Mon, March 19, 2007...

Oops, I just realized that I had accidentally removed Heather's version of the engagement story. I've put it back up; see below.

I guess as quick update is in order while I'm here. So far, I really like California. There are a few things that stand out right away in my head. You're gonna think that I'm dense, but you'd be amazed at how you long for the small things when you've had to live without them for ~4 years:
  • There's weather! It doesn't fluctuate a whole hell of a lot, but if fluctuates. It's not 85F (27C) and sunny every day. Yeah, yeah I know. Cry me a river. Why don't you try it!!
  • Open spaces. There are some. It's cramped in Hawaii. Heat and cramped spaces don't mix well for me.
  • Opportunities to play sports. In Hawaii, there were nearly no options to play beer-league sports (huh!? -- it's summer all year round!!). In Cali, I signed up with and played on a flag football team on the first weekend that I moved.
  • Big apartment. It's not even that big -- 1100 sq ft. It feels like a mansion. I love it. (I lived in a 650 sq ft 2 bedroom apartment in Honolulu.
  • Listening to the radio, specifically NPR. This one was my "fault"... I rode my bicycle to work every day for 4 years and never had time in the car to listen to NPR. I missed it.
Anyway, that's it. Oh, by the way, I'm heading back to Honolulu this weekend for 10 days. I'll be working out of my old office again and visiting with H. This was planned from the get-go, when I decided to move.


Sat, March 3, 2007...

It's almost been a week since I moved to California. I left last Monday AM (Feb 26th), with 2 big suitcases, 1 smaller one as a carry-on and finally my backpack. Whatever was in those bags is essentially what I've been living on since I got here. The teary goodbye with heather actually went pretty well. I've already booked a flight back to Honolulu for March 24th, so when I left, we already knew that we'd see each other again in 26 sleeps!

My first week in the office went prettY well. Aside from the 2 hour time difference playin havoc with my body's clock (getting up at 7:30AM was like 5:30 for me), the week flew by and I essentially caught up about 85%. (I'd taken the Friday before I left, off. And the flight was on Monday, so that work day was shot too.) I've taken up residency in a shared office with a co-worker of mine, Camilla (Hi, Camilla! I know you're reading this!). We're each know that the other is a Type-A personalities at work and so we're careful not to get on each other's cases or nerves -- so far so good!

Outside the office, my first week here has been busy. I showed up with the 2 suitcases of clothes and personal items, but nothing else. None of the household essential. So I spent 3 days and probably close to 500 bucks buying this, that and the other... soap, dish soap, scotch-brite pads, a cheap pan & pot, a bunch of food etc etc... I was getting to bed every night at 11PM. "Bed" hasn't been great -- I've been sleeping on a 1 inch thick camping mattress with a small pillow and a fleece blanket that covers only 80% of my body at any time. The blanket is a repurposed cover that I used to put under the straps of the soft rack on my car's roof, when carrying my surfboard. Despite its former life, it's the most cozy piece of fabric I've owned in my life -- I just wish it was bigger! :)

Oh -- an interesting experiment that I'm trying: going without TV. My good buddy Doug back in Honolulu has been operating without a TV since the day he moved there, 2 1/2 years ago. I figured I would give it a try too, since I don't have a TV anymore anyway (we sold the 43" Sony before I left). So far, I have to say that it's been interesting. I'm still in the honeymoon phase of having moved to Cali and have lots of things to do, but I kinda like the fact that I don't have TV on my mind or there to tempt me. I end up having loads more time to do things that I should be doing or things that I've wanted to do but never go around to. On the list: playing more guitar & taking lessons, taking some business classes (marketing, management courses etc), reading, playing on beer league sports teams. I'm optimistic that it'll work out. I don't plan to do it indefinitely; at some point, I'm sure that I'll get TV again but I'll try to place hard limits on the amount of TV I watch. Anyway, you don't hear about many people that swear off TV, so I figured I'd at least mention it.

Speaking of playing guitar -- I picked up a new one yesterday at Guitar Center. A really nice one. It's a Breedlove Atlas Series AD20/SR Plus, with an absolutely gorgeous hardshell case. It MSRP's for $1200, but I picked it up on some kinda crazy deal for $639. Even the guy that was helping me pick on out was suspicious of the price (the tag said $750), but it rang through and no alarms went off. I don't know how many folks know that I play acoustic guitar, but I've been playing off and on for a few years now. I'm not very good yet, but I'm getting better each time I play. So far, I can play bits and pieces of about 30 songs, as well as sing along to them. So not bad, on the whole I guess. Anyway, back to the guitar. Holy cow is this thing sweet. It sounds so beautiful -- full, deep and powerful. It really purrs when you get it just right (as most things do, I guess ;). In the store, I had my eye on a Martin M1, which itself is a very good guitar. To my ears, the AD20/SR is way better. Don't get me wrong -- the M1 is a sweet guitar, but the AD20/SR is just that much better to my ears. I'm very happy with it and I look forward to playing a lot with it.

Next topic: the coveting list. Heather and I have decided to start over: we got rid of all of our existing furniture and we're gonna buy all new things. While we were in Hawaii, we intentionally didn't buy "nice" things because, #1 nice things cost too damn much in Hawaii and #2, we knew that we would have to pay even more money to move them back to the mainland, whenever that happened. (Moving back to the mainland was pretty much a foregone conclusion, it was just a matter of when... 1 year, 5... whatever) So, now that we're (or in H's case, soon will be) in Cali, we've started looking at all the things that we want to buy. Here's our current covet list, for major purchases: Yes, we're gonna buy the TV despite my pledge to watch less. ...we're gonna need a TV eventually, right? Why not get a good one? :P

Last but not least, our stuff arrives at the new place this coming Monday. We only sent it on February 9th and it's showing up March 5th. They said it would take 4-5... 3.5 ain't bad! It's a far cry from my move *to* honolulu. It took freakin' 7 weeks. Anyway, I'm really, really looking forward to sleeping in my king size bed when it gets here. Sleeping on the floor sucks.

I hope you're well. Call me some time.

- Vince

Wed, February 21, 2007...

The engagement! I'm happy to announce to all you Vince Horst fanatics out there that Heather and I got engaged this past Monday, Feb 19th, 2007.

Let's get this out of the way:

The happy couple      The Ring

Ok, so how did it go down? Heather and I decided to do something interesting: we're both going to tell the story from our own perspectives. We won't talk about what we're gonna write and we won't read eachother's story until after we're both done and they're posted on this website. It'll be interesting for the both of us to see how the other perceived the event. I hope that you enjoy reading it too.

His version:

Warning! this is long. Sorry about that. Originally I had intended to type up something short. But then as I got into it, I had fun with it and realized that this is really the one time in my life that I'll actually be able to write it down as I remember it. Those that know me, know that I have a notoriously porous memory, so I figured "what the hell" and went balls out. So here, unabridged, is my engagement story. Enjoy! PS: If you want the condensed version, take me out to dinner one night and I can spill it over drinks!

Yeah, I know... "It's about time", right? Well, no, it's not about time. It's about my time -- I'm in this, so I got to decide when I would ask my girlfriend of 10 years and 2 intercontinental moves, to marry me. So there. You're not buyin' it, huh? Well then I guess you're right. It's about time. And I'm happy that it's come.

To be honest with you, I've been planning the engagement for months, if not close to a year. Of course, I kept my trap shut (as I am prone to do) and didn't let on to anyone. I planned how I'd do it, I carefully got Heather interested in looking at engagement rings, bought one and then hid it 10 feet from where she slept for over a month. I'm a little sneaky. I even went so far as to imply that the only reason that I suggested Heather and I start looking at rings is so that she would think that the engagement was imminent and make her stick around a while longer, sans complaints.

Anyway, to the meat of the story: how the engagement went down. Well, it went down pretty much as planned: at the bottom of the Pacific ocean, amidst a school of tropical fish and 40 feet of crystal blue water above us.

The lead up: For weeks, I'd been telling Heather that I wanted to go scuba diving one more time before I left the islands (I'm moving to California on Feb 26th...). We had planned to go a couple of weeks ago, but it fell through. We tentatively agreed that we would go on Sat Feb 17th, but then found out that she had to work at the hospital that day. Shit. Ok, we had another shot at it -- Feb 19th was a Monday, but it was President's day: a day off for both of us. Sweet. Ok, so we were all set to go on President's Day with our good buddy Doug. (Back up a sec -- I forgot something... We don't have a car at this point; it was loaded up on a boat and is on its way to Cali... So we were hoping to catch a ride with Doug to the dock and go diving with him.) Snag. Doug was talking trash at work about the team needing to get some inventory work done and he got himself roped into having to go and do the work himself. Ok, minor panic, but we'll just take a taxi there and back instead... At this point I was on thin ice. If you know me one bit, you know that I like to optimize my cash flow (if you get my drift). I was suggesting to Heather that we spend $90 on cab fare just so that we could go for a SCUBA dive. Either I was really hard up or something was up. Luckily she assumed the former. Plus, I guess, she had no reason to suspect anything. She wasn't expecting a proposal, let alone while SCUBA diving. Sucker!

Ok, so that worked out. But now I have a problem: I need to smuggle a few things with me to the boat and make sure that Heather doesn't see them: the ring, the "under water $8 ring" ('cuz I don't wanna lose the real one under water!) and an under water writing slate. Originally I had planned to let Doug in on the plan and have him smuggle the items onto the boat for me, but that didn't work out, did it? Right -- so I had to smuggle them myself. No problem -- on the morning that we left, while H was in the bathroom putting on her face (read: dropping anchor), I excused myself claiming a stomach ache, and went outside to the parking lot. At that point I re-packed my backpack with the "items" (shhh!) and we were good. H finished here "makeup" and we left the house. Me with my backpack (the items safely stowed at the bottom) and she with her backpack.

We were on our way! So -- walking down Kuhio street, towards Kapahulu, we were looking behind us as we waited for a cab to materialize. There's one! Flag it down... shit, no, that's a limo. H goes up to the passenger's window, peeks her head in and does some prime time negotiating. She waves me in -- $35 flat rate to get us to Hawaii Kai where the boat was docked. Cool -- we're ridin' in style, right? Wrong. Big wrong. I guess in hindsight it wasn't that bad, but the guy that was driving the limo was an ice head or something. I don't know what his deal was. So picture this: we're sitting in the far back of the limo, facing the front of the car. The driver's in the driver's seat (where else?). He starts talking. Wow, we can really hear him well from back here. Wait a second -- that's because the guy has a microphone hooked up to his shirt and a set of speakers in the back of the car, set up so that we can hear everything he says. Jesus. Well, whatever. As long as he's quiet. Right. As long as he's quiet! Famous last words. This guy proceeds to talk, sing and pray into his microphone from the moment we close the door, until the moment we stepped out. ... church songs, 70's tunes, 80's ditties, songs that he used to sing when he was 4, songs that his mother and father from Maui (how could we forget? he reminded us they were from Maui 4 times), songs that his grandmother taught him, famous local Hawaii ("God's county" -- again, reminded 3 times) stories... you name it, he told it or sang it. Grin an bear it is all we could do. We stopped responding to his questions after a while, because what was the point? Whether we answered or not, he was gonna keep talking anyway. The kicker? Well, there's two: firstly, he initially took us to the wrong place. He starts pulling into the parking lot of the Diamond Head observatory, which is walking distance from where we got in the car. Heather yells at him, "Hey, we said Hawaii Kai, not Diamond Head.". Oops, ok. Back on track. Kicker number two -- once I get out of the car and pay him, I walk away. He calls me back, and says (think of a Hawaiian pigeon accent here): "ay brah. I no go SCUBA before, baht eef you find 'em one kine, "lobster", I geef you my phone numba and you call me, ya?"... I took his business card and threw it in the nearest garbage can. Lobster. Un, huh. Right.

Ok, so. Now we're at the dock. We're cool. We get on board and start truckin' out to dive site #1. I'm thinking to myself: should I pop the question here or should I wait until the second (and final) dive site. I decided that I would do it at site #1. Except that it didn't work out. The problem was that there were about 30 people on the boat. Me, H and 2 others were the only certified divers on the boat. They wanted to get us into the wanted to get us into the water and out of the way ASAP. They knew that we could handle ourselves and our own equipment. It was the non-certs that they had to baby sit. (It's cool -- they basically strap you into a SCUBA apparatus and then hold you arm-in-arm and take you down and around the bottom of the ocean for about 20 mins. No training or experience needed. I highly recommend it, if you never plan to get certified.) Anyway, so the problem was that they wanted to get us certs into the water ASAP. I was herded to the edge of the boat, handed my stuff and was told to dive. Well that sucks, because my "items" were still packed in my backpack. So be it. It'll have to be at site #2.

We finish up with dive #1 and get back on board. It starts raining. It starts pouring, it starts coming down in sheets. Then it gets sunny. Then it rains again. ...Oh, shit -- I hope they don't decide to pack it in. I don't dare ask. The boat starts heading back towards harbor. It looks like I'm gonna have to cancel the festivities for today and plan it for another time. A few minutes later, out from under a bridge comes a small Kodiak-type boat racing towards us. That boat looks like a ferry of some kind. Sure enough that's exactly what it is; some of the one-dive-only passengers are plunked into the boat and then it tears away to drop them off. Ten minutes later, it comes back, picks up a second load and darts off again. Cool, now our dive boat pulls an Uwe Krupp (a u-ey, a u-turn) and we head toward dive site #2.

Crunch time. We're at site #2 and they're herding us to the side of the boat again. I invent and excuse and tell the boat help that I need to go back to seat and get something. Ok, make it quick they say. I run back to my bag and dig out the $8 don't-care-if-I-lose-it ring and the underwater writing slate. I tuck the ring into my shorts pocket and the slate under the cumber bun of my BCD (buoyancy control device; it's part of the SCUBA equipment that you strap on). Jesus! This slate is a lot bigger than I thought, *and* it's fluorescent green. Not that easy to hide. I've come this and I'm not gonna bail now. SCUBA suit on, flippers on, regulator in the mouth and jump into the water... splash! Don't act suspicious, I tell myself. Poke around the surface for a bit and then... oh, the hell with it. I scoot straight down to the bottom, trying to make sure that the (fluorescent green!) writing slate isn't visible. Done. I get to the bottom, put the slate on the sand behind a rock and then swim away, casually "looking around"... Hey! I found something -- a writing slate! I jot a a note on the board and swim back to Heather, who is only half way down the guy wire. "Hey, look what I found", is written on the slate. (After all is said and done, H recounts to me, "I was wondering how the hell you saw that slate on the bottom of the ocean, 50 yards away from where we got in -- you swam straight to it!". Oops, I guess I wasn't as covert as I thought!)

As the dive proceeds, I'm trying to find the best time to do this. It would certainly be easier if I could get behind Heather so that I could write the little missive on the slate. Why the hell is she swimming so slowly and insisting that she be behind me? Does she suspect something or is she just being an inadvertent pain? I'll slow it down, swim some circles and get behind her. Five minutes later, I get it worked out. Problem. One of the divers shoots to the surface. That's a strict no no; one of the most dangerous things to do. Your lungs can literally explode if you don't exhale. The diver that did it is very experienced and they wouldn't have done it unless something went seriously wrong. Long story short, the dive boat staff accidentally gave the diver an empty air tank. Shit! Can you imagine? She was swimming at 40 feet below the surface, tries to draw a breath and gets nothing. How scary is that?! Anyway, by the time that situation is resolved, we've lost 10 minutes. We only have 7-10 minutes left in our dive. I quickly write something on the board... huh, what? Heather's pointing at something that she wants me to see. Dammit. I screwed up the message. The slate is like an etch-a-sketch, so I can erase it. Try again. I don't like the look of that message. Once more... got it. Ok, now I just need to flag her down and... crap, we're at the boat and she's already 1/3 the way to the boat. There's no way for me to get her attention -- I can't yell under water and I don't have any metal to clank against my air tank. I have to wait until she turns around. Finally, 1/2 way up, she turns around. I flag her down and wave at her to come and look at something interesting near my feed. Awesome, she's buying it and is swimming towards me. I let the air out of my BCD so that I can stick to the bottom. I drop to my knees. Heather's now 15 feet above me as I'm looking up at her. She shrugs at me and asks what I'm trying to show her. I wave her forward. Tropical fish start swarming around us. They're used to being fed by divers that sit on the bottom and let loose pieces of food. Heather's now 10 feet from me, I flip the board around. She stops mid kick. A confused look spreads across her face. She sees the message, "Will you marry me". Three checkboxes are offered for her to supply her answer: []Yes []No []Maybe. Hesitation. She takes the pencil. As she decides the answer, I reach into my left shorts pocket and pull out a ring. She checks yes. I ask for her left hand and place the ring on her left hand. She takes the writing slate, erases my questions (no! Why did you do that!? I wanted to frame it!) and then quickly writes her own question -- "Are you serious?". Yes, I signal back to her. I take the slate back and write, "the real ring is up there", with an arrow pointing to the surface and the boat floating above us...

As you might expect, the next few minutes are a blur but we climb out of the water, onto the staging dock area. Heather asks me 90 questions about what just happened. Am I serious? Where did the ring come from? You bastard, how did you pull this off? I smile smugly and don't offer a single word in response. I get up, drag my SCUBA gear to the storage area and then quickly head back to my backpack. I grab the real ring. Meanwhile, Heather has lugged her gear to the storage area. I grab her by the hand and lead her to the seating area near the front of the boat. I have to ask her three times to sit down. Either she doesn't hear me or she's in denile. I help her to the bench and then drop to my right knee, in front of her. She's got tears in her eyes. I watch her for a moment and then ask her the question again: "will you marry me"? More happy tears and a little bit of sobbing. "Yes", she leaks through her lips, and then starts crying with more force. As this is happening, I can feel the eyes of the 4 or 5 other people that are on the boat watching us. In speaking with them afterwards, they saw Heather crying and me on my knee in front of her but weren't sure what was going on. They were hopeful that it was a proposal, but waited for the event to pass and upon which Heather exclaimed to the watching crowd, "we just got engaged"! Two of the closest onlookers were women of similar age to us and immediately came over to Heather to offer their congratulations. Amidst the hugs and tears, they all say to each other, "I don't even know you but I want to hug you anyway"! The congregation of congratulators swells steadily as divers finish up and get back on the boat. For the next 15 minutes, Heather and I field offers of congratulations.

Eventually it dies down and we're left to ourselves. Heather and I take out the camera and take a few pictures of ourselves at arm's length. A volunteer also takes a picture of us, too, but it didn't turn out well. The picture that I've linked above is one of the ones that I took at arms length.

So that's it. That's how it happened. I have to admin that it was quite fun planning it all in my head for months. I hadn't shared the devious plan with anyone. The only person that really knew that I was planning something was the jeweler that I dealt with over the phone. Ahem -- he was a fine jeweler indeed... from New York City, in fact. He didn't do a bad job, if I say so myself.

Her version:
I think my first thoughts that a proposal wasn't too far off was when Vince would start sentences with "When we get married" as opposed to "if we get married", coupled with the fact that when I would bring up the subject, he wouldn't cover his ears and run out of the room screaming "la la la...i can't hear you". As I've said already, this engagement really came out if left field, even though we had gone ring shopping and I was already talking invitation layouts and color schemes with Lala and Carolyn.

Our plans were to go SCUBA diving. As our car was already making its way to the Mainland, we decided to hail down a cab in Waikiki. The cab that pulled up next to us had, as it's driver, likely one of the strangest people I've ever met (and I've met some doozies as patients of mine). The cab ride to the dive boat was about 25 minutes and this driver spoke non-stop. He even reached the end of his stories and then started re-telling them over again. He even broke into song with the popular "day-o" jamaican song we all know. He spoke so much that we were unable to say anything even if we wanted to. As Vince would tell me later, he thought this to be a bad start to the day.

Our 2 dives were out in an area called Hawaii Kai and are called Koko Crater and Turtle Canyon. Our first dive was great with a lot of fish and coral. The visibility was a little off as it was fairly windy and wavey but nonetheless, an amazing dive.

As we got back on the boat to head to our second location, the wind and waves picked up a little and I was getting a little chilled and so was looking forward to getting back into the water for the last dive. We jumped in and began our desecent to about 40-45 feet. As soon as we got to the bottom, Vince immediately swam ahead, and as the visibility was still a little low, it was hard for me to tell what he was doing. Then I saw him swim back carrying an underwater writing board with a message he had written "look what I found!". As these dive spots are fairly popular, it's not uncommon to find things other divers have dropped or lost so I thought that he had somehow managed to see this tiny thing off in the distance and swam over to get it. Throughout the dive, he was writing me messages and to be honest, the rest of the dive went by in a blur.

As we made our way back to the boat, I was having some problems with my mask and was looking to get out of the water. As I turned around, Vince was on the bottom of the ocean surrounded by all these beautifully colored fish of all sizes. He motioned for me to come over and as I did, these fish seemed to be surrounding the both of us (likely thinking we were going to feed them). He turned the writing board around while at the same time he handed me a silver plumeria ring. The board asked if I would marry him and I had 3 choices of answers: yes, no or maybe. With the plumeria ring on my finger and this question in front of me, I thought first that he was kidding and wrote on the board "are you serious?". With the mask on his face and the regulator in his mouth, it was hard to read his expression so I really couldn't tell of he was joking. He continued to just look at me, not doing anything else, so I checked the "yes" box on the board, now thinking that this was feeling kind of serious. He then wrote that "the real ring is up there", indicating the boat. Now at this point, I'm realizing this is the real deal and I can't get to the surface fast enough. Plus, I have this huge smile on my face and my mask is pulling away from my face and is filling up with water. Say bye bye to the fishes!

As we get up to the surface, we throw off our gear and grab our towels. He tells me to go sit down, takes the "real" ring of his bag, gets down on one knee and asks me again. I open the box and there is the most spectacular and breathtaking ring I have ever seen. I slip it on my finger, say yes and there you have it! Even though it's only been a few days, I still can't take my eyes away from my left hand and every time I look at it, I'm amazed how beautiful it is.

Now comes the busy but fun part. The wedding!!!!!! Woo hoo! This is an incredible feeling........

Tue, February 20, 2007...

Ok, so what's my excuse this time you ask? Why haven't I posted an update since 2 Christmas ago? The easiest excuse is that we had an 6.7 earthquake in Honolulu in Octber 2006. That doesn't buy me much, but that's all I'm offering.

What's happened to me since Christmas 2005? Let's recap, in no particular order:
  1. I turned 28 and then 29.
  2. We had a 6.7 earthquake in October 2006, in Honolulu. Went without power for 20 hours. Nearly the most boring 20 hours that I've ever spent.
  3. Went to the beach a few times.
  4. My parents and little brother came to visit for Xmas 2006. It was great having the little bro come see where I live and to hang out in Hawaii for a bit.
  5. A few sets of friends came out to Hawaii and took advantage of free room, chez Horst.
  6. Went back to WPG in July 2006 for my mom's 50th birthday. H and I surprised her... tee hee!
  7. I was offered and accepted a position to work in my company's Califonia office, in Santa Ana, California.
  8. I am (going to be) moving to California (CA) on Feb 26th, 2007. Heather is going to be sticking around in Hawaii for a couple of months working and taking some courses she needs to get her CA Physical (Physio) Therapist license.
  9. Heather I a got engaged on Mon February 19th, 2007
  10. Wait, back up a tick.. What was that last thing? ...don't worry, updates and descriptions of the event will follow in a future post.
  11. Went to see Notre Dame vs. USC college footballl in November 2006. Notre Dame lost. :( Go irish!
  12. During the same week as the NC USC game, went to see an early 2006-2007 season Anaheim Ducks vs Flames game at the 'ol Pond (now the "Honda Center"). Ducks win. :( ...the sports gods were NOT happy with us that week.
  13. The Pumpkins have announced that they're reforming! Yay! There's no indication who's in the band yet, but we know that at least Billy Corgan and the drummer, Jimmy Chamberlin, are gonna be around. Personally, I highly doubt James & D'Arcy are coming back. They're latest album is called "Zeitgeist" and is released on 07.07.07.
I dunno, I guess that's about it. As usual, I'll try to increase the frequency of updates but I'm not guarraneein' anything.

- Vince

November 28, 2005 - Christmas 2005 plans

Heather and I are going back to Winnipeg for Christmas this year. Last year we spent it on the beach, in the sun. As fun as that sounds, it was dissapointing. No cold, no snow, no christmas tree smell, no nothing. Yeah, I know, cry me a river, right? Well bite me. The grass is always greener.

Schedule: Arrive in Winnipeg at 2:00PM on December 24. Dinner at Ama's place (grandma) as usual, followed by church at midnight and the mandatory late night trek out to Selkirk to open presents while you can barely keep your eyes open.

As of right now, that's as far as I've thought ahead. I know that I want to visit a dozen or so people along the way, but I have yet to make any phone calls. I'll be doing so shortly and then I'll update here with more info.

Oh yeah -- we leave on January 3rd, first thing in the morning. So if you wanna hook up, you need to plan on it before then.

November 27, 2005 - we're back

After a serious haitus, is back. Not that anyone cares, but it's back anyway. I've been hosting a website on my PC for over year (plug: if you're lookin' for extremely tasty cookies for any occasion, tell Lindsay that I sent 'ya) and since I'm not running Windows Server, I can only have 1 active website at at time. Lazy, dumbass Horst here was waiting until I had the inclination to write a little IIS ISAPI filter to fix that problem, but as you well know, I never got around to it. Instead I decided to dust off my classic ASP skillz and broke out a simple redirection from the root to a virtual directory depending on the current host header... Hence the It aint't perfect (it also only handles root and www subdomains) but who cares. At least I have a bloody personal website once again. :)

Note: Most of the links in the "blog" entries below probably won't work.

I made my Mom cry. I made Heather cry. Big time. But she loved it. Honest.
I made a little secret trip to Winnipeg last week. The timing was perfect on several levels. Heather had her Physio Therapy grad dinner and dance, it was Easter, my god child and her brother brother (2 and 4 respectively) celebrated their bdays and lastly, I had a chance to vist an soon-to-be family member in the hospital. Sooo, long story short, it was a good time and I took lots of pictures. check 'em oot here. Sorry for the shite quality on the pics. I've learned that I don't know what I'm doing with all the exotic settings and that I'm gonna set the camera to "auto" until such time as I get my shit together and learn how to use the damn thing properly.

One of our family traditions is to "paint" eggs, get 'em blessed by the priestie and then eat them on Easter Sunday... However, just before eating them, we fight with them! Th basic idea is that 2 people will face off and smack eachothers' eggs together. The winner is determined by whose egg doesn't crack. Well, this year we have some pictures! Check them out:
pre fight face making the loser's surprise hey, you're supposed to eat it!

Also, czech this shit out. Who's that sexy bitch on the front page? Aww yeah baby. You know it!

November 14, 2003 - my xmas 2003 plans/schedule

First off, here's where I live.

This is semi-unofficial for the time being because as you know, my memory sucks and I don't quite remember how this all goes...

December 23 - arrive at 1pm in Winnipeg airport. Flowers, cards and celebratory Crown and Cokes will be accepted at the curb but not inside the building. You know - security.
Wednesday, December 24 - Dinner at Grandma's place, 5pm. Church at 10pm or midnight, followed quickly by a stiff crown and coke to dull the pain.
Thursday, December 25 - Brunch at Heather's parents place, dinner at aunty Nicole's place.
Friday, December 26 - Boxing day. American's, don't bother asking - I don't know. Hopefully I'll get a little shopping in and then jump in the car to go to Brandon for a wedding social that night. I might hit my aunt Louise's place depending on her schedule. I might have to catch her later in the week, 'cause...
Saturday, December 27 - Recover from the misfortune of having spent a night in Brandon, Manitoba and jump in the car to drive down to Minneapolis to visit my Trio boyz and gurlz.
Sunday, December 28 - Take a drive by my condo to make sure it hasn't burned down. Going to a Stuart Davis show in Mankato and then drive back to Winnipeg. It's gonna be a looong day.
Monday, December 29 - Rest up, head to the LC to replenish the stocks and head back to church to witness the baptism of the latest addition to the Rakowski clan - Mr. Ivan Rakowski... followed quickly by a celebratory Crown and Coke. And let's be honest, to dull the pain.
Tuesday, December 30 - dunno yet. Aunt Louise's maybe? My dad's place maybe? We'll see. Make your reservations now!
Wednesday, Decemnber 31 - Daytime, not sure. Afternoon and evening I'll be attending the wedding ceremonies and subsequent booze fest (to dull the pain) for my good buddy Scottard Giguere UMWils01. May his doppelganger rest in peace.
Thursday, January 1 - Recover.
Friday, January 2 - Dunno.
Saturday, January 3 - Dunno.
Friday, January 4 - Leave for Honolulu. Hawaii. Suckers!

September 2, 2003

Well I finally managed to place a couple of holes in my surfboard. It was a stupid move to be sure. I was surfing last Tuesday morning before work with a friend. It was extremely low tide that morning and I knew it. Anyway, at the end of a wave I stood near the tip of the board just a little too long and it plunged straight down into the rocks below. The area that I was in couldn't have been more than a couple of feet deep. Oh well. I learned my lesson I guess. The repairs ended up costing me $45. Sorry, no pics tho. :(

Speaking of surfing, I'm sure that most of you have heard the expression "Hang Ten". Any idea what it actually means? I was surprised when someone told me what it was. I figured that it was some lame bullshit saying that made its way from a cheezy Don Johnson 1980's movie. Well I was wrong, but it needs a little explanation...

When you're surfing you have to constantly move up and down the board to make sure that you don't get in front of the wave and that you don't get behind it. In front means that you lose speed and your board sinks into the water and too far behind means that the wave continues without you. So to counteract that you literally have to walk up and down the board, thereby shifting the weight and the angle of the board to reposition youself on the wave. When you're too far in front of the wave you have to walk backwards to slow down a bit. When you're getting behind the wave you have to walk to the front of the board. In exreme cases you have to rush to the front of the board so that you don't lose the wave entirely. If you go all the way to the front your 10 toes are hanging off the edge. Hang ten. Neat huh? True story.

Tomorrow is a big day. I get my gym membership back! Since I've been here I've been working like a mad ass and haven't really had time to lift weights etc. A good friend of mine in Minneapolis told me about this lifting program that he's been doing for about 6 weeks and by the sounds of it he's doing awesome. He's benching more weight and for twice the reps than he was at his peak weight when we lifted together 6 months ago. Anyway, I've been off the horse for too long and I'm pumped to get back in the gym. Gonna start slow but I will definitely invetigate this new program that he's been working with. I can't seem to recall the URL right now but I have it at work. I'll try to remember to post it.

Also got some exciting news about H-bomb comin' over for a visit. Seems that her flight is booked and due to arrive in Honolulu on December 13th. I'm pretty stoked about that.

Other randoms: Lindsay and Janek are expecting their 3rd child any day now. Lindsay was due on Labour day but I have yet to hear anything... My cousin Lisa Horst is also expecting her first child very soon. Super excited about the visit home this Xmas as there will be 2 new babies in my family to spoil rotten... Got news that another cousin (Special note to everyone: in my family, if someone is not your mother or father then they are either your cousin, uncle or aunt. The idea of second cousin or distant relation etc is foreign to me so when I say that it's my cousin it probably isn't but just go with me...) is coming in for Xmas this year. I can't recall if the whole family is coming or not, but I hope so. I haven't seen them in a few years. Hmmm... Oh, also. Matt and Adine from Minneapolis still owe me pictures of their new hardwood floor. They allgedly installed it the weekend after I left for Hawaii but at this point I think that it's just a Grassy Knoll level coverup. Proof dammit, I want proof... Neil and Carolyn Flood (nee McKnight) bought a house a few months ago in a Southern suburb of Minneapolis. I heard through the grapevine that our mutual friend Colin MacMillan has also bought a place of his own just down the street. Congrats Collin! I really should send him an email. Mental note... Ah, on a "the world is a small place" note. Remember the guy that I lifted weights with earlier in this entry? Well it turns out that he's now working as a contractor with a company that I spent 7 months with early in my Minneapolis stint. The company's name is Carlson. Anyway, he IM'ed (instant messaged) me today to tell me that he saw a comment that I'd made in some of the code that he was working on today. Isn't that wild?! I think that's so cool. I was working on that code about 6 months before I even knew Joe. My contract ended with Carlson and then the day after I got back from Xmas holodays I interview *with* Joe for the job at HomeServices. Joe and I then worked together for a little over a year together then he left the company, I moved to Hawaii to stay with the company and then his first contracting gig after he's done with HomeServices, he ends up working on the same damn code that I was working on. Damn that's too cool.

Anyway, I'm rambling so I'll wrap this up. I signed up for Vonage yesterday. It's phone service over your high speed internet service. The phone number that I will be using is based in Minneapolis. I can't use a Hawaiian number because that area code is not supported. The service is really cool. The higlights are that you can get a phone number in any area code that they support, for $39 per month you get unimited canada and usa long distance and all of the voicemail, caller ID type of gadgets that you could want. I chose to get an Minneapolis number so that you guys in Minne cal call me as a local call. No charge. How cool is that?!! send me an email and I'll pass on my new number. I don't get the equipment until the end of this week so that I can use the phone but I already have the new number.

l8r d00ds.

August 11, 2003

What up, you buncha homos?

I figured I would just post a couple of pics today 'cause I'm not feeling all that creative today.
My surf board  My white ass before I moved to Hawaii  
My tanned self after I moved to Hawaii  My empty apartment  Paradise 01 
Paradise 02  Paradise 03  Paradise 04  Paradise 05  Paradise 06 
Paradise 07  Paradise 08  Paradise 09  Paradise 10 
Ama's pissed (off)  Friendz 01 (Kacey)  Friendz 02 (Devon & Rachel) 
Friendz 03 (Joe)  Friendz 04(Patty)  Friendz 05 (Jonathan) 
Friendz 05 (Heath)  Friendz 06 (Paul)  Friendz 07 (The whole whack) 

August 4, 2003

Alright, alright. I know. I've been remiss. Lazy perhaps. Though in my defence I only got my internet connection a few days ago so lay off, OK?

So what's new with me you axe? Well, let me see...

Work is awesome. As you'll recall I'm doing exactly the same thing that I was doing in Minneapolis during the year before I left: working on a product called "TRIO". For the sake of simplicity let's just say that it's a bunch of web sites. Anyway, since the move I've been asked to assume a more important role in the project, which has turned out to be quite rewarding on both a personal and professional level. Sadly, the pay hasn't increased any for my troubles, but hey - I'm in Hawaii, right? When I first got here there were an incredible number of problems going on, the least of which was the performance of the web sites. To put it simply, they just plain didn't work. In the end it was because of the way that the transition to the new company was(n't?) handled. It was a huge, massive mess that resulted in all except 3 (out of 20+) people that were part of TRIO to be retained. Aside from that astounding figure, there was basically no knowledge transfer between the people that left and the new people that took over. Anyway, I guess what I'm getting at is that my first month and a half here I was working 70 hour weeks. Which, as you can imagine, grows old very quickly. Since then things have improved greatly. Our web sites are rock solid stable and we're able to move on and add enhancements rather than just putting out fires 24 hours a day. My work schedule is back to 40-ish hours and I have plenty of time to hit the waves! How's that for a seguay?

Here's some pics of where I work: Pan Am building  Outside the front door  My Cube 

As expected, I've taken up surfing. It's a great sport. Some people say it's tough to learn, but in my experience I was able to stand on the board my first kick at the cat. The only thing that I find tough is making that jump to the 'next level'. I've got the gentle turning done with but it takes a leap of balance to start really cutting and making a go at the bigger waves. Last Tuesday I went to a spot just south of Diamond Head where the waves are usually a lot bigger and messier than, say, Waikiki. Let's just say that my ass was handed to me. I think that maybe... *maybe*, I got up twice. The rest of the 1.5 hours I spent paddling on top of my board trying to get out of the damned white wash and gigantic waves that were desperately trying to drown me. It was a learing experience but nonetheless fun. I don't have a pic of my board yet, but I'll try to make sure that I make one available at some point. For the record, I bought a board that is 9 feet, 2 inches long for $350 from a friend... It's considered a "long board", the most popular beginner board. The ones that you see on TV that the pros ride are not longboards. Those are shorter ones, on the order of about 7ish feet. The shorter you go and the more agressively shaped, the harder they are to ride, but you can do sharp cutting and weaving. Long boards are generally easier to ride and require smaller waves to get up on. anyway, enough about that.

Lodging. For the first 2 weeks I stayed in 4 different hotels. One really sucked ass (hard) while the other 2 were nicer. If at some point any one of you wants to come to Hawaii and not stay at my place (something that I don't encourage - free is free!) I have a good contact to find hotel rooms for $35ish a night. Way cheaper than anything that you'd ever find online. The 3 places that I stayed in that were owned by this chick were on the 30th+ floor, all with sweet views. Anyway, once I got out of the hotels I moved into my own little junky 1 bedroom apartment. For those that visited me in my apartment on Nicollet in Minneapolis, it's about the same size - 700 sq ft. The layout's a bit better such that I acutally have a little bit of space, but not much. Be that as it may, I certainly have enough room to host at least 4 guests at a time. It'll be tight, but hey. Some time next year I expect that I will have rent paying roomate ( ;) ) so it's likely that I'll be in a bigger place...

Here are some pics of my new place when it was empty: Pic 1  Pic 2  The Shitter 

That's gonna have to be it for tonight. I'm tried as hell and I've got a long day ahead of me tomorrow. Peace.

- v dawg