Friday, August 19, 2005

sometimes all it takes is a little something ...

Sometimes you become so used to something that you forget how special it is. You just take it for granted. It becomes a part of the routine, something everyday ... normal; even when it's the furthest thing from that.

That happens to me sometimes. I forget how wonderful it is to live in Guam, a tropical island paradise. I lose touch with the fact that there are tons of people who would kill to be able to live in such a lovely, laid-back, fascinating place, especially when the winds and snow and ice of winter are frigidly freezing various body parts. I don't remember that there are so many people who have never seen or been to a white-sand beach, where soft, lapping waves of warm, welcoming water beckon.

And then something will happen that will make me appreciate it the splendor and lush beauty of my island home.

It happened today. After work, I had to go shopping for groceries, so I didn't get to heading home until a bit later than normal. As I was driving back toward my village, on Marine Corps Drive — which runs along the western side of the island from way up north to way down south, including along long stretches of beach and ocean — I came out of the area in which the road is surrounded on both sides by buildings and concrete, and broke into a stretch of road that goes for a mile and change almost right up against East Agana Bay.

I came around this 12- or 14-story hotel/condo complex and it hits me — one of the "routine" sunsets. It totally took my breath away (not so easy now that I'm not smoking anymore). The sun was about halfway down the horizon. It was huge, a giant half circle of brilliantly burning orange, a fiery color that can't be artificially reproduced, a scorchingly surreal orange. The clouds above and to the side of it were backlit by this glorious corona and took on the hue of a brightly light lilac, like puffs of fairy magic aglow with light.

It was stunning. I pulled over into one of the small roadside park areas there — picnic tables and little cement shelters, barbecue grills, etc. — and just took it all in. I sat there for some time, just enjoying Mother Nature's show, trying to take it all in and frame it in my memory forever, because I didn't have my new digital camera, which was supposed to have been mailed here by this week. The colors of the clouds fluctuated, the oranges sometimes got reddish. Majestically, the sun set.

And I wasn't alone in watching it, I eventually noticed. A few others had pulled over to enjoy the sunset. Some had obviously planned for it — they had beer or some other beverage. There were two couples, sitting close, leaning into each other, hands entwined, sharing the sight.

Guam is a paradise of splendid, jaw-dropping beauty. I just remembered that.

Random Guam Fact Of The Day:

• One of the iconic features of Guam, and the Mariana Islands in general, is the latte stone, ancient monolithic stone pillars that are believed to have been the base for the houses of ancient Chamorros. The base is called “haligi” and the capstone is “tasa.” Some of the best samples are located in Latte Stone Park in Hagåtña, but there still are many in the jungles of Guam and elsewhere throughout the island.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Random ramblings ...

• The best condiment to put on a hamburger is mustard.

• Bacon makes almost anything taste better. A bacon cheeseburger is better than a cheeseburger. Bacon and eggs is better than just bacon. Bacon is the crack of food.

• If you can get a toad or a frog to eat some Alka-Seltzer, get away from it. Since frogs can't burp, the effervescent bubbling bicarbonate action will eventually cause them to explode.

• The best cursing is done: when dealing with bad drivers; or when you bang your shin or toe hard on some furniture.

• Men love it when a woman touches them, seemingly casually, and women use this shamelessly to get us to lift heavy objects and do unpleasant tasks.

• The Daily Show is about the best thing on television.

• I think that instead of voting people off the island in "Survivor," they should dump off 14 inmates sentenced to death and when one is voted off, they are killed. The winner doesn't get a million dollars; he/she gets their sentence commuted to life.

• It doesn't matter what anyone else says: Dogs are better pets than cats. That's not an opinion; it's fact.

• When I was growing up, mothers did insidious things to get children to eat healthy vegetables. Celery stalks got filled with peanut butter, which sometimes was then topped with raisins (ants on a log). My mom got us to eat broccoli and cauliflower by making a killer creamy cheese sauce that went with it. And even though that was the bomb with ANYTHING, the only time she made it was with vegetables.

Random Guam Facts Of The Day:
• When the Ferdinand Magellan "discovered" Guam in 1521, there were approximately 100,000 Chamorros in the Marianas Islands. By the time of a 1709 census, that number was reduced to about 3,000 — mostly from foreign disease and death in battle.

• Guam's territorial flower is the Puti Tai Nobiu (Bougainvillea).

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

the cereal serial continues ...

Who do you think is the best cereal mascot ever? There sure are some great ones out there:

• Tony the Tiger ... he's grrrrrrrreat!
• Lucky the Leprechaun ...we're always after his lucky charms
• The Trix Rabbit ... sorry, Trix are for kids
• Snap, Crackle and Pop ... the first gay breakfast cereal characters
• Fred Flinstone ... yabba-dabba-don't
• The Honey Nut Cheerio Bee ... a little too flighty for me
• The monsters: Frankenberry, Count Chocula, Boo-Berry ... mad props to the monster pack
• Cap'n Crunch ... is it just me, or does he come across a bit pervish?
• The Corn Flakes Rooster ... psyche
• Toucan Sam ... follow that nose ... um ... beak
• The Sugar Smacks Frog ... hippity-hoppity
• The Post Super Sugar Crisp Bear ... remember when he was all smooth?

One song from cereal time rocks: Honeycomb's big — yeah, yeah yeah! It's not small — no, no, no!

Random Guam Fact Of The Day:
• Guam is the largest, and southernmost, of the Mariana Islands. The smallest, and northernmost, is Maug. Really. Can't make that shit up.

killer cereal ...

At a meeting today, the discussion turned to cereal. It seems as if some of my co-workers enjoy mixing cereals — the good for you, full of fiber stuff with the sweet, bad-for-you cereals.


I can't mix cereals unless they're pretty much the same thing. I need my cereal grains to be of a relatively uniform texture. That's just me.

My favorite cereals:

• Cocoa Krispies. Best chocolate cereal ever. I can't stand Cocoa Puffs or Cocoa Pebbles; they're both nasty. Cocoa Krispies with banana slices is the best. Second place is Count Chocula.

• Tony the Tiger. That's what it's name should be, not "Frosted Flakes." Every kid I've ever known calls it Tony the Tiger cereal. Also a great cereal when mixed with banana slices.

• Raisin Bran. Something about the sweetness of raisins mixed with the bowel-cleansing goodness of bran.

• Grape Nuts. But only the following way: with about 1/4-inch of milk above the cereal level, then set aside for 10 to 15 minutes, so it soaks up all the goodness of milk and gets non-crunchy.

• Sugar Smacks. The crack of cereals. You have to eat it fast, because once it gets soggy it's pure nasty, but man, oh man, is this stuff good.

• Wheaties. Hey, what can I say? I bought it for the athletes on the box; keep coming back for the taste.

And keep all that Mueslix-like new-age cereal away from me. Use it for it's original intended purpose: Feeding goats and other lifestock.

Random Guam fact of the day:
While Mt. Everest is the highest mountain, Guam's Mt. Lamlam is, technically, the tallest. Everest is 29,035 feet above sea level. While Lamlam is only 1,332 feet above sea level, it's "base" is, again technically, the bottom of the Marianas Trench, which has been measured at 35,800 feet in depth, or 6.2 miles. Add Lamlam's height and you get a grand total of 37,132 feet in height, from bottom to top.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn:

Too lazy to write up something original, so I'm sharing something from e-mail that, as a wordsmith, I appreciated.

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row. They formed a row on the side of the canoe.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail

18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.

19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests

21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Random Guam fact of the day:
• Guam's territorial bird is the Mariana fruit dove, which is called "tottot" in Chamorro. It is endemic to the Marianas Islands, is an endangered species and is extinct on Guam, thanks to the notorious and nefarious brown tree snake.