Saturday, October 31, 2009

Flying over Maui in a helicopter today

Hi - today we flew over Maui in a helicopter, and it was very cool. We actually took 100 pictures - far too many to post up on the blog; so I'll put a few highlights and ... some videos of the flight!

We flew with Sunshine Helicopters at the Kahului Heliport, located on the backside of the main airport just off Highway 37 (Haleakala Hwy). They were really great. We flew in something called a Whisper Star, and it was really great. We even upgraded to "First class" so we could ride up front right beside the pilot and get some really great photos out the front of the chopper.

Pretty cool, eh?

Toward the middle of this video you can see where it's a bit drier and there are some windmills. That's out in the direction of Ka'anapali, where our resort is. This was right at the beginning of the flight - we later went on to the other side of Maui and got some really excellent pictures.

In order of appearance:

1) A 500' waterfall;

2) The Haleakala Crater of the Haleakala National Park;

3) Jurassic Rock (from 1993's Jurassic Park - when the helicopter is approaching the Isla Nublar, this is the rock formation that you see); and

4) the Lahaina windfarm that's not too far from our hotel. Hope you enjoy the shots. I'll try and put all this stuff into a movie of some sort to show you - again, there's about 100 shots - far too many to post all at once. I hope you're enjoying everything so far.

Friday, October 30, 2009

non-Hawaiian update

A few items have been note-worthy even though they are unrelated to Hawaii - Even though I'm going to post some pics of Maui afterward anyhow.

Good, Bad and the Ugly: Lost
Good news: Lost apparently has signed William Atherton to guest star in Season 6. He's awesome in Die Hard. You recognize him? He's totally intense, totally awesome - and it's been a few years before since we've seen him in anything. for sure it'll be awesome to have him back in the spotlight.

Bad news: Have I mentioned I really don't like the Olympics? They basically hijack everything you like about the media and force-feed you 24-hour coverage of sports you couldn't care less about. If bobsledding were popular, don't you think we'd hear about it more often than ever four years? But wait! Now that it's in the Olympics, we've got to hear about it for hours and hours, and then watch biographies on the half-dozen bobsledders and their boring training, etc, etc. But the most difficult part about the Olympics is that it interrupts regularly scheduled programming.

More specifically - Lost is likely going to have to go on another hiatus about two weeks after it finally comes back off of hiatus from all summer and fall! Bullshit!

The ugly: It would appear that ABC or someone in the Desmond-Camp has paid to make a sexual harassment allegation. Henry Ian Cusick allegedly made some inappropriate sexual advances toward a female who worked on the show, who complained that he was making inappropriate sexual advances towards her, and then she was fired shortly afterward. Well, they paid her off, and settled out of court, which is probably the most painless way to go about it - but ... that doesn't mean it's not ugly.

Hawaii pics: A Hawaiian sunset descending beneath the clouds on the horizon - and my wife atop a rocky cliff that I descended. I'm going to post some more pictures tomorrow from what was down the cliff.

West Maui Day: 05

So this morning we had ambitions (after our wonderful buffet breakfast - it's awesome) to go to the Maui Ocean Center where there's a great aquarium. It was a really great visit - but there are some truths that must be told before you go for yourself. But before we get there - I'll walk you through our visit and share our photos. ... I must warn you, however, that I do some awful, perverted things in the pictures to follow - so beware.

We saw some great stuff and actually learned allot about the local wildlife. Most of what you see at the aquarium is local wildlife - they haven't imported things you wouldn't expect to see - but rather showcase the many fish and aquatic animals that you'd find snorkeling and scuba diving around the islands.

I especially liked the seahorses and the crabs - those things are definitely weird and wonderful. But, to be honest, I did some terrible, terrible things that aren't acceptable. First off - I was totally peeping at the seahorses. Peeping is not cool - and I apologize. Also, not long after peeping at the seahorses, who were awesome, I also molested a starfish. To the starfish I harmed and to all starfish, I apologize. I take full responsibility. But for the record, the starfish was asking for it.

I had no idea that pineapples were grown in the ground. Then again, I didn't think they grew on trees or anything. Here's a shot of some pineapples that are growing - my wife says that the fruit will emerge in the middle of the green shoots, not underground, like a potato.

So here are some of the things that you should know before you head out to the Maui Ocean Center. Their website indicates that there are many animals at the exhibit, but in some instances they get a bit liberally with the term "home" when they say "Maui Ocean Ceneter is home to hundreds of marine life in over 60 exhibits!...." and then list a variety of animals with drop-down bars. Basically, it would lead you to believe that all of the animals that are on this list would consider the Center "home." Read it for yourself and see if you come to the same conclusion.

So when you can see which animals consider the Center "home" and scroll down to see Humpback Whales, Female Humpback Whales, Hawiian Monk Seal, Spinner Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, and Blue Whales. Now - I was as doubtful as could be that there was a Blue Whale on location at the Maui Ocean Center - seriously, the largest mammal to ever live probably isn't in captivity in an aquarium. But then again, if this place contained all of these animals - maybe a Blue Whale isn't out of the question.

Turns out - NONE of these animals are there. There are some informational plaques on these animals - and most of them are mentioned on one of thost plaques, but that certainly does not mean that those animals call the Center "home." So, that was a disappointment, although it would have been an unbelievable surprise if they actually had all of that stuff. There were supposed to be three species of seaturtles as well - which they did not have.

Great discoveries

It's important to know where you are when you're hiking through the badlands of Hawaii - you'd be surprised that much of West Maui is like a desert - it's very dry and there isn't a lot of grass or anything. But, then again, at some of the resorts and golf courses the yard-keepers have done a super job hydrating everything and keeping the grounds looking healthy.

We travelled the island a little bit today, and we made some great discoveries. In these first two photos you can see my wife traversing through uncharted undergrowth - to discover a boisterous civilization. She was a real trooper - she wanted these shots to work out - so I had her get in position and stand the right way and hold the bushes to the side, and smile, etc, etc. She actually got bit by a bad-ass bug and we actually went into Walgreen's to get something to keep the swelling down. A good time to discover a Walgreens.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

West Maui Day: 04

Another good day yesterday - today's been great, too, but I have to post yesterday's shots before I can get to the Maui Ocean Center. We spent a good while sunning ourselves by the pool while reading a book, walking on the beach, and having a relaxing time. To the right here you can see a nice waterfall at mid-day around the resort.

We walked along the beach that day, but didn't quite get in the ocean. My wife was wearing her contacts and just didn't make it in, but the water seemed nice, and we wanted to go in. There were some kids who were riding skim boards. These are like big guitar picks that they ride the surf that washes on the immediate shoreline while it breaks. They were doing little flips and stuff. It looked like fun.

We spent a good long while reading in the sun. Did I get a sunburn, you ask? I sure did. My belly and upper legs (just above my knees) didn't get sunscreen - and now they are tender and red from the sun. That's okay - it shouldn't be too uncomfortable for too long. Getting deeper into this book, Famous Last Words, all I can say is, "What a special book it really is. I strongly recommend reading it." Seriously, the characters and narration are carefully devised and wonderfully put together. Plus the story is captivating and really special - but enough of that, and back to the honeymoon.

While reading there are neat opportunities to share food with little island birds that flutter all over, and neat geckos to check out. Apparently there's a big white bird (I haven't seen it yet) that walks over the top of bushes looking for geckos to eat. The geckos are tiny and move real quick. If you weren't looking for them, you might not even notice that they were ever even there.

One of my wife's items to accomplish this week was to find a hammock and sit in it. We've only seen one hammock, and with luck, there was no one in it. There was also a fence around it and no discernible way to get into it. But a yellow rope fence is no match for me! Not these days, anyhow. All that said - I have a snapshot of what my wife's life was like for about 25 seconds on our honeymoon.

After that, it was more swimming for me in the pool - but wifey wasn't feeling so hot. That's fine. I like swimming whether I'm alone or on a tandem, so it worked out well for me.

We walked over to the Whaler's Village - which is basically a market on the old site of a whaler's pit-stop from years gone by where they'd refuel and stock up on amenities before heading back into the mating grounds to harpoon themselves some whales.

There were great dinner restaurants and markets and plenty of live music all over. The live music was great in many cases. We also got to see Jupiter and its four moons through a high-powered telescope, which was very cool. The telescope was so strong you could actually see the gaseous rings of Jupiter's surface and the big red storm (spot) that is in the southern hemisphere of the planet. Very cool.

We also got a great look at the moon through the telescope, too. Craters and the 'terminator' line (where the sun doesn't shine on the moon) and you could 'technically' see boulders inside the craters, which was very neat. I put it in quotes because I didn't see the boulders, but I trust that they were there.

What else? I watched a little Leno before bed and that's all she wrote. I'll have another post of today's adventures ready by the time you wake up tomorrow - again, while it's midnight right now where you are, it's merely quarter after six here, which is awesome!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Petes article

Size does make a difference
Tall goalies are getting a good buzz these days – they cover so much of the net that it leaves blitzing wingers little to shoot at. The Pete’s have themselves the biggest of the bunch – Jason Missiaen, who towers over everyone at an honest 6’8.

Missiaen started filling out the net when he was eight years old. “Ever since I was little, I’ve always been the tallest kid in my class. It’s nothing new to me. I don’t find it too awkward, I’ve always been pretty coordinated for my size,” says Missiaen.

He knows that being big helps. “Obviously, being bigger, you fill up more of the net. It gives shooters less to shoot at,” he admits, “and I don’t have to get on my tippy-toes when I help out around the house. It’s a little perk, I guess.”
Read on ...
For the record, Jason was a funny guy - and totally tall.

West Maui Day: 03

So here's a nice shot from yesterday of the champagne flutes and champagne we were given for our honeymoon from the Westin. It is nice of them to give us something like this. I've already broken one of the glasses, though. It was too close to the towels by the sink, unfortunately.

On this balcony we get a variety of little birds that hang around looking for something to snack on. We've yet to begin feeding them, but ... it's only a matter of time. We were also surprised to find that there are cardinals here. I didn't think they made it this far out into the Pacific, but... shows how much I know about the matter.

We only ventured away from the hotel a little yesterday, and that was to pick up a few necessities that went missing over the last few days. First off, my wife forgot all of her soaps and shampoos at the Bed & Breakfast we stayed at (Branteaney's, which was awesome) so we were out of that for her by the time we were on the road back to Toronto on Sunday.

Also, my shampoo was squished in my suitcase while we were flying to Hawaii, so my pajamas were basically ruined (although nothing else was, so it's not so bad). Frankly, when I broke the champagne flute, it spilled champagne all over my PJs, too, so they're doubly no good to wear. So we went out to a Walgreen's to get some stuff. We also stocked up on some things for a picnic later in the week. That'll be good fun.

We also saw what appears to be the construction for a new aqueduct that's being installed around here. I can't find a link to it, but I'll try and get a picture later on today for the blog. It looks cool - but also like it needs some water, real bad.

Then we lounged around the pool, and swam in the pool, for a couple of hours - though no sunburn/suntan yet. Don't worry, I'll get a picture of one if it happens. The pools here are really awesome, and in several cases, there are actually big tunnels that go beneath waterfalls that connect one pool to the next, including a hidden pool that's located beneath the waterfalls.

I read some of Timothy Findlay's Famous Last Words, and I have to say, it's always remarkable to read an excellent author and watch him work. It's an incredible story already and I've only read about 10 pages or something stupid like that. It's remarkable what he was able to achieve with his words and ability to build a story structure. Absolutely remarkable.

We didn't get in the Ocean (yet) but it's only a matter of time before we hop in. Likely, it won't be as relaxing as the pool, but it'll be nice to get in and swim around a bit.

On the right here is a picture of a piece of art floating in the pond by the front entrance of the hotel. Underneath hides a big coy - and he's there most of the time. This happens to be a noticeably large coy, and he's always under that boat.

We took a few more photos of the hotel at night - and the lighting is really special. Everything looks very lovely - and again, there's something very special about the amount of space and peace there is when there are enormous crowds of people all over the place. It's so nice to have some peace and quiet. I can't really relax when it's like an amusement park at the buffet tables, or the circus by the poolside. It's been very, very nice here.

As for these evening pictures - these are the best of the bunch. It's a little more difficult to take good photos in the dark without a flash - but these seem to capture what it's like around here in the evening. It's really nice.

We'll have lots of good photos for you tomorrow. Have a good one.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

West Maui Day: 02

I know this seems to be all at once - and there are a bunch of pictures for tomorrow's post - but here are some of the good things from this morning. First off, even though we slept for what seemed like an eternity, it was only 6 a.m. when we finally decided we couldn't sleep anymore. One of the advantages of being this far east. We may be closer to Japan than we are to Ontario right now - but I'm not geographer.

The hotel here is very nice - and we've only seen a small bit of it. Our breakfast buffet was fantastic, full of more than enough choices, and they were all very tasty. Tomorrow we'll have the Ocean-side buffet so we can see the water while we sip on coffee and eat Eggs Benedict.

Not unlike other hotels, there are plenty of nice birds and fish all around that fill the ponds and pools with life. The parrots and cockatoos will say "Hello" without much prompting, but also say "Aloha," which is cute. After breakfast we took a stroll along the beach for a while, and the water was fantastic. We didn't get in, I was carrying a camera and wasn't in my beach shorts, but we sure wanted to. On the right is a nice shot of our footprints in the sand.

This may not be a peak vacationing time, which means that there are lawn chairs still available by the pool even though it's the middle of the day. How nice is to not be caught up in the crowds while you're on vacation. No lineups (so far) and nobody bumping into you. It's just the way I like it.

West Maui Day: 01

So here are some of the first pictures from our first day of travels on our honeymoon. Now, some of you may not know (or yet realize) that Hawaii is far from Toronto. Travel is like kryptonite to me and it basically will kill me if I spend too long exposed to it. Yesterday, I was almost dead after 20 hours. So it feels good to be alive.

Our first stop in the trip was in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, where I left a small blog post from a terminal in the airport while we had a 3-hour layover. It was an alright spot, and we even had a chance to have some breakfast.

On the right here, you can see my Texas breakfast. My new wife also had the largest Chicken Tenders I'd seen ever. They weren't that good, but it was lucky that there was so much left over, because we were in the 36th row of the airplane, and they'd run out of dinner's to serve by the time it was our chance to eat. We weren't happy with that. We were starving. It made the eight hour flight feel even worse.

So we had the left-over chicken tenders to satisfy us later on.

Flights also seem longer when the in-flight movie is Paul Blart Mall Cop. We mistakenly rented this a few months ago - and it's no better the second time around. Again, travelling slowly kills me, and so do inescapable bad movies. Grooaan.

But when it was all said and done, finding where to go next was no trouble. We were found by someone holding a sign with my name on it who then dowsed us both in flowered necklaces. These are heavier than you'd imagine they are, believe it or not.

Then we easily took a shuttle to where we rented a car from Dollar, and they gave us fine directions to our hotel.

To help you get the feel for where we are, this is a map of Maui, and you can see the airport we flew in to is on the North side of the middle of the island in Kahului. We drove south west from there to arrive on the West Side of Maui at our resort in Ka'anapali where we're staying at the Westin Resort and Spa [2365 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina, HI 96761, (888) 625-4949 room 1053 if you'd like to come visit us. We're here all week!]

Ka'anapali is on the west side of Maui, near the "T" in "West" on the above map. On the drive up to the hotel we took these shots. We have a few photos of the water, but they were taken from a moving car (while I was almost dead from travelling, remember) so they are so great. Then we got our hotel room and slept for 12 hours straight - someone even showed up to deliver champagne - because we're on our honeymoon - and I can hardly remember it. The bucket of champagne on ice is now filled with only water, the bottle completely uncorked (for now).

More updates will follow during my wife's naptime. I'll keep you in the loop. See you all in a few weeks.

Honeymoon starts now

It may have technically began when we left my parents' house at 4 a.m. (EST) on Monday morning - but it actually begins now that we've woken up in our hotel room. We checked into our room around 11:30 p.m. (EST) which was only like 3:30 p.m. here.

then we fell asleep until about 3 in the morning, and slept some more until about 6 a.m. here. So we tried to get some rest with about 12 hours in bed. Now me, I was out cold, had absolutely muddle dreams and I think someone came into our room (sure enough, we not have champagne in a bucket of melted ice waiting for us) and was basically a walking zombie for the last few legs of our trip - I don't travel well.

Anyhow - we've got a breakfast to get to, so I'll leave you with two items. 1) a picture from our balcony of the resort below;

and (2), if the Leafs win while I'm in Hawaii, I guess I'll have to stay in Hawaii until the end of the season to ensure their success. I'll take one for the team.

Also, if you were in attendance at our wedding - drink lots of liquids, get plenty of rest, and have vitamin C while you have the chance. All those people from all over the place all suddenly shaking hands and hugging - don't get the flu!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Free Internet in Texas

I'm in Dallas Texas right now. I've never been in Texas before - although it's only an airport. We're about to get something nice to eat very shortly. So far, the trip is going just fine. We'll get pictures up shortly. After dinner and another flight.

Talk to you soon, and thanks to everyone at the wedding - it was great.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Newly weds

So the wedding went off awesome the other night - I'm going to share lots of thoughts about it when I've got a bit more time to share all the good things I'd like to share about it. Right now - we're just doing a few errands prepping for our cross-continental flight to Hawaii tomorrow morning. We're going to have a great honeymoon and be sure to post plenty of good pictures of how it went - so stay tuned for that.

Stay alert for updates and we'll share them once things are a bit less busy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Nearly Weds

Not married yet - but we're getting close. We're just wrapping up a few odds and ends, and getting some players in position so that we can execute the game plan rolling tomorrow evening. We've got our wedding rehearsal tomorrow evening, followed by a nice dinner - then the big day arrives. 

We'll hopefully put a few pictures up from the wedding day when we get the chance. And check in for honeymoon shots from our next in Hawaii. 

So stay tuned!

The Extent 1.08 | What I Think About You

I have no idea what this title means in relationship to what you see in the episode, but this is what it's called.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Peterborough Pete's article

Here's another sample of work from the Peterborough Pete's stuff.

Surfing USA
When he’s not serving five for fighting, Petes’ right winger Jack Walchessen can be found surfing and hanging ten. The 180-lbs 19-year-old started shredding waves when he was 12 years old, and admits, if he had started surfing when he was five (instead of starting to play hockey) he might have tried to make a career out of it. But he’s happy with his choice; “I wouldn’t exchange playing hockey for surfing by any means.”
Walchessen says surfing was a family inspiration, beginning with his father who would travel to Puerto Rico when he was younger to spend months surfing. Jack’s older brother, Joe, also set the trend when they were younger. “I kind of just followed him with everything. He started playing hockey, so I started playing hockey. He started surfing, I started trying it out. It went from there,” says Jack.
Raised in Ortly Beach, New Jersey – a place the average Canuck may not think is a surfing destination – the area has some of the best beaches on the eastern seaboard. “I live on one of those barrier islands, and people don’t really associate surfing with New Jersey, they don’t realize that the ocean’s there. New Jersey has a couple hundred miles of coastlines. New Jersey gets a bad rap, there’s the bad parts, but it also has some of the nicest parts in the country,” said Walchessen.
As for surfing, he swears it’s one of the best spots on the east coast. “Florida gets a big name for surfing just because it’s warm, but we (in New Jersey) actually get better waves than Florida.”
With a demanding hockey schedule over the fall and winter months, Walchessen gets out surfing whenever time allows, even if the waves aren’t great. “I’ll go out if it’s two feet and choppy, not that good… I don’t get to do it for eight months out of the year, so when I get a chance to, I like to go as much as I can,” he admits. He even goes out into the ocean during the Christmas holidays when the water is bordering around freezing.
“I remember we had a snow day, and the waves were really good that morning. It was freezing. With the wind chill, it was like - 10 Fahrenheit, and it was so cold and the waves were so good, it was so worth it. But everything was numb. When I got in the shower, everything was tingling.”
“It gets down to 34 or 32 Fahrenheit, but it won’t freeze because there’s so much salt and it’s always moving. I’ll wear a 6mm wetsuit … put on some boots and gloves and you stay really warm. You could last three or four hours out there,” he said.
Even though he doesn’t mind the cold temp during a New Jersey winter, Walchy can be a wetsuit wanderlust and save up for a big trip over the summer. He’s surfed out in southern California, the North Shore of Hawaii, but his favourite ‘surfari’ destination is in Indonesia.
“Indonesia is the best,” he says without reservation. “I don’t have to go anywhere else. It’s the best land, the best water, best waves in the world. All the pros go out there.” Walchessen finds the entire sport relaxing. “I’m used to so much pressure with hockey and stuff, and then when I go surf, it more so relaxes me and gets me away from all the stress from hockey and the stress of training,” he says.
“It’s pretty mellow, everyone’s on vacation, and it’s the best waves in the world, so there’s no confrontations,” he says of Indonesia, “But Hawaii, you have confrontations.”
Just like the colloquial hockey code, a group of native Hawaiians on the North Shore of Oahu have established the Da Hui who enforce the local culture and surf etiquette of the land. Even though Walchessen was second in the league in fighting majors last season, he knows it’s always better to show respect than cause trouble at the beach.
“I’ve been to the North Shore of Oahu two times, and it’s a respect thing. They (the Da Hui) live there and they get the waves first … I remember I was out there and I didn’t catch a wave for an hour and half. I just sat there giving respect, and they’ll notice that you’re respecting them, and they’ll say, ‘Hey, the next wave’s yours.’ If you give them respect, they’ll give you respect right back.”
The lessons of respect found on the swelling water of the North Shore translate well to the frozen surfaces of the OHL, as Walchessen continues to earn the respect of his teammates and peers, while policing the hockey code across the league.