Shivering on the 49th Parallel
Friday, March 25, 2011

It took almost five years. Coincidentally that’s the length of the warranty I was trying to get it repaired under, but finally, something was done. There was a management change at Divers Supply Grand Cayman, and the new manager wanted to make things right whereas the old manager told me to go fuck myself.

Shortly before Christmas 2010, I was contacted by the new manager of the store (on Facebook) who reached out to make things right.

We talked back and forth and came to an agreement, and I edited and updated the posts from 2006 calling out his store for treating me like an inmate in a shower. I posted an update at the top of the three posts with the date, and then edited some of the piss & vinegar out of my rants. As I figured, it was the then-manager who was behind the absolutely horrendous “service” and treatment. Now that he’s gone (and probably most of the staff) it’s not fair to paint them all with the same brush as him (although given a chance, I don’t think I’d use a paintbrush on him).

It’s going to take awhile (if ever) for the Google search results for Divers Supply Grand Cayman to drop the old titles of the posts and replace them with the newer, gentler ones, but if anyone clicks on any of the links to my previous posts about Divers Supply Grand Cayman then they’ll see the new titles and the update, in bold, at the top of the page.

My replacement dive computer is up here now (although it’s still out at my friend’s house who carried it up here at Christmas from Cayman) so it was the right time to make a new post and edit the old posts.

Friday, March 25, 2011 10:39:04 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Rants | Underwater#
Friday, November 7, 2008
Hurricane Paloma is about to rock Grand Cayman with a direct hit. The weather is deteriorating already and the eye is supposed to pass very close by or directly over Grand Cayman tonight at about midnight. What’s the rub? ZAC WAS JUST THERE ON VACATION AND LEFT A DAY OR TWO AGO.
Friday, November 7, 2008 11:12:21 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Monday, September 15, 2008
The expatriate community in Cayman is rather unique and I don't think it's matched anywhere else in the world. The cross-section of industries who employ them and the union of where those generally distinct groups intersect can lead to some pretty outrageous situations, but at the end of the day everyone looked out for everyone else. There was always an extra seat available to pull up to the table or the bar and help the FNGs learn the ins, the outs, the what-have-yous of island life. That's part of what made Cayman special and probably why I stuck around so long. If I had to go back and do it all over again, I would do everything over exactly the same... except maybe that bit in Texas!
Monday, September 15, 2008 8:53:50 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman#
Thursday, August 28, 2008

So this is it.

I'm booked on one of the "extra sections" that Cayman Airways is flying to Miami tonight at 7:40pm. I'll get to Miami close to 10:00 and then tomorrow morning I can start looking for a way to get to Vancouver that won't cost me an arm,leg, my xbox and my firstborn male child.

Worst case I park my luggage in the storage area and go sack out in a pew in the chapel up on the 4th floor by the post office. It's always dark, quiet and air conditioned in there.


It isn't exactly how I pictured leaving Cayman, especially after 10 years, but I really have no good reason to stick around. If I did, I'd have to sit here in the dark, sweating my sac off with no air conditioning and maybe even no water, if the power and water are off. It's also costing me more to do all this last-minute stuff, but whatever... better than sweating it.

Unless I feel the need to post from the departure lounge at the airport, this will be my last post from Grand Cayman as a resident and local living urban legend. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008 11:18:04 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [4] | Cayman | Hurricane | Travel#

I woke up this morning at 6am. I don't know why... I never woke up this early when I was, you know, WORKING. I checked the NHC overnights before doing anything else and WHAT THE?!

Gustav went SOUTHWEST overnight and was 'rounding the SE corner of Jamaica and then... headed right for us. Christ on a pogo stick, there goes my flight for Saturday! I checked the CPA at Stormcarib (really the only reason to go there, all the self-professed experts who post in their not-so-humble-opinions get on my nerves faster than... well faster than a fucking hurricane can change it's course while you're sleeping!) and it's now forecast to pass within 9.0 miles of Grand Cayman on Saturday August 30th at 2:12amEDT (0112 local)

That's too close. Plus with the southern pass, we're going to get the brunt of the NW and NE quadrants as well as be susceptible to storm surge, which is really the killer in hurricanes. Fortunately it's only supposed to be a cat1 and become a cat2 once it passes us and heads into the Gulf of Mexico (and aiming for New Orleans). It strengthened pretty quick overnight, so it could be a cat 2 or even higher by the time it arrives early Saturday.

People are getting into busy mode, traffic is terrible especially the chokepoint between the airport and the rest of GT. Boards are up all over and the supermarkets are packed. I think as people woke up this morning and saw the change in track it spurred them out of "we should be ok" to "we need to make damned sure we're ready" so all the ants are hard at work, while the grasshoppers are laying on the beach.

Thursday, August 28, 2008 10:04:07 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Update: I spoke too soon. Watches will go up on all three islands at 6pm local time today.

It sure seems the 5PM EDT update didn't do us any favors. Closest point of approach is now 73.8 miles on Friday at 5pm. Grand Cayman is well within the tropical storm force wind "cone of death" and brushing the hurricane force wind field based on the updated tracking map at the Naval Research Monterey map. That means we'll have sustained winds up to 74mph with higher gusts. Not bad, but not good, either. Gustav is forecast to be transitioning from a cat2  to a cat3 around that same time, so looks like a shitty Friday night in Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.

Saturday the airport should be back to normal, including my flight that's taking me from Grand Cayman to Houston... with Gustav heading from here into the Gulf of Mexico, I can see the flight being delayed, and then delaying me into Vancouver (again) because it has to go arouuund Gustav churning away in the gulf. I hope they don't just cancel it outright though, that would really suck (for me)

I sent home my second trunk this morning via FedEx. 68lbs at International Air Priority rate to zone D. ouch. Tomorrow I'll send the Drobo (minus the drives) and perhaps a suitcase, too. If I have to start jockeying around and changing flight plans on the fly, I don't want to get dinged for excess baggage at every stop.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 1:57:22 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#


I have four more sleeps to go, my flight is booked for Saturday, August 30th at 4:45 PM. Hurricane Gustav is now expected to pass nearby sometime between Friday 2am and Saturday 2an. One model has it going south of us, the other five are varied but with two passing between here and Little Cayman and two between Cayman Brac and Cuba.

The page that shows all the models shows the intensity forecast and takes it up above 105mph at 96 hours and the discussion page/forecast at the NHC's site says:


Wonderful. Extremely dangerous is about as high as you can get. I think I read somewhere one time that category 3 was "dangerous', category 4 was "extremely dangerous" and cat5 is "catastrophic" so if I'm right and it's expected to be a dangerous hurricane in the northwestern Caribbean sea on Friday, that means we're going to get a lot of weather.

Of course, tempering that doom and gloom is the fact that hurricanes are completely random. When Ivan brushed past in 2004 (the eye never crossed land in the Cayman Islands, but rather passed less than 20 mines southwest) it was officially a category 4 with official winds of 154mph. Those officials weren't here though and 154 was their best guess. There were gusts over 200mph. Storm surge completely inundated the island and most trees were completely stripped of branches and coconuts, along with a lot of roofs. Compared to Hurricane Dean last year which also wavered between a category 4 and 5 as it approached us directly, then turned more west and went south of us spared us a lot of damage. Once the craziness of the airport was dealt with I went home to wait it out and nothing happened. Nothing major, anyway.

Judging by the map at the NRL Monterey Marine Meteorology Division's map, as of the most current update, Grand Cayman is going to be spared the hurricane-force winds and almost all of the tropical storm force winds. That doesn't mean we won't have "large battering waves" or storm surge encroachment and massive amounts of rain, but it also means the sustained winds will be less than 35mph with higher gusts.

Nothing to do at this point but to go about normal life and continue packing. Fortunately my clothes are going in Space Bags which are heavy ziplocs with airlocks and my trunk is mostly waterproof but will definitely float. Once the alert gets issued, watches and warnings go up there will be more to do (shutters, provisions, etc) but for now, hurry up and wait.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:37:57 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Saturday, August 16, 2008

Out and about (oot and aboot.. I gotta practice my Canadian accent, I'll be back in the great white north in two weeks!) today you would be shocked to think that there was a Tropical Storm Watch in effect. I was sitting at Paperman's Coffee House at the Strand with Lee talking about it. One thought that occurred to me was if this storm is less than 36 hours away, and it was as bright and sunny and cloud-free, blue-skied as it was today... how much (or rather) how little time did people have to prepare back in the old days before radios, telephones, radar and satelite imagery?

Tonight at the 1900Z update, the Gov't of the Cayman Islands upgraded the threat to a Tropical Storm Warning for Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, and kept Grand Cayman at a hurricane watch. That may or may not change overnight as the hurricane moves sort-of towards us.

In the forecast, it called for four to eight inches of rain over Hispaniola, Eastern and Central Cuba, Jamaica and the northern Cayman Islands with isolated areas of up to 15 inches. That's a lot of rain! Fortunately for the Cayman Islands, their topography is akin to a billiards table, but in Hispaniola, Jamaica and Cuba they have mountains, so that could lead to flash floods and mudslides (and not the cool creamy yummy kind that you can make with a Margaritaville Frozen Drink Maker... which I bought from SkyMall and is waiting to be picked up in Sumas WA when I get home! :) :) ). As of the last NHC update, they measured TS force winds extending out up to 105 miles from the center. That last update's forecast co-ordinates also calculate the closest point of approach to Grand Cayman of 179 miles, so while it will be breezy, we probably won't get 35mph+ Tropical Storm force winds.

On (which they finally got around to updating today... is it just me or is it just bad form and laziness when you post on the site that the next update will be at 7am, but then don't actually change anything until after noon?) they're saying:

Additionally the Cayman area can strong north to northeast winds of 15 to 20 knots tonight, 20 to 25 knots tomorrow, leading to very rough seas with wave heights of 6 to 8 feet, especially near the Sister Islands.

Aside from the missing word there between can and strong (which I assume should be 'expect') it says we're going to get N-NE winds 20-25 knots tomorrow. What does that mean? It means that on my second-to-last weekend in the Cayman Islands, I'm not going to get to go diving. Again. Last week got washed out due to a hangover (not mine, my buddy's) and this week due to Fay.

I guess this just means I'll have to call in sick one morning and go for a dive once the weather clears :D

Saturday, August 16, 2008 5:31:11 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Friday, August 15, 2008
So that's the bottom line... for saving the company $300 and burning a loyal customer, the store manager reaped two years (and counting) atop the Google search results for "Divers Supply Grand Cayman" with the terms "Fucked in the ass by Divers Supply Grand Cayman" in the link text itself.
Friday, August 15, 2008 11:11:10 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Rants | Underwater#
Thursday, August 7, 2008

No, not a soccer tournament.

According to my countdown timer on my Facebook profile I've crossed the 20 day threshold and there are 19 days, 1 hour, 1 minute and a few seconds until 12 midnight on August 27th, 2008 when my seventh and final work permit expires.

Tonight I tried to un-mount (dismount?) two paintings that I picked up in Cuba a few years ago that HazMat Jenny had framed for my birthday back then so I could roll em up, put em in a tube and pack them for safe travel home. Those things are in there but good! I don't think Thomas Crowne could get them out without damaging them!

There was brown paper on the back, affixed with glue or thin double-sided tape. That covered up the little spikey things that held a piece of cardboard in place that made the back flush. 24 little spikey things to be exact which are flush/countersunk into the cardboard which made grabbing them with pliers a bit difficult. Once I got them out and removed the cardboard... there as another set of spikey things holding the backboard in place! I also saw at this point that the canvas had been glued to the board where it was wrapped around AND TRIMMED. So if I managed to get all those spikey things out, then I'd have to get the canvas off the backboard, get all the glue off it and then when I get them re-framed, it would be more difficult as there wasn't a lot of canvas to remount it with. What ever happened to staples??? Fortunately my yoga mat is exactly twice as long as the picture frame, so I put it between the two frames and I'll wrap em up in bubble wrap as-is and FedEx them home like that.

Speaking of FedEx, holy Christmas is that ever expensive! I took a box down there last week that had DVDs, Xbox360 and Wii games in it. 22lbs. FedEx only has one service out of the Cayman Islands: International Priority Air. The service that costs $34 to send one of those FedEx Envelopes. Gulp. She weighed it out and gave me the bad news: $228 CI Dollars! I guess that's cheaper than buying the games again when I get home, provided I could sell them down here for $20 each or something, but still, wow.

Pressing my luck, I asked for a couple of the FedEx flat-rate boxes and took those home with me. Checking the FedEx website for rates, I found that the 25kg box had a flat rate of $293CI dollars for up to 55lbs and then another $6 or so per pound if you go over that. Into that box went the few books (heavy) that I decided weren't replaceable very easily. Log books and some CDs went in as well and then because there was space, I put my Oregon Scientific weather station in there and then weighed the box. 58 lbs. I thought for a few minutes what I could take out of there that was 3 lbs, but in the end, scrapped the idea and just sent it at 58lbs and paid the extra per-pound charge.

Right now you're thinking "IS HE OUT OF HIS FUCKING MIND? It's only $100 to check an extra bag on most airlines!" and my answer would be yes, but not without conditions.

I've never mentioned this here on the blog, because you never know who's going to read it. Any time I've ever talked or posted about work, I've always referred to it as "at work" and never used any names, first, last or otherwise that may have led to an identification of where I work or whom I was talking about (or down about). For the last four years, I've worked at Cayman Airways. Sure the six people who read my blog (thanks Mom, Jen, Marion, Jason, Beth and Bobby!) already know where I work, and anyone who's got me added on Facebook can see it, but I've never posted anything "officially" on these intarwebs that are spidered and indexed by search engines on a daily basis for posterity (whether I like it or not!)

So if you're not one of those six people, and you read this once in awhile, suddenly all the travel-related stories and gadgets make sense! Along with cheap flights (on standby, which are sometimes more hassle than they're worth) there are certain other perks that I'm privileged to have honored. The most useful to me lately has been a substantial (and I mean HUGE) discount at FedEx. :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008 8:21:28 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [4] | Cayman | Travel#
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
And the countdown continues.
Today I'm headed to Cable and Wireless to fill out a cease service form for my cell phone/blackberry data plan before the end of the billing cycle on the 25th.
Sadly, 935-DUDE will not work anymore after today. Sure someone else my swipe it up and if he's lucky even get a few late-night SMS messages with a "What are you doing? want some company?" booty call... But they won't be landing on my phone.

If you've had me on your Blackberry Messenger list, go ahead and delete me, as I've already sold the phone to someone else and the pin number will be theirs.

Have no fear, my first, original, 7 year old cell phone number is still around and I'll be using it until I leave. It's a pay-as-you-go phone, and sticking with the theme of my existing number, it's 91S-WETE

SO, to recap: 925-DUDE is gone. 91-SWETE is in. :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 12:44:57 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [3] | Cayman#
Thursday, July 10, 2008

One of the things I miss about back home was live music. Sure there’s live music down here, but you can only listen to the same songs being done on the steel pan, or the same cover bands doing the same cover songs so many times. Even the “big shows” that are imported are cover bands like Nearly Neil, Bjorn Again, Elevation or Innuendo. Once or twice a year there’s a big-name reggae or soca star that comes over from Jamaica or somewhere and just once in the ten years I’ve been here, there’s been a major North American band down here. Last year The Tragically Hip played in May, co-incidentally when I was in Italy so I missed it.

Compared to Vancouver, where there’s an entire grid of big and small acts performing every night at big and small venues it sometimes makes your head spin. I wanna go here, I wanna see them, I wanna go to that concert…

Back in the 90’s before I left for Cayman, I used to drag my friends around town (and sometimes all the way out to Chilliwack) to see a couple local bands: Rymes with Orange and The Odds. Shortly after I left Vancouver in 1998 (with all four of the Odds CDs) they broke up. Imagine my surprise when a couple days ago I see a status update from one of my friends that he’s setting up a fan page on Facebook for The New Odds. What the? I jumped on the fan page and found out that they released a new CD called Cheerleader just a few weeks ago. Sweet! Then this morning as I’m flicking through the news feed, I see that he posted it on his web site with the catchy riff on the Who’s lyrics from Won’t get fooled again (A GREAT song to rock out to on Rock Band, by the way :) for the title.

SO to recap: I leave for Cayman in 1998, the band breaks up shortly after. I move back to Vancouver in 2008 and the new band gets together and puts out a CD shortly before I arrive…

Co-incidence??? Perhaps…

Thursday, July 10, 2008 9:47:48 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links#

From Slashfood this morning:

Recently, the AFA (American Family Association) launched a site announcing that it will boycott McDonald's for not remaining neutral on "culture wars," particularly the corporation's promotion of a homosexual agenda. The web site shows a television commercial from last year's San Francisco Gay Pride in which McDonald's announces its commitment of support to the gay and lesbian community.

Co-incidentally, from The Caymanian Compass… also this morning:

A simple change to Cayman Islands law which would officially ban homosexual marriages here has now been drafted by legislators.

The text of the Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2008 was released on Wednesday. The amendment reads: “’Marriage’ means the union between a man and a woman as husband and wife.”

Co-incidence??? Perhaps…

Thursday, July 10, 2008 9:28:32 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links#
Friday, June 27, 2008
Moving? Sucks. Air Travel? Really sucks. Moving via air travel? Totally sucks.
Friday, June 27, 2008 7:55:16 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Travel#
Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I was flipping through Maxim a couple days ago, and in the front section where they usually have letters and things like that there was a picture from the Cayman Islands. This isn’t the first time the Cayman Islands have been featured in a Maxim/FHM-type of magazine. A year or two ago someone sent in a picture of a cube truck from down here that has always brought a smile to my face:

Harry Bush trucking. (When I find my copy of the picture I’ll add it in here.. it’s always good for a few laughs)

This last month’s issue had a picture of the front doors of the KFC in George Town with a few chickens in the foreground. The caption was something like “in their hearts, they knew the boycott would fail” or something like that. Even without the caption, it’s pretty funny to see actual chickens hanging around the front doors of a KFC. There are chickens everywhere down here… I would compare them to squirrels or rats in other metro areas.

Everton and I stopped in to KFC for lunch today and in a silent salesman on the counter was a notice that everything that normally had tomatoes in it would not have tomatoes in it until further notice.

Foster’s and Hurley’s both have pulled tomatoes off the shelves as well and the distributors aren’t bringing any more in, either. I can see why, 90% of our imports come out of Florida and they’re one of the suspects of where the outbreak started.

According to the countdown timer on my Facebook profile, 76 days remain until my final work permit expires and I hit the road (the air?) for Canada… At this point, BC Hothouse Tomatoes are just one more reason to look forward to it!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 12:47:17 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Misc#
Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Back in 2005, before I bought my Vespa LX125 I was in my Jeep full-time. It took me over 60 minutes each morning to get in to work and 45 to get home at night. it was, how you say… Le Suck? On top of that, the A/C crapped out!

I took it in to GT Automotive and they topped up the freon (or whatever it’s called now) and put some dye in it so they could see over time if there was a leak in the system. They also replaced a relay that was burned out. That relay was the cause of the warm air. The compressor was still working and spinning, but this relay was preventing the air from blowing cold. They told me that the compressor was drawing more current than it should, and that’s what caused the relay to blow.

Less than 24 hours later, I stopped at Foster’s on my way home from work with that sweet, sweet luscious air conditioning blowing cold on my knees. When I came out of Foster’s and started back up… it was warm and stayed warm. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

At that point, I decided I wasn’t going to keep dropping $65 on parts & labor to replace this relay over and over and that it must be the compressor. I waited, thinking that the compressor would be an expensive repair. Then I switched to the Vespa and the Jeep became secondary transportation at nights and on weekends, when it wasn’t so hot or I wasn’t wearing “business casual”.

Of course, last summer I was hit by that jackass in the roundabout and totaled my Vespa which put me back into the Jeep temporarily as my primary and as it turned out permanently. Still, it was fall and winter and the lack of A/C wasn’t that big a deal.

On May 1st, it was like Mother Nature flipped a switch and it got HOT out. Bleah. I had also already made plans to repatriate back to Canada and sell my Jeep, but the A/C was a selling point so I should really get it fixed finally. I’ve been thinking about getting it fixed for over a month now, and was starting to make calls around to see where I should take it.

This morning, after I popped into Paperman’s at the Strand (a 30 second drive from home) it was hot and muggy in the Jeep. Thinking that warmish air was better than no air, I reached down and turned the knob for the A/C which controls the blower and… WHAT THE DEUCE??? COLD AIR??? Surely it must be a figment of my imagination! Maybe it’s just the cool morning air in the pipes from having been parked in the shade… but no! It got colder! It stayed cold! It stayed cold all the way to work!

I’m going to give it a workout over the next week or so and see if it was an anomaly or if I’ve been sweating and feeling all gross by the time I get to work the last year or so!

Update: Well it's not working again. For a couple days I thought I had it figured out: make sure you turn the A/C off before turning off the engine but during my not-so-scientific-method of testing it, I shut off the engine with the a/c on and it hasn't come back on yet. I can't feel the "pull" on the engine when the compressor kicks in, so I think all things considered it's a wiring issue rather than anything REALLY major like a compressor because when it blew cold it was ICCCCCCCE cold! Time to break out the anti monkey-butt powder!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 7:28:26 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Jeep | Scooter#
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Little holy shit freak out moment this morning... I got a phone call from a 916 number. Some Cable & Wireless cell phone, someone who's not in my address book... tempted to let it go to voicemail, but I answered it.

It was an RCIPS constable. He's got a summons with my name on it.


I told him where I was and he came by my office and dropped it off to me. Slight moment of "what the hell did I do?" until i read it: it's a summons to witness, and I'm to give testimony/present evidence on behalf of someone named Regina... (ha ha yes I know it's the Queen) against the guy who hit my scooter last summer. Fucker's been charged with careless driving and they're bringing a criminal case against him!

Then I see the next problem: the court date is September 9, 2008... about a week or so AFTER I leave the Islands for good! I asked the cop about it and he said I would have to go talk to the court clerk. Good plan, I'll grab a sandwich at Fort Street Market while I'm downtown! (If you're ever in downtown George Town, grab a sandwich--the roasted chicken breast specifically-- and you won't be sorry. Best sandwich ever)

I go to the court, have to surrender my Leatherman when I go through the metal detector and empty my pockets and talk to the Criminal Registry. They told me no problem, just come back on Monday and they'll pull the file and get it straightened out. Great... but if it's that easy, why do I have to come back next week?

It might be nice if it works out that I leave on the 31st of August, and then come back on the government's dime 10 days later to give evidence in the case... that way I could come down with two empty suitcases and take the rest of my stuff with me, rather than have to use a moving company or airfreight to get my stuff home!

Thursday, June 5, 2008 5:57:07 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Misc | Scooter#
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I think it was today. Maybe it was yesterday, I'm not quite sure. The timing is good, however since I have a new affliction that I wanted to look up. I was up a little late last night and when I got up this morning my gluteus maximuses (how the hell do you pluralize gluteus maximus anyway) were a little sore.

My Wii arrived last night and I hooked it up to that sweet, sweet HP 65" DLP tv in the living room and gave it a whirl. Mario Kart, Wii Sports and Wii play. Suddenly it all made sense! Wii bowling! Taking that step as if I were actually tossing a bowling ball down the lane IS A LUNGE! I only bowled one game to try it out, so ten frames. One strike means I actually only bowled 19 virtual balls... so I suppose that works out to 1 set of 19 reps... and I can barely climb the stairs at work today.

This morning I see the Google Health link and click over there, thinking I can search on health-related things, like having a sore butt. I went to and in the search box typed "Wii butt" and didn't get any hits. At least not any SFW hits, that's for sure.

Matty & Co. are coming over after work tonight to play a little. This is the Wii that I received as a free gift back in December. It finally arrived in Miami on May 16th and I had someone who was travelling home from a business trip pick it up and mule it down for me. I connected it up and did the updates and connected it to my Wifi access point, so if you want to play Mario Kart online with me, or just connect and have my Mii show up in your games somewhere (when I get around to making one) then drop me a line and I'll add you to my WiiConnect24 address book. I think... I haven't really messed with it too much yet, but i think that's possible.

And note to any prospective Wii owners in the Cayman Islands: Make sure you check United States for residence, or NOTHING ONLINE WORKS. You just get a message (for Cayman Islands) saying "There is nothing for you here. We hope you understand." First thing I'm doing tonight when I get home is try to change that to the US and hope they aren't looking up IP addresses to determine country like Xbox Live does, or I'll be screwed for a few months until I relocate back to Vancouver.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 11:54:43 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Fitness | Gaming | Wireless#
Monday, May 19, 2008

Middle of May... Victoria Day in Canada, Discovery Day in the Cayman Islands and this year, my 35th birthday. Do I get a cane or something issued to me now? Fortunately I don't have the camera handy or there'd be a pretty ugly picture attached to this post.

Last night I was in the bathroom and looking in the mirror after washing my face and thinking "Hmm. I need to shave..." and no it probably did NOT have anything to do with seeing the "party in my nose" Edge Shave Gel commercial thirty times yesterday during the 6-0 bodyslamming of the Flyers by Pittsburgh.

I came out to the sitting room and said to John "I think there's something wrong with the light in the bathroom."

"Which one?"

"The big bathroom" I said.

"Why, what's wrong?"

I smiled and said "Well in that light, there's a lot of stubble in my beard that looks really light... like it's gray or white or something..."

He didn't even answer me, just flipped me the bird over his shoulder :)

This morning I slept in because duh it's a bank holiday. I logged on after brushing my teeth and Darlene IMd me:

[10:34] Darlene: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
[10:34] Darlene: Whacha doin today?
[10:34] Mark: thanks :)
[10:34] Mark: just woke up
[10:53] Darlene: you took the day off?
[10:53] Mark: it's a holiday
[10:53] Darlene: haha which one/
[10:53] Mark: Mark's Birthday
[10:54] Mark: the Queen called and woke me up... she forgot about the time zone thing
[10:54] Mark: AGAIN
[10:54] Darlene: LOL

So back to the temperature. It's hot out there, damned hot. I went out to get a coffee at Paperman's Coffee House over at the Strand and then went into town to take care of something. When I got back, the house was hoooooooot. I opened the windows and turned on the fans and opened the doors to get some breeze going but it was sill sweaty and still.

I decided to break out a notepad and a thermometer and see how well (or how bad) the AC works in this house. At 12:30 the thermostat was reading 89f. I turned on the AC and set it for 80f. I took my digital thermometer and put it on the coffee table in the sitting room and the temperature went UP to 90.4f

at 1:30 the temp in the sitting room was down to 85 and the temp in the living room was down to 90.1f

At 2:30 (now) the temp in the sitting room is 82f and the temp in the living room is 87.4f. In other words, the AC is useless, even with two floor fans blowing the cooler sitting room air into the living room. The good part is that the ac vent is right above where my computer is set up, so it's almost chilly enough to warrant putting on a t-shirt here, but as soon as you walk through the archway into the living room... bleah.

I'm going to let it run until 3:00 and record the "final" temprature and use that as a yardstick to measure whether it's even worth the effort and electricity to run the AC in the main part of the house or whether to just retreat into the bedroom for the rest of the summer where the temps are more civilized :)

Update: I popped out for lunch at 2:45 and shut off the ac. The lowest the temperature dropped was 87.4 in the living room and 82 in the sitting room. In the one hour and fifteen minutes that I was gone, the temp in the sitting room went back up to 86 and in the living room back to 90. ugh.

Monday, May 19, 2008 11:22:46 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [3] | Cayman#
Monday, May 5, 2008
A few minutes ago, Giles sent me this link to Perez Hilton's site which explains the website outage at CayCompass. "The Digg Effect" as it were.
Monday, May 5, 2008 2:02:42 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [3] | Cayman | Links#
I've been winding myself up and trying to think of some clever words to write about a gay man who was arrested detained for having the audacity to kiss another man while dancing with him, but I received this copy of a press release through two separate Facebook groups practically simultaneously a few minutes ago. I'm just going to paste it in here, and I can't really even think of anything to say at this point other than I hope they find out who the low-life cock smokers were who did it.

It hasn't hit the National Trust' website yet, but I'm sure it will be there shortly.

Update #1: Here's a link to the Recovery Program's Website with the press release.
Update #2: After a few conversations about what a suitable punishment might be (casting aside the obvious) I came up with the following idea, should the douchebag(s) be caught: A pole erected in front of the Royal Water Cruise Terminal, formerly the site of Historic Fort George. Tie the sum'bitch to the pole and have a public stoning... ok maybe not stones, but at least rotten fruit and veg in the noonday sun. And because I'm not a CRUEL person and I realize you can get dehydrated in this environment, hose him(or her) down with a firehose every now and then.

5th May, 2008. For immediate release.


Six critically endangered Grand Cayman Blue Iguanas were killed by unknown persons late on Saturday evening, in the QE II Botanic Park. The crime was discovered by volunteers with the National Trust’s Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, shortly after 9am on Sunday morning.

The iguanas appeared to have massive internal injuries, as if they had been stamped on violently and repeatedly. Some were also cut and partially dismembered. Three were found dead inside their breeding pens, two had been carried out of their pens and left in the tour area outside. The body of the sixth is still missing, but entrails on the trail outside his pen are a grim sign of his fate.

Department of Environment enforcement officer Carl Edwards was on the scene almost immediately, fast followed by the Royal Cayman Islands Police who began forensic work and have commenced an investigation. Dr. Colin Wakelin from the Department of Agriculture closed a large gash in one of the surviving victims and began making arrangements for an autopsy to confirm the causes of death, which will probably take place later today.

Dead on Sunday morning were the adult breeding males “Yellow” (sponsored by Caribbean Publishers), “Pedro” (sponsored by Websters Tours), “Digger” (sponsored by Simon Hicks), and “Eldemire” (christened by Kent Eldemire). The grand matriarch of the captive facility, “Sara”, was also dead. “Jessica” had been thrown out of the neighboring pen and was in shock, but still moving. Both females had been preparing to lay eggs.

The effort to save Jessica’s life went on into the night, but despite specialist advice by telephone from the Wildlife Conservation Society and Dr. Wakelin’s resourceful and determined attempts to stabilize her, she passed away during the night.

The persons responsible may have broken into the Park after closing hours, and found a way into the fenced-in captive breeding facility. No motive is known for this act of extreme violence against these unique and much-loved symbols of Cayman’s natural heritage. Anyone with relevant information is asked to contact the Royal Cayman Islands Police.

Monday, May 5, 2008 9:20:15 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [3] | Cayman | Links#
Friday, May 2, 2008
The whole reason I've brought this up is of course my impending departure in August or September. I'm going to have to re-learn all the little nuances and rules of recycling and what goes where. Compared to remembering to drive on the right, I think it just might be the one hardest thing I have to re-adapt to!
Friday, May 2, 2008 8:45:33 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
It's official, it's true, it's coming.
I've been rolled over. The ever-so-popular amendment to the Immigration Law that limits foreign workers to a term-limit of seven years has caught up with me. I pretty much expected them to catch up with me this year, and my "special circumstances" weren't that special afterall. :)
I arrived here in the summer of 1998. June 30th to be exact. I was on a three-month temporary work permit, and after that went into a 12-month GOL (Gainful Occupation License) this took me through to September 1999 and then I re-upped for another year. When that was up in August/September 2000, I left Cayman and went to Texas for a year. My year in Texas could be the fodder for many, many posts. To this day I refer to it as my "prison sentence" and ranks up there at the top of "The Stupidest Things I've Ever Done". I came back to Cayman in August of 2001 ostensibly for another three month stint at the Dive Shop to run the Cayman Madness program. I was going to nose around for work while I was here, but be home in time for Christmas and then if it worked out, come back down here in time for the spring break high season in 2002. That never happened.
Less than two weeks after I returned, right in the middle of Week One of Cayman Madness, (and also the same day the September 11th terrorist attacks happened)  the dive company was bought by another one and expanded to include shops on all three islands, plus a reservations office in St Petersburg, FL. That was when I started to switch roles and went from Divemaster/Dive Instructor with an IT background into a split permit covering both the Dive operation as well as the IT side of things (which yes, included fixing the VCR at the boss' house when it just sat there flashing 12:00) My three month "recharging of batteries" in Cayman segued into a six month permit and then in May 2002 another 12-month GOL. Then another, then another. In May 2004 I left the dive shop behind and moved into a purely-IT job and left my fins & wetsuit behind for a desk, shoes, socks, underwear and shirts with buttons on it.
This year, when my permit was renewed, it was only renewed until August 27th, 2008 rather than the full year of November 29, 2008. I knew right away that the jig was up, because it was seven years to the day that I set foot back on Grand Cayman. Sure enough the next week I got the official letter from the Department of Immigration telling me I had been granted my final work permit and that I should start making plans to leave the island.
At work, they tossed around the idea of applying for Key Employee Exemption, which would grant me another two years/two work permits but then I'd be in limbo until the application was granted or denied and then wait on the appeal. IF it went through, then I'd have to start the process of applying for Permanent Residency, part of which includes buying property (or at least makes them look more favorably at your application) and then they just might deny that after all that work. Conversely, if I leave here I have to stay gone for at least a year. After that year, should I decide to come back, my "clock" would be reset and I would have another seven years. I'm not PLANNING to come back here again, but I'm never saying never, either. In light of all that, I decided to not pursue the Key Employee exemption and gave my resignation, effective August 27th, 2008.
It's still four months away, but there's a lot of work to be done to re-patriate back to Canada. Paperwork has to be prepared, shipping of personal goods has to be arranged, selling of a whole bunch of stuff that I'm just not going to take back with me(Jeep, Vespa, computers, etc etc..., making arrangements to change addresses for my bank accounts (you didn't really think I was going to give up my offshore accounts, did you? :)) and arrange to cash out my pension down here and then roll it into new accounts back in Canada. I also have to update and circulate my resume and find a job, a car and a place to live back in Vancouver.
Part of the reason I "went quiet" here on the blog was that I had not yet told some key people what my plans were, and I wanted to tell them face to face. I met my parents in Naples FL last month and told them over dessert, and my honey Lauren was down here for a visit just now and I sprung the news on her the night that she arrived while we were sitting on the beach watching the sunset. She was a happy bunny. :)
Now that the cat is out of the bag, I'll resume posting things here again more regularly because I'm absolutely positive that there are going to come up situations when dealing with the various governments that are juuuuuuuuust hysterically funny.
As an aside, I wonder what to call this blog once I move, or if I should even bother with it anymore? It won't be nearly as engaging as it was when I was "kickin back at 19n 81w"!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 12:28:18 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [6] | Cayman#
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The first rule of Bartender Fight Club is - you do not talk about Fight Club. (Wronnnnng... get the word out! Advertising on Facebook is OK though) The second rule of Bartender Fight Club is - you DO NOT talk about Bartender Fight Club. See First Rule Third rule of Bartender Fight Club, someone yells Stop!, goes limp, taps out, the fight is over. Sounds like a pretty good rule to me... someone should have let that ref know about the third rule for Steve Chapman's fight. Fourth rule, only two guys to a fight. It's only fair... Fifth rule, one fight at a time, fellas. Try not to have too long of a gap between them though Sixth rule, no shirt, no shoes. Cups, mouthguards and shinguards are required though. Seventh rule, fights will go on as long as they have to. ...or three rounds, whichever comes first. And the eighth and final rule, if this is your first night at Fight Club, you have to fight. And fight they did. Holy shit did they ever fight.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 8:17:21 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Sports#
Friday, February 15, 2008
Not just Queen lyrics anymore!

I just checked my work permit application online (or rather HR did) and my permit has been approved! Hooray!

While the start date is Nov 30th, 2007, the day after my last permit expired, the expiry date is August 27th, 2008.

That's not quite a full year, you say? You're right!

August 27th, 2001 was the date that I stepped off the plane when I moved back here from Texas. If you do the math, you'll see that it's exactly seven years.

That's right, seven years. My time in the Cayman Islands is up. Regardless of what my employer wants or would like to do, Immigration will not grant me a "Gainful Occupation License" or GOL past that seven year date.

I'll be getting a letter in the mail shortly officially kicking me out of the country.

I, uh, well I can't really think of anything else to say just yet, but I'll post more in the coming weeks/months about it as my countdown continues.

Friday, February 15, 2008 11:07:21 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [5] | Cayman | Rants#
Thursday, February 14, 2008
After all the posturing and bellowing rhetoric about the apartment and couch, the landlady emailed me the other day and was "pleased with the appearance of the apartment, especially compared to the last time I saw it" and got an estimate for $350 to fix/recover the sofa. We had a guy come give an estimate at $300 last month before we moved out.
Sure it should have been "wear and tear", the key word being tear, but we aren't really in any position to argue about it. There's no laws down here keeping landlords from being total douchebags and small-claims court exists but takes forever.. in the meantime she's holding on to the deposit.
The next paragraph she wrote "I don't want to be the typical mean x-landlady, so if you want to meet up later this week, we can exchange keys for the remainder of the deposit".
WTF? Who are you and what did you do with the landlord who I was dealing with last month?! I had already made a decision in my head when I got back from Miami last week that if she wanted to charge us more than $400, then I was going straight to the courthouse to open a case in small claims court. Since this was under it, I wrote her back right away saying sure that's fine, let's get it done (and put it all behind us).
I'm hoping to meet up with her today and do that, then pop by the water company and pay last month's bill and have my name taken off her account and put on to the new account and then we're done.
Even John was shocked when I told him about it that night... "just do it, man let's put it behind us!" which made me laugh because that was exactly my thought.

Thursday, February 14, 2008 9:15:01 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Misc#
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Nothing sucks quite as hard as having to move... I suppose the blessing in Cayman is that 99% of rentals are furnished so you don't have to rent a truck and move all that heavy shit around. Still, all that packing and unpacking is a pain in the arse.
Saturday, February 2, 2008 3:36:33 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Movies | Scooter | Tech | Gadgets | Gaming | Microsoft | Wireless#
Saturday, January 26, 2008
The light at the end of the tunnel may very well be an oncoming train. I've been back from Vancouver for about 10 days now and haven't had time to stop and breathe.
Saturday, January 26, 2008 8:44:19 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Misc | Scooter | Sports#
Saturday, December 15, 2007
I looked west and saw the last light of the day, I saw the moon straight above me, and to the east... dark, dark, almost swirly black clouds. Yeeesh. I looked at my watch, back at the clouds again and thought "well I can squeeze in a 3 mile run before the tropical storm arrives!"
Saturday, December 15, 2007 6:55:57 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Fitness#
Thursday, November 29, 2007

Last week I arrived home one night to find a plastic bag hanging from the doorknob. It was the 2007-2008 telephone directory from Cable & Wireless. My first thought was "great, now there's going to be another 50,000 old phone directories in the landfill" but I just couldn't bring myself to throw it in the bin. It felt... wrong.

I sent an IM to a friend who works at Cable & Wireless and asked if they had any takebacks or recycling program for telephone directories. I didn't think they would, recycling is woefully non-existent in the Cayman Islands but it never hurts to ask, right?

The next day I received an email from her with the following:

Cable & Wireless has partnered with the non profit organization Global Green Caribbean to collect old telephone directories for recycling. Other partners in this initiative are CayShred and Fosters Food Fair. We have added our Anderson Square and Galleria Plaza stores as drop off points. The drive to collect old directories will last for the next week. Persons dropping off old directories will also get a green bag while quantities last. So please help support this very worthy effort and bring in your old telephone directories to either of our store locations and tell a friend.

Well shave my balls and call me Harry! I took my old telephone directory and another one I found lying around and put it in the plastic bag the new one came in and put it in my jeep to drop off. I was in Foster's Food Fair at the Strand last night getting some Borax for my running clothes (to say they smell like goats is an insult to goats the world over) and I didn't see a box, a sign, a table, anything saying "drop your old phone books here" and I forgot about it.

Today I stopped by the Galleria Plaza Cable & Wireless store to drop it off. I wandered around, no bin, no signage no nothing. I asked the cashier and she referred me to one of the CSAs, so I waited in line until it was my turn. She knew what I was talking about, took my directories and even gave me a green reusable grocery bag. Sweet!

If I had not asked someone who worked at C&W, I never would have known this program existed.. and is it over this week? They REALLY could have done a much better job of letting the public know about this... Mount Trashmore is high enough already without adding literally tons of easily-recyclable paper on top of it.

I'm glad Cable & Wireless is trying to make positive changes and offer recycling, but I'm a bit cheesed off that they didn't really make it very public. Of course, I could be wrong, it HAS happened before! It could be that they're gearing up for it this week and going to kick it off next week and advertise is in the newspapers, their website and on the radio...

Thursday, November 29, 2007 1:30:25 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tonight I finished Week 5 of the Couch to 5k program from Week 5 was the first week to end with a sustained run, in this case two miles/twenty minutes without stopping. I've been apprehensive about it all week, and was almost to the point of dread and nervousness all afternoon leading up to the run tonight.

I walked over to the John A Cumber Primary school playing field and started the week five podcast, did a lap around the playing field to warm up and then started the two mile "clock" at the corner of Hell Rd and Town Hall Rd. I jogged along Town Hall Road to the fork and turned right and went up Northwest Point Road until I hit Watercourse Road (Crack Alley). I turned there and followed Watercourse back to Hell Rd and turned back up towards the school. I got to just about Club Inferno (get it? a bar in Hell called Club Inferno? no? well neither did anyone else and it's been closed for a few years now) and then walked it out from there back home.

When I got back to our carpark, I ended the workout and (not including the walk and the warm up) it came out to 2.52miles, 27 minutes, average pace of 11'09" and 330 calories burned. Once I got into the run, I started thinking ahead to finishing it, not 'oh my god I'm going to die' or 'my lungs are on FIRE!'. I planned to raise my arms up over my head and let out a big whoop when I hit two miles, but things didn't quite work out according to plan. :) Since I was running around 9:15-9:20 per mile and the podcast was timed to a 10 minute mile, my iPod clocked two miles about a minute before the podcast did, so I actually did 2.1 miles before cooling down.

By the time the podcast told me to slow it down to my brisk walking pace to cool down, I was so out of gas that I didn't have the energy to raise my arms! :) My legs were a little rubbery, and I kinda felt like puking a little. By the time I got home, stretched out and took off my shoes, my heart rate had returned to something resembling normalcy and I was able to have a little whoop!

That's the farthest I've ever run in my life.

I've also been watching what I eat lately, too. As I wrote earlier, six weeks ago when I started exercising again after the accident, I could feel my whole front: belly, moobs, everything sloshing around as I ran. Now things have tightened up a little, but I'm still clocking in at 174.5lbs and 24% body fat. I can't imagine what my stats were six weeks ago if I'm visibly skinnier now! Anyway, since tonight was a milestone (literally) I think I'm going to celebrate a little and break program and have some dessert. I'm undecided if it'll be a brownie a la mode at Legendz, or seeing if Decker's still has their almost-orgasmic chocolate fudge caramel pecan pie or maybe just pop a little further down towards town for a little gelato at Giancarlo's Antica Gelateria.

On a side note, I've had gelato all over the place, and by far the best gelato I had was at a little shop in Florence called GROM. Hands down the best gelato, ever. SECOND best gelato is a tie, between Antica Gelateria here in Cayman and Dolce Amore on Commercial Drive in Vancouver.

Tomorrow's a day of rest and then Monday I hit the road again for Week 6 of the Couch to 5k. Normally today would have been a day of rest too, but last Monday was a holiday, and I wasn't feeling well either so I switched to Tue-Thur-Sat this week. If I keep on-task, I should be hitting Week 9, which ends with the 5k/3m goal while I'm in Tampa for training, so I may repeat one week between now and then, considering i'll be on a treadmill in the hotel fitness center that week and aim for 5k before Christmas!

Saturday, November 17, 2007 4:59:23 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Sports#
Friday, November 2, 2007
Wow, who knew? They managed to raise KYD$28,000 last year with all the MOvember business. There's hope for me yet, at the end of the month at the big ball at District 6 there's an "under 12" category for best moustache. Perhaps my caterpillar will be visible by then! :)

The Cayman Islands Cancer Society is doing a lot of the legwork, and there's stuff going on on X107.1 as well. The official site (for here) is and of course, on Facebook as well. I need to pop by there this morning with my registration form and get registered.


Friday, November 2, 2007 7:14:09 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links#
Wednesday, October 31, 2007

As bad as I look with facial hair, I'm going to participate in Movember this year.

I'm also cheating a little bit. I have yesterday and today's growth of hair already, because it would take me all of Movember to grow a molester moustache of peach fuzz as it is. I got enough ribbing for taking 3 weeks to grow a noticeable beard after Hurricane Ivan.

There's a Facebook group for Movember in Cayman, and there's a kickoff party tomorrow night at Calico Jack's. If you don't know what Movember is all about, consider yourself pageslapped.

Oh yes, I'm still running. I'm into week three now and going strong. MOre to come on that soon... I promise. :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 4:52:52 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Misc#
Monday, October 15, 2007

Helmets are mandatory in Grand Cayman. I don't really see why it has to be a law, it's in your best interests to wear a helmet on a bike or a seatbelt in a car. Not so much in Florida. It always used to amaze me to see people cruising around on choppers with their mullets flowing in the breeze, but at least they were just cruising... 25, 30 mph something like that.

I learned the hard way on August 4th that even 25mph is pretty damaging if you're hit by a car and take a tumble from a two-wheeler onto the asphalt. Fortunately I had on my new, full-face helmet at the time. Based on the scratches and whatnot on the helmet, if I had a half-face helmet I would have had some nasty road rash on my face, or worse. As it was, I ended up with (eight weeks later) some purple scarring on my knee underneath the healed skin. It's kind of creepy looking, you can see how thick the skin it on top of the purple scar. The rest of my road rash has cleared up and only left little white flecks in my tan where the scabbing was. My left foot and my left shoulder (rotator cuff) are still giving me some issues and the Doc has me on Arcoxia still.

A couple weeks ago I was up in Miami for the week and one night I was driving back to my hotel on 836W (Dolphin Expressway) and a guy FLEW past me on a crotch rocket. With no helmet. Now maybe it's because I've had a "strong sign" but I remember thinking "jeeze Louise, what is he THINKING?" A couple nights later on the same stretch another crotch rocket whizzed past me on the Expressway, this time with a passenger, and both with no helmets. USUALLY whenever you see people who ride those kinds of big bikes, they've also got full leathers and full-face helmets, but this guy had on jeans, sneakers, a t-shirt and no helmet. Unbelievable.

Just a few days ago I was IM'ing with my brother and was telling him about my accident a couple months ago. He asked me if I was wearing a helmet and I said "DUH... of COURSE I was..." and then told him about the two bikes on the Dolphin Expressway a few weeks ago.

Then this morning... as I'm waking up the local news on the radio announces that on that same stretch of road, at LeJeune, right by the airport, a motorcyclist lost control. He went down and he and his passenger skidded along the ground, hit and then WENT OVER the embankment on the exit ramp and fell onto another exit ramp below. Both were pronounced dead at the scene. Turns out that they were two people from here in Grand Cayman, one was an RCIP officer. Weather conditions weren't mentioned, nor was any specific reason for causing the loss of control, but it doesn't really matter. It happened, and two people died because of it. Would it have made a difference if they were wearing helmets? Maybe, maybe not but it certainly wouldn't have made anything worse.

Seriously, even if you're on a bicycle, wear a helmet. There ARE worse things than dying.

Monday, October 15, 2007 4:53:44 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman#
Sunday, September 2, 2007

This morning while I was at Vespa Church at Paperman's Coffee House at the Strand, the Cayman Islands NHC issued a tropical storm watch for Grand Cayman. That means we could get TS conditions within 36 hours. We're on standby at work, waiting to see what happens over the next 12-24 hours to see what develops. As it stands, we're going to be far enough away to avoid pretty much everything except shitty weather for a few days and maybe some high seas and waves for a day or so. More to come...

Sent from my BlackBerryR wireless device from Cable & Wireless bMobile

Sunday, September 2, 2007 11:34:57 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#

Two weekends ago we had a little brush with Hurricane Dean. Nothing major, lost a couple shingles but a huge disruption to the normally care and stress free existence that's kept me down here so long.. ha! Anyway, in the lead-up to the storm's arrival, we went through the checklists and steps to preparation. I still have a checklist, but it's pretty much all in my head now because we've been through it so many times... test and tune the generator, inventory and stock the food that needs replenishing, prepare a go-bag in case you need to GTFO of Dodge, document prep, off-site backup of data files (thanks, Stacy for pointing me to Foldershare) fill up the cars with gasoline (A full bunker is a happy bunker) and all of that sorta sorta.

Our landlady didn't think it was worth the trouble to board up or anything because "it did fine in Ivan". Every storm is different, if it comes from even 1 degree different angle it can mean the difference between a safe house and being perpendicular to coconuts, shingles and anything else that gets picked up and blown around and through windows. Ultimately, it's her place, so whatever.

Since it was the first threat of the season, the food supply was pretty low-to-non-existent so when I went shopping (two days before the mad rush) I spent $89 on food & water. most of it was hurricane supplies, but some of it was just regular groceries that I needed as well. I topped up the tank on the Jeep and made sure that Scott's car (that I brought and parked up here for safekeeping) had a good load of fuel too, in case we needed it later on to run the generator).

Since then, I've been driving around on that fuel in the Jeep and had to fill up late last week. I actually let it get right down to fumes and was lucky enough that I rolled into the gas station on momentum! Power Plus (the cheaper stuff) was $4.31 a gallon late last week. Fumes-to-full on the jeep was 12.25 gallons so I was really sucking the dregs from the reserve of the fuel tank. $53.00 later, the tank was full. $53.00!!! That should get me about 350 miles or so,  I'm going to be running this tank down to fumes again to see how far I can stretch it, mileage wise to work out in my head when I need to fill up again.

Compared to my poor little Vespa (which is sitting behind the shop, starting to rust awaiting it's fate from the insurance company) which only took about $5.50-$6.25 to fill up with the good stuff, it was a tough pill to swallow. I guess I have to compare that to the trauma I went through last month and all the medical bills and laying in bed for a whole week and then it's not so bad, but from a purely financial point of view, cars are getting way too damn expensive to operate. It's times like this that I really feel sorry (well not that sorry, no one twisted their arm to buy it) for people who are running around the island in their Suburbans and Expeditions and other silly V8-powered SUVs that are only ever forced to navigate the treacherous puddles after a rain shower.

Sunday, September 2, 2007 7:51:36 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Jeep | Scooter#
Monday, August 20, 2007
Update: The Cayman NHC issued the all-clear at 1630 local time, today 20/08/2007 Curfew was lifted a few minutes ago at 1400 local. We tempted fate (and a $2000 fine and/or 2 years in prison) to make a run down to the Yacht Club to check on Gordy's boat. It was all good. I had my camera in the underwater case so we shot some pictures and some video of the big waves starting to come in on the west side.
Monday, August 20, 2007 11:11:43 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Hurricane#
We're pretty much out of the shit, now. Closest Point of Approach was about 9am this morning give or take. It's still windy out there, maybe 20-25mph and some higher gusts. Our carpark is dry. There were some squalls earlier around 5am but not right now. We have a couple trees down out back.

About five minutes ago I heard noise outside and looked and saw a big front-end-loader turning around in our driveway, and he drove off somewhere following a big pickup truck.

As the winds shift now to the south, the waves will pick up and start affecting the south coast. High tide was earlier today about the same time as the CPA. Forecast storm surge for cayman now is only 1-3 feet on an ebbing tide but 16-20 ft waves.

I just saw some people walking down our street. Curfew is still in effect though. They turned around and came back, maybe there's a police checkpoint at the corner of Hell and Town Hall Roads. I'm getting hungry now so I think Im going to go make some lunch and see what's on the boob tube with John. Later on I may venture out down to the 4-way stop and see what the sea is doing.

I think I'm going to permanently mount my weather station stuff when this all dies down, with the anemometer on the cable tv mast on the roof. I'll call the page "How's the weather in Hell?" :)

Monday, August 20, 2007 8:03:58 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#

it's 7am, the closest point of approach isn't for another two hours, but I don't think it's going to get much worse than this. I woke up at 5 to thunder, lightning and pounding rain, but now it's mostly just windy. I would venture a guess (without getting out of bed and going outside) to be 40-50mph winds.

I took a 10 second video clip just for you, Derek, but it's pretty lame, so I didn't upload it anywhere :) the trees are doing aerobics, but they're green leafy trees, not palm trees.

I've opened the blinds now, so I'm laying in bed watching the tops of the trees bob around. It should continue to get worse until about 9am and then start slacking off til about 5 or 6 tonight. As it swings past us and the winds shift around to the south, the waves will start to pound the south coast and the southern-facing West Bay peninsula which is where I live, but I'm inland.

If you want to look on Google Earth, the coordinates of the trees I'm looking at is in the kmz file attached below. From there you can poke around the rest of Cayman seeing where things are in relation to where I am.

The Trees.kmz (.64 KB)
Monday, August 20, 2007 4:23:51 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Sunday, August 19, 2007

It's midnight now. Water is off, power is on. I went outside to take a whizz (no flushing toilets, it's good to be a member of NO MA'AM sometimes.) and check on the conditions a little while ago and get this: the sky is clear and there are lots of stars out. Every now and then you could see a lightning flash wayyyyyyy far away but so far away that you can only make out what general direction it's coming from.

It's windy outside, but not terrible or anything, yet. Trees are moving, bushes are rustling and my anemometer is spinning around much like I'm sure John's bed is now after he drank a whole bottle of red wine on his own and then decided it would be a good idea to open the new bottle of Jack Daniels :)

I'm exhausted from all the work over the past few days, so I'm going to sign off here for the night and get some sleep. If the shit hits the fan in the middle of the night, I'll post it here when I get a chance, but I have a feeling the next post is going to be something like "it's 11:00am, I just woke up and according to the storm track, it's as close as it's going to get. I'll be back in awhile after I go cook some breakfast" or something like that.

Sunday, August 19, 2007 9:03:33 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#

It's dark out, and the lights are on still, so the only thing you'd see in the window pane is the reflection of "300", The Transformers, Oceans 13, or whatever else John picked up at the little pirate movie shop down at the corner.

I did set up the Weather Jeep earlier, but I had it mounted 90 degrees off, and because it's in the courtyard of our apartment complex, it mostly spun in circles, but the speed reading was about right. Pressure, temperature and humidity were more or less accurate as well. The batteries are probably low in it and the wireless signal was a bit weak, but it works. I plugged it in to my desktop computer (it's old and only has a serial connection, rather than USB) and wondered if the software would with Windows Vista, and it did, sort of.

The interface software worked, but the jpg creation/web wasn't talking to the interface software. I dowloaded the upgrades and then NOTHIN worked! :) I played with it for a few hours and then said fuck it. :) I have the receiver/display unit, so I'll post data based on that, it just won't be automated. had a press release saying that Cayman Water Company was waiting until the 4:00 NHC meeting to decide what they were doing. After that they decided to cut the water off at 9:00. I had already taken a nice long hot shower and then filled the tub. Nothing about CUC proactively turning off the power though.

Right now they're expecting 60-70mph sustained winds, and 1-2 inches of rain between 2am tonight and 5pm tomorrow. By then the winds should drop below the 35mph tropical storm threshold. I think what's going to happen is I'm going to wake up tomorrow, after sleeping in, look out the window and say "Shit I missed it!"

Sunday, August 19, 2007 6:15:12 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#

From the NHC:


From Stormcarib's "How Close Can It Get?" applet:

Results for Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (19.28N, 81.35W):
The approximate Closest Point of Approach (CPA) is located near 18.4N, 81.6W or about 63.7 miles (102.4 km) from your location. The estimated time of when the center of the storm will be at that location is in about 25.3 hours (Monday, August 20 at 12:18PM EDT).

I guess that's like being strapped down to a table while someone holds a circular saw 1/4" away from your face... you're going to feel it, but you're not going to get hurt by it. Or so the thought goes. A lot of people are perkier today thinking that we might be spared completely, but the tropical storm force winds extend out 205 miles, so that's a storm diameter of 410 miles. At 18mph, that means from the time we start feeling the effect to the time that it clears up again is 22 hours at up to almost hurricane strength winds, with of course higher gusts. Storm surge is also a concern, the last update says seven to nine feet so if we're right at the edge of the hurricane wind field, we should have minimal surge, but still pretty massive wave action.

Of course, it could wobble close enough to throw the entire previous parargraph to the wind (haa, I'm funny, I know) and bring that buzzsaw ashore here in Grand Cayman.

Sunday, August 19, 2007 8:29:14 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [4] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Saturday, August 18, 2007

What is it about hurricanes that makes me quote Jack Burton so much?

Hurricane Warning has been issued for the Cayman Islands which means we can start feeling hurricane-force winds within 24 hours.

Game on.

Saturday, August 18, 2007 7:00:12 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Hurricane#

We're still under a watch, it'll be updated to a warning overnight because it's expected to hit early Monday morning. There's not much to post, there's only so much weather channel and NHC NOAA web pages you can read. They're all the same. Impending doom. I was looking for a picture of the clock in the Harry Potter books that points to MORTAL PERIL but I'm so friggin tired I just can't be arsed at the moment.

I went by the airport today... holy sheetrock! Probably not the best week to stop sniffing glue if you're an ATC operator. There was a steady stream of planes, jets, private jets and corporate jets coming and going and going and coming all day long. There was a press release this morning announcing six more flights from Little Cayman to Cayman Brac and later I read a press release saying that the Governor had ordered the complete evacuation of Little Cayman by tomorrow noon.

Last night there was a press release from Cayman Airways listing six extra flights to Miami today, from 0100 last night all the way through to 0150 tonight, three to Fort Lauderdale, one more to Kingston (why you'd want to head IN to the storm, I don't know), an extra jet to/from Cayman Brac and six flights from Little Cayman.

At the bottom of the press release was flights under "Sunday 19th" but really that's still tonight for the poor people who are at work checking people in for the flights instead of at home preparing for the shitstorm. 0100, 0950 to Miami, 0700 to Tampa and 1230 to New York.

The Gov has enacted the Emergency Powers Law, so starting tomorrow evening there's a curfew and "I can reassure the community that the RCIPS is fully mobilised and there will be a strong police presence in all the districts during and after the storm. Should they be needed additional law enforcement reinforcements from outside Cayman are on standby."

I stopped by The Strand this morning to grab a coffee at Paperman's on my way in to work (and I'm still there 13 hours later and counting) and the dentist's office a few doors down had a sheet of paper on the door that said "Attention looters: there are no drugs or cash on these premises, thanks" hehe! I took a picture of it with my phone, but I don't think it turned out too well.

Update Holy shinto! Another press release from Cayman Airways with more flights! 2230 tonight, 0110, 0450 and 1150 to Miami. I don't think I've ever seen this many extra flights from Cayman Airways in any of the previous hurricane evacs I've seen since I moved down here. Maybe AFTER Ivan, taking people out and bringing supplies in, but wow.. that's like, an extra 450 people.

Saturday, August 18, 2007 6:53:07 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#

I've added my cell phone number to my contact info on my Facebook Profile. Those of you who really know me well know what a shock that is, as I'm usually very private about telephone numbers.

When cell networks are swamped it sometimes takes 20-30 tries to get a call through, and even then voice quality suffers.

What can you do about that? Use SMS.

SMS doesn't put nearly the load on the cell switches and system that voice calls do and they are queued for delivery, so it will keep trying on your behalf so you don't have to.

I thank you in advance everyone who says be safe, good luck and those sorts of sentiments, however PLEASE do not inundate my SMS inbox with those types of messages. Write them here on my wall or leave a comment on one of the posts over at and I'll get them when I get back online.

SMS is going to be my primary mode of communications for the next few days, and if you're trying to reach other people in the Cayman Islands, I urge you to use SMS rather than voice.

If you're like me and a cheap bastard, go to and use their web interface. It's free and doesn't cost you a thing, however it will come from +555 so make sure you leave room to sign your name

Emails sent to will also be forwarded via SMS to the  number where XXXYYYY is, so keep it under 160 characters or it will get truncated.

Be safe and we'll talk to you next week

Main email: mark at
ICQ: 1656823
MSN: kmancowboy at
Y!: docjelly or markfaccin
GoogleTalk: mfaccin
AIM: Docjelly73
BB Messenger PIN: 20623D4C

Saturday, August 18, 2007 5:07:54 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Friday, August 17, 2007

In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
     "Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of toiling and moiling in that way?"
     "I am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant, "and recommend you to do the same."
     "Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; "We have got plenty of food at present." But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.
     When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger - while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew: It is best to prepare for days of need.

Friday, August 17, 2007 1:38:57 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
How's that for efficient? I just got a phone call from the Canadian Consulate asking me if I was staying or going, and if I was staying if I was going to a shelter or if I had provisions. the Government of Canada is sending 'a big plane' I assume an Air Canada A321 or a 767 to Kingston, Jamaica tomorrow to evac Canadians. They hadn't laid on a flight for Grand Cayman yet, but if they did, did I want a seat on it? She also verified my physical address and phone numbers for comms afterward. I guess everyone learned from all the mistakes that were made last time. I told her I was staying put in West Bay with our provisions and fortifications and my own personal Special Forces squad! :D

Last time I hit refresh on they've changed from a possible threat to an official alert, so game on.

Friday, August 17, 2007 7:47:26 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Thursday, August 16, 2007

Nothing much to report yet. Gov't hasn't even issued an alert yet, which means 72 hours stand-to, then a tropical storm watch, which means TS conditions COULD be felt within 36 hours (or maybe 48, but I'm pretty sure it's 36) and then a TS warning which means TS conditions WILL be felt within 24 hours. Sometimes they double them up and issue a tropical storm warning AND a hurricane watch at the same time. Hurricane warning is like when the sirens go off in the midwest. A twister has been spotted, take cover NOW. Hurricane warning means you have 24 hours or less until the effects are felt, but that also means you'll be in the middle of Tropical Storm-force conditions.

Plans have been set in motion both at home and at work. I'm anticipating a lot of hours this weekend, whether I'm at work or not! I don't want to sound too cavalier, but I don't think we're going to do too badly with this storm. Hopefully those don't become 'famous last words' because there's the potential for this to truly be a shitstorm of magnificent proportions. Preparing for the worst and hoping for the best is the mode of operation this weekend.

Tomorrow, or maybe even early this morning the gov't will issue the alert, and then start to progress through the watches and warnings based upon the actual track of the storm. I'll update the little flag up in the corner as they're released.

On a completely different note, the sky was brilliantly lit up by stars tonight. There's still a lot of light pollution just from the fact that people live here, but you could clearly see the Milky Way tonight. The nights AFTER Ivan, before a lot of people started firing up generators and turning lights back on was by far the prettiest nights for stargazing I've *EVER* seen, period.

Thursday, August 16, 2007 9:38:47 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"Stan's Uncle Jimbo and his war buddy Ned take Stan, Kenny, Kyle, and Cartman on a hunting trip in the mountains. When they arrive in the wilderness (just outside of South Park), Jimbo gives each of the boys a gun (Kyle, Stan, and Kenny get shotguns while Cartman receives an assault rifle), a can of beer, and a pack of cigarettes, and the hunting festivities begin.

It soon becomes apparent that Jimbo and Ned's idea of hunting is to slaughter every living thing in sight via military weaponry. They get around the regulations by yelling "It's coming right for us!" in order to exploit the loophole that they can kill any animal in self-defense. Stan proves to not have the proper temperament to enjoy hunting (or at least Jimbo and Ned's idea of hunting), and finds himself unable to shoot a living target when provided the opportunity. While hunting the boys realize that one of the nearby mountains is rumbling, a fact Ned and Jimbo ignore until it is too late." from Wikipedia

This is EXACTLY the picture I was looking for to go along with the "it's coming right for us!" exclamation. Two days ago, TD#4 was renamed Tropical Storm Dean. That was when the phone started ringing. As of this morning it's "dipped" south a bit and is now forecast to come into the Caribbean Basin. We don't like dipping. That's what Ivan did to go around Jamaica in '04 and smack us upside the head.

Since this is the first threat (real or otherwise) of the year that's even remotely going to affect us, people are a bit jumpy and starting to breath down our necks to put our hurricane/disaster recovery plan into standby. The phrase 'two monkeys fucking a football' comes to mind.. a whole lot of action and not a lot of results. Of course I could be wrong, it HAS happened once or twice in the past 34 years so we're going to use this as a dry-run to test out some of the new things we've added this year and practice the things we've been doing for the last few years.

As usual, I'll be posting up progress and notes and things here, as I do. I've actually got around to adding all the bookmarks for weather sites that I reference on and added the RSS feed to my OPML list over on the bottom right. If you subscribe to the list, you'll get new sites as I remember them and add them. The tag on is hurricane weather and maps.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 7:07:06 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane | Links#
Tuesday, August 14, 2007

DSC00161 This is what my Vespa looked like last Sunday, the morning after the accident. You can see pretty much exactly where the car smacked into me. There's some damage at the front as well, I think what happened is when she got hit, she pivoted and slammed the front end in to the car. I believe (because I don't remember) that was what caused me to be thrown off to the right, plus my forward momentum of about 25mph made me not only skid around but roll too. That would explain why I have scrapes up and down two opposite sides of my helmet, as well as shredded my new microfibre shirt that my mom bought for me while I was at home a couple weeks back. First time I wore it, too! The INSIDE of the collar is shredded, as was the lanyard I had around my neck (the breakaway section worked as advertised too) and my John Hardy necklace got mangled, too. Other casualties of the wreck were my new Prada sunglasses that were about a week old, the pants I had on and the toes of my sneakers where my feet dragged along the ground.

DSC00162 What you can't tell from the pictures, is that while we took these pictures, the scooter was running! We picked it up off the trailer, put it on the center stand and fired it up. She sputtered a bit at first, and then spit out some smoke where the oil had sloshed around inside and burned up for the first 30 seconds or so. Aside from the smoke at the beginning, she ran well. Lee actually climbed aboard and road it around the parking lot a bit. We quickly went over it, part by part and he estimated about $1100-$1200 in parts.. things like brake levers, mirrors... that sort of thing. The running board and seat grab handle were the big multi-hundred expenses, but all the little bits and pieces, lights and things quickly added up. The bad news came a few days later, when we got the estimate from the body shop. On top of the $1400 in parts (labor extra of course) the shop manager at H&R Autobody wrote an official estimate for the insurance company at $2225 for paint, labor & bodywork. 3600 give or take, Cayman dollars, for repairs to make it roadworthy. She was $4200 new in December '05 and Lee figured I could have sold her for $3000 as-is the day of the accident (before, obviously). Looks like she's going to be a write-off. I haven't been back there since the day after the accident, I think she would be sad that I didn't come to visit sooner... Lee's got another LX125 at the shop that someone who left the island is selling for about what I would get from the insurance company.

I'm undecided still about getting back on another one. A lot of people have offered their opinions one way or another. I've heard a few "you're not invincible, you know." To those naysayers, I say this: "I was hit by a car at about 25-30mph while I was doing 20-25mph and more or less walked away from it. I FUCKING AM invincible! Aside from the cuts and scrapes, bumps and bruises, shock and road rash, I didn't have one broken bone, not one fracture. Jesus H Christ, my bones might even be made out of Adamantium for all I know! I'm just waiting for someone to really get under my skin and see if blades pop out of my knuckles! I've already got the sideburns for it!

I had to go back in to work last night around 8:30 and even in my Jeep I was SO paranoid about getting hit by some fucking inattentive jackass that by the time I got home I had a pretty nasty tension headache in my upper back and neck. I was able to get to sleep around 11, mostly because I was so exhausted from only getting a couple hours of sleep the night before. I ended up taking some sleep-eze on Saturday night, so I didn't want to take some again so soon. Sunday night I took my last antibiotic (Doc gave me more after the hospital 'scrip ran out, didn't want me getting a staph infection in my road rash) and then this morning I took the last anti-inflammatory he prescribed me.

2007-08-04 Accident Photos 002 I remembered seeing some Advil nighttime at the supermarket last night, so I stopped in at the little pharmacy at the four-way stop in West Bay. I didn't see it on the shelf, so I asked the pharmacist, but he told me he didn't have any. Damn. "But I do have these..." he said.

Turns out you can by Nurofen over the counter in the Cayman Islands! As you can see by the link, Nurofen is a British drug. It's ibuprofen, like Advil, with the addition of--wait for it--codeine. Jumping Jesus on a Pogo Stick, you can buy this shit without a prescription?? I picked up a packet of it to try it out and will see how things go. Something tells me I'm not going to have any trouble falling asleep tonight.

Shoes are still proving to be a bit of a bother. I wore my Geox sneakers to work yesterday, going 100% down the comfort alley. Didn't work too well. by 10:00 my feet were dying. I went the opposite tack today and laced up my Doc Martens. It worked. My feet were held in place and supported and it felt a lot better... until about 1:00, then they started aching again. Last night I got home early and soaked my feet in a bucket of hot water and epsom salts, but tonight I haven't had a chance to yet. Perhaps I'll do it before I go to bed, and then wrap some ice packs around my left foot for good measure.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 6:08:53 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Jeep | Pictures | Scooter#
Thursday, August 9, 2007

I'm at home this week recuperating after the mishap last Saturday night. I ventured out yesterday to meet with the Royal Cayman Islands Police (RCIP) constable who attended the scene to give him my statement and pick up some documentation from him for the insurance company. I stopped in at work for about an hour, but then came home and am more or less working remotely from a prone position. The good news is that the police report states that the other driver was in the wrong, absolutely, positively, no gray areas and no doubt about it.

This morning I got an email with the bodywork estimate for my Vespa. $2225 CI for paint, paint supplies & bodywork. Add to that the $1400 in parts required to bring it back to roadworthiness (mirrors, lights, body parts, new seat etc) and that brings the damage to nearly $3600 CI dollars, almost the cost of a brand new bike, so I think it's safe to say that she's going to be written-off :(

I posted the pictures up to Facebook last Sunday, and then after that I posted them to Flickr as well. Most of the comments and emails I got from people were of the "you need to get back in a car" and "you need something with doors for more protection" and only ONE person (thanks, Jeff) so far saying Fight The Power and getting another scooter.

scooter-door This afternoon, as I'm reading some newsfeeds, I came across this gem on Digg, entitled "Who says scooters can't have doors?" I thought it was going to be one of those BMW C1s that have a little roof on it, but no, it's even better than that. It was a link to a post on techeblog and it has the title "Even this won't protect you in a crash" I'm guessing that door or not, this wouldn't be too helpful in a crash. Especially one like mine on Saturday night where I was t-boned by an an Acura Integra.

Thursday, August 9, 2007 10:44:14 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Scooter#
Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The hospital gave me some co-dydramol pills to take home with me, as well as a prescription for some more. I don't really think they did much. Co-dydramol is a UK version of Tylenol-3, I think. I didn't even notice it getting me that drowsy, which was one of the things I was hoping for! Mixing it with a few shots of Jager and a glass of Freya's KerPow on the other hand, did knock me out for a few hours.


Yesterday I tried to contact the police officer who was on the scene, and he was off-duty yesterday. Today I called again, but then I drove into town (in the Jeep) and went to the doctor's office. I must have looked suitably pathetic as they took me in right away even though I didn't have an appointment.


I got checked out, and everything seems to be healing up. He extended the antibiotics as he didn't want me to end up with a staph infection with all that road rash, and also switched me over to cataflam which is an anti-inflammatory and also helps with the pain. I took one (with food) at lunch and then came back home and took a nap. When I woke up, I went downstairs to get a glass of water and was halfway across the living room before I realized that I walked down the stairs normally, and without holding on the the railing! Holy shit!

I stopped in at the insurance company today, too to report the accident. I didn't have anything to give them as I hadn't heard from the police yet, but as it turned out the guy who hit me DID have insurance, and was through the same company as me, so they had his side of the story and I gave them mine. He's not assumed liability, so they're going to "investigate" based on our statements and the police report. He said that he came to a stop, looked right, didn't see any cars coming, so he went, and collided with me in the outside lane of the roundabout. I said that I didn't see any cars stopped waiting to come in to the roundabout as I came around from the other side and that he struck me on the left on the inside lane. I left it at that for now, we'll see what the police report says, but the bottom line is I was in the roundabout already, I had the right of way, he struck me from the left, it's his fault all the way. I'm sure the police report will corroborate that, but at the first hint of static from the insurance company, I'm going straight to a lawyer. I'm trying to avoid that as they charge a retainer up-front. There's no such thing as a free consultation down here in Cayman I've been told.

I'm meeting with the RCIP at 10am tomorrow morning so everything should be falling into place by then. In the meantime, it's time for more drugs and then off to la-la land :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 8:55:45 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Jeep | Scooter#
Sunday, August 5, 2007

I haven't posted them to flickr yet, but in the meantime, the pics from the hospital, pics of my scoot and pics of the road rash and bumps and bruises are here at this link on facebook:



Sunday, August 5, 2007 7:55:04 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Pictures | Scooter#
Saturday, August 4, 2007
So it happened again. This time it was a Honda instead of a dog. Some guy didn't stop and went right into the roundabout and t-boned my poor little Vespa. I don't know how fast he was going, because when I looked, there was no one waiting to come in to the roundabout, and then as I crossed through, WHAM.

I remember seeing his headlights, basically where my knees usually are. Then I heard the most awful crunching scraping noise. Then I realized it was my helmet making that noise. I remember rolling and scraping along the ground. I stopped before the scooter did. One of the thoughts that raced through my mind was "holy shit, look how far away it is". I crawled out of the middle of the road and laid onthe curb where there was a little grass, took off my helmet and just laid there til the ambulance showed up.

Broke my new sunglasses that were in my pocket. Tore off one of the headphones from my iPod (although the iPod itself survived). Yanked my lanyard from around my neck and pulled the ID badges right out of the snappy clip. Ripped the fob off the keychain (weird) and tore off a flap of the sole of my shoe.

I don't know how my scooter looks yet, but there were pieces of it all over the road. Lee was a superstar and came out with his trailer to take it to the shop where it'll be inspected and written off. Wendy from work happened to be driving by and stopped, and I called John and asked him to meet me at the hospital.

My feet hurt. It's very slow going to walk. My left big toe and my right baby toe are a little torn up and there's a bruise coming up on my left toe. My left leg has a goose-egg on the upper shin and some road rash. My right leg has a couple big patches of road rash up the outside, and I 'scrubbed' a hole in my new cargo shorts on the front of the thigh. My right hand has a big lump on it and it's starting to bruise up, along with some little nicks all over the back of my had and knuckles. There's another patch of road rash on my right forearm and more on my upper arm, just below the sleeve. The INSIDE of collar of my new microfibre shirt (thanks mom!) is shredded and the back of the shirt across the shoulders is all torn up... as is the skin across the back of my shoulders! The left side is worse, ironically. My left shoulder hurts, I don't know if I bounced off the hood of the car and then started skidding or what, and my bottom right rib is pretty tender.

Everything's starting to sting again, and my left arm is starting to get sore and stiffen up. I just took the pills they gave me, so I'm expecting to pass out soon. Tomorrow when I arise from my stupor, I'll see about posting the pictures. Lee was taking pictures at the scene and int he hospital of me on the gurney with my head taped down, and John took pics of all the booboos tonight when we got home, for the insurance company. I'll post em all tomorrow or monday or something.

Good thing I got my Jeep licensed the other day, I'll have to rely on my "backup" vehicle for awhile until the insurance company gets around to doing their thing.

Chicks dig scars!

Saturday, August 4, 2007 8:53:27 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [3] | Cayman | Jeep | Scooter#
Sunday, July 1, 2007
I'm SURE that this wasn't going through their heads when they decided to pull a prank on a friend's car in the long-term parking lot at the airport, but it's what happened as told to me by someone who talked to the perps last night:
Sunday, July 1, 2007 3:55:22 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [3] | Cayman | Misc | Pictures#
Thursday, May 10, 2007
I remember hearing the scooter scraping along the pavement then I landed square on my side. Shortly after that I heard and then felt my helmet hit the ground and then I rolled over, sliding on my back a little before ending up on my belly
Thursday, May 10, 2007 9:36:43 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Jeep | Scooter#
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
After waiting years and years and years for a concert (not a cover tribute band or guest DJ, but an actual band), finally Grand Cayman is getting some good live music. The Tragically Hip are playing here May 1st. I've written about it earlier, but now that I've booked a last minute trip to Italy (two more sleeps!) I'm not going to be here for the concert.

Since I already bought a ticket, that means I'm selling it. Cover price is $65, but the first $50 takes it. They're still on sale at Big Daddy's liquor store, but they're $65 there. Save $15! That's like four beers in your pocket! :) Give me a ring, drop me an email or leave a comment below if you're interested.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 6:34:29 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Another Sunday, another meeting of the Church of the Vespaholics down at Paperman's Coffeehouse down at The Strand Shopping Center.
Sunday, April 15, 2007 11:12:56 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Scooter#

Last weekend was the Easter Long Weekend. A traditional time in Cayman to go camping! OK, whatever... I'm not sure what the history is on that, but every Easter weekend, people get all packed up with all their new camping gear, generators and all the comforts of home and drive a mile or two to the beach and set up camp. Does no one remember HAVING to live like that for nearly two months after Hurricane Ivan?? Anyway, it's tradition now and no one asks why, because it's tradition.

Good Friday afternoon Lee called me up and asked if I was up for a ride. Suuuuure, no problem, twist my arm to go for a ride around the island on my Vespa when it's nice and sunny. We met at his place in South Sound and took off the long way around South Sound and then headed east. We stopped momentarily near Pedro Castle as Lee's Vespa was really loud. He said he was having some problems with the exhaust and that Piaggio had issued a recall. We took stock of the situation but continued on and stopped again at the Lighthouse restaurant in Breakers. His exhaust seemed to be holding up, so we continued along to Frank Sound Road and headed for Northside with the intention of hitting Over the Edge for lunch.

As a side note, I was sent a link a few days ago about a scooter forum that was talking about the Piaggo recall ofthe Vespa 250GTS because of the exhaust leak. When we looked at Lee's, I asked what was around there that could be affected by the excess heat. The throttle linkage for starters, and a couple other components. What I didn't realize was right there until I read it in that forum post was the PETROL PIPE (the fuel line in English 2.0) is right there. I'd say that's pretty sensetive to heat! Sure enough on that forum post was pictures of a guy who had to hop off his Vespa GT250 right quick while he was on the motorway because it caught fire and BURNED TO THE GROUND. Fortunately nothing like that happened to Lee's Vespa, and since he's seen this forum post, he's welded his exhaust shut and has ordered an aftermarket replacement.

We made it around to Over the Edge and sat outside on the patio overlooking the ocean. It was nice, a bit of a breeze and only a few menacing dark clouds around. "Maybe we'll see a waterspout out at see if we're lucky."

Lee ordered a glass of the new beer on-island called Caybrew. I opted for a Diet Coke. Ten minutes later they brought us our drinks and asked if we were ready to order. I didn't notice it til it was too late, but the glass hadbeen sitting for those ten minutes with the ice melting, so when I poured in the diet pepsi, I could see it mixing with all the water. Bleah. Neither of us wanted a "big lunch" of Mahi Mahi with veg and rice & beans or anything so I ordered the hamburger. It's small, it's cheap, it's just right. "Sorry, no hamburgers today, already finish."

Over The Edge

How do you run out of hamburger on the first day of a four day weekend? Lee was going to have one too, soon that news, we decided to just have the beverages and then continue on to Kaibo or head back towards town and have a burger at Durty Reid's before it's closed down to make way for the new East-WEst highway. We asked for the check. She didn't know what we meant. We asked for the bill, still nothing. Finally Lee asked for la cuenta, and she nodded and disapeared for a few minutes. Finally she came back with the bill... $4.00 for the Caybrew draft. Not so bad. $4.00 for a can of Diet Pepsi? I called the waitress over and asked her if she made a mistake on the bill, and she just shook her head. I guess not. We grudgingly paid up and left, heading back into town to Calico Jack's on Public Beach. They were closed. We then headed down the road to the Sunshine Grill and finally got our burgers for lunch around 4:30pm. Seriously though... $4.00 for a fucking can of Diet Pepsi? Last frackin' time I go back to Over the Edge. OK, OK, I'll give them a pass and just make sure I'm in the mood for fish next time someone suggests it.


Sunday, April 15, 2007 10:54:56 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [6] | Cayman | Food | Scooter#
Friday, April 13, 2007

Perfect timing. It's Friday, gearing up for happy hour and then the weekend and what do I find in my mailbox this morning? Issue #52 of Modern Drunkard Magazine. I flip it open and the first article (really, I read it for the articles) is an article by frank Kelly Rich. The second paragraph kinda sums everything up nicely and perfectly describes my mood this afternoon.

"Going to a party after the bars have closed is akin to crawling to the peak of Mt. Everest and then turning to your expedition party and declaring, 'Right, nice view. Now let's break out the toboggans and see how fast we can get down the other side of this bastard!' "

Yeah..... see you on the other side.

Friday, April 13, 2007 12:38:11 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Monday, April 9, 2007
It looks like bread, but it's more dense and is dark brown. Along with raisins, I'm trying to figure out by taste what else is in it. It's obviously spiced, and it's more of a sweet bread than a savory one. Im guessing cinnamon, ginger, maybe nutmeg but that's rather distinctive and I didn't taste it... who knows what else. I'll have to cheat and look it up.
Monday, April 9, 2007 2:44:05 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Food#
Friday, March 30, 2007

A few days ago, the RCIP closed Stingray Sandbar due to a couple people being stung by jellyfish and one person getting 'pierced' by a stingray's barb. The next day, under the sensationalistic headlines, they quoted someone in the RCIP as saying a couple people were stung by thimble jellyfish. THIMBLE JELLYFISH.

Thimble jellyfish are... let's see... THE SIZE OF A THIMBLE. THAT'S WHY THEY'RE CALLED THIMBLE JELLYFISH. Their nematocysts are tiny and don't really even sting anyone our size. There are other bits and pieces, jelly junk as we refer to them that are pretty much invisible and DO sting.

The problem with thimble jellies is their larvae. Usually between Mother's Day and Father's Day is their mating period. The larvae, microscopic larvae I might add, float around in the water and end up on your skin. As your skin dries, they panic and burrow down into your epidermis where it's warm and moist. Your skin does not like it so it gets red, itchy, swollen, itchy and did I mention itchy? It itches like the DEVIL IS INSIDE YOUR SKIN TRYING TO GET OUT. It lasts for three or four days and then clears up and goes away. This is what's known as sea-itch, sea lice or seabather's eruption

Some people do have more adverse reactions. Gordy got a pretty good dosing of it  few years back and his eyes swelled up and stuff, but a good course of antihistamine's cleared him up as right as rain. I suppose if you're allergic to bee stings or things like that, you might have a reaction like Gordy's.

As for closing Stingray Sandbar, it HAS been a little rough out there lately with higher-than-normal winds making things rough and choppy. Someone did get "stung" by a stingray the other day, and the description about that was that the stingray was "thrown" into the person by the wave action and got scared. If the conditions were rough, then close the area down, but to say they closed it down because of a couple people getting stung by thimble jellies and one person getting stung by a stingray... while other boats were not affected by the closure when they were snorkeling at the barrier reef just a quarter mile away is a boatload of bullshit.

Friday, March 30, 2007 3:29:19 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Underwater#
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
It's funny... a few years back when Ratskyn first asked Zac to front them, it was about the same time the movie $imdb("Rock Star") came out. We used to joke around, using the line from the movie about "growing up with these guys posters on our walls, and now I'm one of them!" because Ratskyn was and is really the ONLY rock band in the Cayman Islands. What's even more ironic is that when Ratskyn plays live, they actually do a lot of Tragically Hip covers, and now they're opening for them!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007 8:44:17 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
About a month ago, I heard a solid rumor (as opposed to just regular rumors I guess) that the Tragically Hip were coming down to cayman to play a concert for their 30th anniversary. I kept my mouth shut because hey, who likes to spread rumors and false hope? In the past few days I've heard a few more people talk about it, and then this morning Paul had it written on the "news plate" on the front counter at Paperman's Coffee House that they were going to play at Safehaven on May 1st. That sounds pretty specific which leads me to believe that it might actually happen.

Unlike the whole Gretzky/Messier/Lowe/Cementhead visit last year that got pushed back twice before being called off, this one seems more of a Halo 3 rumor than a Duke Nukem Forever vaporware statement. No word on tickets or anything yet, but that's gotta be coming soon if the show is May 1st.

Note to JMG: If you really want to take a census of all the Canadians living in Grand Cayman, then you'll have your chance on May 1st, if this actually happens :)

Update: It's been all over the radio all day, so I guess it actually is happening. As Lee posted in the comments, it's even on their own site.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007 6:21:03 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman#
Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Work has been CRAZY the past few months. I STILL haven't gotten around to posting my travel schedule from January, just for a laugh. I haven't left work before 5:30 since I can't even remember. Monday was another one of those nights, however I had there plans, so I hit the road at 4:59.

My friend Suzie was down visiting, and she wanted to cook one night, so I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone. Saturday after diving we went shopping and then came back here and started cooking.

We started off with two bowls, one to whip cream in and one to start mixing up the other ingredients for the filling. I brewed some espresso and poured the remainder of the bottle of Appleton Estate into it and started soaking the savoiardi biscuits. Yup, you got it, we made Tiramisu.

Sunday morning we went to Vespa Church and then came home and made up some tomato sauce. I had meat sauce already, but I thought it was a bit thick for what we had in mind. We let that cool a bit while we went to Copper Falls with John and Ed and then came back, blanched some noodles, whipped up some bechamel and started building lasagna.

HOLY COW what a lot of work! I've only ever done it once before, and it took about three hours to do last time, too. We finally finished around 11:00 and put it all in the fridge overnight.

Monday night I left work like Fred Flintstone right at 5:00 and fired it into the oven around 5:45. Steph & Zac showed up about 6:45, right before Matty & Joy & the baby. James made it right before dinner. We cracked into a couple bottles of wine, pulled the lasagna out at 7:30 and got to eatin. It was goooood. Just when everyone was getting full of Lasagna, Salad and Garlic bread, I told them to save some room because as rich and calorie-filled as the lasagna was, there was still dessert!

Once we were all finished, we headed up to the Cracked Conch. Ratskyn was playing outside at the bar down by the water. The setup was good, they sounded great and I even got a couple good pictures of the band!

I've been mucking with Flickr to get a mosaic of the photos into this post, but it's frustrating me, so just go to my Flickr page and see the new photos for yourself :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 6:09:05 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Pictures#
Monday, March 5, 2007
I weighed my options and as much as I liked living close to town and right on the beach, it just wasn't financially practical. Add to that the we all had our fingers crossed that Johnny Rotten was coming back to get Happyfish Divers off the ground and would need a roommate, I decided to look around for a more affordable apartment.
Monday, March 5, 2007 7:24:21 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Sunday, February 25, 2007
...Like we're not, but I mean literally. A couple days ago, Zac found this picture online and it struck a chord with him, so he copied it and forwarded it to John, Jake and I with the caption "If John was a dog" in honor of John's infamous picture. We had a good laugh at it and John punched me in the arm when I got home that night because it made everyone think about his picture again. I laughed and said "oh this has a blog post written ALL OVER it" and he said "you better not post that picture of me again, you bastard" so I said I would be fair and post the one of me up as well. It's too bad that we don't have one of Zac in that position as well...
Sunday, February 25, 2007 10:51:30 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [4] | Cayman | Pictures#

Friday night was Zac's birthday. Usually Zac & Steph celebrate "birthday weeks" instead of birthDAYs, but we didn't all get together until Friday night which was his actually birthday.

I ran into them at lunchtime and we made a plan to meet up at the Hard Rock Cafe down in George Town at the south end of the harbor and start crawling north from there ending up at Calico Jack's at Public beach. The plan as Hard Rock, Margaritaville, Hammerheads, Rackham's, Aqua Beach, Decker's, Legendz and then Calico's.

at HammerheadsI caught up with them a bit later at Hammerheads and the crawl was already in full swing. We stayed at Hammerheads for a few beers and a couple of shots. Gordy was already there and Paulie & Catherine showed up with a friend of hers who's down visiting. We ponied up there and then walked over to Rackham's from there. We stayed at Rackham's for awhile, Eleni and Emma showed up there, and Super-fan Kendi was there with her friend who's visiting from Victoria and had a couple shots with us. We ended up staying longer at Rackham's than we initially planned for so we skipped ahead right to Legendz from there.

Breakfast of Champions

 By the time we got to Legendz, we were all fairly lubed up with alcohol. Someone ordered a round of shots, and even though it was well past breakfast, we bellied up to the bar and downed 'em. As you can see in the picture, Zac was still smiling at this point. I lost track of how many shots he did, but my count was about a half-dozen or so, plus a few mixed drinks along the way.


In our element

 After that round of shots, things started to get a little crazy.







 We finished up there around 11:00 and headed to Calico Jack's and closed the bar there.Going.... 

Calico Jack's is a beer & shots bar. There's really no getting away from it. In hindsight, it's probably not the best place to END a bar crawl, as you really don't have much of a resistance to shots anymore. I ordered a round of Jagerbombs for the boys, and then Renee also ordered a round, almost at the same time that Matty ordered a round of... something. Not sure what it was but it tasted like it had some Crown Royal in it or some other sort of whiskey. The funny thing about this picture of Zac is he's making a face, like he can even taste anything at this point! :)

John and I got home at about 12:30 (Calico's closes up at 12:00) and I went straight to bed. I didn't feel too drunk, despite the half dozen shots, and the last three coming within minutes of each other, but I guess they hadn't kicked in yet. I woke up around 3:30 with acid in my throat and the "uh-oh" thought on my lips. It was a long night. I think my lunch hadn't bee sitting too well, and in hindsight, I remember having heartburn as I got off the bus downtown to meet up with everyone for the crawl. I made a mental note to take a Zantac before I went to bed, but then, of course, I forgot. I think had I not been drinking I would have been fine, or had I only been drinking, I would have been fine, but the two together was too much for my system to handle. Saturday morning I felt like assssss and slowly sipped a quart of Gatorade watered down with about a quart of water. After that and a bowl of rice & turkey pot pie over it to soak up any excess I started feeling human again until I passed out on the couch at two o'clock and slept until about seven that night.


They say pictures speak a thousand words, so here for your own discourse are a few thousand words describing Zac's death spiral into the hallowed halls of infamous Internet pictures: (click for larger views)

Still smiling...Going..Going..Going...Gone!
Sunday, February 25, 2007 10:11:32 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Pictures#
Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Vespa Church at Paperman'sI missed "church" this past Sunday because I was in Fort Lauderdale. I made it last week and we actually had quite a good turnout! There were about ten scooters parked out in front and I think we hit at least one of each kind of scooter that Vespa makes! Eleni was there with her LX50, I was there with my LX125, Paul's GT200 was there (obviously), Lee with his GT250ie, Jim showed up on one of the new Zip100s, a girl named Ginny who rides a Beverly (with My Little Pony in glitter glue on the topcase) showed up and another guy who's name I don't remember was there on his Gilera.

This was the 3rd or 4th meeting, since Paperman's decided to try opening up on Sunday mornings. I think the first week it was just Lee, Eleni and I and then the next week I was the only one there, so I txt-msg'd Lee and Eleni with "It's just a little rain, you pussies!" and they showed up 15 minutes later. I've also been away for a few Sundays so I don't know what the turnout was like then. Both times I've shown up recently, I had other plans afterward so I couldn't go for a ride with everyone, but maybe this weekend it will be nice and we'll head out on the Queen's Highway out towards East End.

If you've got a scooter (of any kind) and wanna come hang out and tell some dirty jokes and have a good Sunday morning coffee, we meet at Paperman's Coffee House in The Strand on Seven Mile Beach at 10am(ish) on Sunday mornings and then go for a ride.

If you DON'T have a scooter, there are a few places that rent them around town. There's one on North Church Street near the Lobster Pot that has some brand-new Piaggio Zips for rent. If you don't have a scooter and don't want to ride, that's cool too. Come have a coffee and enjoy our company and my bad jokes :)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 10:13:51 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Scooter#
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
So I moved back out to West Bay last week, home of the hour-long commutes (aside from Scooter riders). I have a few posts bubbling in Windows Live Writer that I'll probably post tonight when I get home, but I wanted to get this one out while it's still fresh in my mind and also to ping everyone who's reading this via RSS that I'm not dead and haven't stopped writing.

Monday morning I got up early, at seven, and got ready for work. Just in case, I left the house at 7:55. I came around the bend at the west end of Town Hall Road and saw red brake lights. Not good! Traffic was basically at a standstill from the Northwest Point Road fork to the four-way stop. From the four-way stop to Willie Farrington rd where Foster's Supermarket is was chock-a-block creep-and-go traffic. Once you got past that little bottleneck, traffic opened up. Now that I've done the route three times, I've seen that the traffic bottleneck IS the Willie Farrington Rd intersection and after that is smooth sailing. Coming down West Bay Road I averaged 30mph all the way through into town.

This morning I peeled off to the new bypass which comes out at the Courtyard Marriott at this point and it was practically deserted and I hit a sustained 40mph all the way through to The Strand shopping center where I pulled in for a coffee at Paperman's Coffee House. I probably could have gone faster, but the posted limit is 25mph and the road isn't finished, so if I hit a loose patch of gravel and dumped the Vespa, it would have been like landing on a cheese grater at 40mph+

The new bypass traffic backs up after the strand to the roundabout behind Lone Star, and then again where at the roundabout where it joins the Harquail Bypass, but that's because of all the cars entering the Camana Bay construction site at shift change.

If I were driving my jeep in to town at that time of the day, it would probably take me longer to get from the new apt to Foster's than it would to get from Foster's to town. My only question at this point is this: since there weren't very many cars at all on the bypass nor were there many on West Bay Road from Foster's south, why the hell was traffic backed up solid last year from NW Point Road all the way through to abuot the Hyatt???

Wednesday, February 7, 2007 6:20:27 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Jeep | Scooter#
Sunday, January 14, 2007

This morning, we held our second meeting of Vespaholics Anonymous at Paperman's Coffee House in The Strand shopping center here on Grand Cayman.

Today was a smaller turnout than last week, it was just Lee and I. Paul from Paperman's Vespa was parked out front, so there were three scooters, anyway. Eleni was going to come, but she had a late night and couldn't drag herself out at 10am.

Lee said he called a few people (including the cutie Courtenay who came out last week) and asked them if they were going to "come to church on sunday" which is funny as well, but I'm sticking with the Vespaholics theme instead. It's mostly because I'm sitting on the domain name and am just waiting to throw it up on a server and start posting stuff there. :)

I left the house around noon and rode down to South Sound to meet Eleni at her apartment and we took off headed east. The wind has been pretty fierce the last few days, so that made riding east a bit challenging, but we made it out as far as the Bodden Town civic center. We pressed on out to the Lighthouse in Breakers and turned around there. I didn't want to open the throttle like I usually do on that nice smooth new road because of the wind, but on the way back, with the wind behind us I opened it up and managed to get my LX125 up to a top speed of about 68mph. I laid off the throttle and sat back up and slowed down to about 30mph and then 25mph as we got back into Bodden Town and then we came back here and sat on the beach and drank some Coronas.

Paperman's is going to open again next Sunday from 8-11 so we'll make a few phone calls and see how many people we can get to the next Vespaholics Anonymous meeting and go for a ride. If you're reading this and you're in Cayman and have a scooter, come on and join us. We really don't care if you don't ride a Vespa, just come out and have a good time.

Sunday, January 14, 2007 5:53:20 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Scooter#
Thursday, January 4, 2007
Today I went to get my drivers' license.
Thursday, January 4, 2007 4:13:28 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [4] | Cayman | Rants#
Monday, January 1, 2007

The Rockstar days are over. It's been a good run, and we've had some great laughs here, but it's time to move on. The couple who owns the apartment that MJ and I live in have put it up for sale and we have to move out at the end of January.

The timing is pretty good, actually. MJ is moving in with her new fiancee (congratulations) while they finish building their house down in South Sound. Timing wasn't AS good for me, but not really worse than any other time. We've known for a few weeks, but I haven't started ACTIVELY looking for a new apartment til today, Jan 1st. Most listings in the paper were for January, and it gets dicey when you don't move in til the following month.

Griswold Sunday Family Fundays will be put on hold for awhile and we'll see if we pick them up again at public beach rather then the nice stretch of beach in front of my apartment. Traffic really isn't an issue for me whichever way I move because I have my Vespa to get around traffic, and the new bypass extension is open all the way up to the old Indies Suites now. What I'm going to miss most, aside from the really nice apartment and the best stretch of beach on Seven Mile Beach right outside is being able to walk across the street to Legendz or Sunshine Grill, or even a bit further of a walk down to The Strand where Foster's Food Fair, Canton and Paperman's Coffee House are located.

The good news about having to move is that it'll be less of a financial burden. The rent here is pretty sky-high and it will be nice to actually have some money left over at the end of the month without having to stretch the last hundred bucks for a week or longer. If I can find a place back in the divemaster range of rent, then I'll be back to living like a king again, just not in a castle :)

Monday, January 1, 2007 1:04:12 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Misc#
Sunday, December 24, 2006

I woke up this morning early (well it was early here, my body thought it was nearly 11:00 and what the heck was I still doing in bed?) and had nothing. No tea bags, no phone minutes, nothin. I bundled up (parka, scarf, mittens and fur hat) and went up to the strip mall up the street. I popped into Rogers Video to get a mobile top-up, then I popped into Safeway to get some tea (Red Rose, because you can only get it in Canada... pity...) and then went into Starbucks to get a peppermint mocha (it IS that time of year).

I'm standing in line and notice this blonde girl standing two people in front of me in line. She looks familiar... but.. no... it can't be... It was. It was Sirekka (I'me sure I just butchered her name) from Hammerhead's. She quit there awhile back and left Cayman to move back to Vancouver and it turns out she's working at the Mountain Shadow Pub, just down the road from my parents' place. It would have been awesome to say out loud in the middle of a busy Starbucks on Christmas Eve "I thought it was you, but I didn't recognize you with so many clothes on!" (considering that whenever I saw her in Cayman she had on shorts, flip flops and a tank top, and now we were both all bundled up for winter in Vancouver) She said "OMG! I thought that was you, I was just thinking to myself "That's Claire's brother.... no it CAN'T be, he's in Cayman..."

I don't actually have a sister named Claire. Claire and I were very close for a lot of years, and we never ever hooked up, so the only logical relationship we could have had was brother and sister. When we used to go out to the bars together, we'd keep our eyes open for targets for the other, and be each other's wingman. If there was a scenario that either of us needed to get out of, we played the boyfriend or girlfriend role and if there was the opposite scenario, it would be "oh, him? nooo he's my brother!" or "Nono, we're not together, she's my sister..." It got kind of involved, to the point that people who only knew one of us actually thought we were related.. just like Sirekka. Claire has actually moved back to Vancouver now too with Wammer and their little girl, Tai.

I actually knew that Sirekka was working at the Mountain Shadow already. When I was home in September for Ork's wedding, I met Brandi at Sammy J Peppers, and she was friends with Shandi (that sounds like a headline act on Duo Night at the NBI, doesn't it?) who used to work at Legendz. She also knew Sirekka, and told me that she was at the Mountain Shadow. Brandi ended up blowing me off, but whatever, who's loss was it, really? :)

Sunday, December 24, 2006 5:21:16 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Travel#
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
The first thing I noticed about the coffee was that it wasn't bitter or burnt tasting. The coffee tasted like, well, coffee. Strong, but not bitter, full-tasting (I think foodies call it mouthfeel) but not overpowering.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006 8:31:44 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Food#
Friday, December 1, 2006
I was just reading the newspaper this morning and saw a quarter-page ad announcing the re-opening of Casanova restaurant. That was one of my favorite restaurants to go to on the island before the hurricane. It was also a great 'date' restaurant. Their original location was in the Fort George building and they took a wave through the oceanfront windows the night of/before hurricane Michelle trashed a lot of the west side of the island. They were closed for a few weeks while they built a new wall and even a small (illegal) patio but it was presented as a fait accompli. (sometimes it's better/easier/cheaper to beg for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission). Ultimately the planning dept/gov't got their way and the building was scheduled for demolition to erect the new cruise ship terminal. HazMat Jenny, G, Darlene and I went there for the last night of operation and it was a HUGE party...

Tony and the boys moved down the road to the former Wreck bar and transformed it into their new location, with a bigger, better patio on the water. I remember talking to Mario while they were renovating the old Wreck bar and asking him if the new place was going to have the same ambience as the old place and he said to me in his thick accent "Buddy, when we did the old restaurant, we were broke. This place is going to be awesome" and it was... until Hurricane Ivan came along.

Fast forward two years & change: The old building and it's patio have been demolished (or rather they finished the job that Ivan started) put in pilings and re-built the whole building out of concrete and block and put it up to three floors. The last time I talked to the guys, they said the ground floor was going to be shops/offices with the restaurant on the 2nd floor and huge patio and then a 3rd floor private dining room type of thing. I don't know if that's still true, as I think the kitchen is on the first floor now, but I'll find out soon enough!

Friday, December 1, 2006 7:30:52 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Food#
Thursday, November 30, 2006

It will be December 1st, 2006.

Big deal? Maybe. It means that the 2006 Atlantic Hurricane Season is officially over! Now I can force myself to eat all the crap canned stuff that I have squirreled away that I wouldn't normally eat unless I HAD to. Sure it's probably good for another year, but in the aftermath of a hurricane when there's no power and no water is NOT the time to eat a can of bad chili, if you know what I'm talking about (and I think you do!)

Of course, Mother Nature doesn't really pay too much attention to our calendars, but for all intensive purposes (ha! I know what it should be, for all intents and purposes, but "all intensive purposes" is one of my all-time pet peeves and if Google indexes this and people hit up on it maybe they'll friggin learn something) this hurricane season is over.

Let's recap... We had one Hurricane Alert this year, and that was Hurricane Ernesto. Fortunately, he took a "right turn, Clyde" and went up the far side of Jamaica instead (watch the animated gif here) and got knocked the fuggout! There were a few other named storms this year, all the way through to Isaac ("Heyyyyy what's happenin?") A far cry from last year's Tropical Storm Zeta!

Before you know it, it'll be June 1st, 2007 and we'll be stocking the storm box again for another year

Thursday, November 30, 2006 8:19:28 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Tuesday, November 28, 2006

2006-11-25 Jake's Wedding 052So this past weekend, our old roommate Jake got married. Ironically, the invitation showed up in the mail today. Thanks a lot, Cayman Postal Service!

Steph (who's like a sister to me, J ;) ) was worried that they wouldn't know we were coming because we didn't RSVP, but come onnnn like we'd miss this!

Johnny Rotten (the not-quite-littlest hobo) even flew back onto The Rock from his Immigration Vacation® to attend!

I picked up John at the airport last Tuesday at about five o'clock, and it turned out Jake was at the airport picking up some family from the same flight. We took a swing by Big Daddy's and got some Grolsch flippy-top beers and joined Jake and his family down at the Harbourview Apartments for happy hour.

Wednesday we all met up at Legendz for dinner

Thursday The Not-Quite-Littlest-Hobo and I popped into Sunshine Grill for their Thanksgiving turkey buffet. First drink was included with the buffet dinner, so I stuck to my "next time I go to Sunshine Grill, I'm going to have a Painkiller" promise. Whoooo boy. Following that, we went down to Decker's to meet up with FNG and his friend Snowflake who was visiting from Vancouver. Jason the bartender (who was well into Movember) asked me what I wanted to drink. I wanted to stick with rum, so I ordered a Collins. He looked at me funny and said I should aim higher in life and poured me their signature Blood Orange Mojito. In a pint glass. By the time we made it up to Legendz later, I was pretty fuzzy.

Friday, well what can I say that hasn't already been said. Friday was the day of the wedding. All week the weather was not cooperating. We had an early nor'wester that churned up Seven Mile Beach pretty well, the temperature dropped into the LOW SEVENTIES and the wind was blowing just above a breeze. We opened up the windows and balcony door and had the a/c off all week.

When I came out of my windowless office on Friday afternoon to meet up with the boys (and Stephie) it was still breezy, but the sun was shining! I kinda chuckled to myself and made a point of asking Jake which God he prayed to for that. :) It was too late though, the wedding planner moved the ceremony inside at the Ritz-Carlton. We got there just before five, after walking across the gallery and past a piano that Gordy couldn't help but stop and tickle.

We got to the Ceremony just in time and sat down together in the same row, right in front of the music(a violinist and a flautist). I leaned over to John and said "And then there was this one time... and band camp..." and his reaction was priceless. Jake was standing up front with the minister awaiting everyone, and surprisingly he looked cool as a cucumber (although he did say later that the Jager was just what the Doc(Jelly) ordered). The rest of the wedding party made their way up and they got under way. For the second wedding in a row that I've been too, the ceremony was brief, and before you knew it, they were kissing to seal the deal and making their way down the aisle.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 6:23:03 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures#
Saturday, November 25, 2006

2006-11-25 Jake's Wedding 058 Drunkenness occurs when you have too much alcohol for your liver to filter out and the alcohol gets into your bloodstream causing impairment. According to an email that goes around every now and then signs of alcohol intoxication are: a lack of volume control, ravenous appetite for kebab or Denny's and karaoke.

Logic dictates that if you bypass your liver and get the alcohol directly into your bloodstream, you'll get drunker, faster.

But HOW to get that alcohol directly into your bloodstream? Injection? Too risky. Orally? That's not bypassing your liver. Your mucous membranes are another thing altogether though. You can absorb the alcohol right through them! How to get alcohol in contact with your mucous membranes? Just like in the picture. A wide, shallow vessel such as the bottom of a beer bottle works just fine. The trick is you're not drinking through your nose, the trick is to get your nose close enough to the liquid that when you inhale quickly, it creates a vacuum and the alcohol can get atomized into particles small enough to go right up your nose.

Of course, I'm completely talking out of my ass and I was already pretty damn drunk in the first place to even attempt this. The alcohol in question in this picture is champagne. Not only did it clear out my sinuses, but after I snorted it up there, I could FEEL the carbonation in the champagne bubbling inside my head. It made my eyes water and I don't remember if it made me drunker because I was already bombed.

What was the reason for the champagne? Our old buddy and roommate from The Ranch, Jake was down here with his whole family to get married. There'll be more posts and pictures coming in the next few days as I remember it and get things in order. If you'd like to jump right to the pictures, they're posted up at Flickr. I dropped the $$ on a Pro account renewal this afternoon and did a little housekeeping of my photos.

Saturday, November 25, 2006 6:33:54 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Pictures#
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tonight I had to go into my storage locker and get some warmer clothes out of hiding, I have the windows closed, the ceiling fan off and an extra blankie on the bed.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006 8:20:51 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Sunday, November 5, 2006

Last night was the Taste of Cayman. Last year was canceled due to weather, so this year should have been even bigger. Nope.

The moved the venue to Boatswain's Beach, the new Turtle Farm which was a really dumb move. I realize that there's a huge push on to show off Boatswain's Beach to the public for many reasons, but the bottom line is that Boatswain's Beach/Turtle Farm/Cracked Conch area cannot handle the amount of traffic/cars that were going to show up. Boatswain's Beach parking lot was overfull, Tortuga Rum parking lot was triple-parked with people blocking other people in, because they could, Cracked Conch/Divetech's parking lot was a zoo, and cars were lined along both sides of the street almost from Sharon & Seb's old apartment through to nearly Coconut Bay.

For as long as I can remember, Taste of Cayman had been held at Safehaven. It kinda sucked if there was rain (and really, when does it ever rain in Cayman in the summer/fall?) but there was tons of parking, and a huge empty lot that people could park in behind the "grounds" plus all the parking at Sunshine Suites, Cayman Falls, the Westin and also the entire Safehaven (Now Regatta) office park.

Anyway, enough bitching about the venue, let's get on with the food. We entered and turned right. The Marriott Beach resort was right there, and they had a fruit punchy type drink, ginger-glazed beef, jerk chicken & some sort of fish dish. The jerk was good, not TOO hot, but still a good zing on the tongue. Their beef was pretty good, too. Just past then was Island Supply who had cheesecakes and whatnot, so we skipped over them (for now, we're not crazy) and headed to Chicken! Chicken!, Cimboco and Breezes. They had Conch chowder (I don't like conch, but I tried it and it was very VERY good) They also had some Chicken Chicken, uhh, chicken, caribbean cornbread and caesar salad. Yum, Yum and yum.

We realized then that we were at the end of the line, so we turned around and headed the other way (dumb booth setup, but I guess you gotta work with what you got, but I don't want to get back on the venue thing) Heading back the other way was the Cayman Sea Salt company with... wait for it... sea salt! The first thought was "how are they going to promote it?" but what they had was a selection of fruits and veggies and even chocolate, sprinkled with their salt. I made a beeline for the choccies, and everyone looked at me like "salt on chocolate?" but it was good. They also had tomatoes. mmmm tomatoes... moving along we made our way through the rest of the "booths".

Hemingway's at the Hyatt was pimping their new Thursday special, a Brazilian barbecue (the name escapes me at the mo, but those types of places are getting popular in the US these days) I tried the beef and chorizo, with black refried beans, and they were yummmmy. The Westin had tuna burgers with various dressings... wasabi mayo, fruit relish, etc. The Ritz-Carlton had quite a line-up for their offering: hand-cut french fries tossed in truffle oil and topped with parmesan cheese. Sounds great, but because of the demand, they couldn't keep up and the fries I got were undercooked and soggy. MJ said that she's had them at Periwinkle (one of the restaurants there) and that they were really good, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Sunshine Grill was there, they had marinated flank steak, but it was gone by the time I got there. I've had it there before though and it's good. It's in their Jamaican Chop House tacos. They also had their Chopped Salad which was good but reminded me of the last meal I had before I tried that detox regimen a few months back, so I didn't finish it.

We went back around towards the cheesecake booth and stopped in at the Cayman Sea Sense booth. Danny and Marnie from Off The Wall were manning the booth. I walked up with my plate in my hand, held it out and asked what kind of fish they were serving... Danny laughed and called me an asshole, but I don't think Marnie knew (at first) that I was just joking and gave me a dirty look :)

We made it back around to the cheesecake booth and got a little hunk of plain NY Style cheesecake, a hunk of Reese' peanut butter something, and a little square of chocolate chip cheesecake, and then they POURED BAILEY'S ALL OVER IT. Bliss. After that we grabbed some beverages and sat down at one of the tables and I started sliding into food coma.

We left around 10:30 and made our way down to Aqua Beach where Ratskyn was playing, and stuck around there til closing. (Midnight, because it was Saturday). Zac's family is in town, so they were all there, we were all there, Renee made an appearance all the way in from where she lives now (Cayman's equivalent of The Boonies) but overall it was kind of a quiet night at Aqua Beach. Between the Taste of Cayman going on and the Full Moon Beach Party at Calico Jack's, I guess everyone was elsewhere last night.

We got home about 12:20 or so and I crashed. Hard. Food Coma was waiting for me and as soon as I was horizontal, I was out like a light. I slept HARD right through, all the way up until nearly 11 this morning when I realized that the song in my head in my dream was actually the alarm clock. Just another Sunday in Cayman, everyone's coming over later to sit on the beach, drink beer and watch the bikinis parade by like one of those conveyor belt sushi restaurants. Life is good!

Sunday, November 5, 2006 10:46:17 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Food | Links#
Wednesday, November 1, 2006
Halloween is a big event in Cayman but not so much for the kids
Wednesday, November 1, 2006 7:59:58 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures#

Imagine my surprise this morning when reading the FRONT PAGE of the newspaper, above the fold an article entitled "Rollover numbers queried" In it, the Leader of the Opposition was MIS-quoted as saying:

"Mr. Bush said he is already seeing small businesses shutting their doors.

“It’s across the board,” he said. “It’s small contractors, landscapers, boutiques and corner mom and pot stores.”

Did he just say mom and pot stores? OH NO HE DIDN'T! More than likely it's a typo by the newspaper, so I checked their online edition. The paper was printed yesterday, so surely someone's seen the type and called it in... nope. It's "mom and pot stores" on their website as well. I'm sure it will be corrected soon enough but not before a lot of people see this.

This is a perfect example of why you shouldn't blindly rely on a spell-checker and should instead use your own Mk-I eyeballs and have some friggin writing skills if you're going to work for a newspaper! Especially one that holds itself up as a beacon of journalism in the Cayman Islands when comparing itself to the other newspaper on the island.

Is it any wonder why they're referred to as the Caymanian Compost and the Cayman Not News?

Wednesday, November 1, 2006 7:26:53 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman#

The weather sucks ass today. It sucked on Saturday, it got better Saturday night, it got crappy again Sunday afternoon... and so it goes. I was awoken this morning at 5am by rain POUNDING on the roof. I physically could not open my eyes to check the clock and had to will them open to check it eventually. Definately a Jeep day.

I already planned to drive in to work this morning, as I have some running around to do that requires some cargo space (and SOME cargo space trumps the Vespa by virtue of BEING cargo.) I got an email the other day from Little Bucket over at Ignition, the new IT Outsourcing outfit here on Grand Cayman that was called "Who needs a truck?" and had all these pictures (mostly from Vietnam and the Philippines it looked like) of people using scooters for cargo. Compared to them I'm a rank amateur, but I'm OK with that.

I didn't think it would be too big of a deal considering where I live, and the new bypass being open and the time I left the house. I was wrong. Either I didn't pay attention because any traffic there was I just went around on the Vespa or what, but I made the turn onto West Bay Road and traffic was stopped just on the far side of the Ritz-Carlton. Forget this shit! When I made it to The Strand, I turned in and made for the new bypass. I got there and had to wait for two cars to pass heading northbound before I could make the lane-crossing RIGHT turn southbound (we drive on the left here, dontcha know). I got to the next entry/exit to the bypass at Jennifer/Palm Heights drives and... stopped. WTF, Mate? Traffic poked along in front of the old Hyatt (which still isn't open, and is sitting dark... would have made the world's BEST haunted house in hindsight...) and was waiting to merge at the Lone Star Roundabout (I'm sure it has an official name, but that's how I recognize it).

Traffic then poked along the stretch of bypass behind Galleria to the other roundabout by the Cinema. All things considered, I decided to pull in to Cafe Del Sol and get a coffee to start the morning off. Cafe Del Sol was recently bought out by a new owner (a guy I know, actually) and he's sunk a lot of money into the place already, replacing all the derelict computers with shiny new Dells with 24" monitors. Their old ones went to the island of lost toys (wait, isn't that Cayman already?). There was a bit of a line, but the girl at the register saw me in line and called my order to the barista before I even got up there. When I got to the counter, she said "good morning, Mark!" and handed me my drink. Pretty cool customer service if you ask me.

When I finally got onto the bypass again, traffic was moving along swimmingly, until I got stuck behind a jackass who's little shitbox beater car couldn't manage to sustain 30mph and there was too much oncoming traffic to safely pass him. Finally I made it in to work ten minutes late. Not too shabby considering I was out til 12:30 last night at Sunset House for their Halowe'en bash. More on that later, though.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006 6:33:25 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Jeep | Rants | Scooter#
Thursday, October 26, 2006

Not that i'm complaining about it, but here goes: last week I saw a headline for an article in the new York Times (I think). It was while I was going through some RSS feeds and I clicked it to see what it was all about. It was all about how women tend to be less inhibited at Hallowe'en, that one night a year when they could "not be themselves" and convince themselves that they werent REALLY like that, it was JUSt Halowe'en. (down here in Cayman, the girls on vacation call it "Friday"... or Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday, Thursday and sometimes Saturday or Sunday). The article (seemed to be complaining?) that women's costumes had gone from Wonder Woman to Wonder Bra. Like that's a bad thing...

Then I see this video this morning and thought it was pretty funny... When he got to the "Sexy Pharmacist!" costume, I busted a gut laughing (as those of you who were here in Cayman a few years back will remember Halowe'en block parties at the Seaview, Sunset and Blue Parrot) and had to share it.

This year, there's a resurgence of the "Block Party" mentality at Rackham's and Hammerheads. There's a big costume party at Beach Club as well, and Z99 is having a Rocky Horror Picture Show party at the Hard Rock. Ratskyn is playing at Rackham's, so I'll be there as I'm contractually obligated :) See y'all out and about! (I won't be in costume this year, unless someone has a baggy yellow tracksuit they can lend me this weekend)

Thursday, October 26, 2006 8:11:51 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Misc#
Friday, October 13, 2006

While I was away in September, the National Roads Authority "finished" the bypass extension. If by finished you mean chip and spray with concrete forms and pylons and no lighting.

Nevertheless, the road is open from 6am to 7pm with a speed limit of 25mph. The new road starts at the Galleria roundabout and extends behind Lone Star, through the old Hyatt parking lot, around behind The Strand and then over Cayman's first-ever bridge over the lagoon at the Ritz Carlton and extends on through Governor's Harbor and ends rather abruptly at Indies Suites.

I can't vouch for how much of a difference it's made for AM West Bay traffic, but the first morning I went back to work after getting home from vacation, I thought maybe it was a public holiday. Instead of gridlock in front of my apartment, there were maybe three cars zipping along at 40mph.

I tried the new road out last Friday when I came home from work. I left at 5:05pm which should have meant that traffic would be backed up to at least the roundabout by the cinema. It wasn't. I sailed all the way through to the stretch behind the Galleria where it widens into two lanes, then went straight through on the extension. There were maybe three or four cars waiting at the mini-roundabout on West Bay Road. I turned off at Safehaven and came up alongside the Ritz-Carlton and then realized I had to cross both directions of traffic, and there was a fair bit at this point. I also realized that my Jeep is slightly longer than the middle lane is wide, which made for a pretty hairy close call when someone didn't want to stop just because a car was partially blocking his lane. Since then I go a little further north to the Lime Tree Bay roundabout and double-back a 1/4 mile. Way less stressful.

I took the new road on my scooter a couple days later, and kept to the 25mph limit because the road is loose gravel, with some tracks worn into it where the cars wheels had been. Not the best surface to be riding a two-wheeler on. On the scooter I do turn at the Ritz, because I CAN wait safely in the middle lane when trying to cross both directions of travel.

Our lease is up in November here at the Rock Star Palace, and we're hoping we can re-sign for another year, but if we HAVE to move, then living further north along the beach won't be such a bad move now that the traffic situation has been alleviated.

Friday, October 13, 2006 5:49:26 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman#
Wednesday, September 6, 2006

The timing is uncanny...

Last Thursday I came home and checked my voicemail (I had a couple missed calls, as I can't answer my phone while I'm on my Vespa. I could do it with my Bluetooth headset, but I have some behind-the-neck headphones that I wear instead) and there was a VM from Johnny Rotten, sounding drunk, saying: "Dude, call me. I have something to tell you, you'll probably find it pretty funny".

Before I could call him back, he logged in to MSN, so I said "Hey shitbag, what's up?"

He said "I got stung by a stingray today."

"Uh, heh heh, you did WHAT?"

Turns out he was holding a stingray out at Stingray City and he got knocked off balance by a large cruise shipper. As he was teetering off-balance,  another large cruise shipper knocked his legs out from under him. He fell onto the stingray, which panicked, flipped up it's barb and John fell onto it, getting stabbed in the leg before the stingray bolted off at mach 2. I couldn't stop laughing. I apologized, saying it probably wasn't funny, but he was the first person that I had actually met who had been stung by a stingray. He laughed too, but that might have been because of the four aspirin, five beers and six shots of Jack Daniel's. Or maybe it was four beers, five shots and six aspirins, I don't quite remember. In spite of all those "pain killers" he said he was on the verge of tears. He called Dr Denise and asked her if he should come in to the hospital, but she said as long as it was cleaned out properly there wasn't much that would do that he hadn't already done. According to his estimate, the barb went into his leg about 1.5 inches.

Last night I saw him at Calico Jack's, and his leg is still swollen, and the area around the wound had a squishy texture that I think is called edema. When you push on it, the indent stays for awhile. Like play-doh. Kinda gross.

Sunday night I couldn't sleep, and was laying in bed at 3am when the first IMs and emails started appearing asking me about Stingrays. WTF? I hadn't posted this yet, so no one knew that John had been stung yet. Turns out it was Steve Irwin. I read the article from an Australian newspaper that's all that had been posted so far and had a chat with Rich about it.

Since then, I've had a bunch of people ask me about stingrays so rather than type it all out over and over again, I'm posting it here instead. If you've come here from Google or something, and you're not my mother, my brother, or a couple friends who are usually the only readers of this, here's a little background on me: I've been living in the Cayman Islands since 1998 and was a SCUBA diving instructor for the first five of those years. I've been out to Stingray City and mauled/manhandled/wrangled the stingrays a couple hundred times and until last week, haven't even KNOWN anyone who's been stung by one.

I haven't seen the video of the stingray's sting on Steve Irwin, but I heard today that they might actually release it in the next few days, as grisly as it is. I couldn't figure out how it happened... the stingray's barb lays flat against their tail, pointing back. To get impaled on it by accident, the stingray would have to be swimming backwards pretty fast. They don't swim backwards. When a stingray is in peril, it lifts the barb up so it stand perpendicular to the tail.  Normally this occurs when the stingray is sleeping,partially buried, in the sand and their main predator, sharks, come up and try to chomp down on them. The barb comes up, the shark bites down and gets the barb in the roof it's mouth. It says OWWWWWW and the stingray swims away with or without the barb (they can regenerate them) while the shark doesn't get to eat.

What I'm trying to get at is the stingray's barb is a passive defense mechanism. There's no kinetic energy behind the barb. The penetrating trauma comes from the shark closing it's jaws on it, or a fisherman stepping on it in shallow water, or in John's case, falling on it. It will be interesting to see how the tragic mishap in Aus happened, if they do indeed show it.  They also didn't say what type of stingray it was that was involved, either. The stingrays we have down here in Cayman and at Stingray City are Southern Atlantic Stingrays. Their barbs do not grow to be ten inches long. I've seen their barbs up close and personal, and they're only three, maybe four inches long. They're black and they resemble a nail. A building nail, not a fingernail.

When the barb goes in, the spines create the entry wound and the whole barb goes in. Once there, as the stinger tries to come out, it leaves behind all the venomous goo around the barb in the wound (as well as making a jaggedy raggedy exit wound). That's what's causing John's leg wound to weep and suppurate still, as his body is fighting off the venom and trying to expel it.

What happened in Australia to Steve Irwin was a one in a who-knows-how-many million chance. First that he was stung at all by a stingray, and second that it managed to get him right where it did AND deep enough to cause fatal damage.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006 3:12:11 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Underwater#
Friday, August 25, 2006

After about noon today, activity picked up around the island. I popped in to Foster's by the airport and there was just a mess. Cars, people, everywhere. I thought for sure it would be until tonight or tomorrow that everything started getting really busy and shelves started getting empty. People were buying all kinds of things... As far as we knew this morning, we would start getting Tropical Storm force winds sometime in the early AM hours of Monday, and maybe hurricane force winds Monday late morning and then they should start to disspate after 1pm or so. Four hours of potential hurricane-force winds. Compared to the 36+ hours that we got uor collective asses kicked by Ivan two years ago, it's "Just a walk in the park, Cougar."

That said, I'm expecting the opwer to go out at some point Sunday night and be out for maybe twelve hours at the longest. Not a big deal, especially since I plan to be asleep for most of it (Monday's more than likely going to be a "snow day") I picked up a few things today, some water, a box of granola bars, that sort of thing. I'll probably head out to the warehouse tonight and rescue my hurricane supply locker. Not so much that I'll need all the stuff in there (solar shower, a week's supply of gelled cooknig fuel, water purification and such) but if we do get hit harder than we're expecting, I don't want someone else to 'recover' it before I can get out there.

As of the 4pm update, they've actually moved the track more to the north and now she's forecast to pass between here and Cayman Brac on Monday instead of passing directly over us. Next update will be around 10pm tonight, so as long as I'm not flat on my beak drunk, I'll post up something then.

Friday, August 25, 2006 1:43:48 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Hurricane#
The approximate Closest Point of Approach (CPA) is located near 19.5N, 81.2W or about 14.7 miles (23.7 km) from your location. The estimated time of when the center of the storm will be at that location is in about 81.3 hours (Monday, August 28 at 2:18PM EDT)
Friday, August 25, 2006 5:08:03 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Friday, August 11, 2006

There's an article in the New York Times this morning about scooters. One of the people they interviewed was a police officer who initially bought it strictly for commuting but after going on some Wednesday night rides with the New York Scooter Club, he's more into 'the scene' now. A common theme among people who had blurbs in the article was traffic and $3/gallon for gas.

So it seems that Cayman and NYC have something (else) in common: traffic! I pulled into Texaco on Seven Mile Beach the other day in my jeep and pumped in $20 which gave me less than half a tank. Fortunately that will last me 6-8 weeks. $4.43/gallon (In CI Dollars! that's over $5US) for the cheap stuff (jeep) and about $4.60/gallon for the good stuff (Vespa)

The New York Scooter Club rides on Wednesday nights, and down here, we the Scooterati used to ride on Saturday afternoons. One of our charter members, Sharon, has left the flock now, headed back to the US of A and her ET50 is for sale down at Auto Alternative (Lee's Vespa Cayman shop). It's a damn good price, too. Last time I was over at his website a few days ago I noticed that he added a Pre-Owned Scooters page to the site. For those of you who are a smarter than the average bear, he's also introduced an RSS feed to the news/announcements section of the site and you can read that in your favorite newsreader, IE7 or Firefox's built-in RSS reader.

If anyone is reading this IN Cayman, and wants to come for a scooter ride with us one of these Saturday's, just drop a line or leave a comment below and we'll let you know when the next ride is.

Friday, August 11, 2006 6:12:52 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links | Scooter#
Thursday, August 3, 2006
Little did she know that it was all part of the setup. While we were taking her out for a scooter ride, all our friends were congregating in South Sound at Robert's Treehouse.
Thursday, August 3, 2006 6:42:27 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links | Pictures | Scooter#
Sunday, July 30, 2006

Last weekend a bunch of us congregated at the Cayman Islands Yacht Club to board Gordy's new boat, the Aquasition. He's had it down here for a few months now, and is just getting his charter operation up and running. To celebrate the launch of Aquazure and also a warm-up, pre-going away party weekend for Sharon, we rounded up a couple coolers full of cold frosty beverages and went for a cruise in North Sound.

Aside from the usual suspects (Miller Lite for John, Kokanee for FNG and Michelob Ultra for Gordy and myself) I also brought along a little something I whipped up last Saturday: Minted lime syrup. The reasoning behind it was simple: Mojitos without all the work and utensils. Saturday afternoon I made a simple syrup and then steeped 2 packages of mint leaves in it and then soaked a half-dozen limes in it before straining it and pouring it into a Nalgene bottle to bring on the boat. 2oz of white rum (which in the end we forgot to bring) 2 oz of the syrup, over ice and topped with some club soda and a mint leaf garnish and that would be it. No muddling, no half-inch of sugar sitting in the bottom of the glass, just pure, refreshing, alcopop.

The Lido Deck

We headed out towards Stingray City to see if we could catch up with Zac, who was working that day. As we got out towards the sandbar, we saw Moby Dick was anchored at the barrier reef, so we pulled up alongside and dropped anchor. Zac was in the water with some customers, looking for the baby nurse shark that had been hanging out around the barrier reef lately, so we climbed up on the bow and cracked open a couple cold frosty beverages. Zac's boss Mark was on the boat and he jumped in the water and swam over and had a beer with us, and then later on Zac swam over to say hi, but conscientious boat captain that he is, forwent the beer. What a guy! Eventually, they pulled up anchor and headed back to the dock and we stayed there in the afternoon sun cooling our jets with dips in the water and more frosty beverages. Little Naiya Pearson was out with us the whole day and was super well-behaved. She even let me hold her without squeaking and squawking AT ALL and even posed for a few photos (soon come). Finally with the sun starting to slide past "right overhead" we decided to pull up anchor and make our way over to the Kaibo Yacht Club.

Kaibo Yacht Club

We tied up at the end of the pier and mosey'd over to the bar for some refreshments (because we didn't have enough on the boat already. Kaibo Yacht Club is a funny old place. Back in the day, it used to be THE place to "be seen" on Sundays. People with boats would go and tie up and hang out there, and people who didn't have boats suddenly wished they did. Kaibo is also the scene for Mardi Gras every year, too. Part of that draw is the restaurant that used to be upstairs. Back in the day it was called Cecil's and was a very New Orleans-styled restaurant. Crawfish Etoufee, gumbo, oysters casino and rockefeller, that sorta sorta. In about 1999 they remodeled the inside and it was really slick. Most of the tables were outside on the balcony behind mosquito netting and best of all, they had a free ferry service from Safehaven. Just before sunset you'd board the boat and have a sunset cruise across North Sound, and then dinner upstairs at Cecil's. After eating way too much and then stuffing some fresh beignets down for dessert, you'd get back on the boat and have a starlit cruise back to Safehaven, and then it was only 10:00 or so! As of right now, the restaurant is closed and the ferry is not running. Taking a page out of the Almond Tree/Treehouse book, the Kaibo Beach Bar has expanded their menu to offset the restaurant not being there anymore. We didn't eat this time around, by MJ told me that the food there at the bar is really good. I'll have to put it on my list of places to go.

Calypso Grill

As the sun started to set, we climbed back aboard and made our way into the sunset headed for Morgan's Harbor in West Bay. To drive that would take about an hour or so, barring any traffic jams. It's about as far as you can possibly drive on the island. On Gordy's boat, it only took about twenty minutes to scoot across the sound. We found space to berth at the pier and tied up. I knew beforehand that we were going to the Calypso Grill for dinner, which is a semi-fancy place, but assumed that we'd all look like we were on the water all day. I assumed wrong. :) I ended up way underdressed for dinner, but I figured I could pull it off with chutzpah and balls. I did. :) If you like seafood, you'll like Calypso Grill. If you're like me and aren't particularly big on seafood, then you'll still like Calypso Grill, although you'll have to study the menu a little harder. Freya, Gordy and FNG all put a debit in their karma bankbook and ordered the seabass. I had a little taste of it, and it was pretty good, but seabass are approaching endangerment so I wouldn't order it myself. Knowing what I know of the Calypso Grill, I ordered a salad, and then the Calypso Shrimp which is an appetizer, for my main. I was saving room for dessert! They have a few "regular" dessert items, like Sticky Toffee Pudding and their chocolate bread pudding, but I went for the dessert on the daily specials menu: Mango crepe with coconut and pineapple ice cream. Freya was sitting next to me and ordered the sticky toffee pudding on the assumption that we'd share both. The sticky toffee was good, but the mango crepe was better. Best of all was the ice cream. I'm not that big on coconut for the most part, but hot DAMN that was some of the best ice cream I've ever had! There were a couple orders of bread pudding down the other end of the table, but I'm sticking with the mango crepe and coconut ice cream as my pick of the night.

Just as we were finishing up, G-Love caught the eye of a dark-haired lass at the bar and struck up a conversation with her. As usual, women travel in pairs and this one had a friend with her as well. Seeing the opportunity for G Love, I selflessly assumed the role of Wingman and chatted up her friend. He invited them back on the boat with us and we cruised back to the yacht club where all our cars were parked. G and his lady friend were deep in discussion, leaving her friend caught in the crossfire. I suggested she ride back in my jeep and her friend could ride with G Love and they could finish their conversation in his car with a modicum of privacy. We came back to my apartment (which is right next to where they were staying, at the Westin). We went upstairs briefly and I mixed up some drinks for us. I broke out the rum and the minted lime syrup that we didn't get a chance to try and whipped up a batch of mojitos for us to take down to the beach. We sat on the beach sipping our mojitos (which turned out pretty good, all things considered) and chatted with the girls. Eventually G made his move and they "went for a walk" down the beach leaving us on the chaise lounges. We actually had a lot to talk about, as she was in online marketing, and I'm a huge nerd. We both realized we were in the wingman role, made the most of it and had a good conversation. A  little later on, I walked her back to the hotel and went home. Gordy showed up awhile later to drop off their glasses and collect their shoes.

A long day? Yes. A fun day? Definately. Monday afternoon I talked to Gordy on the phone and we laughed and said the previous night was like it was "back in the day" when we were both divemasters at Bob Soto's. The difference being that instead of meeting girls at the Seaview and giving them a ride back to our rathole apartments on the handlebars of our bicycles, we met them at a classy place like Calypso Grill, went for a cruise with them on his yacht (it went from boat to yacht as soon as they got onboard) and then jumped in my jeep and his beemer and went back to my condo on Seven Mile Beach next to the Westin and the Ritz-Carlton :)

Sunday, July 30, 2006 12:01:01 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Food | Pictures#
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Fortunately it's not too bad in this case.
Thursday, July 13, 2006 4:12:01 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Misc#
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I just flew in from Miami... and boy are my arms tired!

But seriously. When I'm in Miami and get stuck with the "economy car" (ie no upgrades that include Sirius or XM) I tune in to Y100.7. They used to have a morning show duo named "Kenny and Footy" or something like that who were pretty funny. Other than that, they play the top ten or so of the top 40 over and over and over and over and over again.

Today's surprise (other than hearing Shakira's latest song twice in the span of three hours) was their latest contest: It's called Made. As in "I want to be made". The winner of the contest wins free plastic surgery! Along with the promo that I heard eight or nine times, were the commercials for the "company" providing the service for the winners. They have this girl who sounds about 16 saying things like "I hate my boobs, I want to start with them..."

Coincidentally, I downloaded the first four episodes of Season 1 of Nip/Tuck to my PSP to watch on the plane today... How fitting.

And since we're on the topic of signs of the apocalypse, Cayman experienced another earthquake yesterday. I was going to post it last night but I was just too dog-darned tired. Today I forgot about it, but aside from a few hundred referral links from some jackass online poker site were a bunch of search engine results for Cayman earthquake (From the last one in December 2004). Seeing as how this post was already entitled "The Most Recent Sign of the Apocalypse" I figured it was a good segue.

This one was only 4.5 on the Richter Scale and it happened at 8:26 in the morning, so I was out on the road on my Vespa scooter and don't recall feeling any shaking. I wonder what caused this one this time? Zac was here as far as I know... :)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 5:17:37 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Rants | Travel#
Monday, July 10, 2006
"Hello, Children!"
'Hello, Chef!'
"What kind of trouble are you little maniacs getting into today?'
'Chef, we heard about this fish called a Spotted Drum and were wondering what you knew about them...'
"Well, the spotted drum is born with a looooong fin and a tiny body. As they grow up, the body grows into the fin! This means that when the drum is a juvenile (that's a baby to you and me) and an intermediate-phase (that's like a teenager) they have these long graceful fins that undulate back and forth real elegant-like!"
"They're not uncommon in the Caribbean, but it also takes a pretty good eye to find them, because the juveniles can have a body the size of your fingernail!"
"The intermediate ones can get to be about the size of a goldfish like you might have in your classroom and the adults grow to be about 6" long or so at the most."
'Chef, you're the coolest... except for that whole scientology thing, you whacko!'

More pics on Flickr from last weekend. Sunday me, A and the FNG did a shore dive at Eden Rock, and then holiday monday we went out in the afternoon with Danny of Off the Wall Divers. Most of the pictures from Sunday and Monday didn't turn out too well. Thursday night we did a night dive at Turtle Reef with Seb and then finished up with another dive Saturday afternoon from the dock in front of Sunset House and I even managed to find the Mermaid, AND get us back to the dock without peeking!

That reminds me that my gear is still outside and needs to be taken care of...
Monday, July 10, 2006 6:16:39 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Underwater#
Thursday, June 29, 2006
He understood that once in awhile you have to do something you don't particularly want to do, but have to do to keep loyal customers, well, loyal customers. Instead, Ales, the new manager has NOT done right by a loyal customer (me in this case) and created a lot of traffic on the internet about the piss poor treatment that you can expect from Divers Supply Grand Cayman.
Thursday, June 29, 2006 6:09:08 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Rants#

Good News/Bad News
Originally uploaded by DocJelly.
The Bad news is that gasoline is $4.43 per gallon today in Grand Cayman. That's $5.26US dollars and $5.83 in Canadian dollars. Per Gallon.

The Good news is that my Vespa only needs 1.4 gallons to go from fuel warning light to full, and that lasts me just over a week of commutes and running around at work.

I estimate that Im getting on the far side of 60MPG out of that little puppy, plus it's fun to ride around on, there's no traffic hell anymore, and chicks dig it. :)

Tonight when I got home from work I busted out the Miracle Wash. It's a can of "waterless car wash" that has a built-in polish to it, and WHOA BABY does it ever do a good job, and fairly quick, too. Spray on, wipe away the dirt to a dull haze and then buff with a second, clean terrycloth towel and she's showroom pretty again. It also gives me a chance to go over it and see if there are any scuffs, scratches and chips. I seem to have picked up one scuff on the right rear corner and there's a chip in the front, probably from a rock or something. Time to pick up a little tube of touch-up paint.
Thursday, June 29, 2006 5:34:36 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Pictures | Scooter#
Sunday, June 25, 2006

Getting up early on a Sunday morning is usually blasphemy. This morning, however, I'm up and juiced and ready to go on a snipe hunt. For the past week or so, there's been fairly regular sitings of a Manta Ray around Spanish Anchor in West Bay, Grand Cayman.

This is what it takes to get me up early on a weekend. My bags are packed, my batteries are charged and I've managed to convince two other intrepid souls Fede from Legendz and Jason the FNG to come out and play this morning, too. Too bad I have to dive table profiles because my dive computer is dead.

I'm off to Public Beach in a few minutes to meet up with Cayman Diving School and go check it out and see if we can find it.

Keep your fins crossed, and if I get any pictures (even blurry ones of it's ass as it's swimming away) I'll post em up here this afternoon.

Update 8:55am : Well we got to the beach and the swiim platform was red. No, not blood, but worse: transmission fluid. Dive aborted, I'm going to Ernesto's to watch the Ecuador-England game instead. :(

Sunday, June 25, 2006 5:01:39 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Underwater#
Saturday, June 24, 2006
This time when I went in, they all looked a bit nervous when I asked about my computer. They brought it out and showed it to me, and it looked like the picture to the right. The LCD had cracked and 'leaked' all over the front of the crystal. "What happened??" I asked.
Saturday, June 24, 2006 11:39:34 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [4] | Cayman | Rants#
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Warning: very long post. Click to read the whole thing.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006 9:26:16 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [5] | Cayman | Pictures#
Thursday, June 15, 2006
I was down around 100' and my Stinegr started beeping at me. This time it said I was at 220'. As I turned and made my way back up the wall into shallower water, it came back to 90ish feet. Two minutes later it dropped to 350 feet and started flashing "you should be dead" at me.
Thursday, June 15, 2006 8:15:50 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Misc#
Friday, June 9, 2006

Yesterday was another "Adventures in South Florida" day, and I got back last night around 10. I went right to bed and woke up to the sound of rain drumming on the tin roof. Usually showers like that come and go in a few minutes... I woke up again later and it was still raining, and then again later still. I actually looked at the clock that time and it was 5:55am and had been raining steadily and hard the whole time.

As usual when I wake up four or five times in the night, when the alarm finally went off, I was too tired to get up. I hit the snooze button four or five times to make up for it and rolled out of the sack just before 8am giving me just enough time to take a quick shower, dress and go.

I had some stuff to pick up at work, as well as my shirts from the cleaners so coupled with the weather I decided to take the Jeep to work today instead of my Vespa. I got to work, waded through the carpark and when I got to the door was met with "Where's your scooter today?" comments. "Are you HIGH?" was my answer. I don't mind riding in the rain, so long as I've got my rain gear on, but this was enough rain and standing water that I wanted to wear a mask, fins & snorkel to work.

When I got here this morning, I checked the weather satelite to see what was going on and The Weather Channel had "Disturbed Weather in NW Carribean" as it's lead story and when I clicked over to the Gulf of Mexico Satellite image my eyes nearly popped out of my head. (since that link is "live", it may have changed when you click on it) There are PURPLE clouds over pretty much the entire Caribbean sea south of Cuba and east of the Central American landmass. There's no organization to it, so there's no danger of hurricanes (knock on wood) but the sheer size of the system is amazing.

About an hour ago I decided I was hungry and went across the carpark to get a patty from the convenience store. I put on my rain jacket AND took an umbrella, but between the wind blowing the rain and the 3 inches of water in the carpark, my jeans (casual friday) from the knees down are still damp.

Today is a good day to see who delivers lunch!

Friday, June 9, 2006 7:34:32 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I had to attend a meeting at one of the local hotels after work today, and fortunately they had some "refreshments" afterwards which put a positive spin on an otherwise useless two hours of listening to people drone on in Dilbert Management-speak.

I chose to leave at just the right time though, as we came down the stairs from the mezzanine to the lobby, I saw someone who looked vaguely familiar. We fell into step ahead of them, and as I reached the door, I turned and looked over my shoulder, and sure enough, it was The Nature Boy, Ric Flair himself. He was with his family, and they were headed across the road for dinner, so I didn't bother him or yell WOOOOO in his face or anything because hey, if I'm on vacation, the last thing I want to do is have someone call me up and say "My computer won't work..."

If I see him around again though, and he isn't eating or talking to someone, I might say hi and ask politely if I could take a picture with him :)


Update: I was out by the airport today and the WWE corporate jet is out there, so it wasn't just a lookalike, it was the stylin' and profilin' nature boy himself :)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 5:17:34 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Sports#
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
DSC_00042.jpgIt's a bit hard to see in this picture, in hindsight I should have lowered the camera angle to get a better shot, but hey, it's a cameraphone. Expecting good things from a cameraphone (even when it's rated at 1.3 megapixels, the same as my first digital camera) is like, well.. whatever.

If you CAN'T make it out, the "good stuff", the Esso 8000 is KYD$4.38/gallon. That's USD$5.34 per gallon according to today. Fortunately it's Imperial Gallons, so that makes it a little better, but not by much. Today I filled up my Vespa scooter and it cost me $5.87. That $5.87 will last me at least a week, unless I make a trek out to East End again with the Cayman Scooter Brigade (website coming soon ;) ) Compared to my 4 cyl 2.5l Jeep, which cost me on average $25/week just to run back and forth to work (sitting in traffic) and around on my own time (always within 5 miles of home) and it's a huge savings.

Today it rained. Yay for gardens, Yikes for scooter riders. It wasn't so bad. It wasn't raining that hard, not like that day in January that I wrote about being Le Suck. The worst of today was wondering how much dirt that was sitting on the road was flying around in the spray from everyone's tires. Even if it were raining harder, the only thing I would have done different would have been to put on my rain pants, as well. As it was, my pants got wet, but they needed to be washed anyway.

One of the RSS feeds that I check on a fairly regular basis is Autoblog. Every now and then they post articles about scooters, and today they posted two. One was about a 3-wheeled scooter that Piaggio is releasing. The weird thing about the "MP3" trike as they call it, is that the two wheels are IN FRONT as opposed to behind like a traditional tricycle/big wheel. It looks weird, but cool at the same time. The other one was aggregating a post from (note to self, check that site out, too) and wrote "According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, sales went from 12,000 in 1997 to 113,000 in 2005 as people discovered the scooter's fuel-sipping100  mpg and its ability to zip through traffic snarls."

I tend to disagree a little but about the 100mpg thing, realistically I've tracked it to be about 60mpg in real-life driving. It's still better than the 25 that my Jeep is rated for and probably closer to 20 that I get with it. It ends the article with "And just like their motorcycle brethren, scooter riders are joining clubs, Internet forums, and organizing weekend rides." Unfortunately, the island is only 22 miles long, but fortunately it's sunny and warm (except today) and you have a gorgeous ocean view for most of the ride.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006 3:04:59 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Jeep | Scooter#
Thursday, May 11, 2006

John and I popped in to the Triple Crown pub for lunch on Sunday. I was still in breakfast mode, but Eats only serves til noon and it was about 1:00. John says they make the best sandwiches on the island: he ordered a ham & cheese, and sure enough, it looked like hand-carved chunks of ham off of a roast. Fortunately for me, they have two breakfasts on their menu all day long. I ended up having the breakfast wrap, which was some thick Irish bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs and cheese in a big tortilla and came with some home fries. Just what the Doctor ordered. :) The other breakfast onthe menu is an "all-day Fry up" which is bacon, sausage, eggs, hashed browns, tomatoes, baked beans, black pudding (ugh) and toast. That'll be for next time.

While we were there, we ran into Debbie & Tex and they told me about the Pub Quiz night they were having on Thursday night (tonight) and recruited me for their team. I showed up around 8:00 tonight and they were late starting and didn't get going til 9ish. It dragged on a bit long, too and by the time they got around to announcing the winners, there was so much smoke in the room that it was hazy looking up at the 'stage' where they were working from and my eyes were buuurning. My clothes stink so bad I left them on the floor outside my bedroom.

The place was PACKED. They had set a limit of 15 teams of four, but as they got going, they actually had 21 teams. 84 people (82 of which were chain-smoking all night) keeping the bartenders busy. If nothing else, it's a great draw to fill the coffers.

I'd played NTN before, but this was my first time through at a 'British-Style' pub quiz, and even though it was different from what I knew, I saw a bunch of people who I havent seen since we used to play NTN Trivia on Tuesday nights at PD's Pub, back before the hurricane. PD's is open now (post still to come) but no NTN at the moment.

There were five rounds, fifteen questions each: Movies, Music, General, Trivia and Sports. After the first two rounds, we were in second with 24 points, and one team had a perfect score of 30. Then we got to the Sports round and it all went into the toilet. I'm not saying that I'm weak at sports, but the questions were about "name the club that plays at xxx grounds" which is some team somewhere in Scotland. Unless you follow the Scottish league, you'd prbbaly never know. There was a question about Darts, a question about weight classes in IBF (not WBA) boxing, one about cricket, two golf, one FEMALE pool/billiards question, two about rugby and finally one "for the Yanks"... name the field that the St Louis Cardinals play at. Needless to say, we got a big fat goose-egg on that round. We went into the last round in 4th place with 32 points (two tied at 38 and the leaders at 40) and somehow managed to finish out of the top 10, even though we got the bulk of the questions in the last round right.

Debs asked me if I would come out again (this was the first night they did it I think and the host was a friend of hers so she was trying to drum up some people and make him look good) and I have to say yes, I'd do it again, although they need to NOT drag it on SO much, and they really need to do something about the smoke in there. Im not a rabid anti-smoker, but the air was so thick you could practically see the cancer cells floating around the room looking for someone to land on.

Next time out theyre going to have bigger teams (6s instead of 4s) so more people can join in without it taking forever to run the show.

Thursday, May 11, 2006 9:08:45 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Tuesday, May 2, 2006

As soon as I saw the first line of this email, I was already thinking of Snopes and how I was going to reply-all back saying it was a hoax, but it actually wasn't a hoax email at all.

Takiacloseup.jpgHi Everyone, it's Livia. I'm very sorry for the mass email, but I have a huge favor to ask and I hate asking favors but this one is important. I need to find a home for Takia, a Cayman mixed puppy that's about 3 years old...The original owner left her behind when she was pregnant and I took her in as I couldn't "let her run free" like he suggested before he left. She had 6 beautiful puppies that I took really good care of and found good homes for (I even had a screening process). I haven't heard from him at all since he left the island in January and I have been stuck with this situation since. I had to put Takia at the Humane society the past couple of months because of my living situation. Last week I thought I had some good luck by finding her a home but the guy decided that he wanted a puppy. I don't want to give her back to the Humane Society because I think she'll be on the list for being put down and this is why I'm sending this mass email out to see if you guys know anyone who'll take her in. She loves affection and is a great outdoor dog. Very low maintenance as well as very loyal. The short time that I did have her she just had Love written all over her face when she looked at me. She isn't fixed yet but I am willing to pay for this procedure as long as she is going to a good home. Please pass the word around to everyone you know who might be interested. I just don't want her life to be doomed because of someone's foolishness and irresponsibility. I've attached a picture of her so you know what she looks like. Thank you sooooo much for reading this mail, I really appreciate it. Hopefully we can find her a permanent home, she deserves it after all she's been through.

If anyone wants Livia's phone number, just email me

Tuesday, May 2, 2006 2:55:36 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Monday, May 1, 2006
April 1st seems like a long time ago. So long ago in fact, that I don't remember what the weather was like. I'll take a wild guess though: SUNNY AND WARM.
Monday, May 1, 2006 8:59:02 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures#
Friday, April 21, 2006

The Cayman Compass led off with a story this morning titled "Traffic Chaos Plagues Tourists". I'd like to think that traffic chaos plagues everyone on this island, whether they're here for the day, the week or if they live here. They did manage to narrow the focus of the story down later on, though.

The article described the mass chaos that occured last Saturday. The day before Easter Sunday and the day after Good Friday, and smack in the middle of a four-day weekend that traditionally is a time that people camp out on the beach with family, and run back and forth visiting, catching up and that sort of yadda yadda. Easter weekend is also the end of high season (April 15th) and is the second busiest holiday of the year,tourism-wise next to Christmas.

Bearing all of this in mind, someone's head had to have rolled (but probably not) at Public Works for OK'ing a request to CLOSE THE BYPASS behind the Galleria shopping center to allow some trenching and laying of pipes and cables to a new construction development. This forced ALL of the traffic coming from Seven Mile Beach and West Bay to stay on the single-lane, full-of-driveways, stoplight'ed West Bay Road. Those of you that have been reading this for awhile and remember some of my frothing-at-the-mouth tirades about traffic on any given day can appreciate the frustration that must have occured from waiting in excess of two hours in traffic, during the heat of the day.

Fortunately, I was on my scooter. :)

Saturday morning I headed up to Sharon's place for an easter brunch. Jules was there with the Bean and her mum, and after we finished eating and sitting around talking, poor Jules decided to call it a day, as the Bean had kept her up for the previous two nights and was looking forward to actually taking a nap while the baby was asleep during the afternoon. They left at about 2:30. At 2:45 she called us to warn us off trying to come in to town, as they had only made it as far as Victoria House, north of the Yacht Club and were sitting STOPPED in traffic. We contemplated getting the Scooter Brigade to convoy down there and rescue them, but I don't think Jules or Matty would have been too happy to slip Bean into a snugli and hop onto a two-wheeler, and Jules' mum is getting on and has a few mobility challenges as well.

I left at about 3:00 and rode home up the middle of the road past all the traffic and caught up to Jules near the COurtyard Marriot by Public Beach: they had moved about a quarter of a mile in the last 20 or so minutes. I carried on, went all the way down to the roundabout by the Lone Star to see what was causing all the traffic, and saw that there was a barricade set up barring the access to the bypass. I assumed there was a nasty accident or something, but I didn't find out that it was just closed til Monday. I turned around and headed back north towards home and pulled in at the Big Daddy's liquor store at The Falls shopping center, which just so happens to be across the street from my apt (convenient, isn't it?) and grabbed a few bottles of cold water. After that I walked over to Legendz and Jay gave me a styrofoam to-go container full of ice and I balanced it all on my scooter and headed north again.

By this time, Jules had progressed to the south end of Public Beach, so I turned around and pulled up next to her. They thought it was funny to see me again, until I showed them the goods. I took the chilled bottles of water out of the bag and handed them in through the driver's side window, and then the container of ice and saw the manic smiles on their faces. Did I mention that she doesn't have air conditioning in her old bucket?

Eventually they got home and cleaned up, but I don't think they ventured out again for the rest of the weekend.

It's times like this that make me glad I took the plunge and bought myself a Vespa Scooter to get around Grand Cayman and it's awful, hideous, insiduous traffic.

Friday, April 21, 2006 11:29:43 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Scooter#
Monday, April 17, 2006
I've had my scooter since just before Christmas, and I've already piled on 2200 kilometers. Just in case you're wondering, this island is only 30 miles long and seven or so miles wide at it's widest spot. I haven't really gone for many long rides. I went out to East End on the scooter one night a couple months back when I was at the Reef Resort to see the Barefoot Man's show, and the knobbly road on the north side of the island tore my back tire to shreds.
Monday, April 17, 2006 6:59:21 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures | Scooter#
Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Most of the time, I'm pretty jaded about all things tropical. I guess it's just what happens when you live there for so long. Growing up, I was never more than an hour away from the Pacific Ocean, and less than an hour away from deent skiing, and a few hours away from Whistler and Blackcomb, before they became the huge destinations that they are now. Road trips out to White Rock or Crescent Beach for fish and chips were mainstays of the summer, skiing at Grouse Mountain and Cypress Bowl were good ways to pass the winters. What do they have in common? You always take for granted the things that you get used to.

I got pretty stoked a couple weeks ago. My friends George & Darlene were down visiting with their little girl, Maddie and staying at Sunshine Suites, which is pretty much right across the street from my apartment. My friend Allison was down then, too. We decided to all meet up for dinner, and since it was an early night, because Maddie had to go to bed early, we decided to just have something to eat at the Sunshine Grill, which is right off the pool deck at Sunshine Suites.

20050623SunshineSuitesBBQ 002

Sunshine Grill has always been there. I remember having lunch there with Jenny a few times back when we were dating, and I always remember hearing about them winning 'best in show' or whatever it's called at the Taste of Cayman for their fish tacos. Other than that, it never really stood out to me. I also hadn't been there since they re-opened after Hurricane Ivan, until that night a few weeks ago. (well ok, we had dinner there one night after Matty & Jules' wedding, but they weren't open as a restaurant yet, we just used their tables and had a cookout)

Sunshine Grill is an "outdoor" restaurant, although it is completely enclosed with screens to keep the mozzies out. They have a fairly substantial bar, and the $g(Pusser's Painkiller) is their signature drink, which I've had once. Years ago when Jerry was the manager there and I don't remember much else after that. One cool thing they have there is a big-ass fan hanging from the ceiling. Seriously. It's a BIG-ASS FAN. the blades have got to be about eight to ten feet long.

George had chicken quesadillas that night, and I remember thinking to myself as he was served "Shit, I should have ordered that..." until I saw my dinner placed before me: a Cobb Salad wrap. It was a monster. There had to be close to a pound of shaved turkey in there, along with some cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, bacon and some ranch dressing right in the middle. I could only eat half of it. The fries that came with it were really good, too. I talked Allison into getting the fish tacos, as it's their signature dish. They come in an order of either two or three, so I convinced her to get the three, and I would have one, to give it a try. I'm not much of a seafood lover, but they were pretty damn tasty. Grilled mahi mahi, lettuce, tomato, guacamole in flour tortillas. Yummmmmmmy!

It was so good, we went back there for lunch a couple days later and SPLIT a Cobb salad wrap. The next week we went back again, I think it was a Thursday night, but the kitchen wasn't serving the regular menu that night. Thursday night is a bbq buffet that looked and smelled good. Im a sucker for bbq, but no one else was in the mood for it, so we walked over to Legendz instead. The bartender did make us promise to come back on Saturday night, when they had a steak & lobster special (I think it's every Saturday) of an 8 Oz strip steak and a lobster tail for 24.95. That's cheaper than pretty much anywhere else on The Rock, and judging by everything else I've had there, I would put some cash down betting that it was better than pretty much anywhere else on The Rock, too.

I walked over to Legendz tonight to have a beer with John, and while I was walking (stumbling?) home, the marquee up at the roadside for Sunshine Suites said "BEST BURGER IN CAYMAN" in big capital letters. That sounds like a challege to me, so I think I'll have to make plans and check it out on Wednesday or Friday night this week.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006 8:17:39 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Food#
Sunday, March 26, 2006

2006-03-25 Jellybean Pearson 002
Originally uploaded by DocJelly.
Say hello to little Jellybean Pearson! SHe came home from the hospital today, so aroud 3:00 I txted them saying "OK, need a picture!" and it just so happened that Johnny Rotten, who had just borrowed my camera, was there, so he snapped a few and then brought my camera back over here. Matty called a few mins later, and I asked how everyone was doing... were things going in and coming back out again later on, all that sorta good stuff. Short of Everton's baby girl Raeann, I think Jellybean will be the SECOND most-photographed-and-posted baby in the Cayman Islands :)
Sunday, March 26, 2006 2:46:55 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures#
Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My BackyardFor the past few Sundays, I've been rounding up "the gang" and hitting the beach. Have a couple beers, tell some awful jokes, look at and make comments on the bikinis that walk by all day (sometimes I swear it's like going to one of those sushi restaurants with the conveyor belt... they just keep on coming) and can you blame us?? Not sure what's going to happen this weekend, Matty & Jules, if she's even home from the hospital yet with Jellybean, will probably not be up to a "beach day" just yet anyway.

I think I can count on my available fingers the number of times I've "gone to the beach" in the last eight years (this summer) that I've been down here. It was always an ordeal... make sure you have everything you need, load it into the jeep, drive to the beach, find parking, walk through someone's back yard (basically) and then find a spot on the beach. If you needed anything, or had to go to the bathroom (#1 is ok, the ocean is right there, but god help you if it's a #2) then you were, no pun intended, shit out of luck.

Now that I just have to go downstairs and walk 50 yards, I've spent more time on the beach in the last month than I have in the last eight years.

Cheers to more weekends like that!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 4:11:32 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures#
Although I had my doubts earlier, Little Jellybean popped out this afternoon around 2:30. Might pop by the hospital later on tonight, so if I get any pics, I'll post some up. Jules was induced yesterday, the doc said she was ready to go. I asked Matty if that meant they would put a couple books on top of her, and maybe a can of tomatoes or two for weight (hey it works for AB), but apparently I was way off. :)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 2:43:03 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Friday, March 10, 2006

I was out and about on my scooter today at lunch time and a bunch of cop cars went screaming past me on North Sound Road, sirens blaring. A few minutes later, another cop on a bike and another cruiser behind him passed me doing about 70mph on the Harquail Bypass. I got home and made some lunch and was sitting on the balcony looking at the water when I heard MORE sirens heading north and an ambulance, too. I figured it was a big traffic accident or maybe they were filming season six of "24" here in Cayman.

A couple minutes later, Seb IMd me and said that the Cayman National Bank in West Bay had been robbed by gunmen. Later on when I got back to work, I heard that not only had they robbed the place at gunpoint, but also that a security guard had been shot. Later I heard it was a gardener, who was working on the landscaping. At this point, it's all rumor and conjecture. I'm sure there will be something about it in the paper on Monday, but until then, the rumors will travel down West Bay Road faster than the traffic does.

I went to the CNB downtown on my way back to work to pick up a draft and PIN my new debit card that finally showed up, and when I walked into the lobby, the doors were closed. There were two security guards there, and you had to go through the bypass lobby, and pretty much brush past both security guards to get into the customer service area of the bank. I don't blame them for the extra security, the guys in West Bay got away, and who knows, maybe they thought they had enough luck to go 2-for-2. The customer service agent said that there was a cop car parked outside for the last hour or so, but had just left a few moments before.

compass.jpgThe only question remains is "Why didn't they catch these hooded robbers last time and avoid all this in the first place? it's not like their faces were unknown to the entire public at large..."

OK, OK, it's a bad image. It's a 20 year old newspaper page that was photocopied a few times. One of these days I'll go down there and get a good copy and update this photo, now that I know what date it is. For now, squint.




UPDATE: The Cayman Compass has an article posted up about it under the heading "breaking news" that they posted yesterday afternoon. Realizing that they were sucking the hind tit and got scooped, the Net News posted something up a little later on.

I headed out to McCoy's last night, late, and John said it took him 90 minutes to get from West Bay to George Town, as there was a police roadblock just north of the Yacht Club that was stopping and searching vehicles. The roadblock was gone last night when he headed home, but apparently it's back up again this morning, with traffic backed up for an hour or so again. But what I don't get is why they took it down and then put it back up again? Isn't that like closing the barn door, then leaving it open, and then going back to close it again after? Who knows how many horses got out of the barn?? Someone else IM'd me about that and said "I guess the key to getting away with something here is to wait for the police to get tired and go home for the day first"

Friday, March 10, 2006 11:52:54 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Pictures#
Thursday, February 23, 2006

I had one written up last weekend, and was waiting til Monday evening to post it here and send a copy of it to the compass, but instead Monday evening I was informed of a death in the family and in my haste to get off The Rock and back to Vancouver as quick as I could, I let it wither on the vine. I still have it and I might post it up some day, but in the meantime, while I was checking the news back home, I saw this letter that was written by someone in the US and sent to the Caymanian Compass. Not only did he hit every point I was going to make, but he did it in a little less snarky manner.

Kudos to Peter Cunningham.

Thursday, February 23, 2006 11:08:06 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Monday, February 20, 2006
Here's the final result of the Cayman Net News' article they approached me with questions about.
Monday, February 20, 2006 1:21:50 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Scooter#
Friday, February 17, 2006

There was an article on the front page of the Cayman Compass this morning about bloggers in the Cayman Islands, and then an editorial slamming them.

Fortunately, it wasn't about me :)

Checking the referrers log this morning, I've already gotten a couple hits from people looking for the Cayman Islands Blog Man and RCIP search terms, so I thought I'd post this up while still framing my thoughts about the Compass' article.

Caymancop has gone to his blogspot page and deleted all his posts, so they're no longer available. Too bad, really. I wish I had known about his site, I would have picked up the RSS feed to get his updates.

I WILL post something about it soon, it's too ripe not to pick. I'll also post up the link to their website when it makes it up there (for some reason, probably marketing related, both the Compass and Net News don't update their websites until 4 or 5pm. I guess that's because they want people to buy the paper rather than read the web edition for free. Makes sense, I guess)

update: Link to the article and the editorial on the Cayman Compass website

Friday, February 17, 2006 8:41:01 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Things are picking up culturally and entertainment-wise in Grand Cayman... but only if you're a guest at the Ritz-Carlton
Thursday, February 16, 2006 9:17:35 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Rants#
Tuesday, February 7, 2006
The Cayman Net News is doing an article on Scooters and approached me with some questions to help them along with it. With most of what I said going to end up on the editing room floor, here's the full reply I sent them
Tuesday, February 7, 2006 11:20:09 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Scooter#
Monday, February 6, 2006
T-minus 8 days and counting!
Monday, February 6, 2006 7:40:54 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Food#
Friday, February 3, 2006
This beats Porno Shrimp, hands down. After all the hubbub about the Largest Gay Cruise II calling into port in Grand Cayman, the local paper goes and prints this above the fold...
Friday, February 3, 2006 8:25:19 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures#
Thursday, February 2, 2006

I've been living down here on Grand Cayman since the summer of 1998 and I can honestly say I've seen hundreds of sunsets. I even have a keyword/tag called sunsets in Picasa I have so many pictures of them. I've read in all the tourist mags about the “Green Flash” and have looked for it on many, many occasions. I've never seen it before, and put it down to a myth.

I even had a theory about it, and about how people could be mistaken and there eyes playing tricks on them. Here's what you do: look at a lightbulb. Any lightbulb will do. Stare at it for a few seconds, as if you were staring at a sunset... then turn the light out. There it is, a green blob in the shape of the lightbulb, and it's green! When people would ask me about the green flash, I would tell them that some people swear they've seen it, and that I think it's a myth and their eyes playing tricks on them.

Last night, Renee called me up and said there was an IDC/IE party going on at Calico Jack's. IDC/IE parties are fairly legendary. Starting with my own back in 1997 at the Cactus Club on West 10th near UBC, continuing through other ones at the Seaview Hotel when it was open, a few at the Lone Star and even one at the now-closed Treehouse, from which I still have a scar on my leg that will permanently remind me of that one. Basically the IDC is two weeks of long days, a lot of studying, a lot of memorizing PADI Standards and Practices, and prepping for the Instructor Examinations (IE) so when it's finally all said and done, there's a good lot of pressure that needs to be released.

Seeing as how Im now living on the beach just down from Calico Jack's, I decided to walk up there after work, have a drink or three with the new Open Water Instructors, congratulate them and welcome them into the ranks so to speak. Note to self: it's further than it looks! For some reason, I was under the impression that it was just on the other side of the Governor's house, when in fact it's a little further up the beach. It wasn't that far off, and I made it in 20 minutes.

As I was walking up the beach, there was a couple who just got married being video'd and photo'd walking at the water's edge, so I shifted my track up into the sand so I wouldn't get in their shots. A little further along was a large extended family posing for photos in the waning sun as well. As I got up near Calico Jack's, the sun had just started to sink into the horizon. It all happens pretty quick at that point, and I noticed that thre was not a cloud in the sky on the horizon... perfect conditions for a green flash, if they existed.

The sun continued down and just about when the middle of the sun was passing the horizon, a dark blotch appeared: a cloud. Since it was only ten seconds or so away, I stopped and, along with everyone else on the beach looked at the sun. Just as the last few millimeters of sunlight was visible above the horizon, there it was... the whole surface of the sun that was still visible glowed emerald green! It wasn't really a dark green, more of a lighter emeraldy-jade color, and the green sort of undulated and varied in it's intensity. Before my jaw could drop open, just like Kaiser Soze, (blow) it was gone.

I carried on up to Calico Jack's, and Zac and John were there too, so I sat and had a beverage with them, and then walked back along the beach in the moonlight (what little sliver of moon there was) to my new apt. I came upstairs, nuked some turkey soup and grabbed a couple slices of cold pizza and sat outside on the balcony. Another band was playing on the beach at the Ritz-Carlton again, so I put my feet up and enjoyed the warm breeze, moon over the water and the live music rolling across the beach to me.

This was the lifestyle I always thought I would have living down here, before actually getting here and having the cold, hard backhand of reality slap me in the face. It took me nearly eight years, but now, I've made it.

Thursday, February 2, 2006 4:47:18 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Misc#
Tuesday, January 31, 2006

So today's the big day... The Navigator of the Seas floats in to port and 3000 or so patrons will sashay down the the gangplank and set off for a lovely day of sightseeing, playing with stingrays, watching the turtles at the new Turtle Farm, snorkelling the barrier reef, drinking beer, fruity umbrella drinks, shopping in the duty free stores, taking pictures with Big Black Dick the pirate and leaving again late this afternoon taking with them a day of wonderful memories and a few gigabyts of digital photos.

SO what's the big deal then? Why does this particular boat get more attention than any of the other hundred or so ships that come into port here each month? Get this... it's because it's a Gay & Lesbian charter!

NO! SAY IT AINT SO! NOT IN CAYMAN! Isn't that the country who turned away a ship full of 'em back in 1998? Yup. Same place. There was another one that was supposed to dock here last year January, but the numbers weren't high enough and the charter fell through, so Cayman was “spared” having to go through it again. Not that it stopped the usual suspects from writing letters to the editors of the two local papers and sparking a shitstorm of debate for a week or two, until it was forgotten and they moved on to something else to complain about.

In 2001, the Gov't passed a non-discrimination law, so that when this came around again, there was nothing to stop it. Gays & lesbians are officially welcome in the Cayman Islands. ACTUALLY welcome is another story though. There's been MASSIVE debate and front page headlines for the last week or so, and the radio call-in show(s) have been flooded with calls. A few 21st century, open-minded people in support of it, but mostly people calling in to voice their displeasure about it. There were even a couple letters in Monday's papers saying that they planned to protest with placards and things like that.

With that in mind, I left for work a few minutes early this morning, and planned to scoot downtown and maybe get a picture or two of the protestors to post up here with this story (with their faces blurred out in photoshop, since I doubt anyone would be in a mood to read & sign a standard waiver/release) :) but NO SUCH LUCK! Between 8:00 and 8:30 there was nothing out of the ordinary downtown. No protests, no angry mobs, nothing! There seemed to be more traffic than usual, but that was about it. I'll try again at lunch time and if I get anything, I'll post an update this afternoon.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 6:10:02 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Misc#
Friday, January 27, 2006
Last Monday, which was a holiday here in the Cayman Islands, I went out with Off The Wall divers for a little 2-tank dive in the afternoon. It was a bit windy and bumpy, but it all went fine. We scooted up around the corner and did a deep dive at Hepp's Wall out in front of the Turtle Farm. As we were cruising along around 80 feet or so, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and turned to see this whitish stingray-lookin thing swimming just above the reef.

It took me a minute to recognize it but the 'scalloped' leading edge, which looked like uncooked pizza dough, piqued something in my memory. I had SEEN one of these things before, years ago when I worked at Soto's. I had been doing a dive on the west side, and the videographer, Elspeth, called me back down rather frantically to see something, so I sunk down there and saw this weird looking ray. I aimed my camera at it, tripped the shutter and... the battery died. D'OH!

This time, I was ready. I took a few shots of him swimming around, and then got this shot as he landed on a ledge of coral. Shortly after this shot, he fluttered is fins to push him further into the reef and out of the light, and did a good job of stirring up the bottom making it difficult to take pictures.

When I got home, I pulled out Paul Humann's Reef Fish book and flipped to the section on rays. I found a picture that looked just like this one, and read/remembered then that it was called a torpedo ray.

There isn't a lot known about Torpedo Rays, they have been known to deliver an electric shock as a defense mechanism, and they're rarely spotted. The field guide said they were rare in the northeastern Caribbean, and not known/spotted elsewhere. Ironically the photo he had of the Torpedo Ray in his book was taken here in Grand Cayman, back in the day by Wayne Hasson, who's the owner of the Aggressor Fleet.

Unlike any other blurbs/writeups in the book, this one had a note attached to it that the author is very interested in finding out more about these guys and their sightings and whatnot, so after I finish moving this weekend and unpack some books, I'll see if there's any contact info in the back of the book.
Friday, January 27, 2006 7:33:38 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Pictures | Underwater#
Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I rode my Vespa in the rain today, more or less for the first time. I rode once before in wet weather, with a rain jacket on and got my pants wet, but today was definately what's reffered to as “rain”. Tropical rains at that. I'm not talking the slow, misty, last-all-goddamn-winter-long, embarrasing-West-Coast-wetness that you see in Vancouver. I'm talkin HOLLYWOOD rain. The kind of rain that hammers down and makes a lot of noise on things like roofs and hoods of cars and bounces six inches back up when it hits the road. The kind of rain that soaks you to the bone running from the car to the big, dark, scary house when you have a flat tire...

I was sitting upstairs in my “office” (which is STILL 'temporary accomodations', 16 months after Hurricane Ivan) which has no windows when someone else came up and said “Man it's POURING out there.”

“Great,” I thought. Riding in the rain. I packed up my things, put my laptop into the giant Ziploc bag that I carry around in my laptop bag and got my stuff ready to go. I went downstairs and left my backpack and helmet at reception and went outside to get my rain gear out from underneath the seat. It HAD rained hard, but was just lightly sprinkling at the moment. I went back inside and pulled on my rain pants, zipped up my DiveTech rain jacket that I got for xmas, slipped on my non-tinted glasses, pulled on my helmet and steeled myself for “Teh Suck”.

I hopped on the scooter and made my way out of the carpark to the road. At that point, the rain started coming down harder. And harder. And even harder still. We were approaching tropical monsoon rains, and as I turned into traffic, I put the rain at my back. No big whoop, but I was a little concerned about my laptop and other electronic bits in my backpack (digital camera, 4G iPod Photo, PSP and a few cables and adapters). I was tempted to ride down the middle and get out of the stopped traffic, but North Sound Road is quite narrow, and pretty extensively damaged by so much traffic and heavy trucks travelling it over the past 16 months. The intersection at AL Thompson's is probably one of the scariest intersections on the island, too. All things considered, I sat there in the rain inching forward. I got past the intersection and stopped again at the big roundabout. I noticed that I had gotten ahead of the big rain cloud, but as I sat there, it caught up to me again.

At this point, I realized that when I lifted my foot up onto the running boards, my rain pants came up over the tops of my boots, and the water was just running down my pants and into my boots, making my socks wet. I got through the roundabout and onto the “highway” and accelerated ahead of the rain cloud again. The lighter rain, at 40mph managed to push it's way through the teeth of the zipper on my rain jacket and soak through my shirt and my undershirt, just in the front.

Traffic was backed up along the bypass, and when I got to that part of the bypass, I did ride up the side of the traffic most of the way. One lady saw me coming in her mirror and edged over to block me from passing. Thanks a lot, you douche bag! When she saw me move over to the other side of the road, she actually tried to get back across to block me there, too but didn't have enough space to move forward and do it. So long, sucker! After that it was a quick five miles in light rain up Seven Mile Beach into West Bay, and home. I got in the door and called to Seb “Well that was The Suck” and he started laughing at me. By the time I peeled off the wet rain gear, took off my shoes and hung stuff up to dry, the rain cloud caught up with me and started hammering on the tin roof.

It only lasted a few minutes, but Im glad I didn't stop anywhere on the way home. If I have to go out anywhere tonight, I'll make sure and take the Jeep, which should be dry, even though my back flap was open and facing south (the direction the wind & rain came from).

As much as it sucked, it really wasn't that bad of a commute. I was more worried about people seeing me in the limited visibility than I was anything else. I'm glad I keep rain gear under the seat, and the ziploc bag in my backpack. I don't think I'd CHOOSE to go riding in this kind of weather for fun, but such as it was, it still beat sitting in traffic.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 3:43:27 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Scooter#
Monday, January 2, 2006
The latest(final) chapter of my apartment
Monday, January 2, 2006 10:42:38 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Misc#
Friday, December 23, 2005

LX 125
Originally uploaded by DocJelly.
It's funny, yesterday was the first day it rained in weeks. It REALLY rained, too. Last night it rained so hard the noise of it hitting the tin roof above woke me up. As did a few high gusts of winds that made the roof creak (!!) That got my heart rate up again.
Ironically, it was also the day I picked up my new ride, a Vespa LX125 in "Dragon Red" This picture doesn't really do it justice, but it's a quickie. I'll be taking some more shots of it soon, this was just a quickie while it's parked (under cover on the sidewalk) at work. :)
Friday, December 23, 2005 7:10:29 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures | Scooter#
Thursday, December 22, 2005
..or is it?
Thursday, December 22, 2005 12:36:43 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures#
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
... or on a scooter.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005 3:15:36 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Scooter#
Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Last week I borrowed a scooter from a friend to try out the commute and see how it went before deciding if I wanted to spend the money on one myself.

Sunday the 4th I scooted over to the Texaco in Hell and “filled up”. Grand total: $4.51 or 1.05 gallons. That filled the little tank all the way to the top. I then scooted home and left it there til Monday morning. I slept in that morning, more or less by accident and left the house at 8:05am.

I got to work at 8:25am.

Traffic was backed up to the West Bay Public Dock, but by scooting along beside it, at just 10mph, I made HELLA time. In just five minutes, I was down to Foster's West Bay. Ten minutes to Public Beach. Fifteen minutes to Safehaven/Ritz-Carlton, 20 minutes to where the Harquail Bypass comes out by the cinema and then 25 minutes til I was parking the bike and walking in the door at work on North Sound Way.

Over the next four days, as my confidence increased (and I got passed by other scooterati going twice my speed) I've shortened the trip to 20 minutes. I could go faster, but I choose not to. If I put the bike down at 25mph, chances are I'll walk away from the scene. If I put it down in traffic at 40mph, then the only likely way I'll leave the scene is in an ambulance, and that would SO suck, big-time.

This morning I stopped at Texaco and filled it up again. Gas has dropped now to 3.87/gallon so the 1.1 gallon fillup cost me $4.05. I checked the odometer and did pretty close to 120 miles. On 1.1 gallon of gas and one week of commuting. That would have cost me nearly $50 in gas in my jeep (which is only the 2.5l 4cyl engine, not the monster 6-cyl 4.0l) and taken nearly an hour each way.

Aside from the savings in fuel, and the savings in time (which I've spent getting an extra 40 or so minutes of beauty sleep) the change in my demeanor is un-measurable. Instead of rolling in to work in a bad mood, with a little black thundercloud over my head and a scowl on my face, I come in fresh-cheeked and bright-eyed and HAPPY to help people when they call with dumb questions, like if their computer is un-plugged). So far I've managed to scoot from office to office with a 15” LCD between my knees, a dot matrix printer on the floorboard and a small CPU strapped to the back of my seat, so it hasn't been too much of an inconvenience.

Now the question of buying my own. I polled my close friends via IM and email on it a couple weeks ago (before having given it a go on a borrowed bike) and got talked out of it at first, because of the high initial cash outlay and the fact that a new Vespa LX125 costs more than my jeep cost me last year and because it wasn't going to be my primary mode of transport.

I'm still not ready to sell my jeep and go scooter-only, and the LX125 is still $4000 CI, but Im approaching the “it doesn't matter” mindset now. I've already worked it out, what with interest rates and things, and it's STILL going to be cheaper to pay it off (at 13.99% credit card interest) over a year than it would be to move closer to town and end up paying $1200/month (or more) for rent.

All I've got to do now is come up with a little more $$ or talk the dealer down a little more $$ and I'll be good to go.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 11:59:33 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Scooter#
Thursday, December 8, 2005

Finally an entertainer of some famousness is coming to Grand Cayman. Sheryl Crow is scheduled to attend/perform at the opening of the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. She will be the first “big” show to come to town since Garbage was here in 2002. Just like the Garbage concert however, the show will be a private show with no tickets being sold or made available to the general public.

No offense to Bjorn Again, Nearly Neil, Elevation or Innuendo, but it seems that “tribute bands” are about the only kind of concerts I've ever seen down here. While they're entertaining, it's just not the same.

In 2002, Stuff Magazine flew about 100 people down here for winning a contest, and one of the things they did was attend a concert at the Seaview Hotel by Garbage. Garbage happens to be one of my favorite bands and when we heard that they were ocming to Cayman, we thought it was pretty cool, only to be told “it's a private concert, there won't be any tickets to be had”. Then we heard that we'd be able to moor up just offshore of the Seaview and still see some of the concert and hear the whole thing. Then we were told no, you can't do that, and they hung curtains behind the stage to block any visibility, too. In the end, by hook and by crook, I got in to the concert and it was pretty cool.

When I first arrived on the island, way back in the day, someone went to a lot of trouble to get Kenny Rogers down here, when he was doing a “Storytellers” tour or something. The island went crazy, as there seemed to be a lot of oldies who liked the old coutry & western music. Tickets were sold (and solt out quickly) at $150 bucks a pop for dinner and the show, and HOLY COW was there a backlash afterwards. The memories are a bit foggy, but I remember reading in the paper the next week or so people complaining that he only actually sang about 6 or 7 songs, and filled in the time sitting there with his guitar telling little stories and anecdotes about what the song was about or why he wrote it. Maybe it's just me, but when the tour is called “Storyteller”...

There were also a few other country acts over the years (usually at the Seaview Hotel) of either sunset tours of last-generation stars and B-list acts on their way up.

In the current scenario, I don't know if I'd actually go to a Sheryl Crow concert, but because there's just been NOTHING ELSE, I probably would have gone to this one (if they were selling tickets of course). It just makes me mad that they're hyping it up in the local rags about her coming and performing, and then “oh, except it's a private show, so don't show up and don't call looking to buy tickets”

Oh, another slap in the face: The movie theatre had a poster up for the past few weeks of The Chronicles of Narnia with a sheet of paper taped to it saying “COMING DECEMBER 7TH” which is a bit odd, considering that it doesn't open in the US until the 9th. Yesterday in the newspaper, they had the regular ad in there saying that they were showing The Gospel and some other chickflick at 6 and 615 respectively and then underneath it it said in block letters: CINEMA 1 AND 2 CLOSED: RENTED FOR PRIVATE SHOWING OF THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA and no mention on what was going on. Today, they're screening The Gospel and the crappy chick flick again.


Thursday, December 8, 2005 1:24:53 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Rants#
Sunday, December 4, 2005

Wow, has it really been nearly two weeks since my last post? That “most recent pic” is from Halloween still, too. Gotta do somethin about that one of these days too.

Life's been chugging right along lately. One week melting into the next. “At least it's not years“, Chip said to me tonight at a bbq I went to and I said “yes that's true, although it's starting to get into a monthly thing” but I think that has to do with getting paid once a month rather than every two weeks.

Tomorrow will be interesting. A friend of mine has let me use her scooter for a few days, to see how that goes before dropping the big bucks on one of my own. Her scooter got stolen Friday night, she called me to go with her to collect it at about midnight or so. We couldn't get it started so I had to lift it (they're pretty heavy, I found out) into the back of her car- a Honda Civic- and take it home that way.

We dropped it at my house and I took a look at it on Saturday morning. Turns out that the bike probably wasn't locked. The key has three positions. run, off and lock. to turn the key to lock, you have to make sure the handlebars are all the way to the right, then you push and turn the key and it locks the steering column. You can take the key out without locking it, so I think her friend that borrowed it just did that.

I was about to describe how the cocksmoker was able to hotwire the scooter, but seeing as how often this site is indexed by search engines, I don't want to give anyone who doesnt know how to do it any ideas. Suffice to say he broke open the body of the bike to gain access to the wiring areas. I was able to fix it fairly easily andstart it right up. In return for that, she took me out for dinner last night and is letting me ride it for a bit.

Hopefully I'll have a post in the next couple days saying how my quality of life has improved from not having to sit in traffic for an hour in the morning and get to work pissed off and crabby already. Hopefully the next post isn't from someone else who has my login saying I died in a traffic accident :)

Sunday, December 4, 2005 7:28:27 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Jules had another ultrasound today and was able to figure out what it was this time around.
Saturday, November 19, 2005 1:23:25 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Misc#
Sunday, November 13, 2005
For the love of Pete, will this hurricane season ever end???
Sunday, November 13, 2005 9:25:13 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [11] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Last week there was a front page article in the paper about some positive steps the NRA was making to alleviate the traffic on West Bay Road.
Sunday, November 13, 2005 9:08:14 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Rants#
Friday, November 11, 2005
Even if this was not a law, which it is, I'm afraid I would have a lot of difficulty endorsing an enterprise which is as fraught with genuine peril as I believe this one to be. Besides the liquor and the drugs which always seem to accompany such an event the thing that distresses me even more, Ren, is the spiritual corruption that can be involved.
Friday, November 11, 2005 9:02:47 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Links | Rants#
Tuesday, November 1, 2005
...who tore up the Rugby pitch
Tuesday, November 1, 2005 5:03:36 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman#
Monday, October 31, 2005
Where is everybody tonight?
Monday, October 31, 2005 9:18:23 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Rants#
Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What a nice surprise this morning to see that the deep blue sea has returned, instead of being all white and frothy. There are still some rollers coming in, but they're breaking offshore and you can actually see mooring balls now. Further down the beach closer to George Town there's some breakers still but she's really calmed down now in the last 12 or so hours. Another day or so and Seven Mile Beach will be back in shape and calm, warm and crystal clear for snorkelling. Without the waves, the beach boats will be able to come in and pick up divers and things will get back to normal after a few “snow days“ of no diving.

The big story now are the grocery stores. It's been too rough for any container ships to dock in George Town, so they're starting to run low on perishables and some of the shelves are looking rather empty. I wish I had time to stop this morning and take a picture of the produce section of Foster's at the Strand, it looks more like a produce display rack showroom! They have little signs on all the racks and shelves saying that some items are running low because they haven't been able to resupply because of the weather, but that starting Tuesday they'll be airlifting in some perishables (bread and milk most likely). That's gotta be hella expensive for the grocers to do that, but to their credit, everytime it's happened before where we can't get ships in because of weather, all the prices have stayed the same.

On another note, this is a good thing to keep in the back of your head. When trying to reach someone in a disaster area, or after a hurricane, earthquake, Backstreet Boys CD signing appearance or whatnot, use SMS. SMS hasn't really caught on as much in North America as it has in Europe or Asia so you may not even know what it is. SMS is like email, you can send Short Messages (the SM of SMS) from handset to handset. It's a lot less 'strain' on a cellular switch than a voice call is, so chances are it will go through quicker than if you tried to call and call and call and call. Most providers have a web interface to send SMS messages through as well, such as this one from Cable & Wireless (Cayman).

My friend Shannon lives in Ft Lauderdale and told me beforehand that they didn't have a generator this time. Rather than waste my time trying to get through to her yesterday and if I did, chewing up her battery and if not, chewing up her battery while she checks her voicemail, I sent her an SMS message. That message popped up next time she turned her phone on, and she replied and told me she was ok without having to sacrifice any precious talk-time on her cell's battery. Now that I know she's OK, I won't sit here and nervously hit “Send/Receive“ every two minutes looking for an email saying she's OK. The other thing you can do is make sure you have a solar cell phone charger handy for times when there's no power, especially if you live somewhere where it's usually pretty sunny (so that kinda rules out Canada, but hey, very few natural disasters in God's Country, right Gramma?)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 5:55:29 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [3] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Sunday, October 23, 2005

Thanks to Davie Jone's Locker (yes I realize it's spelled wrong, that's how they spelled it and it bugs me to no end) and the Hard Rock Cafe, the local TV station, CITN, is broadcasting the CBC Hockey Night in Canada double-headers on Saturday nights. WICKED.

Last night I missed the first period (and Coach's Corner!) because ONCE AGAIN I forgot about Daylight Savings Time. Next week the first game will be on at 6:00 and the second at 9:00 and then they'll shift after Oct 30th to 7:00 and 10:00.

SO, if you need to get ahold of me on a Saturday night from now til about, oh, I dunno, June, just come and kick the couch to get my attention.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 1:16:35 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hockey#

Along with the website outage I had yesterday due to hardware at the server end in Vancouver, we've been having problems with internet connectivity period down here. Wednesday night (when Wilma was making her closest brush to Cayman) Nat called me and was having trouble with DNS resolution (that's what happens when you type in and the network says “oh yeah,, here it's 216.whatever.whatever.whatever” and connects you to it). Since then, the internet has been up and down and up and down. When it's up, it's slow. When it's down, it's down.

People have been calling me non-stop for the last few days asking if I could come “fix” their internet connection and I've had to try and explain that it wasn't anything that I could fix, that it was a problem with Cable & Wireless. “But I have a cable modem from WestTel!” Yeah well, then I have to explain that Cable & Wireless owns the fiber that goes off the island, so any other ISPs that pop up still have to lease circuits fro C&W, so in effect they still have a monopoly, even though it was “dissolved” very publicly over the last couple years.

I started to wonder if something happened to the submarine fiber optic cable, since it got washed ashore during Hurricane Ivan last year. I didn't know where the other end of it went until today. There are three links: one from here to Cayman Brac, one from Cayman Brac to Jamaica (and from there I don't know where it goes) and then the other side of the link goes from Grand Cayman to.... Cancun! Yeah, Cancun. So that link has been knocked offline and the entire IP infrastructure for the Cayman Islands is now travelling over the backup link from here to Jamaica. So while we DO have connectivity, the speed of it is waaaaaay down. No real sense of when it can be repaired, either. Im guessing they havent even got anyone on-site that can assess the damage, nevermind when it can get fixed and put back online.

Bunch of arse.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 9:16:44 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane | Tech#
Thursday, October 20, 2005
And some BIG-ASS WAVES! Keep in mind that the closest point of approach of Wilma was about 150 miles south-west of us.
Thursday, October 20, 2005 5:18:47 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane | Pictures#
Pic(s) of flooding in Newlands. Newlands is on the other side of George Town from where I live, along the south coast of the island.
Thursday, October 20, 2005 9:58:51 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane | Pictures#
90 minute commute through damaged streets.
Thursday, October 20, 2005 6:32:43 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
I put my webcam up if you wanna see what it looks like out my window.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005 8:41:13 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane | Pictures | Tech | WWW#
I just went across the street to the shoreline (or near it anyway) and took a few photos.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005 7:01:37 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Hurricane | Pictures#

I slept through the night, and actually even slept in a little, too. I got up, looked out the window, there's no flooding here in West Bay so that's good, and I sat down here to check out the NHC website. OMG. Wilma's the biggest, baddest mofo on record. 175mph sustained winds and central pressure is down to 882mb.

I just heard on the radio that there was a little flooding in Bodden Town and East End, and there are a bunch of cancelled flights today, but gov't has advised that businesses may be able to re-open later today, but schools will remain closed today.

Im gonna put my canary yellow slicker on and go across the street and see what the waves are doing. and yes im taking my camera :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005 6:03:27 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Of course I don't have my camera today. As I left Cafe Del Sol this morning on my way to work, I saw some cool looking clouds. Huge, tall puffy blackish clouds, and there was so much rain dumping out of them that the sunrise(well ok early morning light) looked brownish to the east and southeast. Looks like an outer band of Wilma is about to unload some rain on us this morning. She's forecast to pass well southwest of us now, but with this girl, anything is possible. Wind is coming from the East and Southeast just enough to make the palm fronds move a little and flags to flutter. Not more than 10-15mph at this point. For now it's business as usual, but at the same time I'm making mental preparations to put our plan into action should it arise, and I'm taking a few precautions, just little things like making sure my desk is in order in case I need to quickly put stuff up on top of it without crushing my sunglasses or spilling anything.

A few weeks back, someone sent me a bunch of pictures that purported to be hurricane katrina approaching Mississippi. They were bogus. Someone else sent me the same batch of pictures a few weeks before that saying they were pics of the Altona tornado. They DO look like tornado/wall clouds but I have no idea where they were taken or when. You can't “see” a hurricane coming at you like that. The eyewalls are way in the middle of the storm, and by the time you'd be close enough to “see” the eyewall, you'd have blinding rain and punishing wind. You may be able to see an outer rain-band, like I did this morning, but that's just clouds from horizon to horizon.

More info when I find stuff relevant to share.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 5:35:53 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Monday, October 17, 2005

She's wandering around aimlessly, like an ex-girlfriend at the mall with the former boyfriend's credit card. SHe just doesnt know where she wants to go, just that she's taking her sweet-ass time with it. Nothing really happening here today, no shuttering or closures that I've seen. The storm is actually moving SOUTH which is really odd.

The Cayman National Hurricane Committee has their own website now, it's and can be reached directly via that address, or probably a link from as well.

Monday, October 17, 2005 9:41:47 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane | Links#
Sunday, October 16, 2005

What a weekend. I got to the Vancouver airport just after 7:00am saturday morning, hoping to get on the 8:20 flight to Toronto. Full. 9:00. Full 10:00. Full and longer standby list. 11:00.. full. Noon? Full. 12:30? 2 spaces. I finally got to Toronto at 8:30, and Tina wasn't expecting me til 11ish. That was a bit of a a communications breakdown on my part, I said “see you in 8 hours” but really it was only 6 hours, plus the flight east is shorter. She also took the 8 hours from her time, 3:00 when I meant 8 hours Pacific time, or 8:00ish.

It was her birthday so I took her out for dinner (and also as a thank you for driving my ass around Toronto) and we went to Ruth's Chris Steak House. Wow. Holy wow. Quite expensive, but OMG was it ever good. From the BBQ Shrimp appy to the NY Strip (I forgot to ask how big it was but it was at least 14oz, if not more) with garlic smashed potatoes and sauteed mushrooms. Food coma quickly set in (and the bottle of wine helped with that) and before I knew it, it was 8am and I had to hurry-up and get to the airport for my Toronto-Cayman flight. Mercifully there were 22 seats available and only 6 on the standby list, so I got on. Otherwise I would have been Hosed with a capital H.

I get through, Jeep was a little rough starting up and one tire with a slow leak was a bit flat so I stopped and pumped it up, and made my way home. I pull into the parking lot and notice that our steps are blue.. it looked like kids had colored it with blue chalk and then the rain semi-washed it away. I also noticed a hot water tank sitting out front. Odd. Then I noticed the piece of cloth that I cover up Tweeter's cage with is sitting on it, so it's ours. Never mind unload the jeep, what the hell happened? I open the door and the first thing I notice is that all our grout is blue, too. Then I see the blue rug in the lounge isnt quite so blue anymore. Then I see my Xbox sitting on the coffee table, the surround speakers unlugged and on the stairs, and pretty much the whole apartment in shambles. I also noticed just then that there's a blue line all the way around the apartment. A high water mark of dyed water. The kitchen looked like a tornado went through it as well, but that was to be expected. I don't know if anything got ruined yet, I don't know if the landlords know about it yet, but what I do know is that there's a big empty space in the closet where the hot water tank is supposed to be so that means no hot water to do any laundry or washing up or showering.

Oh yeah, the other thing that made me realize I shouldn't have gotten on a plane this morning: “Welcome aboard flight 972 service from Toronto to Grand Cayman, Our flying time today will be about 3hrs 40mins at al altitude of 33,000 feet. Weather in Cayman is cloudy and 30c with the winds out of the south at 15knots” (Uhh, what? winds out of the south?) “There's a tropical depression about 200 miles southeast of Grand Cayman, but that shouldn't affect our flight today...” sure as Christ made little apples, I walk out of the airport and they've got Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch flags posted. I get home and pull up the National Hurricane Center website and check the graphics for Tropical Depression TWENTY-FOUR.

Not a happy camper.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 11:20:09 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane | Travel#
Thursday, September 29, 2005


Last June, we had a bachelor party/stag night for Matty a few nights before he got married. (pics) It was pretty low-key, compared to some stories of dead hookers and road trips to Las Vegas type of stag night, but it was bang-on perfect for our crowd. We started at Fidel Murphy's, made it through Coconut Joe's and Aqua Beach and then finished up at Deckers.

It also happened to be father's day.

Seb, with a couple of drinks in him, says “Just think, Matty. This time next year, we could be celebrating your first father's day!”...

Well, he was right. So therefore it's his fault. I've known for a few weeks now that Jules was preggers, but they kept a lid on it til it got to 12 weeks. It's 12 weeks now, and she's just sent out an email with some pics of the ultrasound. They don't know the sex of it yet, so it's going by the generic name of Jellybean, since that's what it looked like on the first ultrasound a few weeks ago.

Backdating to the conception puts it's Time Of Arrival into cell division the afternoon after the wedding. Talk about not wasting any time...

Cheers to the new bride & groom and soon to be new mother & father. Raise 'em up if ya got em, and if ya don't, hurry to the bar and get one, we'll wait.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 9:50:21 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures#
Saturday, September 24, 2005

Last night we were going to head to McCoy's for a couple drinks and maybe get a bite to eat. John was already over at my house, we were stting up his new laptop, and then Sharon the Fearless showed up and we piled into her car and headed down there. Just as we were arriving, Zac called us and said that he and Steph were at DJ's Cantina and did we want to come and have a pitcher of margaritas with them. Sure thing, sounded good to me!

They have good margs there, by the way, and the food, while presented a little foofily, is really good. We finished the pitcher and started on another, and then another, and then we settled up and went to Calico Jack's. I decided I better stick with the same poison, so I had another lime margarita and nursed it til nearly midnight when it was time to go.

I didn't really feel all that drunk, I wasn't off-balance, I wasn't slurring, I didnt have any visual disturbances, but this morning, holy crap! I felt like ass! Deep-fried ass! I crawled out of bed and went straight to Hell. The Esso in Hell, West Bay that is. I got some gatorade and went home back to bed. I thought some lunch would help, so I had a nice big “Cheeseburger in Paradise” at Coconut Joe's. Still felt like ass. Came home, took a nap (from 2:30 to 6:30!) and finished off the bottle of gatorade and took some more advil. At this point Im thinking maybe dinner will help?? we'll see what happens. Probably not the best night to go to Thai food, but I made the mistake of asking where everyone else wanted to go. :)

Saturday, September 24, 2005 4:13:43 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Food#
Thursday, September 22, 2005

Gas is now CI$3.90/gallon in Grand Cayman. (USD$4.71)

That is all.

Universal Currency Converter

Thursday, September 22, 2005 4:51:54 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Rants#

The title is from $imdb(Footloose) and it's a subject I hold near and dear to my heart. Call me a child of the 80s, I was 11 when Footloose was released in theatres. Somehow though, I'm always reminded of that movie living here, especially when I see a headline like “HOTEL ON PROBATION FOR SUNDAY DANCING”. As of right now, the Cayman Net News hasn't updated their website to today's information yet, I'm not sure what time their update is, but by the time you read this you can probably click over there and read it for yourself.

Music and dancing is illegal on Sundays down here. Bars have to keep the canned music down low, and no bands are permitted to perform, period. I've never actually seen anyone arrested for dancing, but the threat of the law is revocation of the premises liquor license, so it's really in their best interest to police their own patrons.

I've actually been in a bar on a Sunday and seen bartenders, with fear bordering on panic, having to tell people who are here on their vacation to please stop dancing. It's kind of pathetic, really. Bars & other “licensed premises” have to call last call at 2330 on a Saturday night, and all alcohol has to be off the tables and locked up by midnight and people making their way to the door. A lot of people get upset with the bartenders and the manager, for being somewhat brusque with their attitude and “TIME TO GO, GET OUT!” and “YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO HOME, BUT YOU CAN'T STAY HERE”. It's not their fault though, they're not the ones who wrote the law, but they're the ones who's shoulders it falls on to enforce it.

As ludicrous as it sounds, the reason that these people were “caught” dancing on a Sunday was due to a complaint received by a private citizen to the liquor licensing board. Honestly. The issue comes up from time to time in the letters to the editor section of both newspapers here, and for every letter written about “You've got to be kidding me, bars closing at midnight on a Saturday and no music or dancing allowed on Sunday???” there are a couple replies a few days later saying “This is our way and we're trying to preserve it. If you want to party, go somewhere else.” Sometimes in those terms, sometimes they're more long-winded in saying the same thing.

Thursday, September 22, 2005 4:25:25 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman#
Sunday, September 18, 2005

A few months ago, I was sitting home on a Sunday much like today. I had no plans for the day, which is always nice. The only thing I had to do was a bunch of laundry and iron my clothes for work on Monday. I went downstairs and put a load on and went back upstairs and was messing about online.

After an hour or so, I decided to go downstairs and move my laundry into the dryer and put the next load on, and from the top of the stairs, I knew there was a problem. We ended up with 2” of water on the floor because the washing machine did not shut off and overflowed, and overflowed and overflowed. I called the landlord and they said they would send someone out on Monday to fix the washer. That still left me with a lot of water to push out, and mop up and clean up.

Since then, I haven't really trusted the washer, and would sort of babysit it to make sure it didn't happen again. My vigilance paid off last week as it did it again. This time I caught it before it escaped beyond Seb's bathroom. I mopped it all up and called the landlord who sent someone out to fix it the next day or so. I called them on Friday to see if it was safe to use the washer again and they said yes it was fixed.

Because my trust was waning, I stood there and watched it fill up with water. When it got to the top of the tub and hadn't started yet, I shut it off. I called them back again and they said “oh, well it's Saturday, we'll send someone over on Monday” and I said “No.” She called back about 10 minutes later and asked if someone would be home this afternoon, as she found someone to come out and take a look. I said I would wait here for someone to show up, and they showed at about 3:15.He found a nick in the hose that controls the water level, which the previous two guys must not have found.

Talk about making a control overly complex. Instead of a simple float switch, like in a toilet, this washing machine has a tube that connects from the bottom of the tub all the way up to the water level/load size control panel. As water fills up in the tub, it forces water into the tube, compressing the air that's in there. The water level sensor shuts off the water based upon the increased pressure in the tube. Turn the knob to 'large load' and it takes a higher pressure to shut off the water. The only problem was that this tiny pinhole in the hose was bleeding pressure and therefore there was never enough pressure in the hose to tell the water level sensor to shut off (unless the water level in the whole apartment raised 4 feet or so and the pressure sensor itself was under water, but thankfully it never came to that). After some duct tape and some testing, we came to the conclusion that the washer would work properly if set to medium or small loads temporarily and he would get a new hose on Monday and come and install it then.

The third strike was actually at work. I'm on call this weekend and got a call about a web application not working properly. I rebooted the web server, and since it was notorious for taking a long time to shut down and start up, I left it for awhile. 30 minutes later it was still unresponsive, so I deciced to head into town and check out the console, knowing full well that Murphy's Law states that by the time you get there, it would have fixed itself. As I pulled up to the building, I remember hoping to myself that someone was already there and I wouldn't have to deal with the alarm system. My hopes fell on deaf ears as the parking lot was abandoned when I pulled in. I unlocked the door and pulled it open... and was confronted by a scene from Waterworld. My jaw hit the floor (splash) and then I remembered the alarm, so I ran, splashing, through the office and disarmed the alarm, and then followed the sound of running water to the men's bathroom and an overflowing toilet. I turned it off at the valve and stopped the water, but by now there was a good 2” of water on the floor throughout the office. ¡Ay Carumba! I made a few phone calls to alert management and meanwhile set about trying to rescue as many PCs as I could that were sitting on the floor... with the power still on. I used a pencil to flip off power strips and unplugged the CPUs and put them up on tables and tucked up the cables to prevent them from sitting in the water while it was cleaned up.

SO hopefully now that it's happened to me (or at least I've discovered the floods three times) that I wont have to deal with it again for a long, long time.

We now rejoin our regularly scheduled Sunday already in progress.

Sunday, September 18, 2005 3:16:34 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Misc#
Saturday, September 17, 2005
My rooommate Seb is in England at the moment. We were gonna go together, as I'd never been there before, but I got talked out of it. He went anyway and here's his first dispatch. (annotated, of course) :)
Saturday, September 17, 2005 8:01:17 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures | Travel#
Wednesday, September 14, 2005

UPDATE: According to a press release from the RCIP, the total amount of “vegetable matter resembling ganja“ was 3,367 lbs

A couple days ago, I was talking to my aunt on MSN Messenger who lives in Delta, BC. She told me that Burns' Bog was on fire. My mom also mentioned it in an email later on that day that they came out of a restaurant and there was ash on the car and they thought maybe Mt St Helens erupted again. My buddy Derek also wrote about it on his website a couple days ago as well, so I was pretty well informed about it.

Imagine my shock then when, while driving to work yesterday morning I saw a huge plume of smoke coming from just east of George Town. The smoke and ash were blowing out to sea, but across George Town, the harbor and over the cruise ships. I assumed it was coming from the George Town landfill, which it turned out it was. The huge column of smoke could be seen from pretty much anywhere on the island.

There was a landfill fire a few years ago, that went underground. It took the CI Fire Service days to put it out and a couple weeks to dig out the remaining “hot spots” and extinguish them as well. The smoke and smell were pretty terrible along the Harquail Bypass that runs alongside the dump. Compared to that time, this time the smoke smelled... sweeter.

I just saw the front page of the Cayman Compass this morning, and the lead photo was of a “controlled burning” at the George Town landfill... of one-thousand pounds of confiscated ganja!

We used to tell a funny story (OK, it was funny for the tourists, but it was pretty corny in reality) about the wreck of the Oro Verde, one of the shipwrecks off of Seven Mile Beach. She used to be a drug runner, and when she foundered on the reef, the RCIP confiscated tons of marijuana off it, took it out to East End and burnt it. The prevailing winds here are east-to-west, so as the urban legend went, the island was covered by a thick cloud of pot smoke (much like the Mighty Weed scene in Mel Brooks' $imdb(History Of The World)) and that's one of the reasons that it still to this day takes so long to get a burger at Burger King.

Whether that was true or not, no one knows (or really cares) but this time, it was for-damn-sure real. The Cayman Compass doesn't update their daily stuff on their website til later in the day, so make sure you check it out later to read it for yourself.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 4:18:08 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Friday, September 9, 2005
Well, almost.
Friday, September 9, 2005 4:47:52 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane | Links#
Thursday, September 8, 2005
Local TV & Gov't documentary about last year's Hurricane Ivan and it's effects in the Cayman Islands.
Thursday, September 8, 2005 4:04:38 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [3] | Cayman | Hurricane | Tech | Wireless#
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
Yesterday was the first day back to school for the kids of Cayman. There's no Labor Day holiday here, so they don't get a last long weekend before heading back to the books. Why do I care that school is back in session? Traffic.
Tuesday, September 6, 2005 6:37:48 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Rants#
Monday, September 5, 2005

Seb's going on vacation for a few weeks on Wednesday, and his birthday is in a week or so, so we (I) decided we should go out for a few drinks tonight (as opposed to tomorrow night, as getting up at o'dark hundred to catch a flight still drunk or just starting a hangover is no fun). I asked him where he wanted to go, and he said let's go to the Triple Crown Pub, which just opened up along the beach.

It looks like they tried hard to make it look like an authentic Irish pub, but at the same time make it look shiny and new and trendy. It was too bright in there to be too authentic, but they had a lot of wood and a lot of Guinness art on the walls. They also had some brickwork inside making two arches to “split” the bar into two halves. Judging from the brickwork and tiles, and the fact that the owner of the place is one of the guys from Edoardo's (good Italian restaurant) , if the whole Irish Pub thing doesnt work, they can re-decorate and re-open pretty quickly as an Italian/Pizzeria place.

The menu was quite big, and had your usual restaurant things, and they also had some pub standards. I had the bangers & mash tonight, which was pretty good. Jules had the steak & kidney pie which looked and smelled REALLY good and Matty & Renee both had a Chicken & Ham pie, which was in some sort of a crepe instead of pastry. Someone else ordered the individual beef wellington, and that looked and smelled real good, too. I don't know which one I'll try next!

We arrived just before 8:00, and the building that the pub is in (which is brand new and un-rented as yet, aside from the pub) had flashing lights coming from the second floor, and I said “Oh, maybe they've opened a disco up there or something?“ turns out it was the fire alarm. We went around the front and into the pub and it was business as usual. When you went to the bathroom, you could hear the klaxon still buzzing upstairs from the fire alarm going off, but we ignored it and carried on. Around 10:30- two and a half hours later -a fire truck pulls up in front of the pub, along with another emergency vehicle behind it. Four firemen climb down and start walking around. Five minutes later they come out of the kitchen and are looking around at the ceiling, and then they see it: a smoke alarm with a solid red LED. Above the bar where we were sitting. Apparently the smoke alarm was sensetive enough that people smoking in the pub set it off (smoking in an Irish pub? say it ain't so!) Worse than that was that it took the fire department two-and-a-half hours to show up?!

Seb really had no idea what was going on, he thought it was going to be me, him, John, Matty and maybe Zac if he was back from the Velvet Revolver concert in Miami (bastard) or not. John made a bunch more phone calls after I sent out the initial text messages to the four of them this morning and there was probably about 15 or so people there. Jules had the night off, so she came out. Peter & MJ (no im not kidding, his name is Peter and her's is MJ... we just call him Spidey), Paulie & Catherine, James & Lucy and a friend of hers named Megan, Martin & Jo came out, who we havent seen in months, Sharon came out (we still haven't scared her off for some reason) and then me, Renee, John & Matty.

Once everyone was there, we gave Seb a card from us guys, and we had a little package for him, too. Being the jet-setter that I am at work, I had a 1gb iPod Shuffle picked up for him, along with the sport case. He had one already (that I picked up for him in Miami back in March or April) but he killed it pretty quick by wearing it inside his shirt while working in non-air-conditioned environs and basically drowned it in sweat. I sent him a link from Hackaday on how to take apart a Shuffle and even brought home an X-acto knife to try it with. It's already broken, what harm can there be, right? Well he tore the ribbon cable that attaches the USB plug to the rest of it, so it was a lost cause. He was kinda moaning about it a couple weeks ago so I decided that I would get him another, along with the sport case which is more or less water resistant. The boys chipped in and I brought it home tonight and wrapped it up and put it in a gift bag. The next trick was how to get it out of the house and bring it with without arousing suspicion. I put a couple books in my backpack to make it laptop-weight and told Seb when he asked why I was bringing a backpack that it was John's laptop that just arrived from Miami. John's laptop is still in Miami (yeah yeah, im workin on it) but Seb knew that John was expecting it, so he had no clue...

I made sure everyone had a drink and then I stood up and got everyone's attention (including half the rest of the bar) and said that since it was your birthday, we had a couple gifts for you that you could really use... Matty & John started chuckling, but I had thought about what I was going to say earlier on today. I didn't write it down, but just remembered the bullet points. Being the king of $G(double-entendres) that I am... “We know you haven't had too much luck with the ladies lately, so me and the boys decided to get you something to keep you busy on those long and lonely nights. In fact, if you're discreet, you can even use it on the long plane ride to London on Wednesday... (the iPod) Seb didn't know what to expect at this point, and Matty just started laughing then. I continued... “But just in case youo find yourself in a situation that warrants it, we also got you some protection!” (the waterproof case) so with that I handed him the bag and dared him to open it in front of everyone. The poor boy thought we bought him a dildo or some other amusement or toy for self-gratification and a box of condoms, and he was like “no f-ing way Im going to open that in front of everyone” but we insisted.

When he pulled out the iPod he started laughing, and then I said “there's more in there...” and he pulled out the waterproof sport case he really started laughing, because one of those would have saved his old iPod. At that point, my talky bit was over so I picked up my glass and got everyone to raise em up and cheers him for his birthday (no singing $wiki(Happy Birthday) though, didn't want the RIAA all over our asses for royalties). After that we just got him really really drunk.

And I forgot to bring my camera.

Monday, September 5, 2005 9:19:46 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Food | Gadgets#
Photos from Stingray City boat trip last Sunday
Monday, September 5, 2005 8:08:28 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures#
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
New Cayman restaurant reviews.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005 9:45:32 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [4] | Cayman | Food#
Thursday, August 11, 2005
People who say that video games don't do any good can bite my ass.
Thursday, August 11, 2005 9:22:19 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Gaming#
Monday, August 1, 2005

Last week our football team (soccer) won our first game... because the other team didnt have eleven starters show up so they had to forfeit.

This week our opponents actually showed up. I showed up early and taped my ankle (not bad considering Im a rookie) and then stretched and ran around a bit to warm up. We got into a circle and were just kicking the ball around, and I hurt my right (kicking) leg. The muscle on the inside of the top of the thigh. It wasn't a showstopper, but it didn't feel good every time I swung my leg, whether it was a pass or a shot.

We came out strong, we put three shots on goal in the first ten minutes, and pressured hard and got a couple more shots that were wide, but close. I subbed in around the 15 minute mark (we play 35 min halves) and within two minutes, both my legs were on fire. It was strange because I think we played harder last week when we just scrimmaged, and I had JUST gotten out there, too. I came out around the 30 min mark, just before halftime and we just kinda fell apart. We had a strong D, but we lost control of midfield. They got a goal on us, and it was 1-0 at halftime.

We started off strong again in the second half, pressured their goalie a bit, but they took over midfield again and got in close. There was a high bouncing ball and in his attempt to clear it, one of our defenders hit it funny, it bounced funny and went into his own net. Oops, 2-0. Shortly after that there was a bad call. The ball came up, hit one of their players hands, bounced and hit one of our players hands. They called it a handball against us, and as he was inside the penalty area, the ref awarded them a penalty kick. They scored on that and it was 3-0, and that's how it ended.

I don't know what happened to my legs, my quads stiffened right up like little steel bridge cables. I tried massaging them and stretching them, but it didn't really help. I kept moving though, walking, stretching, massaging.. I thought maybe I was dehydrated, but I had been drinking watered down PowerAde for the last two hours. I went back in for another shift in the second half, and stayed out til the end of the game, not that I could have done anything about the score :)

I played soccer when I was a kid, five or six seasons until I was about 12 or 13. That's 20 years ago for those who are counting. Some of the guys on a team play every weekend and have for their entire adult lives. On paper, there really isnt any team that can beat us, but since we had never played together, and aside from the little scrimmage we had last weekend none of us had ever practiced together, either.

I'm not claiming to be a supastar or anything, but hey, tell me what you want me to do and I'll go out there and do it, even if it means driving home in 3rd gear the whole way so I wouldnt have to lift my left leg onto the clutch! I got home and struggled up the stairs and collapsed on my bed for a bit. The drive home and the sitting around didn't help my legs at all. When I tried to stretch, holy cow did it hurt. Eventually I was able to stand and get into the shower. I had a headache as well, so I took two extra strength Advil and then went to forage for dinner.

McCoy's was closed, I guess they're closed on Sunday nights, I'll keep that in mind for the future, so we fell back to Canton, and I had some comfort food (mmmm Honey Garlic Chicken) and then went for a stagger down the sidewalk to Haagen Dasz. Once we got home, I fired the Magic Bags into the micro and then went to bed with a hotpack on each of my legs. Damn if that Advil didn't bring about a 200% improvement (bringing me to about 60% mobility) and then fell asleep with the hotpacks on.

Today wasn't too bad, all things considered. My feet were sore today, in places I had never had sore feet before, and my left buttcheek is a bit sore, but so long as I got up and moved around a bit every thirty minutes, it was OK.

Monday, August 1, 2005 3:08:51 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Sports#

Cable & Wireless announced today that they're re-structuring their ADSL plans again. Our $199/month ADSL service at 1.5mbps down and 512kbps up is dropping to $99. That's $125US/month and still high, but hella better than $250US/month.

In it's place they're offering the Business Class DSL at 2.5mbps down and 1mbps upstream and a fixed IP address for $199. I'm all about the speed, and having 1024kbps upstream would make playing xbox live much more practical. The fixed IP address would be gravy on top, as Im running Dynamic DNS at the moment for a web server, webcam  and remote desktop. There are no other übergeeks sharing our connection though, so I've already been 'voted off the island' so we can have cheaper internet, rather than faster.

Monday, August 1, 2005 2:51:09 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Tech#
Monday, July 25, 2005

Notice I didn't say OLD, but oldER. I went out for the company soccer team yesterday. I used to play when I was a kid, and it sounded like fun, so away I went.

We had a team meeting/practice on Wednesday, but we couldnt actually do anything because the field was in use by the Banker's league and the National Team also uses that pitch to practice on as well. Sunday was our first league game, against Environmental Health. Their whole team is young fit garbagemen and stuff, and they have a reputation for playing dirty and apparently a year or two ago, in their match against the Royal Cayman Islands Fire Service, a brawl broke out around the 15 minute mark of the first half and the whole game had to be scrapped.

Nice team to play against first! Anyway, we all showed up on Sunday afternoon, got our jerseys and stuff and started warming up. 5:15 came and they only had five or six guys show up, so they had to forfeit the game. That makes us one-and-oh! :) We decided to stick around and play a scrimmage anyway, just to get some practice in, and get a chance to see how we played together and that sorta thing.

Running around in 87°F weather, in the sun really beat the crap out of me. The only saving grace was that I've been doing a lot of cardio at the gym the past few months, so it wasn't TOO bad. I ended up twisting both my ankles. I didn't twist them very bad.. nothing I couldn't walk off in a min or two. Only my left ankle was still a bit sore by the time I got home last night, so I iced it down and today I went to Sports Supply to pick up some tape so I can tape it up before the next practice and game.

While I was there, I looked at their soccer stuff. I was thinking of getting a pair of shorts and a shirt to practice in, because my gym shorts and t-shirt that I wore to scrimmage in on Sunday were horribly hot, sticky and uncomfortable. I noticed that 80% of their entire stock was England-branded jerseys, shirts, tanks and shorts. THey also had a couple Ireland jerseys and, bafflingly, a bunch of Sweden jerseys? No Brasil, no Argentina, no Italy, Germany, France, or last years Euro champions, Greece. Fair enough, the majority of football fans down here are probably English, but what's up with the Sweden jerseys?

Our next match is next Sunday against the Monetary Authority, who will probably show up and we'll get a test of our team for real this time.

Monday, July 25, 2005 11:32:53 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Sports#
Thursday, July 21, 2005

I was reading Divester the other day, and they had a poll going for “when was the last time you went diving?”. Fortunately for me, I live somewhere where it's nice to go diving pretty much anytime. UNfortunately, the last few weekends have been scrubbed by Hurricanes Dennis & Emily. Maybe this weekend I'll get out and get wet.

Shortly after that was another post, which was asking for ideas for another poll. I left a comment and said “How about name your favorite dive destination?” which ALWAYS gets a “lively discussion” going, kinda like the “my dojo is better than your dojo!” arguments back int he 80s when Martial Arts was huge (not that it isn't now, but...) Anyway, they seemed to have listened! Their latest post actually quoted my comment and linked back to here. Gotta love the linky lurrrrve.

Guess I'll have to go and stir up the pot a little and tell em why my favorite is better than anybody else's favorite :)

On another, sadder note, Divester also reported on some missing divers last seen off of Misali Island, off the coast of Zanzibar (Zanzibar is really a place, not JUST a multiplayer map on Halo 2). More news (in english) here. I was at a work function last night and got a phone call from a friend of mine, who sounded a bit “out of it” and she asked me if I had heard about the missing divers, and when I said yes, she informed me that it was her ex-boyfriend who was the Canadian Scuba Instructor who was missing. His name was Neil and he used to work for Seasports divers right here in Cayman on Seven Mile Beach. Apparently there's a lot of current around there, but there's also a whole bunch of little tiny islets. I didn't know Neil that well, but I'm keeping my fingers (and fins?) crossed that they turn up safe and sound with a week's beard growth on some little island.

Thursday, July 21, 2005 4:07:04 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links | Underwater#
Saturday, July 2, 2005
I didn't set out to go to so many bars last night, but hey, how often have I said that?? :)
Saturday, July 2, 2005 2:39:40 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links#
Monday, June 27, 2005
That song has been stuck in my head all morning... I wonder why?
Monday, June 27, 2005 5:18:18 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman#
Saturday, June 25, 2005

MattyJulesWedding 211
Originally uploaded by DocJelly.

Matty & Jules got married on Wednesday, as I mentioned in an earlier post. I have the photos up on Flickr now. I upgraded to a Flickr Pro account this afternoon so they're all organized into sets. Matty's stag, The Wedding, The reception, the evening reception, a bbq the next day and just now an album of photos that I took today out at Stingray City.

The wedding was at 8am on Governor's Beach, which was nice because it wasn't unbearably hot, and there were no mosquitos, which there would have been if it was at the end of the day instead. John's sister flew down to perform the marriage, and then a local Justice of the Peace officiated and pronounced them Man and Wife.

After that we all piled down the beach to the Westin for a brunch reception. A refreshing change to usual wedding receptions! I got a brilliant idea during brunch to pool digital photos with Lana (who I think works with Jules?) who was shooting on film (and had a light meter... so pro!) and backing up with a digital(A PowerShot S60.. a girl after my own gadget-loving heart). I took those pooled photos and created a photo story with them, layed down the audio tracks and left it to render while I went to work. I borrowed a projector from work and got home around 5:30 to finish up the show and do some titles.

Seb helped me to string a rope across the pool deck between two planters and Joanne had a big California King Size white sheet, and Christine found some clothes pegs (pins? whatever). They saw us messing around with the sheet and rope and knew something was up, but not what. Once I busted out the projector and my laptop, I could see a bit of apprehension in his eyes. We dimmed the lights during one of Ratskyn's breaks and everyone took seats with a view of the screen. Everyone had a great laugh at some of the shots, and overall, it turned out pretty good.

I used Beck's new song as the intro music, and then it fades into Santana & Chad Kroger's "Why Don't You And I Get Together?" for the stag party & pre-wedding shots, and then it fades into the new Coldplay song "At The Speed of Sound" for the beach wedding shots and right after they tie the knot it segues into Jack Johnson "Banana Pancakes" and then finally to U2's In God's Country for the group photo shots. I resized the video to 320x240 and shrunk it down to 23mb, so I'll post links to it later on this week when I get it posted/hosted somewhere. Ill post a torrent of it as well if anyone out there knows what that is and wants to download it directly from me.

Saturday, June 25, 2005 5:20:15 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures#
Friday, June 24, 2005
My body is telling me today that I've been burning the candle at both ends this week.
Friday, June 24, 2005 3:57:21 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Food | Topside#
Sunday, June 19, 2005

It looks like he has fangs hanging off his ass, too??
This morning started off like any other Sunday morning... hit the snooze button a few times, slowly drag my ass out of bed over a 45 min period, brush teeth, etc. Then I went down and uncovered Tweeter's cage and got her some food and fresh water. While I was in the kitchen, I happened to look down and notice that the floor seemed dirtier than usual, there was something “big” on the floor that I don't think I would have not noticed and picked up last night. It was a big creepy centipede!

And I was in bare feet! Fortunately it was dead. I went upstairs and got my camera and took a couple shots and looked at it on the screen rather than get up close and personal in case it wasnt REALLY dead. It looks like maybe he got too close to the oven (he was on the floor a few inches away from the oven) and it cooked his brain and fangly things on his head got roasted.. but looking at the way the plates are on his back, it looks like the fangly things on the right of the picture are really his posterior?? I dunno, it's pretty creepy any way it's coming at you. I'm not sure, but I think these things are fairly venomous, and here we've been walking around in there with bare feeties since forever. It HAS to be fairly recent, since they dont swim well and we had that little flood two weekends ago.

I think I'm gonna grab a book and go have some breakfast down at Coconut Joe's. Perhaps I'll go to the beach later, I'm lookin a little pasty these days. That photo shoot that was supposed to be a few weeks ago and got cancelled was tentatively re-scheduled for today, but they called at 10:30 and said it was postponed again til next weekend, so I'll try and not look so much like a tourist in those pictures :)

UPDATE: 11:30am I went back downstairs to get rid of it and it had moved.. it was still alive. yeesh they're creepy when they move. I Guillotined it with the dustpan and it “sat up” and attacked the dustpan with it's fangly things at both ends. Glad I didnt just got get some tweezers or a paper towel. Swept it up and dumped it in the bushes across the carpark.

Sunday, June 19, 2005 7:50:16 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Saturday, June 18, 2005
I made it back from Kingston, Jamaica alive, in one piece and with no bullet holes.
Saturday, June 18, 2005 11:36:21 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Travel#
Monday, June 13, 2005

GeorgeTown I (scan)
Originally uploaded by Simon T.
Found this picture on FLickr tonight, just cruising around looking at photos with the "Cayman" tag.

This shot is of downtown Georgetown, looks like it was taken from upstairs at the Hard Rock or something...

Makes the harbor area look pretty cool for a change!
Monday, June 13, 2005 5:29:20 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures#
Friday, June 10, 2005

I woke up tired, which is never a good sign. I left the house at 6:55am and made my way through the back roads of West Bay down to Morgan's Harbor and to the dyke road. There was traffic coming BACK down the Dyke rd, which means that they did actually close the barrier at the far end to stop people from cutting through there. So I turned around and followed a truck back, but he turned off and I followed him, thinking it was another way out, but it wasn't, so I turned around again, and this time missed the road and went further into the mangroves the wrong way. I came to a dead end, turned around AGAIN and retraced my tracks and found the road again, had to worm my way through more traffic (the 7:15 onward traffic) that was still trying to get down onto the dyke road not knowing it was closed.

I made it back out to the paved roads and turned onto Willie Farrington Dr at 7:20... and stopped. The entire stretch of Willie Farrington was gridlocked all the way out to West Bay Road. I sat there for about five minutes and noticed my engine temp indicator was a smidge high. I looked and made sure that the a/c was off and kept an eye on it. Within two minutes (and maybe 20m of progress) it was up to the next notch on the gauge. Not good. I increased my idle to about double, to see if it was a flow problem or leaking fluid and it didn't change after 30 seconds, so I pulled out of traffic and turned around (I was tempted to go home and ask if I could telecommute for the morning) and came down West Church Street back towards home, towards 4-way stop, and away from work. I got caught in MORE traffic, but the temp gauge started fluctuating, but never went back down to “normal” so I pulled into Centennial Towers, parked and abandoned it for the day and sat at the bus stop at 7:35.

A bus came along a couple minutes later and I climbed aboard. Buses in Cayman are an unknown gem, if you know how to work with them. They have no fixed schedule and not a clearly defined route (ie they'll take you out of their way for an extra $1). Buses cost $2 per trip and start/end at the George Town Library, and go all the way  up Seven Mile Beach, loop through West Bay, past the Turtle Farm, and then through a bunch of residential areas before coming back to 4-way stop and then back down Seven Mile Beach into town. For two dollars! You can't even get a taxi to stop for you for less than that!

So I sat on the bus playing Ridge Racer on my PSP and sweating. This particular bus didn't have A/C, or at least have it turned on. I hopped out at the corner of Eastern Ave and Shedden Rd and walked from there. I got in to work at 8:30, “right on time” even though I left 95 minutes earlier.

Now that the dyke road is closed for good, I'm going to have to sit in traffic for an hour every morning, doing nothing but idling away, not running the a/c and watching my gas mileage go into the toilet, along with the environment. That's unacceptable, so the apartment hunt will be back on in full-force again, real quick.

So here I am, at the start of my day, tired, grumpy (more grumpy than usual) AND sweaty, and with no vehicle here to do anything or go anywhere until 5:00 when I'll hitch a ride to the gym, and then catch a bus home from there.

Friday, June 10, 2005 5:42:05 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Rants#
Thursday, June 9, 2005

OK, so Arlene is 75mi south-southeast of Cuba, and pretty much out of any range of influencing us anymore. They stood down from the Tropical Storm Warning at 4:00 this afternoon as well.

We went out tonight, Seb and I met up with John, Matty & Kevin down at Aqua Beach. The sky was clear, the stars were out, and the wind was blowing pretty good. 25-30 knots, I'd estimate. As we left the carpark, we could hear waves smashing into shore across the street, and even saw the tops of some of the waves in my headlights.

There was a sort of haze hanging over West Bay, but what it was was a very very fine spray of water from the waves benig carried inland.

It rained while we were at Aqua Beach, and stupid me, I left the friggin windows open on the Jeep. Fortunately, the wind was coming from the South, so no rain actually got in, and I had a dry butt for the drive home.

That about wraps it up for Arlene for us, the NOAA 11pm Discussion said that Arlene actually had multiple mini-vortexes within an outer envelope of cyclonic action... is that a cool sentence or what? All those big, cool-sounding words, and it totally gives you a visual of it in your head. You can almost hear the Rube Goldberg Machine music from The Incredible Machine (or old Bugs Bunny cartoons) as you picture it.

Thursday, June 9, 2005 8:18:51 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
There's a feature in Pluck called "perches" which is a shortened name of "Persistent Searches" and can be set up to scour Google, eBay or Amazon. I have Google perches set up on my full name and my online alias.
Thursday, June 9, 2005 7:19:03 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links | Underwater# I have a name to attach to the feelings! sheesh. It rained HARD yesterday around lunchtime, and then was off and on for the rest of the afternoon. By the time I got home from the gym about 6:00 our carpark was already flooded almost ankle deep... I was trying to gingerly pick my way across the lot on curbs and rocks because I still had my gym shoes on, but then it started to rain again, too.

When it rains here, it isn't like the constant monotonous drizzle you see in Vancouver, it's full-on, feels like a shower, Hollywood special effects rain.

It kept raining all night last night, and through the night. I kept getting woken up by yet HARDER rain slapping our zinc roof. It's been raining hard like that for 12 hours now and I heard on the radio just now as I was getting into the shower “prepare for conditions to deteriorate further” WHAT THE???

On top of all that, traffic's going to suck this morning worse than usual, so I better pitter patter and go get at er.


Thursday, June 9, 2005 3:54:00 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Tuesday, June 7, 2005
When I was a kid, my dad used to say "or comes the Revolution!" when he was trying to threaten me to do something (clean up my room, put toys away, that sort of thing) I never really knew what he was talking about with it, but I've put a spin on it and use it to describe people who are going to be lined up against the wall first "when the revolution comes".
Tuesday, June 7, 2005 6:52:28 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Rants#
Sunday, May 29, 2005

Have you ever left a load of laundry in the washer for a couple days? Have you ever done it where the ambient temperature is over 80f? ugh. stink. I went down to the laundry cupboard in Seb's bathroom and put the same load back on, put in a little more soap and a scoop of Oxi Clean just in case there were some greeblies starting to grow in there.

I came back up here and got my ironing board out, got my shirts & pants that needed to be pressed and was waiting for this load of laundry to do it all at once. I sat down and checked my email and stuff, and then grabbed a water bottle to go fill up for the iron and put my laundry into the dryer. As soon as I started down the stairs I knew something was wrong.

The little blankie that I keep on the floor under Tweeter's cage was wet. I thought “How the hell did he spill his water dish? and that's a lot of water... then a couple more steps down I saw that it wasnt just the blankie that was wet, the whole floor was wet... I got down to the bottom of the stairs and splashed into a half-inch of water. My next thought was the sink, but no it was empty. The hot water tank? Could be. I walked back through the kitchen and I heard the washing machine filling... I sloshed through Seb's bedroom into the bathroom and saw the washing machine spitting forth a waterfall of water down it's front. The dial was stuck on rinse.

I shut it off, had a 30 second panic attack, and then thought about a course of action. All I had was a swiffer (useless) and a little sponge-headed mop. Wonderful. I made a couple phone calls looking for a squeegee, but no one seemed to have one. HazMat Jenny said she had one at work, and John was on his way to the airport to drop some peeps off so I called him and asked him to drop by her office and pick it up. Meanwhile I put some towels down in strategic locations to act as dams, and they more or less worked and let me mop in one area without all the water running back into where I just mopped, sort of. John showed up with the squeegee and I got to work in the living room.

I got the bulk of the water out by about 2:00 and took a break to eat some cold, leftover pizza and have a cold drink. It's now 3:45, Seb should be home soon, and we can tackle his bedroom together. I didn't wanna go tearing through there picking shit up and moving it around and mopping, just in case he has anything in there he doesnt want anyone to see. We're gonna have to move the entertainment unit out and mop behind it, and same with the couch, but the bulk of the work is done already.

Around 11:00 I decided I was going to go to Canton for dinner. Their Honey Garlic Chicken is top of my “comfort food” list now. THEN I'm going to get my ironing started so I have something presentable to work tomorrow and probably fall asleep soon after that.

My big plan for today, other than to get the wireless network sorted out finally, was to give my bicycle a once-over and go for a ride to prepare myself for trying to ride it in to work tomorrow. (I've had it with West Bay Road traffic) I guess I'll have to put that off til Tuesday or Wednesday.

Sunday, May 29, 2005 12:48:51 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Rants#
Friday, May 27, 2005
Hello? who? Cable & Wireless? Sure, hang on... "HEY C&W, it's for you, it's the 21st century calling, they wanna know why you're still in the last century"
Friday, May 27, 2005 6:52:34 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Links | Rants | Tech | Gadgets#
Thursday, May 26, 2005

Although this isn't much of a rant, it's more of an observation. I've been leaving later and later these days. 7:30 one morning, and between 7:15 and 7:30 on average. I still get to Cafe Del Sol by about 7:45 and have some time to kill, but less and less the later it gets (Thank you, Captain Obvious).

Yesterday I left at 7:20 and there was actually traffic on the dyke road. Not so much ON the dyke road itself, but there was a good ten cars waiting to merge back into traffic on West Bay Road. Merging is a pretty foreign concept, it seems. Some people will stop and let four or five cars in ahead of them, causing traffic to back up behind them, and then the next ten or so cars behind will follow through bumper to bumper and not let anyone in, which causes backups for people trying TO merge in. It's a never-ending battle that's been going on as long as I've had a car down here, and I'm somewhat resigned to the fact that it's just never going to change, education of drivers notwithstanding. Younger drivers seem to have even LESS patience than anyone over, say, 30 years old so it's just going to get worse.

This morning the line of cars waiting to merge from the dirt road through the West Bay backcountry was about 35 cars long and stretched all the way to the bend where the dyke road comes out. I was shocked, but not THAT shocked. My first reaction was “better start leaving earlier again” but what really made my blood boil was the asshole who at the beginning was behind me.

When I turned off of Batabano near Morgan's Harbor onto the little road that's still paved, he beeped at me. My back window is pretty dirty so I looked to see if it was someone I knew... 50 yards down the road, he beeped at me more insistently, so I thought maybe I had a flat tire or something, so I checked my mirrors, loosened my grip on the steering wheel to see if it pulled, etc. Finally, I went straight near the turnoff to the dirt road so that he could pull alongside me, and the little cocksucker used that opportunity to PASS ME on the inside and cut in front of me onto the dirt road. He then got stuck behind another car and was in front of me all the way through.

When we made the last turn and saw the line of cars, rather than stop he just pulled into the oncoming traffic lane, drove right up to the road and then forced his way in cutting off the person that was (trying to) merge onto the main road. Three or four other cars followed him with the “Well if someone else is going to get away with it, so am I!” kind of stupid mob mentality.

People like that really piss me off. Unfortunately there's no shortage of them.

Thursday, May 26, 2005 5:45:14 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Rants#
Monday, May 2, 2005

So the IIHF World Championships of Hockey are on for the next two weeks. Having been going through hockey withdrawal lately, I was excited at the prospect of seeing some good hockey on TV. I checked around, and heard that Hammerheads and Coconut Joe's and some other bar had gone in together and 'sponsored' the tournament, so that CITN, the local channel, would broadcast the games on Channel 27 (or channel 11 if you don't have cable)

The only problem is that due to existing committments, the only time they could show the Canada Latvia game was Saturday night at 2am. Uhh, the bars (who paid for them to broadcast it) arent open them, dumbasses. On top of that, they werent showing any of the games live, and something else happened last night so that they werent going to show the US-Slovenia game, either.

In a panic, Wammer from Hammerheads called up Little Bucket and said “This is bad. We need to get these games on the screens down here. Do you know anyone who can help out?” Guess who she called...

Since cable and satelite were out, we were left with trying to come up with more creative ways to get the games on. I stumbled across Mediazone who offered an all-access pass to all the games, streamed live or time-shifted over the internet. Johnny Rotten and I went to Hammerheads yesterday after brunch to talk to Wammer about it and saw that we had all the neccesary requirements to pull it off (John did a lot of wiring and stuff for them, so he already knew their A/V system.

We returned at 6:30 and proceeded to set up the stream from their Wireless Access Point in the office to a laptop out at the bar. We used the S-Video output on the laptop to output the video to a DVD recorder, and from the DVD recorder to an RF Modulator. From the RF Modulator, we split the outut and sent one signal to their DLP Projector for the 20' screen and also into their coaxial A/V system and “broadcast” the game to EVERY TV in the joint, on channel 4.

We got everything set up and working at 7:27pm. Three minutes from the time Wammer put on the handbills & notices he had printed up to let everyone know that they would have the game on.

7:30pm: GAME ON.

Now Hammerheads has the upper hand on the other bars on the island, where they aren't tied to CITN's schedule of the games. If they want to show a game early (like for instance next Sunday when it “airs” at 10:30pm and means that they have to close before the game is over) then they can.

If you're lookin for the hockey games on Cayman, Hammerheads is THE PLACE TO BE. w00t!

Monday, May 2, 2005 11:07:56 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hockey#
Thursday, April 28, 2005

Last Friday, we were all out at Calico Jack's, where Ratskyn was playing. I ran into a couple who I taught an Open Water course for years ago, and she was VERY pregnant. I said “Hey guys.. wow. Congratulations...” and then another little tyke ran up and he picked her up, too.

“Congratulations twice, my god has it been that long since I've seen you?!” and she said she was due in June. She's either got twins in there, or a small Toyota. Huge! Anyway, after that, I noticed that there were 3 or 4 very pregnant women there that night.

Sunday I was having brunch at Coconut Joe's, and we were sitting next to my sis Claire & Whammer, and she told me that she was pregnant, too..

Monday Seb and I went to Foster's to get some groceries and we saw another 3 or 4 pregnant women, and so it goes, every day I see pregnant women everywhere.. at Cafe Del Sol, at the grocery store, at the gas station...

WHAT THE HELL? What's with *ALL* the pregnancies? What the hell happened about seven months ago??

Oh, right.. The Hurricane Ivan Baby Boom... “Honey, the power's still out.. what are we going to do tonight?” or “Thank god we made it through alive... what do you want to do tonight?” I wrote in my Hurricane Posts last year about the new routine... up at 5, work all day, home at dusk, by the time you whip up something to eat, and then clean up, it's dark out, and you're dead tired. Nothing to do but hit the hay (around 8 or so) and read by candle/lantern/oil lamp, or... make babies!

Random thought of the night: I picked up a rotisserie chicken at Foster's deli tonight, and when I got home, Tweeter was out of her cage, and she flew over and sat on my shoulder (time for someone else to get a haircut... or a wing trim). She sat there while I opened up this rchicken, separated the legs and wings and then carved the breast. Do you think she recognizes that I'm eating another bird? Do you think she's sitting there saying “holy crap... I better not poop on him tonight and piss him off, that could be me next time!”?

Thursday, April 28, 2005 6:57:01 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman#
Monday, April 25, 2005

Originally uploaded by DocJelly.
I was feeling the need for a little... change. I've been bugging Chopper to do it for the last 3 or 4 haircuts, and he never had time, and I ever really pushed it. It's quite a shocking change, especially if you've never seen me like this before (I've done this 3 or 4 times in the last 10 years)

People don't recognize me at first, and work was fun the next morning. Double-takes, dropped jaws, and the inevitable blonde jokes. In general, the girls love it, and the guys ask me if I lost a bet :)

It's been two weeks today since I did it, and I've already got nearly a quarter-inch of dark roots, so it doesnt look so... transparent anymore, especially when it's wet.
Monday, April 25, 2005 5:22:56 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures#
Friday, April 8, 2005

I was low on gas this morning (actually I was low on gas yesterday and let it slide til today and nearly forgot about it) so I pulled into Brown's Esso in the Industrial Park to fill up. The Cheap Stuff “4000” petrol is $3.54/gallon.

Three dollars, fifty-four cents, per US gallon. That's $4.29 US Dollars and $5.25 Canadian Dollars. Per Gallon. Filling up my Jeep cost $42 this morning and will last me about 10 days or so (I'm already pretty miserly about gas/driving... if I'm going in to town to meet someone who will be coming back to West Bay later, I'll leave my car and hitch a ride into town) At this rate, it'll probaby be less than six months before gas stations have chain link fencing and armed guards to protect the precious dinosaur blood.

After the seven years it took me to finally get my hands on a Jeep Wrangler, I'm looking into getting a scooter.

Friday, April 8, 2005 8:13:54 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Jeep | Rants#
Sunday, April 3, 2005
This is a PERFECT reason why Cayman needs a rent control board.
Sunday, April 3, 2005 10:08:20 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Rants#
Friday, April 1, 2005
So much for a peaceful island where even the cops don't carry guns (british style)...
Friday, April 1, 2005 1:49:31 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman#
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
I created a new Yahoo Group last night, because I made a lot of good friends at my last job and we're quite literally flung out all over the world these days.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005 12:52:46 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links#
Saturday, March 26, 2005

Well I'll be double-dipped. I've been sick for coming up on two weeks now with no relief in sight. I was just about finished 10 days of Penicillin-V and still not having any relief. Being that it's a long weekend this weekend (Good Friday and Easter Monday) I decided to take the hit in the wallet and go see the doctor.

I got in between appointments (he was only open a half-day on Thursday as well) and he said “what can I do for you today?” I pointed at my throat, and he said “let's have a look” and he didn't even need to get out a tongue depressor and his little light to see the big globs of white goo on my tonsils. He DID check it out with the light and stuff afterwards, and said that was probably what was causing the upset stomach, as well. I told him I had been taking Pen-V for the last nine days and was nearly out of them and they didn't seem to be doing the trick. He gave me a bit of a funny look like “How did you get Penicillin? are you cheating on me?” (Shades of that Seinfeld episode where he goes to a different barber...)

He wrote me up two prescriptions, one for Augmentin and another for Entex (decongestant). I was a bit concerned about the cost, but I think that was more because of bad experiences in the past. Back in the day when I was making do on $950 a month, I got sick and had to go to the Doc, and it was $80 for the consultation “Yup, you're sick. a throat infection, here's a prescription” and another $75 for the antibiotics that he gave me that didn't really work. The difference now is that I have a GOOD healthcare plan, which covers prescriptions. I asked HR at work and they said yeah just show them the card when you hand in your scrips and they'll take care of it.

I went to Kirk's for lunch that day(Thursday), because they have a pharmacy there, as well as a Deli/salad bar/hot food bar (Who says we're 3rd world?) and when I went to pay for them, it was only $8.50! $7.55 for the antibiotics and $0.90 for the Entex (well it was a substitute). The rest was automatically charged to the insurance company, which was kinda cool. I took one right away with my sandwich and another that night at dinner. It was Renee's birthday dinner party at Edoardo's and I sucked it up and went. I was still feeling mostly like ass though.

I fell asleep Thursday night and slept like a baby. I actually slept all the way through without waking up once coughing or with an upset stomach. When I woke up Friday morning the first thing I noticed was that it DIDN'T hurt to swallow! I looked in the mirror and all the white was gone from my tonsils, although they were still a little red and swollen. I popped another one, and another last night with dinner and I'm actually feeling human again already. I'm going to keep taking them until they're gone, just so I can have a clear conscience that I'm not contributing to the superbug problem. :)

Saturday, March 26, 2005 11:52:34 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Thursday, March 24, 2005

I've been a little under the weather the past nearly-two weeks. Two saturdays ago I slept in til 2pm, for no apparent reason. I guess I was tired? I went out that night, had one drink, came home, back to bed by 1:00 and when I woke up Sunday morning I had a sore throat and a stuffy nose. Yuck. I ended up staying in bed all day Sunday. I didn't move a muscle. Later on Sunday night my hips and knees started aching and I thought to myself “oh bugger, I've got the flu” I called in sick the next day, marking the first time since I started here that I missed a day. I stayed in bed all day Monday and monday night, too. Monday night I started feeling a bit human again, so I decided to try and go in to work late Tuesday morning. Wasn't a good idea. I wasn't out of the house for more than 5 mins before I started feeling like ass. There's NOTHING worse than being in hot weather and slightly sweaty when you have flu symptoms and/or a fever.

By Wednesday it hadn't changed at all yet (other than being at work miserable) so I decided to call up the Doc and get some antibiotics for the infection in my throat. Just in case it wasn't really the flu, but something due to inhaling mold spores while spending a day and a half in our old, gross. moldy, un-repaired office building mucking out old computers for the insurance guy.

It's now the following Thursday. I didn't get to dive last weekend, and while I'm better than I was last week, I still have a sore throat and swollen tonsils, and I'm almost out of penicillin. I'm going to try and get in to see the Doc again today, before the four-day Easter weekend kicks in.

I've got one more post up my sleeve that I'll put up later, but other than that, unless I come across something worth posting about, have a good Easter. Bok! Bok!

Thursday, March 24, 2005 5:26:54 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
I know what you're thinking... there's no hockey! And there's no ice in Cayman!
Tuesday, March 15, 2005 10:49:56 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hockey#
Friday, March 11, 2005
I've been trying to make a record of all the thoughts running 'round my head about how to address the "Six Months Later" article I talked about last month. Today is the six month anniversary and I still dont have anything concrete to write down. Fortunately there's a good piece in the Cayman Spirit today, parts of which I'll re-print (most likely without permission) below.
Friday, March 11, 2005 1:22:23 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Yes another one, also unrelated bits and pieces from the week.
Friday, March 11, 2005 6:07:56 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links | Gadgets | Gaming | WWW#
Friday, March 4, 2005

I didn't know they were playing again this week (last night) until John told me on Wednesday, and he only knew because he lives with the lead singer, and THEY only found out on Tuesday.

I made a post about their show last week (and not much since then so scroll down to read it) and posted a bunch of pictures to Flickr. Last Thursday Club Octopus was pretty busy, a lot of people came down to see the return of Ratskyn. There were little blurbs on the radio about it during the week, I think there was an ad in the paper, too.

This week there was nothing. No radio, no newspaper, and not enough word of mouth. The bar was practically empty. The usual suspects were there... close friends & roommates (and former roommates) of the band, but very little “outside public”. Part of that is that the whole island is dead right now. We were at Coconut Joe's for a bite to eat beforehand and they were dead. Aqua Beach was dead, Lone Star was a ghost town... but I guess that's what happens when you only have 10% of your hotel room stock available.

Being in an empty bar listening to a friends' band took me back a bunch of years. In the early 90s there used to be this bar called The Lunatic Fringe on East Broadway in Vancouver. It changed names a bunch of times since then, and last time I bothered checking it was a karaoke bar where people kept getting shot in gang warfare. Some friends of mine were in a band back then called The Neurotics, and they were the “house band“ and played there every Sunday night. Every Sunday night a bunch of us would go down there and fill seats and support the band, but usually the only other people in the bar were hookers who were coming in out of the cold to take a break. We still had fun, and The Neurotics are still playing together at gigs in Vancouver. I keep an eye on their website for schedules hoping that one of these days I'll be in town when they're playing a “public“ gig.

Ratskyn really played a tight set last night. They were even better than they were last week, but no one was there to hear it, which is a shame. Club Octopus should have made SOME effort to publicize it a little. I've got a bunch of flyers to start papering windshields with this upcoming week, (yet ANOTHER resemblance to $imdb(Rock Star)) and hopefully I can drive some traffic to them from here, too.

If you're coming to Cayman in the next few weeks, make sure and put Club Octopus on your “To-do” list on Thursday nights.

Friday, March 4, 2005 6:14:54 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Friday, February 25, 2005

Ratskyn made their big comeback last night at the newly-opened Club Octopus on West Bay Road. This is the bar that was “upstairs” and used to be called The Next Level (before they moved to the old Pagoda Takie-Outie place) and before that (for the old-schoolers) it was called Tabu. Back in those days it was as close as you got to an “Alternative Lifestyle” bar on this island. Thursday nights were pretty good back then, eeeeverybody would be there on those nights, not just those leading “alternative lifestyles”.

Club Octopus has been open only a couple months. It looks a lot bigger inside now than it did back in the Tabu days, because they tore out a lot of walls and made space out of clutter. now there's banquettes along the wall, a bigger bar in the middle of the other wall, the stage at the very back and pretty much one big dancefloor in the middle of the room. It works good and sounds great. They're doing “Absolut Rocks“ Thursdays with live bands from around the island, so it looks like we'll have somewhere to go and listen to live music again.

Ratskyn lost a lot of equipment during Hurricane Ivan. We saved all of Zac's guitars when the window exploded in his bedroom at The Ranch, but a lot of their PA equipment and amps and things like that were in their storage locker which got flooded out. They've been trying to get new stuff for the last five months and started practicing together again about a month ago in preparation for getting back out there and Rockin' The Rock.

There are other bands on the island, different styles, different audiences, but there aren't any out there as polished as Ratskyn.  I've had the good fortune to hear them evolve over the past few years and they really have come a long way. Ratskyn has been around, rockin Grand Cayman since the dawn of time and have gone through a few iterations of band members, and even released a CD five or six years ago called “It's About Time” and as with all bands, always have new stuff in the works.

I don't know why, or how it happened, but apparently I had a “Girls Gone Wild Photographer” T-shirt on last night. For about 20 minutes everytime I pointed the camera at someone, they pulled their shirt down, or up, or something like that. Whether or not they remember it this morning is another story...

Mark says:Hey Bucket!
Bucket says:Hi!
Mark sends:2005-02-24 RatskynClubOctopus0067.jpg
Bucket says:Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo1
Mark says:hahahahahaha
Bucket says:OH MY GAWD!Q!Q!
Bucket says:OH F***
Bucket says:NO
Bucket says:oh s***
Bucket says:oh my gawd
Bucket says:BURN THAT
Bucket says:oh man
Bucket says:I can't go out
Bucket says:OH MY GAWD

She *BEGGED* me not to post the picture of her... and I've honored that request. sort of. (evil)

The rest of the pictures (close to 50 of them) are posted to Flickr, and there's a set of some of the highlights grouped as a set called Ratskyn, or you can just search Flickr for Ratskyn and find em there.

Friday, February 25, 2005 6:56:42 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures#
Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Monday's editorial in the Cayman Compass was entitled “Seek Self Help Commuters“.

In that article, it practically parroted what was printed in a front-page article that same day from the National Roads authority saying that there was no easy cure for the endless traffic jams that are occuring every morning and evening. If you've been reading this web page for more than a couple weeks, you've probably read me venting about it more than once.

They quashed an idea to use the center lane as a counter-flow lane (two lanes southbound in the morning and two lanes northbound in the evenings) because it would make things difficult for people turning if they were going in the opposite direction. They also point out that the current width of the road won't allow for another lane to be put in, either. Their response? “Less cars on the road“ and also said maybe it was time for the gov't to look at limiting the number of cars that are allowed on the island. Liberal estimates are that nearly 10,000 cars were destroyed during the hurricane, and that 5600 had been imported up to the end of December 2004, and close to double that number since then. So with those numbers, we now have 50% MORE cars than we did before September 11th.

It was pointed out that places like Bermuda have laws in place regulating the number of cars allowed on the island and ownership of multiple cars. That's fine, maybe we DO need some sort of regulation on importation of cars here, but that's not the hypocritical part of this rant.

The editorial referenced above, in the print version, took up rougly 1/3 of the page, in a column down the left-hand side. Flip 2 pages and there's a 1/3 page ad for King Auto Mall in Florida. Another 1/3 of that page is an article entitled “Importing ABC's“ and the final 1/3 of the page is a newswire article/review of the Buick Lucerne. Page 7 is a half-page article highlighting the Chicago Auto Show, with a sidebar article/advertisement for Jumbo Auto in Florida. The entire bottom half of that page is an ad for Maroone Auto Plaza in Miami, and the coup de grace, page 8 is a full-page, 4 color ad for Jumbo Auto in Florida.

So after printing an article and writing an editorial pleading for people to take alternative transport, public transit or carpool, posing the question that perhaps the government should look into legislation limiting importation and saying that there's no quick fix to the traffic predicament, they turn around and whore themselves out to car dealerships and print a “How-to” article on importing vehicles.

I have only one question: “WTF?!”

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 10:02:46 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Rants#
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Underwater Pictures from Big Dipper/Little Tunnel & Spanish Anchor
Sunday, February 13, 2005 5:04:46 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures | Underwater#
Apparently Jeep/Chrysler does...
Sunday, February 13, 2005 4:34:31 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Jeep | Rants#
Monday, January 31, 2005
This is a particularly geeky post. Lots of terms in there you may or may not know. If it's over your head, don't worry about it. Next post will be more xbox-live and less configuration :)
Monday, January 31, 2005 7:13:32 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links | Wireless | Gaming#
Friday, January 28, 2005

The other night me, Johnny Rotten, Matty & Zac met up at the lobby bar at Treasure Island for Heather's birthday party for Karaoke. All the usual suspects were there: Brad, Rick & Fran, Wayne, and then Heather showed up with most of the Straight-outta-Cayman Pussy Posse and the party got started.

As usual at karaoke nights, there were some truly horrendous singers. People who make William Hung sound like Enrico Caruso. On the other side of the coin, there were some really good singers there, too. One guy got up and sang “Brian Wilson” by the Barenaked Ladies and as soon as the first syllable came out of his mouth, I swiveled my head around to the 'stage' cause I thought they put a CD on. This guy sounded REMARKABLY like the bigger guy in BNL. He then ruined it later by singing an Elton John song. Boo. Zac got up and sang Jeremy by Pearl Jam and totally upstaged that homo Elton-John-wannabe. :)

Brad's been busy downloading CD+G stuff to augment the Karaoke library, and got up and did a good cover of Secret Agent Man. I was shocked! Brad *DIDN'T* sing a Jimmy Buffet song?! Some girl got up there later and belted out a Britney Spears song, and probably spent as much time practicing singing it as she did practicing her moves in front of a mirror. It gave me a funny feeling, down in the bottom of my chest, down in the cockles of my heart... maybe in the sub-cockle area... maybe the liver... maybe the kidneys... maybe even in the colon, I just don't know.

Heather sang a few songs, and her and Tex reprised their “I Love Rock n Roll” duet that got them into the finals of the Karaoke competition last year at the Hard Rock Cafe in George Town. They also all got really drunk! A few of the pictures are over there on the right. If you're reading this from a search or an archive and they're not there anymore, click over to my Flickr page and they're hiding there. I think at this point I'm going to spring for a Flickr Pro account. It's 45 bucks for a year and you get something ridiulous like 1gb of upload traffic per month.

Treasure Island Resort is still closed to the public, and for good reason. We were just in the lobby around the lobby bar, and if you didn't look TOO closely, it looked like it did before (shitty). If you were to actually LOOK around, the whole hotel looks like it belongs in Vedado Beach in Old Havana. The ceiling is either A) Gone and you stare at the studs or B) the painted part is all stripped off and falling in. The men's bathroom always looked crappy, but you really get the feeling that you're in some abandoned derelict building that someone's decided to have a party in after being in there. Actually, that's pretty close to the truth. The restaurant is open, it's been renamed to the Montecristo Chop House, and they look like they're up and running in fine shape. I haven't eaten there yet, because it's also pretty expensive, but it's on the list of places to go (and of course, I'll post here what it's like afterwards)

Now in defense of Trailer Island, they went into receivership last september (15 months ago) and the previous owner let it tank even before then. Considering the lack of care that ownership put into the maintenance (ie a budget for it, no dig against the miracle workers who made up the maintenance staff to actually keep it open and functioning) and the headless functioning in receivership, and something else... Oh right. A friggin Category 5 Hurricane that beat the entire island to a pulp in September, the staff that are still around have done a pretty good job.

Before the Hurricane, Treasure Island was rated a 3-star hotel. I think that's being pretty charitable. If it were in a bigger city in North America, it would have old guys with nowhere else to go living in it, or it would be a halfway house.

Friday, January 28, 2005 5:18:41 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Links#
Thursday, January 27, 2005

It's only taken 4 months, but our fault report was finally cleared up yesterday. After the hurricane, 9 apts out of 10 came back up with phone lines and DSL (if they had it) except ours.

In October I took home a tone generator and tested all the outlets in the apt and toned the lines back to the termation point on the side of the building, and they were all OK. I called in a fault to Customer Service at that time.

A week went by and I called back and they said “we're working on it” and referred us to the Restoration Schedule on their website. The estimated repair time for our area came and went and we called back again. They updated the website to show a new estimated repair date of late november, then early december, then early January.

In the meantime, I had consulted with our technicians who take care of our work systems, and spoke to a couple people I knew who were telco technicians. I tried everything they suggested. We were calling Customer Service every 3 or 4 days for a status update and every time we were referred to a supervisor who never answered their phone, never checked their voice mail and never ever called back when they said they weould.

Finally two weeks ago (middle January) I acquired two internal phone numbers for Cable & Wireless: the technician dispatch controller and the technician team supervisor. We put calls in to them and they said they would look into it for us and get back to us in a couple days. Nothing happened, no phone call back.

Last week I happened to sit in on a meeting and the VP of Sales & Customer Service was at the meeting as well. In conversation after the meeting, it came up that I had an outstanding fault report going back to October that wasn't in connection with the hurricane restoration schedule. I gave her the fault number (gotta love the smartphone) and she made a couple calls and SMS'd me the next morning that it was to be dealt with on Monday (3 days ago, which incidentally was a holiday) I was going to wait until today and see if anything happened before SMS'ing her back and saying that nothing still hadn't happened.

Yesterday, Seb called me and said that two C&W techs came into the dive shop inquiring about some courses and he said “I'll teach you to dive when you get my phone line fixed” or something to that effect. They promised to go and take a look at it later that day and sure enough, one of our neighbours called Seb and said that there were 3 trucks in our carpark. one at the termination point, one bucket truck up the pole and another bucket truck at the pole on the street, yet last night when I got home, there was still no dial tone, no voltage on the line and no DSL signal.

I was going to get in touch with the VP again tomorrow, but Seb just called a few minutes ago and the caller-ID showed up as “Seb (H)” HOME NUMBER!?? Sure enough, he stopped in at the apt and saw the DSL syc light on the modem was lit, so he plugged in a phone and got a dial tone! sweet! I guess I know what I'm doing tonight!

Thursday, January 27, 2005 9:40:37 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Rants#
Trying something new, here... a photo-entry. Not sure how it's going to work/look but drop me a comment and let me know if it works, or if it sucks ass.
Thursday, January 27, 2005 5:48:37 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Jeep | Topside#
Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Traffic report: There was an absolutely gorgeous sunrise this morning. orange-rimmed clouds, fingers of god, and a general all-round rosiness to the whole morning. The bad news was I saw it because I was sitting in traffic that early.

I left at 7:08, saw the traffic practically from my driveway, so I took the Detour Through Hell from last week, and this time I continued down Batabano to Morgan's Harbor, hung a right and did a little early-morning off-roading down the dyke roads. It spit me out back onto the main road near the yacht club at 7:22. Im not sure if it was because I was elated at skipping all that traffic, or if it had some other cause, but traffic seemed to move right along, as well. I made it to Cafe Del Sol by 7:35, they had Thursdays paper still, so I got bored and came to work early and was here by 7:50.

Today's Rant: People who park in handicapped spaces while handicapped people make handicapped faces. I don't think I've seen more than one or two license plates or placards signifying a handicapped parking permit in the seven years that I've been here. Somehow though, the handicapped spaces always seem to be taken. Point in reference: the handicapped spot in front of Cafe Del Sol. I think most people down here are confused as to the meaning of the handicapped parking symbol. I think that they think it means “Hey, we reserved this space for your shiny new monstrous SUV. Park here! You Deserve it!“

Restaurant Notes: Saturday night Seb & I joined our neighbours Sue & Dave for dinner at Edoardo's Restaurant. I had been there a few times before over the last seven years and it was pretty good. Good atmosphere, good food, caring waitstaff, but the menu prices were a bit high for all of that. Last time I was there wasn't a particularly good experience, but that could have been due to my company just as easily as anything else. With that in mind, I accepted the invitation and off we went.

The first thing I noticed was that there was some new construction. The old patio that used to be framed in and protected by mosquito netting/screens was now part of the shell of the building with big arched windows in the front. When we got in, the right-hand side of the new addition was the bar and a tiny lounge. We waited (and waited) for our neighbours to arrive and were seated as soon as they got there. Dave used to be a server at Pappagallo's and currently is working at Ragazzi while Pappagallo's rebuilds after the hurricane and is quite the somellier. He picked out a Cloudy Bay pinot noir that I had a little sippy sip of, and it was purdy darned good. I really don't know my ass from my elbow when it comes to wines, so when something like this comes along/happens I usually make sure and make a note of it for a future time.

I ordered a caprese salad to start, and the four-cheese penne for my main. It had Parmesan, Mozzarella, Gorgonzola and Cambozola cheeses in a white sauce. Yum. I wasn't quite sure how I'd like it, as I don't usually like really strong cheeses. The salad was yummy. I don't really know where on this little rock they got their hands on heirloom tomatoes and yellow heirlooms. I was at the grocery store on Saturday and (as usual) the produce dept sucks. I know they're doing the best they can with what they've got, but one of the things I enjoy when Im NOT on the rock is going to the supermarket and looking through the .3 acre produce dept at all the fresh (not black or borderline molding) produce on display. But I digress... Seb ordered the filet on Dave's recommendation, and Dave ordered it as well. I had a bite of Dave's and it was nice and tender and juicy. It was almost as good-looking as the steak Cipher was eating in $imdb(The Matrix) when he does his “I know this steak doesnt exist...” thing except this steak really DID exist.

Dessert followed, I had the amaretto cheesecake, and someone else ordered the banana toffee pie. For the four of us, it came out to less than $200 including the wine which wasn't too bad. I'll definately put Edoardo's on my list of places to go again (especially since Cafe Casanova hasn't re-opened yet)


Tuesday, January 25, 2005 5:30:25 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Food | Rants#
Sunday, January 23, 2005
This was my first dive at Orange Canyon since Hurricane Ivan. I was anxious to see if there were any of the namesake orange elephant ear sponges still there. Fortunately, there are.
Sunday, January 23, 2005 10:35:19 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Underwater | Pictures#
Friday, January 21, 2005

Sounds ominous, doesn't it? :) It isn't nearly as bad when you recognize that there's a little township/district in West Bay called Hell. It even has it's own post office, which is pretty much a tourist trap. You can have your postcards postmarked in HELL. The post office has some PO boxes too. I looked into getting one last May when the other post offices were sold out and had a months long waiting list for one, plus they were ridiculously expensive. As if that wasn't enough, the Seven Mile Beach post office was wiped out in the hurricane, so everyone with an SMB PO Box has to go to the Airport Post Office and collect it there. Ay Carumba. There's also a couple gift shops there hawking everything from bumper stickers (Been to Hell and back, etc) t-shirts, coffee mugs and shot glasses to beach towels, postcards and videos.

It's history is pretty lame, too. About 100 years ago or so, some bigwig from the UK came out and was been shown around the island and was taken to this spot. Hell in fact is an odd outcropping of petrified coral (locally called Ironshore) well inland on the island, and gives you a reminder that this island just recently popped out of the ocean's surface probably after the last ice age or nearabouts then. Apparently the odd, black stalagmite (the ones that point up?) rock formations called to his mind descriptions of the Underworld when he was a child and remarked “My God, this place looks like Hell” and a tourist attraction was born.

This morning's detour through Hell was due to, once again, West Bay traffic. I woke up a few minutes before my alarm went off (again) and rather than put a pillow over my head and try to squeak out another few minutes of not-sleeping, I dragged my ass out of bed and hit the shower. After making sure Tweeter had enough food (that she's not REALLY eating anyway :;( ) and some fresh water/medicine in her other dish, I left the house at 0655 hoping to get in ahead of traffic.

Yesterday I was a smart-ass and tried to avoid traffic by going in LATER. I reasoned that if traffic was that backed up by 0700, that it must be almost done by 0900. Failing that, after 0900 I could turn left by Indies Suites (there's a sign that says no left turns 7am-9am) and scoot down the back road and cut a mile or so of traffic. I left the house at 0845 and promptly got stuck in traffic just as bad as if I had left at 0730. When I finally got to Indies Suites at 0925, there was a cop sitting there with his ticket book in his hands interrogating anyone who wanted to turn left there! There was another cop sitting in his car at the entrance to Governor's Harbour doing the same thing. :$ Instead of being out on the road making sure that people were moving along and not holding up traffic, they sat there on their upholstered seats to stop people from trying to AVOID the traffic. If ever the old adage “If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem” ever applied, it was to that Police strategy. (evil)

The only difference was that at 0900 and beyond, the sun had crested the rooftops and what's left of the trees and beat down ferociously on my poor little jeep. It took me over an hour to get into work and left me a big sweaty mess before I even got to my desk. Ugh.

At 0652 this morning, I got to the tail end of traffic, about 1/4 mile down the road from my house. :$

I turned around, went back up the road past my house and turned right on Watercourse Road (The Crack Alley of West Bay) and then took a right up Hell Road. I scooted through the back of West Bay and came back to the main road at the intersection of Willie Farrington Road, near the grocery store. there was maybe 15 cars ahead of me on WF which was pretty good. At least when compared to the 80-odd cars and a 4-way stop that awaited me back the other way.

Traffic actually moved along fairly consistently today. I made it to Cafe Del Sol by about 0725. Thirty minutes to go about eight miles. Not bad, but still not very good. The only other thing I could have done was to go straight down Batabano road and then hung a right and traversed the dyke roads. I never went that way before, because dirt roads and a low-slung Acura didn't mix well, but now Im in a Jeep. :-D

I've only been through the dyke roads once, a couple Sundays ago with Johnny Rotten and there's a few crossroads and forks in there, so I didn't want to go out there and get lost on my way to work. I'll wait til I've gone through there a couple times before trying to do it on my own. The other thing is that the dyke roads themselves are a bit perilous. it's about a 6 foot steep slope down to yucky water on either side of the road which is about 1.5x the width of an average car. I'd never go down there at night, unless I was in a VW Thing or some other “amphibious vehicle” just in case. Last year the Captain of one of the mega-yachts that was moored here and his girlfriend died when they failed to negotiate a curve on one of the dyke roads, and they rolled over into the swamp and drowned. Alcohol was a factor in the accident, but why take unneccessary chances?

Friday, January 21, 2005 6:29:50 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman#
Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I was all set this morning to tear into a rant on traffic... AGAIN.... after spending 45 minutes going about eight miles and the lack of foresight by building on both sides of the one road with one lane each way. I filled up my fuel tank yesterday again, after only 211 miles. That's a 90 mile-per-tank DROP since I replaced the fuel & air filters, spark plugs, spark plug wires and oil lube & filter job I did the other weekend. Maybe this weekend I'll replace the distributor cap & rotor and check for any engine diagnostic codes, see if I can figure out what's what.

I get into work and check my email, with the thoughts of a traffic rant post in my head, and I see I had an email from my friend James who's over in Baghdad at the moment. The good news is that since he's sent out an email, he's still alive. I can't think of a more dangerous job to take than a Close Personal Guard or whatever it's called that he's doing. The pay is good, but you can't spend it if you're dead, y'know?

The first paragraph has this lovely tidbit of information:

The ' Bomb Average ' is now up to (according to CNN...) 4 to 7 bombs / week!!!!!! 2 days back I had a close one. You see untill recently normally ' a close one ' meant it detonates within 200 - 400 metres away from you: This one went off 200 ft away from me!!! Apparantly some guy pulled his car into the outer perimeter of the Green zone and wasnt being let through by the security forces. So, as you do, he got back in and blew the car up...

Of course, you get back in the car and blow it up. as you do... Gotta love the British Humor.

At night here its seriously quiet. Everyone behaves. No bombs, riots, gunshots, assassinations, its all good! Come day light - AND ITS ON!!! So, we were doing the same thing basically - The Rounds - checking up here and there. When suddenly We see a couple of flashes about 120ft away and then hear a sound that we havnt heard before... A weird metalic " thunk-thunk-thunk-thunk " on the exterior of the vehicle.

Thankfully they're in an armored vehicle, but still... Here in Cayman this weekend is a long weekend, as the third Monday in January is National Heroes Day. Something to look forward to. James on the other, has this to look forward to...

Got the Gen. Elections at the end of next week. Im generally a fairly positive and optimistic individual, with a hopeful out look on life......BUT ITS GONNA BE A FULL ON BLOOD BATH! Im talking ' Oliver Stone, Quentin Tarantino & Mel Gibson ' Blood bath!!!!!! Really, I hope Im wrong. I hope the elections come and go with minimal eyebrow raising....But will it???... God knows what the insurgents are planning - what they have already planned - and what they are waiting to carry out! Like I said....Never a dull moment.

He also mentioned a dream he had where he was out in the desert on Patrol, a flat, featureless snooker table as far as the eye can see, and then... he's on West Bay Road and turning into Lone Star for a beer. I guess you dream about the things you just can't have over there... Speaking of things you can't get over there...

Talk about a lack of things.... There are no Women over here.... Well, there are, but they all dress like ninjas! Dosnt do shit for me! I couple of my mates have accused me of being caught eyeing up the occassional camel!!! - It hasnt gotten that bad...yet...

Insert your own "What are you doing? usually we just RIDE THE CAMEL INTO TOWN" punchline here :)

Any way lads and ladesses, Im off because Im doing Grave yard shift in approx 45 mins and it takes me ages to just get ' dressed ' for it! So, I hope you are all well and stay that way.

So keep ya selves nice! Manly hugs and arse pinching aplenty.

95f during the day, -5f at night, body armor, comms, gps, weapons and ammo, yeah I can see how it takes as long for them to get dressed and ready for work as my old girlfriend did. As far as the hugs and arse-pinching goes, this is coming from the guy who wrote "CONGRATS STEPHANIE" on my ass in super felt-tip pen before my underwater strip show for that stagette/hen party I did a few years ago. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 6:25:02 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Travel#
Friday, January 14, 2005

As you can see from the pics at the right, something just doesnt look right...

Last night I was starting to make dinner and Tweeter was sitting on my shoulder and took off and was flying around the apartment. I didn't really think anything of it, she does it all the time. She flew into the ceiling fan once, and got a big THWACK on the wing, but it just sorta pushed her back and probably left a nasty bruise on her right wing.

So she goes flapping away and then I hear this big THUMP, like she knocked something over. Seb looks at me and I go upstairs and there's tweeter flopping around on the ground with one wing outstretched. Oh fudge. I tried to get ahold of her but she was so freaked out she kept flopping and flapping around. Finally I used a towel and threw it over her, and carefully scooped her up. Her wing wasnt broken, but it looked like she was missing a chunk of her head, and it was starting to ooze a little blood.

She was still trying to flap, and making these awful gasping, hissing noises, but I held her close to me and sent Seb next door to get the styptic powder that she had from the vet. Once we got her into the kitchen and could see better, the blood wasnt really coming out at all, it was like a skinned knuckle, probably from where the feathers got yanked out. She was still freaking out and shaking and her little birdy heart was goin a mile a minute. I sat down on the couch and let her go, and she climbed up to my shoulder and then onto the back of the couch cushion and sat there shaking for awhile, while I stroked her feathers. she kept closing her eyes, like it hurt or something (which I'm sure it did, I've stood on the bed and got MY head whacked by the ceiling fan and it hurt enough to make me curse like a sailor) and I didn't think she was going to make it. :'(

About an hour or so later, she was still sitting there, shaking less, and she was stretching out her beak or something. I dunno what to call it, but I'd seen Toby doing it before. Probably like a bird yawn or something. She started to climb back onto my finger when I put it in front of her (which she wasnt doing earlier) so I got her water dish (wasnt interested) and hand-fed her a few little seeds from her food dish, and she was still able to crack open a sunflower seed and eat the nut, so that's all good.

I put her on top of her cage (normally she tries to fly away whenever you go near her cage 'cause she doesnt like being put back in there) and walked back to the kitchen to re-start my dinner and she flew (slowly and gingerly) across the room and landed on my shoulder, and stayed there for the next hour or so. She sat on my shoulder and preened while I ate dinner (and tried not to get little feathers on my plate) and then after dinner I went upstairs and was laying on my bed watching DVDs and she sat on my hip or my knee or my shoulder, whichever was the highest point, tucked her beak into her back/wing and slept... She's never slept on me before, but I guess she was tired out from the stress and shock.

I moved her cage upstairs and put it next to the bed, so that when it got light out in the morning she would be able to see that I was still there, and didn't put the cover on her cage. This morning I moved her back downstairs and gave her some food & water before I went to work. A girl at work gave me the number of her bird-guy to call, and I'm going to try and take her in maybe tomorrow and get her checked out, just so she doesnt get an infection or anything on her head where the feathers got yanked out.

Poor little Tweeter. Gave me a bit of a scare last night, but I think she's gonna be OK now.

Friday, January 14, 2005 6:18:13 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Saturday, January 8, 2005

So this Jeep I got (related stories) last month has a hard time starting in the morning. Neighbours know when Im leaving because it takes forEVER to get started. As soon as it's started, it runs fairly smooth aside from the odd misfire here and there, but it seems to suck a lot of gas for a 4cylinder.

Today (well yesterday really) I decided to crawl under it and give her a little TLC. I got parts for an oil & filter change, fuel filter change, air filter change, new spark plugs and eventually new spark plug wires. I drained the goopy oil out (I'll probably have to do it again shortly, use this fresh oil to pick up the goo and take it with it when I drain it)

After the air filter, oil filter and oil drain & fill, I moved on to the fuel filter. After I found it (it was tucked up under it's own skid plate behind the left rear tire) it was a cast-iron motherflower to get off. Turns out that those were probably the factory original hose clamps on it. Johnny Rotten came over to give me a hand with it and we eventually got it off without spilling too much fuel and got the new one in. We fired the jeep up (which is still in need of a name.. I'll post a pic and take suggestions later this weekend after I wash it) and it ran pretty smooth, and we checked for leaks anywhere, and there were none.

Ya think this might be part of the problem??? So much for .035 gap!

Finally, while I was putting the skid plate back on over the fuel filter, John went to start taking the plugs out. I heard him swearing that it was on there good and then heard the “SHIT! MOTHER-F---ER!” and just KNEW that he broke the wire. :) so we pulled the rest of them and took the plugs out and then ran back into town to get a new set of wires (they really needed to be replaced anyway...) We gapped the new plugs and installed them and the new wires. We fired it up and it started RIGHT AWAY. I'll see what happens tomorrow morning when I start it after it's been sitting overnight. When I fuel up tomorrow I'll dump in some fuel injector cleaner and then that should be all she wrote.

It's Paulie's birthday today, the big four-five. He's probably started already, but we're having a big piss-up at Rackham's tonight around 7:30 or so. It seems like to long ago, but I remember when he turned 40... I think his final count of shots was in the range of 35, plus beers. He was SO WRECKED, but he showed up for work the next day, looking like he was run through the proverbial wringer and pulled his weight all day. In getting him so soused, we got pretty messed up as well. I'm going to TRY and take it easy tonight, but I might end up leaving my Jeep at Rackham's and hitching a ride home if it gets ugly.


Saturday, January 8, 2005 2:40:18 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Jeep#
Friday, January 7, 2005
Mind you, the nation is only 20 miles long and about 12 wide, but don't burst my bubble.
Friday, January 7, 2005 11:43:44 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Sunday, January 2, 2005
I guess when you think you're a big fish and you live in a tiny pond, you feel like the rest of the world owes you something. The reality of it is, little things tend to seem big to small people.
Sunday, January 2, 2005 9:44:55 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Saturday, January 1, 2005

Sue saying HGY to mom & wavin a sparkler

Went to a beach bonfire last night over at Sharon's place, blew off some fireworks and had a little champers at midnight, then we rolled down to Rackham's. It was dead there, the only person still there (that we were going to meet up with) was Paulie, who was so drunk I dont think he recognized us. We left there and went to Aqua Beach and had a beverage there (Coke for me, I was the DD) and just people watched til last call. Sure enough, a fight nearly broke out, but Batty & Chris defused it before the punches started flying. It's too bad, really, I had my camera out this time!

I was wondering what I was going to do with the weekend, and maybe I'll sit down and sort out the photos and organize em up with PS Elements that I just picked up and see how their web-page creation tools/templates work.

Saturday, January 1, 2005 3:48:25 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Wednesday, December 15, 2004

OK, so it's been 16 hours now since the quake. It was reported on the radio this morning (surprise surprise) and google news turns up 63 hits on it (as of this morning) and even MSNBC picked it up from the newswires and ran with it.

The good: No damage or injuries were reported

The bad: People have finally stopped asking about the hurricane

The ugly: People wont stop asking you where you were during the earthquake

Click to enlarge

Wednesday, December 15, 2004 8:01:29 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Tuesday, December 14, 2004

We just had a 6.7magnitude earthquake about 40 minutes ago.

Info here

I was on the elliptical trainer at the gym, and suddenly I lurched into the console and then had to hold on as I swayed back away from the machine. I thought maybe I was pushing too hard and slowed down, and then it happened again. About the same time I noticed other people looking around with confused looks on their faces, so I looked around for a ceiling fan or lights and saw them swaying. I took my headphones off, and just then the Manager came through the workout area and asked everyone to orderly evacuate the building til they could figure out what was going on.

That building took some major damage from the hurricane, so maybe they thought because the gym was full, the load bearing walls were buckling or something. As soon as we got outside and people couldn't put cell phone calls through because the network was so busy, I knew it wwas bigger than just the gym.

My next thought was “oh my god, I hope there's no tidal wave” and so far there hasnt been. I came home and got online right away and checked out and found the link above. They hadn't even had a chance to report on it yet, the last one (of the 7 so far today) was jut off the coast of El Salvador, but someone pointed out to me that it was 18:22 UTC which was noon here, so that wasn't it.

Then they updated the page with the link I posted above, and it was 21 miles south of Bodden Town. That's more or less where the Cayman Trench is, and it's 26,000 feet deep out there.

More later

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 4:16:38 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman#
Thursday, December 9, 2004

Here's a final breakdown of what it cost me in US dollars to get my jeep here, legal, and on the road.

Subscription to Carfax $25
Packet8 Phone Calls to Miami FREE
Flight to Miami $91
Rental Car $78
Hotel Room for the night $90
1995 Jeep Wrangler Rio Grande $4395
Towtruck to take it to Port Everglades $80
Shipping from Port Everglades to Grand Cayman $975
Reduced Rate Import Duty (17.5%) $995
Environmental Disposal Fee on Imported Cars $312
Dock, Cargo & Trucking Fees $57
New headlights that are aimed the opposite direction $95
Roadworthiness Inspection $32
Insurance (incl 50% No Claims Discount) $662
New License Plates fee $62
Vehicle Registration (6 mos) $100

Finally getting my own transportation again:



The total came out to about $8000 US dollars. In Cayman Dollars, it's 6720. Now I know intimately why Jeeps in particular are so expensive down here. There was a '92 in the paper for $6000 CI last week, and it was rusty, had no top and was ugly. Chopper sold his '89 Wrangler with no top, and no power steering pump and a whole bunch of other issues for $1200 CI. At the “going rate” mine's gotta be at least $8000 CI down here. If I sold it for that today, I'd stand to make a 25% profit.

That $8000 US total does NOT include 3 days of standing in lines and queueing up for customs, port authority, insurance, inspection and plates. Plus then I'd have to go and find another Jeep as clean and in as good condition as this one and then start the whole process all over again. Thank you, but no thank you.

I'm still optimistic about going to Vancouver for xmas, so I'll be sure to prowl the wreckers on Scott Road for a new tailgate, bumperettes, drivers side door closer and maybe a back seat. At least those prices are in Canadian dollars. I'll bring the parts back as luggage and have them installed and painted here with the claim from the shipping company whenever that check arrives.

Last thing I need to get now, aside from a Maple Leaf bumper sticker (there are 2 other Jeep Rio Grandes on the island and ya gotta be able to tell when it's ME parked outside Lone Star and come belly up to the bar :)) and a center console from Tuffy Products. Nat has two of them, one in his jeep and one in his Land Rover. They're pretty cool, they're 16 guage steel, and bolt directly to the floor giving you secure storage space, a little flip-down lid that secures/holds a standard DIN stereo and even has cup holders! They're also a bit pricey, so I'll probably wait til February to get one of those bad boys.

Stay tuned for pictures, I'll give it a wash this weekend to get the three weeks of sitting at the port and on a ship dust and dirt off of it.

Thursday, December 9, 2004 8:17:20 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Tuesday, December 7, 2004
If you ever need to import a car to the Cayman Islands, email me first and I'll try and talk you out of it.
Tuesday, December 7, 2004 8:12:26 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Jeep | Rants#
Monday, December 6, 2004

Normally Monday's are a bad thing. I think I picked that up from reading too many Garfield comics when I was a kid.

Monday started off not-to-good, I got stopped by traffic about 1/4 mile from home, just before the West Bay public dock on Northwest Point Road. It was bumper-to-bumper stop-and-go traffic all the way through West Bay, down Seven Mile Beach and really didnt clear up at all until I turned at the bypass to go to Texaco and then Cafe Del Sol. 40 minutes to go about 8 miles.

I decided to stop at Thompson Shipping on my way in to work this morning, just because Im a sucker for punishment. My Jeep was supposed to arrive (damaged) yesterday, so I thought I'd pop in and take a chance and see if the paperwork was there. It was! w00t! $972.76 cents US for shipping a car down here from Florida. 738.50 was the freight charge, 139.26 in bunker surcharge (I assume that means fuel), 55 for documentation and 40.00 security charge. Next stop is Customs, but after digging out and making a point of grabbing my documentation, I forgot it at home, so I need to do a little apple polishing this mornigng and see if I can get some personal time to run home and get it and go out to Customs... then insurance, then inspection, and then licensing. I'll probably wait and do the licensing tomorrow, go stand in line before they open and be one of the first ones in.

After that I was heading down Eastern Ave and heard the end of “broken” that song by some band I don't know and the girl from Evanescence. The DJ came on and said that was song 1 of “what do these songs have in common?” and then played Shiny Happy People by REM. I took a chance, dialed them up and they answered right away. I said “Are they duets?” and TA-DA! I won lunch at A La Kebab! “Sweet!” I said “free Kebab and I don't even have to get drunk first!”. They said my name wrong when they announced me as the winner (after playing the third song, the one with Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow) but I'm SO over people pronouncing my name wrong, I got over THAT about 25 years ago.

Monday, December 6, 2004 5:51:45 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman#
Sunday, December 5, 2004

Joanne with egg-yolk

Scuba Steve shooting French Angelfish

Baby Hawksbill Turtle

Facing astern from the bow of the Oro Verde

Flame Scallop hiding out during the day

I went out with John & Jo from Rivers Sport Divers again this morning. I planned ahead and wore as sweatshirt and packed my Chammy in my backpack, as well as taking the Sun Shower for some hot water to rinse with aprs-dive. We went to Trinity Caves for the first dive and then followed that up with a dive on the Oro Verde. I've done this combination of dives many times before, and even since the hurricane. The good thing about that is I can take similar pictures to what I've taken before and compare the results.

Im shooting with a Canon Powershot S70 now, in a Canon WP-DC40 Underwater Housing. This housing has a diffuser over the flash, and a specific white balance setting for Underwater. Don't use it. Custom White Balance is still the best way to go. I tried messing around with both settings, with and without the flash, and with and without the flash diffuser plate installed too. Couldn't find Kermit today on the OV, which would have made a good subject for some toothy portraits but oh well, next time.

Joanne was teaching an Advanced Open Water Course (Adventures in Diving) for Steve the Insurance guy (who bought my old camera off me) so on the first dive, to illustrate the effects of pressure, we took a 20oz soda bottle down with us, so you could see the air space getting smaller and smaller and making crunchy noises as it collapsed in on itself. Once we were down 100 feet, we opened the bottle and re-inflated it to normal volume and filled it with 4x dense air from 100'. I also pulled out my slate and wrote on it Convert this number from binary to decimal: 10 and showed it to Steve. He gave me the finger, which shows me that he was still in complete control of his faculties even at 100 feet :) Joanne had a couple eggs with her as well. When you crack open an egg underwater, it stays intact and the yolk stays a perfect yellow sphere (until a fish inevitably bites into it, tearing the yolk sac)

Once back on the boat, we took out the 20 oz bottle and it was well swelled. It was also rock hard. there was about 3 inches of water in it, so we put our hands on the bottle and cracked the top open. PSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHT! the air that comes out is extremely cold, which is a function of air decompressing. I think that's Henry's Law, but I can't be arsed to look it up at the moment.

We moved them to the Wreck of the Oro Verde. Actually we were at Peter's Reef (sometimes called Paradise Reef and sometimes called Lone Star Reef depending on which operator you're out with) and swam over to the wreck. Right after we dropped into the blue, two French Angelfish came up to see if we had any handouts. I teased them a bit, Im not sure if Steve got any shots of them swirling around my face, but soon they realized that I didnt have any food for them and they went to see if Steve had any. Right after that, as we turned towards the wreck again, I spotted a little baby Hawksbill turtle making his way down from the surface. We followed him for a bit and shot some images of him. I took a bunch with the Underwater White Balance setting, and they're too blue. Luckily I shot one on Custom White Balance that I had just evaluated, so I got this one good picture of it.

We noodled our way over the reef to the wreck and nosed around the wreckage looking for Kermit. When I got here in 1998, this wreck was still a relative ship-shape. It wasnt shipshape, just a ship shape. :) Hurricane Mitch that year tore her open amidships, and then Michelle in 2001 scattered her around. I think it was Michelle that scrapped the stern area as well. Ivan finished the job. There's an entire debris field now of metal bits & pieces. The engines are now visible, as they were inside before. The bow section that was intact before is still intact, however it's been picked up and moved 50 yards away from the reef towards the wall. We're talking about a 40-odd foot section of a ship, 16-20 feet wide, picked up and moved by the waves and storm surge. 50 feet down. That's some powerful weather.

We were approaching our turnaround time, and on the way back, in a little hole/socket thing near where the stern used to be, I saw some angel hair-like tentacles protruding. I looked closer and saw that it was a Flame Scallop. They look pretty cool when they're swimming around, but it also makes them rather vulnerable to predation during the day, so I let him(her?) be and shot some pictures of her. I tried about 6 combinations of white balance and flash and none of them really turned out ok except this one, but it still required a little levels and brightness work in Photoshop when I got home.

We got back on the boat, and the wind was sooooo cold. I strung up the Sun Shower, got some hot water into my wetsuit to warm up and then stripped down quickly, dried off quickly and put my Chammy on (my woobie) and wrapped the towel around my waist and put my ballcap on. I was pretty toasty after that.

So even though Canon has recognized how big a market segment there is for their digital camera users shooting underwater and has gone so far as to make an underwater preset for white balance, it's not enough. I suppose it's good for snorkelling, where you're so close to the surface that there's enough light penetration that you don't really need to mess with it all that much, but down below 30 feet and lower, you still need to use the Custom White Balance to bring the best colors out.

Sunday, December 5, 2004 6:56:09 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Underwater#
Wednesday, December 1, 2004

For some, December 1st is the start of Christmas Season (or Channukah, or Kwanza, or whatever... whatever you want to celebrate, have a good celebration) For others, December 1st is when they start holiday shopping (preferring to avoid the crowds of Black Friday) For me, December 1st means the end of hurricane season.

This year especially, I'm glad to see the end of hurricane season. Every year that I've been down here, we've been affected to one extent or another. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch ripped out the dock and the tank-filling room from the Lobster Pot. 2000 brought Helene which managed to blow itself out and passed between the Cayman Islands as a tropical wave. In 2001, Chantal passed by Cayman right when I got back from Texas (where I had to deal with the rain/flooding from TS Allison) and then Iris was looking like it was coming right for us, but didn't have too much effect on us. Just when we thought we were all in the clear, Hurricane Michelle passed by to the west of us and the southwest corner of the island took a beating from waves. All that hard work we did rebuilding the dock & tank room after Mitch was removed and we had to do it all over again. Hurricane's Isidore and Lili came a-knocking in 2002 but left without doing any significant damage and last year, 2003, was fairly light with just Claudette to come into our area.

This year, however was another story. We started off with Charley, the storm that wasn't. Somehow it managed to pass by us by about 30 miles. 30 miles away from the eye of Charley, and we had nothin. Jenny went in to work an hour late and I went to work in the afternoon. Charley later gave Florida a serious ass-beating. Earl was headed for us but fizzled out into an open wave as it got into the Caribbean. Then came Ivan (pictures). Ivan was so big that the National Hurricane Center hasnt finalized and posted it's post-storm analysis and report yet.

This spring, we had a tropical storm in April, out of season. It didn't go anywhere, but it was classified as a tropical storm because of it's characteristics. Yesterday the NHC started issuing advisories on Tropical Storm Otto, but it was way out in the ocean and heading in the wrong direction (ie not west!). Otto is out-of-season as well.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004 8:56:35 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane | Links#
Tuesday, November 30, 2004

...well it's fucking justified!

I JUST got a phone call from Tropical Shipping again a few mins ago. They called to inform me that my 1995 Jeep Wrangler was involved in a motor vehicle accident while being loaded aboard the ship! Did I want them to send it anyway and I'll deal with the claim down here, or did I want to have an estimate made up there in Port Everglades and have it fixed up there?

I emailed back (after looking at the pictures of the damage, it got rear-ended) to send the damn car down here and I'll claim it as damaged when it gets here. It cant be more then a day or so's work at a repair shop, but if I get it done there, then I'll miss at least one more sailing and push the delivery date back at least another two weeks.

I'll be SO happy to celebrate New Years Eve this year, if ONLY so that I can KISS GOODBYE 2004, because it's been nothing but a big pain in my arse!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004 10:59:43 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Jeep | Rants#
My jeep was supposed to be here by now. I called Thompson Shipping yesterday to inquire about it, and they didn't have any record of me ever having delivered a car to the port. Here's a timeline of yesterday's events
Tuesday, November 30, 2004 6:50:20 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Jeep | Rants#
Thursday, November 25, 2004
Walk without rhythm, you won't attract the worm!
Thursday, November 25, 2004 6:20:06 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links | Rants#
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Estimates on the number of cars damaged/destroyed/written off due to Hurricane Ivan run anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000. Why is it that with that many cars off the road is there still so much traffic in the morning?
Wednesday, November 24, 2004 8:45:37 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Jeep | Rants#
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
A rather long rant/story/diatribe. No links, even though they'd be beneficial in places because Im just too tired to make them all. Maybe I'll go back and edit this tomorrow or something, but don't get your hopes up :-)
Wednesday, November 17, 2004 4:20:17 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman#
Thursday, November 11, 2004

I was informed today as I was leaving work (with a splitting headache) that my work permit has been approved by the Immigration Board. Woohoo! Now I don't have to worry about a renewal like I did 3 months ago for another TWO YEARS. The only crappy part is I have to go down to Immigration one more time and stand in line with the plebs for an hour or two with the notice and get my passport stamped.

Vehicle-front looks good, too. Found a Jeep Rio Grande in Miami and had it all checked out and it's looking good. Found out today what I need to do as far as paperwork to get it put on a ship and sent down here, too. More on that tomorrow.

Thursday, November 11, 2004 3:26:15 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Tuesday, November 9, 2004

According to PC Magazine, over 60% of xbox owners have purchased HALO since it was released in 2001. I can't speak for other people, but two years ago when I went home for my 30th Birthday, I went to a BBQ and someone brought over an Xbox and plugged it in to a Sony 70” projection TV and we played 4-player Slayer mode deathmatch.

Needless to say, I got my ass handed to me that night, but as I was driving home I said “oh man... I am SO getting an xbox...” the next day I went to EB in Brentwood Mall and got an XBOX, extra controller, HALO,Splinter Cell and Project Gotham Racing. Since then the # of games I have has swelled to about 10 or so, but I was always waiting for HALO 2 to come out.

I think it's first projected date was supposed to be last March or so and Todd was going to bring it down for me. Then it was delayed, and delayed again, and delayed again. I was starting to think that HALO 2 was turning into “the next Duke Nukem sequel” that's been years and years in development and is turning into vaporware.

Joanne is up in Miami at the mo, and if she finds a copy she's going to grab it for me! w00t!

The icing on the cake is not just that we have power back, and a/c back, but we re-installed the home theatre 5.1 speakers, the dvd player, my bigscreen TV, the prismiq media hub and the wireless network. Woohoo! HALO2 deathmatch party at Oceanside this weekend!

Tuesday, November 9, 2004 1:05:40 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Gaming | Microsoft#
Wednesday, November 3, 2004

This was posted on the Seaview Hotel & Dive Resort website today:

News---Wednesday November 3, 2004

As of 11/3/04 the computers at the hotel are up and running.  Email will be up shortly.
We are now able to process refunds for prepaid reservations and expect all refunds to be completed by the 15th of November. Qualified refunds will be made by credit card or bank check from the Seaview.

Ron Kipp announced today that he has been advised the hotel property has been sold. Ron indicated that he was unaware of future plans for the property but stated that the current management team will not be involved in future operations.

The Staff, Alisha, Ron, Paul, Christina, Barbara, Everton, and M.J. thank all past guests and wish them great diving in the future.

Ron Kipp


What the hell is that all about? Stay tuned, faithful readers! I'll see what else I can dig up!

Wednesday, November 3, 2004 5:57:03 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Y'know that song by Filter (the guys who did “Hey man, nice shot”) called Take a Picture? It vividly recalls a memory for me everytime I see it. When it was big on the radio about four or five years ago, I had just bought Betty (my '87 poweder blue with pink racing stripes Suzuki Samurai) and I was driving around to Rum Point, just because I could. I think I was somewhere past Bodden Town, and that song came on. I had the top off the jeep, and the sun was coming through the palm fronds dappling Betty & I with sparkly light, kind of like the reflections off a swimming pool.

Whenever I hear the beginning of that song, it instantly takes me back to that spot, that day, that everything and reminds me of all the good reasons I've lived here so long. Once in awhile, when I feel the need to be reminded of those things, that song just happens to come up either on the radio or on my MP3 player. It's kinda spooky that way.

Last night Z99 played that song around 6pm. It was almost dusk, and the sky was all reds and pinks from the sunset and I was driving home from Hurley's. As the guitars strummed and the drums kicked in, I had the image in my mind of driving down the Queen's Highway with the sun coming through the palm trees and through the open top of my jeep.

Pimp My Ride!

The only difference between then and now was the hoopty. I had to laugh a little, in comparing Betty with the car I'm borrowing at the moment. No sunroof. The driver's side window doesnt roll down, the a/c doesnt work, it almost overheats if I try to drive it during the day, and it has a few other little quirks and idiosyncracies. I'm sure that if I lived closer to Southern California, then this car would be a good candidate for Pimp My Ride.

Makes you wish for the days when car commercials were simpler. Like this one. 88dodgesaires.asf (1.17 MB)

Still, it's better than walking. I hitched a ride to Aqua Beach last night and I walked from Oceanside to almost 4-way Stop before someone picked me up, and he was only going as far as Public Beach. I walked from there (in the pitch black, which may have been part of the reason why no one would pick me up) to about The Westin before someone else picked me up and dropped me in front of Pizza Hut on Seven Mile Beach.

I got to the bar before last call and caught up with my friends. Paulie was there, I haven't seen him since the storm, John flew back in yesterday, Zac & Steph were there, Matty was there, J was there, and another guy I guess they work with were all sitting at a table. Little Bucket and her crew were there, too. Sue, my neighbour runs around with Little Bucket! what a small island! Uncle Daddy was around, too, following the girls around, tryin to hug n kiss on them and sweatin all over them. Ugh.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004 6:00:08 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman#
Monday, November 1, 2004
Uncle Daddy grew up idolizing guys like Fonzie and Vinnie Barbarino because they got lots of chicks. You know what happened to Fonzie & Vinnie Barbarino?
Monday, November 1, 2004 7:59:22 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Cruise ships returned to Grand Cayman today. (pic)
Monday, November 1, 2004 7:22:33 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
HazMat Jenny dressed me up in a toga and took me to Aqua Beach for their Halloween Trailer Trash Bash, and it sure lived up to it's theme... (pics)
Monday, November 1, 2004 6:49:01 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
OK so I was a day late... I still did my part (pic)
Monday, November 1, 2004 6:21:59 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Underwater#
Friday, October 29, 2004

Ahh, what bliss... to feel the tiles cool underneath your feet, a cool breeze on your skin and drier air than what I've gotten used to over the last 6 weeks (almost 7). Do I have to even say that I slept like a baby last night?

Power came back last week, water 2 weeks before that, phones came up (except the one phone line that has our ADSL connection) and now air conditioning. As nice as it is, there are a lot of people who still don't even have a roof over their head yet. I made a pact with the devil himself today and traded a future favor with a technician from Cable & Wireless to get our ADSL circuit fixed this afternoon.

Work crews have been going up and down West Bay Road (the main road that goes up through the hotel/tourism section and Seven Mile Beach) and trucks have been going around at sundown and collecting up all the refuse and waste that they've been collecting up.

Cruise ships will be here Monday. Two are scheduled to stop here and the current limit is four per day for the next two weeks. The infrastructure and satisfaction of the cruisers will be examined in that time and perhaps additional capacity will be added in time for American Thanksgiving which is when stayover tourism will start back up again. Cayman Airways has put out their Winter 2004 Shedule and will pick up the Chicago route again on Dec 17th, as well as start up the Boston route then, too.

Don't forget that this weekend is the shoreline and underwater cleanup dives.

Friday, October 29, 2004 1:03:35 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman#
Thursday, October 28, 2004

A sign that things are back to normal: Endless bureacracy and lack of helpfulness at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

OK, so there are about 8000-10000 destroyed vehicles on the island after Hurricane Ivan. There were also 10000-12000 people who left in the following days, many who are not coming back at all. Stories ran around of people driving to the airport and abandoning their cars there. I even heard of a guy who had picked up a hitchhiker on his way to the airport, and then gave the hitcher the keys when they got to the airport and said “keep it”.

The Fire Service parking lot has been filled with left-behind vehicles, and vehicles that were damaged/looted/ransacked of tires and wheels and gasoline and things like that. The Civil Aviation Authority has yet to decide what to do with the unclaimed cars. Some of them may have been damaged/submerged or just left behind in the exodus.

One of the many, many cars that was left behind was left behind by a friend of mine. He left the keys, the title/logbook/paperwork behind and said Use it, sell it, whatever. I'm outta here. I'm trying to get rid of it, but have run into a slight problem: In order to transfer the title, the title itself needs to be signed by the owner of the vehicle. No problem, just fedex the paperwork to him, have it signed and notarised, fedex it back and it's a done deal. All I'll be out is some time and $35 bucks for the fedex envelope.

The problem that's occured however, is that the owner of this vehicle has gone off for “basic training” for lack of a better word and is then headed back to Iraq as a “contractor” providing close-support protection. Basically he's going back as a merc. He's now out of contact for the duration of his training, and if they send him right from camp to his assignment, he's going to be out of contact for a long time. I sure as hell hope that I don't see his head (without the rest of him) on Al-Jazeera.

The Cayman Dept of Motor Vehicles doesn't care, though. They require the registered owner's signature, duly notarised, to transfer the ar to someone else. I explained the situation to them, and they said too bad. I said “What if (god forbid) something happens to him over there? what then? They're unflappable. They just repeated “we require the registered owner's signature, duly notarised, to transfer the registration” end of story.

SO what I need to do now is find a Notary who will accept that the email I got from him saying “it's yours” is valid and will put their stamp on an affadavit authorising the transfer, or else this vehicle will sit here on the island to be found by some future civilization.

Bunch of arse.

Thursday, October 28, 2004 9:30:22 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman#
Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Thanks to Brad, I have somewhat reliable transportation for the moment. He's got a spare, plus he's going on vacation today so he said I could use his car. It's a gorgeous powder blue mercury topaz of a 1986 vintage. I couldn't quite pinpoint the smell, but it was familiar and WAS NOT wet dog/hurricane/sewage smell, which is a good thing. This morning on the way to work I recognized the smell: it reminds me of my grampa's work car back when I was a kid. Dirt, sunbaked old car and tool smell! :)

If only the driver's side window rolled down, I'd be set. As it is, the passenger window goes down, and the A/C is broken, but at least I can get in to work and back. I tried to drive it downtown yesterday to go to the motor vehicle dept and get some other paperwork sorted, but in the heat of the day, in downtown traffic (there are still no streetlights, so it's Guerrila 4-way Stop situations) it very nearly overheated, and it DID stall and I had to wait a few mins before it would start up again. I got it back to the office and parked it there until it was time to go home.

Driving home is a tricky gamble: I have to wait til after 5:30 or so so I dont encounter any traffic going home, but I have to make sure it's before the sun goes down because the headlights are pretty much for decoration only! :-)

I noticed this morning on the way in that Canton Restaurant has a hand-painted sign out by the road saying that they're open! woo! Canton at The Strand is the best Chinese restaurant on the island.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 5:53:04 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman#
Monday, October 25, 2004
Dive 2 from Sunday, October 24, 2004.
Monday, October 25, 2004 7:52:58 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Underwater#
I went diving Sunday with Fisheye. Trinity Caves first, which I cover in this post, and Chain Reef for the 2nd tank which I'll cover in the next post.
Monday, October 25, 2004 6:56:56 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Underwater#
Thursday, October 14, 2004

Just made it back to The Rock again. I thought FOR SURE I was going to miss the flight! 60 mins out and I had to turn back from the terminal and go return the rental car. I thought it was like the Tampa Airport, where you return the car and walk about 50 feet to the ticket counter, but noooo Miami Int'l you have to backtrack a couple miles to the off-site depot and then catch the bus back to the terminal.

Once there I discovered that you can't take an Air Conditioning unit on the plane. Sucks! Jean volunteered to go to the terminal and rescue it for me and drop it off at Cargo, (Yay Jean!) :-) so I should get it in a few days. As far as I know we don't have power back yet anyway.

All my luggage arrived on the same flight as me this time, too. I didn't think any of it would make it because A) I was so late and B) they had tags on them that said STANDBY NR on them. Imagine my surprise when I got all three!

I added a bunch of links to the blogroll (lower right hand column) of places that I check out on a fairly frequent occasion. Check em if you feel like it, or don't.

Richard & Stephen are probably near the summit of Killimanjaro about now. They left nearly two weeks ago for their big trip. Im sure they'll have pictures up on their websites soon after they get back.

Thursday, October 14, 2004 9:25:38 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links#
Monday, October 11, 2004

HazMat Jenny and I spent all day cleaning our apartment. What a huge job that was. I went in the week after the storm and wet-mopped the whole floor (even under the bed) and moved all the furniture around as I did it aside from the closets.

HazMat Jenny did the bathroom and bathroom floor, then we took apart the fridge & freezer and cleaned all that stuff out. We left the icemaker out cause it was busted anyway, and hopefully we can get a replacement.

There was a bag of frozen strawberries in the freezer (and some blackberries too I think) that I used for making smoothies back in the day, when we had power, water,  groceries and perishables. I threw them all out weeks ago, but they had still thawed to goo/puree and leaked inside the fridge and on the floor when I opened the door. We left the fridge & freezer clean and smell-free and put a bowl of baking soda in there as well to hopefully absorb some of the remaining smell.

We then tackled the rest of the kitchen, wet-mopped the floor and then tackled the Harry Potter room. Once that was cleared out and cleaned out we could start putting stuff into storage in there, making more room in the living room. Once evrything was pretty much cleared, we swept and wet-mopped the living room, and HazMat Jenny followed along behind me with the swiffer.

We moved the table & 2 chairs back down to eat on, and brought the couch downstairs as well. All that's left to do now is the bedroom, which needs another going over with the mop & swiffer, and the closets. I have the bookcase from upstairs in my closet with Jenny's stereo on top of it. It sucked up the water that was on the floor up about 6 inches. Once I get it out I'll check and see if the bookcase is still strong, otherwise I'll shore it up with some new wood and more screws. What do I care if the bottom 6 inches aren't up to Ork's standards? :-)

As we were putting the living room back together, I found a coin with a square hole in it in the corner of the room. I knew it wasn't mine, so I assumed it was Jenny's. I put it on the counter and continued mopping the floor. When we were done, I picked up the coin and said “is this yours?” She said “Yes, when I bought that coffee table at that Feng Shui place in town it had a little booklet with it saying to put this coin in the corner of the room to protect it”

Both apartments on either side of us had ceiling and flood damage and had mold & mildew multiplying on the walls. The buildings across the street from us were gutted and lost their roofs completely. SO did we have good luck, or did we have luck from the Feng Shui coin protecting the room, or was it just a huge co-incidence?

I should have put that coin in my car

Monday, October 11, 2004 9:04:37 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Saturday, October 9, 2004

The Barefoot Man has a new song that's already playing on the radio. I guess it's title is just “Hurricane Ivan” but ya never know. It might be something else. It's pretty funny, pretty topical, and you probably have to have lived here to get a lot of the “inside joke” riffs, too.

I've emailed him and asked for his permission to post a clip of it here, and you can buy the CD (and his other ones) on his website as well.

Moved back into my apt today. Jenny gets back in about.. oops! gotta run to the airport and get her! HazMat Jenny is going to have to make an appearance and we'll get our apt spic n span this weekend. Toby & Tweeter are happy to be back home now too, I think.

Bruce is heading home tomorrow, after living in (ahem) paradise with us for a few weeks. He's THE MAN who brought down the generator and food a few weeks back. We were going to have a cookout tonight (still thanks to Mark in Austin) but we're going to postpone it for a couple nights.

Saturday, October 9, 2004 12:13:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Thursday, October 7, 2004

A 5th photo album is up now. These are pics from a couple weeks ago. Everton took them (with his sweet-ass EOS Rebel Digital) all the way out to East End and back. Pictures are of Ocean Club, Mariner's Cove, Bodden Town, Breakers, East End (including Morrit's Tortuga Club) and Northside. I also rearranged the photo album page so that there's a page just for Hurricane Ivan Photos separate from underwater and travel photos. Go on over and take a look.

Below is a link to a video clip from the peak of the storm, looking westish from the ranch. Right-click and select Save As and download a copy of it for yourself rather than keep clicking on it and chewing up Rich's bandwidth.

2004-09-11 Hurricane Ivan 163.avi (2.65 MB)
Thursday, October 7, 2004 11:14:41 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Thursday, September 2, 2004

It's late, I'm tired, I've been up all night wrestling with Frontpage 2003 to make some new photo galleries. I like the thought behind the Photo Gallery Web Component in FP, but it's execution sucks donkey balls. And it's not (very easily) modified. If you DO modify it, then next time you make a change within FrontPage, your changes get overwritten anyway. Sucks. Until I find a better solution, here's the link:

Thursday, September 2, 2004 9:32:34 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links | Pictures#
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Canada vs USA World Cup Hockey 2004 at Legendz Sports Bar in Grand Cayman
Tuesday, August 31, 2004 8:04:16 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Pictures | Sports | Hockey#

It's good to be back at work. If the previous week hadn't been so stressful, especially at the beginning of the week, then I could have treated is as a little vacation, to make up for not taking any time off between jobs. By Wednesday I lightened up a little and went diving a couple times with Matty & Bert at Fisheye, and took Little Bucket out for a couple dives on Sunday as well.

From the minute I walked in the door this morning, people were happy to see me and smiling. I got hugs, I got “I was praying for you” and “good to have you back!” all the way along to my office. Even my biometric scanner seemed to caress my fingertip with a “good to see you” or so it felt like.

It's SO nice to work for a company that cares about it's employees for a change. It's such a 180° turn from what I've had to put up with for the last year or so. It's the type of thing that generates employee loyalty, rather than alienating them.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004 7:48:32 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Monday, August 30, 2004

My temporary permit is through and I'm back to work as of 1:00 this afternoon. w00t! for pictures from yesterday

Monday, August 30, 2004 9:12:51 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures | Underwater#
Saturday, August 28, 2004
I don't know what it is about that girl, but when I dive with her, we see turtles.
Saturday, August 28, 2004 8:53:11 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures | Underwater#
Thursday, August 26, 2004

HR called me and said that Immigration is going to look at my permit again. That's the good news. The better news is that they're going to give me another 90 day temporary while they look at it again, and that I'll probably be able to start back to work on Monday or Tuesday.

More info soon, and a pic of Jules the Turtle Magnet with a huge Hawksbill Turtle when I get back.

Thursday, August 26, 2004 12:02:22 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#

Nothing new to report as of yesterday... spoke with HR last night and they're going through the motions and waiting for Immigration to get back to them. It may take up a week and they'll let me know as soon as there's any news.

That said, I'm going diving this morning. If I get any fab pictures, I'll post em when I get back.

Also, my email server is acting up, so if you've emailed me in the past couple days and haven't gotten a response, that's why

Thursday, August 26, 2004 4:40:45 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The person who Immigration said was a better candidate for the job told the company today that he(she?) was not interested in that(my) position. Now it's up to Immigration whether they'll review my application again or if they have to re-advertise the job and then let me re-apply. They should know more tomorrow, so I guess tomorrow will be like today. Other than that, well I had a good play with the birdies this morning and a nice long workout at the gym this afternoon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004 2:21:02 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Monday, August 23, 2004

So this has been a particularly crappy month for me. It started out with getting in a car accident in a shopping mall parking lot. The guy ran a stop sign (well a rolling stop, but that's the same as not stopping at all) and we hit each other corner to corner. I was looking the other way, because that's where I was turning, and he came from my left and our cars touched corner to corner. My lowest estimate was $900 damage. new front bumper (ot got ripped) new turn signal, corner lamp and a couple hours labor & paint. The insurance company said it was 50/50 fault, so they gave me HALF of my lowest estimate and half of his lowest estimate, and took ALL of both our no-claims discounts away. I saved a few hundred dollars by buying the parts myself at and shipping them down on Cayman Airways Cargo. It still came out a couple hundred dollars more than what the insurance company gave me.

Last weekend Jenny and I broke up. We've been together about a year and a half, and living together for about a year. The silver lining to that big, black, dark cloud is that we broke it off before it got to a breaking point. We're still good friends (we're actually still living together til the end of September when our lease is up) and that's a good thing, because this can be a really small island and it really sucks if you have animosity with an ex and are always running into each other at bars and restaurants and functions and share a group of friends.

Just when I was looking forward to recovery, both my bank account from the accident, and my newfound-best-friendship with Jenny, I found out on Friday that my work permit was denied by the Immigration board. Since my temporary work premit expires right... about... now at midnight that effectively gave me about a day's notice that I was out of a job. I stood in line at Immigration this morning (what a horrible experience that was) and was able to get a Visitor's Visa for a whopping SEVEN DAYS. I can get that extended next week if I stand in line again, and drop $50 bucks on it. I should know more tomorrow morning. Depending on the outcome of the next couple days, I'll have some tough choices to make coming up. If it looks promising, I'll stick it out here and try and support myself on my last paycheck. If it's a lost cause, I have to start making preparations to move out of the Cayman Islands.

I started going through my belongings today, just in preparation and came up with a huge long list of stuff that I need to sell before I leave, if that's what I have to do. From little things like cell phones and accessories all the way up to my car and computers and wireless networking gear and some diving equipment.

Hopefully there's a happy ending to all this in a few days, or at least some reassuring news that I don't have to leave. It's ironic that 6 months ago I was so ready to move to the US or back to Canada, but now that I don't have a choice in the matter, I don't want to go. I keep thinking of the short spikey-haired blonde in the first Matrix movie who's kinda intoning “not like this.... not like this...” right before her plug gets pulled. Friends are more like family when you're in an expatriate community so some of my extended Cayman family: George, Inaki & the boys at The Ranch have all offered me space to store my crap if I have to go home for a few weeks or a month or two to get my work permit straightened out.

I'll post more tomorrow when I hear from HR & my boss.

Monday, August 23, 2004 9:08:42 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Sunday, August 22, 2004

So rather than email bad news to everyone, I'll put it here.

On Friday morning I was advised that my work permit was denied by Immigration. They haven't said why, and they don't have to, which sucks. Either one of two things has happened... one is that my former employer, our of spite, has poisoned my name at immigration. Not only is that considered lying and beneath contempt, but by putting those words down on official documents, it constitues slander. Karma's a bitch though, so they'll get what's coming to them eventually.

The other thing that could have happened is that a Caymanian wants my job. This job was advertised back in April. I applied for it, went through the interview process, the job was offered and I accepted it. They advertised it again in the paper, to see if anyone who has precedence was interested in it, and there wasnt anyone.

All of a sudden about two weeks ago, I find out that my permit has been deferred... they've put it aside til the next meeting, basically. That happened a couple times, a couple times, and then all of a sudden, there's someone who's interested in the job, right at the wire. Friday comes around, basically with 24hrs remaining on my permit, and they tell me it's denied.

So what does that mean for me? For starters, Monday morning I have to go down to Immigration and stand in line for a few hours and get myt passport stamped in as a visitor for a few weeks (I'm going to ask for Sept 30th) During that time, I have to get all my affairs in order (i.e try and sell my car, my household effects) and make arrangements to go somewhere else. All the while paying rent, eating food, consuming resources with no cashflow coming in.

Hopefully this gets sorted out in my favor, and I'll know more on whether that's even possible tomorrow. In the meantime I have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I've been going through my things this weekend, making an inventory, and deciding what to sell, what it's worth, making up for sale lists, and seeing what I can give away, pack, ship etc.

My three options for the near future are (if this situation doesn't get sorted): 1) Take the job in Tampa I was offered about the same time which is still open and available to me. 2) Go to Denver and upgrade my technical certifications. 3) Go back to Vancouver and cool my jets for a few weeks or so and see if this situation works itself out.

Following the “there's no such thing as bad publicity” axiom, my name is going to be dropped around immigration tomorrow by about 10-15 different people. I called in a lot of favors, and talked to a lot of friends who have friends and relations on the Labor Board and Immigration/Work Permit board. Hopefully at the very least, I can find out WHY it happened, and then formulate a response/plan based on that.

I don't know what I'm going to do yet at this point, and I'm not going to make any decisions until I hear from work tomorrow after I go to Immigration.

Sunday, August 22, 2004 4:09:21 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Rants#
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Whoever said "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" was "full of shit, man". Canon Powershot S60 discussion.
Thursday, July 29, 2004 7:25:21 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Pictures | Underwater#
Monday, July 26, 2004
It's hard sometimes to see all the movies you want to see when we only have two screens.
Monday, July 26, 2004 7:22:44 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Movies#
Sunday, July 18, 2004
The first of hopefully many posts in this new category, and a couple pictures from this morning's dive.
Sunday, July 18, 2004 2:23:19 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Underwater#
Thursday, July 15, 2004
I put Restaurant in quotes because it's more of a fast-food joint. But it's new in Cayman and they just opened.
Thursday, July 15, 2004 11:17:57 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Thursday, July 8, 2004
If you are using 802.11 wireless and are pissed off that it doesnt quite reach to your favorite room in the house, read on...
Thursday, July 8, 2004 8:29:43 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links | Wireless#
Wednesday, July 7, 2004
The law of moral cause and effect; also a person's moral merit/demerit according to one's actions and (moreso) the inner intentions or motives which accompany them in terms of their conformity/non-conformity with dharma. One's karma is said to entail one's rebirth in order for that karma to be realized or fulfilled, and to determine the circumstances of that subsequent life.
Wednesday, July 7, 2004 6:52:30 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
This is just so I have a link to point to from the Buy & Sell Listing at
Wednesday, June 30, 2004 8:29:47 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Wireless#
Sunday, June 13, 2004

Oops. apparently the link to the photo albums has been giving a Cannot Find Server DNS error all week. I looked at it just now, and what happened was the machine that the website is hosted on's IP address changed by one number, so even though the Dynamic DNS entries were correct, my router was forwarding the packets to the wrong address. My bad. I've updated it for now, and later on I'll change it to a fixed address to prevent it from happening again. For now, they're up and all the photos are there, everything from Xmas last year through to the Cuba Pictures from last month.

Sunday, June 13, 2004 7:25:06 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links | Pictures#
Friday, June 11, 2004
Stop the presses! Call the president! Alert the National Science Foundation! I believe I have stumbled upon the worlds first Stealth Car! Either that or it's cursed. I've had a bright red Acura Integra for just a hair under 2 years now. I believe that when I get inside this bright red car, the whole thing becomes invisible to those outside, much like Wonder Woman's Invisible Jet.
Friday, June 11, 2004 9:14:27 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Rants#
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