The Hinano Incident

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that our 6th anniversary had arrived. Our honeymoon was celebrated in Tahiti. We were married right in the middle of the Christmas rush, and we decided to wait just a little bit for the honeymoon. We left on our honeymoon just as the Opening Ceremonies for the 2002 Winter Olympics were getting started. We came home as the Closing Ceremonies were under way. Actually, we were in Los Angeles as the last flight was getting ready to go, and we watched some of the Gold Medal Hockey game in a crappy airport restaurant there. We were concerned because they were restricting airspace in Salt Lake because it had only been a few months since the attacks of 9|11. We were lucky to get back here that day at all. But that's another story for another day.

We're gathered here today to reminisce about The Hinano Incident.

We stayed at one of those places where they have the "over-water" thatched roof cabins. They are tres spendy and we didn't stay in one of them, but we did get a beach-front thatched roof cabin, and it was awesome. Every morning we made coffee on our porch and watched the ferry come from Papeete over to Moorea. The part of the island we stayed on was where you could see the morning sun come up over the other island. We spent some lovely mornings doing that.

On the map/picture above, our place was where the red dot is, the white line is where the ferry went every morning. The yellow dot is the industrial dock, and the populated area of the island. The two green dots are where the reef breaks (as you can see) and the massive cruise ships come into the island every few days. One thing about Moorea is that the sea current comes from the left of this picture, and splits in two and runs around the island, then joins up again on the other end. This will be significant to the story in a few moments. When you're laughing at me and secretly calling me "Gringo-honkey"...

So anyway, on the flight down we noticed they were selling the local beer - Hinano. We tried some and asked some questions about it. It's the country's contribution to the mass market beers, produced with way too little Hops, just like every other mass-produced beer. So now we were familiar with the name.

On one of the mornings we noticed a somewhat large yacht parked in the lagoon of our resort area. It had a great big Hinano logo on it and we were told that it belonged to the CEO of the company, and he comes over from the other island a couple of times a month for a long weekend. I also noticed a couple of young females aboard.

The island is ringed all the way around by a reef. Inside the reef, the water is relatively shallow - about 25 feet at the most. Outside the reef, the water drops off and is true ocean water. Inside the reef, water life abounds and there are colorful fish galore, reef formations, etc. We had planned to do a little snorkeling to see the sights, and on this morning we walked over to the little rental stand and rented the necessary masks and snorkels, along with the little tube-raft-motorized thing that would take us out to the spot we wanted to be. When we rented the masks, the guy asked us if we would like the flippers along with the masks. Being the macho type, I of course said hell no, we'll be just fine with our own two feet.

Now, before I continue to emasculate myself publicly, I'll say here that ThatOneWife is a great swimmer, was a lifeguard, swim team type person. Whereas me, not so much. I don't spend much time in the water, as I tend to crispifry quite quickly. I don't like to fish, don't like to waterski, had never owned a boat, etc. SHE, on the other hand is all of those things, except for the fishing part.

Anyway, we took our masks, and my white ass, and off we went out to tie up the little raft, and have a look-see at all the little fishies. All was great. We strapped on the masks and went over side for a lovely look. I really enjoyed myself after adjusting to breathing through a tube. I spent about 15- 20 minutes with my head down looking at a new and wonderful world. Then I looked up and realized I was about 100 yards away from the post and the dinghy thing. No problem, I'll just swim my butt back to the boat. So I started swimming, BUT I WASN'T MOVING. Like, not at all. The current was moving me parallel to the shore, away from our resort area and away from the boat. But not further away from shore. I was about 50-60 yards off shore. I was swimming my ass off, but not moving, and getting tired, fast. So I started yelling my head off, totally panicked. The folks on the Hinano yacht heard me, looked, and wondered if I was serious. I tried to assure them I was DEAD SERIOUS.

Now, just a side note here. As we drove the little dinghy thing out to the post, we came close enough to the Hinano Yacht that I was able to observe that at least ONE of the little females onboard was totally topless. This is not uncommon in the islands, but this one was, shall we say, enhanced. I made a comment about what a great life THAT must be. Anyway, back to the story, and my yelling like a fool. A drowning fool. ThatOneWife was about 100 yards further downstream from me, and I felt like it was two miles. She heard me yelling, the Hinano folks heard me yelling, and the dude on shore at the mask rental shop heard me yelling. And everyone hopped to it at about the same time. The folks on the boat jumped on a sea-doo thing, as did the dude on shore, and ThatOneWife started swimming like a freakin champ. Unlike me, she was able to make good time even though she was swimming straight up-current. The folks on the sea-doo from the yacht reached me first, and though I had cramped up, was dying, had been bitten by a man-eating shark, etc. They piled me onto the sea-doo, gathered up the Mrs. and took us over to their yacht. I had totally freaked out and panicked. Had I been even "sorta thinking" I would have realized that I could have made a turn to my left, kept swimming sideways in the current and easily reached the shore, about 30 feet from our front door. But no, I had to try to get back to the little boat, about 100 yards directly into the current.

Incidentally, once on board the yacht it WAS just gorgeous, and the girl WAS enhanced. They gave us some water, and let us rest up on the deck for a few minutes before I was just so ashamed I had to leave, right now. Once we got there, the female did cover up, sensing that we were not islanders (duh), and I might be more interested in ogling her boobs than, say, breathing, at that moment.

So we got back onto our little dinghy thing, and drove it back to the beach, where we handed in our stuff. The guy looked at me like I was an idiot, which of course I was.

This is the same beach where I got my tattoo.

So now whenever we go swimming at the local pool with the kids, or do something involving water - even if it's a hot tub, I say something like, "don't swim in the current." Or ThatOneWife says, "be careful of the water..." or "do you need some flippers, dear?" Funny. Freakin HILARIOUS.

Which is all rather humorous. Or not really.

But whether it is or not, it is the Hinano Incident. Soon it will be legend. And it gets recounted a little more often than I enjoy.


Whew!! THAT was fun...

Wow... the Christmas holiday was a good one for us, nicer than other recent times. I always like giving presents more than getting them, and it was a good year for that. It was nice to actually surprise kids for a change. The Wii was a hit, and a total surprise. It was a surprise because all the kids, and ThatOneWife as well, know how I generally LOATHE the gaming consoles and the gaming industry in general. If you have been a reader for a while, you'll remember how genuinely Piss-ed off I was when Mrs. ThatOneGuy brought it home this summer. And how I was pissed off at my brother for having talked her into it while I wasn't there. The Big Wanker.

I was side-swiped by my absence. Oh well. Frankly we could package up all the other consoles (of which we have a few) and send them to Outer Mongolia for the poor kids, and just stay with the Wii. I don't think that's going to happen any time soon. You have to pick your battles.

Anyway, it was a good surprise. We'll see if it was at my expense, and the expense of my sanity. But if it's at the expense of school grades or normal social interaction, that's not going to stand. So my view is that it is there to lose.

Anyway, I was also able to generally surprise the Mrs. too. Although one gift was spoiled by an overly verbal and informative youngster who lives at our house.

But all in all, there were some surprises for everyone.

And in a fit of succumbing to the thought that my credit cards hadn't yet had their complete workout, I went and bought myself some skis on Christmas eve. This is something I had talked about for the last few years, and had never done anything about. I skied on the ski team when I was in high school, and I kept skiing for some years afterward, but being a somewhat expensive sport, kids and other career pressures always came first and it had been several years since I had skied. The last skis I bought were 210 centimeters long and were not the newer "shaped" skis - so that should tell you something about how long ago that was.

With one daughter into snowboarding, begging me to take her over the last three years or so, I finally decided to get going with it again. She has had some trouble with her mom this year, and was reaching out for some acceptance and somebody to give a damn about her for a change. Which is hard because she tends to bring some things upon herself in that regard. But it's hard to sit by and watch it happen without making a concerted effort to at least do something to let her know she is cool and swell, and has value in our family.

Then there are two others who have been wanting to give it a try, and it was a good opportunity to let That One Daughter be the cool older sister and do some teaching and mentoring, etc.

So we piled in the car last night and headed up the hill to Snowbird. My skis weren't mounted and ready for me, but the other kids weren't going to wait, so we all went up and had a good time. She was the consummate older sister and was a total trooper with the younger ones just learning. When you learn to snowboard, you spend a fair amount of time on your arse in the snow - it's pretty easy to get disheartened with the whole thing. But she was right there with a hand up, and the right encouragement when it counted and made the younger ones feel like they did a great job. Which they did.

My skis will be done today, and I look forward to getting up there with them all again soon so I can show them that people who ski rather than snowboard are cool folks too, and not a bunch of old fuddy-duddies. I guess that impression remains to be earned.

On another note, I had several people who read here send me an email wishing us all a good holiday, and a few others did so through direct comments to posts as well. I thank each of you, and send back the same wishes to you all.

And finally, I mentioned last week that I was preparing an update for the UtahModernHomes.com site. Obviously, if you're a susbscriber there, you know that hasn't wuite happened yet. However, it is coming, in the form of a short piece called "Edifice Complex", which will look at our obsession with oversized homes, as if that's the only factor used to provide the impression of value. Bigger is better. Except not really.


And even more:

How does one wake up from having slept the entire night (presumably with one's eyes SHUT) with something very scratchy in one's eye!!??

Ouch - it's buggin the CRAP outta me right now. It's like a rock in my shoe, that I can't get out.

Here's a note for you: Just because you have a bluetooth set on your cell phone, and just because you use that as your main business phone line, it doesn't mean you should WANDER AROUND THE OFFICE TALKING LOUDLY IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY ELSE'S DESK. Then there's the guy who is apparently somewhat hard of hearing who insists on listening to neo-con right-wing conservative talk radio so we all can hear it.

Also buggin the crap outta me right now. Go back to your hole, man.

I'm about done for the day, and it isn't even noon yet.

I had the lovely occasion to begin wrapping presents the other day. I hate wrapping presents, badly. I mean I hate wrapping them, and I hate wrapping them badly.

It seems that no matter how big or small, I use about 3 square yards of paper. It sucks.

This morning in my email I had a note from a friend who sent along some tips for wrapping, by Dave Barry:

This is the time of year when we think back to the very first Christmas, when the Three Wise Men; Gaspar, Balthazar and Herb, went to see the BabyJesus and, according to the Book of Matthew, "presented unto Him gifts;gold, frankincense, and myrrh."

These are simple words, but if we analyze them carefully, we discover an important, yet often overlooked, theological fact: There is no mention of wrapping paper.

If there had been wrapping paper, Matthew would have said so: "And lo, the gifts were inside 600 square cubits of paper. And the paper was festooned with pictures of Frosty the Snowman. And Joseph was going to throweth it away, but Mary saideth unto him, she saideth, 'Holdeth it!

That is nice paper! Saveth it for next year!' And Joseph did rolleth his eyeballs. And the baby Jesus was more interested in the paper than the Frankincense."

But these words do not appear in the Bible, which means that the very First Christmas gifts were NOT wrapped. This is because the people giving those gifts had two important characteristics:

1. They were wise.

2. They were men.

Pretty much says it all.

Several of the blogs I subscribe to take this time of year to post some sort of sappy Christmas wish or prayer or whatever, wishing everyone a Happy Holiday season. I've thought about this, but I don't really want to post something like that... although I try to be a good person, and I try to do kind things for people all the time, not just at this time of year, so a post like that right now seems disingenuous. However, I've had a quote stuck on the wall beside my desk for some time now, and I really like it. Here it is:

"To know that one life has breathed easier because I have lived, this is to have succeeded."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Pretty much sums up how we should be treating each other at all times of the year.

There's more to post here, but I have to go dig my brains out of my head with a spoon. And take care of that thing in my eye.

Back soon.


Timely Randomness

Just in time for some days off:

One of the reasons I tend to dislike this time of year, besides the over commercialized part, I mean, is that my time seems to be thinned to the point of not being much use to anyone including myself. There are the concerts, the going to this event or that, because it's what I should do. Couple that with the fact that that's what EVERYBODY else is doing as well, and it seems that not much useful stuff goes on for several days. Nay, weeks, even.

Anyway, we were at a concert over at the Junior High the other night... and the difference ensembles played quite well, actually. That's not my beef. My problem is this: between each ensemble (concert choir, jazz band, orchestra, etc) there is a lag time between tear-down and set-up. Somewhere along the way, the tradition was established that students who wish to, may perform some sort of musical solo to pass the time. Sometimes, there are two or three of these little ditties that happen before the next big group is ready to start.

Most of the time the little ditty consists of a piano solo, as was the case last night. And my complaint is that a massive barrage of notes with no discernible tempo or pulse does not a musical number make. Honestly people, don't hit me over the head with how many notes you can play in 2.5 minutes. You're not John Coltrane, you're not paid by the note. I'd rather hear a piece that is well within your ability to play, and if so inspired, I'd love to tap my toe along with your music. Please give me that chance. To like you.

And to you little singers. Don't get up there with three friends and attempt a song for which you only know the first two lines. You make me uncomfortable and embarrassed for you. Not all Christmassy. A little bit pukey, actually.

Just sayin. You can do better, I know you can. That said, we were treated to some nice music, and even a couple of good solos, in particular one from a tenor sax player who has actually figured out how to growl, and a little trumpet player who displayed a lovely round and focused tone. It wasn't complicated, but it was impressive. See how that works? You didn't bludgeon me, you entertained me.

On that note, it appears I can take on 20 5-year-olds in a fight. I just thought you'd like to know that.


In other news, I have a large update ready to go onto the Utah Modern Homes.com website tomorrow. If you are a subscriber there, you'll see that. Interestingly, I soft-pedaled that here several days ago, right after the domain went live, and I got about 40 hits directed there from this blog. But since then there has been a large amount of search engine traffic going there every day as well. Which is nice - it appears that people in Salt Lake have an appetite for modern architecture priced for mass consumption. Well, not quite mass consumption, but for less than $750,000. You see, if you like that sort of thing, you are relegated to looking at it in magazines, and believing that informed architectural taste, green building concepts, etc, are the domain of the monied. Not so, says I. More on this later.

Until tomorrow, then.


It appears I've won "Blog Of The Day"

Blog Awards Winner

yay me!!!

More in a bit = preparing a lovely random new post at this very moment.


In Retrospect

Last Saturday we awoke to a fresh layer of snow. As in, a full 8 inches of wet, heavy snow.

Six years ago tomorrow, we awoke to the same thing, but it was more like about 13 or 14 inches, as I remember. Why do I remember that? Because that was the day we were married, and we had family and friends coming from different places and we were a tad worried about everyone traveling. Not to mention the pain in the butt it was to simply get out of our driveway and on our way, with kids in tow, trying to remain at least somewhat cleaned and coiffed.

So, tomorrow is an anniversary, and I thought I'd post some thoughts here about that. Because on that day, there were many things swirling about in my head, schedules, photographers, food, kids, ceremony, remember the ring, etc. Silly things that often take up my head space. And as a result I did a crappy job of executing verbally the things I really wanted to say that day to my new wife, in front of friends and family.

You see, we took great pains to go through each element of our entire ceremony, making sure to write it exactly the way we wanted it to be. Our rings are made from surgical-grade stainless steel, and each has a diamond held in place via a tension setting. We got those rings because they have special representation for us, in many ways. Stainless steel is an alloy, composed of a chromium-manganese part and a nickel part, and we liked this because it signifies the joining to two parts to form a stronger union than each offers on its own. The tension-set diamond is held in place without tongs or tines, but simply by the pinching pressure the ring being split apart, diamond inserted, and then allowing the two sides of the ring to hold it in place. It represents opposing pressures, the resistance to those pressures, and the refining qualities of those pressures as well.

We get compliments on our rings all the time, for me, as recently as two days ago. We like them a lot - they aren't overly expensive or garish, but they are unique and suit us, and they represent a great deal to us.

The ceremony we wrote revolved around these rings, and those symbolic meanings to us. But then it came time for me to do my thing, and my mind went stupid, and I rambled on about who knows what.

So, my dear, I just wanted to say that I am more in love with you every single day. I always say that you put up with more crap from me in a day than I ever put up with from you in a whole month, and I really mean that. We have a great life, one that has been troubled at times, and triumphant at others. through it all, we have grown closer together.

Being self-employed is a chore, and it requires a lot of time on my part, some of that time infringes upon our personal time, and I'm sorry for that. Not to mention the time I spend worrying and stressing over every little thing. You do more to make sure our family runs the way it should than I could ever do - I don't know how you successfully hold down a job where you are a superstar, and at the same time make sure there is food to eat and clean clothes to wear. I stand in awe of you all the time.

I can't imagine ever living my life without you, and I just wanted to tell you how much I truly love you on this day, and every other day of the year.

Happy Anniversary. I love you.


On My Hard Drive: Sara Tavares

Sara Tavares

People who know me know that I am a sucker for the well-played acoustic guitar. Especially the nylon stringed classical guitar. There is something so utterly sexy about a well-executed acoustic solo. Especially, it seems, when said solo seems out of place, as if it should have been an electric guitar or something. There are one or two Rolling Stones tunes that have that exact setup. Along with MANY others as well.

But anyway, I heard about Sara Tavares on the radio a week or two ago. She was doing a live interview in support of her new album, her third, called Balancé. She is from the Cape Verde region, and the album mixes african and brazilian rhythms in a way that makes everything seem just fine in the world.

Then she played her guitar. And I pulled into a parking lot and wrote her name down. She is a very talented player, and has both song-writing chops as well as a mastery of the acoustic guitar.

She talked about how the title track came to be. In Brazilian culture, the concept of "balancé" means that there is some sort of soothing rhythm to a life well-lived. Many of the songs on the album prove this to be true. Besides Balancé, the other striking song for me is "One Love".

The album is full of complex yet simple textures, and Tavares shows herself to be a master of these rhythms, her guitar, and a certain amount of her own brand of "balancé".

You should check her out for sure. I know you'll agree.

The nail on the head:

'The main concern today is fiduciary adequacy and not liquidity. We have already borrowed so much (total debt is near 350% of GDP) that our ability to service existing debt is more relevant than access to additional debt. The importance of the Fed to the economy is thus limited, and our fixation with what it does, or does not do, is a distraction from dealing with the real issues."

Something I've said on this site more than once in the recent months.... The fed using monetary solutions for a fiduciary problem.



Busy Times

So, I've been letting this place slide a little in an effort to concentrate on some work things getting done on time. One of the issues I have with this time of year is that everything gets more difficult, with people wanting their stuff done before the end of the year, there is also more time pressure on my personal life, with concerts, gift-buying, getting other gifts into the mail, planning a little fete between Christmas and New Years, etc. And then there's the inevitable head cold that shows up. Great.

All this does nothing very good to my general grinchiness for this time of year, either.

In general, it gets to the point where it paralyzes me for a while, and it's hard to care about many of those things...

But that's okay, I'm coming out of it now, and things are looking up. I have more energy, physically and emotionally. Which is why I am back here now.

So, on to some other things then. The Lehi/Frank Gehry project got a big spread in the weekend paper here again this week. Which brings me around to this. It's a little announcement for our own modern home project in the Salt Lake Valley. It's a soft launch right now, but as I get a couple of other things done shortly, I'll make it a much bigger deal. For now, it's a web site - and from there it will spring-board to a bigger presence in this town.

There are more things going on, and I'll post more design-related stuff tomorrow, along with a very good "On My Hard Drive" thing as well...

Until then, then.


sleepy conversations:

6AM, alarm goes off.

Her: (yawn/stretch) you wanna shower first or should I?

Me: (stretch/scratch) you go ahead, that way when you come back I can sneak a peek at your butt through my half-closed eyes before I get up

Her: (fully awake now) you don't seriously do that, do you?

Me: You have no idea, apparently.

She goes to the shower. Everything works according to plan.


Of 2 Tempests and 2 Teapots

Teapot #1:

It seems that what this city really needs is a Blue Boutique on every block. Let me explain. For you lucky out-of-staters, there is a local neighborhood that carries a certain amount of architectural and societal history, called Sugarhouse, located about midvalley. At the heart of the community is a small shopping district that has managed to resist the "gentrification" efforts of developers over the years. This area boasts older buildings with some very local-first type shops there. Over the last year or two, the area has been slated for re-development by its majority owner, and many of the local shops have been forced to relocate due to the need to totally tear down the decrepit buildings, and start over. (I fear that we will be looking at a set of strip-mall-architected garbage in the near future, but that will MOST CERTAINLY be a post for another day.)

Anyway, one of those unique and interesting shops forced to relocate is The Blue Boutique. It's a lingerie shop that also sells the typical adult novelties, etc. They were the largest tenant on the block, and were, I believe, about the last to leave. They really want to remain in the area, and chose to locate themselves temporarily three blocks to the East. Which is also three blocks closer to Highland High School. Which has a large group of concerned local citizens' panties in a major twist. They are creating major stink about how much MORE polluted the precious children will become, having the store now three blocks closer to the school. Apparently, they will be much more inclined to GO DIRECTLY TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET.

I believe these parents are living in the utopic landscape of their own narrow minds. Anyone who has walked down the hallways of today's high school at lunch time would realize that there are MUCH LARGER PROBLEMS to be spending time on.

The parents group is thinking about surveilling the shop, and taking pictures of the patrons as they leave the store with their purchases in tow, and posting them on a web site for all to see. If they do, I'll sidestep the group, and simply send them my picture via email. At one of the meetings, a domain name was suggested. However, very quickly, some level headed individual went home and registered the domain for his own use instead. Check out that link. From there you can read more about this silly story if you choose.

Honestly, some people just need to get laid.

Teapot #2:
The recent release of the movie The Golden Compass has brightened the day for those who are inclined to make sure you know that if you do something, God will not like you anymore.

There was a local school district administrator who used the district email systems to send a note home to parents warning them to not let their kids see this movie, that it would be a moral mistake. The email is also making its way through the highly refined church systems of communications as well. This is a bad movie. However, there's a good story here, that puts a few things in better perspective, which, apparently, some people around here could use.

Money quote from the article:
Sister Rose Paccate, director of the Pauline Center of Media Studies in Culver City, Calif., said the books portray benevolence toward children and a God figure — just one that’s much different than the one Christians know.

She sees irony in calls to shun the film, considering that one of Pullman’s central themes is that people should not follow orders and forfeit critical thought.

“If you just say ‘no’ to your kids without engaging in a conversation, they’re going to see the movie anyway and all you’re teaching them is power, not really teaching your values,” Paccate said. “If we have faith, what are we afraid of?”

Indeed, what are we afraid of?