Sunday, December 29, 2019

10 Things I've accomplished in the last 10 years.

Facebook reminded me that I wrote this post exactly 10 years ago, so today seemed like a good time for an update.

1) Moved across an ocean (and then moved halfway back).

2) Held a baby for the first time. Yeah, that's right I hadn't held a baby before.

3) Became a citizen of New Zealand.

4) Had a few photographs published. I didn't get paid for them, or anything, but at least three people thought they were good enough to bother asking if they could use them. One of them is on this website.

5) Visited seven countries (though only four of them were new).

6) Qualified for the Boston Marathon (unfortunately I was a little too slow to be able to register that year and I'll probably never be that fast again).

7) Learned how to perform maintenance and a whole lot of repairs on an old Jeep.

8) Held down shockingly steady employment (especially compared to the last decade).

9) Taught two little girls how to bicycle.

10) Stayed married another 10 years.

Monday, December 02, 2019

After an hour of rigging this RS Feva is ready to go. 
It's been a long time since I've posted about sailing and not just because I haven't posted in a long time. I also haven't sailed in a long time. To rectify, I finally got around to joining the yacht club, and while they heavily promote the availability of their Olsen 30, I appear to be the only person interested in sailing their robust fleet of small boats (which are primarily used for youth sailing classes in the summer).

After proving myself on the water and taking an online boating safety course, which is actually only required in Hawaii for boats with motors, but it was free and only took me six hours, I've been asked to submit a sailing resume. Keep in mind, this is a yacht club that requires sponsorship letters to be on real paper (bar napkins are insufficient), so Nico thought I should write a real resume and not just a letter listing my experience.

Some of the dates are my best guess.

With those three things out of the way, I need to take a written test at the yacht club and post a $1000 damage deposit and then I am hoping to get the keys to the boat shed, which contains a bunch of Open BICs (which are way too small for me), a fleet of ancient Lasers (which I'll probably have to bring my own rigging to sail), and some beautifully kept RS FEVAs.

Of note, I am less bendy than I was the last time I was in a dingy. Two days later and walking is still painful
The author circa 2003

Sunday, October 27, 2019

This post may be inappropriate for viewing at work.

Alternative title: When a Mommy Honu and a Daddy Honu love each other very much...

I didn’t know it was turtle season (and I kind of assumed this was a land base activity).

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Beach Day 312

 It's not particularly funny, but whenever I have to replace something I hadn't thought I would need to purchase a second time, I think of that second bottle of Tabasco. And after four-plus years on Maui, we had to move onto our second beach umbrella. If you spend any time on a Maui Beach, you'll notice a whole lot of Tommy Bahama umbrellas. That's because Costco sells them so cheaply that many tourists stop off to buy one after their flight and them on the beach at the end of their vacation. [Aside: I bought mine on Amazon during a rare Costco umbrella dry spell.] These Costco umbrellas are not very well made and it does not take a very strong wind to let you know it's time to leave the beach. So when the four-plus years of rinsing the pole in the ocean caused a horrible dangerous shattering of rusted aluminum, I was sort of happy to be able to upgrade. The new umbrella is bulky, heavy, and difficult to set up, but it's supposed to withstand 42 MPH winds. Review to follow.

I've been trying to get Jancie snorkeling. She's fine with goggles. She's fine with fins. She's fine with the snorkel on land, but as soon as she gets in the water, there's some problem that begins with screaming and ends with her wanting to get out of the water. I lured her back in with the mask only after promising she could take some underwater photos. [Note: all under water photos taken by Jancie today are of her hands, so they will not be posted here.]

In case you hadn't noticed, I've quit Facebook. Or I guess I haven't actually quit, but I've dropped off for the present and near future. Sharon Kim, if you still read my blog, it was your hotel with a harp in the lobby. First I thought: I want to go to a hotel with a harp. Then I thought: why does Sharon get to go to a hotel with a harp? Then I thought: Everyone must be having similar reactions to every single one of my posts. I realize this blog might have the same effect, but I figure anyone bothering to make it to my page either came here on purpose, they wanted to know the caffeine content of a decaf nespresso pod, or perhaps they heard this is the place to find nude photos of Nico (apologies, if there ever were naked photos of Nico on this blog, they were hosted on imageshack; I didn't realize imageshack was still in business, but even during 1.0, they were not terribly reliable).

If you haven't seen enough fish yet, here's a short video with a special guest green sea turtle.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Kahekili Highway In Reverse

Actually, the title of this post should be Kahekili Highway counter-clockwise, though there was a fair amount of reversing. For those of you unfamiliar with Maui, the Kahekili Highway is a fun little windy road that you might find yourself on, should you decide to take a "shortcut" from the Ritz to the Airport. Apparently, some of the rental car companies on the island tell you not to drive on it or your contract will be voided. As the road is completely paved (and beautifully smooth), I doubt you'll really void your contract. But if you drive over the edge and end up dead, I suppose it doesn't really matter. Anyway, proceed at your own risk. 

I've driven the road a dozen or so times in the clockwise direction. That way is pretty easy because 1) you're on the mountain side of the road for most of the turns and 2) most tourists drive clockwise so there isn't a lot of traffic coming at you. 

And now I know: counter-clockwise is much, much harder. For starters, if you get t-boned going around a turn, you're likely to get pushed over the edge. I only felt like that was going to happen once, but on review of the video, it didn't look at all close (I don't believe it made the final cut). And secondly, the worst stretch of road on the whole loop is a downhill when going counter-clockwise (which caused me to spend 3 minutes attempting to back up without driving off the edge [successful] or hitting the mountain [unsuccessful]. Skip ahead to 5:45 if you would like to see the one lane traffic jam. 

Also of interest (all times approximate): 
2 min: rocks on the road
4 min: Kahakuloa
5:20 min: Kahakuloa Church

Thursday, June 20, 2019

World Traveller

Before every trip abroad, I like to dig around the closet for any left over foreign currency from countries we might be visiting. I was only able to turn up 17 Canadian Dollars today. Hardly worth finding, but maybe we’ll need it immediately after getting into the country, or something. Also in the closet, these silver beauties. They sure look like quarters. If memory serves, we were staying on the US side of Niagara Falls on New Year’s Eve a long, long time ago. It was really cold. Like 12 degrees cold. We walked across a bridge into Canada because there was supposed to be a New Year’s party that was bigger than Times Square. Except on the Canadian side it was negative 8 degrees, so everyone decided to stay home. We waited in a long line to get into the Niagara Casino and when we finally got to the front, I couldn’t find my driver’s license. They let me in anyway, but told me not to win any money because they probably wouldn’t let me keep it. I think you had to be 19 and I must have been 25 or 26. I didn’t win any money so it wasn’t a problem until we tried to get back into the US. There were no humans on the Canadian side. Only a turnstile that wanted quarters. The sign said it would take either US or Canadian, but my Canadian quarters were not working. After struggling with the thing for longer than I care to admit, we saw a change machine and got new quarters which did work. Walking across the bridge was uneventful. The Customs/Immigration man asked us where we were from, the practiced “USA” and not “America” got us through without any further questioning. The next morning, I found my driver’s license in my wallet and these two casino tokens in my pocket. They look just like quarters if you don’t know what Canadian money looks like and you’ve been drinking a little...

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Things to do in Wailuku

124 stairs to the top, per Zooey
We first went to Iao Valley shortly after arriving permanently on Maui. If you have a Hawaiian driver’s license, the $5 parking fee is waived and it’s the top destination in Wailuku according to most guidebooks. (TripAdvisor currently lists it as #6, but I believe that includes things like “Eat at the Mill House”.) We spent 20 minutes climbing stairs, taking pictures of the Needle, walking the easy trails, and left kind of disappointed...probably because in New Zealand, there are hundreds of nicer parks, reserves, and hikes. Anyway, it feels like I haven’t been back in over a year and after all this time living in the Kihei desert, the greenery has grown on me.

Hopefully nobody noticed I was wearing a Run Iao 10k shirt

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Mystery Lizard

This gecko has been my Facebook profile picture off and on for the last 8 or 10 years. I took it somewhere on the Big Island of Hawaii in 2004 (during breakfast). These geckos kept coming over to the table, but didn’t eat anything I tried to feed them...which is surprising: my children call all green geckos “popsicle” because more than one fortunate lizard has followed them around waiting to lick up some delicious meltings. I’ve always wanted to return to this restaurant, but wondered if I’d be able to find it (and if it still exists).

Pretty Lady at the Greenwell Coffee Farm
Luckily, it’s a typically slow Saturday at work, so I was able to find my photos from this 2004 trip. I believe it was our first vacation with a digital camera...a relatively inexpensive Canon point and shoot, if memory serves. [Side note: either whatever preceded google photos had already been invented, or google has done a very good job of spying on me.]

My quick browse through the album turned up a photo of Nicole with a cup of coffee and what I’m guessing are coffee trees. And for some reason, I never forget a coffee farm or a winery.

Panned back a little.
From there, I searched for restaurants near the Greenwell Coffee Farm and discovered I’m not the only one taking pictures of geckos at breakfast. And it’s only 70 miles away.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Dear Friends, Family, and coworkers:

It is with mild sadness that I tender my resignation, effective immediately. Although I have enjoyed working here at Maui Memorial, the schedule is no longer fitting my life. I have been considering becoming a night shift pharmacist for some time, but because so many people in Hawaii enjoy having their days off to go surfing, it has been difficult finding such a position without relocating. As the family and I don’t wish to move to the Mainland, I started thinking of other career options. And the closest thing I could come up with was graveyard pharmacist. That’s right, due to a recent uptick in the number of teenagers who are abusing embalming fluid (and drugs used in the embalming process), there is suddenly a huge demand for graveyard pharmacists. Our current plan calls for a few months of stocking up on formaldehyde and phencyclidine with a goal of opening Lasko’s House of the Dead Pharmacy at the end of October. I hope none of you will need my services this year. 

Michael B. Lasko, Pharm.D.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

These are a few of my favourite things.

My children pretty much always want to go to the beach. Or sometimes they don't want to go to the beach, but they want to go to a swimming pool. And you would think that with all this beach time, they would be exquisite swimmers. Unfortunately, their favourite thing to do at the beach is dig bathtubs just above the water line. And they're both pretty timid in (and near) the water.

So I sat with pride from the comfort of my Tommy Bahama beach chair under my Tommy Bahama Umbrella as they slowly ventured deeper and deeper into the water.

Until finally, Zooey was just about swept away by a wave. It was a much longer run to the water than I would have guessed while filming through a zoom lens.

I know I always start posts off about how or why I'm not posting very often. Mostly it's the monotony of living on an Island where there are only like 5 things to do. How frequently does anyone want to read about a trip to the beach? But it being whale season and all, I thought the occasion might be blog worthy. Filming whales from a stand up paddle board is more than a little difficult. I should probably purchases a Go Pro, which I could mount on my head or the board, or something, but all I've got is an aging waterproof Sony. Now, whales are quite a bit bigger when viewed from a stand up paddle board, a fact I never seem to remember until I get too close to a whale and suddenly start worrying about being eaten or accidentally crushed. And that's when I dropped the camera and decided I'd be safer on the other side of mi amigo Joe.

Here are a couple more videos. One has a fluke and the other shows that Joe knows how to stand up on a paddle board, as apparently there is some concern that people in Wisconsin or Minnesota might think he can't...though I doubt anyone in Wisconsin or Minnesota is reading my blog.