Saturday, March 18, 2006

more about the ayuyu ...

Note: Click on images for bigger version.

It was pretty obvious to me from my last post that the coconut crab — ayuyu in Chamorro — was at least somewhat interesting to some of the regular readers.

Because of that, I've decided to bring you a little more information about this very unique land crab.

Know, as much as I like to be the expert about my island home and all of its flora and fauna, especially the very cool beasties that are within Guam's environs, my knowledge on the coconut crab was limited to personal experience (not very much, unfortunately), stories and information relayed by my dad when he was alive and other relatives, and just the miscellaneous stuff I've learned over the years.

Thankfully, we have this magical thing called the Internet, and you can find out all kinds of stuff on just about anything of which you can imagine.

First stop: Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia. Those who haven't used this site, well, now you know about it. There's some very good stuff here, and they're updating and expanding it pretty much daily.

Here's some information about ayuyu from Wikipedia:

The coconut crab (Birgus latro) is the largest terrestrial arthropod in the world. It is a derived hermit crab … known for its ability to crack coconuts with its strong pincers in order to eat the contents. It is sometimes called the “robber crab” or “palm thief” because some coconut crabs steal shiny items such as pots and silverware from houses and tents.

Reports about the size of Birgus latro vary, and most references give a weight of up to 9 pounds, a body length of up to 16 inches, and a leg span of 3 feet, with males generally being larger than females. Some reports claim weights up to 37 pounds and a body length of 3 feet.

They can reach an age of up to 30 to 60 years. The front-most legs have massive pincers used to open coconuts, and these claws (chaelae) can lift objects up to 64 pounds in weight.

I've never seen one as big as 3 feet and weight 37 pounds, but I have seen 10-pounders before; they used to be a lot more prevalent.

And I can testify to the power in those front claws. Once, when I was a child, me and some of my cousins who were about the same age were at a relatives house. There was going to be a huge fiesta the next day, so the day before was tons of prep work, mostly for the adults. We were aggravating some big ayuyu that were temporarily in these big 50-gallon steel drums (one end of each drum was open and they were sitting up vertically). We all had broomsticks and the like, and were poking at them. My broomstick was suddenly violently grabbed, and just as suddenly came loose. I pulled it up to find the bottom foot of it chopped off by ayuyu claw. Yowza.

Another great Web site is The Coconut Crab, which is based out of Great Britain and part of Operation Wallacea, which is "a series of biological and social science expedition projects designed to underpin the achievement of specific wildlife conservation aims." Lot of great information on this site, including eating, drinking and mating habits, among others.

Also, it came with this list of countries and territories — mostly small tropical islands — from the Indo-Pacific region in which you can find coconut crabs. This was cool because I always thought the ayuyu was pretty much indigenous to Micronesia. Here's the list:

Guam • American Samoa • Australia • British Indian Ocean Territory • Christmas Island • Cook Islands • Fiji • French Polynesia • India • Indonesia • Japan • Kiribati • Malaysia • Marshall Islands • Mauritius • Federated States of Micronesia • Nauru • New Caledonia • Niue • Northern Mariana Islands • Palau • Papua New Guinea • Philippines • Samoa • Seychelles • Solomon Islands • Taiwan • Tanzania • Thailand • Tokelau • Tonga • Tuvalu • Vanuatu

In all of these islands, native inhabitants consider coconut crab to be a delicacy — because it is; it just tastes sooooooo good! The problem has been vast overharvesting of the species, especially of the longer-lived giant ones, which has resulted in their extinction or at least endangerment in many of the islands listed above.

This photo has been included to give you a better sense of how big these things can get. This is an average size guy holding up one of the bigger beasties. These things can get freaking huge!! LOL

Lucky, they are far from aggressive. They will retreat from people and other predators until they can back their backsides into a rocky hole, leaving them free to defend themselves with those amazing front claws.

Random Guam Fact Of The Day:
• The preferred way of eating coconut crab on Guam involves keeping the crabs for a couple of weeks, feeding it nothing but coconut meat. This cleanses the crabs' system so the meat will taste best. Then it's cooked in coconut milk to further accentuate the taste. Mmmm ....

Friday, March 17, 2006

t-shirts and crabs ...

I'm a T-shirt kinda guy. If I had my druthers (or anyone else's druthers ... anyone have druthers I can borrow? I'm fresh out of druthers), I would wear T-shirts pretty much any time I had to leave the house. To play golf (most require a collared shirt, like a Polo), to go to work (usually a Polo-type shirt or a sporty dress shirt or Aloha-type shirt), or pretty much anywhere else.

I've always liked T-shirts. You can really express yourself with a tee by wearing something with a cute, fun, or just cool saying. It can be big or small, irreverent or reverent, funny or sacriligious, intelligent or stupid. It can be just a word, a bunch of words, an image, an image with words. It can be blank and plain. Design on front or back. Or both. Your tee can be any color or combination of colors. Pocket or no pocket.

Some of my favorite ones are Big Daddy T-shirts. The Big Daddy logo on the front, fun and fresh sayings on the back: I'm your Big Daddy; Sugar Daddy; Big is beautiful; etc. I own a bunch of shirts from Big Daddy — somewhere around two dozen, I would guess. And no, I'm not going to go count them. Plus, some are in the hamper, some are folded, some are hanging on doors (worn for only a short time and thus ready to be worn again; washing unnecessary).

I was in Kmart the other day — OK, stop laughing. Kmart is the only real major retailer on Guam, and luckily so. When it came here prices fell all over the place. We have smaller stores, a couple of warehouse grocery stores, a Ross and some other outlet stores, etc., but Kmart is the one-stop place for most folks. You can usually find what you're looking for there. I was there to buy my new 5.2 megapixel camera (snazzy!) and went past the men's clothing department. Anyway, I saw a new design for a local T-shirt — presented to the right.

Cool, huh? 100% boonie dog. Heh. That's SO Guam.

And now for something completely different ...
Had one of those days at work that mostly just pass by. I got all my stuff done early, no major hitches on my edit, got some weekend stuff knocked out so my Saturday will be breezy (knock on wood). And had one of those nice, paid-for work lunches at a nice restaurant. Yes, I did have the New York steak with the amazing potatoes au gratin ... mmm.

And now for something else completely different ...
Have you ever seen that show about Alaskan crabbing fishermen? I caught it a few weekends back on the Discovery Channel. It's one of the most dangerous jobs in the world — people die with astonishing regularity there, every year.

I just went to the Web site. It's called "Deadliest Catch." New season coming March 28!!! Check it out!!

It's no wonder though ... cages of steel flying around, ropes galore, the stormy northern ocean, which is freezing. Man overboard can quickly mean dead man. It's just too cold for anyone to last for long if they're swept over. Very hard job. Physically demanding. Sometimes you're up for 24 or 36 hours straight.

It also can be incredibly lucrative. For a few days work, a crew member can make tens of thousands of dollars. The seasons are incredibly short. There's one for Alaskan king crab, another for a different type of crab, etc.

So why do I bring this up? Because I have this really cool little hat that makes me look like a sailor. Don't you think? Well, I probably should have some kind of shirt and heavy jacket on to complete the look.

I guess I'm the randy sailor on leave? LOL Heck ... I even come complete with the mermaid tattoo. Unlike the sailor from "Brandy," my life, my love and my lady is NOT the sea. Any ladies wanna stop by the port where I'm staying to help me enjoy my liberty?

Wow ... that was crass, cheesy and just plain bad! LOL

Still ... any takers? ;)

Random Guam Fact Of The Day:
• One of the delicacies of Guam is the coconut crab, or ayuyu. They are bad-ass crabs; those powerful front claws can rip their way into a coconut — husks, shell and all — to get to the sweet white meat. They can easily cut their way through flesh and bone if you try to pick them up wrong — there is only one place to pick them up right and if you don't ... ouch! They also taste awesome ... but they have been overharvested, with people taking ayuyu that are too small and too young.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

tag ... i'm not it ...

OK, here's the scenario:

I've just stepped in the elevator and pressed the button to go to my floor.

"Hold the elevator please," I hear from outside.

I reach out and hit the "open doors" button to keep them open.

Thank God I did.

Into the elevator step two very beautiful women.

One is half Filipina, half Caucasian. She's about 5'6" and slender, but not super skinny. She's svelte. Medium-sized breasts, showing of some cleavage in her spaghetti-strap top. Medium-length hair, sexy earrings.

The other is a Chamorrita. She's about 5'7" and very curvy. Super hot, super curves, super gorgeous. She's in a mini skirt that flaunts her legs and a tight little top that accentuates her bountiful chest. Long black hair and a graceful neck. She gives me a smile as she turns and presses a button to her floor.

The first girl doesn't.

The elevator goes up. My floor is first. I glance at both women before getting off. They are staring at the buttons on the wall on either side of me. That's it.


Oh ... I forgot to mention. I was wearing TAG body spray.

You've seen the commercials, haven't you?

Average-looking guy sprays on the stuff. Gets in an elevator. Two hot women get on. They smell what he's wearing. The door closes. The door opens. He's disheveled with a goofy smile on his face. The women look like the cats who ate the canary.

Or the boyfriend comes to pick up girlfriend and is greeted at the door by her (very hot) mom. She smells it. Leans in close to him. Tells him to call her by her first name. The top button on her blouse pops off. "Oops," she says.

Cut to the "warning screen."


Shit doesn't work.

What the hell? I buy this stuff exclusively for the reason of hot women smelling it on me and attacking me in a sexual manner. I want a hot professional female wrestler to fly off the top rope just to jump on me. I want hot chicks in the supermarket to tray to tackle me because I smell so damn good.

Tag, and Axe, for that matter, had me thinking there were some kind of pheremones in the spray.

If only it were that easy, huh?

Oh well ... back to reading Cosmo to pick up on the predatory thought patterns of the opposite sex.

Random Guam Fact Of The Day:
• Guam's area code is (671). We weren't a part of the North American Numbering Plan until the Telecommunications Act of 1995, which finally made long-distance calling affordable. Before that, calling long-distance to or from Guam was like calling a phone sex line — $2.99 for the first minute, $1 a minute after that.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

early HNT ... St. Patrick's Day!!

OK, this is the early Half-Nekkid Thursday from Guam, on your Wednesday (almost my Thursday).

The King of HNT, Osbasso, has requested that those of us who participate in HNT, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, wear a bit of green for our HNT this week.

And since he is the king, I have honored his request ... kind of.

I don't really have too much green in my wardrobe, and I sent off my green Guam hat to England.

So what's a DZER to do?

Thinking about it is getting me angry. It's getting me very angry. And you won't like me when I'm angry ...

DZER smash! DZER crush puny humans!


To find out more about Half-Nekkid Thursday,
check out the link, baby:

Just as a head's up ... everyone who visits here regularly has noticed the new look. I've also done a makeover of DZER's Guam Pics, though right now it's just a temporary thing. I want something a little more ... comprehensive. Something more crisp. More photobloggy. LOL

Also ... since both Chrissie and the DZER have redone our blogs recently, we're both looking at a revamp of DZEROTICA as well ... LOL

Random Guam Fact Of The Day:
• The strongest Chamorro chief, according to legend, was called Gadao. He could squeeze the milk out of a raw coconut with his bare hands, and cut a coconut in half with the flick of a finger.

a late night caller to DZER's apartment ...

The DZER loves having company at night. C'mon ... who doesn't?

The DZER's place is kinda in crappy condition right now — DZER has a lot of cleaning up and rearranging to do, mostly because he's a lazy fuck, so normally the DZER doesn't have too many people over, let alone late-night callers.

Tonight was different.

The DZER came home from a fun night out with some friends. The DZER's outside light was non-functional, which was a bitch. The bulb is fried and must be replaced.

The DZER came in, put down his keys and stuff, grabbed a drink from the fridge and started toward his bedroom when the DZER noticed a flicker of movement out of the corner of his eye.

There she was. Long and slender and lean. Big, gleaming eyes. Nice mixture of brown and golden.

So lovely but ... so cold. It was like she was ready to strike out at the DZER.

Yep, one of Guam's infamous brown tree snakes (Boiga irregularis) had someway made its way into the DZER's apartment.

Despite the reputation that Guam is overrun by the brown tree snake, this is the first one I've personally seen in the wild for years and years — and the last one was at the house of one of my friends who lives near some deep jungle.

The brown tree snake, which is both nocturnal and arboreal, does have a nasty reputation, and deservedly so. Because of this invasive species, believed to have come to Guam aboard military or supply ships from Indonesia or the South Pacific, the island's native bird population was decimated. Nine of 12 species were made extinct. A couple others are endangered. It also has killed off half of the native lizard population.

The little bugger is currently sitting in a plastic tub out in my living room. My landlord has a cage up at his house in northern Guam, and I think he has a snake he caught a while back in it. Now he will have a pair, at least.

Random Guam Fact Of The Day:
• The brown tree snake is a constrictor, but it does have a mildly venomous bite, though it has to gnaw through the skin to impart the venom. The snake can grow to 10 feet in length, with some longer specimens having been reported.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Monday unlike most, thankfully ...

I usually don't have two full days off in a row — the great majority of the time, I have to put in at least a few hours of time to get my section ready for the weekend. Even when there's a holiday on Monday, unless I'm totally ahead of the game, I end up working a little bit, even if it's just an hour or so.

That's why yesterday was nice — a Monday off, right after my Sunday off. It was good not having to work, or to go into work, or to think about work.

I did find out that there's pretty much nothing at all on television during the day, especially in the afternoon. How do the desparate housewives do it?

It was very relaxing. I only left my apartment once ... and that was to get some lunch. I even took a nap from 6 to 8 p.m. .... nothing like an early evening nap to set the tone for the rest of the evening. LOL

And guess what ... one more full day off tomorrow! Yeehaw!! I can barely contain my ... phlegmatism. Heh.

So relaxed on vacation my dimples made an appearance!

Moving update
I'm not ... at least not yet. My landlord called me and said his sister isn't going to be doing anything with the place until the summer. So I don't have to move until June or July.

It's a good thing he called when he did, because I was set to sign a lease this week. Whew!

But here's the thing. I'm going to continue my (minimal but steady) efforts to go through my shit and box up the stuff I don't need with any degree of regularity. I'm also going to organize the stuff I no longer want with an aim at having a "yard" sale later this month. This will help me further purge myself of worldly goods whilst also translating into cash for me.

And, speaking of cash, I've also taken the money I was going to use for the deposit on the new place and opened a savings account. Which also has a regular deposit from my direct-deposited paychecks. Yes, I actually have a savings plan now. So very grown up of me, huh? Heh. And, within several months I'll have enough socked away to pay for a REAL move! Again, may I say: Heh.

For those of you who haven't yet been, go check out CHRISSIE'S NEW LOOK! She did a great job and the site looks fabulous. Of course, it HAD to ... to compete with mine. LOL

Random Guam Fact Of The Day:
• The RGFOTD is, like me, on vacation. Heh.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

the new look of the Diatribe ...

Finally had some free time on my hands to mess around with my blog look.

Whatcha think?

I found a nice, simple template on the wonderful World Wide Web, played around with it for a little bit, made a new banner graphic, twiddled with the settings, bounced some ideas off my favorite Minx and got her approval LOL. I also got the notice that she would be updating HER wonderful blog because:
1. She's tired of it.

2. Mine will look better than hers and she ain't having that!
Hmm ... can we say "competitive?" Heh.

Anyway, I hope you guys like the new look ... even though the comments thing (not popping up in a new window) is a little irritating. Then again, it's not like I get a ton of comments now, so the people who really want to comment still will ... I hope! LOL

Keep an eye out for a revamp of DZER's Guam Pics. I've seen some very cool photoblogs out there and may end up completely redoing my pics site because of that. Plus, I have a couple more days off — yay, mini-vacation! — so if I get bored ... you never know what more I will do! LOL