Thursday, July 28, 2016

Permanent Vacation

So about a month ago, I injured my knee. On a stand up paddle board. I didn't think you could hurt yourself on a stand up paddle board. I was wrong. Fortunately, aside from some knee pain, the only thing affected has been my ability to run. Although I run a lot (and have to recover by September for a race), I don't really like running very much. To pass the time, I have been doing an excessive amount of stand up paddle boarding. Some of you might think stand up paddle boarding with an injured knee is a bad idea...

Often, while out on the crystal clear water, I wish I were snorkeling instead of paddle boarding.
The camera makes the water look green

Today I brought along a mask and snorkel just in case I had regrets about the morning activity. This just in: snorkeling from a stand up paddle board presents some difficulties. Most notably, many of the reefs are in rocky areas. If you're worried about your board getting slammed into the rocks, you might want to leave it home...or maybe bring an anchor. Almost as important, nearby snorkelers are completely oblivious to their surroundings. If your board is drifting around, it will probably hit somebody. If you anchor your board, someone will still probably find a way to bump into it. Anyway, after about 15 seconds in the water, this Hawaiian Bull Honu charged me. When I take the camera off of him, that's me taking evasive action.


In other news, the North end of Po'olenalena Beach is occasionally a bit of a nude beach. Old naked man who was out snorkeling: There's no need to give me a dirty look just because I'm out on a paddle board where you're swimming. Put some clothes on if my presence bothers you. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

I Hate Everyone

Driving home from Costco yesterday (where I had to buy an unplanned pair of tires), I spot a Ford Mustang convertible on Dairy Road. [Note: all photos in this post are stock file footage. Taking pictures while driving a 17 year old Jeep is crazy.] The Mustang is driven by this old couple...Not unusual, except the back seat is filled with suitcases and two Boogies Boards. First I think: That's a lot of luggage for a couple of old people in a Mustang (I assume there's a trunk). Then I think: Boogie Boards are kind of a strange Costco purchase for a couple of old people; but maybe since they went with the convertible, they're super fun/active old people. Maybe they read about the persistent south swell that's been destroying everyone's hopes for snorkeling the last few days. Or maybe Costco is out of beach chairs...
And then I see it. The silver convertible Mustang driven by old people is being followed by a white convertible mustang, this one driven/occupied by teenagers. The two mustangs are having fun honking and waving at each other.
Are they all cousins with their grand parents? Maybe they're brother and sister and they each got to bring a friend. Are they here on an annual trip with the grandparents? I don't care. I hate everybody in Hawaii under the age of 25.
Memories of family trips from my childhood: 1) The time we drove to Death Valley to collect minerals (rocks). 2) The time we drove to Northern California to look for minerals (gold).
The actual driver/passenger were much older than this.
Yeah, you can still buy Boogie Boards.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Friends, Family, and Coworkers

It is with mellow joy that I tender my resignation, effective immediately. I have enjoyed my short time here at Maui Memorial Medical Center, but have found working in an American Hospital (even if it is on Maui) to be entirely too stressful. Fortunately, I have been offered a job managing Woody Harrelson’s All Natural Pharmacy and Dispensary. Please come and visit us for all your Medical needs*.

*Hours are 10AM to 2PM weekdays (weather permitting).

Note: Woody Harrelson’s All Natural Pharmacy and Dispensary will be closed on the following holidays**:

New Year's Day, Lee-Jackson Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday, Confederate Heroes Day, Rosa Parks Day, Lincoln's Birthday, President's Day, Washington's Birthday, Texas Independence Day, Mardi Gras Day, Town Meeting Day, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day, Seward's Day, César Chávez Day, DC Emancipation Day, Good Friday, Patriots' Day, San Jacinto Day, Arbor Day, Confederate Memorial Day, Primary Election Day, Truman Day, Confederate Memorial Day, Memorial Day, Jefferson Davis Day, King Kamehameha Day, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth, West Virginia Day, Independence Day, Pioneer Day, Victory Day, Bennington Battle Day, Statehood Day, Lyndon B. Johnson Day, Labor Day, Native American Day, Columbus Day, Alaska Day, Nevada Day, General Election Day, Return Day, Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving Day, Thanksgiving Friday, American Indian Heritage Day, Family Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve

**Where a holiday falls on a weekend, Woody Harrelson’s All Natural Pharmacy and Dispensary will be closed on both the preceding Friday and the following Monday.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Things not to do on a cold day

To clarify: Cold in Hawaii is anything under 80 degrees.

I bought a Jeep, because Maui seems like the perfect place to own a convertible and there are not very many convertibles that fit four people...and I really thought yet another PT Cruiser would be a bad idea. Unfortunately, Maui is not the perfect place to own a convertible. It is too sunny nearly all the time. Fortunately, driving a Jeep with the doors and windows off (and a roof over your head) is a nearly perfect experience. I didn't really understand why someone might spend $20,000 making their Jeep into a better offroad vehicle. Maybe I still don't understand the $20,000, but after four miles (in each direction) on a light 4WD trail, I kind of get the appeal.

Had we moved here from California, I probably would not have been that interested in driving an hour up hill to see a Redwood Forest. But coming from New Zealand (where Redwoods were planted 100 years ago in hopes of logging them), it seemed like a fun road trip.

Anyway, if your children are cold at sea level, I would highly recommend making them wear long pants and coats if you're going to take them to 6000 feet.


The challenges experienced when trying to photograph a turtle underwater are plentiful. In addition to needing cooperative turtles, clear water, sun, and a water proof camera are required. Additionally, you must be a proficient enough photographer to be able to operate said water proof camera without using the touch screen (or really being able to see anything you are doing).

I bought my second digital camera well over 10 years ago because it was 1) really small and easy to carry around while tandeming in exotic locations and 2) because I thought I would be coming to Hawaii more often and a waterproof case was available as an option (albeit at a cost higher than for the camera). As it turns out, we did very little snorkeling in the last 10 years, and by the time we moved here the camera/case didn't seem to work very well. Enter digital camera number 4. As I alluded to above, it is very difficult to use underwater--mostly because most small point and shoots no longer have view finders.

But enough boring stuff. Please enjoy a couple of pictures (and a short video) of some mostly friendly sea turtles. If you turn up the sound on the video, you can hear some humpback whales singing off in the distance.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Windiest Day Ever
We have been meaning to take the kids whale watching since our failed attempt in Kaikoura just about a year ago. Since it has been pretty hard to not see whales from shore for the last few months, I naturally assumed seeing them from a boat would be even better. Unfortunately, Nico chose to make a reservation during a small craft advisory. I should take the opportunity to point out that just because a business (even if it's a non-profit) that makes its money by taking people out on the water says it is safe to go out on the water does not mean it is a good idea to do so. Zooey was seasick (or perhaps just regular sick) before we even left the dock. Jancie waited a few minutes to start complaining. Fortunately (I guess) they both fell asleep and missed most of the really rough parts.
Rainbows, on the other hand, are always difficult to photograph.

On a flat day, whales are pretty easy to see. On an exceptionally windy day, they are not so easy. 1) White caps look a lot like whale spouts when they are both being blown around and 2) The waves tend to hide any whales that might be coming up for air. On a flat day, photographing whales is pretty easy (or at least I think it must be). On a windy day 1) Holding a telephoto lens steady is difficult 2) Salt water keeps spraying your lens if you face in the wrong direction.

Windmills and a rainbow.

I shot well over 300 pictures. Most of them just look like waves unless you really zoom in, and then they look like blurry rocks mostly underwater. I hope to try again sometime when things are a little more level.

Tail sequence

A few others

Saturday, February 06, 2016


Some of you may remember 12+ years ago I started this blog with a promise to update it more often than once every 6 months. Or something like was so long ago I don't really remember. Sadly, it has now been over 6 months since I last posted anything. What can I say? I've been busy, nothing exciting has been happening, and I've been trying too hard to write the perfect post. Actually, I think Facebook is the real culprit. All the drivel that I used to write here so it could be read by 6 people can more easily be put on Facebook where 400 of my closest friends are instantly bombarded. Anyway, I've just spent $20 renewing, so perhaps that will inspire me a little. Also, I believe I have finally figured out how to post pictures from my phone. Here are Nico and I with the Jeep (and sleeping children) at La Perouse Bay.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

In case you missed it, we moved to Maui.

The most exciting thing that has happened so far: I bought a Jeep. I first wanted to buy a Jeep in 2000, but it was for Nico...and she wanted a Miata. 15 years later, and I bought almost the exact same vehicle. I knew buying anything this old would be expensive, but I did not understand how expensive Jeep ownership can be. The problem is that parts/accessories are so cheap and readily available, that making improvements becomes an addiction. Instead of buying seat covers, one cannot help but notice that new seats do not cost much more. And it gets worse from there.

My first purchase was a lot of tools; including a new bottle jack (original jack was frozen) and a new tire iron (original does not fit any of the current lug nuts).

Then I decided the seats were a little too nice, so I bought seat covers. (Turns out I was wrong. The upholstery is nice, but they're quite rusted and falling apart underneath.)

And then Nico got sick of constantly moving car seats around evwey time Jancie wanted to go ride in the Jeep. 

Shortly thereafter, I entered restoration mode and decided to do something about the dented tailgate. It is hardly noticeable, but it causes the spare tire to not fit very well (It had 6 pounds of air in it when I bought it. After inflation, only two lug nuts are holding it on.) Even though it was the wrong color red, I couldn't pass up a junkyard replacement. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet.

The previous owner put on a Sierra replacement top, which didn't fit quite right in a couple of places. I suspected the frame was bent, and today's project was to take the top off and see what I could fix cheaply. The side pieces (not sure what they are called) are definitely bent...or at least one of them is--they do not match each other. They are impossible to bend back without better equipment than I have. And it's not worth doing, as bow #2 (I think it's number 2) is rusted through. I don't know what's holding it together. 

I ordered the Bestop replacement soft top hardware kit from Amazon, but it appears they're not going to ship it for 2 to 3 months. Unable to find another source without spending over $450, I ordered a Bestop Safari Top from Amazon and a No-Drill Windshield Channel from 4wheelparts (Amazon won't ship the part to Hawaii).

In the mean time, I'm going to try to get the bent frame back on (after a trip to the hardware store for a few replacement screws...some of the heads were rusty/stripped, and I don't want to put them back in). 

Next up will be my first attempt at automotive repair. I'm going to replace the valve gasket cover to try to stop an oil leak. The picture below is almost two weeks worth. Also on the schedule for the next couple of weeks: Eastwood Internal Frame Coating, Por-15 for the outside of the frame, and possibly Monstaliner for the tub (the front and rear seat carpet is gone, and the back carpet is ready to be tossed).

I almost forgot my favorite upgrade. The top of the steering wheel felt squishy, or rubbery (I could sort of rotate the outside plastic around whatever provides the structure). A $12 cover with a Jeep logo solved the problem.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Dear Family, Friends, and Co-workers,

Many of you are probably aware that the family and I had scheduled a move to Hawaii for later this month. Unfortunately, due to cutbacks at Maui Memorial Medical Center, our plans have had to change. Also unfortunately, I have already resigned from my current job.

Luckily, Akaroa Hospital is reopening at just the right time, and I have been offered the position of Akaroa Hospital Pharmacist. In my new role as Akaroa Hospital Pharmacist, I will be personally responsible for managing the drug therapy of the 6 patients that are too sick to be at home but not quite sick enough to seek help at Christchurch Hospital.

I am greatly looking forward to being able to provide intensive and individualized pharmaceutical care. I am worried about the weather, as I had already adjusted myself to spending this (Southern Hemisphere) winter in the Tropics. I agreed to accept the position only after I was assured that the Hospital has a state of the art climate control system.

Sunday, March 08, 2015


On the bike path from Arrowtown to Gibbston Valley
Every time I visit Queenstown, I am shocked by the number of tourists. Especially American tourists. Talk, talk, talk you Americans, always "let me say this" or "I think that". Somewhere around Queenstown I discovered that everyone on the South Island (except for the few New Zealand born people who live there) thinks we're Kiwi. I stopped bothering to add "originally Los Angeles" when asked where we were from. Even with Nicole, Jancie, and I wearing Gap sweatshirts (sorry Zooey), we apparently pass for locals. To get away from the crowds, we stayed in much quieter Arrowtown.
View from King George Bathhouse
View from King George Bathhouse if you crane your neck a little
Also every time I visit Queenstown, I am reminded of why there are so many tourists. Forgetting about all the dangerous things to do, sitting lakeside with a cup of coffee and a scone makes the entire trip worth it.

The next two days are a blur of driving; trying to get to Picton for a 1PM Friday ferry (and a Purim party in Wellington that night). After arriving to Picton in plenty of time, we got to sit in the car for an extra 3 hours while they made some sort of repair to the boat...or possibly to the boat that was blocking the dock for our boat. Sitting in a car that is not moving for 3 hours is only slightly better than sitting in a moving car for 3 hours.

Franz Josef Glacier. I'm thinking there might be something to this global warming thing.

Goodbye Picton