someone could jump into a belief system and accept every tenet of that system, to include al the kooky stuff. Take the Raelian group for example. How does one choose to follow a strange man such as this? Although he doesn't seem to be any stranger than Joseph Smith, Mormonism has grown to be an accepted religion while Raelians are a strange cult...even less accepted than Scientology. How do we deem one to be a bunch of kooks while we accept others? Does time play a factor? Will The Raelian Movement be a mainstream organization in 200 years?

I'm not sure why anyone would want to follow Rael. He does appear to be an accomplished man--French race car driver, singer/songwriter, messenger of Elohim. Take a look as his website, you can read about The Raelian Movement in 37 languages. I'm not sure what kind of contribution they make to society, but at least in Hawaii, they keep a patch of highway clean.

Here's an excerpt from Rael's bio...I sure wish he could introduce me to this scientist, just like I wish Joseph Smith put those famous plates in a museum for the rest of us to see.

"On December 13, 1973, his life dramatically changed when he met one of the scientists who created us and was forced to abandon that passion. However, in 1994, some 20 years after his famous encounter, at the request of many Raelians who wanted to see him racing, Rael accepted to take the wheel of a professional sports car once again and participate in internationally renowned competitions. Sponsored in part by the first interpretation center of the UFO phenomena in the world, UFOland, Rael followed his passion while still promoting the messages given to him by our creators."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ass Water


This is a corollary to the previous post. For all the good drinks you can find in the Kona district (Kona Brewing Co microbrews and coffee), you knew there had to be an evil beverage to balance things out. That stuff is called Kava. We rolled up to Kanaka Kava (an author's pick in Lonely Planet's Big Island guide book) after much debate on whether we should try this stuff. There were serious locals sitting at the bar, no tourists...a rarity in Kailua-Kona. So we decided to share a glass. At that point, we realized that you must drink in bowls and the bartender already poured 2 bowls for us. Not only does it look awful, it tastes horrible. The barkeep told us it's a great muscle relaxant and not to worry if our mouth goes numb (which it did). I had to man-up and I choked my bowl down. It definitely relaxed me for the rest of the day, making the 2hr drive to Volcano NP very mellow. I guess it balanced out all the coffee from earlier in the day.

Moral of the story is that if a guidebook tells you a drink is an 'acquired taste', come to expect Ass-Water.

Here's Kanaka's website...they show you how the stuff's made. I should've read this a little better before our trip.

Kanaka Kava

Coffee Snob



Received the greatest gift for Father's Day--a 4 cup French Press Coffeemaker. Coffee snobs are right, this is the ONLY way to make a good cup of coffee. We recently did a coffee driving tour of the Kona coast, visiting 2 coffee farms. Shown here is a bag of Holualoa Coffee Company's Peaberry...that's 100% Kona handpicked beans. Only 5% of the cherries on a coffee tree are peaberries...that's right, this is the "champagne" of coffee. If you don't believe this stuff is any better than your Maxwell House drip coffee, come over and we'll do a Pepsi Challenge. Below are links to the 2 farms we visited...can't wait for the next trip

Holualoa Coffee Company
Kona Blue Sky Coffee Company

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Preparedness

Attended a lecture recently given by the head of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. For the most part it was a boring talk about Hurricanes and Hawaii, lots of meteorological talk. At the end, he gave a pitch for hurricane preparedness, and your need to stockpile supplies for a 5-7 day period. Coincidentally, I'm reading "The Road" (yes it's the latest Oprah book club book, but Sonya pulled the Oprah sticker off to get me to read it) which is about a post-apocalyptic period...really makes you think about survival. I've decided to build a kit, but this is proving to be a very daunting task. First, you can't focus on just one scenario. Each scenario has its own specific needs. Sure, there are some basics like food and water. But what good does a 5-7 day supply of food do you if there's a sudden "oil crash" and this overcrowded island is effectively isolated? Once Costco runs out of food, it could take weeks or months before someone sails out here with a resupply. There's no way Oahu can feed everyone on this island with its limited usable land resources. If I stockpiled more than 5-7 days worth of food, I must think about defending this food source. So, is it necessary to have a weapon? For long term survivability, I think seeds would be a sure bet, but what if there's a nuclear event and all the soil is contaminated? Or how would I ensure looters stay out of my garden? That brings me back to the defense concern. Not only do you need supplies, you need secure supplies and a defense plan.

At some point, we would see mad roving gangs wearing old football pads and spiked collars. They'd terrorize everyone else. Seems like you'd be guaranteed some sort of safety as a member of the group rather than some ordinary civilian. How do I make sure that I end up in one of these groups? Do I include football pads in my kit? Should I have my growing children try on new sets every year, so that when the time comes, their bandit gear isn't ill-fitting?

Too many questions here. Maybe I should just do what the majority of the population does...make a run on Wal Mart or Costco when a disaster is imminent.