Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Is This Leadership?

If there is one thing Americans can agree on right now, it is that we have a lot of serious issues to deal with as a country. We may disagree on the solutions, but we all know that we have work to do on areas like these:
  • The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Americans without health insurance
  • Rising oil prices
  • Hurricane recovery and defense
  • The stalled economy
  • Skyrocketing deficit
  • Homelessness
  • Poverty

So what are the highest priorities, according to the Republican leadership in the Senate? Gay marriage and flag burning. According to Senate Majority Leader (and resident moron) Bill Frist, these are the most pressing issues that need the attention of our nation’s lawmakers. Check out the details from Think Progress.

If any of my Republican friends can explain this to me, I am willing to listen. Otherwise, accept that the Republican Party knows that the only way they can win in the upcoming election is to frighten their base into rallying around them. What these people are thinking, I don’t know. Do they really sit around and worry about fags and flags? I can hear them now: “Oh my God, the homos are coming for my son…and they are carrying a flaming Old Glory!”

How embarrassing for all of us, that this sort of pandering to the lowest common denominator actually works in our country. I can only hope and pray that we are better than this.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Diving Yukon and Ruby E

Today we were back in the water, diving in San Diego's Wreck Alley. We had two dives to The Yukon, a HUGE ship more than 350' from end to end. After that, we had time for one dive down to The Ruby E. The visibility was not fantastic, and the water was cold, but it was still a great day!



Sunday, May 28, 2006

VIsiting Channel 10 News Studio

Our friend works at Channel 10 News here in San Diego, and he offered to give us a tour. The new set makes its debut tomorrow at 4pm, but we were allowed a sneak peek.



The photo above is JW, John, Ric, and Grant on the new set, and the photo below is Ric and John sitting in at the anchor desk. There are more photos available at Ric’s website.


Click here to see our audition video!
(This will open a YouTube page, so give it a minute to load.)

Friday, May 26, 2006

An Awful Truth

I have heard rumors of a group of Marines killing civilians in an attack in Iraq, but I refused to believe them. Now, the investigation is ending, and the story appears to be true. The war in Iraq has been a debacle from the beginning, but that does not mean that Marines become murderers. If true, the actions of this one squad are a disgrace the Marine Corps will spend years trying to live down. I don't know what else to say. I know the Marine Corps and each of my fellow Marines are better than this. I am heartsick.

Probe Finds Marines Killed Unarmed Iraqi Civilians
By Tony Perry, Times Staff WriterMay 26, 2006


SAN DIEGO — Marines from Camp Pendleton wantonly killed unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children, and then tried to cover up the slayings in the insurgent stronghold of Haditha, military investigations have found. Officials who have seen the findings of the investigations said the filing of criminal charges, including some murder counts, was expected, which would make the Nov. 19 incident the most serious case of alleged U.S. war crimes in Iraq.

The rest of the details are available here in this report.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Is "cranky" a mood?

Today finds me in a weird place. Cognitively, I know that things are great right now. Quickly, I can list all kinds of positive things:

  • A great husband who is mad about me
  • Great friends that love me
  • A cool dive trip scheduled for Monday
  • Out of state friends coming to visit next weekend
  • Exciting upcoming events (10k, century ride)
  • A job with freedom and autonomy, if not challenges

So, what’s the problem? The last couple of weeks, I have felt melancholy and detached. I am short with everyone, easily irritated by things I normally just ignore. I find myself snapping at people for nothing, really. This morning, I even surprised myself when I missed yet another traffic light on the way to work and reacted with a loud “F*ck!”

All day at work, all I want to do is leave. And when I get home, all I do is sit and watch TV. I don’t log on to my computer, I don’t read a book, and I don’t really want to do anything. After hours of being distracted by TIVO, I wander to bed and prepare to start the whole thing again. How crappy does that sound?

I know, I know… I am exhibiting classic signs of depression. Or is it just a reaction to coming back from vacation, realizing that my day-to-day existence is nowhere near as fun as the time spent on holiday? Or am I just in a low-spot, nothing more than an extended bad mood?

Maybe the endorphins of exercise will help. Granted, they haven’t so far, but maybe today is the day, right?

Argh.

Losing Weight vs. Being Healthy

I weighed in this morning at 195.6, which is only a pound over my lowest weight from the past two months. But I am at a plateau of sorts, not really losing any more weight. And suddenly I am worried that I am not going to get any more fit. Dumb, right? I know. I know.

This was never about chasing a magic number. My decision to improve my health was not about weighing 195 pounds or 150 pounds. It was – and still is – about feeling more fit, eating foods that are more nutritious, exercising regularly, and developing a far more active lifestyle. Those things are not goals to be achieved as much as they are habits to maintain.

I know what I need to do. For all the talk about it, it really does come down to two simple things – eat better and exercise. As long as I continue to do that, I will continue to improve my health. So today, I will be back at the gym at lunch running 5k on the treadmill. Then, on the way home, I will stop at UrbanBody gym and ride the bicycle for an hour. Finally, I will get home and have a good dinner.

I can do this. I know I can.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

New Truths

Maybe my crappy mood today has something to do with this list. I ran across it on the web today, where some folks worked incredibly hard to compile this, since there seems to be no end to the number of lies coming from this White House administration and its favorite conspirators - the Senate, the House, and Fox News.

New Truths, according to today's Conservatives
(or How the Truth Became A Lie and Lies Became Truths)
  • There is no global warming.
  • There is global warming, but humans didn't cause it.
  • Helen Thomas is old and batty.
  • Mexicans are taking our jobs.
  • Iraq sent its WMDs to Syria.
  • Democrats don't want to wiretap terrorists.
  • Joe Wilson admitted that Valerie Plame wasn't covert.
  • Karl Rove has a faulty memory.
  • Scooter Libby has a faulty memory.
  • Tom DeLay is like Jesus Christ.
  • No one could have anticipated that the levees would be breached.
  • We do not torture.
  • Howard Dean can't raise money.
  • John F. Kerry is a flip-flopper.
  • George W. Bush is a decider.
  • John McCain is a straight-shooter.
  • Dick Cheney is a sober shooter.
  • Nobody at the White House knows Jack Abramoff.
  • Democrats do.
  • The economy is great.
  • Evolution isn't supported by the facts.
  • Diebold voting machines are secure.
  • Fox News is fair and balanced.
  • Mission accomplished.
  • Bill Clinton did it too.
  • No one could have anticipated the Iraqi insurgency.
  • The budget deficit will be cut in half in four years.
  • Anyone who thinks Dubai shouldn't control our ports is racist.
  • No one who thinks we should build a wall along the Mexican border is racist.
  • George Allen isn't a racist... anymore.
  • Terry Schiavo wanted to live.
  • Andrea Clark wanted to die.
  • We've turned a corner in Iraq.
  • There's a war on Christmas.
  • There's a war on Easter.
  • The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant
  • uantities of uranium from Africa.
  • Bush won Florida in 2000.
  • Bush won Ohio in 2004.
  • We support open, free, and fair elections.
  • Bush earned political capital.
  • Losing by 2 million votes in 2000 is a mandate.
  • Winning by 3 million votes in 2004 is a mandate.
  • Bush won a mandate for his conservative agenda.
  • The grownups will now be in charge.
  • The rule of law is important.
  • This administration will hold itself accountable.
  • No one could have anticipated Katrina would hit New Orleans.
  • Brownie did a heck of a job.
  • No one could have foreseen the failure of FEMA.
  • Kathleen Blanco never asked for federal help.
  • Ray Nagin should have used the buses.
  • Ellen DeGeneres caused Hurricane Katrina.
  • Gay couples seek to destroy Marriage.
  • God plays favorites (just like Dad).
  • Ignorance is strength.
  • Man existed alongside the dinosaurs.
  • There are "Moral Values" voters.
  • The earth is 6,000 years old.
  • We're not interested in banning contraceptives.
  • America is a Christian nation.
  • GWB is a Godly man.
  • Bush flew F-102s in the Texas Air National Guard.
  • Bush is a compassionate conservative.
  • Bush is a great guy to have a beer with.
  • Bush is no longer an alcoholic.
  • Dubya owns an honest-to-God real ranch.
  • It's a working vacation. He's working.
  • George W. Bush is a genius.
  • Dubya is a great cyclist.
  • Segways are really easy to fall off of.
  • Guns don't kill people... pretzels do.
  • George Bush is a war hero.
  • John Kerry isn't.
  • John Kerry "outed" Mary Cheney.
  • John Kerry shot himself in the leg to earn his medals.
  • Al Gore thinks he invented the internet.
  • FDR was a communist and a terrible president.
  • Ronald Reagan was the best president in history.
  • Harry Whittington got himself peppered.
  • Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat nominee in 2008.
  • Jefferson was the anti-Christ.
  • Bill Clinton caused 9/11.
  • Bill Clinton was once offered Bin Laden "on a silver platter" and turned it down.
  • Saddam Hussein attacked us on 9/11.
  • 9/11 changed everything.
  • No one could have anticipated airplanes flying into buildings.
  • No one could have foreseen the effects of nuking Iran (next year's press conference).
  • War is peace.
  • We have removed the Taliban from Afghanistan.
  • The Iraqis will welcome us with open arms and flowers.
  • It could take six days, six weeks, I doubt six months.
  • Pat Tillman was killed by enemy fire.
  • Yellow magnetic car ribbons really help the troops.
  • The insurgency is in its last throes.
  • There's no civil war in Iraq.
  • But even if Iraq IS in a Civil War, its a good thing.
  • The only way to get Zarqawi is to invade Iraq.
  • We're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here.
  • When they stand up, we'll stand down.
  • Iraqi oil will pay for the war and the reconstruction.
  • Gas prices are high because of liberal environmental regulations.
  • Drilling the ANWR will lower the price of oil.
  • Gas prices are high because of taxes.
  • The 'magic of the marketplace' will solve all problems.
  • Unemployment numbers have never been so low.
  • Republicans restored the economy after the shambles left by Clinton.
  • There was a Clinton/Gore recession.
  • The economy is booming!
  • As President, Governor Bush will pay the debt down to a historically low level.
  • By far the vast majority of tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum.
  • Tax breaks for Hummers are good for the economy.
  • Tax cuts are super for the middle class.
  • Tax cuts increase revenue.
  • The estate tax hurts family farms.
  • Private Accounts will save Social Security.
  • Bush will make health insurance affordable for hard-working, low-income families.
  • Healthy Forests Initiative will help forests.
  • No Child Left Behind will help all children.
  • Healthy Skies Initiative will reduce air pollution.
  • Nobody wants reform more than Republicans.
  • Republicans are compassionate conservatives.
  • Republicans are pro-life.
  • Freedom is slavery.
  • The government is tapping your phone to protect you.
  • Dissent is unpatriotic.
  • Valerie Plame is covert and a traitor.
  • Karl Rove couldn't have done it because he knew he'd get caught.
  • Patrick Fitzgerald is going to indict Joe Wilson.
  • Bush and his twin were funny.
  • Jeff Gannon is a serious journalist.
  • Republicans have a sense of humor.
  • Rush is Right.
  • The media is liberal.
  • No one could have anticipated that Colbert would tell the world the Emperor has no clothes.
  • Everything is hunky-dory.
  • You're either with us, or against us.
  • A vote for John Kerry, is a vote for Al Qaeda.
  • George Bush doesn't read the polls.
  • ...But he does read all those books.
  • Everyone had the same intelligence.
  • Iraq is the central front on the war on terrorism.
  • All options are on the table.
  • Republicans are the party of ideas.
  • Those trucks we found in Iraq were mobile biological weapons labs.
  • We know where they (the WMD) are.
  • These are not assertions. These are facts backed up by solid intelligence.
  • Terri Schiavo is responsive. (Bill Frist on the Senate floor).
  • I never said she was responsive (Bill Frist, about a week later).
  • Anyone who leaks information will no longer be part of this administration.
  • Sex Education causes STDs and increases pregnancy rates.
  • HPV vaccine will cause teen sex cults.
  • Harriet would be a great justice. I know her heart.
  • Terrorists didn't know we could use wiretaps
    until they read about it in the paper.
  • We are in a war that is a different kind of war than we've been in before.
  • Vice President Cheney is a former CEO of Halliburton.
  • I will restore honor and integrity to the White House.
  • Nothing is more important in a time of war than cutting taxes.
  • Democrats hate America.
  • Vince Foster was murdered.
  • "Bin Laden Determined to Strike within the U.S."--is a historical document.
  • Thousands of tactical errors were surely made in the war against Iraq.
  • And when I said "thousands" of tactical errors, I was speaking figuratively.
  • America has 'uncontrolled' and 'unprecedented' immigration.
  • The national anthem should only be sung in English.
  • Jesus would have voted for Bush.
  • Bush is a uniter, not a divider.
  • Bush is the 'CEO' President.
  • Republicans give you back 'your money.'
  • Whenever we say 'wiretaps' that means we're going to get a court order.
  • George Bush was a successful businessman.

Monday, May 22, 2006

40 Things At 40

I know this is WAY early, since my birthday is not until January, but I spent a little time recently creating my list of forty things I want to do while I am 40 years old. I figure some things may require advanced planned - like running a marathon - so I want to make sure I am ready. And, if I should complete one of these things before my next birthday, I will just replace it with a new task or activity.

  1. attend Pride in a new city
  2. see a bullfight
  3. buy a new car
  4. take a classic road trip
  5. clean out my garage
  6. convert video tapes to DVD
  7. go to the Del Mar horse races
  8. find and play on park swings
  9. fly a kite
  10. get a merman tattoo
  11. go sailing
  12. go to a beach bonfire
  13. have a "hand-craft holiday ornaments" party
  14. take hot air balloon ride
  15. kayak La Jolla cove
  16. learn a magic trick
  17. make a birthday calendar
  18. play a song on the guitar
  19. purchase an original piece of art
  20. ride a bus
  21. ride a roller coaster
  22. ride Amtrak
  23. ride San Fran to Los Angeles on a bike
  24. ride the Palm Springs tram
  25. rock climb at Joshua Tree
  26. rollerblade the Silver Strand
  27. run a 5k in less than 30:00
  28. run the Las Vegas marathon
  29. experience the San Diego ghost tour
  30. see all five best picture nominees
  31. snow ski
  32. spend an afternoon in my hammock
  33. enjoy the stage trifecta: Old Globe, LJ Playhouse, Civic Theater
  34. swim naked in the ocean
  35. throw a clay pot
  36. try a trapeze class
  37. use my passport
  38. volunteer 40 hours
  39. wear a tuxedo

As always, any comments or thoughts are appreciated.

Reading the Signs

I don’t read my horoscope. I don’t call psychic hotlines. Personally, I think most of that stuff is crap. But every now and then, something happens to me or around me and I like to entertain the fantasy that it is a message or some kind of sign. For example, Ric and I just happened to be scheduled to visit Hawaii for nine days at the same time our co-worker was there recovering from a medical problem, so I took that as a definite sign that we were supposed to spend time with her while we were there. Nothing too mystical about that, I suppose, but that is the sort of thing I mean.

Right now, I am not at all happy at work. There is not really one thing that is the problem, but rather a general feeling of “blah” about being here. On the way to work this morning, a crazy idea popped into my head about opening my own business. As soon as I thought that, I looked up ahead and saw a huge rainbow. Since it wasn’t raining on me, I took that as a cool sign that I might be on to something. For the next few minutes, I thought about what kind of business I might open. Before I could settle on any one thing, though, I drove under the bridge at I-5 and came into the downtown area. From that vantage point, I could see the entire rainbow, from end to end. Alas, the right end of the rainbow landed directly on top of my current office building.

So, what did the sign mean? I can think of three possibilities. One, the rainbow appeared just as I thought about opening a business, so the message is to follow my dream. Two, the rainbow’s end was at my office, so the message is to find my happiness in my current job. Or three, the rainbow may have just been there because the sun makes rainbows when white sunlight passes through rain drops. The third option is far less romantic and mysterious, but certainly the most accurate.

(And no, this was not the rainbow this morning. I just snagged this off the web.)

Coronado Bay Bridge Run/Walk

Another Sunday morning, another chance to get outside and do something healthy. (And after being out at The Eagle with Ric until 2:00am, I definitely needed to do something good for myself.) I met my friends, Sonya and Jim, in the Gaslamp, and we were ready to go. Jim wanted to run the 4 miles, so he headed to the front and was gone. Sonya and I decided to enjoy ourselves, so we walked the whole time. It took us an hour and twenty-two minutes, but so what? We had a chance to walk across the Coronado Bay Bridge – and enjoy the scenery of Marines and Sailors running by us – which made for a great day! And as an added benefit, just for finishing, we each received a ticket to see the Padres play the Rockies on the 29th. How cool is that?

We took a couple of pictures with my camera, so I am posting those here. We also begged a stranger to take our photo with their nice camera, so I can hopefully post that here in the next day or so.


And is it just me, or do I look incredibly thin in my picture? Whoo-hoo! Working out and eating better are starting to pay off, baby!


Oh, yeah, one last thing...
I didn't really think when I got dressed in the morning. I grabbed a favorite shirt and comfy shorts and headed out. In hindsight, I can see that participating in a military function with a t-shirt that reads "My G.I. Joes are doin' it" was a rather ballsy thing to do. No one said anything to me, but I definitely noticed a lot of people taking second looks. (Hee hee.)

Adopt-A-Block

Saturday morning found us at the headquarters of Second Chance, a non-profit organization providing cutting-edge programs that eliminate chronic homelessness and unemployment, substance addictions and gang involvement. The plan is to have hundreds of volunteers descend upon homes and spend some time doing yard work, painting, clearing brush, repairing fences… whatever needs to be done. Our assignment was painting a sober-living group home run by Second Chance. (Actually, I think our assignment was planting trees near the headquarters, but we were confused by our instruction packet and thought we were supposed to be painting.)

Anyway, we had a great time, and Ric and I say thank you to our co-workers, Angela and Donna, and our friends, Debbie, Zach, and Jesse, for making the day a lot of fun. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a chance to be in charge of 25 people armed with rollers, brushes, tape and plastic? More importantly, thanks to the residents who remind us that everyone deserves a second chance. Veronica, Catherine, and Derrick worked harder than anyone, painting and cleaning and doing everything they could to improve their home. You are all great, and I wish you the best as you go forward in this life.

And in a side note, I want to send a heartfelt “F*ck You” to the slime assigned to do community service who decided instead to steal my camera while we were painting the house. I can easily replace my camera (hello, Ebay!), but you insulted the residents of the house who are trying so hard to rebuild their lives. As one of them said to me, “he stole from us, too, from our home.”

Yeah, you can take the camera, but that’s just a thing. What you cannot take is what you will never have - the sense of pride and accomplishment the residents felt after a hard day of work on their home.

Friday, May 19, 2006

And yet I keep forgetting...

My dear friend, Andrea, is a proud employee of Yahoo!, and it drives her crazy when I call out specific websites and fail to include her company. So, out of respect for my buddy, I offer the following:

Yahoo!-owned sites and services

And, let's not forget that Yahoo! inspired one of the best jokes in my favorite episode of Will & Grace (Last Ex To Brooklyn), when Leo comments that Will could not find a woman's g-spot with the help of Yahoo! Maps, to which Jack and Karen responded with the famous high-pitch "Yaaaaaahhhoooooooo."

Andrea, my friend, this ones for you!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Speaking of...

And speaking of being back from vacation, it has taken me less than a week to get in a crappy mood about work. People say a vacation is the chance to recharge and energive yourself. Supposedly, taking a week in Hawaii means I come back to the office in a great mood and ready to get to it.

That could not be any more the opposite of how I feel. In fact, since returning to work Monday morning, all I can think about is getting out of here. The work is annoying, the people irritating, and my direct supervisor is THISCLOSE to hearing a mouthfull of "like a sailor" talk as I run screaming to the elevator and out of the building.

Yep. It may well be time for me to rethink my efforts here. I don't enjoy what I am doing, and my mind is as focused on the clock each day as it is any of the work I need to get done. Well, maybe it's time to visit www.monster.com.

Welcome back to Election Hell

So less than a week back from vacation in the Land of Aloha, and I already am reminded how awful people are in the real world. With the election season just gearing up, we already have a possible winner for "Most Repulsive Thing Done To Win An Election."

A candidate for State Assembly in the central valley region of CA, Bill Conrad (R) is apparently running on the platform that his opponent won't survive his term because he had a heart transplant. Check out the direct mail piece that Bill "I am a complete and total asshole" Conrad is sending out:
http://hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com/archives/heart1.JPG
or
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=14&entry_id=5264

Yes, folks, this is a fine "welcome back" to the reality of the upcoming elections. Hell, I would vote for the heart transplant recipient just because we at least know that HE has a heart. Bill Conrad? You, sir, are a fine representative of the Republican Party.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Hawaii - Saturday, May 13th, 2006

Our last full day in the islands, and we were up early to make the most of it. We wandered along the beachfront, stopping several times to just sit and enjoy the view.


And we had one more adventure... a catamaran voyage with 25 gay men and a never-ending supply of Mai Tai's. Could there be a better way to end a vacation?
-laughing-

Hawaii - Friday, May 12th, 2006

Up early again for our last day of diving. Our dive plan was to go down to the Corsair again, but when we got there we found that the current was way too strong. Our divemaster couldn't even get down to grab the mooring line, so there was no way we were going to be able to descend 100 feet and enjoy a dive. We headed over to an alternate spot, though. Our first dive was at Hawaii Loa, where the current was at least manageable. The visibility was not as great as we had earlier in the week, but it was still beautiful.

Our second dive was Angler's Reef, which was a long running reef wall with lots of life. Because both dives were relatively shallow - 40 feet or so - we were able to enjoy extended bottom time. Between the two dives, I was underwater for over an hour. It was a great way to end an incredible week of diving.


Shameless plug time - if you are heading to Oahu for vacation, and you want to dive, Ric and I recommend that you dive with Aquazone (www.aquazone.net). They were our hosts and guides all week, and they made everyday a great time. Scott and Jason alternate as boat captains and divemasters, and Melissa is the deck hand. Christa and Jenn also joined us as divemasters, and Lindsay was the contact at the shop. To all of the Aquazone staff, Ric and I say MAHALO! You made our vacation a week to remember!


Done with diving, Ric and I decided it was time to head back to Hula's Bar & Lei Stand. Many of the people we had met during the week showed up, so it was like walking into a room full of friends instead of strangers.

Hawaii - Thursday, May 11th, 2006 (Part 3)

After diving, we stopped at Teddy's for burgers. Yum. From there, we were off on our North Shore excursion. Our friend, Kurt, picked us up and we headed north. We passed over the beautiful Koolau Mountains in the center of the island, known by many people as the background hills in the television show Lost.


We went to a secluded beach up on the North Shore, with less than 10 people in sight from where we were sitting. In the distance, we could see kite surfers racing across the waves and bouncing up into the air. It was amazing. We were nowhere near as active, choosing instead to nap in the warm sun and cool ocean breezes.


On our way back from the beach, we stopped in Haliewa for some dinner and shave ice, a local island favorite. It was yummy.


We had one more stop to make on the way. The Kukaniloku Stones were the site of births for Hawaiian Royalty for more than 800 years, and they still sit undisturbed today.



A scenic drive back through Wahiawa and down across Honolulu, and we were soon back at our hotel. We broke our own "no TV" rule for once, to watch Survivor, then fell asleep early. Another good day and great evening on our vacation.

You know, I really cannot believe the week has flown by so quickly. Ric and I have barely checked our cell phone voice mail or personal email, and we have NOT checked our work voice or email. This really is a vacation, and it feels incredible to take so much time for ourselves. This should be a reminder to us both that we need private time with just the two of us. We haven't taken this kind of trip since our honeymoon to New Orleans three years ago. Definitely too much time between real vacations.

Hawaii - Thursday, May 11th, 2006 (Part 2)

After the barge, we headed back to Fantasy Reef. It was even more beautiful than the first time we dove.


Our first cool sighting was of a very cranky moray eel.


We saw octopus and squid, and more fish, but the best sight was still to come. Ric came up over a coral reef, looked down, and found he was less than 10 feet from a shark! It was a white tipped reef shark, maybe 5 feet long. It started to swim away as soon as it saw Ric, but we all were close enough to get a good look.

How cool is that?! We actually got to see a shark in the open water of the Pacific. Unbelievable.

And here we are making our safety stops. At our depth of 15 feet, we could look down and see the bottom of the reef. Visibility was easily 50+ feet!

Hawaii - Thursday, May 11th, 2006 (Part 1)

Our first dive was at the Big Barge, and it was great. As we came down the dive line, we could see several sea turtles laying in the sand alongside the barge.



We swooped down and took pictures with them, of course.


Then we made our way into the wreck. We went from one end all the way to the other, making our way through cut-outs in the interior of the ship.



It was an exciting dive, since it was my first time exploring a wreck. There are different things to think about when inside a vessel, but this one was sunk and cut open specifically for divers. It was probably one of the safest underwater wrecks I will ever dive. All and all, a great experience.

Hawaii - Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

Today we were able to sleep in a bit, since our dive time was 11:00am. It felt good to lounge around, read the paper, and just enjoy being on vacation. We wandered down to the dive shop around 10:30, and spent the time chatting with the other divers. By 11:00, we were loading up the van and heading back to the boat.

We went back to Koko Crater for the first dive. It was not as full of life as before, but there were still so many things to see if you just looked carefully. And some things stood out a bit more, like this eel that swam right by in front of all of us before settling against the reef.


We were also diving with a boat full of beginners, so there was no deep or advanced diving. It was fun to dive again, but not one of our favorite days.

From there we went to Turtle Canyon, and we were surprised to find that there were no turtles in sight. It was disappointing for the beginners, since it was their first day in the ocean and they wanted to see something. Still, the fish and coral and colors were all incredible, and everyone that came up out of the water had a huge smile on their face.





Ric and I had an early dinner, than came back to the room. We put the photos on the laptop as a slideshow, and I fell asleep less than 10 minutes into it. Diving is completely exhausting. I woke up about 10pm, when Ric came back into the room with Coldstone ice cream. Yum. I ate a bit of the delicious mint chocolate chip, then drifted back to sleep. How lazy can one guy be?

Hawaii - Tuesday, May 9th, 2006 (Photos)

And here are more photos from our diving day!


Hawaii - Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

Early morning, and we were once again out front waiting for the dive van to pick us up.


And we finally took pictures of the dive boat!


Without a doubt, today was some of our best diving ever. What an incredible morning we had! We started with a trip to what is called New Barge. Depth was 85 feet, and the barge itself was huge. More interesting than the wreck, though, was the incredible amount of sea life that has formed around it. We saw the coolest sea turtle, sleeping out in the open with his head laying against a rock. It was awesome!

We took a dozen pictures of it, of course, then explored the rest of the site. On our way up the dive line, we noticed the turtle was surfacing. We got more great pictures while he was at the surface getting air.


From there we went to Fantasy Reef, which was such a great dive spot. Everywhere you looked, there was sea life. We saw octopus, squid, moray eels, and fish of all kinds and colors. The coolest thing we saw was the Spotted Eagle Ray. He was SO neat, just floating through the water all around us. He kept his distance, but he continued to circle our group of divers. Not everyone is lucky enough to see such a beautiful ray, so we were feeling pretty good.


After the diving, we joined our friend Kurt and headed to the mall. We were in search of Li Hing Mui powder for a friend in San Diego, so we found a shop called (no kidding) the Crack Seed Center. Too funny. We stopped at a hidden little place called the Side Street Inn for dinner, then came back to the hotel. Our dive time Wednesday is not until 11:00, so Ric took the time to work out and I stopped in to the local Karaoke bar for a drink and a song. Unfortunately, American Idol was on, so there was no live singing in the bar. After a couple of beers I was more than ready to get out of there, so Ric and I met back up at Hula's for a couple of drinks. Tired again, we headed to bed. Man, oh man, we have slept a lot since we got here. Guess that makes it a great vacation!