Monthly Archives: July 2006

Carabaos On Vacation

So all the painted Carabaos are showing up around the island. These two were hanging around in Hagåtña a couple weeks ago. Most of the other ones I’ve seen around are basically billboards slathered with ads. There are a few located at the GPO mall, and the rest are dispersed around the island. I’ll keep an eye out for them and photograph some of the nicer ones.

Carabao On Parade 1

Carabao on Parade 2

Frodo’s Song

With apologies to JRR Tolkien, here is Frodo’s song from the Prancing Pony in Bree.

There is an inn, a merry old inn,
beneath an old grey hill,
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
one night to drink his fill.
The ostler has a tipsy cat
that plays a five-stringed fiddle;
And up and down he runs his bow,
Now squeaking high, now purring low,
now sawing in the middle.
The landlord keeps a little dog
that is mighty fond of jokes;
When there’s good cheer among the guests,
He cocks and ear at all the jests
and laughs until he chokes.
They also keep a horned cow
as proud as any queen;
But music turns her head like ale,
And makes her wave her tufted tail
and dance upon the green.
And O! the row of silver dishes
and the store of silver spoons!
For Sunday there’s a special pair,
And these they polish up with care
on Saturday afternoons.
The Man in the Moon was drinking deep,
and the cat began to wail;
A dish and a spoon on the table danced,
The cow in the garden madly pranced,
and the little dog chased his tail.
The Man in the Moon took another mug,
and then rolled beneath his chair;
And there he dozed and dreamed of ale,
Till in the sky the stars were pale,
and dawn was in the air.
Then the ostler said to his tipsy cat:
‘The white horses of the Moon,
They neigh and champ their silver bits;
But their master’s been and drowned his wits,
and the Sun’ll be rising soon!’
So the cat on the fiddle played hey-diddle-diddle,
a jig that would wake the dead;
He squeaked and sawed and quickened the tune,
While the landlord shook the Man in the Moon:
‘It’s after three!’ he said.
They rolled the Man slowly up the hill
and bundled him into the Moon,
While his horses galloped up in rear,
And the cow came capering like a deer,
and a dish ran up with the spoon.
Now quicker the fiddle went deedle-dum-diddle;
the dog began to roar,
The cow and the horses stood on their heads;
The guests all bounded from their beds
and danced upon the floor.
With a ping and a pang the fiddle-strings broke!
the cow jumped over the Moon,
And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the Saturday dish went off at a run
with the silver Sunday spoon.
The round Moon rolled behind the hill,
as the Sun raised up her head.
She hardly believed her fiery eyes;
For though it was day, to her surprise
they all went back to bed.

Gotcha Again

This week I managed to capture two flowerings of the plant outside my front door, which I think is a pitaya, a species of cactus known as Hylocereus. It last bloomed in 2003, and it is starting to produce flowers again. These gigantic flowers only bloom at night and last just one evening, wilting away with the dawn. The blooms are called moonflowers or the Queen of the Night. It is certainly a dazzling flower, though it must be a lonely plant: I have yet to see a single fruit result from these flowerings.

Moonflower

They are large flowers, here is my hand for comparison:

Holding the Queen of the Night in my hand

Like I said, the cactus bloomed twice in one night. Here is the other flower, dangling over the balcony. Right after I took this photo, a moth flew right into the flower and engaged in a little plant porno. Boom-boom-chicka-bow-bow…

The other moonflower

There are two more buds forming on the cactus, I’ll take pictures of their development and eventual flowering.

Tropical Thunder

We had some crazy thunderstorms today, the paddling had to be called down in Merizo because of the lightning. It was rumbling all afternoon too. Thunderstorms are unusual here, and this week there’s been a spate of them. The storm today was wicked; we were right in the middle of a race when the lightning start striking all around us. Everyone turned to shore and raced to get off the water and after a half hour of lightning and driving rain, the remainder of the races were cancelled.

Speaking of nasty weather, here’s a page from the National Weather Service on last week’s thunderstorms and high winds in St. Louis. My brother sent me a movie clip of some guy getting walloped by a garbage bin careening out of control at Busch Stadium during the game. Check it out.

Bicycling’s Bad For The Environment?

Bicycling is actually bad for the environment? Well that’s a weird one. The thinking goes that people who cycle are healthier and will live longer, thus consuming more resources, than fat schlubs who drive around in SUV’s and die younger. Sounds iffy to me, and it opens a dangerous can of worms to continue down that line of thinking.

Oh yeah, GovGuam could be releasing their insurance rates today for next fiscal year. I’m always curious about the sticker shock for GovGuam employees and retirees. Health care is a long simmering problem on this island, and this problem of GovGuam health coverage is only one facets of the problem. Seems like people are just sicker here.

Maybe they should all be riding bikes.

Ramblings

  1. I won a free tank of gas today! How cool is that? Thanks Hit Radio 100 and 76 gas stations. Saved me $45 this afternoon. I only wish I’d filled it up with the super unleaded.
  2. This is good for a chuckle or two; Yeti@Home. I especially like the bit about “Download Version 1.00 of YETI@Home for: Windows, BeOs, OS2, Linux, Amiga Workbench, Atari ST, Altair, TRS-80, Vectrex, Babbage’s Difference Engine, Palm Pilot, Sega Genesis and Timex Indiglo (sorry, not available for Macintosh).”
  3. I went to see Clerks II yesterday. It was crude, pretty stupid, and gut busting funny. Here’s a review from James Dobson’s Focus on the Family website. It makes me pine for the good old days and the wonderfully succinct movie reviews in the Catholic newspaper we received, Pink Panther – MORTAL SIN, Star Wars – CONDEMNED, The Exorcist – oh yeah, CONDEMNED.
  4. As far as condemned movies go, I watched Corpse Bride a couple nights ago. It was quite enjoyable. Tim Burton is a twisted genius who needs to make more puppet movies.
  5. What is this, a real life Da Vinci Code? The body of one of a powerful member of Opus Dei movement has been found under a bridge in Italy, mutilated and badly beaten. Gianmario Roveraro disappeared two weeks ago after a meeting of his local branch of Opus Dei and was reportedly being held for a €1 million ransom.
  6. Saturday’s paddle was a real Marlin Perkins kind of morning. We paddled north past Two Lover’s and met a pod of dolphins off Tanguisson. They played and swam with us for a half hour as we worked our way northward, and it was magical.
  7. Speaking of the ocean, the large swells made me think again about using all that wave energy to generate electricity. Jeff McIntire-Strasburg over at Sustainablog is thinking along those same lines. Using the ocean to generate power is a tempting idea, but it will require lots more research before anything viable is attempted. The power in those swells though, if we could harness that for our needs.

It Was A Rainy Sunday

There Will Come Soft Rains
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pool singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)

Farewell To A Faithful Friend

Apple PowerMac G3 MTWell, I am just about to bid farewell to a faithful friend; my trusty Beige PowerMac G3, which I purchased back in 1999, is pretty much dead. I think it was the power outages this week that did it. It just won’t boot up. I hear the power come on, the fan starts blowing on the power supply, but the familiar startup chime never sounds. It will not boot, and I suspect the logic board is fried again. I am not going to attempt a repair this time. Since I bought the iMac G5, the trusty G3 has been relegated to back room status as a file and web server, and not even the primary one – that’s the job of the dual PIII Linux box running Xubuntu. And hey, OS X breathed new life into that tired old box for a few months. It’s just not worth the effort scrounging up parts for that old box.

Like I said, I have successfully resuscitated the G3 before. Back in 2002 I replaced the logic board, power supply and video card, basically replacing most of the guts of the machine. And it worked great for the next four years, so no complaints on that front. It was a trusty G3. Even though it was only 300 Mhz, it still played MP3’s and surfed the net like a champ. It was the first brand new Mac I’d bought since 1990, spending most of the 90’s trolling through eBay for older machines. (Like my Frankenstein Quadra 950; 3 monitors – including a Radius Color Pivot– on that honking beast, plus 3 external SCSI hard drives, external SCSI CDRW, SCSI Zip drive, SCSI flat bed scanner, ImageWriter ][ – which I still have – and a HP DeskWriter. God what a behemoth.)

Apple PowerMac G4 SawtoothAnd now I have a lead on a G4 Sawtooth tower somebody wants to unload. Hell that will run Tiger instead of Jaguar like the G3, and he says it is loaded with RAM and a big hard drive. And as I think anybody can tell, I am a sucker for collecting older computers, and this one sounds like it might actually be useful to me with a big internal hard drive. Say hello to my new file and web server. One era closes, another begins…

It’s Hot In The Hometown Tonight

Looks like St. Louis got hit by a severe cluster of thunderstorms, knocking out power across the metro area. And of course the temperatures are broiling in Missouri, with temperatures easily in excess of 100° F in the city. I talked to the parents, they’re okay and the power is on in their building.

On a related note, I watched An Inconvenient Truth a couple nights ago. Pretty good movie with a sobering message.

Rolling Through The Local News

It’s another rainy day, so let me hit some highlights on the local news scene:

  • Governor Raises Minimum Wage – Stop the presses! Felix Camacho raised the minimum wage from the abysmally low $5.15 an hour to a princely $5.75. Wow, Daddy Warbucks would be proud. And it doesn’t take effect for another year. By that time gas ought to be hovering around $6.00 a gallon. It would be cheaper just to stay home…
  • Six Chinese Caught Sneaking AshoreSix Chinese guys scrambled ashore at Urunao yesterday from a small boat registered in Saipan. I can only assume they were looking for a zeppelin.
  • Hiker Dies From Heart Attack In Mangilao – A 46 year old man hiking with his three children and nephew along the Taguan Coast by Mangilao Golf Club suffered a heart attack Sunday and died at the bottom of the cliffline. The kids were rescued late Sunday, while his body wasn’t recovered until daybreak Monday morning. Boy, that just sucks.
  • Gasoline Rises Again – Shell Oil is raising their prices tomorrow. $3.40 $3.39 for a gallon of gas? By Jove that’s just too high a price to pay. I’m serious this time. I’m checking out that bike tomorrow. Time to start cycling around instead of driving.
  • Tropical Depression Developing – Tropical Depression 06W is developing nicely right on top of us. It’s raining like crazy right now, and it will probably continue through tomorrow. For the latest check the National Weather Service office for tropical cyclone forecasts.

Investment Opportunity

For those looking to invest in a little real estate, here is a real deal; the US Government’s office of Property Disposal is taking sealed bids for Johnston Atoll, all 625 acres of it. Yes, just what every savvy investor looks for, a tiny mid Pacific island liberally sprinkled with plutonium and chemical weapon debris and with every habitable structure razed to the ground.

Johnston Atoll

Johnston Atoll has an interesting history for the last one hundred years; naval base, nuclear test site, chemical weapons dump, and wildlife refuge.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
William Butler Yeats 1865-1939

Bike Lust

Got my eye on a bike… a nice all around commuter road bike from Schwinn. Put some fenders, lights and a chainguard on that bike and I’d ride it around all day.

And since the bicycle is the world’s most energy efficient vehicle, I might just drop the money and get one for my commute to work. But I’ve really got my eye on a bike at Hornet Sports right now, a Giant Revive DX that they have on sale. I am seriously tempted, though it is a bizarre looking hog that would be murder up the hill from Pago Bay.

And here’s an interesting statistic; in the U.S. only 1% of urban traffic was by bicycle, and 30% of the adult population is obese. In the Netherlands 28% of urban travel was via bike and only 10% of the adults were overweight.