MMS Friends

East of the Sun, West of the Moon

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Dudeman

I am the Dude. Well whaddya know? Not that I don't mind, I just hope nobody whizzes on my carpet. I think this calls for a nice Caucasian:

According to the "Which Big Lebowski character are you?" quiz:




Why don't you check it out? Or we cut of your Johnson!

Paddling Outriggers Featured In The New York Times

Nice little piece on outrigger canoeing in Friday's NY Times - The New York Times > Travel > Escapes > Journeys: Adventurer | Outrigger Canoeing

I've been think about getting back on a canoe lately, it's been far too long since I dipped my paddle in the ocean. I haven't paddled since the typhoons hit in 2002. I had so many other things to worry about at the time, and the crew just never got back together. Maybe I should gather up the team and see if anyone is interested in starting out again.

Since the Times only keeps the articles up for a week or so, I am copying it below.
ON a balmy Saturday morning, it's practice as usual for the New York Outrigger Club. What this group of outrigger canoe enthusiasts hears is not the crashing waves of the Pacific or the whistle of cool Hawaiian trade winds, but the shouts and calls of tourists who wave frenetically from the deck of the Intrepid at Pier 86 on the Hudson River in Manhattan. As the paddlers battle uptown against the current and pull up alongside the Intrepid for a midmorning stretch session, curious onlookers on the hulking aircraft carrier show increasingly noisy interest.

They are finally greeted with a wave and a hello from the club's president, Di Eckerle, who rides in the six-person canoe's rear steersman's seat. A cheer goes up in reply, and Ms. Eckerle smiles. "Only in New York," she says.

Though Manhattan's waterfront is an unlikely place to find a thriving outrigger canoe scene - set as it is on a river whose obstacles include bobbing baseballs and soda cans, swells from the Circle Line ferries and gusts from choppers taking off and landing at the West 30th Street heliport - the club is a sign of the sport's growing popularity outside Hawaii. It is just one of close to 30 clubs in the East Coast Outrigger Racing Association, which was formed seven years ago. Besides Manhattan, outrigger clubs are found in unlikely spots like Massachusetts and Texas, as well as several West Coast places where the mild climate and proximity to Hawaii make for a firmly established Hawaiian transplant community.

The outrigger canoe - whose hull is attached on one side to a float, or ama, for added stability in rough open water - has been used for transportation in the Pacific for centuries. Contemporary outrigger canoe racing has its roots in Hawaii; according to Kanu Culture, an Australian-based magazine devoted to the sport, canoe racing was a form of entertainment and pride for Hawaiian villages. In 1908, the Honolulu-based Outrigger Canoe Club became the first such modern-day club to be founded in Hawaii.

The nonprofit New York Outrigger Club, founded in 1996 by Roger Meyer, launches its canoes from Pier 63, at 23rd Street and the Hudson near Chelsea Piers. The season runs from April to October, and practices are held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and on Saturday mornings, which is when beginners can receive formal instruction.

"It's wonderful to see Manhattan from another point of view," said Ilana Lobet, 53, an Upper West Side resident who owns a custom-framing business. She began paddling in 2002 as a way to train for the Eco-Challenge adventure race in Fiji. "I've lived here since 1976. Out on the water, the scene is always different."

Manhattan is not as odd a location for a Hawaiian outrigger canoe club as it might seem, Ms. Eckerle said. "What's always struck me about Manhattan is that it's surrounded by water, but for many years no one thought to paddle on it. Though I must admit that we do have challenging currents and big motorized vessels that can be off-putting at times."

Across the country in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, where the San Francisco Outrigger Canoe Club hits the beach, outrigger canoeing has also adapted to its sometimes challenging environment. "It's actually very exciting to paddle here in the Presidio," said the club's president, Phil Siaris, who founded the club in 1988. "One thing you can always count on is the wind and fog, especially during summer evenings. But that's what makes it San Francisco." The club, one of the most established in the country, trains year-round and has 60 to 150 active members; the number tends to go up as summer approaches and the official race season progresses.

In New England, despite icicles during practices early in the season, the members of the Boston Outrigger Racing Association have a constant reminder of Hawaii: they launch their canoes from a place called Waikiki Beach. "The funny thing is, we paddled there for the entire first season before we even discovered the name of the beach, which has been around forever and ever," said the club's president, Joe McDougall, who founded it in 2001 to bring a small part of his family's Big Island history back to the Boston area. "When I saw that, I thought, 'We were meant to paddle here.' " Waikiki Beach is on Salem Sound, 20 miles north of Boston, and many club members commute from the city to practice.

For Laura Marlin, a longtime water-sports enthusiast who rowed competitively for more than a decade, there is something essential about outrigger canoeing that is missing from other paddle sports. "Particularly in New England, where the climate and landscape don't resemble Hawaii at all, it's the aloha spirit that sets the sport apart," said Ms. Marlin, who is an assistant attorney general in Massachusetts. "When teams from all over get together to race, there is a certain synergy among the paddlers that to me says 'aloha,' which can mean a lot of things in native Hawaiian: affection, love, regards."

Thirty-five miles southwest of Galveston, Tex., where the bay waters are often brown, members of the Texas Outrigger Canoe Club also try to transcend their physical surroundings. "Some people who have come from paddling in the islands find it really hard to relate to Hawaii here," said the club's vice president, Paul Dunham, who works for Continental Airlines. "You're just not in paradise in the same way." But despite that, he said, the harmony of the sport and the club's dedication to the roots of Hawaiian culture make it more than worthwhile. Each October, the club gets together with local Polynesian groups for the Aloha Festival in the Clear Lake area near Houston.

The attraction to community inherent to the sport is commonly expressed among most outrigger paddlers, no matter where they are from. "As far as other places - Florida or wherever - I just think it's great that they're perpetuating the sport of Hawaiian outrigger canoeing," said Mr. Siaris of the San Francisco club, who was born and raised in Honolulu. "They may be doing it a different way, but it's all in the same spirit of the sport. What I try to teach the paddlers is to have respect for the canoe and for each other."

That spirit and a bit of humor, too, also draw Mr. Meyer, of the New York club. "Every year we have a luau — and I do admit, we probably embarrass the culture a bit," he said. "Seriously, though, I'm not a big fan of watching people emulate what they don't understand. The most important thing to us is that there's a lot of soul involved in the paddling culture. The Hawaiian energy and spirit is what makes the sport so attractive - here, the first thing is always the connection, to one another and to the elements."
By Bonnie Tsui

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Arctic Getting Warmer Faster

I thought I'd toss out another couple links to continue the global warming theme today. Seems the Arctic is actually melting faster than global warming predicts, possibly because of a feedback loop. Ice normally reflects sunlight, but once it melts, the exposed ocean water and land absorb a great deal more sunlight, which accelerates the ice cap's melting at a greater rate. Maybe Lovelock is right...

In other news, all that melting and global warming is going to lead to less freshwater for human consumption. The American Southwest is currently in the grip of a long running drought, leaving water levels in Lake Mead and Lake Powell extremely low. In the foreseeable future, the Southwest might not be able to sustain its population, forcing all those Snowbirds and retirees into wetter climates.

Only Nuclear Power Can Save Us Now?

James Lovelock, creator of the Gaia hypothesis, says that only nuclear power can stop global warming now. All other conventional methods of energy production produce too much CO2, and renewable energy like solar and wind cannot meet the world's energy consumption needs and global warming is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. Needless to say, green groups like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are not pleased with his analysis. But it certainly says something about our situation when one of the first scientists to speak out about global warming, and an ardent ecologist, comes out and endorses nuclear fission as the only hope against the collapse of civilization under the effects of global warming.

And unlike a recent Hollywood movie, this is not just a lot of hot air and silly special effects. The planet is warming up; glaciers are melting, ice caps in the Arctic and Antarctic are breaking up, low islands in the Pacific are becoming uninhabitable because of rising sea levels, heat waves and droughts... A seemingly unending litany of natural disasters pointing towards our planet becoming warmer and warmer.

Maybe what we need is a good old fashioned nuclear winter. I'm sure Dubya and his boys would be more than willing to launch a few dozen warheads, kick up a few megatons of fallout and dust to cool the planet a few degrees. Yee ha, stop global warming (excuse me, climate change) and teach those ungrateful Iraqis a little respect for freedom and democracy. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Relay For Life

I just got back from the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life. My company is the major sponsor for the event every year, and we had a whole contingent out in force tonight, walking around the track at G.W. High School. I answered a fundamental question of nature tonight: how long can a man bbq at the grill with nary a beer to drink? Turns out it was about two and a half hours before I said 'screw this' and passed the tongs off on another guy. I took a couple laps around the track, then I left. They will continue walking throughout the night, but I'll be back in the morning to help cleanup.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

The More Things Change

The more they stay the same. Didn't I blather on just the other day about how nothing ever changes on Guam? The stories are always the same, public utilities are a mess, government corruption and of course nepotism. Well it seems Governor Camacho thought it would be a great idea to appoint a 24 year undergraduate as deputy director at DYA, a nice $50,000 a year gig for someone with no experience and no degree. Did I mention she's the governor's cousin?

Will This Guy Ever Learn?

Looks like George Lucas is re-releasing his first major studio film 1971's THX-1138 in theaters along with a new DVD edition. This new version includes computer graphics of gigantic robot factories, and enhanced robot guards.

I just don't know what's wrong with this guy. Why does he have to tinker with all his old movies, adding in useless computer graphics? I remember what he did with Star Wars. The guy is agog with technology at the expense of story-telling, any idiot forced to watch the new Star Wars movies can see that.

I fully expect he will rework American Graffiti to include CG roadsters and a space battle or two. Or maybe he'll patch in Fonzie jumping the shark.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Greasers

The high cost of gasoline is causing more people to look at vegetable oil as an ">alternative fuel source. I heard about this over a year ago, and the idea is gaining traction: Veggie Van, Greasecar.

Library System Waits For Better Days

While Seattle just opened a fantastic new $165.5 million library, the government of Guam cannot afford an additional $11,000 a year to hire an actual librarian to run the Guam Public Library. The government says that the library is not a priority right now, and must wait for the economy to improve before much needed funding can be appropriated for the library system. While a recently passed law requires the library director to be a qualified professional librarian, the current $55,000 salary is too low to entice any professionals to the island. According to the Civil Service Commission, bumping the salary to $66,000 a year would make recruitment efforts much easier. For an additional $273,000 a year, the library system could afford to reopen four branch libraries in the villages of Merizo, Yona, Barrigada and Agat that closed over four years ago due to budget cutbacks and government furlough programs.

Recent media attention on the long mothballed "Bookmobile" program that quit running almost eight years ago spurred several private companies to donate their services and get the bookmobile back on the road. Matson Navigation really stepped forward in this project, repairing the bookmobile, donating $25,000 to fund the bookmobile program, and pledging continued servicing for the vehicle in the years ahead. Kudos also go to South Pacific Petroleum Company, for donating free fuel for a year to the bookmobile, and Chugach Support Services for prepping the main library building for painting.

Hopefully these public/private partnerships will spur renewed interest in the library, because it is in a terrible state. I've often said it, I was aghast at the library when I first came to Guam, and it still depresses me to visit the building: it looks like they haven't bought a book since 1973, the air conditioning didn't work for years, mold and mildew where everywhere, the stairwell was unpainted. Basically the place is a mess, and indicative of the poor state of education and cultural facilities on the island.

Max Havoc Gets Denied Bridge Financing | The Rule Of Betelnut

At yesterday's Guam Economic Development & Commerce Authority (GEDCA) meeting, the GEDCA board denied Max Havoc a bridge financing movie loan. The executive producer of the film, John Laing, said the bridge financing is no longer needed since principal filming is wrapping up on island. More pressing for the film's long term prospects is GEDCA's commitment to guarantee a $1.3 million loan. That loan has been held up because GEDCA has yet to sign off on the loan guarantee, and is a concern of the film's producers.
*******
Speaking of that whole movie deal, former Congressman Robert Underwood wrote an intelligent editorial on fiscal responsibility in Sunday's paper which got in a couple digs at the whole idea of enticing movies to Guam. The impetus of his article was a recent visit to Yap, which despite catastrophic damage in last month's typhoon Sudal, is reluctant to use some of the $50 million in cash reserves the state government has accumulated through prudent economic policy. Wow, $50 million in reserve, saved from a yearly budget of $16 million. It would be like Guam having $1.5 billion on hand, instead of perennially running in the red year after year.

He attributes this deliberate and steady stewardship of the island's budget to betelnut.
I am serious and I think the Yapese are as well. Chewing requires time to pause and reflect. Every decision is discussed slowly and sometimes endlessly with betel nut chewing almost a ritualistic part of the process. The Yapese are a conservative people who value their resources as a collective responsibility. They are not ostentatious, nor are they swayed by materialistic display. All of the governors are credited with saying, "If you have a dollar, you can only spend a dollar."

There is no public outcry for government to do things for them. In their recovery from Typhoon Sudal, they are grateful for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance, but there have been villages that turned back Red Cross assistance because it was aimed at only a few families and not the entire community. There are no senators making speeches about spending the money in the bank at this time of dire need. Communities have spontaneously formed work teams to ensure that everyone has some shelter and that the taro is harvested so that food will be available for at least two to three weeks.

When the Asian Development Bank recommended that the government work force be cut by 35 percent, Govs. Tun and Figir did more. The government work force went from 1,000 to 600. When crazy business ventures were proposed for government funding, they ignored them. No salmon farming or movie producing for them. Max Havoc can stay in Guam. Public works projects are limited and carefully scrutinized.

And the results are good. Out-migration to places like Guam and Hawaii is limited. The population is stable, there are reliable public services and there is money in the bank for a rainy day. They are actively discussing whether the recent typhoon qualifies as a rainy day. Imagine the kind of discussion that we would have in Guam if we had $50 million in the bank right now.
It's an enjoyable and erudite essay from a distinguished educator and politician. More and more, I regret that Bob Underwood lost the election in 2002. I remember at the time there was a lot of bad blood around the election because the Gutierrez wing of the Democratic party refused to endorse Underwood, which probably cost him the election. I certainly never thought Felix Camacho would be elected over Underwood. As it panned out, he has certainly been a sub-par governor, with the acrimony between him and the Lt. Governor, the legislature and the attorney general growing every week. I wonder what Guam would be like today if Underwood had won the election? I know several people would say "Not a thing. Nothing would be different because that is the way of life on Guam." But then I think about how the world would be a different, better place if George W. Bush hadn't usurped the presidency from Al Gore in 2000. An election can make a world of difference.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Pacific Memories

A very enjoyable read from the Observer's travel section: The Observer | Travel | A land where shadows are worn like shoes

Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

So I asked a friend of mine last week if he had a chance to look through the picture album I posted here two weeks ago. Y'all remember that photo gallery from Dianne's birthday boat cruise? He said he looked through it, but he wondered what Donald Rumsfeld was doing on a dive boat off the waters of Guam. That sparked my curiosity and I looked through my photos with a keener eye.

Lo and behold, I found him lurking in the lower left hand corner of this picture! Wow - well actually that's Mike Siegel, a member of the Pago Bay Reefers (more on them tomorrow). And he normally doesn't look like Rummy, but the resemblance in this photo is uncanny:
Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of DefenseMike Siegel, Musician
It's a little creepy, that's for sure. Besides nobody was being led around naked on a leash on the dive boat (at least from what I remember), so I'm pretty sure Rumsfeld had nothing to do with our little party.

Ambros Senda's Pohnpei Funeral - May 2004

I just helped Dianne create a web photo album in iPhoto and publish it on her web site: Ambros Senda's Pohnpei Funeral - May 2004.

I'll make a webhead out of her yet.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Continental Boosts Fares

Citing losses incurred by the rising price of fuel, Continental boosted fares worldwide on Tuesday.

Great. One more reason to fly Northwest. NWA Guam had a great deal on fares to the States for one week only - $770 to the West Coast, $940 to the Midwest, $990 to the East Coast. Not bad, even if I needed to overnight in Narita on the way back. Tickets had to be purchased by yesterday, and travel needed to commence by June 19. Too bad I am stuck here filling in for my boss for the next three weeks.

Blog Scandal On Capitol Hill

Gotta read this one: Blog Scandal On Capitol Hill.

That woman's having more sex than a bonobo chimpanzee! I never knew Washington was so alive with sex and wild parties. Well, then again...

Max Havoc Shoot Winding Down

The filming for Max Havoc is winding down here on Guam. Only a few action scenes remain. Then the principal cast and crew are heading to Narita for more action scenes, and finally Miami, where rapper Fat Joe will be filmed. Carmen Electra arrived on Thursday for her cameo in the movie. She's also appearing in some Guam Visitor's Bureau advertising, and signing autographs.

A premiere is tentatively scheduled for next February, with an on island premiere in March of 2005.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Oops I Did It Again...

I swear, when I took this silly little quiz I was sure I'd be labeled an intellectual:

I am a Hippy



Which America Hating Minority Are You?


Take More Robert & Tim Quizzes
Watch Robert & Tim Cartoons


Seriously, I wasn't expecting that result. Guess the Deadhead inside me just cannot be repressed. I do have a predilection towards tie-dyes. It's funny how once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at right*.

At Long Last

About time!
It finally arrived in my mailbox yesterday. One year and four months after I filed my 2002 income tax return, my refund check was cut by the Department of Revenue & Taxation. Better late than never I guess, but that's a hell of a way to run a government.

The money is slated for a number of things, I'll keep y'all posted...

Bookends

Two views between leaving work and arriving home tonight.

Sun sets behind the fishermen at Agana Boat Basin

A pendant moon hangs beneath vibrant Venus in the crepuscular twilight over Yona

Auto Dealer Shipping Vehicles To Russia?

The Marianas Business Journal (sorry, registration required) ran a very interesting story earlier this month. Apparently local auto dealer Atkins Kroll is quietly selling millions of dollars worth of automobiles to a person in Helsinki, Finland. These vehicles, intended for the US market, are being sold in Russia and other former Soviet bloc states by the Finnish exporter, Aleksander Odrischinsky, and his company, Catamount Oy.
Government officials on Guam in mid-April began investigating this extraordinary trail of millions of dollars worth of luxury SUVs and sedans. The trail goes from Atkins Kroll on Marine Corps Drive, into shipping containers at the Port of Guam, on to Helsinki, via Korea, and across the Finnish border into Russia.

The reason that vehicles bound for Russia would need to be sourced from Guam was a mystery to Customs agents; however, a Toyota official in Helsinki explained that attractive U.S. prices and demand for certain hard-to-get models were the reasons for the Guam connection.

The Journal was unable to reach Catamount or Odrischinsky, but on April 27 spoke by phone with Vesa Tikka, general manager of Toyota Motor Finland Oy, which has 60 dealer outlets and a national office in Helsinki that sold 27,000 Toyotas and 50 Lexus vehicles in 2003. Tikka described Catamount as "a company that is selling cars to Russia - a small company that is very active in this, boats as well." Tikka said he thought Odrischinsky was managing director of Catamount. Vesa said the route to Russia through Finland is not unusual. "All Lexus and Toyota vehicles would be going through Finland, even if going to Russia."

Tikka said that the Lexus LX 470, GX 470 and RX 330s that were shipped from Guam to Finland in April are SUV models that are not yet available in Finland or Russia. He said the RX 330 will be available in Finland at the end of 2004. The April shipments from Guam also contained 20 Toyota Camrys, which in Finland each sell for about 35,500 Euros, the equivalent of about $42,000, compared to about $20,000 on Guam. Tikka said the shipments of new cars into Russia must be an issue for RussiaÂ’s authorized Toyota dealer. "This must bother the dealer in Russia. I can imagine, yes," Tikka said.

"He buys cars wherever he can find them," Tikka said of Odrischinsky.
The whole thing is a little off color. Because the cars are not registered on Guam, sale of the vehicles does not register on monthly reports used by the Guam Automobile Dealers Association. When questioned by the Marianas Business Journal, AK management basically said their business dealings were nobody else's business. How long this arrangement has been going on is unknown, but it has caught the attention of Guam customs officials.
Shipping documents show that Odrischinsky made shipments of 17 vehicles in February, 31 in March, and 50 in April. AK wouldn't reveal the number of cars sold to Odrischinsky, or say how long the large car buys had been going on, and the Journal was only able to look at a selection of shipping documents. Export figures from the Guam Department of Labor show that automobile exports in 2003 were $3.73 million, up a remarkable 84% from the previous year... Auto industry experts said the Toyota and Lexus vehicles going from Guam to Finland could be described as gray market vehicles. A gray market is a source of supply from which scarce items are bought for quick delivery at a premium above the usual market price, usually by a speculator.
Guess AK struck upon a lucrative business deal. Too bad it looks like that gravy train is drying up. Toyota officials in Japan are looking into the deal, and are concerned because vehicles bound for the US have different emissions and safety specifications than those destined for Europe. And Odrischinsky doesn't seemed particularly interested in continuing to deal with Guam anymore either. Contacted via telephone for an interview, Odrischinsky indicated that he would cease dealings with the island due to the 'unfavorable' article published on May 3rd. He went on to claim that the vehicles are not bound for Russia, but would not divulge their ultimate destination. In fact, his quote is taunting. "I'm buying the cars, that's true. I'm a big exporter to the ex-Soviet bloc, that's true. But that's not the destination of these cars. I do export all over the world. These cars are not going to Moscow... You're on the right track. They come to Helsinki, but, there you've lost the trail," he said.

This sort of thing is hardly unique to Guam. Forbes ran an excellent article in April about middlemen trafficking in US goods through foreign markets, with the goods often ending up in countries subject to U.S. embargo, like Iran and North Korea. It is an enticing business, with the middlemen charging exorbitant fees for flipping cargo through intermediate ports like Dubai to these sanctioned destinations. "Interviews with private business people and U.S. officials, along with court documents, reveal a simple scheme. Companies located around the world sell goods--from cigarettes to medical devices and PCs--to buyers in the U.A.E. Dubai traders repackage the items and send them along by air or ship to agents in, say, Tehran, Pyongyang, Damascus or Islamabad." Forbes highlights the more dangerous end of this illicit trade, with innocuous parts designed for medical equipment being repurposed for nuclear weapons development. Apparently Pakistan's Abdul Qadeer Khan, who created that country's nuclear weapons, used this process to seed countries around the world with prohibited technology to further their nuclear ambitions.

Now, I'm not saying shipping overpriced SUV's to Finland is comparable to sowing the dragon's teeth of nuclear weaponry to rogue nations, but it is part of the same continuum. And the primary motivator is both cases is money - a desire to increase profits at the expense of someone or something else. AK can say what they want about their business dealings, but they made a decision to ship their Toyotas to a foreign market, on a fellow Toyota dealer's territory, in order to make a quick buck. It might not be illegal, but it certainly presents an ethical challenge.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Amateur Rocket Reaches The Edge Of Space

An amateur rocket fired from the deserts of Nevada reached an altitude of more than 62 miles, hot the on heels of last week's test flight by Scaled Composites of SpaceShipOne.

This rocket was an unmanned test rocket, only 21 feet tall. But the Civilian Space eXploration Team, which launched the rocket, called it a 'significant achievement.'

USATODAY.com - Dems pump up attacks over gas prices

Higher prices for gas © Paul Sakuma, APUSATODAY.com - Dems pump up attacks over gas prices

I link to this just because of that great picture. I feel that way all the time now.

Rubik's Cube-Solving Lego Robot

Just a quick post before I head out for the office. Check this out: JP Brown's Serious LEGO - CubeSolver.

Picture of the LEGO CubeSolver Bot © JP Brown


It's a LEGO Mindstorms robot that can solve a Rubik's Cube. This guy has some serious time to kill if he's making robots out of Legos. And he makes lots of robots out of Legos. This Rubik's CubeSolver is just the pick of the litter.

Yap Spared Second Storm

Tropical Storm Omais proved little more than a source of concern on Tuesday, as the storm passed southwest of Yap and brought only rainy weather. Meteorologists say the storm was weakened by the presence of Typhoon Nida just off the Philippines.

Donations are still being accepted for Yap
  • Monetary donations can be made at the Federated States of Micronesia Consulate General's office. Call (671) 646-9154/5/6.
  • The Ayuda Foundation is accepting donations. Call (671) 473-3005.
  • Guam Community College has asked people attending its graduation on Friday to bring relief supplies to be sent to Yap.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Some Statistics

One nice thing about the new blogger: hidden away in my blogger profile are some interesting statistics.
On Blogger SinceApril 2002
Avg Posts Per Week12
Posts Written1,375
Words Written139,771
Outbound Links3,198
Avg Links Per Post2.33
Avg Words Per Post101.65
Okay, I cooked up the last couple myself, but they seemed interesting numbers.

Yap Gets Another Typhoon

Yap braces for storm that may become typhoon - guampdn.com
Less than six weeks after getting hit by the one of the most destructive typhoons in its history, Yap and its outer islands face the possibility of getting hit by another storm.

A tropical storm formed over the weekend and is expected to pass right between Yap and its southern outer island Ngulu -- similar to the route taken by Typhoon Sudal on April 9, said National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Middlebrooke.

As of yesterday afternoon, the tropical storm's sustained winds had reached 45 mph, and the storm, though still fairly weak, was forecast to possibly strengthen into a typhoon as it passes Yap today, Middlebrooke said. The typhoon poses no danger to Guam or other Mariana Islands.
As of this morning, the storm was packing winds of 60 knots (69 mph). The updated storm track has the center of the storm passing directly over the main islands of Yap this afternoon. This is not good for the island, especially since so many are still homeless and living in tents.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart

Just time enough for one really excellent web site: Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart This is a great Java application that puts up a sky chart tailor made for any latitude & longitude on earth. I really appreciate the addition of transient, newly discovered objects like comets and asteroids into the sky chart. It makes locating Comet NEAR really easy in the evening sky. Check it out!

Typhoon Season Starts Early This Year

Well that typhoon that popped up west of Palau late last week is currently tearing up the eastern coast of the Philippines. Supertyphoon Nida is packing sustained winds of 140 knots, with gusts to 170 knots. For the landlubbers, that is plenty nasty. That translates too sustained winds of about 161 mph with gusts to 195 mph.

Hot on the heels of Nida comes another tropical depression resolving itself into a tropical storm. Tropical Storm 6W is currently 542 miles south/southwest of Guam and tracking to the northwest. Current storm track has it passing just south of Yap in about a day, just as it strengthens into a typhoon. Winds are currently sustained at 40 knots, with gusts to 50 knots.

I hope the storm bypasses Yap, the islands are still reeling from Typhoon Sudal. So many storms so early in the year is not a good sign though. I got this feeling 2004 is going to be a bad one for typhoons.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Night Out

I guess it's time to post a few photos from recent outings. A coworker is leaving island this month, which was the impetus for series of happy hour get togethers with the office buddies. Here's a few photos from those evenings

Sam Choy's
First off, here's a few photos from a couple weeks ago at Sam Choy's in Tumon. We ended up with a pretty big crowd, even though it was a Tuesday night.

Jesika & Rich
Here's Jesika, the woman of the hour, with her husband Rich.

The crowd at Sam Choy's
A group photo, but most people are in darkness at the rear.

Darryl & Liz
Here's Darryl, who took most of these photos, and Liz.

Chris makes a point
That's Christine making some point or other, with Bob smiling behind her.

Cheers!
Cheers! That's my Heineken just left of center.

Christine laughs
Christine's laughing pretty hard because I just grabbed her tongue a moment before.


Well that's all the photos I'll post from Sam Choy's. It was a fun night, but it broke up early. Probably best for a work night.

Quiz Nite
Last Thursday was Quiz Nite, a fundraiser for Habitat For Humanity. My company bought tickets for two teams and I got asked to join one team. Quiz Nite was held at the Marriott. I brought my camera and took some photos.

Pacificare Polymaths
Here's some of my team, the Pacificare Polymaths. Mary Kleschen, G'nette Datu and Jesika Zellner.

Another shot of my team
Another photo of our team, but with me tossed into the mix.

Gus takes drink orders
Marketing manager Gus Sablan gets our drink orders.

Team 6
And here's our other company team. Patrick, Joe, Maricon, Flom, Joan, & Clarence.

The Polymaths plus Al
My team again, with the late arriving Al Almira.

Our prize
We ended up in fourth place, and we each took home a bottle of wine. Not bad.


Well that's enough navel-gazing for now. I got some more pictures, including a surprise dinner I ate tonight, but I'll keep that for tomorrow. Till then, goodnight, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite.

KSHE Postscript

One link I forgot to add to that long post about KSHE: A great page at radio-locator on Radio-Locator: KSHE-FM: Radio Station Information Page. Be sure to check out the radio coverage map. And try plugging in your favorite radio stations. It's actually kinda fun.

For The Love Of Sweet Meat

KSHE bumper stickerI've been meaning to talk about this story I read over on Kuro5hin a couple weekends ago, the Birth of a label-sanctioned pirate radio station. I skimmed over the introductory paragraph at first, and then I realized the author was talking about KSHE 95!

I guess you had to grow up in St. Louis to understand the power of KSHE. It was the quintessential rock radio station, regularly playing rock that the other stations in St. Louis wouldn't touch with a ten foot pool. Aphrodite's Child, Brownsville Station, Foghat, Ozzy Osbourne, the list goes on and on. KSHE wasn't afraid of playing the long songs either, like In-a-gadda-da-vida or Careful with that axe, Eugene. Every Sunday night KSHE played the Seventh Day, an entire album uncut and without commercials. It was heaven.

I feel a close connection to KSHE. I grew within spitting distance of KSHE's studios, a crappy little house in Crestwood butted up next to the Route 66 Drive-In on Watson Road. This was about a mile from my house and I passed it almost everyday. To me the sitcom WKRP In Cincinnati was inspired by the story of KSHE, a small station turning from an easy listening format to progressive rock overnight, with a crazy collection of DJ's and loonies running the place. That was KSHE.

The Sweet Meat I rememberThe new Sweet Meat at KSHEKSHE's mascot was a pig wearing shades and dangling a smoke from his lips. Sweet Meat showed up on everything, bumperstickers, frisbees, hats, t-shirts. KSHE still sells Sweet Meat stuff, but somewhere along the line he lost the cigarette.

I don't listen to KSHE anymore. For a while they streamed audio over the internet, but that stopped several years ago. They moved from Crestwood ages ago too. Now they are located in Union Station in downtown St. Louis, and the Route 66 Drive-In is a Best Buy store with a mammoth parking lot. I'm not sure what they play these days, but I hope to God it's still Real Rock Radio.

Somewhere in the late 80's, the brand of rock that KSHE played became "Classic Rock." Perhaps it was a sign of the times, or maybe just the maturation of the format, I don't know. At the time it seemed like KSHE was relegated to playing nothing but Doobie Brothers and Creedence. My musical tastes were broadening, and I branched out to KDHX and the wild wooly world of community radio.

We got a rock station out here in Guam, eponymously called The Rock. It's not bad, but it plays a too much new stuff instead of the rock I grew up listening too (a classic sign I am getting too old). Instead I spend most of my time listening to KPRG, Guam's only public radio outlet, which plays a steady stream of jazz, folk, classical and alternative indie rock, along with a couple jammin' shows that remind me of KSHE in its heyday.

Still, I occasionally find myself pining for the radio of my youth, KSHE 95 Real Rock Radio and the memories it evokes. The music was good and even back then I realized how special that radio station was. The only comparable connection I have to the music of my youth is to Streetside Records, which was the epitome of a record store to me and my generation. But that great store over by Webster University, less than a mile from my house and chock full of great music, closed down over a decade ago and moved to a generic strip mall store out in Crestwood. But I'll save that for another day I guess.

Local News Roundup

Let's take a quick tour through headlines on Guam

XML Database Articles

I've been doing a lot of reading lately on XML databases. These links are for me really, so I have them at hand for future reference.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Typhoon Alley

This thing just appeared out of nowhere. Yesterday there was no storm, just a long line of disturbed weather in the Western Pacific. Today, a tropical storm coalesced out of the disturbance west of Palau. It poses no threat to Guam or even poor Yap, but I am amazed at how quickly this thing formed and developed into a tropical storm. People in the Philippines better watch out, it's heading directly for Luzon.

The satellite loop shows lots of feeder band activity in Palau. Weather reports from the Palau airport indicated steady rain, increasing in intensity over the last day. I'm sure it will dwindle off at the storm heads off to the north.

Mainly I am worried that 2004 will be another year for typhoons, and that Guam will be struck again, just like in 2002. I really don't want to go through that again, I shudder just to think of it.

Burt Rutan Pushes To The Edge Of Space

In-Flight Photo of SpaceShipOne © Scaled CompositesThursday marked another milestone for aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan and his company Scaled Composites. The company's privately designed and funded spacecraft, SpaceShipOne, flew it's third power flight on May 13th, reaching a height of 212,000 feet. This is within striking distance of 329,000 feet, the threshold of space required to claim the Ansari X-Prize.

To claim the prize SpaceShipOne needs to reach 329,000 feet with two paying passengers, return to Earth, and repeat the process within three weeks. Scaled Composites has issued no timetable, but they are widely expected to attempt to reach space and claim the X-Prize next month.

Sign me up, I've always wanted to visit space.

FEMA Aid Headed For Yap

A month after typhoon Sudal battered the islands of Yap state, more than $1.4M in aid was approved for Yap by FEMA. The Ayuda Foundation is still accepting donations for Yap aid. Call them at (671) 473-3005.

Two Quick Space Notes

Time for a couple quick links about space before I head to the office.
  1. BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Hubble sees 'planet' around star - Hubble spotted a planet orbiting a white dwarf star, the first direct observation of an extra-solar planet.
  2. ESA - Proba - Great Wall of China seen from space - The same European satellite that took that picture of San Francisco I posted last week has photographed the Great Wall of China from space, finally putting to rest a myth that the Great Wall is the only man made structure visible from orbit. Sure it is, if the observer has a really powerful telephoto zoom on a camera. Otherwise tough cookies.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Well not exactly. More like despoilers of the exposed road project. More than a year after uncovering an ancient Chamoru burial site on the Route 4 highway project in Yona, it is apparent that the ancient remains at the Ylig site were destroyed by exposure to the elements. Wind, rain, landslides and feral dogs destroyed the bones that were unearthed last year, while the Department of Public Works frittered and wasted time looking for an archaeological firm that would do the work pro-bono.

There is a public meeting today at 5:00 pm in the Yona community center to discuss this mess, and the never ending road project that was stalled by the discovery of the remains. While the road is entirely paved up by my house (at last!) nothing has been done at the bottom end of the project since the backhoes dug up the burials in April 2003.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

musicplasma : the music visual search engine

This is just too cool: musicplasma : the music visual search engine

It takes a little playing around with to figure out navigation, but it is really cool.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Blogger Revamps

Well, it looks like Blogger's gone ahead and made a new interface overnight. It looked totally different when I posted that bit about the space plane than last night's post about boat charter and photo album.

I'm not at all sure I like it, the old layout served me well and it had a simple, yet stylish design. This new one has a distinctly kindergarten feel to it, with the big, oversize buttons and rounded text. My first reaction is "Blah, who designed this crappy layout?" But it looks like there are some new features and whatnot, so I guess I can get used to this new infantile look.

European Space Shuttle Glides To Success

A European Space Shuttle? First I heard of German manufactured space glider that Europe hopes to bring into service in 20 years.

I still think the space elevator concept is the wave of the future. Especially looking two or three decades into the future, the space elevator holds a lot more promise over rocketry and space plane hybrids.

A Very Good Sunday

Today was Dianne's 60th birthday, and there was an excellent birthday party aboard MDA's dive boat, the Sun Chaser. The boat departed at 17:00 with about 20 people on board, bound for great weather, snorkeling, kayaking, a beautiful sunset, good food, live music, a sky full of stars, and wonderful conversation. It was an excellent evening out on Double Reef.

I brought my Sony digicam along and took some great shots. My only regret is that the batteries went kaput just as it got dark, so I didn't get any photos of the Pago Bay Reefers playing bluegrass on the top deck.

But I thought I would give a great piece of software a try and create a web album of today's fun party. I used the excellent and free Web Album Generator from ORNJ.NET, home of some excellent product for Microsoft Windows.

Again that URL for the web album of today's fun party is

http://www.guam.net/home/beast/BoatPics/


So don't forget it.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Snort - Chuckle

Has anybody else seen those United Healthcare tv spots that are running right now? The ones about people not thinking much about their healthcare, so fortunately United Healthcare does? Obviously the ad agency was thinking about the Darwin awards when they cooked up this campaign.

There's one ad with a guy out on the African savanna in a cheesy lion suit, approaching a pride of lions while a wildlife documenter films it. "Begin agitation phase," the film maker announces as the poor sap enters the circle of lions. That got a chuckle out of me.

I just saw another one this morning. Two suburban dads out in the backyard trying to get rid of an enormous swarm of bees by cutting the branch and dropping the swarm into a trash can. Of course dad #1 trips off the ladder and falls right onto the swarm, sending dad #2 skittering across the yard and into the lit bbq pit. I couldn't stop laughing at that one.

I guess I'm just a sucker for physical comedy. But they are damn funny ads.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Max Havoc Filming Begins

Filming started today for Max Havoc with some jet ski scenes filmed in East Agana Bay. I guess the rain didn't delay filming after all.

Tigers On Ice

There's a little blurb in today's Pacific Daily News about the Sandcastle opening a new show next week. Instead of the Las Vegas style dinner show, Fantastique, that the Sandcastle ran for the last decade, the new show will be Magic On Ice, featuring ice skating magicians and figure skaters.

My favorite quote from the story concerns the fate of the Sandcastle's performing tigers, long a staple of the revue. "Saad said the tigers will be incorporated into 'Magic on Ice' though he wouldn't say how because he doesn't want to ruin the surprise. Saad does say that the tigers will not be ice skating." Damn, I was really looking forward to figure skating felines.

Modus Operandi At Air America

I'd like to say I didn't expect this, yet somehow I knew it was going to happen.

Evan Montvel-Cohen and Rex Sorenson resigned from Air America Radio this week according to a story originally reported by the Chicago Tribune (sorry, registration required). The AP picked up the story and several media outlets are carrying it now. But the original Chicago Tribune article is more in depth, revealing deep troubles at the fledgling network.

Chairman, partner leave Air America



By John Cook
Tribune staff reporter
Published May 7, 2004

In yet another sign of trouble for Air America Radio, the liberal talk network's co-founder and chairman, Evan Cohen, resigned Thursday along with his investment partner and vice chairman, Rex Sorensen.

The company also failed to make its scheduled payroll Wednesday, leaving its staff of roughly 100 writers and producers unpaid until Thursday.

The radio network has been on the air for only five weeks. On April 30, it was pulled off Chicago's airwaves because of a payment dispute.

"We're on a wild ride," said Jon Sinton, the network's president, acknowledging that Air America has suffered "the typical bumps and bruises faced by any start-up."

"But the bottom line," he said, "is that we are on the air to stay."

The departures of Cohen, a former Republican political operative from Guam who was among the network's initial investors, and Sorensen, an investor, mark the second executive shake-up at the fledgling network in as many weeks.

Last week, co-founder and Chief Executive Mark Walsh resigned (he remains a senior adviser), and programming chief Dave Logan was forced out.

Replacements for Walsh and Cohen have yet to be named. Asked when those positions would be filled, Sinton replied: "I wouldn't hold my breath."

Sinton said Cohen was forced to resign by investors unhappy with the way he handled a clash with Multicultural Radio Broadcasting Inc., owner of Air America's Chicago and Los Angeles stations.

After an acrimonious and public dispute, the two companies severed their relationship, leaving the network off the air in two of the nation's top three markets. (Air America remains on the air in 16 markets, including New York City.)

"I think that other shareholders were upset with the way that escalated so quickly," Sinton said. "I don't think that needed to be handled in such an argumentative fashion."

Cohen has previously said that Air America's investors include former broadcasters Thomas Embrescia and Norman Wain, TV pioneer Norman Lear, and Sheldon Drobny, the Highland Park entrepreneur who originally founded the company before selling most of it to Walsh and Cohen in November.

Sinton said he was unaware whether Cohen and Sorensen will retain their ownership stakes in the company. Cohen did not return phone calls.

Last week, according to two sources familiar with the matter, paychecks to some of the network's talent--a group that includes Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo, and Randi Rhodes--bounced, and Rhodes joked on the air about not being paid.

A scheduled payday for the staff on Wednesday came and went without checks, though the staff was paid on Thursday. Sinton chalked up both cases to "technical issues."

Copyright © 2004, Chicago Tribune
I'd like to say I am surprised by this turn of events, but frankly I'm not. Hopefully Air America can survive and stay on the air.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Lunar Eclipse

While I couldn't see yesterday's lunar eclipse from Yona because of heavy clouds, the PDN managed a nice shot of the eclipse in the early morning over Agana.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

A Stirling Idea

Solar Power for the futureStirling engines have been around for a long time. Almost two hundred years, in fact. Unlike internal combustion engines, Stirling engines are a closed cycle with no exhaust gases. The pistons are driven by gas that cycles between two cylinders as it is heated and then cools. Yet Stirling engines have never really caught on because of the power and low cost of internal combustion engines.

Now a Phoenix based firm is developing a solar power system that relies on a Stirling engine to produce electricity. Unlike photovoltaic cells which directly convert sunlight into electricity, Stirling Energy Systems' Solar Dish Stirling concentrates sunlight across a 37 foot dish onto a single focal point, a specially designed Stirling engine. The focused sunlight provides the heat to power the gas exchange cylinders in the Stirling engine. A single dish is capable of producing 25 kilowatts. The company estimates that an 11 square mile solar farm in the American Southwest could produce as much electricity as Hoover Dam. A 100 square mile installation could solve the energy needs of the entire country. Wow.

This really caught my interest. The technology surrounding this system is decades old. Originally developed by McDonnell-Douglas, the concept stagnated in the 1980's when oil prices were low. The idea languished for nearly a decade until Stirling Energy Systems started up and purchased the technology from Southern California Edison for $180,000.
Stirling was founded by David Slawson in 1996 to acquire and develop the technology behind the solar generator. So far the company has raised about $15 million from private investors and has received additional funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The array of mirrors that covers the dish concentrates sunlight on an 8-inch opening. There, heat from the sun's rays runs a four-cycle engine that powers an electric generator. Stirling has acquired a license to manufacture the engines in the United States from Sweden's Kockums AB. Kockums initially developed the engine for use in Swedish submarines.

McDonnell Douglas Corp., Kockums and the Department of Energy developed the technology for the solar generator in the mid-1980s. McDonnell Douglas eventually sold the technology to Southern California Edison, which sold it, along with six prototype dishes, to Stirling.

Robert Liden, Stirling's chief financial and administrative officer, said the California utility lost interest in the dishes when the state limited the amount of research and development costs it could recover from ratepayers.

Liden noted that the technology was heralded in the 1980s as one of the most-efficient means to harness the sun's energy. Unlike photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity through a chemical process, the dishes do not become less efficient in hot weather.

And the Stirling units use no water, in contrast to so-called solar trough generators that use the sun's energy to produce steam to turn turbine generators.

But at a cost of $300,000 per unit, the Stirling generators are hardly cost-effective. They can produce electricity for about $1 per kilowatt, or 50 times more than power generated by the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, west of Phoenix, and 20 times more than that produced by a natural-gas generator.

But Liden notes that the first units, including the engines, are being built by hand. Stirling believes it can bring the cost down to about $25,000 per unit if they are mass-produced. That would make them competitive with conventional power plants, Liden said.

-From 2 Phoenix firms to build generators, The Arizona Republic, April 28 2004
I certainly hope this idea pans out. Renewable energy sources need to be developed if we ever want to cut fossil fuel emissions and stem global warming.

San Francisco From Orbit

Nothing major, just a nice photo of San Francisco taken yesterday by a ESA satellite, Proba.

I circled my friend Annie's home, or at least the whereabouts of her house. The resolution isn't fine enough to pick out the actual house, but the circle describes her block and immediate neighborhood.

San Francisco, California - June 15, 2002

Lunar Letdown

I got up bright and early this morning, excited to catch the lunar eclipse. Well, I could tell there was an eclipse going on but the clouds prevented me from seeing it. There was no silvery brightness to the sky, like there was when I went to bed at 1:00 a.m. but I couldn't see anything on the western horizon due to heavy clouds. Alas, it was not to be. Guam was only going to catch the very beginning of the eclipse anyway, people in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa will have a much better view of the event.

Russian Museum Displays Mad Monk's Monster Member

The first Russian museum of erotica is opening in St. Petersburg, and one of the exhibits on display is the pickled pecker of Grigory Rasputin. Apparently the evil monk was extremely well endowed (a man called horse indeed) and after his death the genitalia were preserved for future generations to gawk at. I was going to post the picture of this monstrous organ, but my mother reads this weblog. Go and check it out for yourself, I'll wait...

The infamous holy man to the Tsarina was assassinated in 1916. I once read how they killed Rasputin in a book called The Grim Reaper's Book Of Day. They lured him out to an isolated cabin with offers of sex with a young boy on December 31st. Once there, several nobles fed him cakes laced with cyanide, bound him in ropes, cut off the penis in question, wrapped him in a burlap sack, bound it with chains, shot the bag with a pistol several times and tossed the sack through the ice and into the frozen Neva River. When his body was recovered, his bonds were broken and his lungs filled with water, proving he wasn't dead until he was tossed into the river. Crap, that was one hard motherfucker to kill.

And he had a really big schlong too.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

GMH Suspects Fraud

Top story in today's paper: GMH officials uncover evidence of a scam using public assistance to get health care at the hospital. A woman was admitted to the hospital's maternity ward recently, the latest of several episodes of care for her at GMH under MIP, the medically indigent program. She presented her Social Security Card and name and was admitted.

That's when hospital lab techs noticed a problem. During her previous confinement she had O- blood, but miraculously this time her blood type was A+. On top of that, her last hospital stay was for a tubal ligation, yet she was admitted to the maternity ward and delivered a baby.

"We think we may have uncovered a scam operation," said Bill McMillian, hospital administrator. Ya think so, Sherlock? A brilliant deduction there.

'Max Havoc' Star Arrives

The stars are starting to come out on Guam, at least the stars of Max Havoc. Mickey Hardt arrived on island Monday in preparation for filming the movie later this month.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Mmm Durkee's Famous Sauce And Serendipity

The best sandwich spread in the universeI originally wrote this almost a month ago. I marked it as a draft and forgot all about posting it until this afternoon, when I cracked open that jar of Durkee's pictured on the left.

This is the best sauce in the world. It tastes so good on sandwiches. The flavor is like mustard and mayonnaise combined with a touch of horseradish, and it goes great on a BLT. Mmm, I'm making myself hungry just thinking about it.

Unfortunately, Durkee's is not available on Guam. I've searched high and low, but not a single store carries this ambrosia. I brought a jar back with me from my last trip back to Missouri, but that was back in 2002. I've been jonesin' for Durkee's for quite some time.

Which made today's events oddly serendipitous. Thinking about Durkee's Famous Sauce this morning, I decided to try Googling around for a web site that might sell me some Durkee's online and ship it out to me here. Curiously, I couldn't even find a reference to this wonderful sauce on the company website. Instead I found a plethora of sites offering recipes for a faux Durkee's I can create at home with common ingredients. Hooray!

Obviously my thoughts were projecting out into the neighborhood, because my next door neighbor came out of his house with a jar of the delicious and coveted sauce. Kismet I say. He just returned from a trip to Illinois over spring break (I never really thought about it, but I apparently college professors take off for spring break too), and he remembered a discussion we had about Durkee's back in February. I was over at his house helping him out with his Gateway and I noticed the jar on a shelf in his kitchen. We started talking about how good Durkee's Famous Sauce is on sandwiches and how we both smuggled jars of it back from the Midwest. When he was in Urbana-Champaign last week, he picked up a jar for himself and a jar for me too! I guess I will go ahead and install that extra RAM in his computer that he ordered a couple weeks ago. The lure of Durkee's is a powerful thing.

While it is good to have a jar of Durkee's back in my kitchen, I am also excited to try that recipe for the sauce I can make in my own kitchen. Then I will never be without this tasty sauce again. In case I forget the link, here is that recipe:
Try this smooth copycat with your next steak.
  • 1/2 c cold water
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 c + 2 tbsp dark vinegar
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp prepared mustard
  • 4 tbsp margarine, cut into tiny bits

Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until very smooth.

Empty blender into top of double boiler and cook over gently boiling water, stirring often for 12 to 15 minutes, until thickened and smooth.

Return mixture to blender and blend at high speed for 30 seconds or until smooth.

Put sauce into a covered container and refrigerate for 24 hours before using.

Stores up to 3 months, refrigerated.
Mmm-mmm good. I wonder how it tastes with steak? Sounds like a challenge, especially as I could go for a nice steak tomorrow night. Would it be as good as finadene on steak? That's a tough combination to beat.

Max Havoc - Curse Of The Dragon

Image from Pacific Daily NewsThe month of May is finally here, and Guam's moment to shine in the movies has arrived. Principal shooting for Max Havoc: Curse of the Dragon begins next week, and already the positive effects are being felt in the community. Interest in the movie has sparked many local high school students to look into the film industry as a career. I don't know if the stars of the movie (Carmen Electra, Mickey Hardt, Qi Shu) have arrived yet, but I suspect it won't be long now. Photography is scheduled to begin on May 10th.

Locally hired production staff are hard at work on the film, and more hiring is expected as shooting gets under way. Over two dozen locals were hired as extras for the filming, and almost 300 jobs will be created overall by this movie. Guam can certainly use the extra income.

One interesting bit I learned is that virtually the entire movie is going to be filmed at the Outrigger Hotel in Tumon. That seems a little odd, but I guess it helps keeps production costs down. The newly redesigned Palm Cafe at the Outrigger will be converted into a lounge and a other sets.

This is the first film to be made on Guam since 1962's No Man Is An Island, an adaptation of George Tweed's odyssey on Guam during World War II.

Here's a chance to visit the set of Max Havoc, Curse of the Dragon, and rub elbows with the cast and crew. Hurry! Contest winners will be announced on May 6th!

Finally, Some Vindication

I always knew I possessed godlike powers, and now somebody else agrees.

Grammar God!
You are a GRAMMAR GOD!


If your mission in life is not already to
preserve the English tongue, it should be.
Congratulations and thank you!


How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Go ahead and take the grammar quiz yourself.