Saturday, July 31, 2010

It's Over, T-Pots

It's over.
My life as I know it.
More on that later.
So today, I decided to do some assemblage and make a tea pot.
Okay, not really a functional tea pot, those aren't really fun.
I wanted to do something a bit different, and abstract teapot, if you will:

That's the body.
I been looking at cones for too long.
The idea was to make something tall.
Next came the spout:

I didn't get it as thin as I wanted, but it should do.
Still getting used to this clay don't you know.
Here's the lid:

I usually throw the lids upside down. This mean I change out to a masonite bat so that I can take it off of the wheel and recenter it easily.
Doesn't look like much now, I still have to trim it.
I'll use my Industrial Klay Extruder Gun(IKEG) to do the handle when it's time to put everything together.
Here's the letter I got informing me that I was not selected for the teaching position I was hoping to get:

That was the career changing information I was waiting on all this time.
If you've been following along at home that is.
Here's how I felt after I read said letter:

I kinda wish I had gotten the letter on Monday, for it sort of bums out my weekend. This was the third time I had applied to that particular school and to be honest, hopes were high.
I guess everything happens for a reason.
On the other hand, I still have a tea pot to construct.
What I'll do is let it set up, dry out for a bit, before I start putting it together.
I'm hoping that it will be good to go by this evening.
Meanwhile, I need to go someplace and contemplate life.
Or something.

Friday, July 30, 2010

After Three Years

So I was out riding today and I hit me that it has been just about three years since I took up cycling.
The only real goal I had when I started was that for the price of the bike I bought, I had better get in at least five hundred miles.
Well five hundred miles and two bikes later, there I was going around Lanikai, where I had my first crash, huffing and a puffing to get up the small hill to the lookout.
Okay, not really.
The huffing and a puffing part.
I was thinking of how hard that hill was when I first started.
To my neophyte legs that is.
I'd grind up that short incline and have to stop to catch my breath at the top.
Of course, I'd make like I was just enjoying the view, for often girls on cruiser bikes would be passing me by.
It's all about looking fast, don't you know.
In those days, I wore regular shorts and a tee shirt with the sleeves cut off. I also carried a bag with all my sorts of stuff in it.
Well, these days, I have real bike shorts, a real jersey and I waist pack to carry all sorts of stuff in.
I sort of had to change over to padded shorts; I rode for about six months with a nasty(evil) saddle sore.
Learned a lesson there.
I just can't seem to get rid of the pack with all the stuff in it, even if evil Hoku gives me grief about it.
I also got the shoes, the socks, the pedals, three helmets, the heart rate monitor, the computer, the gloves, the eyeball protectors, the bling(cloak) wheels, anodized cable ends, Road ID, Super Blinky, Kryptonite lock, three different chain lubes, carbon fork, SLX, XT, and XTR.
Oh, and two other bikes that mainly sit in my living room so I can look at them.
Well okay, I ride them sometimes, but not as often as I should.
Or so I think.
I mean, I can only ride one bike at a time.
Now all this is good.
Usually, my interest, or better, my attention lasts only so long.
Actually, I'm sort of surprised I still ride regularly.
Sometimes I think it's the self inflicted suffering that keeps me going.
Or maybe it's the constant upgrading of the bike.
It sure isn't because my performance has increased.
I mean it has, I'm just sort of resigned to the fact that it has plateaued and that any increase will be marginal.
Or insignificant.
Yet I'm still out there.
A huffing and a puffing, watching my heart rate climb along with the incline of the road, feeling the burn in my legs, wondering when everything will explode.
I've decided that it's the sunshine that calls and beckons.
I cannot, with good conscience, just sit here on the couch, while the sun is shining and I have an operational bicycle at my disposal.
I mean every time I go out for a ride, it's like taking a little adventure.
There's the traffic to deal with, things to see, the feeling of the sun on my face and the wind in my helmeted hair, and places to explore.
Okay, not really.
About the exploring I mean.
Seeing as how I pretty much ride the same route over and over.
It's just about getting out there.
I'm not trying to be green.
I'm not trying to make a statement.
I'm not even trying to stay in shape anymore.
Riding my bike is just about getting out there.
Wherever there may be.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cactus Update, Limbo Land

The weather here has been unusually wet.
Not the all day kind of rain, but the once a day heavy down pour kind.
I guess it's okay, as long as the plants can drain.
The cactus plants of course.
Now I was reading somewhere that they grow really slow.
Like inches a year.
I don't know if this is some kind of growth spurt because they are young, but boy, some of them have really taken root:

Maybe it's just me, but I don't remember this guy being so fat. It looked like it was ready to bust out of the other planter it was in so I moved it into larger quarters.
This one that I'm particularly fond of is starting to grow new furry thingys on the side:

When I first got it, there was only one arm coming out, now there's like two and more on the way:

I'm sort of worried about the asymmetrical twist on the top though. Not sure what's up with that. I mean I don't want it to grow up all goofy looking.
If you know what I mean.
It also looks like a bird took a couple of bites out of it, though I can't imagine what kind of indigenous bird would eat cactus.
I like this one too:

In a Looney Tunes/Road Runner/Wiley Coyote kind of way. Maybe I'll start calling it my Acme cactus.
Anyways, so far so good.
Next, I'm going to order some cactus seeds to see if I can germinate and grow them from scratch.
I also need to get me some prickly pear.
So anyways, I'm still sort of waiting for that "thing" to settle itself.
I was hoping it would be over by this week, but it appears that I will have to suffer over the weekend.
Not thinking about it is the same as thinking about it; it just doesn't want to go away. I keep thinking no news is good news, then again, no news could be bad news too.
Maybe the "thing" shouldn't be good or bad, it should just be.
Whenever that is.
Until the "thing" happens or doesn't happen, I guess all I can do is act as if all is normal.
I'll just sit here and watch the cactus grow.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


The Flat Tire Staff

HONOLULU- The State Department of Transportation announced today that the long lost Road to Success has been found. "We always knew it was uphill, we just didn't know where it was," a department spokesperson said.
The Road to Success was originally laid in the 1950's but fell into disuse amid the growth and urbanization of the 1970's and 1980's. It became the path less traveled.
"The exact location of the Road to Success was lost in the paperwork," the department said. "With the economy the way it is now, we made every effort to try and locate it."
The Department is with holding the exact location of the road until improvements can be made.
"We have to add crosswalks, stop lights, pedestrian over passes, bike lanes, bus stops and such. We have to, in order to qualify for Federal funding."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Epic Day: Denouement

Here's the wrap up the yesterdays epic adventure.
Well epic in the sense that I had never been there before and a two hour ride turned into four.
Besides the pillboxes on the summit, there was one other reminder of Hawaii at war:

There are a few more places on the island where commemorative plaques like this exist.
I believe it was only within the last couple of years, officials were able to retrieve remains of a pilot who crashed over the Pali training during WWII. The crash site only recently became accessible.
Coming down the road from the observation platforms was just as nice as going up. I don't think you can get tired of the view, I mean if you are the sort that is into wide open expanses of blue nothingness:

The Ka'iwi channel between Moloka'i and Oahu is also a whale watching zone:

Well, the whole island is a whale watching zone; I have also seen folks sitting around in Lanikai waiting for whales to appear, but I've never seen any around here.
I saw a whales once off this side of island, actually only spouts, but it was pretty cool.
Besides the pillboxes, there are multiple places to explore.
Here's a path that leads down to what appears to be another observation post:

There were also some folks down below. I can't imagine how they got there:

I heard of a fisherman's trail that comes over from the Makapu'u side under the lighthouse, but it's supposed to be dangerous and only for the hardcore.
You many have noticed that there's also tons of prickly pear cactus up there!
I was stoked:

There were some people who were coming down carrying bags of the fruit, which look to me like orange mini pineapples. Must do some research.
Okay, I headed out of there pretty quick for I was just about out of water.
The road home:

Here's the Makai Pier where the University of Hawaii has their deep water submersibles:

Seems that water walking is getting popular on this side of the island too:

I'm telling you, the water was looking good. I contemplated taking off my shoes and just dipping my feet, especially after the hike up the hill. It was getting late though, so I kept going.
More horses:

As promised, polo!

There's a nice grandstand too:

Unfortunately, as I was watching, a rider and his horse collided with one of the goal pylons and they both went down. Horse and rider got up okay(I think, I hope!) but it seems like they were done for the day.
Or maybe it was like half time or something.
I had to climb through a fence to watch and then I had to make sure I didn't get horse poop stuck in my cleats!
Okay, there you go.
Stay tuned for the next-
Epic Adventure!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Final: Epic Day Part III

Pictures just don't do the view justice.
Throw in the fact that it was a beautiful day, and well, you got epic written all over it.
View from the top, Windward Oahu:

Flat Tire Land is about ten miles away:

I needed a shorter lens to get the whole thing in.
Below, is Makapu'u Beach and Sea Life Park:

Then to top it off, a para glider took off to the left of us.
Looks like there were two guys up there:

Wave to the flying contraption!

Boy, I could have stayed up there for hours.
Standard pic with bike:

Guess what my new title pic is going to be.
When you get to the upper platform, you look directly down on the lighthouse:

I think the information said the lighthouse is about 400 feet above sea level, so the platform is a couple of hundred feet above.
Next time I make it up here, I'm bring along some food and hanging out for a bit.
Here's a short video:

Here's the pillboxes and a pan down to Makapu'u beach:

I have to admit, I get a bit of vertigo so I wasn't getting too close to the edge.
Still, if you look far enough, I think I saw the edge of the world, somewhere over there:

That's about it.
I have some other images, but I'll put them up tomorrow.
Makapu'u lighthouse trail, worth another go.
For sure.

Sunday Final: Epic Day Part II

The access road to the lighthouse winds up the side of the mountain for 1.06 miles.
I measured it coming down.
Best guess is that I made it up about a quarter of that before getting off my bike and walking.
That's right!
I walked.
I got the blisters to prove it!
First rest stop, heart rate at 162:

This is the Ka'iwi coast.
I rested a bit and then got in another couple hundred yard before I gave up.
Off the bike, heart rate 168:

Not there yet:

Somewhere along here I decided that I don't like road where you look up and see sky.
The views though were spectacular:

Still not there yet:

There were lots of people going up and down the road. If you wanted to try and climb it on your bike, you're safe if you fall over and collapse, someone will come along to help.
Getting some altitude:

That's not the curve of the Earth by the way, that's my POS Nikon L20.
If you look good at the top picture, you can see the island of Moloka'i on the horizon. You could actually see Haleakala on Maui, it was that clear.
Unfortunately, it doesn't show in the pictures.
Still not there:

Here's a pic where I boosted the contrast so that Moloka'i, about 32 miles away, is visible:

I'm not sure if the access road was built specifically for the lighthouse. At the top, there are several military pillboxes, I would guess built during WWII for observation purposes.
We were under attack don't you know.
I can see the top, and finally the lighthouse:

The lighthouse is actually below the summit. There is no public access to the lighthouse, which is automated.
You can read more about it here.
At the summit, which is about 700 feet above sea level, there are two observing areas, both protected by railings.
The path the to the upper platform is weather beaten:

There are also more pillboxes to visit if you are so inclined.
There are trails that lead up to them, but it is no longer paved:

No way was I going to try that with my bike shoes so I just chilled out a bit and took in the view.
Part III on the way.

Sunday Final: Epic Day Part I

I didn't plan for it to happen this way.
It just sort of did.
I did a quick warm up lap around Kailua, then headed on out.
We're not in Kansas anymore Toto:

Bellows Air Force Base, where they are holding RIMPAC exercises and selling huli-huli chicken:

What's this?
No, polo!

Still a long way to go.
Luckily, there's Keneke's along the way:

Okay, I gotta stop for some pasteles.
I guess they are like tamales.
Or something:

My objective is in sight!
Makapu'u lighthouse!
I just gotta make it around the corner.

The trail to the Makapu'u lighthouse used to be closed but so many people were hiking it anyway, they made a park out of it.
I've never been up the trail:

Looks easy enough, right?
Part II coming up.