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17 posts from October 2001

Oldies: October 31, 2001...

I read a survey in some such magazine or newspaper about the after-effects of the Sept. 11 attack. One of the top responses was that people were having nightmares about the attacks. I can admit that I was feeling a little anxious and a bit scared and definitely pissed off. However, I didn't have my first post-9/11 nightmare until last night. Kinda freaky. It was a two part dream in which I had a majority of it during my big sleep time and then it continued briefly when I fell back asleep after hitting the snooze bar. The first part involved me at some school out in the middle of nowhere (think the high school in Red Dawn). At first, I was in the school in some science lab. Then, all of a sudden, I'm outside in this field that's still on school grounds. There are a bunch of black leather recliner-style chairs mixed in with some weight lifting benches (no weight bars) that are also in black leather. As I recall, there's also a guy who reminds me of a teacher who is talking to us all in the chairs. Next thing I know, he's shouting out "either we're in trouble or I don't know what" and points behind us in the sky. Flying towards us are a bunch of jets and then we see something dropping from them. Obviously, bombs. We start running like hell to get away from it all. The last thing I remember in the dream is me saying "no matter what, Katie, I love you." Yeah, I know, the last bit sounds corny and like brown-nosing, but it's really what happened. The second part of my dream continued with me running away from the same bombs except I'm now in a city. I can't recognize the city because the skyline has no buildings that I've ever seen before. In fact, the skyscrapers look somewhat futuristic - really tall, sleek and silvery. The area I'm running around in is somewhat remniscient of the area around the Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago. So, there I am running and there's an Asian guy a little ahead of me and he turns around and says, "I don't think I can feel safe anywhere anymore." Pretty messed up dream. I woke up in a bit of a panic and I was in a funk for most of the morning. My neck hurt like hell also. Still does.


Oldies: October 27, 2001...

Yes, Katie and I are now back from our honeymoon and I have a lot of updates for all of you. So keep checking back on the days between my last pre-wedding entry (October 8) and this entry as I will put the information in on the day it occurred. So keep checking. Plus, I will keep this information on this main page for a few weeks into November so you don't have to scour the archives to find it (so long as I don't overload the memory on this page, that is.) Oh, and for those of you waiting for photos to be posted on this site, it will happen soon. Dunno exactly when, but soon.


Oldies: October 23, 2001...

Today, we left for Oahu and this puddle jump was much smoother than the last. Although Katie still hated it. The rest of the day went kinda funky though. When we got to Oahu and were getting on the Alamo bus to take us to the rental car place, Katie fell trying to stop herself from running into someone and broke off two of her nails. I'm not talking about chipping real nails. She broke off two of those fake nails that are superglued to your existing nails. So, suffice it to say, she was in extreme pain for much of the day. Then we got our rental which was a metallic green Mustang convertible and drove to the University of Hawaii-Manoa to check out their bookstore. Katie is a big fan of University sweatshirts and I promised her we'd check out what they had to offer. However, all they had was a tiny little visitors parking lot so we had to leave because there really is nowhere to park unless I dropped her off at the bookstore and circled the school while waiting for her to get back. Katie was still in pain from her nails and getting frustrated (as was I), so we left the school and went into town to get some lunch. We found a Blimpies Subs and had some. When we came out and got in the car, we tried to start it and there was no sound whatsoever when I turned the key. I tried again... zilch. I waited a couple of minutes and tried again. This time I got the clicking sound from the alternator. Now, we're really ticked off. So we went into Blimpies and called Alamo. After finally navigating the recording loop, I got through to their emergency roadside assistance. They asked what town I was in. I said "Manoa." They said, "no, what town are you in?" Again, I said "MA-NO-A." She said, "where's that?" I said "Hawaii." She said, "oh, hold on, we don't cover them." So, then why in the hell is "roadside assistance" a calling option when you call Alamo of Oahu?!? Aye, aye, aye. Finally, Alamo sent someone out with a champagne-colored 35th anniversary edition Camaro convertible. This one ran the same as the other Camaro. But, let me tell you, the color is so much nicer. Things were looking up.

So we decided to try our luck by going back to UH-Manoa. We found about a half dozen parking spaces. Then we went to find the bookstore, and Katie found it right away without looking at maps or asking for directions. You go, girl! We found some pretty nice souvenirs in there. Katie got a sweatshirt for herself and I almost bought a UH baseball jersey, but I didn't. It was only $50 which isn't bad, but I decided I didn't really want it. Then, as we were leaving for the hotel, we accidentally overran the street we wanted to turn on and went right by a nail salon that charged only $25 for an entire set of nails to be done. Katie and I called it a sign and went in. Her new nails are quite nice and all still intact. Finally we checked into our hotel. It was a very difficult place to find but well worth it. The concierges (Ricky and Trevor) were very cool to both of us and upgraded our room when we told them we were honeymooners. They helped us out a lot while we were there and we'll remember them more than just about anyone on our entire honeymoon. So, if you get down to Oahu, look up Ricky and Trevor at the Aston Waikiki Beachside. They'll make your stay a great one. After our check-in was complete, we went for a walk down Kalakaua Rd (the one our hotel is on and also a major shopping area in Waikiki) and ate dinner at Planet Hollywood. By the time we got back to the hotel, we were just glad the day was finally over. I guess every vacation is allowed to have its off-moments, right?


Oldies: October 22, 2001...

One of the things I haven't told you yet about the Haleakala bike ride is that we were offered a savings of $100 if we agreed to attend a timeshare presentation for 90 minutes. We decided why not. So that's how we started off today. Not an entirely bad deal. It's for condos on Kauai up in Princeville on a 45-hole golf course. We actually drove by this place when we were tooling on the Kuhio Highway. Afterwards, we went for lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise in Lahaina. It hit the spot. That night, we kinda kicked back and watched Moulin Rouge in our hotel room while packing to leave the next day.


Oldies: October 21, 2001...

I'm glad we took things easy yesterday because we had to wake up at 1:15 this morning for a 2 a.m. pickup by Mountain Riders to go for a sunrise bicycle ride down Haleakala (a volcano on the eastern half of the island). Getting up was hell. However, once we got up to the top of the crater (9780 feet above sea level), we saw the most amazing star show in the world. I don't think I've ever seen this many stars in my entire life. Then we got to watch the sunrise over the crater and create some really incredible colors across the sky. Well worth it even if Katie was freezing the entire time. The bike ride itself was 38 miles downhill covering over 200 switchbacks (sudden U and S-shaped turns) and ended at the Pacific Ocean in Paia Town (a renowned stoner hangout - our driver said if we were old enough to know of anyone who "disappeared" during the 60s, they could probably be found in Paia Town). Out of the four groups that went out with our company, we were the only group that had no injuries. Each of the other three groups had at least one person fly over their handlebars or wipeout. We were also the fastest group having started down the mountain as number three and finishing first.

After we got back, we slept. Can you blame us? However, we soon woke up and drove to Lahaina (another town just east of us) and went shopping and dined at Bubba Gumps. I know when you're on vacation, you're supposed to try new things. And with a Bubba Gumps in Navy Pier in Chicago and the fact that we've gone to two other Bubba Gumps on the west coast, I know this doesn't seem too original. However, the food here was totally different. The "Bucket of Boat Trash" normally contains two or three different types of shrimp with fries. In Lahaina, it was fried shrimp, lobster and mahi-mahi (a type of Pacific fish). Plus, the drink selection was totally different. You can't knock it. It was good.


Oldies: October 20, 2001...

Today was a bit of a lazy day. Hey, it's our honeymoon, we can do whatever we want. We don't have to be "tourists" if we don't wanna. So we went for a walk along the golf course that our cottage opens onto and kept going until we reached the Whaler's Village again. We went in and picked up some gifts (for each other and some Christmas gifts for family and friends). Katie bought me a great canvas reproduction of an old map of the Great Lakes that was originally made back in the mid 1700s. Kinda cool to see how explorers perceived our mainland back then. I bought Katie a silver "kissie fish" necklace that she loves as well as another choker style necklace with red glass beads. These became our official wedding gifts to each other since we decided to hold off on buying gifts before the wedding. Much nicer this way.

Later that night, we went to the Royal Lahaina (our hotel) Luau. It was tucked back in a little gated off area behind the hotel that overlooked the sunset on the Pacific Ocean. We watched some professional hula dancers and they were incredible. We also feasted on chicken, beef, rice, corn, rolls, and, of course, pit-roasted pig. That was some of the most tender meat I've ever tasted in my life.


Oldies: October 19, 2001...

As I said we would, Katie and I spent some time today at Whaler's Village shopping. We didn't really buy too much, we just wanted to get a feel for what the place is all about. We ate lunch at The Rusty Harpoon. I think it's the name of the place that sold us on it. Yeah, the food did smell (and taste) good, but in a shopping area where the other restaurants are called Leilani's and Hula Grill, wouldn't you pick The Rusty Harpoon simply because it sounds cool? That's what I thought. Afterwards, we went to Ka'anapali Beach and laid out, got some sun (okay, more like "too much," not "some"), played in the surf. We wound up looking like clambake when all was said and done.


Oldies: October 18, 2001...

Unfortunately we had to cut our Kauai experience short today and head out to Maui. Not that Maui's bad, just that Kauai kicks ass. The flight was a bit bumpy and we had to go to Maui via Oahu. Off the northeast coast of Oahu, you can see the salvage ships that are working on removing the bodies from the Ehime Maru. In case you don't know, the Ehime Maru was the Japanese research boat that had an unfortunate run-in with the rapidly surfacing U.S.S. Greenville submarine last year. The research boat got torn in half and nine of the roughly 13 or so people were never found. Kinda surreal to watch something on the news and then fly by where it's actually happening. Oh, yeah, on this island we get a fire-engine red 35th anniversary edition Camaro convertible. Works for us. Plus, we got bumped up from a little bedroom with two twin beds to a honeymooners cottage with a king bed. Cute place that overlooks a golf course and is a hop, skip and a jump from Whaler's Village where I know we'll be spending some time and money.


Oldies: October 17, 2001...

Today was a nice lazy day. We got up and went to breakfast and then went for a walk along the beach up past some of the other hotels on our strip. Then we decided to spend some valuable time in the sun at poolside. Yep, we just sat by the pool and sipped tropical drinks while reading our books. Nothing like downtime. Later that night, we drove to the south end of the island to a restaurant Katie's Uncle Butch recommended called The Beach House. It's one of those trendy, upscale restaurants that charges a helluva lot for food. The difference is that this wasn't quite as hoity-toity a restaurant as some of those of the same calibre would in, say, So-Ho. The waitress was down-to-earth and knew her stuff regarding all the food and the several dozen types of wine that they keep in-house. I had cajun grilled ono while Katie had shrimp and pasta in a tomato pesto sauce. The food was incredible and there was actually quite a bit of it. We also downed an entire bottle of wine in the course of the night. We wanted to get dessert because they looked incredible, but after how much we'd already eaten... we decided to pass.


Oldies: October 16, 2001...

We woke up really early since we're not yet accustomed to the time difference. We wound up waking up around 4 a.m. which would've been 9 a.m. in Chicago, so actually we woke up at what would be normal time. There are perks to this wakeup time, though, we got to see a very incredible sunrise outside our room over the ocean. You really can't beat that. Afterwards, we went out for breakfast only to come back to the hotel to discover that our minivan was in the process of being swapped with a Firebird. Score.

So, what do you think we did the rest of the day? We went out in the Firebird and drove the entire length of the Kuhio Highway all the way from our hotel in Kapa'a to the northwest of the island near some rainforest. We also stopped out at the Kilauea Lighthouse and got a gorgeous view of the northern cliffs and the Pacific. When we came back, we hit a bunch of shops in Kapa'a and I bought my first pair of Birkenstock sandles. Katie also got a nice pair of dressier Birks. Both pairs were pretty cheap compared to how much they cost in the states (sorry, bad habit I developed. Islanders tend to call the 48 contiguous states "the states" even though they are part of said "states" and should actually call it "the mainland" or some such name).


Oldies: October 15, 2001...

Well, after having our flight delayed by nearly nine hours, we finally made it to Kauai (The Garden Isle) only to discover that our Lei greeter was not here and the rental car we were supposed to get was not in, either. So, instead of a Pontiac Firebird convertible, we're driving to our hotel in a Pontiac Montana minivan. It is a nice minivan... I'll give it that much. Our hotel is different. Instead of being a bunch of rooms in one building, there are separate buildings around the grounds that each have about 12 to 15 rooms. Our room is on the first floor and opens right on the Pacific Ocean. Yeah. That's what I'm talkin about. The room isn't too great, but the view can't be beat.


Oldies: October 13, 2001...

We did it... we tied the knot. Katie is now the next official Mrs. Apgar. Sorry, hon. The wedding was nice albeit somewhat screwed up. The wedding before ours took our unity candle, so we had to have someone find a used one somewhere in the church. Katie had tears streaming down her eyes the entire ceremony (from a combination of joy, disbelief, and anger over the unity candle situation). I was a rock. No wavering, no messups. Well, until the end, that is, when I was supposed to kiss Katie. The priest never said "you may kiss the bride" so I'm standing there looking into the crowd (yes, we were facing the crowd instead of the front of the church) and I feel a tugging at my sleeve... it's Katie telling me to kiss her. I was like "Oh, it's that time?" My bad. What can you do? The priest never said it. I don't know how Catholic weddings work. C'est la vie.

The reception, on the other hand, rocked. I was dancing all night, sweated up a storm, ate some food, drank some drinks (use your imagination), kissed Katie several times... Wow. That's all I can say... Wow. We had a blast and kept hearing nothing but rave reviews of the whole shindig. If you couldn't make it, you missed out. Lemme tell you.


Oldies: October 8, 2001...

Ah, when it rains, it pours. Here's my second addition to the "Darwinism Missed Me" file in one week's time. This one doesn't go out to a single person, more like an entire organization. Specifically the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) or "Oh, shit! La Migra!" as they are known to illegal aliens all over the U.S. A British woman who has no green card, but was listed as a dependent on her husband's green card, may be forced to move back home. Her husband was killed in the World Trade Center attacks and now the INS is trying to tell her that she is here illegally since her "ticket to ride" is no longer among the living. Seems kinda poor to me. First she loses her husband (and they have two kids, as well) and now she's going to lose her home. Talk about a bad month. INS... you bat rastards!


Oldies: October 7, 2001...

Well, we've done it. After talking pretty big for a few weeks, Dubya followed through and launched the first wave of air strikes against strategic targets in Afghanistan. I'm proud of George for following through full-blow instead of just posturing by launching one or two cruise missiles. Instead, we let 'em have it with about 50+ cruise missiles launched by both U.S. warships and British submarines as well as air strikes by U.S. bombers and fighters. The thing I found most amazing about it all is that we had B-2 Stealth Bombers strafe the place after taking off from Missouri. That's a helluva long flight. Can you see the pilots when they return home? "Sorry hon, hadda make a quickie trip to Afghanistan and drop off a few little gifts before I could leave the office. My bad. Did I miss the Cardinals game?" Aye carumba.


Oldies: October 4, 2001...

Yes, it's been a while, but, finally, another entry into the "Darwinism Missed Me" file. It's about time. Anyway... a 14-year-old student at the Sojourn Charter Middle School in Santa Cruz, CA. used some of his home-ec skills and made some brownies that he brought along on a classtrip. If you can't see where this one's going, then, by all means, stop reading. Yeah, well, the teacher started feeling kinda loopy as did the students who chowed down on these wonder brownies. Yep, he laced them with marijuana because he wanted to get the class stoned. As you can guess, the case has been forwarded to the local Juvenile Court. Dumbass.


Oldies: October 3, 2001...

Have you ever had fun just going in and trashing your friends' reputations? Well, I'm currently engaged in such a war of words with some of my friends in our Fantasy Football League. We use CBS SportsLine for our NFFL and we've been using the News posting function to create complete BS stories about each other and the lives we lead outside of our team managing responsibilites. At first, it was me against my friend Frank. Then, after several completely graphic and derogatory messages, we declared a moratorium against each other and both teamed up on our friend Brian. Brian has yet to log onto the site for today to check out how we've trashed him, but, suffice it to say, he's going to be in a bit of shock to see what we've posted about him. Damn funny stuff. If there is anyone out there who would be interested in joining our fantasy league next year (it's free), let me know and I'll keep you in mind when the time comes. By the way, my team is 0-2-1. Yeah, I tied a game. Garrison Hearst, you bastard. You just had to get 11 points on the money, didn't you?


Oldies: October 2, 2001...

So, have you heard the story about the guy who surfed the rubble of the World Trade Center as it was collapsing and survived? Or how about the guy who was getting his photo taken from the top of one of the towers and the photo shows one of the planes headed right at the tower he was standing on, yet somehow the camera survived the explosion and subsequent felling of the tower? Or how about the fact that Jackie Chan was supposed to film a movie called Nosebleed in the top floors of the towers the morning of the attack? Well, the first two are false and the third one about Jackie Chan is completely true. Have you heard several of the other rumors floating around about the attacks and wanted to know if they were true or false? Then go to snopes.com - a site that specializes in urban legends - to get the true story about many of these stories that have surfaced in the past few weeks. It's a very well done site that I recommend highly.