Penz's Journal 2003
December 24, 2003:  HO HO HO! Well, t'was the night before XMas and all through the house, the cats were ripping apart my XMas tree, since there wasn't a mouse :P Hehehe, well, it's that time of year.  XMas is tomorrow.... New Years is next week.  2004 is around the corner.... so let me take a moment to look back over the past month...and soon... the past year :)

This past month or so has been great! Let's see what I can remember :-)

Map of O'Ahu (Hawaii)
On November 24st, I flew from San Francisco to Honolulu, HI to spend a week with Steve "Milkman" Mayou. I had a great flight over and when I arrived, Steve was waiting there for me. We headed from the airport to to Sam Choy's restaurant for a bit of lunch and a couple pints of tasty beer :) After that, it was back to his apartment. Steve lives right across the street from a Marine base, and his apartment actually overlooks Pearl Harbor (just above Pearl City on the map above).  It is a most cool place!  This would be our base of operations for the next week.

The next day was Steve's birthday and there's no better way to celebrate the day than by starting it with a cup of Starbucks as we headed off to go SCUBA diving!  The dives were awesome and both took place on the West coast of the island off of Walamae.

Our first dive (Airplane Canyon) was on an airplane wreck where we go to see some cool sea life which made this wreck their new home.  "Located just off of Wai'inae on the West Shore, this dive is between 65-95 (our max depth was 93 feet). The airplane is a Beech twin engine plane that was sunk in the center of a horseshoe reef in 1986. It was washed out to sea during hurricane Iniki then located and repositioned in 1994. It is now heavily damaged and resting upside down." The best part of this dive was when I got to play with my first octopus. That was awesome and to top it all off, Steve captured the moment on his digital movie camera that he brought with him. I'll get some of the video up here shortly.

The second dive was on a shipwreck of an old W.W.II mine sweeper called the Mahi.  "It is off of Ma'ili Pt on the West Shore.  The Mahi was built as an 800 ton, 165 ft Navy minesweeper then converted to cable laying ship. The Mahi was sunk in 1982 as an artificial reef and rests on a sand bottom at 90 feet. The aft deck is about 80 feet with the wheelhouse at about 60 feet. Access openings have been cut in the structure. There is abundant marine life around the Mahi. A group of four eagle rays are sometimes spotted swimming around the wreck. Visibility of 50 to 100+ feet is normal." (for more info on the local dive sites, check out this excellent link http://www.hawaii-scuba.com/index.html)

This was a great dive and yes, we did get to see the eagle rays during the dive.  There was a single one that did a 'fly by' and then a group of 5 that came by shortly thereafter. Most cool :)  

Throughout both of the dives, Steve and I stuck together and we made excellent dive buddies.  I look forward to diving with him again some soon! :)

That night, Steve went out for a some birthday beers with his friends and I, exhausted by the days events and all of the traveling I had been doing, opted to crash out early and get some much needed sleep.

The next day was Thanksgiving and spending the day on Oahu deep frying turkeys while drinking rum and beer with good company is a great way to spend the day :)  I got to speak with my brother/sister Tim/Gini, Becky/Lisa, Paul, Tab, David P. and Porky on that day as well. I wish we all could have been together, but we certainly were in spirit :)

On Friday, we headed up to the North Shore of the island. It was an awesome day as the weather was perfect and the island was just gorgeous. We took H3 to the East  side of the island and then up coast to the North (nice scenic route). We stopped at Sunset beach where we spent an hour watching a surf board competition.  That was pretty cool as the waves were anywhere from 6-10 feet.  Pretty sweet. After that, we stopped off for a tasty Mexican lunch and then we continued on to Dillingham Airfield we we each took 2 glider rides over the north end of the island. That was really cool! :-)  We each had really cool pilots who took good care of us as we soared above the land and sea at 4000 feet.  After our rides, we took a leisurely ride back to the South Shore of the island. That night, we went out for a cool dinner at the last true tikki bar on the island. That was awesome (more on that in a bit).

On Saturday, a good sized rain storm hit the island which would end up lasting for 3 days.  On that day, went and saw the movie The Master and the Commander with Russell Crowe. That was an excellent flick!  After that it was back to the apartment for a siesta and then we headed to the park near Chinaman's Hat to meet up with a bunch of Steve's friends who are all part of the local Labia 3 Hash House Harries. Runners. Since the island was  basically being flooded by the torrential downpour, the run was called off, but the beer drinking and the deep frying of numerous turkey's was not! Hehehe, we spent the afternoon getting really wet, drunk and having fun (hehehe, at one point I found myself drunk off my ass, surrounded by a bunch of 20 year old drunk, wet and shirtless U.S Marines. Heheheh, yummy!! :-) 

Sunday was basically just a good day of R&R :-)  

On Monday morning, rain non withstanding, we went SCUBA diving off Electric Beach.  Located off of Kahe Beach Park on the West Shore, Electric Beach is adjacent to the Wai'inae Power Plant off the Farrington Hwy. We had a really nice dive here that lasted about an hour. It was a shallow dive (only about 35 feet) but there was an abundant of sea life present, including 2 turtles and some moray eels :).

 
Later on that afternoon, we stopped by a local tattoo shop where Steve had gotten some work done. After browsing the shop for about an hour, we decided to stop by later on that night and get some new tattoos!  So, before we were to do that, it back to Steve's place for a nap then dinner with his neighbors (that was really nice).  After dinner, we chilled out and then around 10:30 PM headed over to the tattoo shop. After about a 30 minute wait, I was in the chair, and for the next two hours, I'd endure the needles as I had a Chinese dragon added to the existing Chinese characters (Tao and Virtue) on my right arm.   It came out awesome. The picture to the left is a pretty good one my brother took 3 days after I got the ink done. Once it's fully healed, I'll put another shot of it up here.

 On Tuesday, we spent the morning at the Pearl Harbor Naval base where Steve gave me a really cool on base tour.  After spending just over an hour on the base (of which we had visited numerous times during our week long stay) we grabbed a quite bit to eat and then if was off to the airport for my return flight home.

I had a great time on island and once again would like to say THANK YOU to Steve for being such a great host.  I had a terrific visit and am looking forward to seeing Steve again sometime soon.

BTW, special thanks to the freakin' airport security people who said the X-Ray machine wouldn't hurt my 800 speed film. <sigh> I lost all of my pictures. Next time, hand search it you freaks! :P

Ok, so after Hawaii, I spent one day back in CA before I flew out to Boston, MA on Thursday Dec. 4!  HEHEHEHE, talk about a change of venue. The night I arrived, I went to my brother Tim's house for dinner. There I was met by his wife Suzanne, dog Tyler :), my sister Gini and her best friend (and my friend) Johnson. Then and then my friends Paul, Tab, Alex and Porky all showed up.  Porky made the trip from Pawling, NY to spend a couple of days hanging out with me and that was most cool. Dinner was great and having everyone together was a true treat :-)

That night, Porky and I headed up to Nashua, NH where we crashed out at Dustin and Alex's place. On Friday, we spent the day hanging out together. That night, a bunch of us met up for a big ol' steak dinner at the Silo Steak House in Merrimack, NH. Later on that night, the snow started, and by Saturday morning, we were in the middle of a huge Nor' Easter blizzard. Well, Porky had to head back to NY and I had to go and pick up Justin and his sister in Milford, MA and then head down to CT, so out into the storm Porky and I went, braving whiteout conditions and unplowed highways.  Well, I made it to Milford (took 1.5 hours... normally would've taken 35 min) where I met up with Justin and Heather and Craig. After spending a few minutes chatting with Craig, it was off to Stratford, CT. It took us about 4 hours to get there due to the weather, but we made it.  The next day, we all met up again and took the train from CT into NYC where we all rendezvoused at Bocci's. This awesome Italian restaurant is where a surprise 50th birthday party for Justin's mom was being held and that was the whole purpose of this trip. The party was great, his mom was totally surprised and a fun time was had by all. After the party, we walked to Rockafeller Center to see the tree and then we took the train back to CT. Since my flight was canceled due to the storm and the roads were horrible, we stayed in CT that night. The next day, we headed up to Boston. Both Justin and my flights where canceled again, so we spend the night at my brother's house. The next morning, I flew to San Francisco and Justin to Los Angeles.  It was a really nice visit back East and it was sure nice to see everyone :)

Upon my return to California, I spent the next week settling back in and catching up on my sleep :)

The Friday before last I hung out with my friend David and his friend Edgar in SF. We had a fun night on the town drinking and partying it up in the city. The rest of the weekend was pretty chill. Justin came up from LA for the holiday. He's staying at my place for the next week or so during the holidays. It'll be nice to have him around for a bit (hahaha, and no, we're still just friends and we are not going back out!! :-)

 
This past weekend, I went SCUBA diving in Monterey with Keith Evans. It was a blast! We had the quintessential dive experience in Monterey. On our first dive, about 3/4 way through the dive, we were approached by and got to play with a couple of harbor seals. It was awesome! They let us rub their bellies and pet them, and at one point, each of us got hugged by a seal!!! It was so cool!!! This is what SCUBA diving in the Monterey Bay area is all about. We each had a lot of fun diving that day and enjoyed our stay in Monterey.

And so, there's a re-cap of the past few weeks (or at least as much of it as I can remember) :)  This afternoon I spent some time with Ashish, Jill and Nikhil over in Alameda and tonight, I'm just going to relax at home while Justin goes out with some friends.

I hope that all is well in your world :-)

All the best,

:Penz

December 25, 2003:    Merry Christmas! I hope that you're having a great day :)  This afternoon, Justin and I will be visiting Michael and Shannon Tanner for XMas dinner. That should be a lot of fun as there should be about 25 of their family members attending.

Tomorrow, I'll be at the office for a bit. Tomorrow night I'll be hanging out with David as it is his 28th birthday, so I'm sure we'll be partying it up in the city somewhere. No major plans for the weekend.  Next week, on the 31st, I'll be flying to White Plains, NY so that I can attend Porky's Aunt's wedding on New Years day! Nothing like ending 03 and starting 04 by traveling cross country :)  I'm really looking forward to the trip as I'll get to see Paul and Porky as well as be a part of Aunt Linda's wedding :)  I'll be returning from that trip on Sunday the 4th.

And so, with that said, I hope that you have a wonderful XMas and that your New Year is spent by being surrounded by people who bring joy and happiness into your life :-)

:Penz

December 27, 2003:  I updated last months journal with pictures from my trip to Cincinnati, OH. Check 'em out!

I had a great time over at Michael and Shannon's house on Christmas day. They are wonderful friends of mine and it was really nice to be able to spend the day with them. Hehehe, they have a great big family, half of them are Portuguese and the other half are Spanish. Needless to say, get 27 of them in one house and they will be plenty of fun and good food :)

Let's see, last night I ventured into San Fracisco to see David Parker. His roommate Fernando and I took him out for his 28th birthday! We went to Chinatown where David's friend Gavin met us for dinner at the Sake Bomb. We had a very tasty meal of sushi and of course, sake! Afterwards we all hung out for a bit and then eventually went back to David's place for some cake and R&R.

Today, I undecorated the XMas tree, packed away the ornaments, chucked the tree over the balcony and watched it plummet 3 stories where it landed in a cloud of pine needles :)  Then I vacuumed up the apartment, went out and dragged the tree to the dumpster and then came back inside and had breakfast! I just spent the last hour updating my journal and now will spend a few hours reading some new Drizzit books (R.A. Salvatore is one of my favorite fantasy writers) on the couch.  I'll probably end up going to see a movie (either Paycheck or the Last Samurai) this afternoon. Not sure what's up for tonight. Tomorrow, I'm thinking a trip out to the seacoast towards Half Moon Bay may be in order. We'll see :)

That's all for now!

:Penz


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