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Aaaaand we’re back, folks!

The Professor and I spent our last Guam dive (less than 24 hours prior to flying; nothing like flirting with the bends!) at Asan Cut, where we watched a pair of octopus mating. There are lots of things that go through your head when you’re watching that one tentacle writhe around at lightning speed, among the weird breathing tubes and strangely textured skin. One of those things is, “Holy crap, I didn’t know this was a diving goal of mine but I’m really glad I’ve reached it.” And with that, it was over. My 95 dives around Micronesia —not bad for the 7 months or so that I’ve been certified— were more fulfilling than I could have imagined and this was the slithering mottled frosting on a sucker-lined cake.

The The Professor made me actually Put Things In Bags. He’d been doing this packing thing for weeks, and as it turns out, waiting until the last minute to pack is less advisable. But who needs to sleep before two long flights anyway? Not us! It also turns out that refusal to pack does not negate the trip. I still had to go.

And just like that (and luck at the airport squeezing “under” the baggage weight limit) we were off on a new adventure! The airplane adventure! Actually, it was rather uneventful, despite my worst fears about Continental/United. We got the extra legroom thing because they think we’re fancy, and even caught some shut eye thanks to the magic of Unisom, eyemasks, earplugs and sheer fatigue. Stopping in Honolulu was pretty irritating, since I believe it has the most cumbersome transferring flight layout of any airport in the West, but at least it doesn’t feel too warm anymore.

I was actually surprised how warm SFO felt at 5 am when we landed. This was of course the second time we’d be doing Monday, and the second one started with a foggy ride up toward The City. We actually left the airport on Guam an hour and a half on their Monday after we arrived in SFO on their Monday. That meant reading the August edition of Hemishperes before reading the July one on the second plane. All very Back to the Future, except it wasn’t sport scores to bet on, it was Three Perfect Days in Stockholm. (Hint: They don’t involve being stuck on an airplane!)

Then home! Cute dog greeting us! He may or may not remember us but we don’t care; he pretends! More Unisom! More napping! Then my bro took me out to get a new SIM at the AT&T store in West Portal. What an efficient and friendly operation. Go there for any AT&T needs; they were great! Could be that everything’s just more efficient than on Guam. Not sure how I feel about that. I do know that it was weird to be in West Portal, weird to be driving around The City, weird to see cyclists, weird to not be burning in one minute out in the sun, weird to see birds! I really, really missed birds.

A quick jaunt to 24th Street for some errands produced a very tasty mocha from Martha Bros. Espresso, how I missed thee. Oh, and nutmeg at the sugar and milk area? Don’t mind if I do! You fancy, huh. Stopped by Bernal Hill so Igueldo could do his off-leash thing and I could marvel at the chert and the vista and all the houses. This put All Of The Lights in my head for hours. Who knows why. There were photos of all of this, but my cable is packed somewhere, so that will have to be for later…

Off to my folks’ house for a serious couch-and-cable sesh, then out and about! MUNI, you haven’t changed a bit. I was actually impressed my TransLink card still works after all this time. I passed by a large dead fish on Capp while walking to my friends’ house, which I guess is the way I’ll be seeing them now. After a glass of Froggy vino, we had a few bottles at Asiento. I didn’t know what this place was until my friend described “the space building on Bryant”. Ah, yes, all clear now. Now I just wish I remembered what this place used to be. I always confused it with the Arroyo laundromat place, but isn’t that on Harrison and wow things are really confusing with wine and no sleep and jetlag and all those people. Really fantastic that everyone came out. Just like my going-away-from-Guam party at The Mermaid, I felt really popular. We did a cinnamon roll hug that must be experienced to be believed, but I was feeling the love. BARTing home was the same as it ever was, but it did feel so very good to reach my destination with nary a car involved. I admit I stopped for a second to marvel at the wonder of all those pigeons roosting at the 24th St. BART station. I’m sure I’ll get used to the birds soon.

At the moment I’m mainly feeling awake, but there will be more Unisom in a bit and then dodo dans mon lit, my big comfy bed full of blankets. Not to mention a down comforter, an Igueldo and no aircon! There is warmth coming from everywhere, but it never gets hot. This will take some getting used to. People tonight asked me what I missed, and I immediately thought of the sunsets, the stunning skies and the fish. Aircon running while I sleep was not on the list…

I’ve only been away from the island for a short bit, and already they’re having little earthquakes (no Tori Amos reference intended) and renaming post offices. Whoa there! Slow down, guys! True to form, the Giants perform better when I’m on Guam. I caught Zito’s pitiful performance on TV (Replays! Of Giants games! In HD! Genius!) and then watched Arizona stomp on us tonight from the bar. I did not come all this was to no longer lead the NL West, so get it together, team! My hopes are pinned on J-San

Here’s to another lovely day tomorrow. I am mos def missing Guam and am looking forward to finishing posting about the island, but I must say it feels damn good to be home.

UPDATE: Apparently this dead-fish-on-Capp-Street is A Thing. Thanks, Jocelyne, for the heads up!

08.02.11 6
Saipan does baseball: Let’s learn about the Korean Giants to gear us up for this coming season

It seems like Novembeard was so long ago.

I miss that Giants pride (which I attempted to carry single-handedly on Guam), so I was excited to see some Giants pride on Saipan. Never mind that it was all about the Korean baseball team. As it turns out, the Korean team looks awesome! Feel free to check out their official site if your Korean skills are up to par, or consult their Wiki for English-friendly deets. (The image above came from the former, and the two images below came from the latter.) They are owned by Lotte, of —yes, wait for it— KOALA’S MARCH cookie fame. New dream: Attend a Lotte Giants game in Busan, Korea while snacking on Koala’s March. And how cute is their mascot?!

This research (I use that term loosely, as you can tell) was inspired by a comment left by the biggest SF Giants fan I know (I’m looking at you, bro) linking to an article about how Saipan is full of SF Giants fans! Next year when the SF Giants win the series, however, I’ll be in my hometown, causing a ruckus.

In the meantime, Go Giants, wherever you may be. Especially if you’re kicking Dodger butt like you did today.

02.27.11 0
The Giants in Saipan!

The Professor and I were zipping around the island and I had him slam on the breaks when I saw a baseball field that was the home of the Giants Spring Camp. Just in case it was THE GIANTS. You never know! Of course my fantasies of hanging out in the tropics with Jonathan Sanchez and Pandoval (who has endeared himself to me through his darling tweets) quickly evaporated when I realized this was a Korean team who just happened to be named the GIants. I could ignore the Korean writing on the flag and just focus on the orange color of the team logo, I guess…

This was the best shot I got out of many that I took. Very, very windy and hot that day on Saipan…


02.17.11 0
Is this really happening?

Someone should pinch me. This is a BFD. I guess if I had to come to Guam for my team to win the World Series, I am very happy that repealing DADT might just happen while I’m here, too.

While it may not seem directly related to Guam, I cannot help but be intrigued at the coming reactions around here. Of the few non-SF places I have lived, I have never been reminded so intensely of military culture as on this island. It makes sense of course, given the history and current base installations, but I am still constantly taken aback by seeing soldiers going to work or not being able to get to awesome snorkeling spots because access is controlled by the Air Force. That’s what you get for growing up in a bubble I suppose.


Update: See what the Marianas Variety has to report.

12.19.10 0
What a season

As The Professor predicted on the day the Giants went to the playoffs, we’ve gone all the way. Our Giants won the World Series. Yes, those Giants, and yes, that World Series. FACT.

Although I was far from my Giants-loving friends and family, I was able to live out Orange October and Novembeard through various social media and cable TV. I watched most of the games at The Mermaid Tavern here on Guam, and enjoyed the banter of the few baseball fans that were there. This picture was taken right after the Giants won the World Series. I’m standing next to my friednly game-watching buddy, an AL fan in town from another Micronesian island. He’s wearing the T-shirt of a local Guam league that pays tribute to sakau and Pohnpei. It’s appropriately orange, even though he was rooting for the Rangers.

Until next year, this is your Guam-based Giants correspondent signing off. Vamos Gigantes!

11.03.10 1
A Visit from the Day-After-All-Souls’-Day/ Election-Day/ Giants-Won-the-World-Series-Day Fairy!

The Professor decided to get “me” a present, but since his “it’s for you to watch the Giants on” excuse evaporated in Arlington yesterday, we’re able to admit to each other that it’s his new toy. I’m sure there are technical specifications that I should be impressed by, but basically it’s a shiny thing that plugs into our PC TV and magically makes a picture on the wall that is as big as the wall. Or the screens at the Opera Plaza cinema in SF. It would have been so epic to watch postseason baseball games on this, but we are not dwelling on that because we do not want to think about cardiovascular issues associated with not having won yesterday. We are also happy that our alcohol consumption was curbed by having to drive to and from the brewpub for the games.

This projector was actually scheduled to arrive yesterday, but since Guam was closed, today it was. He got home and got it all set up and I have to say that seeing House Hunters International in 100-inch diagonal is awesome. We watched about 5 minutes of it, and then the power went out. Double awesome! It had been “cool” (under 90) all evening, so all the windows and doors were open to let in any possible breeze. But suddenly the removal of the possibility of using the A/C made it unbearably hot. And the crushingly loud noise from the emergency generator made it unpleasant to have everything open. Off to the pool!

Not a bad deal, to be poolside on a breezy afternoon, hanging out with our neighbors wading in the kiddie pool and watching the Navy guys do cannonballs in the adult pool. Awesome! I leaned back in the chaise lounge and opened up the paper to read yet more about the Giants’ win when I noticed it was really windy. I got about halfway through my fifteenth baseball article of the day when the storm hit. Double awesome! I took brief cover under the fiesta shelter, but it was just too wet and, well, cold. It makes me a bit nervous to think that being slightly damp when it’s 80 degrees outside means that I’m cold; returning to SF is going to be a rude awakening.

Back in the condo, we did what people love to do during power outages: debate the reason of the outage and place wagers on when power will come back. Those conversations usually involve a lot of “how would we possibly know” and “better be soon because I’m starting to feel weird without e-mail access”. I am happy to say that all is back on now and we are celebrating by enjoying some A/C (set to a low 81 degrees) and watching Syfy. This is a network that shows very little reality television, so I guess my honeymoon’s over. It’s nice to not hear the neighbor’s barking beagle, I suppose.

11.03.10 2
Post-game madness on Guam

While some people in SF were celebrating in the most un-sportsmanlike manner, thousands —including yours truly— were listening to the police scanner care of SomaFM. But here, one casualty in this very complex went unreported, until now. RIP, Corndog. Don’t feel too bad, it looks Texan.

11.02.10 0
All Souls’ Day

Today was a holiday on Guam, and not just because the Giants won the World Series. I was familiar with All Saints’ Day from living in France, which is of course officially secular, but steeped in Catholic tradition. But I’d never heard of All Souls’ Day. On Guam, it is celebrated by hanging out in cemeteries, which means actually setting up picnics and spending some time there. And no mail service. I heard mass from the lanai, which was fascinating.

This is the Guam Veterans’ Cemetery, and when I drove by this evening, the lawn and crypt areas were covered with the glow of candles. Breathtaking.

11.02.10 0
The Giants win the series! The Giants win the series!

That is all.

11.01.10 0

Giants fever after Game Two! My bro and crew celebrate by cheering. My dog celebrates by humping legs. It all works out.

11.01.10 0
Of course my dog is a Giants fan.

My pup has been a Giants fan since his younger days back in France. And like any modern dog, he has his own videos online. But his foremost occupation recently is rooting for our Gigantes.

Due to Guam’s quarantine policies, Igueldo (he adopted the name “Iggie” when he immigrated to this country because he found that Americans cannot pronounce his full name and don’t even know about the Basque Country town after which he is named anyway) stayed on the mainland. He is being expertly cared for by my bro and his girlfriend.

They’ve all been immersed in Giants fever, and Iggie was along for the ride, just as he was in 2006 when Italy cheated their way into their World Cup win. He felt cheated then, covered as he was in “Allez Les Bleus” slogans in marker, and he thinks winning against Tejas would be sweet revenge, even though nothing will ever fill the 2006 World Cup void. 

My bro sent me these picture of Iggie’s team spirit, aided by a visiting friend who designed this awesome collar.

Here he is, stoically modeling the collar:

He gets bored when Texas walks in run after run:

But he watches intently, dreaming of the day he can run after balls at AT&T Park and maybe hang out with Brian Wilson and Dubz:

Here is my bro, as indicated by his just-as-diehard buddy.

Here’s Iggie, hat tilted to the side, demanding playtime. Between innings, my pet. You’ll notice in the background that his drinking habits have shifted away from his love for rosé back in France and to the Jack Daniels.


11.01.10 0
That would be three, folks

Just me and Sirena celebrating the Giants’ third win against the Rangers. Stunning pitching, good offense and great double plays meant a lovely shut-out. Nice to do it all in front of the Bushes, too.

The Mermaid Tavern, Guam’s best brewpub, was the perfect spot, as it has been since I arrived on island in the beginning of the playoffs. I’m having those orange sweet potato fries again tomorrow for Game Five, just in case.

10.31.10 0
Well yes, that would be two crushing defeats of the opposing team.

On my list of things to do today, watch the Giants kick some Texan butt was numero uno. Little did I know that list got copied to the Rangers bullpen, who helped me out with, oh yeah, NINE RUNS. Cain was amazing, I was stoked with Renteria’s solo homer, and after that I couldn’t keep track. The Rangers fan next to me was polite throughout our entire eighth-inning slaughter (really, some of it was suicide on the Rangers’ part with that elusive strike zone) and a good time was had by all. Mainly me, though. Had to have some of The Mermaid’s bread pudding just to celebrate. That’s two down, two to go.

10.28.10 2
Game One in the bag. FACT.

I’d say we’re starting the series off right! 11 runs by the Giants is a score I can live with. Some epic moves by Uribe, F-San, Cody, Huff Daddy and of course, our new friend Vlad. I watched the first few innings at home on the PC TV and left with the score tied up. When I walked into The Mermaid, where I watched Game 5 vs. the Phillies, we were scoring, and it didn’t stop there.

I had to keep the beer count to one since the game was in the morning here. I sat next to some casual Rangers fans who were super friendly and enjoyed some of the brewpub’s excellent gumbo.

Lincecum made me nervous here and there, but all in all, the bullpen rocked it.

This is my victory stance. Yes, I’m allowed to pretend that the park across from the brewpub is AT&T Park.

Well, this is one down, three to do. Thanks for the great game, boys!

The title of this post comes from B-Dubs, who closes ‘em up right these days. I actually wanted to link his post-Game Six ESPN interview, but YouTube thought I was in another country where that content was not available. Guam is America, people!

10.27.10 1