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From a Rampaging Rubix Cube


Range Time
duhra
Just a quick post today. I went down to the south part of town to Big Shot indoor range to see what the hubbub was. Big Shot used to be Safe Shot, an indoor range where you used their ammunition which was lead free. I went there once and was so not impressed with their atmosphere that I didn't even bother to shoot.

Big Shot is better, more akin to the indoor range from my childhood. You walk in and they have targets displayed behind the counter, clearly marked, so you can select one if you choose. I forgot to ask if you were allowed to bring your own. $10 gets you use of the range for as long as you like and if you come with a partner, it's only 5 bucks more. They do have gun rentals for your shooting pleasure and you can use whatever ammo you like.

The person behind the counter pulls out an empty plastic bin and asks you to put your chosen weapon(s), open and empty, inside. They also ask that you put your box of ammo in there too, making sure nothing is going to cause major damage to you, another patron, or the place in general. If you brought more stuff in a range bag (I had my cleaning kit and a few other things in mine) they will hold it behind the counter. The ARMED employee holds it for you behind the counter. Ain't that nice of them? :) I love working in a place with backup.

You get your ears on and head into the shooting room. You walk in through the pair of doors and oh...that smell! That glorious indoor range smell! I missed that smell...uh, back to where I was. They show you how to move the target in and out, give you the basic rules if you missed them in the main lobby, and tell you to be safe and have fun. I shot my target, did my testing for the day, and came back out pleased with the overall experience. I gave the lovely lady at the counter her payment and she returned my range bag so I could re-store my gun.

Oh, and ladies, they don't mind if you bring your purse out with you. I'm so used to carrying the thing on my shoulder I didn't even notice I hadn't taken it off until my third mag. The one downside was when I asked about drawing from a holster; they don't allow it. I can understand that and for my own purposes am fine with it.

I'd say that anyone who lives in the Reno/Sparks area should check these guys out! They've only recently opened up and appear to be well worth my business. :)

GBR IX
duhra
This last weekend was the ninth annual Gun Bloggers Rendezvous! Much fun was had by all involved, myself included, and many different guns were, of course, shot. I got extraordinarily lucky and had both Friday and Saturday off last week (ironically enough because too many coworkers had called in earlier that week and almost all of Friday would have been OT) so was able to attend not only the raffle/fundraiser, but the Show'n'Tell at the range on Friday! Woohoo!

Friday I got up at my normal hour, packed what I was taking to the range in my car, and headed up to my place of employment for my check. I was also going up there to make sure that no one was calling off that day, but I made it less obvious on that count. After ascertaining that I did indeed have the day off I hustled over to the boyfriend's abode with card and cake in hand.

For information, it was his, boyfriend Daniel's, birthday Friday so a cake and card were suitable I thought, though he did ask me if the cake would explode. Gee, can't imagine why he might think that! :D Picked him up and we headed out to the range.

I got excited as soon as we parked because I saw Kevin from Smallest Minority Then we found Zeke of Engineering Johnson and Mr. Completely. I think his name is Mike but I only ever remember him as Mr. Completely and his wife as Kiwi. My apologies guys! Daniel seemed a bit ansty about my being so familiar with all these guys old enough to be my father/grandfather, but I was just happy and excited to be there. Daniel wasn't too far behind me in that enthusiasm when he finally grasped just how the day's festivities were going to go. Everyone at the Rendezvous had brought at least one (most brought several) firearms to show off. The overall attitude was this:

"Hey! Come check out my awesome gun that has this feature / is from this time period / has this modification I made! Wanna try it???"

While Zeke was showing Daniel and I his prize gun, a Winchester Model 74 in .22, the range was suddenly filled with automatic fire from OUR side of the range. Nearly all heads turned in an "oooh! Shiny!" moment and Zeke muttered "...aand now I've lost everyone's attention." Daniel politely excused himself and went to go discover the source of the entrancing noise, and partake in making some more of it. Turned out to be a whole table of suppressed rifles, brought out by Special Interest Arms, one of which I thought was firing two shots at once because the slide going back and forth was louder than the shot itself! I'm not sure how many he tried but he later came back grinning like a shooter in a fully stocked ammo store.

I had brought two rifles with me and enjoyed having various members of the group (and some curious folk from outside the group!) put a few rounds through them. I eventually wandered the display of drool worthy subject matter and partook of a few myself. Methinks the men with the autos were just tickled with my reactions; smiling, giggling and properly controlling the weapons. Once I returned to my rifles I even had a pair of ladies try out my 30-30 and one of them was giggling after each shot. I couldn't be sure, but I think she enjoyed shooting it. :)

Near about 2 in the afternoon everyone was packing up to head back into town and Daniel and I took our leave. Having originally thought to grab some food on the way back and/or stop by Cabela's for some things we needed, we changed plans as yawns became more and more abundant. I dropped him off at his place and came back to mine, naps on our minds.

That was Friday. Then there was Saturday evening and the raffle!

Parental units and I showed up at just about the right time for some pre-raffle chatter and catchup with those blog members who hadn't been out at the range (or in the parents' case, just general catchup). Pizza was ingested, stories were swapped, and boyfriend arrived slightly confused by the directions the casino staff had given him. After Mr. Completely and Kevin said their bits about problems and solutions that had occurred before the Rendezvous (THANK YOU SO MUCH KEVIN FOR YOUR HELP!!) I and Jaci (pronounced Jackie) started the traditional selling of the tickets by the ladies! Jaci is excellent in this role even if I do miss our lovely Molly, my usual partner in crime. We did our jobs well. So well, in fact, that we sold ALL the raffle tickets!

Oh, and the money spent on raffle tickets and entry fees all went to Honered American Veterans Afield a charity organization that is run on a volunteer basis. All in all we gathered about $4,000!! Go bloggers!!!

After selling the tickets, and mixing them up with Kiwi, the drawing finally began! And it began in what I think is the best way possible. The newest member of the Rendezvous had his name pulled first.

Daniel.

Everyone cheered as he went up to choose his prize and what a prize he picked! A Ruger Mark III with a lovely holster made by Zeke himself! Pictures on his website! Baffled at his amazing luck he subconsciously decided to continue the streak by pulling the next name from the ticket bag.

Mine.

I, stunned and thinking he was playing, was greeted by laughter, boos, and shouts of "Rigged!" all done with smiles. I step up and go to the prize I had thought I would see in another's hands by the end of the night, a certificate for a SigSaur 1911 45-22(Courtesy of Osage County Guns)! Of course, as I stuck MY hand in the ticket bag to pull the next winner I HAD to tell the crowd, "Ok, so I'll pull your name next mom, and you can pull dad's ok?" Thankfully I pulled a different name out or I would've felt lady luck was playing with Murphy.

Other winners of note, until I just sat there grinning and praising my luck, were Kevin who finally after years of coming to this event managed to win a gun, a Highpoint 45 carbine, and my mom who got to take home that lovely Winchester Model 74!

I nearly forgot to add that the owner of Bear Bullets (no website yet) brought in a "Bucket of Bullets" .22 in as a prize to add to the table. Bear Bullets is a reloading supply store down in Gardnerville Nevada and he (and his prize) was met with great thanks and many hungry eyes. I believe it was won by a Jeff, though I could be wrong, and I can't place him and his blog together in my mind. If I think of it I'll update this post.

After the raffle more talk was had and many of the lucky winners were showing off their new prizes, myself included since I had picked up a flashlight as well, a Brownells Versatile Light or BVL530.

Before I sign off here, I want to give a big thanks to ALL the people and organizations that donated to our raffle and made this Rendezvous such a success! Thank you Brownells, Ruger, Highpoint, Glock, Bear Bullets, Osage County Guns, Special Interest Arms, and anyone else I might have missed in this post! If you attended the event and know the name of one I missed, let me know in the comments so I can add them to my thank you list!

*Updated thanks list to SIA and added a couple of sentences to Friday's range time.

Adventures in House Sitting
duhra
So last week my coworker went on vacation and asked me to watch over his house, two cats and one dog. I agreed despite his living about a 40 minute drive from where we work. I was looking forward to having some quality solo time and seeing what it felt like.

I found that I quite enjoyed the solo time and may have enjoyed it more if the dog didn't insist on waking up at 0710. Every. Morning. The morning routine went something like this.

0710 Dog stands next to glass door and begins whining and shaking his collar so its jingles. If I make no motion to wake after 3 seconds he repeats. If I make no motion to wake after 5 minutes he comes next to the bed to whine and sniff and shove at me until I do wake, urgently informing me that he must go outside to piddle.

0715 I finally tire of the dog's antics and, blurry-eyed, release him to the great outdoors of the backyard. Where he dashes off to find his toy. And bring it to me. To throw. And play with him. It is only after I have tossed it once or twice that he remembers why he wanted to come out in the first place and piddles.

0720 I walk back to the glass door to go in and he follows. I start to go about getting food in my belly and the other pets' bellies while he follows me around with one or another of his indoor toys, hoping I'll notice and toss it about the house for him.

0735 I have finally completed the food part of the morning and he is staring at me sullenly from the floor until I get up from the table and say "Go get your toy!" at which point he wags his whole butt and dashes off to find his toy for playtime.

Average morning there.

The cats acted as cats. One ignored me except when food was involved, the other decided I was his new favorite human and would ask for strokes a few times a day and sleep on the bed with me at night, purring. The dog was either hyper because he wanted to play or I was playing with him, or he was lethargic/mopey because I wasn't playing with him. I took him out for walks/jogs just about every morning and a couple of times in the evening, but it didn't seem to really phase his energy levels.

I did enjoy getting to cook for myself and see what the difference was between cooking for three and cooking for me. I ended up making some breaded chicken breasts one afternoon and realized that I had three meals after they were done. Dinner and lunch the next day were tasty! Breakfast usually consisted of a pair of eggs flipped once and seasoned to whatever I felt like that day. Dinner mostly came from the freezer.

I also checked out the Family Dollar store near my coworker's house. I had thought it was a dollar store and was astounded to see full size boxes of brand-name cereal until I actually looked at the prices. They're just a small, general-store type place. Nice place though, clean and well-kept, friendly staff.

Well, that was my week last week. Didn't want to say anything much until AFTER I returned home for safety's sake. Have fun y'all!

Vacation part the 3th!
duhra
I finally found my little journal with my notes from Maui! I can FINALLY complete the blog postings on my adventures there and gain that wondrous sense of accomplishment! Tallyho!!

Monday: We left for Hana about 9 in the morning and took the famed "Road to Hana" along the northern side of the island. The scenery was gorgeous! So much greenery everywhere and a number of small waterfalls along the way. For anyone who doesn't know, the Road to Hana is windy as in it has lots of hairpin turns. LOTS OF THEM. They make the road to Virginia City look straight. That, combined with a driver who only seemed to know stop and go and my sitting in the backseat, made me feel sick partway through. And yes, I was taking dramamine! I suggest either being the driver yourself or sitting front seat. Ouf!

We stopped at a black-sand beach in a small cove to stretch our legs and do some sightseeing. I've never seen water THAT blue! I'd always thought the pictures I'd seen had been shopped into being brighter. We went down to the beach and I got to explore a tunnel that ended at a different part of the cove. Found out that the tunnel used to be a lava tube which I thought was pretty amazing! Once I learned that I started seeing some of the other formations in and around the water differently, better recognizing what they were. We even went into the water and let me tell you, there was a LOT of sand adrift in that water near the shore! I was very glad to have bought goggles. Even if you aren't putting your head down in the water, the water can still splash up on you and get in your eyes, especially at the break. Out at a depth of 7 feet or so, I wanted to try to touch the bottom. It's a thing I do. I managed to get down and grab a rock to prove I'd touched and got an extra bonus. The rock had an abandoned seashell on it! Best beach visit ever!

We took the southern road back to Lahaina, a bit less extreme in its twistyness, and got to see some of the old lava flows. Much more grassy vegetation and much less tree and shrub vegetation. I also could see why the road was anti-tourist in the past. Before it was paved you would have mudslides and dustslides that would take you straight down to the ocean (ok, maybe a 10 degree slant to the ocean). Back to Lahaina for a good night's sleep!

Tuesday: Found out early in the morning that we would be snorkeling on Wednesday! Our host had set up a snorkeling trip for all of us who wanted to come and I was so excited!

Dee, Kit and I decided to use today for the purpose of touristing the town and getting our souvenirs. I went out in the dress I'd gotten the first day with the straps slightly adjusted for better stability. I found gifts for mom (earrings) and dad (some good hot pads for the kitchen!) and myself of course. Got some new batteries for the camera since it had died the day before. We even stopped by the local Barnes and Noble, me and my friend being bookworms. I found a small book on the Hawaiian language and a book of one of my favorite blogs, Hyperbole and a Half. Kit satiated her thirst for Titanic with a couple of books on the history of the ship. We both managed to keep from buying half the store so we were pretty proud of ourselves. We finished our day watching a dog-show competition on tv and trying to avoid the heat indoors under the fan.

Wednesday: I woke up early, around 530, and found out that while I would be going on the boat, I was not going to be going in the water for the snorkeling trip. I firmly believed in not being Nemo (Sharkbait! Oo-ha-ha!). Ah well. We all got together and our host drove us out to the beach where we met Dave, our guide. He took us in a dingy out to his ship, the Sanity.

I was in Sanity. Awesome.

He gave us the safety rules and introductions, my friend's family and I not being the only ones on the boat. We were going to circle Lanai for our tour. We had breakfast while we sped across the water, fresh pineapple and other fruits! And I mean FRESH pineapple! That stuff was the nectar of the gods! About halfway between Maui and Lanai, we come across our first pod of whales. Based on what we saw of their size and dorsal fins, I thought they were false killer whales (oh, we had all been given a little "guide to the animals you may see" handout). We continued to the NNW shore of Lanai and Shipwreck Cove. It turns out that most anything that cuts loose between Maui, Lanai and Monokai ends up here due to the currents. There were two different boats there, well rusted and degraded. Very interesting to see them!

We hit three different dive spots where most of the passengers went snorkeling. I was asked at the first one why I wasn't prepping to go in and answered that I would be shark bait right now. Immediately knew what I meant. I heard reports of turtles, pufferfish, angelfish and "lots of little black/white ones" depending on our spot. Between the second and third spot we were surrounded by a pod of dolphins and everyone got lots of great memories and pictures of them.

We also enjoyed the view of Lanai's shoreline and very pronounced cliff-line. Some spots looked like someone had cut the land with a knife. You could even follow where some of the waterfalls were during the wet season!. There were gorgeous striations in the rock and the water was absolutely crystal in some places with colors I've never seen in water, colors I'd swear were faked if I hadn't been there myself. On the way back to Maui we saw a pair of humpback whales, probably a mother and her calf based on size, go right past our bow not more than 50 yards off! At the end of the trip I "shook hands" with Dave and thanked him for the wonderful trip. The trip had been set up as free so I made sure to thank him properly. Dingy back to shore and then one last truck ride back to the house.

I put my shoes on and went took an evening walk into town to grab some pictures of the Banyan tree. Amazing tree that is HUGE. Wandered a bit up and down the main walkway and listened to a talented fiddler and a rooftop bagpiper. Both made very nice music. Saw a couple getting their picture taken with some macaws and a cockatoo. The birds were quite well behaved and the photographer/bird-keeper was cheerful and a bit silly, adding to the fun. After I returned to the house we watched Prince of Persia (it was the best thing on tv at the time) before gathering all our things and heading back to the airport to return home.

The plane ride from Maui to LAX was the best of the four flights being the smoothest and most comfortable yet. A big thanks to the crew for it! And as the flight was from about midnight Maui to six am LAX and I didn't sleep all that well on the flight, I was dog tired when I did eventually get home. Even with that, I had an absolute blast while I was on the island! That was an opportunity I was glad I reached out and took and I will never forget the fun and friends I made while there!

Weekend
duhra
This weekend wasn't overly productive but that's ok. I had fun and got some much needed rest. I visited the pool Sunday where I met one of my customers and her "gaggle of kids." After I got in my water workout I joined them in a game of volleyball in the shallow end of the pool.

I actually did more on Saturday though. Even though I let myself sleep in quite late I spent most of the late morning and early afternoon researching candidates for the upcoming local elections. I then took this information and voted at the local polling place. Afterwards I called up a friend of mine and we went down to the theater to watch Maleficent. I think they did well with it. It had a nice twist on the original fairytale giving Maleficent more reason to curse the king's daughter than "Oh, you didn't invite me, the evil witch, to the party. I feel left out and mean now." I think they chose the perfect person to play the title role in Angelina Jolie. I had known about her being in the movie, but had been unaware that her daughter was playing the role of the princess.

Not much else happened in Cubeland this weekend. Mostly just resting. So even though it's Monday, try to have a good day and a good week!

Change of plans/ A wedding
duhra
Ok, so I understand that I said part the 3th of my Maui vacation was to be posted next. Unfortunately, I have lost the notebook I put the notes in and have been trying to find it for the past month. Therefore, the final post covering my trip will be postponed indefinitely until I can re-find that dosh-garned book.

In other news...

One of my good friends got married this past Friday to her long-time best friend. I met the lovely miss Rani while attending the local community college where her bubbly personality, hardworking attitude and love of all things Asian quickly made us friends. She was my true introduction to the world of anime and has since been a source of happiness when the world gets me down at times.

Her best friend Dom was living with her when I met him. He's a laid back individual to counter her sometimes rambunctious energy and I believe he acts as her anchor while she soars the skies in pursuit of her dreams. At least while I've known them he has always been there to support her, even while she was half a world away teaching in a foreign country.

And now they will support each other for the rest of their lives, Rani giving him the energy to make it through tough times and Dom giving her a safe harbor when the storm-clouds form overhead. May the rest of your days be filled with happiness and all the best the world has to offer!

Congratulations!!

Vacation Part the 2rd
duhra
*Ok! Continuing on from where we were...*

When we returned to the house we found our hosts returned from a large grocery trip. We all ask how we can help, Dee is sent with stuff to the freezer, Laur helps put stuff away in the kitchen and I am told with a chuckle to take a shower to help de-sand myself. The shower was WONDERFUL but it didn't get all of the beach off me as I discovered after scratching my head.

After getting rinsed off I was introduced to the family bunny and cat, the bunny demanding pets and the cat just lounging right next to it. I drank water (a continuing theme while I was there) and generally relaxed with everybody. Talked a bit with Lawena about how Hawaiin is pronounced, made some linguistic connections of my own and vowed to practice with street names the next time I saw them.

I was asked to join in a vodka shot and seeing as I was on vacation I thought, "why not?" Note: I HATE apple flavored vodka! It tastes just nasty! Also, the black cherry vodka makes Cherritussin seem tame. BLECH!!!

The adults decided a bit later that it was time to go out to the local bar and party! Based on what I knew so far about the group, I decided I didn't want to be around a bunch of drunk people, known or unknown, but wasn't really sure how to get out of it. Mailei to the rescue! Laurie and I were invited out to see a movie with the youngest daughter of the household and even though Laur wasn't enthused with the movie choice (Frozen) we both agreed it was better than drunken adults.

Movie turned out to be pretty good and Mailei was good company. We visited the Banyan tree afterwards to see its glory in the dark of night, lit by local lamps. That tree is amazing. We also walked along the main tourist street, Front Street, where Laurie and I laughed commenting that the frequent art galleries there were like the frequent antique shops back home. Can't go more than three shops without seeing one!

We stopped by a shop selling bone sculptures and fossil stuff, Mailei talked with the shop keeper while Laurie and I oohed and aahed over various things including a miniature raptor skeleton sculpture and whalebone grips. I drooled over those quite a bit. We also stopped at a shop that sold glasswork. We got to watch the master of the shop put fins and a head on a baby humpback whale made of his glass. It was amazing to watch him work! We chatted for a bit with the secondary glasssmith who was pleasantly surprised to find us interested not just in "how pretty" the stuff was but some of the technical aspects as well. I knew there was a reason I took logic and physics in college.

Saturday we went around the western mountain of Maui to see the blowhole there in action. It wasn't too spectacular according to Dee who'd been there before, but I found it interesting regardless. I also found the scenery there to be delightful, a combination of the green you'd expect from a tropical island and the black and red of lava rock closer to the shore.

Farther around the mountain we stopped at Lorraine's Shaved Ice per Mailei's instruction. She told us that Lorraine had the best shaved ice on the island. I found myself hard put to disagree with her! That and her banana cream pie...ooooh I wish I had the recipe! Made with bananas fresh off the tree! <3 Laurie and I were also introduced, via the lovely lady Lorraine, to her "cheap entertainment." It's a plant that has male and female varieties. With the male type, you slap its leaves and it just does nothing, like a normal plant. The female variety though, when slapped, folds its leaves in very fast to show off the thorns underneath. No wonder it's called Lorraine's cheap entertainment, We were having way too much fun brushing the female leaves and watching them close and slowly reopen!

Laurie and I spent some time browsing for swim wear after we returned to Lahaina, no luck finding the type we wanted in prices we could afford. Her suit was years old and she wanted a newer one while I just wanted something that wasn't a one piece so I could easily wear it underneath regular clothing (my current suit has a built in skirt, doesn't work well with shorts). Before bed we watched some of the Olympics and cheered on our various participants. Watching the Olympics before bed became the thing to do while on vacation there.

Sunday was mostly a resting day, lazying about the house reading, playing a bit on my game, napping and generally doing nothing. Felt kinda nice. Mailei had apparently taken a shine to Laurie and I and asked us if we all wanted to go get our hair cut. I'd done mine before leaving for the island but I went along anyway. We ate at a Hawaiin barbaque place while we waited for the hair salon to reopen from lunch and discussed mainland vs island views of spam. Hawaiins LOVE their spam. Both Mailei and Laurie got their hair cut and I caught a catnap while was there. The warmth and humidity just got me sleepy...guess that means I was pretty relaxed too.

*Wow, this really is longer than I anticipated. One more part to go to cover the last 3 days and I've saved the best for last! (Not by planning, just because that's how it happened on my vacation.) Stay tuned, same cube-time, same cube-channel!*

Vacation Part the 1th
duhra
*So I've had an interesting couple weeks since returning from vacation and I apologize for the lateness of these posts. Plural. I found the idea of breaking up what would be a ridiculously long post into smaller ones to be good. Thus, I begin!*

So, that trip to Hawaii, lets see how much I remember. Oh look! A notebook with notes! *Flips pages and collects thoughts*

Getting through to the terminal for my first flight was easy. My friend Kit and I had printed off our boarding passes the day before and the airport was pretty quiet when we arrived too. We literally walked right up to TSA and zipped through. Spent an hour an a half roughly just waiting around. Talked with another passenger who said she was returning home to Maui after visiting family. She was very nice and even showed us what a Hawaii driver's license looks like, red with rainbows! Rainbows are a theme over there apparently.

The airplane looked very little to me when it came up to the gate, probably because it was an air"bus", meaning small, cramped and... economical. It wasn't bad, but it was clearly meant for local flying. Takeoff was fun for me, watching us rise through clouds, being surrounded by fog, seeing the valley and the mountains pass far, far, FAR below us. Most of the flight was very relaxing in fact. I find I dislike decents, or at least "driver" decents. Felt like we were braking in a car, somewhat hard, and for much longer than a car would take. Neat seeing the actual rain outside the window while we passed through a cloud into LAX. Taxiing took forever but that was because I truly didn't realize, and probably still don't, how big LAX is. I mean hooo-ee! That place is HUGE!

Got off the plane and noted that our next flight was going to be delayed. Ah well. We had to take a shuttle to our next terminal and once we found its exact location we found bathrooms, food/drink, and...A BOOKSTORE. This is, of course, very dangerous for me as a book lover. I could have ruined my entire vacation fund in that one place I'm sure. Instead I bought a single book in case I finished off the one I had brought with me, a Piers Anthony book. He's known for creating worlds where puns are a way of life. Tulip trees kiss you, the sandman is in the desert and I'm not even going near the popular fizzy drink called Boot-rear.

After enjoying ourselves there we returned to our terminal to sit and wait. Found ourselves in the company of another traveller heading to the island, this time on vacation himself. He claimed himself from Florida (and I thought my commute was bad!) and we proceeded to speak about the differences of weather in our local areas, airport sizes and common activities such as swimming and socail awkwardnesses. He seemed embarrassed at first when I figured him out to be an otaku.

An otaku is a person who generally stays at home watching anime, playing video games and drawing comics. It is a term that is often used in a derogatory sense, but if the people you reach in your society are not the kind you want to socialize with, what else can you be? How you spend your time at home is what counts. He tended to draw, watch the news and learn languages. He even had a Czech phrasebook with him that he had picked up from the bookstore at his last stop. He shared some sweet tea-cakes with us and we shared raspberry m&ms with him (he'd never heard of such a thing. They are delicious!).

Our flight into LAX was full, but the one going out to OGG(Maui) was not. The plane was a big one, a 767 with a 2x3x2 seating arraingment. I had two seats to myself on one side until a last minute family boarded. Mom and the two kidlets seated themselves in the center trio of seats and Dad sat in the aisle seat next to me. He was ticketed for the window seat but we each preferred the other's seat. Win for me. I watched out the window during takeoff and enjoyed climbing through night clouds (about 1830, after sunset) but the ocean was pretty much covered in clouds so there wasn't much to watch.

Spent most of the flight reading, a good book can do wonders! When we finally reached Maui I stepped off the plane. I hadn't realized that the ocean would be SURROUNDING THE PLANE. Good gumdrops that is high humidity! Kit and I swam to the downstairs bathrooms, the closest one was already accumulating a line, and stripped off our half-soaked sweaters that had kept us from being chilly on the plane. Kit's parents then met us in an Impala to take us to the house we'd be staying in. We picked up some Taco Bell on the way to scarf down before we all hit the sack at 2300HST. Slept in sections, new bed/couch does that, through the night.

I'm gonna say I finally decided "not to sleep" instead of saying I woke up, at about 0600HST when I was hearing a rooster in the distance. That turned out to be perfect, I usually get up at 0800PST, and the family we were staying with normally started getting up at that time too. Nice and cool that time of morning. 'Bout the only time it's "cool" over there sheesh!

First thing Kit and I did after eating a breakfast of homemade fried rice courtesy of Lawena(that's Lah-veh-nah) was explore the local area and find a shop that sold sunscreen. Found a cute little boutique that sold dresses, shirts, sandals and generally the stuff tourists like. They had sunscreen as well so I got a bottle as well as a very nice purple sundress and a necklace. Kit found herself a beach bag and some sandals.

Laurie, her parents and I all went out to Whaler's Village and the beach behind it for my first lessons in dealing with the ocean! I had a ton of fun figuring out that water up to the knee was simple to deal with, water above my waste was simple to deal with and that area inbetween was where I would get "ground pounded." I'm sure I gave quite a few belly busters to Dee because of my ineptitude. Also my absolutely too wide grins about it all. I was playing and having fun, what did I care if I got pushed up the beach a few times? :D

Note to self. Sea water will get sand into EVERYTHING, and while it tastes like tears, it does NOT feel like them in your eyes. I promised myself I would get a pair of goggles before I went into the ocean again!

We had taken a shuttle to Whaler's Village and so we had to wait a bit for the return shuttle to take us back. As we waited I had the pleasure of watching a small rainstorm approach us and then sprinkle on us. It was neat watching it down the small hills and onto us! Laur is checking her messages under shelter and chuckles at me because someone asks her if chains are mandatory over the pass. Apparently it was snowing back home.

*That's it for part the 1th, expect another section tomorrow! Don't worry, it's already written out so you don't have to wait. :P*

VACATION!!!
duhra
Ok, so I have officially taken my first, real, vacation. I didn't just take a week off work and pick a day to drive to Virginia City or a couple days just over the hill, I took an airplane to a far-away place with no feasible way to return early without serious monetary consequences.

I went to Hawaii.

I spent a week in Hawaii.

...That's still sinking in and I'm back home already.

My first impression of Hawaii was, "Holy crap! No one told me I'd have to swim EVERYWHERE when they said they had humidity!" Let me tell you, I enjoy not having to breath water. I am most DEFINENTLY a desert girl! I tend to feel that 30-40% humidity in summer is oppressive. I can tell when the humidity at home has risen to 20%. I think Hawaii has a policy of NEVER going below 80%. EH-VER.

On the plus side I stayed on the "desert" side of the island, or so I've been told. The few weeks before I arrived had seen lots of rain all over the island, more than they are used to in their winter and that's another thing. Whoever heard of being "chilly" in 80 degree weather?? How is that concievably "chilly??" People who wear sweaters in 75 degree, no wind weather are just crazy. Anyway, they'd been getting lots of precip. and that meant that the island was all around green. Every shade of green from deep jungle green to the yellowy-green of new leaves. This is apparently unusual for this time of year meaning I was looking at Hawaii in summer green with winter temperatures. Best of both worlds!

I had fun while I was over there. Got to visit a couple of beaches, go out on a whale-watching boat (DOLPHINS!!!<3), explore the touristy and non-touristy sides of Lahaina, the town I was staying in, and generally enjoy myself and the sun when I wanted.

If you have yet to figure this out, this post is just the overview of the trip. A more detailed, day-by-day entry will follow tomorrow when I've got fewer "finishing up the post-trip chores" to do.

Oh, another first for me, flying commercial. I'm also simply going to say it's my first time flying because the last time I was in an airborne airplane was when I was....three? Or four, basically so long ago and when I was so little as to void the experience from counting toward my personal tally. So I got to experience flying in two little planes (airbuses) and two big planes (3x3 and 2x3x2 seating). General impression: Airbuses are small, compact and tend to translate turbulence into your butt better than bigger planes. Bigger planes tend to be more comfortable and turbulence feels more than rocking than chopping. Also can't hear the landing gear come up and down as well, though you certainly know when it's down by the drag it produces. Oh, and I want to thank the pilot of my return flight from Hawaii in the big bird, that was a smoooooth flight!

Alright, that about covers the generics. Next post will be more of a play by play and I'll see about getting photos in place as well. Expect it to be a long one with them pictures!

Writing again
duhra
So some of you who read my blog know that I like to tell stories, mostly in the spoken and written word. I did a lot of writing when I was younger and especially in highschool with my friends. We wrote a superhero story with each of us having a superpower and fighting off a villian and his evil minions at our highschool. It was great fun and it always gave us something to talk about; and fight about. The fighting was mainly over who got the story binder when and who was next to add a chapter. It was awesome none-the-less, seeing your friends give you a shining role in one of their chapters or vice-versa (Toothpicks anyone? And let's not forget "fluffy kitty"). Unfortunately I haven't written very much in the intervening years (I keep almost all of it in a single folder).

So last month I decided to do something about it. I wanted to start writing again and I knew that if I just jumped into a self-made story I'd get it going and let if fall off that invisible cliff that appears a week after I start a writing project. My hands get tired of the pen or the keyboard and it will just be a little break of a day or two... three months later...yeeeeeah.

Okay, I told myself, making something from absolute scratch wasn't going to do it. What else is there?

How about a crutch? A...fanfiction of a sort? There's already history, a possible timeline to follow and characters built for me. Add in one or two new characters and let it fly...hmm...couldn't think of which book or movie to go with. Started knocking around on Deviant Art looking for inspiration. I found it.

Nuzlockes. A Nuzlocke is a way of playing a pokemon game, any of them. The basic rules are simple.
1: If a pokemon faints, it cannot be used ever again in the game. It must be considered dead or released.
2: All pokemon must be given nicknames upon capture.
3: Only one capture per distict area (nearly all places in the games are either a township or a route).

Reading some of other people's Nuzlockes I found other self implemented rules such as no healing items, or no using legendary pokemon or rules concerning what to do in the story with a fainted pokemon. Yes, in the story. People play their game and then create a story around their personal experiences. Mostly I was finding nuzlocke comics, but some people were writing them out too.

So I figured, why not? It would be a great way to get me writing a little at a time. Play through a section of the game, record what happened, create a story using the characters. Heck, the characters and even some of their characteristics are given to you upfront in the game. You catch a pokemon and, depending on which game you play, the fighting stats are supplemented with things like "brave nature" or "loves to eat." This would be the perfect crutch for me to hobble with until I got far enough back into the groove to go out on my own.

Best of all, there is a definite end to the story. You beat the top battlers, become the champion of the whole region and credits roll. Sure you can add a little after about going home or looking to the next challenge, but you don't have to do any of it. And you know what? It's working. I've been writing about every other day for the past two weeks. And my average word count per session is holding steady between 1400-2000. So far I've got a little over 26,000 words to the story and I'm not even halfway through the game yet. I haven't done any editing either, just writing. Putting the ideas on the page and letting myself get carried away with it until I can't think anymore or I reach the point I was last at in the game. I'm writing again.

And I'm LOVING it!

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