Monday, March 31, 2008

Palagi Olympics

So what does a group of highly educated professionals (lawyers, librarians, engineers, environmentalists, researchers, information specialists, human resource directors, oh yeah and midwife) do for fun on an island in the middle of the South Pacific?

You got it! Compete!
At What? Games.
Involving what? Oh, maybe a little beer.

And what do you call it?

Palagi Olympics.

What's the harm of a little bacchanal every once in a while I say?

Where's Markus in these photos you might ask? Oh, diving of course. Last minute invite to go out on a boat was not turned down for drunken silliness, go figure.

Prior to our opening game of Sloshball (you can refer to an earlier post for more details on this game, near and dear to my heart) teams were chosen via random pingpong ball selection. This game became very complicated to me at some point (perhaps around beer number three) as I was both playing first base and running to second at the same time. It took a couple of minutes to realize why all my teammates were yelling at me and waving there hands. Personally, I thought my run was quite good.

The next day we convened with matching uniforms (lava-lava's of course). Some were a bit more inventive than others.

We chose our "country's" names.

And commenced to play.

Beer Relay (drink a beer, flip the cup)Our Team Won of Course!

Rotten-Egg Toss
Interestingly many of the eggs bounced. I have no idea why.
Nate's didn't bounce off his face though.

Astronaut Training
I was too dizzy to get any pictures

Three Legged Race
This was really fun. No pictures here either. Too busy trying to stay upright.
I think our team won but it was probably by cheating.


And lastly,
Pisupo Eating Contest (Pisupo is a general term used to discribe food that comes in a can. But it's also very specific to a nasty, high fat version of corned beef that is well loved in Samoa). It smells and tastes like what I imagine cat food to be like.

What is very interesting in these games is the ability to challenge any win or decision simply because you want to (ah, lawyers, you got to hand it to them). The issue is not settled by reason or evidence, but by a version of roshambo (newt, roach, shoe). By the evening this concept can be problematic when combined with no food, lots of beer, and high competitive spirits. I still enjoyed myself immensely.

More photos on my flickr site.

Should I Be Worried? or Life in the Geekosphere

Ok, granted, I knew what I was getting myself into by hooking up with a computer geek.

Long rambling one-sided (and yet perversely passionate) discussions peppered with inscrutable acronyms: SPS, BOINC, TSP.
Nights aglow with the blue screens of multiple computers.
A partner jacked into the BORG more often than not.
Obsessive behavior aimed at inanimate electrical objects.
Awful spelling (worse than mine).
A general disinterest in words printed on paper products.

But this?
I found Markus laughing hysterically at this comic not too long ago:
Travelling Salesman Problem
(and yes it was spelled like that)

Now I know it has something to do with this idea of a Traveling Sales Man figuring out his routes. And Markus' project that's trying to solve it. However, I can tell that this is not a comic worthy of five minutes of rolling on the floor laughing and chat dialog including ROTFL.

Then maybe a day or so later Markus says, "Hey! Do you know what day we missed?"
To which I reply, "Valentines, Easter, St. Patrick's Day?"
Blank look, followed by wide smile, "No! Pi-Day!"
Yes, Pi = 3.1415926535.. Day. Which of course was March 14!
"And what do you do on Pi day," I ask?
"Eat Pie, I guess!" he says.
Hmm, maybe it IS a celebration I can get behind after all. Except I have a sneaking suspicion that I would be the one making the pie.

Camping at Amalau

I've written about Amalau before and how pristine and beautiful it is when I had my birthday bash there. Recently, we returned for a camping party with a group of friends. It was our first time taking out the tent and camping gear that I was determined to bring to the island (we'll use it again I'm sure for our honeymoon in New Zealand).

It was a beautiful day, though the surf was really high again. I still took the kayak out and it was gorgeous.

We had a BBQ with friends and a bonfire on the beach. Here's the guys with their Bag o'Meat.

And a chicken that decided an electrical box was just the thing for roosting. There is a door on this box and I really have no idea how she gets in there.

Einstein was a little uncertain all night long. I'm not sure if he's grown out of camping or what but he kept patrolling the parimeter all night long.

In the middle of the night, the storm that had drenched the place had moved out to sea. The stars were out by the millions and out at sea you could see the lightening blazing the horizon. I haven't seen anything more magical on this island.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Rule of 100s

Since Markus rarely gives updates I thought I'd let you know what he's up to!
Markus made his 100 dives last month! He's also figured out how to film movies underwater!
He's now also in the Advanced Diver's Course. More Markus underwater photos.

Tut-tut, It Looks Like Rain

"So, what's the weather like in American Samoa?" is an oft spoke query.
To which I almost always reply, "82 degrees. Everyday."
Which isn't the whole story, really. Because sometimes it's really humid.
And sometimes there's a lot of wind. Sometimes the sun is out and the skies are clear. And often, very often, it rains. It's always still 82 degrees (sometimes a bit hotter in the concrete jungle of Tafuna-nothing like miles of asphalt without greenery at the equater to knock the thermostat up a couple of notches).

We have a variety of rain types. Just a little. A lot, but passing through. None in the morning, a lot at dusk. A bunch on the mountain, nothing at the beach. Torrents on the Westside, sunny on the Eastside. And then there are the hurricane level rains that batter our tin roof and make us put the movie on pause and hope it lets up enough so we can watch the end. The rain is always warm which is nice. There maybe days when it rains buckets all day long, but the doors and windows remain open. Not like the months in the PNW where you huddle inside, slowly moldering, keeping Starbucks in the black, wondering if this is the winter that you will be crawling to the doctor's office groveling for an RX of little blue pills of happiness for your Seasonal Affective Disorder, and then when the sun finally peeks out in say mid July, you shriek in terror at the fireball in the sky, "What IS that THING?!"

So, we've been having a weebit of weather of late and I thought I'd share as I don't have much to talk about but the weather.

And this is what can happen when your retaining wall isn't really retaining but is just a bunch of concrete block piled up on a mass of boulders:



Saturday, March 1, 2008


I'm posting a recent email I sent out to friends as I believe there are people on-island that check out my blog, but for whom I may not have email addresses.

This email may not apply to you for a number of reasons:
1) You moved to a small island in the South Pacific for a reason! And don't care to take part in Stateside politics
2) You are a US National but can't vote-oh, that's fair.
3) You are from another country and only use US Politics as a punch line to your jokes
4) You are fleeing the island prior to Nov 4

But . . . just in case you DO want to vote in the up coming election from American Samoa, please check out this website and get yourself registered ASAP. This site takes care of it all for you.

Let your vote be known even if it's coming from a tiny island in the middle of the South Pacific.