Archive for December, 2002

Hawaii wrap-up

Tuesday, December 31st, 2002

What can I say? It was an incredible trip. Hawaii is not only my newest state, it’s also definitely one of my favorite states, if not the favorite.


I stand in front of Kauai’s famous Wailua Falls. Photo by Becky.

In the realm of nerdy Brendan milestones, this vacation established several:

  • 47th U.S. state visited in life: Hawaii
  • Southernmost point visited in life*: Waikiki Beach, Oahu
  • Westernmost point visited in life: 160° 06′ W longitude, on a boat offshore of Ni’ihau
  • *does not include airplane flyovers

    (If you’re wondering, my northernmost lifetime point is somewhere in the Scottish Highlands, and my easternmost lifetime point is somewhere in or near Hamburg, Germany. All four of my ordinal-direction records were set with Becky.)

    I also went snorkeling for the first time ever, saw dolphins at closer range than I ever had before, and saw nude sunbathers on a beach for the first time. Twice. :)


    A spinner dolphin swims right next to our boat. Here’s a pic of several dolphins. Sorry, no pictures of nude sunbathers. :)

    Well, I’ll say more about Hawaii once I get more pictures online. Right now, I’m still putting together the pieces of my broken hard drive, but the pictures have been rescued, and I will try to put more of them online by Thursday. For the moment, suffice it to say, Hawaii is awesome.

    Hauoli Makahiki Hou! (Happy New Year!)

    College football update

    Monday, December 30th, 2002

    To date, the Pac-10 is not doing too well in the bowls. The only winner so far — and it pains me to say this, it really does — is UCLA, which beat those powerhouse New Mexico Lobos 27-13 in the Las Vegas Bowl. Oregon State lost to Pittsburgh 38-13 in the Insight Bowl, Arizona State made a game of it but still lost to BCS-worthy Kansas State 34-27 in the Holiday Bowl, and Oregon just wrapped up an embarrassing 38-17 loss to Wake Forest.

    That adds up to Pac-10 losses to the Big 12 (respectable), the Big East (marginal), and the ACC (terrible). Oh yeah, and we beat a team from… uh… the Mountain West.

    Hopefully we’ll have better luck in our next chance against the Big 12 (Washington State vs. Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl) and against the Big 10 (Washington vs. Purdue in the Sun Bowl and, most importantly, USC vs. Iowa in the Orange Bowl).

    In other USC-related news, the Cincinnati Bengals have fired their coach after finishing their NFL-worst 2-14 season with a pathetic 27-9 loss to the Bills. Why is this USC-related news? Because it’s where Carson Palmer is probably headed next year. The Bengals’ loss to the Bills wrapped up the “honor” of getting #1 pick in the draft, which goes to the league’s worst team.

    My hometown paper, The Hartford Courant, took a cheap shot at Palmer yesterday by noting, “Texans quarterback David Carr has been sacked 73 times, setting an NFL record. Note to Carson Palmer: Records are made to be broken.” Of course, their real target may have been the Bengals offensive line rather than Palmer himself…

    And if the Bengals don’t take Carson? Hello, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, or Da Bears.

    Post not from cell phone

    Monday, December 30th, 2002

    I accidentally left my cell phone in Arizona at Becky’s house. D’oh!!! That’s why I didn’t post any updates about my flight home today. But I’m back in Newington. Hurrah!

    I’ll write a Hawaii wrap-up shortly.

    Post from cell phone

    Sunday, December 29th, 2002

    On ground in Phoenix, AZ. Just left Barry M. Goldwater Terminal, now going to car.

    Post from cell phone

    Sunday, December 29th, 2002

    At Honolulu, about to board flight to Phoenix.

    Post from cell phone

    Saturday, December 28th, 2002

    At Lihue Airport, checking in for flight to Honolulu and then Phoenix. Aloha, Kauai. Mahalo for a great week!

    Photo

    Wednesday, December 25th, 2002


    A surfer takes on a monster wave along Kauai’s west coast Dec. 24. Here are some more waves.

    Mele Kalikimaka
    (That’s “Merry Christmas” in Hawaiian)

    Tuesday, December 24th, 2002

    It’s CHRISTMAS!!! Above is a picture of the “hang-loose” Santa Claus whom we saw in eastern Kauai this afternoon, Christmas Eve, riding on horseback along the roadside. (Pardon the reflections in the window.) Below is another “hang-loose” Santa, in this case a statue, that Becky and I saw a few days ago in Honolulu.

    Meanwhile, here’s a photo proving that some traditions never change: earlier this evening, I hung my Christmas stocking from a curtain rod in our time-share condo in northern Kauai, and then I placed my stuffed cat, Kitty, inside it. Kitty has spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning inside my stocking every year since being “born in a Christmas stocking” in the late 1980s, and even though I’m five time zones away from home, this year is no exception.

    Here in Hawaii, the Christmas Day weather forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and highs 80 to 85. Back home, it’s a different story. Dreams of a White Christmas are going to come true, and then some, with 7 to 14 inches of snow forecast for the Hartford area. Local TV station WFSB is calling it Winter Storm Blake, and they say it may produce “record Christmas snowfall.” Check out the latest radar loop, or view the coverage on CTNow.com, the Hartford Courant‘s website. Better yet, here’s a live webcam image of Hartford! (Also check out Connecticut’s traffic cams and the UConn webcam.)

    I’m not sure exactly what my parents’ Christmas plans are, but they will apparently include shoveling. :) Hopefully they’ll also include taking some videos of the snow! Out here, we’re planning to attend Christmas Mass at 8:00 AM, then do some more Kauai touring in the late morning and afternoon before heading to a nice Christmas dinner in Kapa’a at 5:30 PM.

    Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

    A Kauai Christmas

    Monday, December 23rd, 2002

    We’re having a great time in Kauai. On Sunday, we took a boat ride up the Wailua River to a place called Fern Grotto, listening all the while to live Hawaiian music; next we toured the south shore of the island a bit, visiting a place called Spouting Horn and doing some impromptu whale watching; and then we frolicked in the giant surf on the east coast. Monday began with a magnificent (if somewhat bumpy) helicopter ride all over the island, followed by a trip to Kilauea Lighthouse (on the northernmost point of land in the inhabited Hawaiian islands), and then several hours of wading, swimming, snorkeling, and sandcastle-building at Tunnels Beach on the north coast. We saw a bunch of beautiful fish swimming all around us, and a yellow-and-blue fish was flirting with my yellow-and-blue underwater camera!

    Tomorrow (Tuesday), the plan is to tour the southwest part of the island and maybe Waimea Canyon (though we saw a good deal of that from the helicopter this morning) before going out for a fancy Italian dinner in the evening. Then on Wednesday, Christmas Day, we’ll go to church in the morning and do a bit of early-afternoon touring before heading to a five-star restaurant for another nice dinner. Thursday is the day of our big boat ride — a combined snorkeling and adventure cruise to nearby Ni’ihau — and on Friday, we’re going to a luau. Saturday, we fly home. (Or, in my case, I fly to Arizona, then return home to Connecticut on Monday.)

    I’ve already posted lots of pictures at right, but here’s one you haven’t seen yet… our work-in-progress “Christmas tree” in the living room of the timeshare condo we’re staying in. (The Christmas lights are on a short battery-operated string that I brought from home.)

    Photo

    Monday, December 23rd, 2002


    Becky and I pose in front of the lighthouse at Kilauea Point, the northernmost point in the inhabited Hawaiian Islands, on Dec. 23.

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    Monday, December 23rd, 2002


    A view during our Dec. 23 helicopter ride of Kauai’s rugged Na Pali coast. Here are aerial pictures of a sandy beach and mountains.

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    Monday, December 23rd, 2002


    Becky smiles for the camera during our helicopter ride over Kauai on the morning of Dec. 23. Here’s a picture of Becky and her mom looking out at Waimea Canyon.

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    Monday, December 23rd, 2002


    Water erupts from the Spouting Horn, a sort of tidal geyser forged by volcanic rock, on Dec. 22. Here’s a video, with sound, of the Sprouting Horn (244 KB). At the same location, we saw another type of spout — from a whale. Two or more whales, actually — humpbacks, we believe.

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    Monday, December 23rd, 2002


    Becky cuddles with a stray cat along the Fern Grotto trail on Dec. 22, while Gerry pets it.

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    Monday, December 23rd, 2002


    Becky’s brother Casey and his fiancee Gerry cuddle during our boat ride Dec. 22 up the Wailua River.