Archive for August, 2009

Today

Monday, August 31st, 2009
Garlic Chicken at Fatboy's

Garlic Chicken at Fatboy's

Today we were beat. After crawling pathetically out of bed, we dragged ourselves to Fatboy’s for breakfast, which consisted of what appear to be the two most common foodstuffs in the area: garlic chicken and kalua pig. Not that I mind, as they’re two very excellent foods. So we ate, then came back to our place, and searched for a nearby geocache. We’d passed the area almost every day, but hadn’t been able to find the thing. But today, we looked a little harder, and found it in only a few minutes. Logged the find, then went back to the pad.

Looking for a cache

Looking for a cache

Then we slept… for HOURS.

It was hot. Very hot. I felt like I’d been crushed under a giant mass of heat – everything felt heavy, slow, and sort of molasses-y. We managed to pull ourselves out of our groggy state long enough to slog to the beach, where we bobbed around in the water, looked for honu (no luck), and watched a bunch of dogs play on the beach (adorable).

Crash, take 2, then off to Sunday dinner at the K’s for the second week in a row.

Sunday Dinner @ the K's

Sunday Dinner @ the K's

It was great – they treated us like guests, and like family. We felt very welcome, and it was strange how familiar everyone felt, even though we’d only met once the week before. (except for S & E, who we’ve met previously). S cooked up some awesome food, the rest of the people brought some excellent other food, we ate ’till we were absolutely stupid, hung out and talked for a bit longer, and then came back and completely crashed out, watched ABDC, and here we are.

All in all, a lazy day, but I guess we were just wiped out after the week. One more day to go. I think the plan’s sort of like, “eat some of the food we have at the pad, try to swing by Boots & Kimo’s, clean up, checkΒ  out, go somewhere, hang out all day, meet up with SG for dinner, drop the car off, hop on the plane, and head home on the redeye.”

Should be exciting. It’s been a great trip.

Yesterday

Monday, August 31st, 2009
Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay

Our Saturday kicked off with leftover Mochiko Chicken from the previous night, supplemented by a pork burrito and coffee from Kalawapai Market, and a mango that the K’s gave us, then a dip in the ocean. While bobbing around, we saw a sea turtle right nearby! I chased after it for a bit, careful to keep my distance. Got to see its head pop up out of the surface less than 10 feet away. Funny little creatures.

Nice.

Nice.

After that, we took a little break, then headed out to Hanauma Bay for some snorkeling. Beautiful, beautiful place. Spent a couple hours at the bay, snorkeling around the really shallow coral. My favorite sighting was a big (2.5-3ft?) rainbow-colored fish that fed on the coral. It was big enough that when you swam up to it, you could hear it biting on the coral. Sounded like the “CHOMP CHOMP” you get when you eat a mouthful of Doritos. So maybe it’s the Dorito Fish.

After Hanauma, we decided to go see what was in Waikiki. On the way there, we discovered Ei-Nyung’s Home Button on her new iPhone had broken. Bleh. It’s not like we couldn’t wait to fix is at home, but it’s one of those annoyances that just gets under your skin. Since a quick search revealed an Apple store right where we were going, we figured we’d pop in and see if they could fix it. Which they did, on the spot, with no wait. Nice.

Replacing the Front of an iPhone

Replacing the Front of an iPhone

The other thing we noticed while in Waikiki was that HOLY CRAP are we glad we didn’t stay there. I dunno what it is about tourist traps, but they all look the same. And they all have a Cheesecake Factory. It may be some people’s idea of paradise, but it was my personal vision of hell on Earth. Our curiosity satisfied, we decided to get the hell out of Dodge.

Next stop was Tokkuri-Tei, for an early dinner. Ayyana had recommended the place, and while I wasn’t necessarily jonesing for Japanese food, we figured we had to make the stop. And I’m really glad we did. If you’ve been to Gochi, it’s … like Gochi. Different dishes, but a similar vibe. That type of food, at least.

Dere's a Crab in da Poke

Dere's a Crab in da Poke

They’ve apparently got some award-winning poke, though I dunno that I’d have even considered it poke. It was delicious, but the star of the meal was the yaki-ika, a squid pancake that was served like a pizza. The “weird dish” goes to the nori-chos, which were nachos made with deep-fried nori instead of chips. Without the cheese sauce, this would have been *excellent*, but the cheese sauce didn’t work for me.

Even still, the whole meal was fantastic. And if you’re in the Honolulu area, it’s definitely worth checking out.

MOAR FOODS!

MOAR FOODS!

After that, we headed to the K’s to check out their local church’s Obon festival thing, complete with EVEN MORE FOOD. When we showed up at the K’s, it turns out that they had EVEN MORE FOOD, so we had some MORE FOOD (which was awesome), and headed over to the obon. Where they had Taiko. Which is always awesome (though to varying degrees – this one was pretty darned good, though).

There was also dancing.

Obon Dancing

Obon Dancing

And “andagi,” which are apparently Okinawan donuts. Ei-Nyung was smitten by them. I thought they were pretty darned good, too. We hung out there for a bit, then headed back to Kailua, exhausted after a long day.

Guest Blogger: The Ei-Nyung

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Seppo’s note: I slept like garbage last night. Thoughts about the robbery kept me up until about 3am. So, today, I’ll let Ei-Nyung recap the events of yesterday and today. Fun times. I’ll have something to write about how try as I might, thieves have ruined part of the vacation, and there’s simply no denying that – but that the vacation as a whole has still been incredibly awesome, and I really like Oahu. Now, handing over to the wife.

Wow, after all these years, this is my first official guest post. OMGTHEHONOR! :p Heh. Seppo skipped HI: Day 3, so I suppose I will try to use my memory and twitter logs (mostly twitter) to reconstruct what we did that day.

HI: Day 3

We woke up early again, as we’ve been doing everyday. I got a call from my friend Alex (my best friend’s older sister) and decided to meet with her at Boots & Kimo’s. And yes, we had just gone there the day before. πŸ˜€ We ate with Alex and her 7 month old son, Aiden. This time, I had Hawaiian sweet sausage, two eggs over medium, and fried rice. Damn, that fried rice is good. Seppo had the fried rice omelet (apparently, not as good in omelet form, as the cheese was overwhelming) with hash browns (meh), and Alex had the macadamia nut pancakes and fried rice.

We went to Alex’s house in Kaneohe and hung out there for a bit. She has a great view of the mountains from her house. We came back home for a nap, then Alex & Aiden came to visit and go to the beach. Whenever I say “the beach”, I mean Kailua beach, which we are literally a couple of hundred feet from. Eet ees awesome.

We headed back over to Alex’s neighborhood to Haleiwa Joe’s for dinner.

Seppo and Alex nomming on dinner

Seppo and Alex nomming on dinner

I think we came back home and conked out.

Seppo covered Day 4 pretty well, but I need to add this photo:

Seppo nomming on an early lunch at Aiea Bowl

Seppo nomming on an early lunch at Aiea Bowl

It’s like all we do is eat. Wait, that’s exactly right.

This brings us to…

HI: Day 5

On Day 4, we decided that we wanted to explore the famed Lanikai Beach, just a bit south of where we are staying. But first, we went into town to get some curry buns, a spam & egg bun, and a portugese sausage & cheese bun (this was the big winner, IMO) because that is how we roll.

It’s only about 1.5 miles from where we are staying to Lanikai but the path is rather wacky (and I’m totally enfeebled at the moment on dry land), so we decide to drive there. Finding a path to the water that actually led to beach rather than a boat launch point was rather challenging, as we ended up trying two or three paths before finding a good one. We ate the buns at one of the non-beach paths.

Lanikai is very, very small and the beach is, in general, shorter than over on the Kailua side. But the waves were gentle and there was a decent amount of coral close to the shore, so after bobbing out there for a while, we decided it’ll be a good idea to pick up some snorkel gear and go back.

And we did! Oh, but on our first run of the day, I spotted a sea turtle! I thought it was a rock, which was confusing because it was moving, then it broke through the surface where I could see its little face. Awesome.

Anyway, we returned to Lanikai in the afternoon, after Seppo ran out to Don Quijote (they spell it with a ‘j’ rather than the standard ‘x’) to pick up the gear. I will admit that I was not 100% convinced we’ll see any fish, but I am glad to say I was wrong and Seppo was 100% right. πŸ™‚ We saw all manner of fish, not to mention an creepy eel. I suppose I think all eels are creepy looking. I managed to overcome some of my more frantic panic at sticking my face under water and continuing to breathe and had a great time. I love being in the water because nothing hurts in water. I also find myself constantly overheated, so it’s nice to cool off in the ocean.

Dinner time rolled around, and we hit up Uahi Grill, which we had tried to go to on another day (and failed). Oh MAN, was my garlic chicken good! Seppo ate something or another. Oh wait, twitter tells me it was kalua pig with kale. That was quite good as well, with a great smokey, deeep flavor offset by the greens.

Eating at Uahi Island Grill

Eating at Uahi Island Grill

We ate much too fast — scarfed down the entire meal in like 20 minutes flat) and found ourselves with nothing to do at 6:30 in the evening. We went to a bookstore for a bit but realized that we didn’t want to buy any books to carry back home. After wandering aimlessly for a bit, we went home then watched a movie on Netflix. Heh.

Kailua doesn’t have a big nightlife, and we aren’t really nightlife kind of people, so it was a fine evening of relaxing, but it did seem odd to be done with our day so early. Heh.

HI: Day 6
Seppo and I both slept badly last night yet still woke up pretty early. We headed out to the local market to grab some coffee (decaf for me) and head out to Laniakea Beach to spot some turtles, thanks to a tip from Ayyana. πŸ˜€

Looking for Turtles

Looking for Turtles

We caught sight of either 6 or 7 turtles. They were incredibly cute! I didn’t think it would be as exciting as it was. Two people who were snorkeling at the beach were caught completely off-guard by two turtles, which was hilarious to see.

We got back to the car and found that my iPhone had spawned some spontaneous art while in Seppo’s pocket.

Weird "found" art iPhone profile

Weird "found" art iPhone profile

Can you see the lady’s profile, looking up and to the left? Odd, but cute. We headed out from the beach in search of some food, both of us starving and slightly lightheaded from not eating earlier. Some of it was probably due to not drinking enough and being out in the sun too long too, but either way, we found some food at North Shore Okazu & Bento.

Seppo nomming on some handrolls and musubi at North Shore Okazu & Bento

Seppo nomming on some handrolls and musubi at North Shore Okazu & Bento

Their bacon, scallion, and crab spicy handroll was awesome! As was the spicy shrimp tempura roll. I also got a spam & takuwan musubi and a ume musubi. The ume one was weird. The ume itself was like this tiny hard, nutty-textured thing, something I’m totally not used to.

Food needs taken care of, we headed to the Bonzai Pipeline to see some surfing action.

Watching surfers at the Banzai Pipeline

Watching surfers at the Banzai Pipeline

It was surfy goodness. We sat on a little bench and people-watched for a while, then headed back to home turf.

We got back early afternoon, and I attempted to take a nap. Seppo went out to our beach to see if there was anything to see with the snorkeling gear and reported that there was nothing. Heh. We headed back out around 5pm together for a little early evening dip in the water. I’ve mentioned that I love being in the water, and it’s absolutely true. It makes all my swelling go down significantly. And the color and sounds are just astounding and soothing.

We headed out to dinner after the beach, after much googling and yelping (as we have been doing for every meal – heh), to a little place called The Food Factory. Wow, their menu is crazy big. The food was quite good, not super-remarkably so, but good enough that I enjoy every bite I ate. Seppo and I went a little overboard, he with a loco moco and lau lau, and me with a mochiko chicken and saimin. I ended up taking home my first leftovers from a meal during this trip! πŸ˜€ And also took my favorite picture of Seppo from this trip:

Seppo nomming on mochiko chicken and lau lau at The Food Factory

Seppo nomming on mochiko chicken and lau lau at The Food Factory

Check out his crazy eyes! πŸ˜€

I don’t think we have fixed plans for the morning tomorrow, but in the evening, we are heading out to an Obon Dance near Lindsi’s parents’ house. Exciting street food and dancing!

H1: Day 4

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Today, the only thing we had planned was a trip to the Polynesian Cultural Center. A co-worker kindly bought us tickets to the place, ’cause it was something he’d done when he was in Oahu that he really liked. Which is great, ’cause that’s exactly the kind of assistance that works great on a trip to a new place.

So, we were just at a loss for what to do in the morning. So we ran errands. Ha. Got a new belt, to replace the one that was stolen, and Ei-Nyung got some new underwear to replace the underwear that was… yeah. Stolen. Fun. On the way back from Macy’s (yeah, shaddap – it was close, adn we knew they’d have what we were looking for), we stopped off at Island Snow, a skate/surf gear shop/shave ice place. Got a bag (to replace… yeah, you get it) and a shave ice. The shave ice was good – not much more or less than expected, though the flavors the guy behind the counter recommended were surprisingly tasty.

Oh! Forgot to mention – before going to Macy’s, we went to lunch. LUNCH WAS AWESOME.

img_0555

We ate at “The Alley,” which is the restaurant inside Aiea Bowl, a bowling alley about 20 minutes from where we were staying. Yes, we drove 20 minutes to eat at a bowling alley. It’d been recommended on Chowhound. We got the “Tasty Chicken” (foreground), the garlic fries (background), a bowl of ochazuke, and another bown of yakisoba. It was all pretty surprisingly awesome. I’d definitely go back – the best things, IMO, were the ochazuke and the Tasty Chicken, though both the garlic fries and yakisoba were well above average.

So, anyway – after that was the shopping, and the shave ice. Then off to the PCC*.

It was about a 40 minute drive – and while it’s a gorgeous drive, the problem for me was that it was exactly the drive to the North Shore, where we got robbed, so the whole time I kept thinking of that. Which sucked – there’s nothing to be done about it, but it’s difficult to just not think about it, even if I really, really want to just let it go and get on with things.

When we arrived at the PCC, there was a show already underway, so we scurried along to check it out. The PCC’s basically got five branches – Tonga, Samoa, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Fiji. Each was represented by some traditional dance on a boat as they made their way down the little manufactured river. The highlight was the Haka, a Maori dance that we first saw on the Korean show Dream Team, which I’ve really grown to enjoy watching. It’s a powerful, intimidating, and strange dance, full of chest-slapping, tongue-sticking-out, eye-bulging, and stomping. I LOVE it.

img_0561

So that was nice.

We then went and watched an IMAX movie on coral reefs, walked around to tht little villages, and watched some demonstrations of stuff. Taken as an authentic experience, the place is sort of ridiculous, but as a little Polynesian tourist EPCOT center, it’s pretty entertaining.

After walking around and checking out the villages, we were off to the Luau, where we got our lei’s and sat down for dinner. The show was entertaining – the MC was pretty sharp – strangely, did a really good Louis Armstrong impression, among other things. The food was good – the poke was surprisngly good, and I had enough of it that it was at least a little unreasonable. πŸ™‚

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After the Luau, we went to watch “Ha – The Breath of Life,” which was the big show of the evening. Didn’t really know what to expect. Started off with a strange narrative that was a little hard to follow, and ended up basically following a guy’s life story as he grows up, falls in love, gets married, etc., while transitioning between the various cultures at the PCC. It was good – lots of people, very energetic performances… then it got INSANE. The fire show at the end was pretty freaking epic, and in the end, we left with big smiles on our faces, grateful to the friend that got us tickets, and tired from a fun day.

* The only negative thing about the experience was that a couple days prior, someone had mentioned that the PCC was heavily tied to the branch of BYU that’s adjacent to it, and that it’s a Mormon-run establishment. Given the Mormons’ involvement in Prop 8 in CA, I’m not exactly happy with their involvement in our culture. How that extends to the cultures represented at the PCC, I honestly can’t say. But would like to find out.

And if one day, I can go see a Haka done with experienced Maori tribesmen, it would BLOW MY MIND.

All in all, though – good day. Full of good food, lots of new experiences. Now I’m beat.

photo-178

HI: Day 2

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Excited after an awesome 1st day in Hawaii, we took up some of our friends’ suggestions, and tooled around the island. Started the day at Boots & Kinos, whose macadamia nut pancakes are *ridiculous*. Their fried rice was also spectacular.

Went back to the pad for a couple minutes, then off to officially check in at the property rental spot. Once all the bureaucracy was taken care of, off to Three Tables on the north shore!

On the way there, we stopped at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, which was tasty, though honestly, not super remarkable.

Then we headed to Three Tables, which was awesome. Had a great couple hours snorkeling, swimming with the fishies, and otherwise lounging around and getting mad sunburned.

And there’s where the fun ended.

We got back to our car, popped the trunk, and found our bag was gone. Our bag. With our camera, our e-readers, our phones, our sunglasses, my prescription glasses, and my wallet. And probably more stuff, but that was all I could remember. My pants. My only good belt. Ei-Nyung’s clothes.

Motherfuckers stole my fucking prescription glasses, those worthless fucks. Christ.

It’s times like this where I’m glad there are laws to protect the criminals, because if I’d seen one of these worthless meatbags with my stuff, I wouldn’t have hesitated in running them over, then backing up, and then getting out of the car and kicking their mangled fucking corpse.

I know you’ll never see this, but: fuck you. I hope my phone battery explodes and you and your whole family die in a fucking fire.

That said, we handled it alright. Called the cops on a kind stranger’s phone, filed a report, went back to the pad, canceled our cards, suspended our phones, and that was that. I’ve got a piece of paper that I can supposedly use to get on the flight home next week as well.

I’m trying not to be like, “Great. That’s that. Fuck this place, I’m outta here.” Because this IS our last vacation before the kid. Everyone ELSE here has been spectacular. The place is freaking paradise. I don’t want this to ruin the vacation, and I think it won’t, but it’s not going to ever have that same idyllic feeling that the trip to Tulum had.

We swung by the local AT&T store a town away and got new phones, ’cause frankly, those were the things whose (aside from my wallet) utility we were going to miss the most.

So… yeah. Tomorrow, we start again. Maybe go to the beach, ignore the mad sunburn on my back from snorkeling, and try not to think thoughts of strangling worthless thieves in the beautiful ocean.

HI: Day 1

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Crazy Hair

Got in late last night after an unremarkable flight. Grabbed the rental car, drove to the place to pick up the rental stuff, then to the cottage. Played some Word Ace and then crashed.

Woke up this morning, and we were immediately off to the beach. It was as close, and as amazing as expected. Wow. Bobbed around in the waves, walked down toward Lanikai, grabbed lunch at a little convenience store (good sandwich), then crashed for a bit.

Got up, went out to get some food – tried a couple places, but ended up at Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, which Ayyana had recommended. I had a burger. It was bigger than I should have eaten. πŸ˜€

Then we went back to the pad, snoozed for a bit, went back out to bob around in the waves (literally, that’s almost all we’re doing), then got ready to go to LK’s family’s for dinner.

AMAZING dinner. Smoked pork, some beautifully done steak & brisket, some Okinawan sweet potato, salad, home-grown cucumber kimchi, and then a bunch of fruit, and chocolate chip cookies.

Spent some time with the K’s, and had a really good time. Invited to come back the next week, which we’ll definitely do.

Day 1? Big success. Tomorrow? Turtles. Maybe Macadamia nut pancakes.

A Terrible Time for an Awesome Trip

Friday, August 21st, 2009

mapdata

Word Ace launched on Thursday! I’m pretty excited, as I think this is probably the best game I’ve ever had the pleasure of working on. Oh, sure – other games were crazier, or weirder, or whatever – but this one’s got that “pop” – that addictive, “gotta play just a little more” thing that’s hard to consciously chase down.

Of course, that’s when we’ve got a trip to Hawaii scheduled. Now, I’ve been trying to get my sorry as to Hawaii for 15 years, and this looks to be my first time actually succeeding at the endeavor, so we’re GOING, DAMMIT – but I’ll definitely end up being a little more plugged-in than I would have otherwise maybe hoped for.

Still, it’s not a bad thing. I’m excited to see how the game does, and talk to people who’ve had the chance to play it. I LOVE playing with new people, and seeing the kind of craziness that ensues from having 10,000 people playing a game that earlier this week, only maybe 20 people had ever laid their eyes on. I’m hoping that by the time we get back from the trip, we’ll have 100,000 downloads. We’ll see. πŸ™‚

But yeah – a week+ of chilling out. Definitely looking forward to it. And it’s a week of relatively low-design work at work (other than the more PR/marketing-like stuff I flail away at), so things should be alright. I’m just antsy, is all.

Looking forward to lying on the beach, exploring the island, eating the local food, and spending some time with Ei-Nyung somewhere new. Our last trip alone for the forseeable future. It’s strange how quickly life is about to change. For the last what, eleven years, it’s been the two of us. We make a great little team. πŸ™‚ Hopefully the new intern will do alright, too.

things & stuff

Monday, August 17th, 2009

1.) District 9? Awesome. Will definitely see it again, and the Blu-Ray’s a no-brainer.

2.) It’s a great situation when your biggest stresses at work are that you have too many awesome opportunities, and not enough time.

3.) Big things soon. Can’t wait.

4.) Impending parenthood is… wow.

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water leak

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

So, we got an estimate for taking a comprehensive look at fixing the water leak. $40K. Ridiculous, but finally, enough I guess to re-motivate me to do the fundamental testing to try to get a better assessment of what’s going on, I guess. And enough to wake me up at 3 in the morning in such a way that I can’t get back to sleep. Fun!

So, I know where the source for one of the leaks is. At least, I know where I can shoot the hose to guarantee the window leaks there. The second part of that is to make sure that if I shoot somewhere else, it *doesn’t* leak. So I’ll probably start there, ’cause that’s the easiest thing to do.

Second thing to do is to route the backyard hose through the house, and out the dining room window to test both above the window, the window, and the little ledge roof under it, because I know there’s some water coming in there – I can see it in the edge of the floor.

After that, I need to get up onto the roof. This might mean borrowing a ladder from a neighbor (if anyone has an extend-able ladder that’ll be tall enough to get me on the roof) and hosing down the roof for a bit.

Then I need to somehow get water above the living room window. This is tricky because it’s really high up, but maybe the backyard hose through the house, out the window, then just stick an arm out see what I can do holding the hose.

It all sucks, because if it leaks, it’ll damage the new drywall. But I guess we should have ripped off this part of the drywall when we had the chance and didn’t. Gargh.

Oh, well. Live and don’t learn then maybe learn. That’s me.