Saturday, July 22, 2006

notes and from dzerland ...

• The price of regular, unleaded, self-service gas went up on Guam again during the middle of the week by 6 cents. The current price -- $3.38 a gallon. It had cost me $40 to fill up from bone dry when it was at $3.32. Fucking bleah™.

• Golf with the godsons and their dad, S, in about ... 7-1/2 hours. Good news: Golf with godsons and S. Bad news: Having to wake up in about 6-1/2 hours. C'est la vie.

• Mega Big Macs, with no lettuce and no pickles. De-fucking-licious. They use quarter-pounder patties instead of normal patties, so it's much meatier. Get rid of miscellaneous vegetation to focus on meat-cheese-bread-sauce combo. Fuck me but I think there's crack in the secret sauce.

• Crazy three weeks coming up, thanks to some annual planning stuff. Don't worry though; I still will find time to play poker, both online and off.

• Thank you, lord, for hot chicks who wear clothing that shows off their hot bodies to maximum effectiveness. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

• That gourmand's delight of a dinner last week has got me thinking that I deprive myself too much these days when it comes to fine dining. I've settled for home cooking, fast food and medium-level restaurants, at best, and even then usually only for lunch. No more. I hereby declare that I will indulge myself at LEAST once a month with top-notch food. I have a $75 gift certificate for Roy's Restaurant, a very nice place here. I'm thinking of a pre-dinner beer, crabcakes for appetizer, filet mignon for main course with a glass of nice wine, and their famous chocolate souffle, which features a volcano of molten fine European chocolate inside the lovely cakey outer layer. Heh.

• My old cordless phone died out on me last week. Well, it wasn't totally dead, but its battery would only hold a charge for about 15 minutes. Replaced it with a much better phone, a 5.8 giga-Hertz number that is much clear and otherwise superior. Now ... if only people would call ... LOL

• While at Kmart buying the phone, I also chanced upon the 30th anniversary edition of Blazing Saddles — "Candygram for Mongo!" digitally remastered and everything. I have Sunday evening set aside for a night of reveling in the brilliance that is Mel Brooks (Have you gone beserk! Can't you see that man is a nig...), Gene Wilder (If you shoot him, you'll just make him mad), Cleavon Little (Excuse me while I whip this out), Madeline Kahn (A wed wose, how womantic), Harvey Korman (You will be risking your lives, whilst I will be risking an almost-certain Academy Award nomination for the Best Supporting Actor) and Slim Pickens (Someone's gotta go back for a shit-load of dimes!). Much laughter and guffaws will be had (Is that a ten-gallon hat, or are you just enjoying the show?), along with some Tabasco-spiced popcorn, Red Vines and Coke. If you haven't watched this movie, I pity you. Seriously. Completely.



Friday, July 21, 2006

liberation day ...

July 21 is the anniversary of the liberation of Guam, a local holiday marking the day, back in 1944, that U.S. forces landed on the island to retake the island from the Japanese.

Most people in America know almost nothing of Guam's role in World War II. They know all about D-Day and other aspects of the "war to end all wars" in Europe, and they know about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Midway, Iwo Jima and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It's always been puzzling to me why the liberation of Guam is so overlooked and underknown.

Guam was the ONLY civilian-populated territory to be invaded and occupied by the Japanese. Yes, I know all about the Aleutian Islands. But those were mostly Navy and Army Air Corps bases and weather stations. The few Inuits that were there were, first, few in number, and, second, didn't have prosperous towns set up. There was some fishing and stuff, but that's about it.

Guam was very different. We had been an American territory since the ceding of the island to the United States by Spain following the Spanish-American War in 1898. We had a naval governor, who was the top-ranking officer of the Naval detachment. We had a bucolic but busting island, with a population in the tens of thousands.

We were bombed on Dec. 8, 1941, just hours later on the same day that Pearl Harbor was bombed (International Dateline, remember?). The Japanese held on in a brutal occupation for more than 2-1/2 years, raping, starving, beating, beheading and killing of the populace. There was forced labor to build airfields and other infrastructure. There were forced marches to concentration camps.

Several families helped hide a holdout U.S. Navy radioman, George Tweed, for years, giving up their limited food and suffering torture to keep him hidden. They kept U.S. flags of all sizes hidden, facing certain death if they were found.

The people of Guam never gave up hope that the U.S. would come back. And they did.

But we have never really been acknowledged for our courage, our sacrifices, our suffering.

When the U.S. signed off on the treaty to end the war with Japan, it obsolved the enemy of any war reparations. Now, it's 62 years later, and most of the people who survived the brutal occupation still haven't received any real compensation, from the United States or otherwise. Every new congressional term, we try to get a bill through Congress for war reparations. It never gets through. There's one there now and the people have hope, but it's a kind of hopeless hope. We're not asking for hundreds of millions. But we still, in the back of our minds, don't think the U.S. government will come through. All they have to do is continue to postpone it, and wait for more and more people to die off.

And yet the people of Guam love our country. Men and women have gratefully and dutily served in the U.S. Armed Forces since before World War II. In Vietnam, Korea, the Persian Gulf War, we have the highest per capita number of citizens killed in action. Our military recruiters never have a problem meeting quota, not even in the middle of wars. Recruiters often win awards for the number of people who annually sign up for military service.

All we ask for is just a little bit of justice.

Happy Liberation Day.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


nothing to see here, folks.

move along ... move along ...

why I haven't been around much ...

I've heard from some of you readers out there, wondering why I haven't been around much, why I haven't been commenting much, why I haven't been posting so much, why I haven't been blogging at my usual times.

The answer is simple: Poker.

No, not my real, live cash games and tournaments.

Online poker.

There's finally a decent client out there for Macs, so I've been playing it to get my gambling fix. I've even skipped the last three nights of real poker to play online.

I've been playing when I get home and into the night. Actually, into the early morning hours. Been staying up till 3 or 4 a.m. playing. Been playing when I get up, all the way until I have to leave for work. Been coming home for lunch and playing then.

The major part of it is the poker, but there's an added feature that I've kind of been missing for a while -- chatting.

I was an inveterate chatter when I first got online. And that held up for years and years. Usually it was in a chatroom at Chathouse or Chatalot. But people kind of disappeared from those places, at least the people I used to chat to. I also chatted a lot on ICQ and Yahoo IM. There were times I was in a chatroom and holding up conversations with multiple people in multiple IM programs. But most of those have gone away too.

I used to have about 20-25 people on ICQ. Now there are six. And I only chat with only two of them on any kind of regular basis, and even then it's not really the same, mostly because none of us spend the same kind of time online, or the same hours online, as we used to.

Same with Yahoo. I have 19 people on my Yahoo IM. And, again, there's only a few I chat with there on a regular basis ... heck, I wouldn't even call it regular. Semi-regular.

But four of those have been added in the last few days. And yes, all of them women. All of them from chatting in poker rooms, being a little flirtatious and teasing ... then exchanging Yahoo IM's and chatting there a bit. I even had a short phone conversation with an interesting woman from Las Vegas, until my phone died.

Side note: I need to get a new phone. The handset battery doesn't fully recharge, so I only have about 10 mins of talk time there. And my cell phone has been cutting out in my apartment recently too.

I really miss flirtatious chat. I found out just how much thanks to the online poker rooms. It's one thing to do so over e-mail or in comments, but that instantaneous thing is lacking there. It's not really chatting going back and forth with comments in either of those two mediums.

OK ... that's enough blogging. Time for a quick look around the blogosphere and then back to the poker rooms!

OH ... but I didn't forget the early HNT from Guam ...
A bemused DZER.

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I'm trying hard to deal with depression ...

Well, a tropical depression. Specifically, Tropical Depression 06W.

As per the National Weather Service:

Fun, eh?

Lucky for us it formed pretty close to us, which means we'll get wind and rain but that it shouldn't be anything too damaging. Not so for China, the Philippines, or Japan, one or more of which usually get hit by these things after they pass us. For example, Typhoon Bilis, which has killed 177 people thus far in China, destroying 19,100 houses and forcing the evacuation of more than 519,000 people. That was a tropical depression for Guam last week, which gave us a bunch of rain and stirred up some nasty surf, resulting in the death of a teen boy who was swept off the reef.

When these things form out around Chuuk, they often can turn into tropical storms or typhoons that end up hitting us, or passing close by enough to really fuck things up and disrupt lives and destroy stuff. Knock on fucking wood.

This was what the weather was like at 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, as I drove back to work. It got a little worse as the day wore on, and will be even worse in the morning hours. Weather MIGHT get a little better around Thursday or so.

For most of you across the United States ... enjoy your heatwave.

Monday, July 17, 2006

it started with a beer ... and ended with coffee

Saturday was S's birthday. He's my friend, co-worker and pare'. To celebrate, a group of us went out to a very nice restaurant. It was me, S and R, his wife, and T and her husband, K. T now lives in Virginia, but is back on island for a few weeks on vacation.

Steve decided on Al Dente Ristorante, a great Italian fine-dining restaurant. Many years ago, I was a regular at Al Dente. All the staff called me Mr. Duane, and I got a lot of comped stuff and special treatment. They would decorate birthday tables with baloons and centerpieces, bring by free bottles of wine now and then, make me special dishes and desserts. Back then I had this VIP card that basically let one member of the party eat for free. So a $200 bill for four people would get cut down to about $150 (drinks weren't covered). The restaurant adds a 10-percent gratuity, but I would always leave a good chunk of money saved from the "free diner" deal with the server -- 25 percent to 40 percent tips are VERY much appreciated by serving staff. LOL

Starting off
I began with a nice, cold beer -- Asahi, a Japanese brand. The restaurant also provides two different kinds of bread for free -- a kind of modified focaccia (they used to serve this with roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil on the side, but no they use some kind of piquant spread) and pizza bread in long, thin, triangle slices with a light topping of cheese served with this amazing, creamy aioli. Delish!

I had a great appetizer before the main course -- antipasto misti, which consisted of a grilled scallop and prawn (which I donated to R and T), carmelized onions, buffalo mozzarella with a tiny dollop of pesto, tomatos, sweet and sour bell peppers, veal carpaccio, ansiago cheese and bruschetta. Mmmm ... Almost went with the mushroom soup, which S had, because they make amazingly tasty, creamy soup there, but I felt like having thinly sliced tortured baby cow instead.

Main course
There were so many delightful choices on the menu, plus several chef's specials. I changed my mind several times. First, it was going to be the ravioli stuffed with porcini mushrooms, then the rack of lamb and beef tenderloin combo, then the mushroom risotto with foie gras. In the end, I decided on the grilled chicken breast with garlic-porcini mushrooms, garlic mashed potatoes and a lovely sauce.

OH ... MY ... GOD!!

Did I ever choose right. The mushrooms alone were worth it ... they were ... fuck they were sheer divinity on the tongue.

I skipped dessert. S got an awesome personal tiramisu, complimentary for the birthday boy. R and T shared a super rich chocolate souffle thing filled with molten chocolate and served with a scoop of ice cream and some freshly whipped cream. They seemed to enjoy it very, VERY much.

For me, I pretty much settled on coffee. Rich, flavorful, delectable, strong Italian coffee.

A lot of pics were taken, but I only have one that has me in it, and the picture isn't that good, so you don't get to see it. And I figure none of you have any real desire to see S or R or T or even her husband K. Maybe once I get pics from R and T that have me in them too, maybe then I'll post them.

After almost four solid days of mostly rain, amazingly Sunday dawned clear and sunny, and the weather held up through the day. We once again played Admiral Nimitz Golf Course -- it's nice and open and flat with no water to endanger golf balls, plus it's usually not too packed, which makes it ideal for me and S to take the boys out.

I started off rather shitty; just couldn't get any part of my game going, except my putter. Several one putts, a couple of them rather long, kept my score from blowing up too big. I managed two pars somehow on the front nine (which was the course's back nine) but also shot a triple bogey and two double bogeys -- and even there, putting kept the score from getting too crazy -- a 47 on the front, 11 over par.

On the back nine, after a quick lunch (cheeseburger and fries), I started off horrible. Only a 12-foot putt let me escape with a triple bogey. None of my other shots were working at all -- not my driver, not my fairway woods, not my irons, not even my wedges.

But on the next hole, a par-5, I turned things around. I hit a decent drive, then hit a decent 3-wood to about 115 yards from the green. But I couldn't find the ball initially, so I dropped a provisional. Just 15 feet head, as I drove the cart up, I found it. Lucky me. Hit a 9-iron to just off the green, about 50 feet away from the pin. I hit a bump-and-run with an 8-iron and it rolled up ... and up ... and IN for the birdie! Woo-hoo for me!

By the way ... I realize that only Knight is likely reading this part of the post. LOL

It was bogey golf for the next three holes, then par, then an unfortunate double because of a bad decision, then par-bogey to finish at 8 over 44 for the front, for a 91 total, which is pretty good for me. If I had gotten warm earlier (shoulda stretched more or got to the course early to hit the driving range!), I would have broken 90 for sure.

But there's always next weekend for that.

And the boys again had a lot of fun. A is getting to be pretty dead solid perfect on putts inside of 8 feet ... he holed quite a few of those on Sunday. He's also connecting more often off the tee ... on one hole S and I both hit shitty drives that only got past his by about 30 yards! LOL ... As for J, I think he likes to play mostly because he gets to be with me, his dad and brother, but he does get excited when he catches a good one. And, of course, there's always the thrill of pressing the gas pedal for me.

There you go. That was the weekend. Hope yours was good too.

not dead ...

... just been too lazy to post.

coming soon:

• steve's birthday dinner (with photos)

• golf on sunday with my godsons