Sunday, August 27, 2006

Surfing at Barber's Point

Today we went surfing with Dan and Annie. The title is a misnomer - we didn't go surfing at Barber's Point. In fact, this is a picture of Jeff at Barber's Point beach park - which has a very cool lighthouse, but isn't, in fact, a very good spot for surfing - but the area where we went, which is technically White Plains Beach, has the cabins that people in the military can rent for next to nothing, and those cabins are often referred to as being in Barber's Point. I imagine Jeff and I would have badly maimed ourselves had we tried to surf at Barber's Point!

Where we actually went surfing - which also could be a misnomer since we both spent most of our time paddling out and getting smashed around by waves - was actually a very nice beach where you can rent surfboards, boogeyboards, etc. for pretty cheap. It was a fairly popular spot for surfers. We got there just in time to see Annie catching a wave (she was a natural!). We all wore out pretty quickly after swallowing that much salt water and hung out at a beachfront bar watching football!

After our failed attempt at surfing, we did a bit of shopping for "the kids," during which we purchased THE KITTYDOME, an elaborate litterbox with a staircase inside so that Zeke won't trek kitty litter all over the place. He, of course, is amazed and fascinated by it.

And of course, we came back and played with the kitty and the doggy and hung out around the house a bit. This is probably what they do the entire time we are gone:


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Back to school...

I survived my first day of classes at UH Manoa yesterday (just barely). I took the 6:08am bus across the island, expecting it to take an absurd amount of time to get there, and made it to campus at 7:01am. I think I will be sleeping an extra half hour or so from now on! Both of my classes are enormous, 400 people each and mostly freshmen. So of course, the first day of class was professors trying to scare them into studying fifteen hours a day, having no social life, keeping the coffee shops in business and never drinking. Both classes seem pretty easy, which is probably a good thing since I haven't been in school for three years. The chemistry professor is this glamorous European woman with a practically incomprehensible accent who reads directly from her PowerPoint slides - which are posted on the Internet - so I have a feeling that most of the unruly, lazy, or slack students will elect not to attend. It is obvious that she knows her stuff and probably is teaching introductory level because she has to... Since we are paying for me to go back to school, I plan to force her to teach better by asking lots and lots of questions - I just don't see the point of paying good money for yet another crappy teacher who forces me to completely reteach myself.

After class, I got on the bus and tried to do the transfer downtown the way I was told to do - only to see the bus I wanted go whizzing by! So I ended up walking to the next kiosk, which wasn't that far - but I had been running around campus all day carrying books, so it was a lot - to catch the bus I took for the chemistry exam. This was definitely interesting since I still don't know my way around Honolulu, but luckily I got home in one piece - about 12 hours after I left yesterday morning. Needless to say, I was pretty beat! Luckily I have no class today and nothing to do other than prepare the house for Zeke and give Kitsune a bath (if I can wake him up long enough to do so...poor little guy has been tuckered out and snoring all morning!)


Kitsune (kit 'soo nay)

We picked up our doggy this past Saturday. After thinking through various names and having several suggestions (original adopted name: Braveheart; Jess's preferred name: Nanu; My Mom's prefered name: Zack; My recommended name: Yargh! (with the ! as part of the name)), we settled on Kitsune (which means devious fox in Japanese) or Kit for short.

During our trip home, we realized just how well behaved his is; over the weekend, I think I heard two yelps and one bark; he waits to go outside (with one exception, which I think was him marking his territory, but resulted in him spending a good amount of time in his crate); he has started to respond well to "sit", "down", and "come;" and we left him outside for some of the day today with no problems.

We also snapped this picture of a chicken while we we out walking Kit yesterday.
- Jeff

Friday, August 18, 2006

Chemistry and bus adventures

I passed the placement exam with 100%, so my class schedule for the semester is:

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 0830-0915 Introductory Biology
Monday 0930-1215 Introductory Biology Lab
Monday/Wednesday/Friday 1430-1520 General Chemistry I
Thurday (GROAN, special trip just for lab!) 0900-1145 General Chemistry I Lab

Which means there will be pretty enormous spans of time between biology and chemistry that I will have to find something interesting around campus to fill...

Another highlight of the day was that I managed to take the bus from Mililani to UH Manoa without ending up somewhere weird. I can get a cheaper bus pass as a student, and it will be worth it to avoid the wasted time and energy in downtown traffic, the expensive parking permit, and the hassle of parking the car on campus. Honolulu isn't nearly so bad if you aren't the one driving! I think almost being forced to study by the long bus ride will do wonders for my grades.

There were some very interesting characters on the bus. There was a hippie from the North Shore who told me stories about snagging MREs from the dumpsters at Bellows and claimed the chicken soup was by far the best. He had long straggly hair, big glasses, and an old concert ticket stub encased in plastic (maybe a backstage pass) around his neck. When we made the transfer at King Street, he greeted the most distinct-looking man I think I've seen - he was very, very tall with black hair cut like the Beatles and a pencil-thin mustache. He conversed with the hippie guy about his latest sighting of Elvis on the North Shore without even the slightest hint of irony. When the Elvis/Beatles guy caught the bus, he hippie guy told me, yeah, he's a cool guy, but he believes Elvis is still alive. All this while he was eating a chicken soup MRE with his fingers and rolling a cigarette. Then the bus arrived. "Man, I always have just about enough time to take two puffs," he said.

I think I'll like taking the bus.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Short-lived barista career...

So the reason I haven't written about my job at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is because I detested it. Notice the past tense - I quit today, and I am pretty happy about it!


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Classes and such

I was finally allowed to register for my classes today. I don't really have the best feeling about UH's chemistry department. Biology was great. I wanted to register for the class one above the "this is a frog, this is a human being, and we all have cells" class, which I needed department approval to do. Easily enough, I called the department and spoke to a nice man named Derek who lifted the online restriction after I gave him a short explanation, and then he gave me an override into a lab that was full - luckily, a lab that starts shortly after the lecture is over, which means at the moment, I only have to drive to Manoa Monday, Wednesday and Friday (for 8:30am class, which really stinks, but there isn't much I can do about it. It looks like I'll be waking up the same time as Jeff this semester!). Derek gets a gold star.

Chemistry was the same sort of deal - they have "Chemistry for someone who has no idea what a beaker is" as introductory level - and I am not sure this class would qualify as a prerequisite for a physician assistant program (but if it does - SIGN ME UP!!!) and then "General Chemistry," which was the one I wanted to sign up for, especially since "CFSWHNIWABI" lecture and labs were already full. So I called the department around 8, no answer, and left a voicemail. It was returned around 9. I took the same route - "I have already graduated from college and don't need this class for a degree. I took three chemistry classes in high school and aced all of them, so I'd prefer starting with something a little more challenging." I got told "You'll have to take the placement exam." So I called back and said, okay, give me an override into CHEM 151, of course, on their voicemail, and now it's 10, and I still have no word back.

WHAT? Placement exam? I think I could understand that, maybe if I were an undergrad seeking a degree; however, what difference does it make to a university which classes I take as an unclassified student? They're going to get paid whether I pass or fail, and it's not like I need "CFSWHNIWABI" to graduate (although, like I said, if I can get away with taking elementary chemistry as one of my prereqs, give me an override and I am there!!!)! So after a few minutes of being slightly irked at the concept of graphing calculators and #2 pencils all over again, I decided I'll head up to UH on Thursday and give it a whirl. I'll probably pick up a chemistry for dummies type book at the library to brush up first...

At least I have my biology class taken care of.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Kitties and doggies!

We had a pretty slow weekend - we decided to try to bring unnamed doggy home Sunday, but he isn't ready yet. He'll be joining us next Sunday - the people at the rescue wanted to make sure he had plenty of time to recover from his surgery.

Which means we will get the dog two days before Zeke gets here! He will be arriving at the Honolulu Airport Tuesday, August 22 at 1:50pm. This is an old picture of him terrorizing my computer desk in Columbia - his head looks huge because he was trying to attack my camera strap.

We threw a little dinner party with Dan and Annie Friday night and experimented with some delicious Greek recipes - stuffed grape leaves, marinated chicken, Greek salad and hummus and pita. The island lacks both Mexican and Greek restaurants, so Jeff and I have decided we're going to have to learn to cook both!


Monday, August 07, 2006


Obviously, sometime in the future I will be retaliating with something along the lines of an extreme close-up of Jeff's back hair, but for now, something equally furry that is much, much cuter:

This little fella is the newest addition to our family! Well, in two weeks at least - he still needs to be neutered. We picked him up from Friends for Life, which is an animal rescue in Makaha run by a very nice couple named Lanny and Yamit. We were told little "Braveheart/Scrappy" (we're going to rename him after we figure out something suitable for his personality) was abused and probably dropped off at the beach park - which is why his right eye is squinty. He is a very affectionate little dog, and Jeff and I are very excited about providing a happy home for him! We should be getting him in the same timeframe Zeke gets here, so they both will be adjusting at the same time. We were sold on him almost immediately because he is little and has been living around a whole bunch of cats.

After that, Jeff and I decided to play on the leeward side of the island for a bit. We went out to Kaena Point (left) to visit where our little fella came from. The terrain there is volcanic and very rocky. My flip flops survived the rockiness; however, I blew one out in the sand and gravel on the way back to the car. It reminded us of a Jimmy Buffett song!

Oh, and speaking of the car, I am finally delivering on the promised Mini photo. Jeff's in the car but you can't see him that well, and no, he wasn't preparing to drive it over the cliff. Not that I know of, anyway.

We drove back toward Makaha beach to check out Kaneana, the cave home of the shark man, Nanaue. The cave pictures didn't turn out so well because it was dark in the cave and a flash only goes so far. But suffice to say, the cave was very cave-like, kind of drippy, a little cooler than the outside temperature, etc. We did not see any shark men, unfortunately; now, that would have made for a good picture! The picture to the right is just of the marker and description of the cave, which is across the street and behind some ugly yellow cement blocker things.
As we were taking the picture of the marker at Kaneana, we were adopted by the little brown dog to the left. As I was getting in the car, she decided she was also getting in the car and just jumped right in! Jeff and I were surprised at how good-natured she was, but she had no collar - just a chain around her neck - and no owners in sight, as we were alone on the side of the road. So after only a moment's discussion, we called back Lanny and Yamit to see if they had room for one more - they, of course, were happy to take here, so we gave her a ride. The dog looked like she'd possibly been hit in the face, was a bit smelly and red around one of her eyes. We dropped her off at Friends for Life, realizing that we probably would have kept her if we hadn't adopted a pooch just a couple hours before. So we ended up rescuing two doggies instead of just one, and we hope "Jessi" ends up finding a good home! I'm posting a picture of her because she's our almost dog - but we definitely wouldn't have room for two in our tiny place!!!

After that, Jeff and I were famished and ended up eating at Southern Swell Barbecue in Waianae. It was a little hole in the wall place with a screened in porch right on the beach, perfect for watching a sunset - and they had delicious burgers and "plantation" tea (which I thought would be good old fashioned sweet tea, but I think they probably could have called it DOLE plantation tea because it had yummy tropical things in it). Then we hung out on the beach as the sun set and watched some kids playing in the waves.



We should post again soon; but until then, I thought I'd share a picture to payback Jessica for the really bad Captain Morgan pose that I really don't like. get a picture of up her nose!!! Enjoy!
- Jeff