Dorion Mode

January 21, 2020

Hawai'i Cruisin

Filed under: Uncategorized — Robinson Dorion @ 1:39 p.m.

About 18 months ago, during the previous family reunion of my maternal side at a beach house on Long Island, there were talks about a Hawai'i cruise to bring in 2020. I didn't know much about Hawai'i and figured it was overrated since gringos generally barely travel 1. As the date approached I had pretty low expectations and wasn't really looking forward to going all the way out there, but the maternal side has experienced a bit of diaspora 2 and I find spending time with family one of the best opportunities to learn about myself and where I came from. By the time the week was through, I needed it to be through because I was enjoying myself so much I barely slept 3.

Which brings me to the point that pains me to state, but must be stated : I didn't take any pictures until about January the 2nd, day 8 of 11 on the trip, at which point I took a fuckton4. I hopped on a red eye to Las Vegas where I spent the day awaiting my next red eye back to Panama. In the final stretch of my sleepless daze, I left my camera somewhere between the rental car drop off and my gate and didn't realize it till I woke up during the descent into PTY. The real blow is I leveraged up on dumb risk by not taking the 5 mins it'd have taken to backup the pics onto my laptop. The pictures presented below were gathered from friends, family and a cheap fondleslate5. The stupidity's mine to own and kill 6, so let's get to lookin' at some views of the Rainbow State.

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Boom ! Above and below, bows on Waikiki Beach, Oahu the morning of December 27th.

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Waikiki was swamp reclaimed by the Americans 7, above is the canal they cut where they frequently have rowing races which lies less than 10 blocks from the sand.

After boarding our vessel, The Pride of America (archived) by Norwegian Cruise Lines, the afternoon of Saturday the 28th, we departed the port of Honolulu, Oahu and cruised the sea for the night to wake up in Maui.

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Above and below, Maui morning. Below after I'd been up early with the old man to hit the gym. The early morning gym routine lasted till about the morning of new year's eve.

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We stayed in port at Maui from the morning of the 29th to the afternoon of the 30th. There were all sorts of excursions available and plenty in partnership with the cruise line. I didn't get off the boat at Maui. I did okay keeping up reading logs and blogs - trinque, bvt and spyked were en fuego - but as I explained :

dorion: http://logs.ossasepia.com/log/ossasepia/2020-01-08#1014862 << upon reflection, I went into the hawaii trip with pretty low expectations and not much of a plan, figured I'd spend a lot of time doing normal tasks. when I got there I started enjoying myself and then wanted to make the most of that and didn't properly adjust.

So let's delve a bit on what I enjoyed.

First off, a cruise ship is a feat of engineering guided by management to behold. This vessel is 13 decks, ~280 meters long, carrying 80k tonnage, ~2.1k+ passengers, ~900+ crew.

Second off, typically in communities 8 of 3k people everyone speaks the same language, there are more animals than people in the area and usually there are no traffic lights - y'know, rural. On this ship I don't know how many languages total were being spoken, but easily over a dozen. There are 16 dinning options, 6-7 bars, 2 pools, 5 jacuzzis, gym/spa, arcade, card room, library, theater, art gallery. With time limited to a week and people going on dry land everyday, you're not going to speak with or meet everyone even if you wanted to, y'known urban.

Third off, I enjoyed the dining very much. The first night our party of 23 ate at the Liberty Restaurant and every other night we ate at Skyline. The menus were great and this thing was all you can eat, all you can drink. I had trout, prime rib, paella, duck, salmon, assorted salads and soups, Manhattans, vino, steaks, cakes, pies, sherbet, espresso double shots with Baileys, you get the idea. Wanna try something and don't end up liking it ? Fine, order something else, it's priced into what was already paid.

Fourth off, the crew was great. At dinner, we had the same set of servers every night. The bartenders not only were remembering your name by the second day, but what you were going to order. I reckon it's a mixture of the aloha spirit, the weather, the management and being the only American flagged cruise ship going, which means it is complaint with all state 9 and federal laws 10. They typically go five months on, two months off. Live in barracks and eat mystery meals below deck 3 while being responsible for ship duties apart from their main gig, but save plenty. Whatever explains it, these people were happy to serve you and I was happy to be served by them.

Fifth off, being on a volcanic chain of tropical islands brought me back to my 22nd year when I was prospecting from Prospect Point on St. Vincent 11. Here, have a shot from a beach on Maui's northern coast to get the picture.

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Sixth off, and really the most important, the family time was priceless. Below is the crew of 23 on New Year's Eve.

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NYE was a blast and also where I really started to test my endurance. We arrived at the Hilo side of the big island the morning of the 30th. I didn't get off the ship. From what my parents tell me I didn't miss much, but a friend I met on the ship got hooked up with some BM boys and had nice cookout where they were gifted more grass for the time they had to make fire with it. Like everything, what you're able to make of a situation depends in large part on who you know. We pulled out of Hilo during the golden hour for NYE at sea.

By the 29th or 30th I'd been doing laps around the ship meeting as many people as I could, by the time New Years rolled, I had plenty to see. Met some peeps at the smoking deck 12 called Waikiki 13 on 13th deck aft around 22:30. I had a Manhattan 14 or two with family prior then switched to Amaretto on the rocks and a glass of water with every drink. They emptied the main pool and jacuzzis, the latter they filled with ice and champagne bottles, and had a band jamming through the calendar turning.

From there, moved to the "club" Mardi Gras till it closed, then back to Waikiki. Despite Sylvain from Quebec emptying his mini bar, I didn't drink more, but stayed up with him and the father son duo of Jim and Zak Danger telling stories. By 6, we had nautical twilight and breakfast was starting to be served so I went for OJ, eggs Benedict, bacon and yogurt and ate while the sun was rising over Kona on the leeward side of the big island. There is no port big enough on Kona for the ship and they were scheduled to dingy in to let people off since Kona is supposed to be the nicer side of the island. However, 1-2 meter drops in the sea caused the old sailor captain to call off the dingies and make a day at sea. I told my parents to stake claim to chairs by the pool as by 7 territory was becoming scarce. I went to sleep at around 7:30 and got back up around 11:30.

New Year's day at sea was really cool. When people have dry land access during the day, the ship tends to be empty. With no where to go, it was the opposite. From Kona in the southeast, our destination was Kauai to the northwest and our path weaved through the islands with plenty of scenery including whales and dolphins.

I reckon below is the northern coast of Molokai, where there were several visible waterfalls from the steep cliffs. I didn't verify if she was over 50 15, but she was cool.

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The night of January 1st ought to have been low key, but then it wasn't. It started with my following through on a promise to play cards with my little cousin after dinner. I met her, my aunt and uncle at the Champagne Bar, which is close to the card room. My aunt was having a French75 16, a drink I'd never heard of before, which turns out is my maternal grandmother's 17 favorite drink and is now right up there with the Manhattan in becoming one of mine.

Drinks aside, the cuz was all business18 and we played a hand of heads up UNO, which I think I won, but it's still up for debate 19. After that, I teach them rummy, one of my favorite games. They're learning, taking their time since there's a decent amount of strategy given the simple rules, and they end up smoking me. For round two, they have 17 mins prior to a show starting they're planning to see, so we switch to speed rummy where when one's playing, everyone's egging them on to discard already. I got a good draw and my redemption as I scored +5 whoever was in second in cumulative.

With all that excitement and a new drink to explore, I went to the smoking deck to see what was up.

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While Seth, pictured above, and Natasha at the champagne lounge - piano and player pictured below - naturally loved to make the French75, when I ordered it at the smoker's deck 20 I got glares and barkeeps asking for reminders on the recipe, but they all delivered and I'm not going to complain about having the French75 reputation and at the end of the day I think they liked it.

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I stopped by my sister's room to get her to rally with me. While I was out seeing people, she was on vacation to relax and catch up with her close friends via phone/video/text, not talk to strangers. Doesn't mean she wasn't enjoying herself and actually got the cops called on her 3 or 4 times for noise complaints 21. For whatever reason she was in some old school Jay-Z mode so maybe the neighbors wouldn't have complained if she was bumping Bach ?

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Anyways, I sold her on a 20 minute walk starting at the Champagne lounge - had to have her try a proper French75, ofc - then walking up with the smoking deck, see what's up and walk back to the room. I was running on fumes, had liquorburn22 anyways and was planning to get on dry land in Kauai in the a.m. So we get our drinks and head to the Heavenly Clouds. It's sprinkling as we walk up the stairs and a minute or two after we're there a proper tropical downpour proceeds. I don't recall how long we were stuck up there, but more than we bargained for. We were lucky to be back by midnight and my memory is a bit fuzzy now so I could've been up later.

I was pretty wrecked when I woke at 7 a.m.ish and was on the fence about even going on the planned trip to the Waimea Canyons then the beach with my parents at 8:30. I saw my Uncle Al was vaping some medicine on his balcony, so I went for a pep talk with him through which I realized how much I needed to get in the ocean. This is also where the Hawai'i hospitality started to really pay. They're so organized and smooth getting you off the ship and to the rental car place. Shuttles are running every ~2 minutes so you barely need to stop walking. We get to the car rental and I see the famous golden roosters for the first time. This is where I'd insert those pics, but you'll have to use your search engine of choice or imagination.

Kauai may be the most scenic Hawaiian island, it's where a good chunk of Jurassic Park was filmed and the scenery for sure nurtured my Jurassic heart. We stopped at a grocery store where I picked up Kauai Kombucha and Kimchi, Rice Crackers, 19th green mix and some local guava candy. We drove west down the coast until Route 552 where we turned north toward the Waimea Canyon look out. The more traveled road is 550 to the east, if you make this trip, drive up 552 and down 550. At the entrance of 552, there was a papaya farm, where I scooped 3 small papaya, a bunch of apple bananas 23 and 3 tangerines. The SCOBY, fruit and sweet, salty, carbs had me coming back to life.

So we get to the look out, park on the side of the road and walk a couple hundred meters up the road to the vista. As it turns out, the state bezzle charges $5 and only accepts plastic, not "legal tender". The plastic had been left in the car, but as we're regaining our bearings on what the next move is, some lady walks up to us and says, "I'm only going to be 5 mins, I'll give you my ticket when I come out." "Alright, cool." As it turns out, there was a stand with a solid salesman dealing fruit and baked goods. I scooped a bag of lychees, a box of starfruit and a sack of super delish banana spring rolls. Win. A couple people asked me what this furry looking red thing I was biting in to was and were glad to learn that's what the thing they were drinking in their martinis looks like off the tree. Anyways, lady delivered the ticket and the state got skimmed for being stupid. Of course we passed it on when we were leaving on the condition the recipients pay it forward.

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You kind of get the picture from the above, but please go see it for yourself. It's for sure worth it.

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The failure to back up most hurts here. The culture warrior above was really impressive. When I got up there, my parents started talking to him and asked him about hunting, given his pike. He said they hunt small black tail deer, about 100lbs, but the unique beast they go after are wild bulls called the Hawaiian moose. These aren't rodeo bulls raised by cowboys, these are wild from birth.

Then he gathered the ~250 people at the vista around and gave a presentation. He explained the peaks to the north of the canyon is a mountainous swamp that averages over 350 inches of rain annually, is one of the wettest locations on earth and has more endangered species than all of North America 24. Then he broke down the etymology of Hawai'i : wai 25 means fresh water, ha means breath and i means consciousness. Control of the fresh water meant power on the islands, the elites went upstream and the seat of the Hawaiian kingdom were those mountains. While they're hunting and exploring in the canyon, they regularly find artifacts from their ancestor's civilization. Hawai'i : breath, fresh water and consciousness. Pretty cool, eh ?

Then he broke down the etymology of aloha, which he said has hundreds of interpretations, but literally : alo means sharing the present and ha as above means breath so aloha is the recognition of sharing the gift of the present breath with another.

He then showed us his conch and explained how they were vital communication tools. First, he demonstrated a long monotonous call which signaled meal time to those in the canyons. Then he demonstrated an alternating call which signaled the danger of an invader on the horizon of the sea. Shells were placed at strategic locations in the canyons to facilitate the spread of the calls throughout the island. Leaving home without your shellphone could mean you miss out on the fun of battle and wind up on the losing end of the raping and pillaging.

He went on to explain that hula dancing was originally a war dance only performed by men. In more recent times, these Hawaiians learned it's much more effective to have pretty girls in skirts do the dancing and figure out how to trade rather than fight.

This is where it starts to get interesting. He smoothly changes gears and says that recently, according the state laying claim to the park, the presentation he delivered us was illegal. He pointed to his woven donation basket for the first time and said that due to him putting a basket on the ground and sharing information about his culture, the state claimed he was a vendor and required a license to perform.

So he challenged it, he said, "Your honor, the prosecutor must establish jurisdiction. Show me the law." The state delayed, and delayed, and delayed and delayed and buddy went to court five times and on the fifth time, the judge dismissed the case. So he said "Wait a minute, if he doesn't have it now, he never had it. It's not like his dingo ate the law." The culture warrior goes on to explain that this whole charade sparked his curiosity and based on his study, Hawai'i was never legally annexed by the gringos.

He qualified all this, saying, "Don't just believe a guy on top of a mountain wearing a grass skirt. Do your own research."

Now, I had recorded what he said and told him I'd transcribe and publish it here and gave him my card, told him he could leave comments answer questions, etc. Given the disaster my stupidity caused, the above isn't verbatim 26, but I preserved the spirit of what he said and hope it's clarified in the comments. I didn't do the research because I don't really care if Hawai'i is part of USia or not. While they may, for some time, have benefited from the current arrangement, it's not a secret to anyone with a wit how tenuous the USKorea and the currency it relies on is. Hawai'i is certainly not like any other state and as long as they let me back to enjoy their beautiful landscape, welcoming, accommodating and competent tourist culture and keep the hula girls dancing, I care not one whisker what flag they fly.

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Continuing on. Above, canyon view from route 550; below, sincerely yours.

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Above as below, ocean view with with wavy grass on 550 descending.

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Emerging from the surf of kekaha beach.

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In theory, I ought to have gone to sleep the night of the 2nd. However, the Kombucha, Kimchi, day in the sun and sand, and aloha spirit had me high. So I went to say hi to people. What started in the champagne lounge moved to the heavenly cloud and by the time we rally to Mardi Gras and I roll in to find it's motherfucking Latin night. I realized it's going to be a while before sleep and catch my 8th wind to represent Panama salsa. Long story short I danced a lot of salsa 27 and spoke a lot of Spanish with a group from Monterrey. They were savvy enough to get a bottle of wine and champagne at closing which I got sucked into draining with them. These Monterrey Mexicans talk a lot of shit, like the shit talkin' I'm used to being from New England, so we all kept it real and got along well. I got the invites to visit.

By 3 or 4 I'd had my fun with them and was in the mood for some gangster rap before calling it a night. I had brought my laptop out to DJ Latin beats in the champagne lounge after they kicked us out of Mardi Gras and headed up to the smoking deck. As I approached I heard it was loud up there and as I walk up the steps, Zak Danger was posted up by himself with Rick Ross Push It To The Limit 28 blasting. He sees me and says, "You want to hear some hacker shit ? Felix, from Montreal, has a Huawei phone with universal remote." He points to the TV and says, "He just changed the channel to some Japanese movie, changed the music to Rick Ross, said he was going to bed and bounced."

At that point we did the obvious thing and went to the Cadillac diner - open all night - ate diner food and crushed Arnold Palmers. Zak's from Cali, so on the walk there, I dug out a west cost hip hop gem from my middle school days, Gangster Nation by Westside Connection that Zak for sure wasn't expecting me to bring out given he'd pretty much only seen me wearing a suit and tie, including at that moment. Shrugs.

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We had till 1pm in Kauai the next day. I didn't really sleep in, but as soon as I was up I was on a mission for Kombucha. There's a nice little beach next to the market by the port where I hung out for a while.

Upon departing port, we headed to the north coast of Kauai, the Hanalei coast, where dragons live by the sea and frolic in the autumn mist. As we were moving north, then west, there was rain on the coast, which some noobs thought would spoil the majestic views, but a barkeep informed me is better since there are more waterfalls after it clears.

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Above, the double rainbow went all the way across the sky. Below, Kauai in the background, double rainbow in the mid ground and younger and older in the foreground.

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So intense. The baddest motherfucking rainbow I've ever seen.

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I reached for the pot of gold a the end of the rainbow during the golden hour and it paid off 29.

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Hawai'i rum punch was the last drink served on the cruise. I only ordered it to order it, I had like 3 sips.

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Last late night Cadillac diner meal.

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Above is the Camaro I rented 30 Below, Felix and Emilie from Montreal. I paid for the car, they paid for the parking and the sushi. After we exchanged invites for Montreal, Killington and Panama.

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Emilie said she's a sushi snob 31 and this Doraku is the best she's had. I don't know what else she's had, but it melted in the mouth.

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We walked the beach after. And got a pineapple filled with juice, then back filled with kombucha.

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Then we picked up something to smoke from Unco 32 and sat in the park and made a fire.

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No children played with lighters in the making of this article.

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Well positioned ladder trucks just in case negligent parents are letting their children play with lighters... Shhh !! The Fireman comin', whatchya gon do now ?

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More kombucha. In Oahu I only found imports, nothing locally grown like in Kauai.

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Standing on Waikiki wave breakers with Diamondhead Mountain in the background.

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From another pier.

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Kids just doing laps jumping off the pier, running up to jump off again.

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The only filth on Waikiki was the predominately white trash, mentally retarded, homeless. I don't know if there's any plans to clean up the trash, but I was called a filthy whore by a toothless, shoeless... no she wasn't a whore, whores have money, something else. I think it must've been my posture that triggered her, despite being tired, my shoulders were back and I was breathing well. Aloha and all that.

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Sidewalk waterfall and pedestrian street views. It tripped me out a bit how orderly the pedestrian flow is. First night I went to the chino for something. No cars in sight in any direction and people are waiting for the crosswalk light. In Panama, I walk through moving traffic as standard course. I was like, WHAT ARE THESE NERDS DOING WAITING. While I was still jay walking at the end, whatevs, the orderliness was quite pleasant. I will point out that my exposure to chaos did save a lady from crashing into me while driving. We were about even, her in the furthest left lane and me second from right on the four lane highway going into town, where we were simultaneously merging into the lane between us. She never saw me, and I saved her blind spot from a crash and a bad day. You're welcome lady.

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Standard, well stocked ABC stores are on every other corner. Look for the local section for the goods. A package of soft cuttlefish caught my eye, which I picked up and nourished with. The clerks are all happy and are actually focused on doing their job well. Different country.

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Kombucha, alkaline rain water, snacks, cigar and sunset.

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Thanks for being you Hawai'i, until next time, aloha.

P.S. "There is no we, there is only V."

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P.P.S. Ayo whaack, is this the beginner type wave you have in mind for lobbes ?

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  1. 50% holding passports is generous []
  2. Originating in Franklin county Illinois - pre-War of Northern Aggression it gets a bit foggy and the Smith maiden name may have been assumed by a particular character - my people on this trip converged from Panama, Vermont, Long Island, Maryland, Florida, Illinois and New Mexico. []
  3. You know how elite military crews do "hell" week where they get sleep deprived and do a bunch of difficult tasks to separate the wheat from the chaff ? For me, a ~sleepless week in a tropical paradise aboard a floating city was something of a heaven week. []
  4. Way more than a shitload for those counting at home. []
  5. I originally brought it because I typically travel with my edgerouter, plug in downstream from modem and sit on ethernet with static IP. I didn't know how flaky the WiFi on the ship would be, nor if I had to debug my wpa_supplicant or dhcpcd configs. I plopped down the ~$350 for unlimited bandwidth over 2 devices and never had a problem with the lappy. []
  6. The general approach moving forward is to set aside these, "eat this exercise ball in one bite" articles and shift to the live blogging approach, which'll cause more frequent backups. []
  7. Not to be confused with United Statist. []
  8. Cruising this time of year means a lot of families, which means a fair share of old people, but plenty jovencitas. []
  9. The brain damaged 21yo drinking law the failed colonies has maintained so far aside, the bummer here is the last bar open, Mardi Gras, closed at 2am. The degeneratesavvy ordered bottles at last call. []
  10. The latter is at least what one of the barkeeps explained. He said he'd not work on another ship []
  11. At which point in the writing I'm pretty well irritated the bones of my Fabled Outlines lack meat to link to. []
  12. If you get caught smoking anywhere else, it's a big fine and they basically throw you overboard since fire is one of, if not the biggest, danger on the ship. Maybe they don't throw you overboard these days, but just go smoke with the smokers and have a chat. []
  13. If any NCL people read this, consider renaming the smoking deck to "Heavenly Clouds" or something along those lines. The ship is Pride of America after all and the late Bill Hicks is one of that country's greats. Know your audience, playing Hicks tapes from the 90s will keep asses in seats among that crowd today. []
  14. The go to drink my that has kept my paternal grandmother alive pushing 98. Two parts Canadian Whiskey, one part sweet vermouth and cherry juice in lieu of the traditional bitters. []
  15. Daughter, not pictured, was 17. []
  16. A New Orleans drink named after the 75mm cannon the French placed there during the war of 1812. 1.5oz gin, 0.75oz lemon juice, 0.75oz simple syrup, fill the remainder of the champagne flute with champagne of course. []
  17. Maybe I'm weird for drinking grandma drinks or maybe my grandma's are kinda cool ? I dunno nor care really, decide for yourself. []
  18. Her parents were at the table and she wouldn't deal them in ! []
  19. So get this : they had this new fangled deck where one of the wild cards is make your own rule and another wild card is switch all your cards with mine. So I draw the make your own rule wild card and I dunno wtf to do, so I solicit help and auntie suggests, "Gimme all your wild cards." "Sounds good." One of the wild cards I get is give me all your cards. I hold this one till UNO and play it last. Did I go out and win since I don't have any cards to trade with her ? Or did I lose since she's to give me her cards ? Can I exercise half the option and deny delivery ? Asking for a friend. []
  20. Where screwdrivers and BudLight (burp) is more the norm. []
  21. Maybe a record setter ? []
  22. Kinda like sunburn, 'cept from booze and on the inner skin of your digestive tract rather than your outer wrapper. Urbandictionary apparently doesn't know about it, but I didn't make it up. (Sincerely : I don't usually drink much at all and DD'd plenty of times while in VT.) []
  23. The small sweet ones. []
  24. Not as if it's so easy to map, similar to the ocean floor. Seems to me it's basically direct cloud to river fountainhead. []
  25. I later learned mea means reddish, so Waimea means reddish water. []
  26. Dingo and gringo are artistic license I took. []
  27. The girls were pretty pretty, but pretty noob dancers, but it was fine because when you're a girl you just have to follow a man who knows how to lead. []
  28. Not the song I'd have thought to pick, but probably perfect. []
  29. I for sure had a lot of fun that night starting off telling people I found a coin on the ship that afternoon. I let them hold it, first time most had touched precious metal. When they asked where, showing them the picture and the technique I used to extract it. Laughs were had. []
  30. In Hawai'i there's more cars than people. They automagically upgraded me. []
  31. I said, you mean you have refined tastes ? []
  32. Local slang for anything on the BM. Unco asked if we were cops, and Felix clarified he's Canadian. []

8 Comments »

  1. Aha yup the conditions look pretty similar to my beginner wave spot - small waves in a place where you can stand. The place where I take noobs has an island a little further out that serves as swell protection - preventing waves from passing the 6 feet mark. The spot in this clip possibly can have big waves depending on the conditions.

    It's a bummer losing your camera / not backing up the photos. But anyways you collaged quite a good set from your friends/family's photos. The trip looks like it was pretty damn fun. I like the attire you picked for the beach in the last few picks, lol.

    If I find the time I'll have to get some champagne flutes and try to make the French75 for myself.

    Comment by whaack — January 21, 2020 @ 3:53 p.m.

  2. It isn't impossible to have fun in Franklin County. Rend Lake has plenty of panfish to pull out of there, and it is one of the cleaner southern Illinois lakes. Very nice contrast to Carlyle lake where the fish in the lake itself are boring and the fun is to be had in the spillway. Benton's a town. The way I-57 isolates Rend Lake College from Ina is an instructive illustration of how US planners will anti-optimize location because there's simply so much land. Benton's still had a downtown last time I was there. Kick over to the west a bit through Sesser and you can get to US 51 and one of the better drives in and out of Carbondale.

    Franklin county is definitely a place, moreso than Jackson, Saint Clair, or Marion Counties. Definitely much sadder places exist in rural Illinois.

    Comment by BingoBoingo — January 21, 2020 @ 4:46 p.m.

  3. @whaack

    Aha yup the conditions look pretty similar to my beginner wave spot - small waves in a place where you can stand. The place where I take noobs has an island a little further out that serves as swell protection - preventing waves from passing the 6 feet mark. The spot in this clip possibly can have big waves depending on the conditions.

    Cool, sounds perfect for me. I've never stood up on a board and will look forward to it when I make a visit.

    It's a bummer losing your camera / not backing up the photos. But anyways you collaged quite a good set from your friends/family's photos. The trip looks like it was pretty damn fun. I like the attire you picked for the beach in the last few picks, lol.

    Yeah, overall I'm happy with how it came out. While the scar will remain, putting this together did a lot to heal the wound.

    Re: the attire, heh, I was on my way to the airport and had no intention of dipping in the ocean. The couple degree cooler Hawai'i is compared to Panama City combined with polite mists that make the rainbows, but don't get you wet make a huge difference in terms of comfort level.

    If I find the time I'll have to get some champagne flutes and try to make the French75 for myself.

    Champagne flutes is optional, it'll taste the ~same in a solo cup. Be careful though, it's a sneaky drink that's named after a cannon for a reason. Sip on it and let it endure. Cheers !

    Comment by Robinson Dorion — January 21, 2020 @ 7:09 p.m.

  4. @BingoBoingo

    It isn't impossible to have fun in Franklin County.

    I can for sure see it and the brief visit I made in Sept 2016 was enjoyable indeed. It was the first time I'd visited since probably 2003-2004. We made a lot more visits in the 90s, but I'll never forget stepping into the St. Louis airport and smelling the sweet smell of the crops in the air. Of course it's more pungent in the farm lands, but I was like, "Yep, this is the spot I remember." Wasn't expecting to remember the smell, but the memory couldn't be ignored.

    Rend Lake has plenty of panfish to pull out of there, and it is one of the cleaner southern Illinois lakes. Very nice contrast to Carlyle lake where the fish in the lake itself are boring and the fun is to be had in the spillway. Benton's a town. The way I-57 isolates Rend Lake College from Ina is an instructive illustration of how US planners will anti-optimize location because there's simply so much land.

    I've definitely been on Rend Lake and my grandmother was an administrator at Rend Lake College for a couple decades.

    Benton's still had a downtown last time I was there.

    My great uncle was co-owner of Western Auto, a parts dealer on the southside of the square, which he ran for a couple decades until he got older and Walmart started taking over in the 90s.

    Kick over to the west a bit through Sesser and you can get to US 51 and one of the better drives in and out of Carbondale.

    During my '16 visit we drove 51S to Coben Orchard for some cider and pie and then further down to Anna for ice cream. Was a beautiful day and a beautiful drive.

    I've more miles leaving Carbondale where Grandma lives on 13 to 57. Great Grandparents both grew up and lived in Akin and Mother grew up in W. Frankfurt on a farm on the #9 blacktop. I love those roads.

    Franklin county is definitely a place, moreso than Jackson, Saint Clair, or Marion Counties. Definitely much sadder places exist in rural Illinois.

    Even so with the decline of coal production ?

    P.S. Love the little detour this thread has taken :)

    Comment by Robinson Dorion — January 21, 2020 @ 7:42 p.m.

  5. Wait... 2.1k of the *tonnage* in passengers??

    Sad to see no larger sizes on the clickthrough (and quite a few look distorted too!) but at least you pieced together quite a solid taste of it after all. Looks & sounds indeed like what Panama could have been, as I recall you saying.

    Good on Grandma for the ability and will to make it happen!

    Comment by Jacob Welsh — January 21, 2020 @ 8:11 p.m.

  6. @Jacob Welsh

    Wait... 2.1k of the *tonnage* in passengers??

    Nah, 2.1k passenger population. I updated the text to remove the incorrect "of which"s to clarify for future readers, thanks.

    Sad to see no larger sizes on the clickthrough (and quite a few look distorted too!) but at least you pieced together quite a solid taste of it after all.

    Yeah, sorry about one size and distortion. First photo article with a lot to get through from a variety of sources. Next one will be better.

    Looks & sounds indeed like what Panama could have been, as I recall you saying.

    I think it was Chad that said the could've been. In fairness to Panama, they have the canal and had banking, both of which Hawaii never had. Panama also probably has had more "Unco" business flow than Hawai'i could dream of. Since Panama has lost the banking for all intents and purposes, they're attempting to make a shift to tourism. If Panama could get to Hawai'i's level of service it'd be a whole new ball game here, but I'm not holding my breath.

    Good on Grandma for the ability and will to make it happen!

    Yes, cheers to Grandma.

    Comment by Robinson Dorion — January 22, 2020 @ 3:36 a.m.

  7. [...] MP poked dorion, noting his recent silence after an initial self-imposed overload. Dorion responded in convalescence from his intense Hawaiian cruise. [...]

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  8. [...] final aspect of processing death during this time was the Hawai'i cruise itself. The back story is, my maternal grandmother Pam, isn't my biological grandmother. The first [...]

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