Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Koko Head Crater...and a word to the wise

When friends come to visit, it gives me the excuse to go out and explore places that I haven't been to yet.  I have a couple friends visiting this week and on Saturday morning we decided to hike up Koko Head Crater.  Only two words really encapsulate the Koko Head hike on the East side of O'ahu...holy crap!  Koko Crater is a cinder cone remaining from the last active volcano that occurred on O'ahu approximately 10,000 years ago. This crater is the tallest tuff ring in Hawaii, measuring 1,207 feet in height. The slopes of the crater drop steeply into the Molokai Channel, an area which lacks protection from any offshore reefs, causing very turbulent seas in this area.

View from the Bottom
If you're looking for a nice, easygoing hike then stay away from Koko Head.  The good news is that the entire trail is a staircase.  Originally Koko Head was used as a radar stand for the military during WWII.  In order to get supplies up to the mountain, they used a tram that ran on railroad tracks.  The tracks are still there and that's what you use to get up.  The bad news is that it is a straight vertical climb.  It looks really steep from the bottom, but I had no idea how difficult the hike would be until I got about 1/4 the way up.  It's REALLY steep!  I am in fairly good shape and yet my calves and my ass have been killing me for 2 days.

View from Halfway Up
In my defense, however, I did ride my bike for an hour a half (25 miles) that morning so I had already had a pretty good workout.  So the "word to the wise" is that you should not workout prior to hiking Koko Head.  The trail itself was not too crowded, but there were a good 50 people on the trail at any one time.  No one got in each other's way, though, and everyone was taking periodic breaks along the way.  We must have stopped 5 or 6 times ourselves just to catch our breath.

View from the top
Prior to going on the hike, I had heard from some people that the view from the top of Koko Head is nice, but not really worth the pain of climbing up.  I disagree.  Yes, Koko Head is a bitch to climb.  However, the view from the top is pretty amazing.  I could sit up there all day and just stare out onto Hawaii Kai and the ocean.  Being at the top, especially after working so hard to get there, makes the view all the more amazing.  So overall if you're looking for a challenging workout and you're willing to put up with the subsequent pain, then Koko Head is a really gorgeous hike that offers amazing views and good story.

A long way to get down...

Friday, May 27, 2011

So What's Next?

After completing my second sprint triathlon, I decided that I really like them.  Sprint triathlons are a great because they are short and relatively easy to do.  I don't mean to say they're "easy" but if you are moderately athletic you should be able to finish one without much problem.  Obviously being competitive is a different story, but hopefully you get my point.  They're enjoyable.

Races are also fun.  You get a couple hundred people together to test their bodies and push themselves as hard as they can.  Everyone is friendly, supportive, and encouraging.  It doesn't matter how fast or slow you race, everyone just gives each other credit for being out there.  Ironically the only "criticism" I've heard (i.e. you don't swim fast enough or sprint triathlons aren't "real" triathlons) have come from non-competitors.  I find that both hypocritical and funny.  I also find triathlon races to give a real high upon finishing.  Not to mention you get cool free stuff.  Free t-shirts, snacks, vitamin samples, etc.  Who doesn't like free stuff? Of course, it does cost money to enter these races, but my point stands.

So I've done two sprint tris and I was asked the other day, "so what's next?"  The Tinman Triathlon, that's what. The bike and run portions are twice as long as the sprint triathlon distances and the swim is 250 meters longer.  That means it is a 750 meter swim, a 24.8 mile bike, and a 6.2 mile run.  It starts with a swim at Queen's Beach in Waikiki, then we bike around Diamond Head, through Kahala and back, and then a run around Diamond Head.  I am already signed up and ready to go.

I anticipate the biggest challenge being the a longer distance.  So far I have been satisfied with myself if I ran 5 miles and swam for about 20 minutes.  That's just not going to cut it for this one.  Not only are the distances longer but more people compete.  The previous triathlons have had about 300 competitors.  The Tinman traditionally has 900!  So in order to adequately prepare and come in the top 5-10 in my age group, I really need to swim for longer periods of time and do a lot of supersets (bike and run back-to-back or swim and bike back-to-back).  I also made sure everyone at work knew that I beat my co-worker that I can't let this one slip away!

Training for the Tinman will officially begin next week.  I have visitors coming into town tonight who will be here until Wednesday.  I have done a little bit this week, but not much.  This was mostly a recovery week from the Marine Corps Base Triathlon.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I've Been Saying It All Along...

I'm not one to toot my own horn, but in this particular instance, it appears that a recent study has backed up what I have been saying for the last 7 months: Hawaii drivers are the worst in the country.

"Hawaii drivers are among the least knowledgeable about the rules of the road," according to a study by GMAC Insurance. According to the results of the GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test, Hawaii ranked 50th in the nation with an average score of 73 percent correct.

While I can present plenty of empirical and anecdotal evidence to support the study's conclusions, I will just sit here quietly.  Perhaps this will make me feel better every time I see some crazy Hawaiian driver not paying attention to where he or she is going or randomly stopping in the middle of the road when there is no traffic light or stop sign (yes, I have seen these things happen multiple times).  I now know I'm not crazy.  For the longest time I felt like no one else noticed it and I that I was taking crazy pills (video).  Instead, Hawaiian drivers are just stupid. Phew. I feel better.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Headnote of the Week

In a prosecution for seduction, evidence that the prosecutrix allowed men to kiss her good-night and hug her does not indicate a want of chastity on her part to such an extent as to overcome a verdict of guilty.
State v. McIntire, 56 N.W. 419 (Iowa 1893)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jin Deui

...also known as Sesame Seed Balls.  As I think I've said before, my judge and I graduated from the same law school.  It turns out there are actually a few lawyers in Hawaii who also graduated from our school and today we had what could be loosely described as an "alumni lunch."  There were 6 of us there and we went to Golden Palace for some Dim Sum.  I have had dim sum before and generally I find it to be filling and well worth its inexpensive cost.  I always walk away from Golden Palace full and satisfied.

Well today I was introduced to a new dim sum dish that I had never tried and was really surprised by.  It is Sesame Seed Balls.  Okay, in reality that's just what it looks like.  It's actually called Jin Deui or Jian Dui and is a type of fried Chinese pastry made from glutinous rice flour. The pastry is coated with sesame seeds on the outside and is crisp and chewy.  They are hollow balls of rice pastry filled with either coconut or sugar-enriched beans or other things.  I know how it may sound, but these were pretty delicious.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Whenever I go for dim sum I still just point at the carts as they come by, but I will definitely point to this next time.

Sweet Taste of Victory

In honor of my commanding victory over my co-worker in Sunday's Sprint Triathlon, I thought I would honor myself at work by brining in some snacks for everyone.  Followers of the Pineapple Project know that there are ALWAYS snacks, pastries, and full spreads of food brought in by people that occupy prime real estate on the kitchen table at work.  Since I hadn't brought anything in to wreck people's diets yet, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to include everyone in the spoils of victory.

Originally my plan was to bring in malasadas, but the malasada shop is closed on Mondays.  So I settled on assorted pastries.  I looked around for a bakery in downtown Honolulu and came across The Patisserie (1164 Bishop Street - map here).  I walked in and they have a glass display case with super fresh-looking scones, croissants, muffins, cakes, and doughnuts.  Everything looked so good!  They also make homemade breads, baguettes, and rolls.  So if you're ever in downtown honolulu, I recommend stopping by for some delicious pastries.

It was a big hit at work and it spread the message of my triathlon dominance so it worked out well.

Monday, May 23, 2011


So yesterday was the big day.  The Marine Corps Base Hawaii Sprint Triathlon.  In the days following the Lanikai Triathlon, I vowed to take this one seriously and drastically improve my time.  So I actually trained all the way until race day this time around. I swam somewhere around 2-3 times/week and ran 3-4 times/week and biked to work everyday and then did one long ride per week.  It wasn't the most grueling training schedule ever, but it was an improvement over last time.  Then Friday and Saturday before race day, I carbo-loaded by eating lots of bread, pasta, pancakes, and fruit.  Then my co-worker and I went out for a massive pasta dinner at Buca di Beppo (map) on Saturday night and stuffed our faces with some delicious food.

Sunday morning rolled around and I felt good.  I felt prepared and ready to do well, which was a much better feeling than the one I had last time.  There was just one problem: the weather.  We pulled onto the military base and there was heavy cloud cover, strong wind, and it was cold (Hawaii around 68-70 degrees).  At least it wasn't raining...yet.  It looked like most people were setting up their transition stations in sweatshirts and all I could think about was how cold that water was going to be.

As 7:00am rolled around (start time), everyone was standing on the edge of the water ready to go when the gun went off.  There was a mad dash in the water and while most people were probably focused on getting to the first marker, I was just thankful that the water was really warm.  The swim is still my weakest event, but I found that I was much stronger this time.  Of course, the waves were incredibly choppy because of the strong wind so it made it that much tougher to plow through the water.  Then about halfway through the swim, it started to downpour.  Hard.  The rain reduced visibility to zero, the waves were knocking people all over the place and no one was going straight.  I'm shocked there is still water in Kaneohe Bay b/c I thought I swallowed it all.  Nonetheless, I got out of the water and beat my former swim time by about one and a half to two minutes.

It was still raining as I got on the bike and started to pedal.  Part of the bike course was on the runway and there were massive gusts of 20 mph wind coming right at our face.  I was pedaling as hard as I could but wasn't going anywhere!  Everyone was struggling to fight the wind apparently because at the end of the race that's all people were talking about.  The best part of the bike portion was that I passed my co-worker about 10 minutes into it and never gave back the lead.

Now, I haven't made the plunge to get clip-in bike shoes so I wore sneakers.  And because of all the rain, they were SOAKED.  The water from the tires splashed up and the rain poured down.  So as I took my first steps in the run, not only did my legs feel like bricks from all the pedaling, but the water in my shoes and socks made it feel like there were weights in my shoes.  The running course was nice, though.  For the most part it was flat except for one really steep hill that was just a nightmare.  At one point in the run, though, I looked back to see if my co-worker was closing in.  I saw someone maybe 80 yards behind me who had the same shirt on and the same type of dark shorts and was convinced he was catching up.  So I took off running harder to try to keep my lead.  In the end, however, it wasn't my co-worker...because it turns out I beat him by 7 minutes.

Ultimately, I did not win my age group.  However, I improved my time by 13 minutes and finished close to my goal of 1:10:00.  I didn't beat my goal, but I was happy with my improvement.  Next comes the Tinman.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Grand Cafe & Bakery

Lately I have been doing a pretty good job of bringing lunch and cooking dinner.  I find it easier to ensure I'm eating the right stuff when I do that; however, every once in a while I am too lazy.  On days I am too lazy to pack lunch, I go somewhere around town.  Usually it's a sandwich shop.  However, as I've written about before, I am obsessed with deals and airline miles.  Certain restaurants in downtown offer airline miles just for dining there.  For example, I get 3 airline miles for every dollar spent at Indigo.  Well, I just got an email telling me that I get airline miles for eating at the Grand Cafe & Bakery (31 North Pauahi Street - map here).

The "draw" of this place is that they serve healthy, fresh ingredients in a country-style setting.  It has the feel of a homestyle diner in downtown Chinatown.  As I waited for my order, I noticed that all the dishes that came out had pretty substantial portions, which makes the above-average prices seem more justifiable.  I ordered the blackened chicken sandwich and there was a lot of food.  The meal itself, which came with fresh, homemade potato chips, was pretty awesome.  The chicken was tender and well-seasoned and came on a really soft bun with herb aioli.  A co-worker ordered the fish and chips and said he was equally pleased with his order.  If you're every looking for a lunch place in Chinatown (and don't feel like Chinese food), I recommend checking this place out.

Back from Chicago

I went to Chicago last week and got back Sunday night.  So the lack of blog posts was because I was busy enjoying deep dish pizza, 312 beer, and Cubs games.  The first couple days in Chicago represented everything that's great about that city.  The weather was warm.  The Cubs were playing.  People were out walking around enjoying the city.  The beer and food were flowing like water.  And the parks were crowded with people playing community sports.  The last couple days, however, made me happy to come back to Hawaii (temporarily, at least).  The weather literally went from 78 degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday to 43 degrees and rainy when I left on Sunday morning.

As far as my triathlon training, I did a fairly decent job keeping up with it.  I worked out a couple days, but not as many as I would have liked.  I ate healthy, but couldn't control myself all week so I enjoyed a few unhealthy meals/snacks/desserts.  Nonetheless, I am back at it and things are going pretty well.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Week 3 - Second Triathlon Training

The third week of my renewed triathlon training hit a minor snag.  It rained all week.  It wasn't just a little rain, either.  There were massive thunderstorms, power outages, and pool closures.  The ocean (and air) was freezing and the roads were constantly flooded.  It was a little insane.  Anyway, this made swimming a lot more difficult.  I didn't give up entirely all week, but I decided to take the opportunity to rest and lift a little more than usual.  The real challenge is going to be this week.  I am headed to Chicago for the next 6 days where the food and alcohol will be plentiful.  I mean, how can one travel to Chicago and NOT eat deep dish pizza or drink Goose Island's 312 beer?  I also won't have access to a bike, a gym, or an ocean.  I suppose I could try to swim in Lake Michigan, but there are two problems with that: 1) it's only early May so the water is FREEZING; and 2) Lake Michigan is gross and dirty.

Anyway, here is my Week 3 training schedule:

Monday - Run 25 min (2.8 mi.) + swim 15 min
Tuesday - Off day
Wednesday - Weight Lifting + Run 26 min (3.1 mi.)
Thursday - Off day
Friday - Bike 20 min. + Run 26 min. (3.1 mi.)
Saturday - Off day
Sunday - Weight Lifting + Bike 50 min. (16 mi.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sandbar Kaneohe

Kāneʻohe Bay is the largest sheltered body of water in the main Hawaiian Islands. This reef-dominated bay constitutes a significant scenic and recreational feature along the windward (northeast) coast of the Island of Oʻahu. The Bay is approximately 8 mi long and 2.7 mi broad, with a mouth opening of about 4.6 mi and maximum depth of 40 ft in the dredged channel. Features unique in the main Hawaiian Islands include one of only two barrier reefs (the other being the 27 mile barrier reef of Molokaʻi island) and extensive development of shoaling coral reefs within a large lagoon.

Prior to last weekend I had never actually been to the bay.  I've played golf over near Kaneohe and the Valley of the Temples is over there, but I had heard the bay is gorgeous.  Anyway, last week the group of people I met at the pro bowl decided to go sailing and invited me to tag along.  They have a 43-foot sailboat that they take out every once in a while and anchor it out at the sandbar in the middle of the bay.  The sandbar is also something I had heard about but had never seen.  

The Kaneohe Sandbar, also known as Ahu o Laka, is a popular picnicking spot among local Oahu residents, particularly among those who have a boat or access to a boat or kayak. It’s the only sandbar of this kind in Hawaii. During low tide, it emerges and forms a shallow and temporary land. During high tide, the water is about hip-deep and deeper towards the edges of the sandbar. People come here to picnic, swim, snorkel, dive, play ball games, or to just relax.  The water is calm and clear and the views are amazing. While you're out on the water you can see the entire Kaneohe Bay from an ocean vantage point, the Koolau Mountains and the small offshore islands of Chinaman’s Hat, Coconut Island and Kekepa (Turtleback Island).

So while we were out there, we had snacks and booze and sun.  What more could you possibly ask for?  We also threw the football and frisbee around just to entertain ourselves.  The real fun came at the end of the day, though.  I suppose everyone just got so caught up in the fun that no one actually seemed to notice the tide change.  Check the tide table before heading out to the sandbar so you know in advance if it’s high or low tide. The activities that you can do on the sandbar vary slightly during these different ocean conditions. You can take out your chairs and put them on the sandbar only during low tide, for example.  Well, your boat can also get stuck in the sand if the tide goes from high to low and you're not paying attention.  This happened to us.  To make a long story short, everyone had to get off the boat and push it out of the sand.  Initially that wasn't enough.  We had to put the sails up, start the motor, and THEN push.  It was all pretty hilarious.  It looked like a Chinese fire drill with about 8 people jumping on and off the boat to get this thing un-stuck.

Overall, it was a fun day.  We are actually going back this weekend!


Earlier, I mentioned that some of the secretaries brought in food to work for Boy's Day.  One of the items, manapua, I already talked about in great detail.  Manapua is a delicious ball of dough filled with pork or chicken or beef or veggies.  Another item they brought in was Lumpia, something I had never heard of.  Everyone in the office got incredibly excited when they heard that Lumpia was in the kitchen.

Apparently there are many types of lumpia.  There is Lumpiang Sariwà (fresh spring roll),
Lumpiang Shanghai (filled with ground pork or beef, minced onion, carrots, and spices with the mixture held together by beaten egg), and Lumpiang Prito/Lumpiang Gulay (literally, fried spring roll).  We had the lumpiang prito and all it's fried goodness.  It was filled with briskly fried pancake, bean sprouts, and various other vegetables such as string beans and carrots. Small morsels of meat or seafood may also be added, but there wasn't any in these.  These, too, were pretty delicious!

Boy's Day

On March 3rd I wrote about girl's day and made some sexist hilarious comments about the Japanese getting it right.  For girl's day, you may recall that someone brought in brownies and fortune cookies to work.  Well, today is BOY'S DAY!  Let me just say, I didn't even know there was a boy's day until I walked into the kitchen.  Again, it seems the Japanese got this one right.  We didn't just get brownies.  Oh no.  The judicial assistants all brought in food for "their boys."  That's right, there are 3 boxes of manapua.  There is a big box of peanut butter crackers.  There is a massive tray of Lumpia (egg rolls).  There is a big bag of bagels with three types of cream cheese spreads.  It's like I died and went to my triathlon training hell!  Anyway, everyone has been in the kitchen all morning snacking on delicious food and hanging out.  As you can imagine, little work is being done.

So what is boy's day?  Good question.  May brings the reminder that in Japan, as in the United States, one of a nation's greatest assets is her children. May 5 is "Children's Day" in Japan, the day to stress the importance of respecting the character of children and promoting their health and happiness. It is also the day for children to express their gratitude for the tender love and care they receive from their parents. On this day Japanese families celebrate Tango-no-Sekku, the Boys' Festival. With its special customs and observances, it is Japan's way of celebrating the healthy growth and development of her young boys.

A carp-like streamer (yes, like the fish) is flown outside your home for each son in the family, a very large one for the eldest, the others ranging down in size.  The carp has become the symbol of the Boys' Festival because the Japanese consider it the most spirited of fish, so full of energy and power that it can fight its way up swift-running streams and cascades. Because of its strength and determination to overcome all obstacles, it stands for courage and the ability to attain high goals. The carp is an appropriate symbol to encourage manliness and the overcoming of life's difficulties leading to consequent success.

Girls are the guests of their brothers on this occasion just as boys are guests of their sisters on the occasion of the Girls' Festival on March 3. Their parents provide them with the traditional delicacies such as Chimaki (sweet rice dumplings wrapped in iris or bamboo leaves) and Kashiwa-Mochi (rice cakes containing sweet bean paste wrapped in oak leaves).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Headnote of the Week

True Story.

Courts will take judicial notice that whisky is intoxicating. State ex rel. Springer v. Bliss, 185 P.2d 220 (Okla. 1947)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Week 2 - Second Triathlon Training

It's hard to predict success this early in the training process.  I didn't start having issues with training until about week 3 last time around.  Thus far, I haven't had any major distractions or disruptions, so I haven't slipped up at all, which is a positive.  I've also done far more swimming this time around, so my confidence is building slowly.  I'm hoping that by May 22 (the day of the sprint triathlon) I'll be able to shave a minute or two off my (swim) time.  Anyway, here is the week 2 training schedule.

Monday - Run 25 min. (2.8 mi.) + swim 30 min. (1200 meters)
Tuesday - Off
Wednesday - Run 26 min. (3.1 mi.) + swim 30 min. (1200 meters)
Thursday - Weight Lifting
Friday - Weight Lifting
Saturday - Bike 2 1/2 hours (35 mi.)
Sunday - Run 46 min. (6 mi.)