On the beach

Continuing the photo essay of my recent adventure on Oahu…


Oddly enough, most of the vegetation in Hawaii is not in fact native to the islands…


but it’s all good as far as I’m concerned…


“way better than Cheju-do!”


Blue on blue and some happy canines…


“don’t bother taking a picture because those telephone wires are ruining the vista.  What?  Oh well, never mind.”

Ready for lunch?  Actually, the restaurant takes it name “The Crouching Lion” because the rocks behind the restaurant are alleged to look like, well, a crouching lion.  I honestly couldn’t see it though.  I’m that way with constellations too.


Still, the restaurant was quite charming…


The view from our table was, er, appetizing…


“bago payo!”


“ah, now that’s more like it!”

Next up, the Waimea Valley…see you there!

Calling all white people

I’m asking all you white males in the USA to stand together this November and vote as one to defeat any member of Congress who supports the President’s policies.

What?  You think that is racist?  It can’t be, because the President himself said:

This year, the stakes are higher than ever,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks provided by Democratic officials. “It will be up to each of you to make sure that young people, African Americans, Latinos and women who powered our victory in 2008 stand together once again.

Racist is as racist does.

Byodo-In Temple and the nut farm

Continuing our Majestic Grand Circle Island Tour, we visited a Buddhist Temple established around the turn of the century by a Japanese monk.


Quite beautiful don’t you think?  And that’s a million-dollar backdrop…


A little closer and different angle.  What you can’t see from the photo (or in real life for that matter) is the nails used for construction.  That’s because no nails were used.  Don’t ask me how, maybe it was a freakin’ miracle.


The Temple’s primary resident…


There was of course the traditional bell…


…well I’m not a particularly religious man, but nothing ventured nothing gained…


…I mean happiness and long life are worth the effort…


Of course, some would argue I’ve already had a long life, but why take chances?


Next stop was the nut farm, but I escaped.  Not before buying some chocolate covered macadamias for the folks at the office and a bag of nuts for my pal Jenn of I Got 2 Shoes fame.


If I understood correctly, these are the founders of the nut farm.  The current owner greeted us warmly, gave out free samples of Kona coffee and various varieties of his nutty concoctions.  Real friendly guy and seemed genuinely happy to have us visit.  But then again, we all were spending money.   But I’m sure he would have been nice regardless.

Anyway, that’s it for tonight.  I’m off to the first round of the playoffs which will feature the Rubbies versus Cake Mix at Dillinger’s Bar.  I’m there as a fan rather than a player this time…

Alastair the Scot ties the knot

I had the honor of attending the wedding ceremony of a great couple, Alastair Tarbett and Juri Jeon.  I’ll let the pictures tell the story…


As Joe Walsh REO Speedwagon (thanks Nomad) said, “you can tune a piano but you can’t tuna fish”.  We did however enjoy tasty morsels from this one after the ceremony.




Some of the guests hanging around outside on the deck.  The wedding took place on a floating wedding hall docked alongside the Han River.


Alastair’s parents flew in from Glasgow, Scotland for the big event.  Another big event, the Iceland volcano, almost prevented them from getting here, but they persevered through various trials and tribulations and made it to the “church” on time.


This trio regaled us with fine music…


Jee Yuen poses with the parents of the groom…


One of the more handsome guests in attendance…


Alastair awaits his cue…


The bride is escorted up the aisle by her soon to be father-in-law.


Ain’t she sweet?


I’m not sure what is going through Alistair’s head as he makes his way up the aisle…


The traditional bow before the vows…


They both said “I do”.  Well, technically Juri said “nea” which we all understood to be “yes”.


A kiss for the bride…


…a bow to the parents…


…and a demonstration of strength as required by Korean custom…


The cutting of the cake which symbolizes the joining of the two families…


I’ll be attending Margaret and Matt’s wedding in June…


The Orrico family minus Dan who had TDY in Hawaii…


Jim Dewey looking dapper as usual…


Even all the ducks were in a row… (ahem).


The newly married Alistair demonstrating his ability to multitask.


Juri and Jee Yuen.


The bride shows off her sexy shoes…


Alan’s kilt was a real chick magnet.  I’m thinking I should celebrate my Scottish heritage and get one too….


So the wedding party moved from the Han river to Dolce Vita…


…and of course a dart tournament broke out…


…and a good time was had by all…

Congratulations to Alastair and Juri!

Majestic Grand Circle Island Tour

Hey, that’s what they called it in the brochure.  It was your standard circumnavigation of Oahu kinda deal.  It was an all day affair and a 120 mile round trip.  Actually, quite nice.  It was good to be out of the city and see some of the Hawaiian back country for sure.  Here’s the first part of the trip in pictures:


That would be the Pacific ocean near Diamond Head…


This would be one of the more popular attractions on Oahu, Hanauma Bay.  Here’s a nice little video of the area.


I hear it’s a great place to snorkel…


…and has a nice sandy beach.


Seeing as how we were driving along the coast of an island, I took a fair number of ocean shots.  The ocean didn’t seem to mind at all.


Now this beach may look familiar to you.  It was where the famous beach scene in the film “From Here to Eternity” was shot.  Remember?


Now you do…



Yes, the ocean has many moods.


You see more beaches like this one with lava flows than you do with sand…


If you look closely you can see the lighthouse at the Makapu’u Lookout, which I believe is the southern-most point on the island…

Then we drove up into the mountains to the Nu’uanu Pali lookout  for outstanding vistas like this one.  There was a battle here in 1795 which ended with the defeated warriors being thrown from the cliff face.  Read about it here.


This is on the windward side of the island.  And the breeze was stiff to be sure…


It was an Oahu, Hawaii mountain high.  Although it wasn’t raining fire in the sky…


Those would be the tunnels we drove through to get to the mountain top.

And now I’ve got to get ready for a wedding.  We’ll continue our island tour soon, ok?

Friday night darts

Played in the Dolce tourney last night and actually had fun.  I guess throwing half way decent contributed to my joy.  That and winning (a first and a second place finish).

On the long plane ride back from Hawaii I decided it was time to get back to basics and try to relearn all that I’ve apparently forgotten about the game.  Actually, I am committed to going out and practicing again on a regular basis.  That and pull my head out of my ass and start throwing with some confidence.  Although the two might be related.

I’m hoping to rejoin Take it Easy for the upcoming season.  Kind of back to the future as that is where it all began for me.  And since my time in Korea is rapidly drawing to a close, it makes sense for things to end with Take it Easy.  I’ve always been fond of the symmetry of bookends.

How could this be?

This can’t be right, can it?  I mean, that would mean everything the Dems said about Obamacare was a lie.

Say it ain’t so, O.

President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law will increase the nation’s health care tab instead of bringing costs down, government economic forecasters concluded Thursday in a sobering assessment of the sweeping legislation.

And there is also this:

In particular, concerns about Medicare could become a major political liability in the midterm elections. The report projected that Medicare cuts could drive about 15 percent of hospitals and other institutional providers into the red, “possibly jeopardizing access” to care for seniors.

Hmm, “jeopardizing access” = rationing = death panels.

Someone owes Sarah Palin an apology.

Yoja of the week

Back from vacation and time to renew the feature that at least one reader missed.  I proudly present the Yoja of the Week, Ms. Park Jung-Ah.




What’s not to like?

And especially for my Canadian readers here she is playing hockey and singing! (not at the same time.  and probably only pretending to play hockey. but then, I wouldn’t know the difference.  hockey wasn’t that big when I was growing up in Southern Cal…)

There is just something wrong with the lyrics that go with this video.  I mean, I don’t even see a cat.

But the girl can dance

Diamond Head

Saturday morning is was up and at ’em for another Echotour, this time a hike to the top of Diamond Head.


As might be expected, we began our trek on the floor of the crater.  What struck me was how arid this location was.  The day before maybe 10 miles away I had been hiking through tropical terrain.


Did I mention this was a pretty popular tour?


Maybe you can make out the early 20th century fortifications.  These were designed to protect the Oahu from a southern seaborne attack…


A vista


You can see the walls of the volcano cone, right?


Winding the way up to the mountain top…


Looking out at the wide Pacific…


An operational lighthouse keeps the ships off the shallow reefs surrounding Oahu.


Looking westward…


Waikiki from the summit of Diamond Head.


A closer look at the old defenses…


“Yo, the attack will come from over there…and it won’t be by ship!”  Advice comes easy with 20-20 hindsight…


This fire control operations center is built 3 stories into the mountain.  It didn’t help much on that day of infamy, but still quite impressive.  The ol’ Walrus had a heck of time crawling in and out of the damn thing though…


Headin’ back down the mountain.  Watch your step!

Alright, tomorrow we are gonna get out of town and journey around the island of Oahu.  See you then!

Manoa falls

Ok, so I managed to catch a cold somewhere along the journey, but what are you going to do?  I signed up for some half day tours that involved hiking just to keep the exercise regimen going while on holiday.  This enabled me to take some great naps in the afternoon, which after all is part of the vacation experience as well, don’t ya think?

So Friday morning I took the “Manoa Waterfall Hiking Adventure” through an outfit called Echotour.  On the way out to the trailhead, we drove past President Obama’s high school and the tour guide said he had been a classmate of Barack’s.   He said they didn’t really run in the same circles and he was a year ahead of the Prez in school.  He told a story about how during one class assembly some guy sitting behind Obama was throwing pieces of paper in the future president’s Afro.  I thought how things hadn’t changed much except now it was two bit dictators and despots from around the world bullying the world’s geeky nerd.  Ah well.  On with the hike:


So, we parked in this foothill neighborhood to begin the hike.  According to our guide, one of these modest houses could be purchased for $700,000 or so, but they rarely came on the market.


Soon enough we were into the woods, a moist rain forest like environment.  I don’t recall the name of these trees, but they were soft to the touch, almost sponge like.  Also,  we were warned that the tree could not support the branches and a gust of wind would snap them off like twigs.  Although there was evidence of limb failure along the trail we luckily did not witness any first hand.


You know, things always look cooler in real life than they do in the photograph.  At least that’s true when I’m holding the camera.  This was a natural bowl within the trunk of a tree retaining water from a recent rainfall.  Although it doesn’t look too tasty, I’m sure in a pinch it would suffice.  But then, we were hiking along side a babbling brook so I guess dying of thirst wasn’t much of a risk anyway.  Never mind.


Yours truly taking a break beside a stand of wild bamboo…


Look up there in the distance, can you see it?  Yes sir, I do believe that is our destination!


Manoa falls in all her glory.  Ok, so it isn’t exactly Niagara.  Or Yosemite.  But it is water.  And the water is falling.  So, technically speaking you have received what was advertised, right?


So, what we have here is what I call the “upper falls”…


Which inevitably winds up in the lower falls and pool.  It was sorta pretty although I mighta been a tad disappointed.


Wanting to get my money’s worth I claw my way to very end of the trail.

And so ended my Manoa falls adventure.

Tomorrow I will bring you the harrowing tale of my hike to the very top of the famous Diamond Head crater.  Stay tuned!

Hale Koa

Hale Koa in the Hawaiian language means Warrior House.  That was the name of hotel where I stayed during my just completed visit to the island of Oahu.  Since the Hale Koa is an Army MWR (morale welfare and recreation) property, I suppose you could say it was aptly named.  Although nice place to stay works equally well, but I guess that is a pretty lame name.  Unless it translates to something cool sounding in Hawaiian.  Here, see for yourself:


I paid extra for the ocean view room, and this was the view of the ocean from my balcony.


From another angle I could also see the hotel sprawl that is what makes Waikiki Waikiki.


This pigeon was enjoying the view from my balcony every morning I was there.  I don’t expect he paid extra though.



This big old Banyan tree was a dominant feature in the courtyard.


And the coconut trees were nice as well.


As far as that goes, the entire property was pretty nicely landscaped.


The Hale Koa also features a big open air lobby, in the Balinese style…

All in all, not a bad hotel to spend a few days at a decent price (although you have to be military or a DoD civilian to partake).

Back from America’s Cheju-do

Yes, I have returned safely from my adventures in Hawaii, aka America’s Cheju-do.

The weather was cloudy and cool most of the time.  And I was also sick for most of the trip.  But other than that I enjoyed my first visit to the 50th state.  Well, technically, I saw only one of the eight islands, Oahu.  But it was quite beautiful.  I especially enjoyed the parts that did not include Waikiki.