Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Year Day!

Oh, it's not a national holiday? A 5th Grader question a few months ago was ‘how many days are in a leap year?’ To his credit, the guy knew that it was a one day difference, umm…but he didn’t know if that made it 364 or 366. Hmm.

It’s gonna be a bunch of things today. First, I wanna say that I am happy at the moment. Blank Slate’s gonna laugh ‘cause we just had a long conversation recently about happiness but that would take a whole ‘nother entry to go into. I will say that I am so grateful and glad for two recent emails I received.

The first was from Ripple, a good friend from the WU days. I have thought of and missed Ripple every so often. Aren’t memories just wonderful at times? It amazes me that after all these years of separation thinking of Ripple still puts a smile on my face. Good friends are hard to come by and Ripple was there for me through many sleepless nights [in studio], 3 a.m. air guitar, KIX wars, music lessons for me about the good bands like Foo Fighters, the L.A. ‘Doy-ers,’ and even the 6-foot bridge models. We had our rough patches and getting through mini-crises together, as all good friendships do; those may be the most precious moments when a relationship is tested and strengthened. I have replied to Ripple and hope to hear from him again. I am anxious to hear how he is.

The second was from a friend that goes way back to the hanabata days of kindergarten, First Friend [nn]. I remember First Friend as the first person at school to befriend me. Most everyone else came into kindergarten having known each other from preschool; I didn’t go to preschool. Hence, the nickname First Friend. It very well could have been Higs, we were all friends back then, but I have the feeling that it was indeed First Friend. After my family had moved and I changed schools, First and Higs kept in touch with me through many letters and to my complete surprise, First showed up at my graduation with a lei; it was handmade and I tried to preserve it as long as I could. First has given me news that Higs has married and so Higs may also be referred to as J.Craig; it’s the same person. It sounds like First is doing very well and I am glad for her. I haven’t gotten back to First yet, but I will be sending you a personal email soon. I am so glad that you received my letter!

While on the topic of old friends, they’ve just been popping up lately. Kris and I had our annual catch-up session couple weeks ago, hoping I will make it at least a quarterly catch-up, Kris has been good about wanting to see me and I have been bad though I care for her well, I need to start showing it much better. It’s always good fun talking with Kris. Before that, I had dinner with MirrorMan. I had cooked for him years ago and so he has finally repaid the turn with a meal cooked by him, it was good! And we watched ‘Miracle,’ it was good! MirrorMan is off to the Air National Guard soon and I am so proud of him, it is good! Then this past Sunday at church, after all the activities were done, I saw my dear friend Villa! I had had no idea where she has been the past maybe…8 years? She still looks good and young with that great big smile! I didn’t get much time to talk to her and she’s off to a trip, I think it’s a missions trip with YWAM, so I hope to see her again when she returns. Also at church was Clay and Jays, I hadn’t seen them in a long time either and didn’t have time with them.
The American Non-Idol

It is official, I am back in the choir! Practice is on Thursday nights usually. Last semester, I was completely traveling by bus and so I would be so tired by the time Thursday had come, I forgot about it most times. I love being in choir, I wish I had a better voice but that’s okay ‘cause I can hide somewhat in Mrs. T’s powerful voice. I’d rather do that than continue being scolded by Mrs. T for missing practice and I’m sure she’d rather have it this way too. But I do love being in choir. I went to my first practice this season the Thursday before yesterday, learned that we were singing in service that Sunday, and I had two days to learn two songs. It went okay, but I’m very rusty and I’ve been laboring under sinus irritations lately which doesn’t help my breathing.

And Mom loves it. She doesn’t get to hear me sing in regular Sunday service ‘cause she’s teaching a Sunday School class at that time, but she loves all the people coming up to her saying they saw me sing in service. I’ll let Mom have that as much as possible. It’s kinda like my singing in choir lets Mom shine and that’s a good thing.

Anyways, we’re gearing up for the Easter Service. March 23rd, save the date if you’re in town. I’ll give more details later.
Typing Stamina

It’s the close of February, opening of March. February logged a record 15 entries. That’s astonishing to me. I knew I blab a lot within my mind, but seeing it out on screen now and it is only about 10% of what actually goes through my mind. I think this shows why I tend to be very private in person ‘cause once you get me talking about something that I’m passionate about or dealing with or something like that, I might not be able to stop. I can talk for hours without saying anything substantive as well, you probably know that.

I wonder if I can keep up the frequency for March.
Wishes Come True, In A Way

See Just For Fun. I had posted a Christmas list for fun, not expecting any of it ‘cause the list doesn’t matter. I put up the $ for the U-Pass, I already knew I was going to. Dad gets a case of AZ Green Tea when I go with them to Sam’s. Dad always buys custard pie for Thanksgiving and for Christmas. I saved and got the BarlowGirl CD just recently, it’s good! I didn’t get chocolate-dipped shortbread but Uncle and Aunty T sent brownies from Big Island Candies, I haven’t tried one yet, maybe tonight, can’t wait!

The best thing yet is that MegaMouth is mine! We took her to the vet and had her checked out, she's healthy with no microchip, yet. We haven't seen any posters for her in months. Too bad! She's MINE! Umm…she’s not getting along completely with SweetPea and Charis yet or I’m thinking it’s not gonna happen at all, but they’re not killing each other so I’ll take it. I could go on and on about Mega so I’ll leave that for another time maybe. And Mega doesn’t take any playing around from Chico the Dog, she whoops him good sometimes!

Speaking of dogs, the neighborhood pets seem to gravitate towards our house. The recent episode was last week when a Tibetan Spaniel wandered onto our driveway and tried to make house under Mom's car. We put up posters, no one called, no one seemed to be looking for her and she definitely did not travel far. We finally found help from a neighbor who has a friend that can take her in 'cause they researched but found she's probably an abandoned. Poor thing, but she was definitely not staying with us! She was obviously a spoiled little thing. Too bad, dogs love me, she did.
The Found Lost Tibetan

I missed hearing the UH Volleyball matches at Pacific last week and this weeks at Stanford on radio. I know, what kind of fan am I? I don't know how I missed 4 matches in row! We swept Pac but Stanford swept us. Ugh! Stanford had been struggling the past few seasons, but now they've loaded up with good ILH players from Hawaii, not fair! Nah, but I can't believe they swept us so soon. Next week is LUC, I'm definitely catching those games! Maybe I'll go to both matches 'cause I budgeted for but missed going to a UCLA match. Hmmm...who should I call?

Finally, a big mahalo to Kev who has definitely been reading every so often and left the first comment on a post! MAHALO! I know it's a lot of bore, but I do say something amusing now and then, huh?

I think that’s enough randomness for now. Mahalo for reading in!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fun-Raising 101: Pan Handling

Remember fundraising back in the 80s and 90s?

Between my brother and I, we’ve sold Makahiki tickets for Boy Scouts, car washed for band and R.I.C.E. Club, sold pinwheel cookies for Math Club, candy for Interact, almond chocolates and Zippys’ Chili and huli huli chicken for trips, T-shirts and calendars for AIAS…. We called relatives, asked Mom and Dad to take some to work, we bought some candy for ourselves.

Basically, we did things. We worked to raise the money. There was never a time we didn’t offer a product or service. We didn’t have an empty hand like a beggar.

No car washing because kids’ll waste water resources. No candy selling because we can’t promote anything that’s unhealthy. That’s bordering on ridiculous, but there has to be a better way for kids to raise money than to go around asking bare-handed.

It’s always more fun with others.

I don’t like most Korean food places, but I love the food from Soons’ in Salt Lake. While Mom picked up dinner from Soons’, I walked across the shopping center to get a blended drink from Coffee Bean. As I passed Safeway, a tall girl asked if I’d like to donate money for a fundraiser for the girls’ basketball team. Since she was rather polite, I paused to ask if she played for Moanalua, the h.s. of the area, or… and I was about to ask if it was Radford, the next closest h.s. when she said no, she played for McKinley. I said, ‘And you’re way over here?’ McKinley’s about 20 minutes away in the heart of Honolulu. She quietly said, ‘Oh, you know where that is?’ I said yes, politely said maybe some other time and went on to Coffee Bean.

I wouldn’t have minded if she had said McKinley from the start. Maybe she was afraid that I played for Moanalua or something [MadScientist, stop laughing, I hear you!]. I tried to be as nice as possible about not giving her money ‘cause well, she was bigger and coulda beaten me up if she wanted to. Rather, she was on the shy side and nice.

Give her points for trying.

It always happens at Safeway. Or at least it seems to.

This time, I was in Mililani. I ordered some food at L&L. I usually wait there for the order, but I decided to check the outside ad display for Safeway. I passed a couple of girls who must’ve been fundraising for something in the area; they were wearing matching brown shirts with yellow lettering, the colors of Mililani H.S. I walked to the other side of Safeway to where the ads are. Two adults in the same brown shirts were sitting on the bench just below the ads, talking to two more girls in the same shirts.

I stood right in front of them, looking up at the ads while they discussed fundraising or something related. One girl looked at me and said to the other girl, ‘Look, you let someone pass by you.’ They continued discussing, I continued standing there. I walked away. No one addressed me for anything.

It’s fine with me if they don’t want my money. I’m not just gonna give it to them. Maybe it’s like Circuit City where they were hitting up the better dressed people, I don’t know. I’m still a college student technically, I’m not dressing up for fundraisers outside of Safeway either.

Give them negative points for not asking.

Home Invasion.

I should’ve known not to answer the door, unless it was the mailman with a package for me. I opened the door to a tall skinny young guy, alone as far as I could tell. He goes into his spiel about raising funds in a contest and stuff. At first he had said it was the ugliest kid in America contest. Ummm…

We had just come home from Brother’s and my allergies were kicking in, to Brother’s cats; I’m not allergic to my brother, I think. So I’m trying to be polite and paying attention while standing there with red eyes, sniffling, trying to hold back sneezes. The guy barely pauses to ask if I was alright, I said I’ve got allergies, he says alright he’s gonna make it fast so I can close the door and not make the allergies worse. He carries on.

Then he finally gets to the part where I can help him win the contest. He says he’s got a list of songs, I can pick out any song, stand in the middle of the street and sing the song as loud as I can. He gets so many points from the neighbors that boo, so many points from those that clap. Sure. I’m already annoyed at this point and trying not to sneeze in his face; I couldn’t be sure if I would sneeze in his face on purpose or by accident. I figure it’s in God’s hands now ‘cause my eyes have started to tear up from the allergies, the sneezes are on their way.

He says, kidding, it’s magazine subscriptions. I tell him that I already get the one magazine that I read. He says he can renew the subscription for me. I say that I’ve just renewed it and I am not going to renew it past this last one. He says I could change it to another magazine later if I’d like. Ummm…I read only ONE MAGAZINE. I thought, I said that, didn’t I? Had I said that in Spanish by mistake and he didn’t understand me? I know, I’ve got a short threshold for annoyances.

He presses on. I’m thinking, I really should close the door in his face right now, it would probably be more polite than sneezing in his face, but I was brought up to be polite. I really shouldn’t have answered the door, I’m such an idiot. I tell him no. He says I’ll get a sticker for helping him out. Wow [sarc]. I say no, I’ve really got to be smart with my finances now. He asks me if I know about the neighborhood, is it old people and stuff? ??? I don’t know what I said. He says thank you and runs off.

….I’ve really got nothing more to say. He doesn’t deserve points, positive or negative.

Don’t get me wrong, I donate money here and there. I don’t mind the little kid who comes up with the parents standing at the end of the driveway in case the kid forgets something. The family buys chili tickets and stuff every so often, if we have the money first and second if we hear a good pitch especially. On Saturdays, there’s a bunch of people selling boxes of Krispy Kremes and it says fundraiser. Would be nice to know who the fundraiser is for, but I’m not buying Krispy Kremes, never had one, never want to.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Gut-Wrenching Loss


The first part of The Biggest Loser was…interesting. Blue Jay, with his 16 pound loss last week, was the biggest loser of the week and went on the hike to claim the prize. He was faced with three question mark envelopes. He chose the far-right card and found out that he had won a trip to Vegas. Not only for himself, the trip was for all the Blue members. Trainer Bob didn’t like the idea.

Bob pointed out that the trip is coming at a critical time. Black and Blue are even with 4 members apiece. With his big guys losing so much weight already, the stall period, the plateau, could come up for any one of them now. When you lose big numbers, at some point the body’s gonna say ‘wait a minute’ and take a break. And Bob wouldn’t be with them in Vegas. Big deal, right? The previous week they had been on their own at home and mowed all over the WI.

They go to Vegas, they have a suite at Planet Hollywood. For the 21-yr-old Dan, it was his first time. Right away, they reach the hotel, but hit the gym. They get back from the gym and they check out their suite. Waiting for them was an outfit for each guy, courtesy of Bob, HANDSOME suits.

As they got dressed, room service arrived with some ono-looking foods, courtesy of the Black team. They had shown just prior to this the Black team back at the ranch and cooking up this very childish scheme with the room service. I have no time for that. Blue didn’t touch any of it except to push all of it back out into the hallway. They went to have some fun at the crap and blackjack tables. Dan’s videotaping all of this, it’s his first time.

It got late and Mark and Jay went back to the suite to sleep. They planned to go to the gym in the morning; the game’s still on. Roger stays up and shows Dan around. They get back to their rooms at 6 a.m. Mark and Jay get up at 7 and go to the gym. Roger gets upset that Mark didn’t wake him up to workout, he goes to workout.

Then they all go for tattoos. Dan probably thought maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea that the other guys sent his mother home several weeks ago. His first trip to Vegas, he’s out late meeting ladies, he gets a tattoo….

They get back to the ranch, show the tats, share a laugh with Black about the room service. I think it was Black Maggie who said something like, ‘we love you guys, really.’ Ugh. Bernie’s confessional was about the tattoos, the Blue tattoos all said ‘pride,’ their team thing. Bernie thinks it’s dumb ‘cuz one of them’s gonna hafta go home sooner or later and that’s a permanent way to say good-bye. He missed the point; yes, unity in team and in their goal for the game, but pride for the rest of their lives for what they were doing, for changing their lives.

The Challenge is an obstacle course: flipping a huge tractor tire, transporting sandbags, rolling a ball while military-crawling under rope, and a ½ mile run. Blue won. They each got expense-paid trip for two to Puerto Rico. Could I try that obstacle course please?

The WI: Black weighs first. Kelly, 6. Maggie, 8. Brittany, 6. Bernie, 10. Big numbers for the smaller people, 3.69%, but nothing that Blue can’t beat. Dan, 7. Roger, 8. Jay, 7. Mark needs a 13, which he had the week before, which is not a problem for him. Mark steps on the scale, the scale goes through its obsessive computing and spits out a 1.

Mark had hit the weight-loss wall, the plateau I mentioned earlier. He’s confounded, everyone is. When it comes to losing the weight, Mark does not do game play, there is no game play to be made here anyway. He’s the fierce competitor that never quits.

Blue gets together to make the decision as a team. Dan has immunity because he lost the biggest percentage although Roger lost the most in pounds, but the percentage is more important. Blue had a plan in place that the one with the lowest number would go, to be fair, which would be Mark. Mark had said weeks ago that if he came down to where he couldn’t lose more weight to help in the WI, he’d sacrifice himself. Two weeks ago, Mark said it was between Trent and himself because they were the injured ones, but Trent sacrificed himself. Now it’s decision time for Mark and Jay because they’re brothers and don’t want to vote each other out. They can’t vote for Dan. Roger is left.

Roger and Mark argue. Yes, Mark had the lowest number, but he wasn’t done losing weight. He could come back next week with a huge number. He didn’t want to go out on a pound. He’s a competitor, he’s been hurt the last several weeks and still put up huge numbers, he can do it again. He’s not going to vote his brother Jay out. Roger walks out, pissed.

Mark and Jay go to their room to talk more. Jay understands why Mark doesn’t want to go, he’s not a quitter. He came to do a job and Mark’s the kind of guy to finish the job. And Jay doesn’t want his brother to go. Mark says he doesn’t know what he can live with. If he sends Roger home and doesn’t have a big number next week, it’s not fair to Roger. Mark says he just doesn’t want to leave Jay. Jay says he’ll do whatever Mark decides, but is he sure? They cry, they hug.

They meet with Dan and Roger again. The others sit, Jay’s quiet. Mark’s standing. Mark apologizes and says he just didn’t want to leave Jay, goes through all of it. Mark tells them to vote for him. He specifically tells Jay, that means him too, Roger voted for Trent when the time had come. He apologizes to Roger for being selfish and for even questioning what should happen. Mark told the guys to take of his brother like he was their own brother and they said of course, they are brothers. They all hug, they cry, they break the huddle with ‘pride’.

At the E-table, they are all calm, until they start their speeches about who they voted for, of course. Big points for Dan, whom I think has matured so much if only that he didn’t have his mother to depend on. Dan said that his vote that night was not a revenge vote and I think he was sincere. Roger said words of admiration and honor. Jay…could barely get words out, face reddened, choking back tears. Mark consoles him, it’s okay. They say their goodbyes. Mark walks out.

Well, I cried a little with them. Imagine that ‘cause very few people in the world has ever seen me cry, other than to release some anger ‘cause I hate being angry, but still that is a very small number of people. Add to that the fact that this was a 50/50 situation that Mark would step down. Do we not all come to moments of decision between our own gains and prides and the best possible situation for others? Mark’s been stubborn and tough and just mean at times during this season, but I feel like I know him, in the sense that he reminds me so much of Favorite [nn].

Besides, there’s a little stubbornness to me as well, but I’m more like Jay. Overlook the fact that I’m female and Jay is male, I am also a younger sibling to a vibrant and successful older brother. Whatever my brother has begun, that he has finished. I wouldn’t say that Brother’s my hero, but he is certainly one of my most trustworthy protectors and someone I look up to in many ways. I’m the quieter sibling and follow what my brother says very closely. If Brother and I were running a race as a team, it would tear me up to see my brother walk away, leaving me to continue on without him.

Sometimes my summaries are a little quick and leaves a lot out; that’s because I sometimes tune out of the parts of the show that bores me. I probably would have tuned out of the Vegas part; I’ve been there several times and have observed the male behavior there, I don’t need to see it again. I didn’t tune out because well, I wanted to see what a Planet Hollywood suite is like and there is something to a man in a good-fitting suit. Jay’s outfit included a smooth hat ‘cause he was the one who won them the trip.

Tattoos. Hmmm. In general I don’t have a problem with tattoos on guys, but I have yet to see a real good tattoo enhance the appearance of a woman. I turned on the TV the other day, waiting for the news or something, and there was a girl on TV that looked like she had a really hairy back. I looked closer and I guess it’s a tattoo all the way across her back that were wings? It looked like it was just black lined, so…it looked like a hairy back.

That’s it. Mahalo for indulging me.

Brother looking after me.

Yes, I climbed this tree myself.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Every Child IS A Wanted Child

Did you know that?

Pro-Abortionists say that they would like to make sure that every child that comes into this world is a wanted child. I wonder if some of them wonder if they were wanted children. I think they’re bitter and hurting, possibly misinformed, but I could be wrong.

The debate over human life is a topic that is on my mind constantly. I’ve had conversations with people on the topic and the words haunt me.

As I talk about this particular subject, I’m sure that you’ll get it that I am PRO-LIFE. Yes, the Bible talks about life and Christians are called to defend life, but I am not pro-life only because the Bible is pro-life. It has been a long journey for me to come to the decision for life. This is a choice that every person can make.

I’m going to put aside what the Bible says about life for now because life is so vital to all people, any faith, any ethnicity, any economic level, each and every person. We all share life, we are all living, and that’s where I want to start. We all have been given life and I think that is why this subject is so fervently debated. It is important for everybody to have a belief in this battle.

My mission is not to judge anyone on the matter. Most of what I say, the serious subject matters, is because I want to discuss, to agree, to argue, to get someone to think about what they believe, what they say, what they do. I don’t want to go through life blindly following what sounds good or right or popular, and I wouldn’t want you to follow blindly either but own your thoughts. I don’t mind disagreements; it’s how we can get to the truth. You can disagree with me and I will still respect you. I won't say I have all the answers because I don't. But I have answers. What are your answers?

I have always been pro-life, but I held onto it tentatively in the beginning. Pro-choice uses such persuasive, lovely-sounding words and phrases that can be misleading, like that of the wanted child. I wasn’t sure what to believe on certain points, but I’ll get to that in time. It was through study and discussion that my position has been strengthened.

I am single and have never been pregnant. I have not been in the situation of bringing forth life nor of denying life. The remarkable ability of giving birth is so grand that it is a decision that should be made before the opportunity comes. Make absolutely clear that I mean every person, men and women, married and single, the adult and the young teenager. I’m talking to you. I’ll also listen to you.

I mentioned the men. Men, don’t chicken out on making this decision. There is a reason why the human race has two genders and we’ll get to that as well.

I hope that is enough of an introduction, that this leaves you wondering what’s coming up. Life is a big subject; let’s take it slow. Let’s give this subject the attention it is due. More than a decade has it taken me to reach these beliefs and the journey is most likely not complete. Life is big, let’s find the way through. It’s not scary at all, life is AMAZING.

I haven’t set a schedule on when I’ll be hitting each point; I don’t have a set schedule on anything but this topic is so important to me as you have read. Tomorrow will most likely be the Biggest Loser update, a much lighter topic; I said I would ease into everything.

Mahalo for reading in, hope you’ll check in again!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Get A Move On!

Alright, an update on the fitness 2008 non-resolution commitment: I have been to the gym! I have seen it! That’s a joke, I’ve been to the gym before, but this is the first of ’08 in the gym. It took a little while ‘cuz I’ve been working out by pulling weeds and chopping trees lately. That’s in another entry if I have or haven’t posted it yet.

I went on the 12th, that’s the Tuesday before last. I wasn’t feeling completely well, so all I did was 30 minutes of elliptical, very uneventful. I was sluggish.

Thursday was better. It was a good day! Yes, that was Valentine’s Day. I thought the gym would be the usual busy or more crowded with people wanting to look extra buff for their valentines. It was the opposite. It was emptier than usual. The second row of parking was almost empty; the usual thunder of the machines being used was just a soft buzz.

I got on the elliptical. I used to run on the track, then along the streets of my neighborhood, but my knee started to hurt a couple years ago. The elliptical is good for me. The treadmill’s not so good ‘cuz I have the tendency to not walk straight all the time and my knee’ll hurt more.

I always set the machine for 60 minutes manual run. I don’t always make an hour if I don’t feel well enough to finish or if the gym is packed; I don’t wanna hog. I glance every so often to see what’s on the TVs in front me but have a hard time running and watching or running and reading the captions; I can’t do both. I can’t read the captions and watch the show and know what’s going on.

Instead, I listened to the Nano. For Thursday, I started with Herb Lusk’s sermon One More Round. It was featured on the Focus on the Family radio broadcast a couple years ago. It’s a great motivator and encourager for life, but also for a workout. He crescendos near the end and the crowd chants ‘One More Round!’ which corresponds to the middle of a full 60 minute cardio. I feel like going the whole way!

Then I switched to music so that I can let the rhythm carry me on to the end. This is the first time I’m trying my listening options in this way, sermon first, music second. It worked out well. Groove Armada kept an energetic tempo with ‘I See You Baby,’ followed right away by ‘Right Here, Right Now’ by Fatboy Slim and ‘Whoomp! There It Is’ from Tag Team. Next came Celine Dion, that’s right, I said Tag Team to Celine Dion. It wasn’t too bad. I didn’t preprogram a workout tune list. Well, I don’t like too many Dion songs but ‘To Love You More’ has a lot of swells and moving violins so it kept me going good.

From there to the end, Amy Hanaiali‘i and Willy K were in my ears. Their live album, a must have if you love Hawaiian music or for when you’re missing the islands, the pidgin talk, melodic old soul Hawaiian voices. The songs fit perfectly into this part of the run, energetic and lively with smooth recovery music at the right times. Here’s the list I had on Thursday: ‘I Ali‘i Noe ‘Oe,’ ‘Moloka‘i Woman,’ ‘Palehua,’ ‘Hanaiali‘i Nui La Ea,’ and ‘Autumn Leaves.’ I said perfect.

I finished all 60 minutes. As I wiped down the machine of my sweat, the elliptical informed me that I ran 4.75 miles and burned about 517 calories. Is that good? Is it? I don’t know. I have a sense that I had to run a mile in so many minutes for P.E. at some time, but I have no clue what my time was. I don’t think it was even close to a 12-minute mile. My old elliptical runs have been at a slow pace, I didn’t push myself very often and had taken a lot of rests before, running a 15-min mile. So Thursday was about a 12:35-minute mile. Is that good? Let me know. I kept a good pace, didn’t slow down too much to take in water or take a lot of breaks, I wasn’t winded. I felt great!

And I was spurred on by the thought that if the people on Loser can go full-out, so can I. Specifically I was encouraged by Pink Betty Sue who’s already been eliminated.

I went to the gym yesterday [Friday] also. Same thing, 60 minutes on the elliptical. I almost didn’t make it ‘cuz about the 40-minute mark, someone near me had come and I could just smell the lingering cigarette smoke. I’m rather sensitive to that scent. I don’t get it, a smoker working out at the gym. The playlist for Friday’s run was Luci Swindoll’s ‘A Positive Look at Life,’ another Focus on the Family broadcast. It is just rolling with laughter! Somewhere in the middle she mentions having a dinner at Tommy’s and that made me want Tommy’s…while I’m working out, thinking of Tommy’s. Good memories.

Swindoll got me through the entire 60. I did the same 4.75 miles and 520 calories. After that, since I still had time that day and felt good, I jumped on the bike. 20 minutes for 3.15 miles and 90 calories, I took it real easy. The bikes at my gym have a little fan at the top, I like that. Having the fan on makes me think I’m riding on the streets instead of in a gym, makes me feel like I’m actually going somewhere. I still haven’t fixed my bike at home yet. The playlist for that ride was DMX, BarlowGirl’s ‘Porcelain Heart,’ ‘Psalm 73,’ and Aaron Shust’s ‘Matchless’ and ‘Stillness.’

And if you see me at the gym, or anywhere and anytime I'm walking around on my own really, if I don't say 'hi,' [and if I know you] chances are that I didn't see you. When I'm on my own, I just go around and I'm thinking about what I hafta do or what I'm doing right then or...I'm just not paying that much attention to details. If I'm on the elliptical, I'm probably concentrating on what I'm doing or listening to, and I'm not someone who goes to the gym to check guys out, although there are some good-looking guys at my gym! What I'm saying is that I'm not being a snob on purpose, I just don't realize sometimes. I was at the gym once when a classmate came in, stood right in front of the elliptical I was on, and had to wave before I realized who it was. Basically, if I know you and I see you, I will acknowledge you and come and talk a little. Even if it's someone I'm not crazy about or maybe we're on estranged terms, I will talk to them; I'm not an avoider. Just wanted to say that 'cuz I've snobbed people by accident, like they told me later that they saw me and I had no idea what they were talking about. I was walking to class once and a friend had to step right in my face before I blinked and realized what was going on.

So that’s it, I’m going, I’m moving, I’m on the way, 25 by 7. I’m beginning to get into a routine of waking up at 5:30, morning routine, then it’s breakfast ‘cuz I need an hour between eating and working out [that’s why I might not feel well at the gym], prayer, devotionals, and Bible read. Then it’s off to the gym!

Mahalo for reading in!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lose the Attitude Already!

It’s another Biggest Loser summary. Black lost the first WI, then Blue lost the next two WIs, and now we’re down to 5 Black versus 4 Blue.

The contestants went home this week, a sort of test to see how well they learned and internalized the lessons from the ranch. It’s a challenge in itself because there’s no place like home; it’s comfortable, it’s easy, it’s comfortably easy to go back to old habits and pack on the pounds. The difference between the ways the Black members handled the trip home compared to the Blue members was interesting.

On the Black side, each person went home to their families on their own; Bernie and Brittany had come into the competition as strangers went to Chicago and California respectively; Paul and Kelly are the divorced pair, both of whom have significant others at home in different Florida towns. Maggie went home to meet up with her eliminated best friend Jenn, so at least there was someone at home Maggie could lean on. Bernie, Brittany, and Maggie are all on the younger side compared to Paul and Kelly, and as such are more prone to going out and partying with friends. None of them were shown to have partied; the closest thing was Brittany going to a restaurant for drinks with her friends, but she had a water and steamed fish, healthy choices.

Bernie went with his gf and friends to his favorite bakery. The owners had named Bernie’s favorite Boston Crème Pie Cupcake after him. His friends had one but Bernie only inhaled the aroma. Kelly, they didn’t show too much of what she did at home. Maggie worked out with Jenn and her trainer at the gym. Paul, um, ate chicken wings, drank soda, and laid around in a hot tub.

The Blue members, I would say, in contrast are all family men. Brothers Mark and Jay in Massachusetts with their wives and children. Roger went home to Alabama to his family. Dan, a single guy, yet he went home to his eliminated mother Jackie and family. Mark, right off, had to chase down his young son and take away a pastry ‘cuz his son has a sweet tooth like himself. Mark threw out all the goodies and cooked for his family.

Jay went to a restaurant with his family, he and his wife ordered healthy but let the kids order what they want, which of course came with fries. Jay said just touching the fries felt so good! But he did not have any. Roger also went to a restaurant and he and his wife ordered healthy. He was tempted by someone’s fries, but did not have any. Dan said in a way it was good that his mom had been eliminated; by the time he came home, she had filled the kitchen with only healthy stuff and so that was all set up for him already. Their family runs a non-profit working with kids and so Jackie and Dan played dodgeball with the kids and worked out at the gym together. Mark and Jay worked out together also.

When they all came back to the ranch, they had another Challenge. An apparatus was hooked up like a huge swing set only with two fixed arms going around, I’m not going to describe this adequately. Three members from each team had to jump over one bar and duck under the next, continually, without breaking a bar. Mark sat out from Blue ‘cuz of his injured leg; Paul and Kelly sat out ‘cuz the younger ones would probably do better. Blue Roger got out first, then Black Bernie, Blue Dan broke the bar, Maggie broke her bar, and it’s down to Blue Jay versus Black Brittany.

Black Brittany prevailed. She won for her team the choice of two Blue members to weigh in 24 hours earlier than everyone else. They chose Roger and Dan, good choices considering Mark’s injury and the fact that Jay has lost 5 and under pounds the last three WIs.

Roger and Dan weighed in front of Trainer Bob and Hostess Alison only. I’ll show their numbers later. They do not tell the Black team what the numbers are. They all had last chance workouts with their trainers.

The WI: They reveal that Dan pulled an 11 and Roger pulled a 16! Who knows how much bigger those numbers would be with the regular 24 hours more that everyone else had? Mark pulls out a 13 and Jay gets a 16! Altogether, 56 pounds and 5.67% weight loss for Blue, great numbers for having been on their own at home for most of the week. Blue are calling themselves the ‘Business Squad.’

Black needs more than 60 pounds to win. Maggie has a good 6, Bernie an okay 5, Brittany a not so okay 3, Kelly a good 7, and Paul with 5. 26 pounds, 1.96%. They lose the WI enormously. Kelly has immunity ‘cuz she’s the biggest loser for their team.

The elimination is boring for me so I’ll go through it quickly. Kelly and Paul feel like outsiders compared to the young B, B and M of Black, but Kelly wants to try to work with them. Meanwhile, B, B and M are in a room and with a wink and a nod, they say they all know who’s getting eliminated. At the E-table, Paul’s wearing his old yellow team shirt instead of the black the rest of team is wearing. Bernie and Brittany both vote for Paul. Paul and Kelly both vote for Bernie. It’s down to Maggie, and with an award-winning performance, says how hard this decision was for her and she didn’t want to make it, she’s eliminating someone she adores, blah blah, she votes for Paul, Kelly’s already started crying. Big surprise [sarc]. BOLD-FACED LIE is what it was, regarding Maggie, which is why it all annoyed me and that’s all I wanna say about that.

I am so wanting Blue to kick butt. Black is full of whiny bold-faced liars who act self-righteous towards Mark and Jay of Blue so, Blue, win it all!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Lo-Down Dirty

Literally. The weeds have taken over.

When we’re all busy away from the house, the weeds take over the yard. After living in a condo, we moved into a house with a good sized yard. Mowing the lawn was mainly my brother’s job with help from Dad. Then my brother went to college and I helped, a little, very little. I was busy with church and Campus Life and marching band mostly. Then I went away to college. And the yard ran away from Dad.

Mom worked in the front yard mainly. At first it was easy, but then that got away from her too.

When I came back home to stay, it was on my mind to help Dad with the backyard. By then, the California grass was fence high. The CA grass invaded our yard because years ago, during a bad storm, Hurricane Iniki probably, the back fence fell down. The grass came from the yard of the house in back. The fence belongs to the landlord of that house who said it was our fence. It took a long time to go through the town association, settle the argument, and then the landlord took a ridiculously long time to put a new fence up. And it’s a crappy fence, but that’s another problem.

Pretty much, the CA grass killed our good grass and all other weed and grew like crazy. I helped Dad cut it down. He tried to spray it with weed killer, but it would grow back. Then he got a tip from a friend on when to spray the weed and it’s working pretty good now.

Before that, since I’m home a lot working on the Big D, I would work in the backyard until Dad came home from work. The grass was so bad that I kept imagining that I would find a dead body back there. I did, it was a bird, but a dead body nonetheless. Or I thought I might find the dead body of our first stray cat, Nekko. Mom named her Nekko ‘cuz I didn’t know what I wanted to name her. She just stopped coming around one day so I’ve been keeping an eye out.

The backyard is getting under control. It has been a rainy winter and the CA grass has grown back but not as strong. It’s never gonna be as bad as it was before.

Next to tackle are the front yards. We have four sections in the front: a strip along the street which turns a corner [we live in a corner house], a strip to the right next to the neighbor’s garage, which one connects to a plot along our front wall, and a small square next to our front door.

The bougainvillea and the bushes in the strip along the street grew into monsters. The bougainvillea was the worst, so we attacked that first. The plan was to cut it back just enough to not hang over towards the street so much. I decided to just go at it, all the way.

One of the weekends in Dec, I went on the garage roof to cut down what had grown above the roof. It was a windy day off and on. I have never been up there before. Now I know, if I ever hafta go up there again for whatever reason, to wear long jeans. Otherwise, it wasn’t too bad. Good thing I didn’t start until Dad came home or I’d still be on that roof right now. Well, maybe not. But I did need Dad’s help getting down. I’m short and the ladder is just short that I climbed the ladder and raised myself up onto the fence-wall and then onto the roof. To get off, I crawled backwards on my stomach, hung my legs over, still couldn’t reach the fence wall, crawl back a little more to where I’m almost hanging on by my arms pretty much, had Dad guide my left foot to find the fence-wall again, and got down. It was a little scary for a moment, when I couldn’t feel the fence-wall until I was hanging off, blindly.

I had fun. I like climbing. I like being active and cutting the thick branches nearly killed my muscles every time. My shoulders would ache; I would go until I couldn’t possibly get my arms to lift the big chopper. I would wake up in the middle of the night because my chest muscles would twitch from mimicking the cutting motion I used to cut those thick buggers. I worked hard. I cut the bougainvillea back into a medium-sized bush again. Only a few of the thick branches are still waving in the air. I’ll need safety goggles before I start up the chainsaw and cut those to size with the rest of it. That’s a scary thought, isn’t it? Me with a chainsaw. I’m quite good with the power tools, I assure you.

Now, I’m onto the strip in front of the house. Dad’s taking care of the bougainvillea next to the neighbor’s garage. The strip I’m working on has two medium-sized bougainvilleas, two small bushes in between those, and three small in the front row. Two weeds that are similar in root structure have invaded all the bushes here. One grows into a vine with ferns and develops hardened claws, like thorns, along the stalk. The vine will grow and wrap itself around the bougainvillea, a choking vine I call it. The other is a softer growth that matures out from a central spot, lots of little thorns along the branch, bunches of little leaves to hide the thorns. Near the base grows tiny tomato-like fruits. I call that one the tomato-weed.

I began by cutting all of the growth down. I cut back the bougainvillea; they weren’t too bad, but I’m trying to get a nice shape out of them again. The problem, I found out along the way, is that the two weeds choke out the bushes and drink up all water from getting to the good bushes. Even the bougainvillea are affected, but the small bushes have been taking the brunt of the abuse.

[I’m gonna interject right here to say that I’m listening to Alistair Begg’s Truth For Life podcast. The episode is Planting Hedges in Marriage. I’m not married yet, but possibly storing up the knowledge for when I do become married. Begg is in the middle of an illustration of a house garden being revived by a new house owner and it is describing the work that I’m doing in our front yards. I hope to be able to truly beautify them later, but what a timely story. I don’t know if that’s ever happened so tightly before.]

Back to the dirt.

After cutting down the weeds, I attacked the roots of the tomato-weed. I pulled up small fresh ones to find that thick water pockets went along the roots here and there. Aha, the weed is taking up the water from the ground so that the water doesn’t get to the bushes. I dig up more roots and find that just under the top layer of rock, the roots spread out and entangle each other into a web network of roots. The roots are not very deep, maybe 3 or 4 inches down. I reach one of the core from which the greenery grew. The core is thick. I cut into it and chunks fly out. The consistency is that of tree bark.

A core had wrapped around the base of one of the small bushes in front so I took care of that one first. It looked like the worst one and I had to be careful so as not to damage the roots of the bush. That took a few days. Dad came out and seeing that I was really hacking into the core, pried out a huge chunk. Just like a father, to come out, help us out but in the help, makes it look effortless. He did it in 2 whacks and a strong pull. Meanwhile, it had taken me 10 whacks and about 3 pulls in maybe 15 minutes. Then he went back inside. He later told me that he didn’t expect it to be so thick. He’s glad that I’m tackling it.

The other day, I attacked the core of the choking vine…and found out that it’s worse than the core of the tomato-weed. I hafta cut the vine all the way down to the core because the claws will cut into my hands. The roots spread out from underneath the core, huge thick-honkin’ roots that are also sopping up the water from around the bougainvillea.

The road strip has quite a few choking vine cores and a whole bunch of fresh vines just beginning to sprout. I worked on those today. They stink. The thick roots grow deep into the ground along with spreading out. They look like giant worms.

I dug up a few earthworms in the process of all of this weeding by the way. I was thinking of collecting some worms, try to make my own vermi-compost thing, what is that called? The box of dirt and worms where I would throw away stuff and they’d digest the garbage and turn it into usable dirt or something. So far I just left them where they were.

And there’s a lizard that lives in one of the bougainvillea, the one by the gate. It jumped down my shirt one day. Then it ran out. It came back to jump from the bougainvillea to the small bush I was working on, startling me each time. I finally had it and went back inside.

Anyways, so that’s some of what I’ve been doing on my breaks from Big D. I hope I will be married someday so I can give the dirt work to my husband. If he doesn’t like doing dirt work, then he’ll be right next to me and we’ll do the work together. Oh, I don’t mind doing the work and getting dirty, but I want a man. That’s a different subject altogether I think. I’m done here.

I know, it hasn’t been that interesting in a long while, but no one’s commented on anything so as far as I know I’m still writing all this for myself and it’s all interesting to me and that’s enough for me.

The posted picture is of the roots of the tomato-weed that I've been pulling up. Ugly things, aren't they?

Mahalo for reading in.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

On Tap for 2008: Deepening Waters

The title is in regards to my faith in Jesus Christ. It’s sad or embarrassing for me to say that I asked Christ into my life more than 25 years ago and yet it seems as if I’ve fallen below the line of where I began. I am no more mature in the faith than a new believer, it would seem. No More.

Those close to me know that I have been struggling the past few years though they may not know exactly with what I have been fighting. It wasn’t that I was losing faith in God, I never have. I don’t want anyone to misread that. In fact, it has been my faith in God that has kept me going no matter how low I felt or what I was going through; there were moments in which, without God, I most likely would have given in and given up. It’s not easy for me to explain how that goes without explaining further, for that part is very personal. I wouldn’t mind telling the story if asked, maybe, but I want to be careful and responsible for what I write on this journal always and this isn’t something I am comfortable putting on the net where anyone can read it. I am in general a very private person and certain things will remain private. I guess what I can say is that I knew God would not let me drown, I knew He was reaching out to lift me up. I knew He was with me; I was never alone and never abandoned. I needed to go through this struggle in order to come out stronger, and I believe that I have. God knows what I need.

The struggle, to put it simply, was with myself. I was losing confidence in myself. Without going into detail of that, I did a great many things wrong. After that, I wanted to punish myself; I am very tough on myself and I didn’t want to let up. Then it grabbed me the way it never had before; God is the ultimate judge, and He has given me forgiveness. Take it.

Another wrong was not grounding my faith, not building a foundation to stand on. I had grown up in the church but didn’t get a firm grasp around the teachings and so when I challenged myself, I failed, which leads me to what’s on tap for 2008 in this area of faith.

I have begun daily devotionals, daily prayers, and daily readings of the Bible.

So far, so good, though not perfect, but the habit is forming. I have tried to read through the Bible before but wouldn’t get past Leviticus. I’m not going to worry about grasping everything yet but simply to read through it. Since I will be reading the Bible the rest of my life, I am sure to know it more and more intimately as I go on, but for now the goal is to read.

For devotionals, I am reading from Blackaby and Blackaby’s Experiencing God Day-by-Day and R.T. and Louise Kendall’s Strength for Your Day. I don’t like recommending something until I’ve gone through it, but I mention them here in case you may be reading from either of the books also, I’d like to hear what you think of them, kind of as a book club would go through books. It would also be encouraging, I think, to go through something with someone or just to know that they are going through it. What the devotionals do is encourage me and teach me. Since I’m reading through the Bible, the devotionals also help me to read verses differently, get more out of the Bible. One usually does one devotional book at a time. Strength isn’t necessarily a devotional book but a collection of prayers from many sources, namely from Christian leaders. The book is in a daily format with one or two prayers a day and so I’m finding it easy to go through it alongside Experiencing.

Praying daily keeps me in touch with God. It starts my day off on a good note. So far, I have not heard God say anything to me specifically, but I’m listening for it and I know He’s listening to me. I think one thing that these prayer times do is to ensure that I am leaning on Him. I have the sense that it’s for me to know that I’m leaning on Him, ‘cause God doesn’t need me to tell Him that I’m dependent on Him, He already knows. And it isn’t like one day when I was struggling I had stopped praying altogether, no way. I prayed constantly! I prayed just about everyday, but now I am setting aside time that is devoted to being with God.

I am also back in church on a consistent basis. I went maybe twice last year. Going to church, for me, wasn’t a social event, I didn’t go to church to show my face or to be with my friends. That, at times, has been a problem for me. I suppose because it was social time for others and I am socially awkward but it seemed like others were trying to force me to be social. Does that make sense to you? Well, I know what I mean. I went to church because I wanted to grow in my faith, I was there for the learning. It isn’t much of a problem anymore. It is still a problem, but not so much as it once was and one that is not going to turn me away from going anymore because I know that if I let it be a problem and I don’t go, that comes from the devil. Now I resolve to go anyway. Have you heard that song that says, ‘Do it anyway?’ It’s been on my mind. Go to church anyway. I forget exactly what our pastor had said in the sermon, but it connected with me about the reason for going to church. Well, the pastor said it much better than I could explain. I’m getting the tape of it later so maybe I’ll transcribe that part another time, it was good. I try to make it a point always to pay attention in service.

I have been sensing lately that God wants me to be more involved within my church than I was before. I’m not only going for the learning and refreshment, but also going because I want to see the church grow and I believe God will have something for me to do there shortly. I’ve already been asked recently to help with the local youth. I turned it down for now because I am already committed to my first ADULT Bible study class that is at the same time as the youth class. I went to classes all the way through to high school, and then the post-high class which was for the young adults in college or who didn’t feel ready for the adult classes. I don’t know why I stayed in that class for so long. Not that it wasn’t a good class, but I had it in mind a long time ago to move on to the adult class, I can’t come up with a reason why I never did. Well, I’m doing it now. I’m in Uncle Mike and Uncle Don’s class, leading us through Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project. It’s deep, a lot of philosophical things, apologetics, and challenging points, but I love it all. I think it’s just what I needed.

What else? I-Tunes, yes. My brother got me a Nano in ’06? Just recently I’ve started to learn to be friends with I-Tunes. What does that have to do with faith? Well, I figured out how to download podcasts! Don’t look at me like I’m crazy, well, I am, but I’m kind of stuck between traditional things and modern things or something like that. The computer may be user-friendly but I’m still not. I know just enough of what I need to know and what I don’t know I figure out for myself or ask my brother who’s the computer genius of the family. Chances are that I’ve written this journal on a steno-book or on Word.

Anyways, podcasts, I am currently listening to Focus on the Family, Ryan Dobson’s KOR Kast, Truth for Life with Alistair Begg and Insight for Living with Chuck Swindoll. There are a few others also, but I’ve only got so much time and so the one’s I’ve listed here are ones that I try not to miss. I used to catch Focus and Insight here and there on the radio but then I’d miss parts and I hardly listen to the radio anymore and so it is definitely a blessing to be able to take the time to listen to them when I can. I listen to them while I’m doing yard work or sometimes for my Big D breaks or even during cardio-workouts. You get the point.

Well, I recommend all of the above programs. They are great encouragers, there’s often some humor in them along with a lot of content…and I would recommend them to non-believers also because they will get you to ask questions or maybe you already have questions and the answer may just be in the lesson that day, you never know. I have had questions answered by them.

I think I should also mention that among a lot of content on Christian beliefs, Ryan Dobson also talks about MMA and UFC, so if you’re into that, he talks about that every so often. I’ve been to a UFC fight, I think; I went with my former. All the guys did was hug, it looked like a hug-out match, it wasn’t even wrestling. I didn’t see punches or kicks. Maybe I need to see a better match, I don’t know. Is MMA biblical or okay for a Christian to be into, I don’t know. But I feel like if I criticize it, then maybe I need to find a way to justify football ‘cause I’m so into football now. Dad’s a Cowboys fan so I grew up on them. Anyways…and I’ve been looking for new and good music. Dobson often has music on his podcast and so I was reintroduced to Foo Fighters, I hadn’t listened to them in a long while; more on that some other time. So, content on the Christian life and MMA.

That’s what’s on tap for faith 2008. I talked about tithing in the earlier finances 2008 so here I’ll just say that I am still tithing. I don’t want you to read this as an ‘I’m holier than thou’ entry ‘cause I am so not. I have been misread in that way many times so let me say this; I wrote this because it is what I’m going through right now. This is me saying I need help, contrary to popular opinion, I am vulnerable and fallible, this is my record of recognition of being so. If I do or say something wrong, please, call me on it. I will take it in. My friends know that I call it as I see it, I don’t beat around bushes so I don’t expect the soft-serve treatments from anyone. Give it to me straight.

If you are not a believer, I care about why you are not because while I’ve grown up in the church and I am a Christian, I have had questions and looked for the answers regarding which faith or whose faith and am I making the right choice and such but each inquiry has only worked to solidify my faith in Jesus Christ. If you’re not a believer, I challenge you to think about why, really think about it. Do the answers you have make sense?

And don’t misread that my faith is ONLY based on the fact that I’m still alive. I think I said that in an earlier entry, that one way I know God is real is because I’m still alive, but I will add here that I know that God exists also because anything that I’ve studied, evolution, Buddhism and other faiths, things that don’t quite make sense like why cancer and such, it’s always led me back to God is the Truth. I have been accused many times by different people of THINKING too much. Science and Faith DO work together to proclaim the glory of God. My faith has not made me perfect, as evident in my struggles, God did not promise an easy life from here on out, but I have found no answers in any other. To go further on that I would have so much to say, so I’ll end this here for now. I’ll undoubtedly talk about faith subjects as they come, so I hope you stick around.

Okay, so in short, I am putting my trust in God and letting Jesus be my Lord. Confidence in myself, well, that’s nice to have and I have more of it when I depend on God because I have confidence in Him. All of that is to say, I feel more relaxed knowing that He’s in charge and that I am not. I am so glad that I am not God and that He is.

Note: Any time I write something on faith or my personal faith walk, it will be labeled under 'Deepening Waters.' Also, I took the picture, what do you think? Is it any good?

Mahalo for reading in!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

50/50 at the Stan Sheriff

Rematch last night, #15 UH defending home turf against #5 UCLA. Starting lineups: UCLA: O’Malley, Muagututia, Edwards, Stromath, Diefenbach, Hastings, Wade. UH: Clar, Walker, Schkud, Grgas, Rawson, Cervantes, and Carney.

UH started off strong, continuing the solid play from the night before while UCLA had an early back row attack violation and a couple of service errors. It looked like it might be a repeat of the previous night but it didn’t take long for UCLA to gain their bearings and take control of their game. By the half of game 1, UCLA led 13-15 [btw, I tend to say UH’s score first to keep some kind of consistency]. UH would bring the score back to a tie and trade off points until UCLA pulled ahead again at 26-28. UH tied it up at 28-all when the 6’4 Schkud blocked an attack by the 6’9 O’Malley. UCLA stayed in control and won game 1, 28-30.

Game 2 was more of the same. Great plays by both teams, a lot of trading off points for the tie, with UCLA leading at the half, 13-15. Dyer came in for Walker. At 14-16, Schkud got in an ace. 18-21 and Hutchins comes in for Clar, so there were two starters, two Warrior leading attackers off the court. Walker doesn’t come back in until 23-27. Game 2 went to UCLA on a Hutchins hit that went long, 24-30.

Game 3, more of the same. Frank started for Rawson, Clar came back in. UCLA took the lead early on, 6-10, but the ball was back in the Warriors’ hands and Clar brought them within 1 at 10-11 with an ace. Yet again, UCLA kept cool and led 13-15 at the half. UCLA, 25-29, Stromath serves up the ball and Clar kills it, 26-29. UH is still battling. On a Diefenbach kill, UCLA sweeps 26-30.

The difference between the first match and the second? Errors, UCLA made less errors. Service errors were about even, UH out-blocked UCLA the first night but UCLA evened up that stat the second night, digs about even. UCLA got more kills off of their attacks. Hastings, just a freshman right off filling in for Senior Captain Tony Ker who is a fine libero, added more stability to UCLA’s passing game. Hastings still has a lot to learn and fix to be as good as Ker, but he definitely improved from night one. Diefenbach, one of their tallest guys with a powerful arm, had been stalled by the UH block on night one, but had a more productive night two, 11 kills, no errors, hitting over 700 on the night. UCLA came back smoother and playing more like UCLA. UH, while still playing very well and never panicked, just didn’t pull it out for the second night against an experienced and resilient UCLA team.

[Quick stats by Honolulu Advertiser].And Al Scates gets his 50th win against the volleyball team of the University of the 50th state, hence, the title of this entry. I try to be clever with the titles but I know, I’m still working on it. UH also had about a 50/50 chance of winning.

Still, the Warriors have a chance to take it all this season, they always have a chance whether one’s as biased as I am or not. That they won the first night with only one full substitution, Rawson for Frank, and kept UCLA off-kilter shows a lot of tenacity and stamina for this young team. On the first night, Cervantes was the only returning starter from last season in the lineup.

So, I was rooting on the Warriors and will continue to do so. That the Warriors are playing well now and looks to have a solid starting lineup at this point in the season is a good sign. And didn’t I say at the end of last season that we haven’t seen all that Schkud could do? Well, he’s showing us now and leading this team to shine. Cervantes, Clar, Schkud, Carney, Grgas, Rawson, Walker all had a good match one or both nights against UCLA.

And on the side, they showed the scores of some of the other games from that night. UCI versus BYU, one had to know that it was going to be a good match up. BYU is sitting pretty at the top of the polls with an undefeated season going so far. UCI at a good #6, the defending champions with returning starters in Asuka, Harrell, I think Simpson and Wilson played last year too. UCI also has the two younger brothers of former starter Paul Spittle; if that’s any indication of their skills then they must be really good. Anyways, check out these scores, UCI [home team] first: 28-30, 34-32, 22-30, 30-28, 26-28. Did you miss it? First off, they traded off games, UCI won games 2 and 4, game 2 in extra play. But more spectacular, I imagine, was game 5, 26-28. GAME 5 is first to FIFTEEN. UCI held BYU back enough to take it to an almost-full, extra play fifth game.

Kinda like the complete extra play nail-biter between UH and Santa Barbara the other week.

Yes, I missed the alumni game of last week. What’s up with that? Well, representing the alumni, according to the UH website, were Jake Muise (’04), Shaun Frederick (’03), Kai Kahele (’97), Chris Kosty (’99), Mason Kuo (current assistant coach, ’99), Mauli‘a La Barre (’06), Sivan Leoni (’98), Kimo Tuyay (’04), and Ryan Woodward (’04). I should’ve gone; Leoni alone guarantees a good show! I wonder what Brenton Davis is doing, did he play last year’s alumni game? I wonder if they’ll get Podlewski in an alumni game.

Okay. So that’s the Rainbow Warrior Volleyball update.

Mahalo for reading in!

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Volleyball Valentine for the Fans

Jim Clar gets a kill past Ratelle.
Another thriller from the Stan Sheriff Center, #15 UH battled #5 UCLA for a milestone moment and the right to send a valentine to their fans. A win for UH would bring home Coach Wilton’s 300th win while a win for UCLA would be Al Scates 50th win against UH.

UCLA’s starting lineup consisted of Ratelle, O’Malley, Muagututia, Diefenbach, Stromath, Hastings and Wade. They stepped onto the court without their captain, Tony Ker, as he heals from a hamstring injury. No injuries were reported for UH who started Clar, freshman Walker, lone senior Schkud, Grgas, Frank, Cervantes and Carney.

Lisa Strand-Ma‘a filled in as color commentator for the resting Chris McLachlin. Mclachlin, a prominent figure in Hawai‘i volleyball circles is recovering from a heart attack he suffered about 2 weeks ago. Get well soon, Chris!

Right away, UCLA didn’t look like the well-oiled machine that it usually is. Something was definitely lacking in the libero position as Hastings filled in for Ker. Hastings must be a good player to be the backup for Ker, but Ker has the experience and control that often keeps the UCLA team in the position to attack. Service errors also plagued the normally tough-serving UCLA team, about 10 in the first game alone. Yet in UCLA fashion, they came out with the win in game 1 with hard-hitting Muagututia and the towering O’Malley racking up the points. Game 1, UCLA 25-30.

Bad serving remained the bane of UCLA in game 2. By halftime, UCLA would have 18 service errors for the first two games while UH had about5. UH actually served a perfect game 1 with no errors. The record will show UH with 1 service error, but the replay video will show that the error should have been called a service ace by Jim Clar. The ball clearly hits inside of the back line, even it’s shadow was in the court. The up official didn’t see it because a UCLA player was in the way, but the line judge, I don’t know how he missed that call. It was deemed out, resulting in a UCLA point.

Back to game 2, UH quickly pulled ahead and held a lead of 3-5 points. Besides the service errors, UCLA played strong but with more broken plays and missed hits than is usually seen. Game 2 went the way of the Warriors, 30-26. In game 3, Scates began to work his mystique by bringing in Dunlap for Diefenbach but Dunlap wasn’t able to do much more than Diefenbach. More broken plays, Carney got an ace in, UH won 2 long rallies back to back with a huge block and a Schkud kill. UH maintained the lead the whole way. UCLA was called for several illegal back row attacks, mainly committed by Muagututia, if I recall correctly. Game 3 ended with a clean and quick Clar kill, UH 30-24.

Early in game 4, Jagd [pronounced ‘jade’?] came in for O’Malley. The substitution didn’t seem to do much for UCLA, at first, then I suppose Jagd got warmed up and started to fire up the UCLA team to get the first UCLA lead since game 1. Service errors still popped up, but not as frequently as in the first half and UH began to commit service errors themselves. Jagd, on his fresh legs and killer arm, led UCLA to win game 4 and force a game 5, UCLA 24-30.

But UH gained the lead in game 5 with a halfway score of 8-4. UCLA brought out Darwin Edwards who had played briefly in game 4, but Edwards didn’t add much to slow UH down. Muagututia and Jagd brought UCLA back to life with several definitive kills, tying the score at 11, taking the score at 12, UH came back at 13. I think it was another UCLA service error that made it 14-13 UH. It’s match point for UH, Scates calls a timeout, Grgas is up to serve for UH. Grgas isn’t a consistent or tough server. UCLA has the advantage in 5-game matches, so the match isn’t necessarily over for them. Grgas taps the serve over…the ball goes to Jagd for the kill…and Jagd doesn’t get the ball over! UH wins 15-13 and takes the match!

Overall it was a great match [detailed match stats]. Looking at the stats, it looks like UCLA won every statistic. I think UH won it with stable play and great blocks. To see so many service errors and illegal back row attacks and missed hits by UCLA was strange, it was not their normal game. I think a lot of it is missing what Ker brings to their game. Ker is a great libero who shows up out of nowhere to pick up their opponents’ attacks and direct the ball to their setter. O’Malley, Muagututia, Diefenbach, Wade, they’re all experienced game players, very good players, but I think that they missed having Ker out there.

Speaking of libero, UH’s Cervantes played a great match! 16 digs on the night, he was undaunted by the hard-hitting attacks of UCLA. He popped them up easily, sending the passes directly to Carney, made a great effort by standing in the way of an attack, letting it ultimately knock him off his feet. Cervantes’ play was akin to the Great Podlewski. Well, almost.

And Carney, the Warriors’ outright MVP of the match. 48 assists, 10 digs, 2 kills, 2 block assists and 2 service aces [I thought he had 3 aces, but the stats say 2]. Last night’s match showed why he was in contention for the starting setter position the last 2 years that had ultimately been kept and held by All-American Brian Beckwith.

Let me be girly and talk about Carney’s new ‘do for a second…in the past, Carney had consistently sported a long curly hairdo held back by a sweatband. He stepped onto the court tonight with a short almost-military ‘do. The big deal with Carney’s new look is that with the short hair and a similar height and build to that of Clar, it was difficult to tell Carney from Clar. Even for Leahey and Lisa Strand-Ma‘a, who were there to broadcast the game, they had a difficult time. There were a lot of long pauses as they checked the replay to say whether it was Clar or Carney with the kill or the block or the dig…all night long!

Another bright side for UH is Walker. He made some good plays, got some kills to the floor. However, he is a freshman and still needs to get his game legs under him. He was a little inconsistent, missed several serves, but I think he’s developing into a good player. He’ll have time to work those things out and improve.

As an aside, I mentioned that UCLA has a player named Darwin Edwards. Um, just hafta wonder about parents who would name their kid ‘Darwin’. I don’t know his parents, they’re probably very good people, maybe they named him after a relative and not after Charles Darwin… I guess it just stands out to me because I am a Christian, I don’t know. I’ve taken a course on evolution and read up on the topic, but that’s not for this entry.

And, you might recall two seasons ago when Warrior Jake Schkud sported an oddly shaven head…I didn’t think I’d see that again. He had kept the sides and balded the top in honor, or mockery, I don’t know, of the great Al Scates. The ‘do came back last night, this time manifesting on the head of Sam Morehouse. Um, I don’t have much more to say about it than it didn’t look as strange on Schkud for some reason, he looks kinda kolohe and maybe like it’s something he would do…um, okay…

So, tonight, REMATCH! Can UCLA find their serve and swerve? Can UH keep the same lineup and win two in a row from the powerhouse? Incidentally, UH didn’t substitute any players last night for more than a serve here and there. They didn’t really rest anyone from game 4 or game 5, a good sign. I’m sorry, scratch that, Frank was replaced by Rawson sometime in game 2 I think and he stayed through to the end.

This is where I say, ‘Tune in next time when we find out who will win the REMATCH!’ or something like that.

Mahalo for reading in!
[Pictures and short stats by Honolulu Advertiser].

Thursday, February 14, 2008

As You Wish

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Yes, the title is the line made most famous by Cary Elwes as Wesley in The Princess Bride. Wasn’t that a great movie? My friend Blank Slate quotes often and so I’m supposed to try to develop that talent. I’m better at paraphrasing and I often forget who said what or where it came from. Anyways, yes, I have strange nicknames for my friends but they make perfect sense to me. Blank is another Chris and so a nickname is necessary.

Got any big plans for today? I hope it’s to show the people you love how much you care. I will be sharing the day with Mom, Dad, my cats, and Big D. Not quite a romantic day, but I’m sure there’ll be some in the future. I wish I was having Valentine’s Day with the UH Warrior Volleyball players as they hit the court against UCLA tonight! I will be watching from home and shouting at the TV like the madwoman that I am…when they have a good match going on. I know, I’m scaring the neighbors, but that’s okay.

I don’t know that I’ve ever had a real valentine on Valentine’s Day. I remember everyone having to give each other cards in elementary. My high school had those candy-grams, I don’t recall ever receiving one. When I was at WU, we’d round up some single friends and spend Valentine’s together, that was good fun.

And I don’t know how much it counts but I did have a phone valentine. I was seeing this guy and I had to work late on Valentine’s Day Night, so we spent it over the phone. And he asked me to be his valentine. Does that count?

I look forward to having romantic nights in the future, I love doing things for someone else and miss that part of a relationship. For now, I love being single, I get to do what I want! I don’t like being in a relationship just to have someone but when the right someone comes along, I’ll be all for that too. I used to watch my friends go from relationship to relationship and then realize later that they didn’t know who they were. Or they were in the relationship just to not be alone on a day like this, but then they weren’t really happy any other day with the other person.

I didn’t mean to write so much. I’ll leave it here.

Mahalo for reading in!

Above: Haleakala 1996

A young lover from the start.

The loving family. [It lasted about a day, kidding!]

I think I like this one because it describes me somewhat, 'somebody's gonna get hurt!'

And finally, flowers for you, my reader.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is There Honor Among Losers?

Well, I don’t know the answer to that, considering game play. Okay, it was Biggest Loser last night and they began, of course, with the fallout of the elimination of Jackie. I thought Jackie had gone to the brothers’ room alone, but in the flashback clip they showed, her son Dan had been in the room also.

I didn’t mean to sound like I advocate lying. I do not. When Jackie asked the brothers to swear on their children’s heads, I took their ‘yeah’ to mean, ‘just get out of our room.’ Jackie’s a strong-minded woman and I don’t know what she would’ve done if the brothers had been absolutely honest and say, ‘we’re voting for you, you’re out.’ Maybe Jackie did make them repeat the oath, I don’t know, they don’t show every single minute of tape. Mark’s answer to her question was, ‘yeah, I would.’ Semantics. He didn’t say he will promise, he said he would, which to me sounds like an unfinished sentence. ‘I would if I could trust you in return.’ ‘I would if I cared about you staying here.’ They should have said that instead. The Black team would not like anything the brothers say whether it’s the truth or not.

But what I thought last week was that the brothers could not make any pact in good faith with Jackie, because there was none to be made. Jackie had made it known that she was on a mission to take them out, didn’t matter that they’re on the same team now. She wanted to hear them promise in order to protect her son and herself.

This week’s show, Black team finds out they eliminated Jackie and Black team doesn’t like that. Why? Because Jackie had been their leader. They had all at one time made a pact with Jackie. Were Mark and Jay deceitful? Yes. Jackie was not innocent either, as Black would like to believe her to have been, but they know she wasn’t. The self-righteous indignation that Black team showed towards the brothers disgusted me because they had schemed and planned, including Jackie and Dan, to take out Mark and Jay. Black had all been deceitful towards the brothers and the pot called the kettle Black. And who cares what Black thinks? They’re on the opposite team! Why should Black care who Blue eliminated?

Where I’m disappointed with Blue is that none of them, not one, went to Dan and explained themselves. The redeeming thing about Dan was that he went to them and wanted to talk, tell them it’s okay that they eliminated his partner even if it wasn’t really okay with him, that they’re still a team and there’s still a mission: take out Black. One of the older members, especially Mark or Jay since they said they felt bad about lying to him, should have gone to Dan first.

Drama, drama, let’s move on.

Black won the Challenge. I don’t think there was a Temptation this week. At the Challenge, Black won two immunities; one for a member of their team and one for a member of the other team. At the weigh-in, they announced that they picked out of a hat that their member Maggie would have immunity and that they chose Jay to have immunity on the Blue team.

Black weighed in first. Paul, Kelly, and Bernie had good numbers. Brittany and Maggie pulled 3 pounds together. Kelly’s crying, who cares.

Blue weighs in. Dan, Trent, Roger pulls good numbers. Mark pulls an okay number. Jay only needed to have lost at least 5 for Blue to win. Jay had 5s at both of the last two WIs, so he’s due for a big number and he’s able to bring big numbers. The scale reads…4. 4 pounds. Black barely won the WI.

This time, all 5 Blue members for the first time coming together to decide what to do. Jay has the immunity that Black gave him. Roger has immunity for having the biggest number for the Blue WI. That leaves Dan, Trent and Mark. Trent offers up himself. He’s had a knee injury since the early weeks and it’s getting harder and harder for him to keep up. His numbers have been slowly dropping. Mark’s not sure if it’s in the best interest of the team, because he got injured last week and so he might not be able to keep up either but Trent’s adamant. They all agree to it.

Dan’s unsure. He doesn’t know if he can trust the guys yet. They didn’t like his mother and took her out; it only seems logical that they get rid of him too. He thought they were going to eliminate Trent last elimination.

Thing is, they didn’t eliminate Trent last week because Jackie thought she would be the leader and make the decision on her own. I don’t know that they have a true leader, but Jackie sure wasn’t it. If they had all come together and decided, maybe Trent would have been gone. No way were they going to let Jackie run the team; they couldn’t trust her and justifiably so, even for Roger and Trent. That is why they took Jackie out instead.

At the E-table, Mark and Jay vote for Trent. I guess there’s a rule that they can’t vote for themselves, so Trent voted for Mark. Then Roger, with wonderful words for his good friend, eliminated Trent. We don’t know how Dan voted. It might have been the best elimination that I’ve seen.

Yes, there is honor among ‘Losers.’ Trent is honorable.

Next week will be interesting because Trent had been the heart of the Blue team.

Mahalo for reading in.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Losing Gracefully and Not So Much, With a Dose of the 5th

Recap of Week 4 Biggest Loser: 7 teams left; Yellow was chosen by the majority of the teams, the competition turning to Yellow against the rest [Grey, Blue, Pink, Orange, Purple, Black]; Yellow won the challenge but gave the prize to the 6; Yellow made alliances with Orange, Purple Maggie, and Blue Bernie; Black wins the weigh-in [WI] and immunity; Yellow eliminates Pink.

Okay, 6 teams left. Getting to the interesting parts, not usually at the challenges, the trainers Bob and Jillian show up at this challenge. Everyone’s at the bottom of two escalators, both of which are coming down towards them. Then the hostess Alison announces that the challenge would be for the trainers. The trainer who went up and down their escalator 10 times wins. Bob mostly used his legs and went up two by two. From the beginning, Jillian used the handrail to help lift her up. She fell behind. Bob kept a good pace.

Bob won the power to choose which 3 teams he would train as his new Blue team. Jillian would train the rest as her Black team. Bob chose Black, Grey, and Orange. That left Yellow, Blue, and Purple with Jillian. Some felt jilted by Bob and all that drama stuff. The new Black team feels like the underdogs; Jillian feels like Bob stacked his team to get back at her for having trained the past Biggest Loser winners. I suppose she did; I know she trained last season’s winner and Matt who won in a previous season. Moving on.

The challenge isn’t over. In their new teams, Black and Blue, the challenge is for all members to get on their escalator and continually climb the steps which are still moving downwards. The team to have the last member still on the escalator wins. They get on, the clock starts. Trent from the Blue team and Paul from Black have bad knees or something and are told by their trainers to get on first and get off right away. That leaves 5 players on each side climbing the escalators.

Kelly, Maggie and Jenn from Black, and Roger from Blue get off their escalators. They cheer on their teammates. Black Bernie and Blue Jackie hang on pretty good, but eventually get off. Jackie’s surprised and proud that son Dan is hanging up at the top with Mark and Jay. It comes down to Black Brittany against Dan, Jay and Mark from Blue. Brittany kicks major butt, she was amazing! Kept a steady pace for most of it, her team is cheering her on, encouraging her. She starts to descend in order to rest but they tell her she’s getting close to the cut off line and she bursts back to the top. She does that several times, but then she inevitably tires and gets off. Blue has won with the 3 guys still on. And everyone, Black and Blue, is congratulating Brittany for her great effort and competition.

Nobody caves at the Temptation.

Blue team, there’s a rivalry between the brothers [Mark and Jay] and the mother/son [Jackie and Dan]. Now they are on the same team so they smile and work together.

At the WI: Blue weighs first and put up huge numbers. Black bombs big time, except for Maggie and Jenn who put up good numbers but not enough to win. Blue wins; Black goes to elimination. Maggie, who had lost 7 pounds, the best number for Black, has immunity from elimination.

Kelly put up a zero. Paul gained 3. Brittany and Bernie’s numbers were not much better. What was revealed was that the Black team, except for Maggie and Jenn, cut their calories by more than half, thinking that they would lose more weight faster and be competitive with the Blue team. Big mistake. Cutting their calories drastically while working out like mad put their bodies into starvation mode and hence, the low disappointing numbers. Maggie and Jenn ate regularly and lost the weight.

Black team eliminates Maggie’s partner Jenn.

Week 6: 11 players left. Blue with all 6 and feeling strong and confident; Black with 5 left and feeling as down as ever, but they get up and get to work.

The Temptation: the contestants walk up to individual booths, alternating between Black and Blue players. In front of them is a table of 100 chocolate caramels, like Rolos I suppose. I used to love Rolos when I was younger; then I swallowed it and it took awhile to melt down my throat and I stopped having Rolos. Same thing happened with butterscotch, but I’ve since gotten over my fear of butterscotches; those Werther’s Originals are so smooth! Okay, that’s getting off topic. Back to Losers, and I say that gently.

If someone participates in this Temptation and wins, he/she gets to choose one player from each team to switch teams, including him-/herself. Three people go for the temptation. Blue Mark wins it, spreading fear into the rest of the players, wondering who Mark will trade for whom. Mark dashes Black members’ hopes of being rescued and taken by the strong Blue team when he said that he won the Temptation in order to keep the teams intact.

The Challenge was a cooking one that was judged by Rocco Dispiritu [sp?]. The teams were to choose from Rocco’s recipes, shop for the ingredients, cook a three course meal substituting certain ingredients to make a healthier meal. Appetizer, main course, dessert. I was surprised with the amount of attention given to the presentation of the food. One of the recipes was a filet mignon with bleu cheese, I’ve been thinking about making something like that ever since I had it at Stuart Anderson’s, it is so ONO!

Black won the Challenge. The prize was a meal cooked by Rocco and videos from home.

WI: Blue Mark had been limited in the type of workout he did during the week due to a stress fracture. Still, Mark pulled out a 9 and had the best number for Blue. Blue puts up good numbers as usual except for Jackie who pulls a 2. Black weighs in. Maggie, Paul and Kelly put up solid numbers. Brittany and Bernie were left with needing, I think, 8 pounds to win it for Black. Brittany steps on the scale…and it’s a 10! Not only a fantastic number for a female, but a winning number for Black! So Bernie’s number was just icing.

It wasn’t that surprising that Black won. They were in more of a deficit than Blue from not losing very much the week before. Or in other words, Blue was more at risk of having a plateau week than Black because their bodies had been working consistently and might have decided they needed a break.

Blue has to decide on elimination.

Jackie, showing her old orange color again, went to Trent and Roger, without her son Dan. She says things to Trent like, ‘if we send you home, will you lose the weight at home?’ and, ‘will you go home and win the challenge between those sent home?’ I’m paraphrasing. Trent says he’s good.

Jackie goes to brothers Mark and Jay, the ones she tried to eliminate two weeks ago through game play and manipulation. She comes in, right away saying that Trent’s set to go, eliminate Trent. They say okay. She asks them to swear on their childrens’ heads that they would not eliminate her or her son without telling her first. They say okay. She leaves.

At the E-table, Jackie and Dan vote to eliminate Trent. Trent votes for Jackie. No way Roger votes for his partner, so he votes for Jackie. Jay…says little…and votes for Jackie. Mark votes for Jackie.

Blue eliminates Jackie.

She looks unbelieving but not quite surprised. She smiles. Mark says it goes back to an earlier week, and they show the clip of the moment that Mark’s referring to, when they were still in their couples teams, when Orange Jackie openly said that she would eliminate Mark and Jay if given the chance. Jackie, sounding very holier-than-thou, reminds Mark and Jay that they had sworn on the heads of their children not to eliminate her. Dan’s tearing up, not really understanding what was going on.

Anyways, such drama. I usually cannot stand such drama. I cannot watch shows like Survivor or Big Brother, I’ve never seen an episode of those at all and can’t fathom how they're still around. Oh, but it was so satisfying for this BL episode!

And Mark and Jay didn’t say the words swearing an oath to Jackie. Their children are not cursed because they sent Jackie home. Jackie wanted it both ways; when she and Dan showed their strength, it was ‘Marvel at us!’ When they were threatened, it was ‘Who? Us? We’re no threat.’

I am so glad she’s gone! I’ve been waiting for Mark and Jay to take her out. And I’m sure most of the conniving was done by Jackie and Dan just followed his mother, so the rest of the guys on Blue will probably take him willingly under their wing and have no ill will towards him.

*sigh* Now that I have that off of my mind, what will I write about next? I have no idea right now. So many issues of the day weigh on my heart and on my mind. I know what I want to write about but most of it is tough to write. We’ll see.

Oh, and I caught the last two questions of last night’s 5th Grader. I watch mostly ‘cuz I usually miss Jeopardy a lot these days and I miss it. I like exercising my mind and learn new things. But the young lady last night cleared the board with 2 ‘cheats’ left over! That was really good! AND she went for the million dollar question. I wanted her to win it, but she made a mistake.

Other pieces of 5th Grader episodes that I saw were painful to watch. Questions missed and nearly missed were things like ‘What is the title of the United States’ National Anthem?’ and ‘Spell the word (vowel).’ I know I misspelled ‘excruciating’ a couple entries ago, but I hadn’t used that word in awhile. I think the wires got crossed and a little Spanish spelling convention crept in. But come on, who gets through high school not knowing how to spell ‘vowel?’ One guy guessed that neon was a gas only because his friend had installed neon lights under his car, and the light was not a metal. If I didn’t know that neon is a gas, I would’ve thought of Vegas and neon lights. I do miss a few questions here and there, some of the questions I think that the 5th graders who would get those questions right must have gone to some kind of advanced of the best private schools, ‘cuz no way is that something one learns by 5th grade.

Okay, I’m going, I’m out. I am smarter than a 5th grader and I'm still a very good speller.

Mahalo for reading in!

Loving Losers

This isn’t a gripe about my former boyfriend, he's not a loser. This is about the Biggest Loser Couples season [BLC]. I tend to pay attention only at the end of the season, when it gets close to the finalists, that’s for any contest show like this one. I don’t have a real concept of TV show seasons, but I remember the end of the one with Dr. Gary, I watched the whole season with Matt and Suzy, and then I saw some episodes from midway of the last season when there were 3 teams instead of the usual 2. I didn’t think the couples would be that interesting…but it is. It’s become one of the shows that I’ll use my break from studying to watch.

I missed most of the first few episodes. They began as couples teams designated by different colors; white [young married couple], pink [mother/daughter], purple [best friends, female], blue [strangers; I didn’t see how they picked the two], grey [former football teammates], yellow [ex-married couple], black [brothers], orange [mother/son], green [father/daughter], and brown [married couple]. I think that’s all, so that’s 10 couples? I started paying attention when they were going from 8 to 7 teams left. Already tensions had grown between certain teams, mainly between the black and the orange team. I guess there were loose alliances or just compatibilities between the pink and black teams on one side and the yellow, purple, and orange teams on the other.

WEEK 4: So, at elimination, from 8 to 7, between the Purple and the White teams, the White team was voted out. 7 teams left, a wrench was thrown into the rules; still at the e-table, they were asked, if they were able, to choose another team that they would vote out. They were not able to talk to other teams.

The teams rationalized their choices by either which team they thought was the most threatening or which team had been under or near the yellow line. The teams that had been near the yellow line were Grey, Purple and Yellow. Yellow had won the weigh-in earlier that night. The 2 weigh-ins before that night had been won by Orange. Black is also a threat because they put up good numbers every week, Grey is a possible threat because it’s two guys, former athletes, who had a lot to lose and could, adding that it’s easier for guys to lose weight than it is for women. Orange would definitely want Black out if it were up to them.

My assessment would have been Orange. If you’re going by who is the biggest threat, Orange is the biggest threat. Even when I don’t watch the whole episode, I try to catch the weigh-ins if I can because the numbers that people put up are so incredible. As I reported earlier, Orange won 2 weigh-ins. Apparently they had good numbers the first week, though not the biggest. They had come in third earlier in the night, just before the White elimination, barely being beat out by Yellow, who had won, and I think it was Blue. The reason they were in third was only because Yellow and Blue or whomever it was had disappointing numbers the week prior. Usually when they have low numbers, or the lowest, they’re in more of a deficit than the other teams and put up good numbers the next week. Also, the Orange mom was losing just about as much as the Orange son. I reiterate that it’s easier for guys to lose weight, and then the younger to lose weight, and this is an older female who’s keeping up with a younger male.

No one chooses Orange. 2 teams chose I-forget-who, 2 teams chose another I-f-w, the other 3 chose Yellow. Alison, the hostess [I think she’s a great hostess for this show] then says that the remainder of the week will be 6 against 1, Pink/Blue/Purple/Black/Orange/Grey against Yellow in the challenge and in the weigh-in [WI]. If Yellow loses the next WI, they will automatically be eliminated. If they win, they get sole possession of elimination power; they choose whom of the other 6 teams is out-of-commission. And they get to choose which trainer they want for the week; they take Jillian.

Yellow wins the challenge. They win letters from home. Since they feel targeted, and Jillian told them not to alienate themselves from the 6 because if they win the WI they’ll hafta work with what would be the remaining 5 of the 6, Orange commits to complete focus and gives the challenge prize to the 6. A-mazing! I don’t think I’ve ever seen that, but then, I haven’t watched every episode.

Yellow, Orange, Blue Bernie and one of the girls from Purple Maggie make an alliance. Orange, Bernie and Maggie are going to throw the WI; they’re going to do some water retention just before the WI to hopefully get the 6 to lose the WI and give the power of elimination to Yellow. Yellow in turn is to eliminate Black.

And Yellow, for winning the WI the previous week had a choice of 1 of 3 prizes, they chose ‘game play’ and won an extra 2 pound loss at the WI of their choice, which they’re gonna use that week since they hafta win or go home.

WI: Alison announces that the couple with the best overall percentage of weight loss automatically win immunity from elimination that night.

Black, Grey, Pink and Purple Jenn [who didn’t make the alliance] put up good numbers if I remember correctly.

Purple Maggie, 3 pound loss. Maggie, who threw the WI, which at the WI is referred to as ‘game play’ [GP], in confession says that she was really upset about the 3. She tanked it, and she upset herself because she wanted to see a better number. I forget what Blue had, but not good numbers like they usually pull.

Orange Dan the Son puts up a 1. Orange Jackie the Mother puts up 2. Jackie shrugging sheepishly, trying to look disappointed, said that she was hoping for 5. Bold-faced lie! She GP’d, had put up an averageof 10 per the previous 3 weeks, absolute obvious GP.

Yellow wins the WI. Here’s the best part; since they won, Yellow was supposed to eliminate Black. However, Black had the best number overall and won immunity; Black cannot be eliminated.

Yellow goes to their room, trying to figure out who they eliminate. Orange comes down to ‘help’ them decide, i.e. make sure Yellow’s not going to eliminate them. Yellow says that Orange is the only team they trust.

What’s wrong with that? Orange GP’d. Any team that GPs is looking out for themselves, is willing to do whatever it takes to stay in the game at the expense of any of the other teams, even backstab any ally. Orange, and any team that GPs, is inherently untrustworthy during the game.

Yellow narrows it down to the 3 teams who had chosen them in the vote that had put them alone against the rest, Purple, Pink and Black, only Black has immunity. Yellow talks to Pink. Pink mom says she’s not ready to go, she doesn’t know if she can do the weight loss at home. Pink daughter says, and I love this, that she is in no way going to make a deal in which she promises to not vote for Yellow’s elimination in the future if they would not eliminate Pink now. Oh, YES! I love it ‘cause it showed backbone and that she was going to shoot straight in the game.

Yellow goes to Purple. Purple makes the promise that Pink daughter would not.

I would have eliminated Purple, even if they hadn’t voted for Yellow earlier, who cares? Everyone had to pick someone and Yellow had won that night’s WI. Purple because they have been up for elimination several times, Yellow had a good week but prior to that, had been near or under the yellow line. Theoretically, Yellow and Purple are going to be under the yellow line together again in the near future, and since Yellow is more of a threat to the other teams than Purple, Yellow would get the axe. That’s the pattern that generally happens at the E-table. So Yellow would have a better chance of surviving elimination if they were up against a stronger team. Follow?

At the E-table, Yellow ex-wife makes a big weepy speech in which she lets it be known that Purple is safe without naming them specifically. She gets to Pink, saying how she knows they’ll do well at home and blah blah blah. Pink mom interrupts and shows her backbone. This was great. She says just get on with it. Yellow reveals Pink’s name and eliminates Pink. Pink daughter cries because she’s not sure she can continue with the program at home. She still stays strong by saying that Pink is the first team to be eliminated unjustly, because they didn’t GP at all. I apologize, this is the great moment.

Pink mom says very purposefully that maybe now everyone will stop kissing each others’ a***s and play the game straight [as she and her daughter had from the start] because alliances don’t mean junk.

I suppose some might be critical of the fact that a contestant can GP and get far into the game of Biggest Loser. They’re supposed to want to be there and change their lives. I don’t have a problem with it in that way because those who GP do it because they want to stay there and possibly win the whole thing. I really don’t like the contestants that do GP, but I’m not going to fault the show for it. It’s the contestants’ choice to GP or not. And every so often there is a good moment where a contestant would be rewarded, in a sense, for hard work and no GP, by not being eliminated even though they should have been because they could be a big threat later on. Also because it’s not like the producers don’t know what’s going on during the game. They see everything and think everything through, which had been proven to me by this episode. The Show knew that Black was a target AND that Black could put up the numbers to win the overall WI, and the immunity prize leveled out the GP.

I’ll talk about Weeks 5 and 6 tomorrow ‘cuz… I want to.

Mahalo for reading in!