Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another lazy Sunday

Yep, its another of those days. Booger and I are lounging on the couch, watching Sesame Street and goofing off with his shape-sorter ball. I'm trying to get caught up on my blog comments, however my internet has been very spotty. I have crummy wireless broadband (my only option for internet), which is terrible even in town, but is nearly unusable out in the jungle. I bought a $200 antenna (with $70 of super-fat low-loss cable) to boost my signal, but its still only 3 out of 5 bars, on a good day. And today is apparently not a good day.

I blame today's laziness on my effort to go bike riding more often. I usually go for a few miles every other day, but on Friday something possessed me to go from my house to the highway. Its five miles each way, and none of them are close to being flat. We have some mean hills in my subdivision, which make my slow pace even slower. Nothing beats going down a big hill full speed, wind in your face and making that awesome whooshing sound in your ears. Instant trip back to being a kid for me. I'd like to get to a physical level where I can make the trip to the highway in less than thirty minutes, and not completely winded and covered in sweat, by the beginning of the fall semester. My trip took me around 45 minutes-1 hour. If I can just ride my bike to the bus stop, I won't have to get a ride there and home every day, and I'll have my bike for transportation in town. However, it rains pretty much every day here, and no amount of training will make me like riding in the rain.

Just a reminder, my little Childhood Nostalgia contest ends a little over a week from now on July 5th!

No_Its blog is an art blog of a talented guy that sketches some really interesting subjects. He's in a little bit of a slump for ideas, so give him some! My suggestion of a zombie clown riding a zombie dinosaur turned out pretty awesome.

I love video games from the 80's & 90's, and Jon over at Jon's Lost Corner covers a variety of them, with a smidge of new games as well.

Speaking of Sesame Street - I'm working on a multiple-post dedication to Jim Henson and his many fantastic creations, which I hope to start posting sometime this week. His work has touched several generations of Americans, and the Jim Henson Company continues to produce new films and shows. I hope you all will enjoy it!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Reasons why you DON'T want to live in Hawaii

[Wrote this a few days ago, forgot to hit Publish. Herp derp.]

As I write this, I'm sitting in a Starbucks roughly 30 miles from my home. Why? Because there is no DSL or cable available at my home, and this is the closest wifi spot. The place is packed with people on their laptops, cords are strew about across walkways and tables and along the walls, people are sitting on the floor in clusters near the precious few outlets, which have double surge protectors plugged into them. It looks like a refuge camp of hipsters. I'm sipping a $4 12 ounce iced coffee (the cheapest item on the menu), so I don't feel like such a leech. And to try and keep cool in this oppressively body-heated slum den. Why am I doing this? Because I NEED the newest Game of Thrones episode - its released late at night on Sunday here, so I drive here Mondays to get it. And how fast am I downloading this 550 mbs? A grand 35kbps. Seriously. I'll let you figure out how many hours I'll be stuck here before its finished.

But wait, I have less nerdy gripes than pathetic prevalence of internet availability!

Everything is #$%&ing expensive.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Good night, sweet cheap-ass Sony prince

It is with a heavy heart, and a mouth full of curses I announce the death of my fourth PS2. After owning it for a mere four months, it has bit the dust. I bought it used, with a bunch of memory cards, two controllers, a few random DVDs and a (useless) remote for $40. It worked fine, and I barely found time to play it. We put in maybe thirty hours, tops, then ended up unplugging it to make room on our teensy TV entertainment center, and insure its slender, delicate carriage would not be crushed.

But, alas - I hooked it back up this evening, and as I plugged its power cord into the surge protector the prongs gave an ominous spark. I frowned at that, but figured it was just static build-up or some other physics crap I'll never try wrapping my mind around. I popped in ICO, intending to FINALLY beat it, pressed the little red-lit power button, watched it turn green, then nearly instantly turn back to red. I watched my TV for a flicker showing it was receiving a signal. No sign of life.

More button pressing, more red-to-green flashing.

Unplug the cord from the surge protector, plug it into the wall. No improvement.

Jiggle the power cord in the back of the PS2. Nope.

Blow frantically into the open disc drawer. Cross fingers, press the button more.

Resist urge to bring a Fist of Doom upon the cheap, plastic goblin. Kick heavy entertainment center instead.

Get another power cord from one of the other unfortunate PS2s; doesn't magically fix itself.

Look up symptom online, find a half dozen potential problems, half a dozen urges to call Sony. Somehow I doubt they care very much about a broken second-hand PS2 in the light of the humongous angry mob the Playstation Network debacle has created.

Just how in the #$%& does something break when its just sitting on a #$%&ing shelf anyway?!

That brings my tally of dead consoles up to four PS2s (two original fat models bought new, two slims, one new, one used), two dead PS1s (one original used, one new slim), one dead Xbox (left behind by a roommate), and two Dreamcasts (one bought new that was purposefully destroyed by an asshole stepbrother, and one bought used). Consoles I've owned that NEVER stopped working - NES, SNES, original Sega Genesis (had a cheapass Genesis 3 that broke), Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64, Nintendo Gamecube, Gameboy (I'm convinced nothing outside of total water submersion can kill these), Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, and finally, a launch day Nintendo DS that has sustained tons of abuse, which I wish would die, so I could finally justify buying a DS Lite.

I could build a mountain of dead consoles, how about you guys?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Today is Father's Day, a day for dads to barbecue, go fish, drink some brewskies, and receive terrible gifts, like ties and aftershave. My husband, Booger and I will be attempting to have a cook-out, however the weather has been monsoon quality here, so we might end up cooking indoors. I had planned on buying him a PS3 for Father's Day and his birthday (coming in September), but I'm broke. Ha.

I'd like to remember my own dad here, briefly. I think of him every day, but Father's Day always hurts a little more. My father passed away in March, 2008, after finding out he had throat cancer only six months earlier. He was only 53. My dad was my best friend growing up, and broke all parent-child conventions. He let me make my own decisions (such as they were, as a kid), and didn't lecture. He spoke to me as a real person, gave me good advice, and earned my trust and assurance that he'd always be there to talk to, whether about every day worries, contemplating the universe, or everyday stuff.

What I loved best about my dad is how intelligent he was, without being an intellectual snob, and his absurd, yet sometimes black, sense of humor. My dad could make friends with anyone. And he would be their truest, most reliable friend. He would go to the ends of the earth for anyone, stand up to their bullies, and never treat any act of kindness as a debt owed to him. When I came to him when my friend confided in me that their family member had been getting drunk and touching them inappropriately, my dad invited them to stay overnight, spoke to them in the most calm, comforting way until they opened up, and took them to the police station to make a statement. Then, they stayed with us for weeks until they could move permanently to another family member's home. My dad was a hero to them, and even more so to me.

My dad was my favorite person in the world, and is the biggest inspiration to who I am today. I feel a lot of regrets, when it comes to our relationship. My mom moved with her fiance to Hawaii in 2000, and begged me to come and at least visit for a year. I did in 2001, when I was 15. In April 2002, my husband moved into my mom's boarding house, and we ended up falling in love in July. I decided to stay in Hawaii, because I was in love. My dad understood, and spoke of how I was grown up enough to decide where I lived.

The years went by, and I was happy. I feel guilty about not even visiting my dad, but my parents were both poor, and couldn't really afford to pay for a roundtrip ticket from Florida to Hawaii. December 2007, and my dad called me at Christmas. He complained of a swollen throat, a little pain, but he didn't think it was serious. I didn't speak to him again until February 2008, which was quite a long time. He had avoided telling me for as long as he could that he'd finally went to a doctor, and found out his sore throat was actually an advanced cancer. He was undergoing treatments, and he was hopeful that he was improving, but he wanted me to come and visit after so long. But, he demanded I wait until spring break (I was a full-time student, working two college jobs), because he wasn't worried and would not have me mess up my grades and jobs over a little visit. He told me he had bought me a ticket for March 22nd, and I excitedly packed for it right after getting home on Friday, the 21st. I woke up early the next morning, and packed my car for my boyfriend to drive me to the airport. As we were about to leave, my phone rang. It was my aunt, and she asked me to sit down, she had some really hard news to tell me. I'll never forget her words, her tone, and the feeling of my stomach instantly turning to a solid block of ice. Tears were in my eyes before she even finished saying 'Your dad passed in his sleep last night'.

When you get bad news, really bad news, its like you know before it even hits you. Then it hits you, like a semitruck full of concrete. Just writing this, I feel it all over again - my stomach is tense, I can't breathe deep without a physical pain, and all my thoughts just stop on 'he's gone, he's gone, he's gone'. I feel so much guilt for my dad passing away on his own, because I wasn't there with him, because he didn't want to tell me how bad he really was, how determined he was that his health not ruin my stupid classes, and just what a terrible daughter I was to not even see him for seven years, to just leave him to die alone. As anyone can tell, I've not moved on the grieving process on my dad's death. Its real and unreal all at once, even years later I still think 'he's in Florida', I wait for a letter from him, I sometimes pick up the phone to dial his number before my brain stops my fingers and says 'he's dead'. The sudden death of a loved one is a trauma in every sense of the word. Its painful, its jarring, it knocks your mental and physical wellbeing out of whack.

I don't want to end my post on such a down note. When I said I think of my dad every day, its not in a weeping, screaming fit. I think of all the good times we had. My dad singing Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue" (reason I linked that video last time) along to the radio in his big black, leather seats pride-and-joy 1970 Cadillac. The awesome sandcastles we'd build on the beach. The Halloween he dressed as Gomez, and I was Wednesday, from the Addams family. Playing 'Walkin' After Midnight' on his huuuuge piano when I was three or four. Him encouraging me to read, going to the library together, and bringing half the books home. I just want to be as good a friend and parent as he was to me.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Shel Silverstein was a genius

September 25, 1930 – May 10, 1999

Sheldon Allan Silverstein, better known as just Shel (or even Uncle Shelby, to the kids), is one of the few people I would nominate as a representative of great American art. He dabbled in everything, and succeeded at it all - poetry, song-writing, played many instruments, composed music, wrote screenplays and children's books, and of course - drew simple, yet fantastic art.

His best known works are the 'children's' book (personally, I think its a book for anyone, that happens to be short and have pictures), The Giving Tree, and his collections of poetry, Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic. He also won a Grammy for his song "A Boy Named Sue", which became one of Johnny Cash's best known songs.

Reading a few of Shel's poems is like an instant trip back to childhood for me. I remember reading them with my class in the first grade, then returning to the school's library to check out any of his books I could find. His poems have the feel that they're written with the soul of childhood - there's great imagination, pure joy, a world knowledge that somehow diminishes as we grow to adulthood, fear and wonder of the unknown, and stubbornness and selfish behavior we all know we possessed at some point and can laugh at when we see it put down so cleverly. He's one of those rare adults that not only remembers what its like to be a kid, but how to share that experience with everyone.

There are many books for children with colorful, detailed art, but someone Shel's simple ink sketches won the day with their humor, emotion, and imagination. In a way, they remind me of John Tenniel's surreal illustrations in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. There's so many of his poems and sketches I'd love to post, its easier to say I love them all, and to just go read his books.

Shel was an eccentric, in a way. He disliked doing interviews, making it difficult to learn about him as a person. He insisted that he had control over the way his books were presented, from the layout of the poems and art, to the type and size of font, and most especially, the grade of paper. He firmly believed books must be printed on good paper to be enjoyed properly, and would not allow most of his books to be printed as paperbacks. He was an open marijuana smoker, writing several songs referencing the drug.

Everyone should have at least one of his books - I recommend Where the Sidewalk Ends. Its a smaller book, just set it on your coffee table. Flip through it, read a poem or two. I bet many people that spot it will pick it up and enjoy a few too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Childhood Nostalgia Contest! $5 Amazon Giftcard Prize!

The time has come to test how shiny and awesome your childhood memories REALLY are! I'm giving away a $5 gift card, won by me through Swagbucks (my referral link)!

Its super-easy to enter - just post your happiest childhood memory story here as a comment. Most epic birthday or Christmas gift! Best vacation ever! Badass science fair winning! Beating a bully's ass! Shooting a man just to watch him die! Whatever memories you hold most dear from your time as a kid. You can include a link to pics, or a Youtube video.

I will pick the one I like best, based on arbitrary values of feel-goodiness and how large an urge I feel to high-five you and yell a 90's catch phrase.

Rules & stuff!
  • Only comments ON THIS POST will count as entries.
  • One entry per Blogger account. Posting multiple stories will disqualify you.
  • English only, please.
  • There is no minimum or maximum length to the story. If you need multiple comments to post it all, feel free.
  • You must post some kind of story, a solitary Youtube link or picture doesn't count!
  • The prize is in the form of one (1) giftcard code in the amount of $5.00, & will be delivered by email.
  • Contest ends on Tuesday, July 5th 2011 @ 12 PM Hawaii time (3 PM PST, 6 PM EST).
  • I will announce a winner on Friday, July 8th, 2011, time TBD. If there are a toooon of entries, it might take me longer.
With that all said - HAVE FUN, AND GET REMINISCING!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Happy Kamehameha Day!

A mock battle. Warriors fought mostly naked,
and oiled themselves as a defensive measure.

King Kam controlled Hawaii, Maui, Oahu and Molokai, but the smaller islands, Kau'ai and Ni'ihau proved difficult to add to the fold. He built a 40-ton warship to attack the islands, was forced to return to Hawaii to combat a rebellion, then was thrown back again a few years later, when disease racked his soldiers. He also fell sick, but soon recovered. He built up a massive fleet of schooners, war-canoes, armed with cannons and packed with thousands of warriors. However, it turned out his opponent, Kaumuali'i was a pacifist in the face of an obviously overwhelming force and bowed down to Kam as he pulled onto his shores. Kamehameha brought him into the fold as a vassal, and in 1810 claimed the entire island chain as his domain.

A typical 18th century battle canoe.

King Kamehameha retired from waging war to set up an effective government for his nation, establishing a tax system and promoting trade with Europe and United States, passing laws to protect innocents in war, preventing non-Hawaiians from owning land, and ending human
The King Kamehameha Statue in Hilo, Hawaii

King Kamehameha passed on May 8, 1819. Following the Hawaiian belief that your body holds the mana (power) of a person, his closest friends buried his body in secret. The location of his final resting place remains unknown to this day. However, there are many statues of King Kamehameha I. Gold-gilded statues of the King stand in Honolulu on Oahu, and Hilo on the Big Island. Painted statues also stand in Kapa'au and also the United States Capitol's Hall of Statuary.
The Kamehameha statue in Honolulu being draped in lei.

A float in the Kamehameha Day parade.

King Kamehameha Day is a wonderful celebration in the islands, with the largest events on Hawaii and Oahu. A large parade of floats covered in beautiful native flowers is followed by a mock royal court on pa'u (elaborately decorated show houses), led by a queen with eight princesses representing each island. Parades traditionally end in a ceremonial lei-draping of King Kamehameha's statues, including the one in the Statuary Hall! After the draping, there's a huge block party (ho'olaule'a), with loads of food, several bands, lots of vendors selling local crafts, art exhibitions, and many other fun activities. Great hula performances are another spectacular highlight of the celebrations, featuring dancers from all over the world.

The queen on the Kamehameha Day parade, on her pa'u.

Hula dancers compete

I must say, while I'm not one for crowds and big celebrations in general, I do enjoy King Kamehameha Day. Sadly, I'm missing out this year, as my husband has fortunately gotten a side job on Saturdays. I would have taken the bus, however it doesn't run on holidays. Also, my friends either aren't going, or don't have room to haul me and Booger in his car seat. Total bummer, and I'd love to share pictures of the fabulous parade and lei draping, especially! I'll
just have to enjoy the festivities on TV, but that doesn't make up for all the yummy food!

A water float of the parade.

A beautiful floral float in the parade.

Friday, June 10, 2011

King Kamehameha the First

Not that Kamehameha...

Tommorow is one of the larger Hawaiian holidays (the largest being the Merry Monarch Festival, in my opinion), King Kamehameha Day! It is a state holiday honoring King Kamehameha I, the first ruler to unite the Hawaiian islands, as well as found the Kingdom of Hawaii. Since most people that have never lived in Hawaii, 'Kamehameha' only evokes an image on a spikey yellow-haired dude screaming a lot while blasting entire planets to smithereens with a ball of energy, I thought I'd write up a ramblingly brief history of the first King of Hawaii.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Swagbucks Update!

I mentioned Swagbucks a few posts back, and that I'm planning an upcoming contest. Well, I just cashed in 450 Swagbucks for a $5 Amazon giftcard, making $35 total in gift cards I've earned! I figured $5 Amazon cash is a decent prize for a little friendly competition. I'll be announcing the details as soon as the gift card code is posted to my account (usually takes 3 to 7 days, in my experience). The contest will be open to everyone, so stay tuned!

6/10 UPDATE - The giftcard still hasn't been posted, and since its the weekend, it probably won't show until Monday or Tuesday. I'm going to post the contest on Monday, and it will run for two weeks. Rest assured, anyone can participate! Stay tuned!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Best way to spend Monday - at the beach!

Quickie update from my favorite beach on Hawaii, Onekahakaha Park! Commonly called the 'kiddie beach', because of its man-made break wall and imported white sands perfect for castle-building, no matter the weather its a fun place to waste away an afternoon. There's plenty of shade, and an ice cream truck is usually parked here in case you want to waste $8 on a bar that will evaporate before you can finish it.

[edit] Two old pictures, realized I haven't taken pictures at Onekahakaha in quite a while. Also, my camera makes everything look completely unexciting.

Behold - THE OCEAN. The Pacific one.

Dad of the year, all years

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Top 10 breakfast cereals totally worth the cavities!

Sorry for not updating in a few days, I've been a little busy around the home-front, as usual! Thanks for all your comments! The weather in the islands is still annoyingly un-paradise-like!

Pure nostalgia... and awful memories of having to eat many boxes
of terrible Cookie Crisp to get Donatello (the best turtle, hands down)

Booger's inspired me to write about cereal this morning. I woke up to the smell of sugar and blueberries, and a sticky grit covering my sheets. Somehow, he had scaled two good-size shelves to grab a box of Blueberry Muffin Tops. The box was probably 3/4 full, plenty to cover the kitchen floor, along with a generous portion of the living room, bedroom and bed as well, with enough left over to plump Booger's belly. I'm glad he didn't hurt himself! He's a master at slipping out of bed without waking me up, but damn... no cereal in the morning sucks.

Like most kids, I had an unhealthy addiction to breakfast cereals. I was ready to change that 'breakfast' only denomination to 'any-damn-time-of-the-day' cereal. I would gladly forsake a healthy dinner for a heaping bowl of sugar-coated mostly-corn-based crunchy bits of cereal. Now that I'm a so-called 'grown up', I should be able to get away with eating cereal for any meal, and inventing meals as excuses to eat more cereal ('midnight-thirty-meal', sounds fine to me!). However, since I do around 30% of the cooking for the house, that doesn't really fly.

Before anyone calls Child Protection Services on me for stuffing Booger full of sugary lard and corn based cereal, rest assured, he eats Cheerios, Mini Wheats & good ole oatmeal for breakfast.

Without further ado, here are my top 10 cereals of all time (in no particular order) - while some are gone, or drastically changed, know that these are probably the best cereals that will ever pound your mouth into sweet, sweet submission. Some appear healthy, but rest assured, they all have loads of delicious sugar!

"Gotta have my Pops - please change them back!"

1) Kellogg's Corn Pops
While it makes no sense that corn would make a perfect flavor for a cereal, somehow Corn Pops have always been one of my 'must have' cereals. However, the new 'added fiber' version of Corn Pops is completely inferior to the go
od old unhealthy, sugar-laden version.

More cupcake flavor than 90% of crappy
super-market bakery cupcakes!

2) Post Cupcake Pebbles
I grew up eating mountains of Fruity Pebbles, and to a lesser extent, Cocoa Pebbles when the cafeteria ran out of their fruity brethren. I noticed a new, bright teal and pink box on the shelves and had to give it a try. It lives up to the cupcake promise - it smells exactly like a vanilla frosted yellow cake, tastes just as sweet and diabetes-inducing, and creates delightful pink super-sweet milk. This has to be the sweetest cereal on my list, and its competing with my love of cake, meaning I'll probably only be able to handle one bowl a year or so.
Goodnight, sweet sugary prince...

3) General Mills French Toast Crunch
First of the discontinued masters of the cereal world, French Toast Crunch was another cereal that emulated another popular breakfast food... and then totally kicked its ass. I miss the toast-shaped version, although the later plain squares were also great. The taste was cinnamon-y & lightly vanilla-y. This cereal is still sold in Canada, making up 50% of my personal 'why Canada is great' list (the other reason - maple syrup everywhere!).

First ingredient - sugar. Just as things should be.

4) Post Golden Crisps
Probably the most old fashioned on the list, Golden Crisps have a sentimental value to me, as well as being delicious. Golden Crisps taste kind of nutty, with a lot of honey. My mom loved this cereal as a kid, and so she bought it for me when I was young. I have memories of having breakfast with her, both of us with a big bowl of Golden (then Sugar) Crisps.

Apparently Sugar Bear Santa brings good little
boys & girls sticks of butter for Christmas.

We even sent away for a goofy Christmas ornament of the Sugar Bear mascot which proudly hung on our tree for all the Christmases I remember.

Looking at this box again tells me this cereal HAD to be
incredibly delicious to overcome its disgusting appearance.

5) Kellogg Buzz Blasts
Another cereal gone too soon, Buzz Blasts were a graham cracker cereal with marshmallow bits. I'm not a Toy Story super-fan, and gave these a try because they were on sale. I was surprised how delicious they were and finished the box pretty fast. I intended to purchase a few boxes the next time I went shopping, knowing this was a limited cereal, but they had vanished when I searched for it again.

As far as I know, this is Malt-o-meal's only original
cereal; the rest are all play-it-safe knock-offs.

6) Malt-o-Meal Blueberry Muffin Tops
The only bargain cereal on my list, but its one of my very favorites. The appearance of this cereal is kind of cruddy; basic squares studded with so-fake-its-disturbing blue dots, coated in sugar. But, the taste is wonderfully like actual blueberry muffins with a crunch that lasts pretty well in milk. I have no idea if this cereal actually contains any real blueberries, and I refuse to look at the ingredients.

The superior version of Oreo O's, before their tragic death

7) Post Oreo O's
Rest in peace, delicious cookie-inspired cereal! Delightfully like real Oreos, but without the nasty (sorry, I dislike it) creme filling. These also gave milk that yummy after-cookie-dipping flavor. Out of all the discontinued cereals, this is my favorite and I have no idea why it was axed.

Healthy... in a way.

8) Kellogg's Fiber Plus Berry Yogurt Crunch
A challenger appears! I got this because I really need to stop eating all these sugary cereals, and the word 'fiber' means 'healthy', right? The appearance of this cereal is not that promising - really brown flakes, crunchy clusters with suspect purple and blue splotches and yellow blob things that are definitely NOT marshmallows. However, its actually quite yummy. The yogurt blobs' contribution to flavor is minimal, but the flakes and berries taste wonderful.

Costs roughly as much as your first born child.

9) Post Blueberry Morning
Another berry-based cereal - can you tell I love blueberries? This one has to be the most expensive cereal on my list, going for around $7 here in Hawaii (for a tiny 12.5 oz box!). While the corn flakes, real(ish) blueberries, and almonds are a winning combination, they 'refomulated' the cereal in the past few years, leaving it more bland than I remember it being (must of reduced the sugar, damn it).

Mmmm... anthropomorphic waffles.

10) Post Waffle Crisps
Another of the 'gone, but not forgotten' cereals, these were literally miniature waffles dusted with cinnamon, with a light syrup flavor. These also came in a 'Stawberry Blasted' version, which I was completely obsessed with. I loved Waffle Crisps because it was one of those rare cereals that are as enjoyable without milk as they are with milk.

Honorable Mentions

Good taste, terrible, roof of your mouth-destroying texture

Quaker Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch
I like Cap'n Crunch, but by the end of a bowl my mouth has this horrible blistered sensation. I'm curious if fiberglass or sandpaper is one of the secret ingredients.

A seasonal gangster of the cereal world.

Count Chocula
I wish Count Chocula was available all year, and not just around Halloween. Delicious chocolate bits with marshmallows, and my favorite cereal mascot (not because I'm some kind of vampire-obsessed, Twifag, because the Count is awesome).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Storms across the nation

I woke up this morning at a huge crack of lightning, and the rumble of thunder that shook my house following it. True lightning storms are very rare here in Hawaii, because our mountains act as a barrier, and in general, hot and cold fronts don't meet up here often. As a Florida native, it was odd not having an afternoon thunder storm regularly, and after a few years, I actually started to miss them. After ten years of few real storms, a powerful lightning storm, like this morning's, actually spooks me a bit.

Since the day seemed determined to be as boring as possible, I decided to finally tackle some cleaning. Easy way to occupy a small child who's not a scared-of-the-dark wussy - get a large cardboard box, some markers & a flashlight. Give flashlight & markers to child, put box on top of them, tell them we're playing the 'cavemen cave painting' game. Booger is too young to understand the concept of games, but he still gets a good 30 minute kick out of that one.

On an optimistically inclined day, my place looks like a semi hauling clothes collided with an (unoccupied) daycare, which just fell from the sky onto a library. Then there's the kitchen & its perpetual stack of dishes. Cute "cleaning won't kill you, but its best to be safe" metaphors aside, my house is a disaster zone that isn't much improved by cleaning, since there's no real place for most of the crap. I'd love to 'donate' (aka, beat to death with a burning club) many of the Booger's obnoxious loud toys, but ah - that's a post for another day.

I always try to catch the evening news, just to try and feel some small resemblance of a connection to the outside world. A report on a man who commited suicide by drowning himself while firefighters and police looked on caught my eye, especially a clip of his mother asking why no one attempted to rescue him. There's two reasons given they didn't attempt to haul him out of the ocean (he was in the water for around an hour before purposefully drowning himself) or even try to communicate with the man. First, the funding for water rescue training was cut a few years back; however, it's not stated if these officers had received that training or not. Secondly, officers stated they feared the man would be hostile to any assistance; however, this doesn't excuse not speaking to the man, in my opinion. Both these reasons do not explain why when the body floated back to shore in the waves, none of the officials made any attempt to retrieve it and attempt to resuscitate the man. A bystander was the one to pull it from the water.

So many elements are tangled up in this story - should suicide attempters be 'victims', are budget cuts to rescue workers a good idea, what happened to 'good Samaritans', & so on. To keep myself from being too verbose tonight - assisted suicide should be allowed, mentally ill people attempting to hurt themselves should be safely restrained if at all possible, budget cuts should be made in tax breaks to companies posting billion dollar profits, & good Samaritans no longer exist in a society so suffocated by fear.

Have a good night (or morning), and tell your loved ones you love them, as much as possible in the short time we have.