Thursday, December 29, 2011

What does sex mean to me?

Pics: Oh the many things that went wrong, sunset on New Year's eve and what people do on the beach on New Year's day

Pop Quiz: Name the group and song associated with the lyrics below

Pictorial Quiz: What is the function of the item in the last picture

Quiz winners: A healthy, happy, prosperous and trouble free 2012

late at night i walk thru town and eye everyone i meet
i want to follow them all home but i just follow my feet

into the bookstore i see thy love virgin style horny
sitting next to the hyde reports, sitting next to love story

and i ask what does sex mean to mean to me
and what does sex mean to society

In semi-chronological order:

1. The mural above the kitchen is developing bubbles and cracking, requires a visit (TBD) by the artist to determine next steps, at least some of the original paint from September 05 installation is still around
2. The hot water was used up very fast on first bath, adjusted water heater temperature (down!), problem did not recur
3. Washing machine stopped mid-cycle, electrical socket needed to be reset, then switched to different wash program, problem did not recur
4. Dish-washing delayed soap dispenser did not push out soap-filled "packet," leaving dishes filmy, so switched to different style packet, problem did not recur
5. THB's foot starts bleeding on side, DB finds tracks in bathroom next morning, THB's tender skin is cracking, feet sore rest of week, at least the bleeding does not recur
6. The combo VHS/DVD player won't play DVDs, will play VHS tapes. Turn it off for a while, then (for DB, not THB) it would play DVDs, problem did not recur
7. THB finished dead last at mah jongg, won one chicken-shit hand (lowest victory point total possible) entire game (good news: DB wins as THB gives her 40% of his original stake)
8. THB cut his pinkie severely after dropping and reaching for coffee mug that broke on impact, THB did not cut himself again
9. Drain in guest bathroom backed up, probably from too much long hair caught (clearly not THB's hair), removed hair, problem did not recur
10. New down pillow inserts turned out to be too soft and new pillows looked flat almost immediately; replaced new inserts with those from older pillows and now pillows look fine, not sure what to do with too soft down inserts
11. The motion sensor outdoor light doesn't work, maintenance comes and puts in new bulb, still doesn't work, request maintenance to return and now when the light goes on, it doesn't go off
12. Relatively new shower head start leaking, washer went bad at one spot and no washer at another; hardware store did not have washers, THB broke shower head when trying to put back on with jury-rigged washers, put back on old shower head, problem with removed shower head (and THB's head) not resolved
13. THB and DB return from shopping and spot two deer, then 8 more nearby. The most seen at any one time before was 3, infestation of deer at the beach unresolved
14. Direct TV receiver went out, other receiver in the house still works; requires service technician to come to beach house. It is a long sad story, in short: Direct TV won't come because the beach is set up to get the Bay Area stations (in order to watch sports stuff in HD), so we call the local guy and he makes the fix: a bad cable (cables go bad?)
15. DB's watch starts running significantly slow, TBD
16. The garbage disposal button stays in the "on" position, then after several more tries, it returns to working fine
17. THB wins big at mah jongg, though only because one other player doesn't realize how close he was to a HUGE win.
18. On the way out, the sliding doors to the deck won't lock....ahhhhh, something to look forward to when we return next weekend

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Year-end Book List

E-ville remediation out our window, and our local gardner remediating the fringe of Sherwin Place

E-book unless otherwise noted

Top picks: (the obvious) THB liked these books a lot and will add a short note to each

The Tiger’s Wife, Tea Obreht – A post-Balkan war story (novel) mixed with a young doctor’s retelling of her grandfather’s life and his fables passed along to her

Play Their Hearts Out, George Dohrmann – (non-fiction) everything you feared about how sports is corrupting our youth, particularly the talented young ones. The kids have now reached college age, so you can find them and find out where they’ve ended up (for most part)

A Rope and a Prayer, Rohde and Mulvihill – Audio, as read by the authors, about Rohde’s capture in Afghanistan and Mulvihill’s (Rohde’s new bride) efforts to ransom him

Next, James Hynes – A very fast paced novel in the post-9/11 world come back to life. You’ll want to avoid being high up in high rises after this one.

A Life, Keith Richards – Audio, oddly (and longly…25 hours worth!) read by Johnny Depp and Keith. And, all it lacked was the Stones songs mixed in at the appropriate time.

The Unnamed, Joshua Ferris – A novel relating a mysterious mental illness that forces the main character to get up and start walking. For all those that wished they could walk out of their own lives, this will convince you to stay put.

Ransom, David Malouf and Lost Books of the Odyssey, Zachary Mason – THB normally detests joining books for a review, so this must be an exception. If you want two fast reads that illuminate the Iliad and the Odyssey (a THB fave), THB recommends them back-to-back.

The Seasons on Henry’s Farm, Terry Brockman – Why small farming, however much it means to saving the planet (and it would mean a lot if practiced the way Henry does), will never happen. It takes way too much effort and a lot of free labor. Depressing…unless you enjoy mega-agriculture

The Privileges, Jonathan Dee – A novel of how a “charmed” couple are ruined (by their odd and spoiled children? Or did they do it to themselves)

Recommended: Enjoyed, and THB adds a short note if pertinent (to THB!)

Skippy Dies, Paul Murray – one of several books on the list where the main character dies shortly into the book (and, I think they were mostly by British authors…). This one is a satire about 14 year old boys in boarding school, complete with a Penn State pre-creation.

A Strange Room, Damon Galgut

Open, Andre Agassi – Does he really hate tennis? He says so over and over and over again…

Social Animal, David Brooks – Find someone you trust, and read a chapter and discuss. Repeat (just “the read a chapter and discuss”, none of us have enough people we trust to switch THAT after each chapter)

By Nightfall, Michael Cunningham – Novel

Half a Life, Davin Strauss – Author struck and killed a bike rider when he was 18, relates his thoughts 20 years later

Man In the Woods, Scott Spencer - Novel

Bound, Antonya Nelson - Novel

Three Stations, Martin Cruz Smith – More Renko

To a Mountain in Tibet, Colin Thubron – Audio, non-fiction

Long for this World, Jonathan Weiner – By the author of Beak of the Finch, a THB top twenty all-time book, looking at what science is (and is not doing) about extending life.

Everything, Kevin Canty - Novel

IOU, John Lanchester – A reasonably short read about the underpinnings of the financial disaster of the last few years

The Imperfectionists, Tom Rachmann - Novel

Matterhorn, Karl Marlantes – Novel, another Viet Nam book (THB has read a lot of these), takes place on fire bases in the early days of the expansion of the war

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot - Non-fiction tracking of genes and scientific research

Sultan’s Shadow, Christine Bird - Novel

Running the Books, Avi Steinberg, Audio, a young prison librarian relates episodes from his first few years on the job

The Lotus Eaters, Tatjana Soli - Novel

The Bucolic Plague, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, non-fiction story of two gay guys who decide to have a second place in the country and the impact on their relationship and those around them. Since one of them works for Martha Stewart, there is at least one celebrity sighting

The Devil’s Highway, Luis Alberto Urrea – Hardback, and the telling of one specific tragedy of illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico into the US

Nine Lives, William Dalrymple: non-fiction stories of India

The Bullpen Gospels, Dirk Hayhurst, Non-fiction baseball book from minors to majors

Beneath the Lion’s Gate, Maaza Mengiste, Novel

The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books, Elif Batuman, Non-fiction

Neutral: Something of value, not enough to encourage reading (or listening)
A Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes
1861, Adam Goodheart
My Korean Deli, Ben Ryder Howe – Audio
Savages, Dan Winslow
Compass Ross, John Casey
At Home in Japan, Rebecca Otowa – Hardback
Learning to Die in Miami, Carlos Eire
William Golding, John Carey
Then Came Evening, Brian Hart
Union Atlantic, Adam Haslett
Finding Chandra, Higham and Horwitz

Not Recommended: All but the first book on this list were not finished

The Longevity Project, Friedman and Martin. THB will condense if for you: if you want to live a long life, be conscientious, or even better, have a very conscientious partner that outlives you

Faithful Place, Tana French
The Pages, Murray Bail
Ilustrado, Miguel Syjuco
Mr Peanut, Adam Ross
The Hard Way Around, Geoffrey Wolff
Something Red, Jennifer Gilmore
Eight White Nights, Andre Aciman

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 8: Hawaii to E-ville

Day 8: HI to E-ville (cute, huh? Maybe too cute for THB….)

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou everyone, and have a great 2012

THB gives you a 2012 blog preview: art trips to LA, Seattle and Detroit, a baseball trip to Philly combined with a few other new ballpark cities. a food and culture trip to NY, the London Olympics, and a wedding…well, probably not a blog entry on wedding though THB may sneak something in there...does THB do anything besides travel, plan travel, and blog about travel? Hmmmmm....YES: there's also baseball, bridge, Habitat for Humanity, and book reviews!

flora, a few repeats, and a couple of ringers

Weather: Hazy blue skies in morning, mid-80s; E-ville in the 40s on morning of 9th
Breakfast: usual, plus pancakes in town at Lava Java, $29

Packing and stalling, packing and stalling. Fill-up the Crown Vic: $4.40/gal, 25 gallons while touring the island, so: $110 for gas, $250 for the car rental (7 days).

United provides an early arrival, back in E-ville at 9:30.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Days 6-7: From VNP to CCV

Day 6: Back to Country Club Villas

Hana hou (hey, now I know what the name of the restaurant means: Do it again)

Pics: Tutu’s Cottage (outside and in), Kilauea Lodge, Akaka Falls and tourists waiting out the rain at Akaka Falls, prime example of malasadas con guava, SSBD in HI

Weather: Cool, raining then clear first thing near VNP, then warm and threat of rain in Hilo, then warm and raining north of Hilo, then dry on the ride halfway to west coast, back to VOG and 80s at CCV

Breakfast at the Kilauea Lodge: papaya, buttermilk banana nut pancakes for DB and an omelet and home fries for THB, coffee, included. Total for one night with taxes: $225.

We are circumnavigating the Big Island, so we head east and then north to Hilo, stop to do a little recreational shopping, and continue to the Akaka Falls (see pics), where it is raining. We eat at little café just between Falls and main highway: garden burger for DB, ahi burger for THB, shared mango smoothie, $28.

Continue north, taking in the sights, until we get to Tex Drive-in for malasadas. That’s Hawaiian for “really bad thing to eat for you sadists” (see pic). A solid (not powdered) sugar donut, and for the flavored ones they force in filling. We only get two to share, one plain and one with guava (see pic); we are semi-malasadasistas. $2.47.

Head north a bit then turn west and as we go up and over a small mountain (and around a really big volcano mountain), it gets drier and hotter, and now we are in cattle country. Make it back to CCV around 3 to see that the VOG is on its way to closing out the afternoon as usual. However, not quite as usual: around 5, the sky turns crimson and the sun turns orange around 5:30, finally the sun sets into a marine layer around 5:45. So, not a total Vog-out!

Dinner of pizza, salad, local brewski and two glasses of wine: $47.

Day 7: CCV, same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Male 'ana

'Aha'aina male

(A shout out to K&E)

Pics: no pics

Blue skies in morning, VOG haze in afternoon, 80s

Breakfast: usual

Snorkeling at the usual spot, a little less clarity of water, otherwise great

Lunch: guacamole, leftovers, brewskies

Afternoon: hanging out, waiting for plumber to fix faulty toilet (we would be hanging out anyway)

Dinner: Sam Choy’s, last dinner in paradise: drinks, edamame, rib appetizer with white rice, ahi salad, sweetbread bread pudding, $85. Sunset of sorts, very reminiscent of the beach house with the sun falling into the marine layer; no green flash.