Monday, March 21, 2011


I have a connection with Green Sea Turtles.

They are, to Maui, what pigeons are to New York City... part of every day life.

I stalk them in their habitat, draw them, and now... I'm even writing about them.

I designed this for a T-shirt

I snorkel a lot and I am always thrilled to come across Honu, and I usually follow them around for at least a little while.  They are such graceful, proud creatures that glide effortlessly around the reef, munching limu and finding spots to chill.  A few years ago, I saw this one chilling on the bottom, where it stayed for almost 15 minutes.

Because of my limited underwater photo ability (waterproof disposable cameras)... this remains my best, clearest shot.  One day, when I have some disposable income, I'll upgrade to a better camera and hopefully, take pictures more like these:


Until then, I'll just have to look at them, enjoy their company, and be grateful to be able to grace their presence.  If you'd like to snorkel with me, let me know... (and go buy one of those disposable underwater cameras).

Back in 2005, I joined a volunteer program called the "Dawn Patrol."  It was a group of eco-friendly folks that had some early morning time on their hands, and also felt the need to help the endangered turtles.  Everyone was assigned a beach and a day, and it was your job to walk it at sunrise, before anyone else got there, looking for the telltale signs of a turtle that had laid eggs overnight.  Once spotted, it was recorded and covered up, so that nobody could harm the nest.  From the collected data, the hatching date was computed and a small gathering of people were invited to spend those nights waiting for the nest to hatch.  As a reward for being on the Dawn Patrol, you were given an invite.  As the baby turtles hatched, they were filmed and overseen making their way to the ocean.

We were shown many pictures of turtle trails so that we would know what to look for... most looked like these:

So, every Wednesday morning, I left my house while it was still dark... headed to Big Beach and Little Beach in Makena.  Often, I would wait for the park ranger to unlock the gate as the sun began to come up over the volcano.
Unfortunately, during that season, I came across no turtle tracks to report.
I did, however, come across this rare Purple Horned Turtle (which I photographed and shared with the Dawn Patrol... much to their amusement):

This is what the path to the beach looked like in the early morning (heading back to my car):

Notice the Ranger tracks
I did this poster for the Dawn Patrol volunteers:

Over the years, I've noticed and collected many honu pix.
Here are a few of my favorites:

Baby Hawksbill

Baby Ninja Turtle

up, up and away....

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Crackers and Juice

When I was a kid, I shared a room with both of my brothers.
My older brother was a bossy Betty, and his bed was parallel to mine on the other side of the room.  Between us was our coveted record player that sat in the middle of our big dresser. Before going to sleep each night, we listened to records, each getting to choose a song or two.  My little brother got to listen to whatever we picked, having no role in the voting process.
One of our records was "The Wizard of Oz" which my brother knew that I hated.  It was therefore his most common pick.  The Wicked Witch's voice freaked me out, and having seen the movie, the accompanying  visuals didn't help.  It gave me nightmares and I begged him to pick something else, only causing him to choose Oz all the more often.
There was only one album that he hated, but unfortunately, so did I.  It was this campy, goofy-ass circus record that my uncle had bought us.  A song sung by a clown, about a clown, is not a pleasant experience... yet, I had to pretend that it was, if I had any hope to get back at my brother.  We suffered in unison, as my little brother sang along with the clown.  Looking back, I now wonder if my older brother secretly enjoyed it as well, and if he was able to somehow discern that I did not, bolstering his own mirth .
My little brother just listened happily to anything we played, oblivious to the pain and suffering.  His bed sat perpendicular to mine, at the foot of my bed.  A gap between our beds, which was less than a foot wide, became known as "The Crack".  I threatened him often that I was going to throw him into the crack, occasionally following up on my promise, in order to keep our brotherly pecking order intact.  A few of our games involved jumping over the crack which had inexplicably filled with lava and/or sharks.  The Crack was also known to be a dangerous place to fall into if, like my little brother, you were a laugher. Once the laughter began, it was difficult, near impossible, to extract oneself from The Crack.

One day, while having lunch, my little brother really wanted some of this Cherry Juice that my cousin was drinking.  My dad said that he had to drink his own juice (which was probably water) and that left him sad and pouting.  That night, he woke up in bed, sat up and yelled out "I want my cherry juice!"  My older brother and I both bolted upright and looked at the pathetic kid, as he began to cry. Snot ran from his nose and his mouth stayed open as he emitted a long moan.
I grabbed the glass of water, which I kept on the dresser next to the record player, and I went over and gave it to him, saying "here's your cherry juice... here it is".  His eyes were open, but as he took the glass from me, I could tell that he was still asleep.
He drank it all, handed me back the glass, then laid back down with a smile on his face.

There were nights when he fell out of his bed into The Crack, waking me up. He'd sometimes need help getting back into bed, so I'd pick him up and tuck him in, hoping his covers would hold him tight. One night, he fell in without waking me and he actually stayed there until morning... sleeping in The Crack, dreaming of cherry juice.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Picdump Picker

The power of Duct Tape

Recently, for no other reason than boredom, I've taken to digging through the many picdumps on the Internet and finding some amazing pictures that need to be shared.

Usually, I just post them on my Facebook page to see what comes in the form of comments.
Some elicit a plethora of interest, starting conversations and a commentary that can last for days.
Others, inexplicably, go unnoticed and ignored.  
Rarely can I guess which pic will be the one which people respond to, and often, it's the pix I like the most that get passed by.
It's become a hobby (yes, a lame one) of mine.

Lately, I've noticed that my eloquent blog (usually abortively pedantic in nature) has been becoming more of a photo blog.
Writing takes effort (well... good writing does).
Posting photos, and writing about them (or not at all) takes much less effort.

Expect more photos in the future.

A picture catches my eye for various reasons.

Take this one:

Go figure... a jumping sheep

I scrolled down this picture, thinking to myself:
"wow, that's a long, boring, straight, hazy road... but at least it seems to be getting clearer... wait... hey, look... a jumping sheep!"
It was the unexpected sheep bonus that made this picture a winner for me.
It's hard to explain, but it makes you think. Keeps you awake.
The digging continues...

Then... there's the cuteness factor.
Sometimes, I will see a picture and the "awwww" inside of me becomes irrepressible.
Unless you are a cold hearted, mean-spirited, dead person... how can you not look at these images and feel a certain warmth?

She's even pointing at me
C'mon... you know you want to pick it up

Tiny Praying Mantis
no caption needed
OK... so yes, I think that tiny things and babies are cute.  
Most people do.
Tiny equals cute. Nuff said.
(That explains the baby/tiny critters posts).

Then there are pictures that illustrate:
The Majesty of Mother Nature.
A talented photographer recognizes the moment and captures it.
Sharing it, to me, seems a generous, artistic gift.
Almost never is the photographers name still attached once the pic goes viral, and credit rarely goes to where it is due.
If I took one of these photos, I'd be so proud, I'd make them poster size.
The sheer beauty, like the cuteness, evokes a response... usually, to me, it is of simple awe.
(Remember, if you click on a pic, you get to see it in it's original size... often bigger than this column... and more impressive in it's grandeur.)  Enjoy.

Click on this pic to see it bigger... then go "wow"

I love this pic. It would make a great album cover.

That sheep gets around...

Breathtaking... I know.

You can breathe again now.

Then, there are pictures that make you go WTF!!!
Seriously, when I see these pix, I just think about the person who set them up... or caught them in the moment.  
I wonder what they were thinking that led to the photo in the first place.
Creativity pushed my buttons.  
Originality adds to it.
These images seem somehow effective to me.
Hard to explain, I know... just look:

I love the baby... he's in a bucket seat.

Look in the background... then, you'll get it (and hopefully, so will the hunters)

great usage of beer bottles... nicely done

I'm guessing it was a world record attempt... most snow angels at once?

What is it? Seriously, wtf?  It's on a beach... it's a critter. That is all.

I cannot, will not, try to explain this one.

...But, still no explanation

I apologize, in advance, for all future photo blogs.
At least you won't have to endure the explanation... or the excuse... for the lack of real writing.
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, you've just read the equivalent of an average John Irving novel... and by connection, I'm the author guy. In an effort to leave you with the feeling that the ending was "satisfactory," I'll finish with these pictorial gems: