Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fear and excitement about the Honolulu Marathon

Today I received my packet for the Honolulu Marathon. It brought some feelings to the surface that I haven't had in a while.

I remember my first marathon back in 2005.


I was excited. I did a lot of walking so I figured 26.2 miles shouldn't be a problem About half way through I had some pains in my foot. What do to? Well, half way done...gonna complete it. When I finished, I took the bus home and big blisters on my feet and under my toe nails, chafing that was bad, sunburn and overall soreness. But I had done it. I had problems walking for two days. I had walked the course just seconds under 9 hours from the time the gun went off but in 8:35:22 chip time. I hurt for a week and a couple of weeks later I lost a toe nail. BUT, I had done it!


In 2006 I did the marathon again, but this time I was better prepared to walk the course, learning lessons from the previous year to be applied to this year. I spent a little bit of money to help avoid the pain. I had under armour compression shorts, under armour shirt, energy gels, better shoes and music, sun screen, and a woven coconut hat (Hey, it got me noticed at the finish line besides keeping the sun off my face). I did much better and only ended up forming blisters during the last mile. I didn't improve the socks from the previous year. As a result, I ended up with 7:51:42 chip time. I didn't run as I had hoped but again, I had completed the task at hand.

I went to Walt Disney World during the 2007 marathon. It was good that I didn't participate even though I had paid for my entry. It rained and there were problems with the timing chips. Last year, 2008 I was asked by a group of JCs to help at the starting line. I was part of a group of people that helped the runners get started and then cheered them on as they came down Piikoi Street and turned onto Ala Moana Blvd heading into Waikiki.

This year, I once again signed up. A slight difference for this outing is that I had been laid off. As a result, I actually had a chance to do some training. I was clued into a program called from Couch to 5K. Again, Mahalo nui to Trace over at the Disney Dudes podcast. In nine weeks I went from not being able to run a minute without heavy gasping and pain to being able to run for 3.1 miles, a 5K distance. I wish I could say it was a breeze for the 5K but not quite. I just know that I can run consistently for a 5K distance and not end up doing a technicolor yawn.

So the pickup packet notice arrives today and I had both fear and excitement flood my body. I will be attempting to run part of the course. The game plan is to run a mile and walk a mile repeat last two steps until course is completed. My target is 6.5 hours chip time. That would put me crossing the finish line between 11:30am and noon HST. I have excitement because I'll be taking on a challenge that I haven't done before...RUNNING on the marathon course. But I have fear because I know what sort of pain just walking the course provided the first year.

Then why do it? Because as much as I hurt the first time I participated, it didn't compare to the elation that I felt when I crossed that finish line. The prize of self accomplishment outweighs the pain. If you'd like to follow me, my runner number is 584. On Sunday, December 13, you'll be able to go to www.honolulumarathon.org and put in my number. As I cross the various check points (starting line, 10K, half marathon, 40K and finish line) you'll be able to see the times posted almost in real time. In addition, I'll have a camera phone with me on this go around and I plan on posting up to the web to my facebook, twitter and flickr accounts. I hope you'll come along for the ride!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Movie Review: The Twilight Saga: New Moon

New Moon is supposed to have a big opening weekend leading into the Thanksgiving holiday. It probably will regardless of what I write here. Team Vampire Edward or Team Werewolf Jacob? Could care less, I just wanted to see a good movie. I saw the first movie and only know the story by the movies.

The first movie Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) meets this mysterious person, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). I bit of mystery, a bit of intrigue until the big reveal, he's a vampire. He can read other peoples thoughts but not hers. She's attracted to the bad boy vampire who pulls her bacon out of the fire a couple of times (avoids getting crushed by a car and possible brutalization by some thugs). They get along. Alright, I can deal with that.

We get into this episode the heroine Bella is all moody. She's having her birthday getting older but Edward being a vampire is permanently frozen physically at age 17 although he's really now 109. She doesn't want to loose him so she's asking him to turn her into a vampire. He says no because she doesn't understand the ramifications of becoming a blood sucker including the state of her soul.

Through a series of events Edward says that he must leave her forever in order to protect her. She wants to go. He says no and disappears. She chases after him but he can move super fast and she can't so there's no way she's going to catch him. She figures he'll come back to protect her so she decides to sleep in the forest. Never mind about her dad and his concern that his daughter is missing.

Bella gets all depressed and hangs in her bed room ignoring the world as it passes by. She finally decides to join the living. While out with a classmate she ignores the classmate for another reckless act with possible thugs on a motorcycle. During the escapade Edward appears to her. She figures that the adrenaline rush causes the Edward image. She decides that she'll trying riding a motorcycle to try to get Edward back. She enlists her childhood friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) to help her repair a motor cycle. During the process she starts to fall for him.

When the bike is finally finished Jacob tries to help her to ride and she ignores him and speeds off. She does see Edward images again before skidding into a rock where she hurts her head. Jacob comes over and takes off his shirt to wipe up the blood. In the theater, the ladies went wild and made cat calls since Taylor put on 30 pounds of muscle in order to keep the role.

Turns out Jacob has a gene as part of his American Indian heritage that is responsible for his transformation within the storyline. He and several others can transform into werewolves at will. They don't like vampires and there is a treaty between the two sides. He tries to protect her and shows his love towards her.

Jacob cares for Bella, but she used him to get her rush via the motorcycle. Through out the movie everything that people tell Bella not to do, she does. She has feelings for Jacob, she has feelings for Edward, she ignores her father, she dismisses the warnings of both the vampires and the werewolves. That is what put me off on this episode of the series was Bella's character.

She was self centered not caring about the feelings of her classmates, her dad, Jacob or Edward. She wanted what she wanted and screw the consequences or who she might hurt either physically or emotionally in the process. She didn't even care about the state of her soul as long as she could be with Edward. I found that me, me, me attitude extremely annoying and as a result it was hard for me to watch this film. Although I didn't look at my watch, I sat there wondering why this movie was dragging on and when it would be over. Ever been to the party and there's that ONE person who annoys you and you can't get away? Yeah, I'm sure you know what I mean. This selfish self absorbed character just grated on me and caused me to not enjoy the movie.

Was the movie good? With the "the world has got to center around me" attitude of Bella, I found it hard to watch this 2 hour and 10 minute "love" story.

Something that I did find interesting during this movie experience was the number of young kids in this movie. Even with the PG-13 rating, the themes were a little advanced for the number of 4-8 year olds that were in the theater. Another distraction though the movie were cell phones. I didn't hear anyone talking on them or having them ring, but the number of cell phone screen lights that were present through the movie was a little surprising.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sight Lines

Living in Hawaii for 20 years, I've watched a lot of changes happen to the local landscape. When Hawaii became a territory the main source of revenue was the plantations for sugar and pineapple. When Hawaii became a state in 1959, tourism took over as the main economic engine that drives the state. Throughout the architecture has reflected these influences and now with the amount of people living here and changes in technology, the landscape changes are more pronounced.

Hawaii has always been known for its natural beauty. Tropical rain forests, white sand beaches, streams running from the mountains to the ocean, and rainbows are very symbolic of what people expect to find in the older islands. Images of spouting lava, red glowing rivers and steam plumes as these lava rivers hit the ocean creating new land describe the Big Island of Hawaii. Native Hawaiian built structures based on the environment on each island.

When statehood happened, Polynesian Pop was an architectural style that had wide influence. Lush outdoor setting with lots of vegetation, A-frame buildings, tikis, hanging colored lights, fish nets, wood carvings and tiki torches punctuated the style in Waikiki. Many of the residences both in and outside Waikiki were one story plantation style homes.

As more and more people flocked to Hawaii more and more buildings were constructed. More and more land converted from agriculture to some other use whether residential or commercial. In Waikiki, the hotels which were spread out started to go up. Where you used to be able to see multiple vistas, the views got limited. The buildings sprang up and the views went down.

On the Big Island large lava fields are receiving building and turfs. The sugar cane and pineapple fields on Oahu are making way for shopping malls and planned communities.

In my own neighborhood, construction has been happening again. This time it's been taking down some of the medium sized buildings and taller buildings are going to be built. In the mean time, as the structures are ripped down beautiful views are returned. While I know that I won't be able to enjoy these views forever, I've got to take advantage of them while they exist.

On the corner of Kapiolani and McCully there used to be a strip mall that contained the Supercuts that I patronized for many, many years. It was sold, and ripped down. For a time, travelling Diamond Head on Kapiolani, there was a view of the back end of Diamond Head that hadn't been seen in years.

Another location on Kapiolani that is just being torn down over the past two weeks has revealed a view to the back of the Manoa Valley. As the building was coming down in parts, I'd sit at the bus stop across the street and over the passing days have more of that beautiful vista revealed sort of like the curtain being pulled back to reveal what's on the stage.

In Waikiki at the International Market Place they have removed some of the buildings revealing other buildings that haven't been seen in decades. Some of the old Polynesian Pop design of old Waikiki gets to see the light of day again. I wonder how long I'll get to see them as I know that change is constantly happening. I feel confident that somewhere there are plans just waiting for the economy to turn around before they'll be executed and the sights I get to see now will be gone.

Change is going to happen, there is nothing we can do to stop it. With the beauty of Hawaii I just need to make sure that as these once hidden vistas are revealed, to take advantage of them and enjoy them before they once again disappear.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Movie Review: Pirate Radio

These days when you think of pirates, Johnny Depp is probably what comes to mind. In Pirate Radio you have Bill Nighy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Nick frost, probably not anything like you would have thought of in a million years. The year is 1966 and these pirates are not plundering and looting for treasure, they are pirating the airwaves. The Rock in Roll world is alive with The Kinks, The Who, The Hollys and lots of other groups that begin with the word "The". The British government won't allow this music on the regular radio so a rogue band of DJs organized by Quentin (Nighy) start broadcasting 24 hours a day from a ship off the coast of Britain that is outside of the jurisdiction of the government.

We follow Carl (Tom Sturridge) , a expelled high school teenager who is sent to the boat by his mother. He is introduced to the the eclectic, colorful band of DJs by his god father Quentin. Most of the DJs are British with the exception of The Count (Hoffman) who is from America. The only female on the boat is Felecity. She's the cook and a lesbian. To make up for the shortage of available women, they have Sexturdays where a supply boat brings over not only food and mail but women who stay for the weekend.

While the station hangs out on the North Sea, back in Parliament, they are trying to figure out a way to get these people off the air. They considered them immoral and reprobates among other things. This falls to Sir Alister Dormandy (Kenneth Branagh) who in turn hires a gentleman by the name of Twatt (Jack Davenport) to actually come up with the details of how to do it. These two were wound very tight. Actually, they were wound so tight they could have doubled for the rubber bands on a balsa wood airplane.

The government tries different machinations to get them off the air waves while at the same time we watch and hear what is happening on the boat. Just how to you play table football on a boat that is rocking? While Carl is not a DJ, we see the various DJs working the microphone and turn tables. Some DJs with mouths constantly moving and some hardly saying anything at all. As they are on the air we hear a selection of music from the time. In turn we see how their listeners are reacting to the music. As some of life's events happen to the crew they in turn share it with their listeners. One of the editing decisions that I liked was they had several groups of listeners that they revisited with each of these events.

In the end, the government finally passes a law that will outlaw the pirates because one of the neat things about being the government is that if you don't like something you just pass a law to make it illegal according to Dormandy. Will the government be successful with their attempt, will the pirates being pirates find a way to keep going? You'll have to go see the movie to find out.

This movie for me was very enjoyable. Along the lines of 2003's Love Actually (another Bill Nighy film), this was very British from the clothing (broad vertical stripes) to the language (snogging) and the culture (Boxing Day). The ensemble cast and their interactions, the editing, the music pull together for a fast moving 138 minute movie. The editing of the audience actions and reactions gave the movie a great energy. These are rogue DJs in both action and language so the R rating is well deserved, but don't let this be a distraction for not going to see this movie.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Movie Review: 2012

2012 is probably what you'll spend on this movie for ticket, popcorn and soda if you go by yourself to a matinee show. My cost was $20.75, so pretty close. Why do I mention popcorn? Because this is a good popcorn movie. Roland Emmerich who brought us Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow brings us his latest "Look out world, something bad is about to happen" movie. Clocking in at 2 hours and 38 minutes, you could go through a LOT of popcorn. For me about about 90 minutes into the movie that large soda needed some attention, if you know what I mean other than that, it moved right along.

In this apocalyptic movie the reason the world is going to end has nothing to do with aliens as in Independence Day or nature getting back at mean old nasty man for not treating the earth like a goddess from The Day After Tomorrow. This time, it's pure physics and science with a bit of spiritual thrown in on the side. At least science and physics that make for the storyline. The planets are about to align and sun spot activity is throwing off neutrinos bombarding the earth's core heating it up causing the destabilization of the crust which is as you know where man lives. This end of time is tied in with Mayan calendar which stops in 2012 and the beliefs of other indigenous peoples. Based on this movie we know why their calendars stopped.

We are given a glimpse back in 2009 of what's happening. A scientist in India played by Jimi Mistry of The Guru (cute movie worth a look on rental) calls scientist friend Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) to the world's deepest copper mine. Satnam (Mistry) shows Adrian some pretty shocking evidence and theorizes as to what's going to happen to the earth. Adrian runs back to Washington DC and informs the President's Chief of Staff, Carl Anheuser (Oliver Platt) of the bad situation. We then get glimpses over the following years of things happening like the evacuation of people from Chinese highlands to make way for a dam and the replacement of the Mona Lisa with a copy to keep if safe from vandals.

We jump to the year 2012 where we meet our hero Jackson Curtis played by John Cussack who is a published author lives in the LA area who lost his family in the process of ignoring them while be focused on his book. Since his book didn't do all that well, he drives a limo to help make ends meet. Through a series of events he ends up meeting Adrian in Yellow Stone National Park and Charlie Frost a conspiracy theorist. Charlie (Woody Herrelson) has been broadcasting to the world that it's about to end, the world governments know about it but are leaving the people clueless.

Jackson ends up back in LA just as all hell breaks loose. Apparently Adrian's time lines and calculatons aren't right, a recurring theme along the way. They have less time than expected. Jackson gets his old family along with the new husband in the limo and then navigates through a crumbling LA avoiding fissures, upheavals of land, falling highways, sky scrapers being reduced to pebbles and scattered cars better then any professional stunt driver. How does he know how to do this? It's never explained. He's either very, very skilled or just one massively lucky son of a gun!

He gets to the airport and again, oh so lucky, Gordon, the new husband has an inkiling on how to fly a plane. Time and time again, this family is very lucky to miss massive disaster after disaster. They have to go back to Yellow Stone and then Las Vegas and finally over to China where the G8 have been building giant arks to save people.

All through out the film, time tables get pushed up. Decisions have to be made. Do you be very pragmatic as Carl does throughout or do you take the humanistic approach which is Adrian's part of the movie. These are questions dotted throughout the movie. Do you just forget about people and worry about yourself, do you risk your life for family and what about strangers people that have had no connections prior to this moment.

There are several tsunamis in this film as crust breaks and the mantle of the earth shifts. There is one scene reminiscent of Deep Impact where the wave is coming and one person stands there knowing what their fate will be in 4, 3, 2, 1 seconds. I can't help but think, back in 2004 in Indonesia and more recently the Samoas while they didn't have a 1500ft wave heading towards them, they had to make decisions like these as water was rushing in and around them. While I hope that no of us ever have to make these kinds of decisions you have to wonder what would I and what could I do if placed in this sort of situation.

Enough of the reality for a moment let's jump back to fantasy. For this film you really have to suspend a lot of what you know in order for this movie to work. Cars jumping over things and not damaging the under carriage, that a plane can fly through an ash cloud and not have the engines get choked out, that the secret can be kept and that ships the size shown in the movie could have enough natural resources, technology and man power to build them in the given time frame are among some of the points that you leave scratching your head.

The special effects were incredible. The film is rated PG-13. While we see hundreds and thousands of people dying enmasse, you don't see it happen directly. You see a body afterward or just before, but you don't see that last second directly. Emmerich likes to take out the White House in his movies and this was no exception. Seeing large land masses ending up bobbing in a sense like ice cubes in a glass or a wave washing over part of the Himalayas were eye candy. Irwin Allen would be proud of the ocean liner meets big wave scene. For me, seeing his interpretation of what would happen to my home in Hawaii was interesting. If this one tower near me was gone I could see Diamond Head from my Apartment in Paradise which would definitely be a hot spot!

So take a healthy does of suspension of belief, grab that large soda and popcorn, sit down and just have a good time. If you buy some of those white cheese, cheddar cheese or kettle corn sprinkle toppings for the pop corn, it will be all that much more fun!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Movie Review: A Christmas Carol

Let's get something straight right off the bat: Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol is a ghost story. Everyone over the age of four should know the basic story of how meaney Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by four ghosts to help him find his humanity again.

This version is done by Robert Zemeckis of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Back to The Future fame. He used the Motion Capture (MoCap) method like he used in Polar Express, another Christmas story and Beowulf. For those of you who don't know, the actors wear a special suit with all sorts of sensing devices that are picked up by cameras set around the stage. The computer catches the location of the sensors and thereby captures the actor's movements. This allows the director to place the actors actions in a virtual world to be mimicked on a virtual actor. We'll talk a bit later about how this MoCap affects performance.

The movie was released in regular, 3D and IMAX 3D formats. In my area, the IMAX costs $15.00 per show and has no matinee prices. The 3D version has a $3.50 upcharge on either matinee or full price. I really don't find that the 3D adds a whole lot so I chose the regular format.

The movie started off like some of the old Disney classics. They zoom into a book which opens and the story is told. After that, they started in a place that I had not seen before done in a movie. Granted, I haven't seen all versions, but I've seen many of them. My favorite is the 1970 musical version entitled Scrooge with Albert Finney and Alec Guinness. Zemeckis' starts with Marley's death and then jumps to the point where most people are familiar with the story.

Jim Carrey provides the performance for Scrooge and Gary Oldman handles the role of Bob Cratchit who we now get to see in the office of Scrooge and Marley. From here, it was obvious what Zemeckis wanted to do with the 3D. The soaring over old London bringing you through the streets, showing people in their everyday affairs and just how mean Scrooge is.

Scrooge goes home and runs into the ghost of Jacob Marley, also done by Oldman, who in an attempt to save Scrooge from his fate tells him about vists from three other ghosts, which were all done by Carrey. For the first encounter with Marley, you get an idea of why the movie has a PG rating. After Marley leaves and Scrooge views some of the specters roaming the earth, you fully understand that the PG rating was justified. There were several gasps from the audience during Marley's visit.

The ghost of Christmas Past is symbolized by a floating flame. This was an interesting interpretation. What I didn't like was the ticks that were added by Carrey to the character. They seemed out of place.

The Ghost of Christmas Present was represented as most productions have shown him as a large jovial man with a hearty laugh. What impressed me about this sequence is that instead of Scrooge and the Ghost flying to the different scenes by themselves, the Ghost turns Scrooges building into a space ship of sorts and transforms the floor into a transparent portal from which they can observe the action. Scrooge doesn't leave his living room.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come was also represented well. Many shots of this Ghost weren't a solid figure, but of a shadowy malevolent presence. It was very effective. This part also had the one item that I didn't like and that was a funeral carriage and black horses with red eyes driven by the Ghost chasing Scrooge through the streets of London all while Scrooge is shrinking in size until he's the size of the rat.

Finally we end up back in Scrooge's abode with him being exuberant that he's alive feeling "as light a feather" as he determines to make up for all that he's lost. As the movie ends he heads over to his nephew Fred's (Colin Firth) to reconnect with the only family he has.

While the story is not new, Zemeckis decided to play straighter to the original text. Usually the part of Ignorance and Want are ignored as well as showing just they kind of person Bob Cratchit is as he attempts to slide on an icy street.

The looks of London and settings are wonderfully set with the cobble stone streets, the lights of the buildings, the smoke eminating from chimneys and the opulence of some and the needs of others are established early. It adds to the beauty and expressiveness of the film.

What was disconcerting at time was the MoCap and some of Carrey's actions. When Scrooge discovers that he's still alive, some of the actions that Carrey performed for the character is something that I don't think they would preform during the time frame. At other times there were actions and vocals that just didn't match. We catch little things like the slight movement of a mouth while laughing. The computer didn't catch them and the post production didn't added in those subtle movements. The eyes for this production were better than some of the other MoCap movies already done, but not quite right. Lastly were some of the skins. Scrooge himself looked great. Several of the other characters looked like they were plastic with colors painted on. They really didn't look textured. For the couple of characters with flawless beautiful skin, they looked too shiny like they were porcelain, not a flesh.

Was the movie worth the price? I say yes, despite some of the looks of the characters and their actions, the overall story told and the settings were engaging enough to overcome those flawed items. Reminder it is a ghost story with a PG rating for this 96 minute film.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A beautiful day in Hawaii

Last Friday, October 30, 2009, was a blast. It was one of those days "Lucky you live Hawaii" was meant to describe.

First thing I did this day was go for a jog. I have been following the Couch to 5K program to get into running. I've signed up for my third Honolulu Marathon this December. The first two I walked. This one, while I don't plan on running the whole event, I would like to run part of it. This Friday was the last day of the prescribed program. I set the Nike+ for a 5K preprogrammed distance run. I ran around the Ala Wai playing field and then over the McCully bridge to go along the Ala Wai Canal itself. This is the canal that was dug in order to allow the swamp area to drain to allow Waikiki to become what it is today.

Originally uploaded by coconut wireless

Passing other joggers, looking at the canal and enjoying the views of the Ko'olau mountains were sights the canal run offered. Looking towards the back of Manoa valley and St Louis Heights just make you break out in a big smile. In the canal I could see some of the fish swimming and moon jelly fish floating in the water. I managed to run the 5K in 35:22. I was very proud of myself. Thanks to Trace for mentioning the program on his podcast which he co-hosts with Wayne, The Disney Dudes.

I got home and showered quickly as I was supposed to go with a friend to check out the closeout special at the Star Market near where I live. I'm in year 20 of living in Hawaii and Star has always been there at the intersection of King and Beretania in Moiliili. Rene stopped by to pick me up and we attempted to find parking. We couldn't get in the lot so we parked on a nearby street and walked in. Although the prices were cut 25% across the board, it was off the full retail price. A two-liter bottle of Coke or Pepsi was $2.89. Not a discount since you could find the same item on sale for $1.50 or $1.33 at other stores. We left empty handed.

Rene then invited me to go with her to a place called Boots and Kimo's. It was in Kailua and had pancakes that were to die for by her own words. I asked if we could stop by my place so I could put on an aloha shirt over my tank top which was looking a little frayed. She said sure.

On the drive over she let me know who would be joining us. It was Daisey who was new to Hawaii and her friend Tom visiting from the mainland as well as a former co-worker Susan and her boyfriend Roman. As Rene and myself arrived, we had a minor miracle happen, the parking spot right in front of the doors to the restaurant opened up. We slid into the space without any trouble.

In front of Boots and Kimo's were several benches. It was one of those places that served breakfast all day and always had a line. We went in and the place was small and packed! There were nine booths that held four people each. We placed our name on the waiting list and took a seat outside. We were shortly joined by Daisy and Tom. We talked story for a while when the waiter came out to take our order. We were about to tell the waiter to take someone else as we were waiting for two more people when Susan and Roman arrived. Roman ended up with an unexpected day off due to the budget issues of Hawaii. We have furlough Fridays when certain state offices close down. His company had a contact but since the office was shut down, they couldn't get in to do their work.

The menu consisted primary of the breakfast items and it all looked good. Rene had pointed out the size of the pancakes so she said we could split an order. I had the Maui Wowie omelet. No, none of that vegetation was included! Rene was right about the pancakes. The sign over the restaurant says "Home of the original Macadamia Pancake Sauce" and that sauce was soooo ono! It was very easy to taste why the place had a line the way that it did. Even the Japanese tourists were waiting outside to get in and enjoy the local fare.

Daisy and Tom wanted to go to Lanikai Beach which is a few miles away from the restaurant. Roman mentioned that his cousin would be able to get access to some equipment at a beach in Waikiki. We all jumped in our cars and headed back to our places to get beach equipment and met up again at the beach outside of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Tom was there waiting. Daisy had to go back to run an important errand.

At the beach!
Originally uploaded by coconut wireless
Myself and Rene set up on the beach that faced the ocean with Tom. I did a little bit of swimming in the Pacific. It was the first time in several years that I swam in the ocean. I've walked around Waikiki and skirted through the waves as they lapped up on the beach on many occasions but it had been a while since I put on the swim shorts to take a dive into the deep blue.

After a little bit of a wait Susan and Roman showed up with cousin Ash. Ash was able to get us some equipment that we used in Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon. The lagoon is named after the man who was considered an ambassador for Hawaii. A respected surfer, Olympic swimming champion and all around gentlemen are attributes to describe Duke. Tom and Roman and Ash took out stand up paddle boards. Rene and Susan went to find some drinks. I watched our bags.

Tom had been out for about 20 minutes when he returned and he offered me his board. I took it out. This was my first time on any sort of surf board. I noticed right off the bat that the water in the lagoon was colder than the water in the ocean. I pushed off and paddled around on my knees for a bit. I finally decided to try to stand it. Attempt one....failed. I didn't get in an upright position when I lost my balance and dumped. OK, kick up onto the board and get back on my knees. Try attempt number two. Almost got up but dumped again.

By this time Ash and Roman paddled over and gave me some tips to get up on the board. When I mentioned about the cold water Ash told me that the hotel was pumping deep ocean water three miles off shore to fill the lagoon. AHHH, that's why so much cooler! With the tip I managed to stand, but I didn't get the board moving fast enough so I dumped for a third time. At this point I was getting tired but the fourth time proved to be a charm! I was up on the board and moving forward. I paddled around for a bit but was getting tired. It was more exhausting than the run that I had several hours earlier!

About the time I was getting off the board, Daisy returned. She went out for a bit when Ash got us some wrist bands for the pools on property. We cleared off of the beach and headed into the pool area. The pools, slides and spas were very nice and got nicer as we started to watch the sunset.

I had a meeting that night for the kick off of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the Hawaii region at McCully Zippy's. When people mentioned that they were hungry, I mentioned Zippy's since that is where my meeting would be. They agreed and we drove to the King Street location. I had the local favorite, Portuguese bean soup and then had to bolt from the sit down restaurant part of the building to the quick service side.

The NaNoWriMo meeting was fun as about 40 of us who would partake in the exercise of writing a novel in 30 days met. I picked up a plot bunny that the local leader had made for participants. It was fun hearing people give a random tone of writing picked from a bowl against a random selection of text from a book. The text seemed like gobbledygook but after hearing a few it was obvious that if was from a Dr Seuss book; Fox in Socks to be specific. It was a good ice breaking exercise.

From there I walked the mile and half back to my Apartment in Paradise. It was an exciting day and one that happened in a somewhat unplanned manner. Those are some of the best times!

I'd like to give a big mahalo nui to Rene, Daisy, Tom, Susan, Roman and Ash. I've not used your real names as I don't know if you want them publicized. It was a day that I'll remember for a long time.