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Year: 2008

Greetings from the airport hallows of Saipan!

Such a small island.

Yet I would say it would deserve more than the 10 hours I spent here today, which is what happens with the 'first-flight-in-last-flight-out' procedure.

I'm mooching off the free WiFi here at the airport lounge, waiting for my flight to board. I am in dire need of a sedative to ease the pain in my stomach, which is probably a direct result of drinking for 9 hours non-stop yesterday with no decent meals in between. I feel like heaving my innards out into a cold and insensitive porcelain bowl.

Meanwhile, I have an hour to burn before my flight to Guam. And the beginnings of helping take over the world through the family empire will soon begin. Here we go, Batman.

What's interesting are the small nuances of existing. All of these small elements that make up who you are, i.e.: cultural identity, gender roles, familial ties, notable life experiences... all of which inevitably shape who you are, what you think, what flavor you choose. And what's wonderful is meeting and/or keeping in touch with old friends who have somehow shared the same experiences or have managed to choose their own path. We've come a long way, but the best thing is knowing that we'll go even further.

$4 24-hour breakfast buffets are the shit. Seriously, what more do you need, aside from finding the perfect sidekick for all seasons? Refer to exhibit 1a. Life is good. And however it may turn out, remember that it's always your fault.

Greetings from sunny Philippines!

I flew in earlier this morning. The latter part of the flight was spent chatting up a rather old gentleman from New York who was flying down to Mindanao for business. He was a banker, and financed infrastructure projects in the region. Very wise man, with lots of interesting things to say. He told stories of past presidents, of being 17 during World War II, of his 14 children, of being married for 60 years, of playing singles tennis three times a week (!). And in between the lines, of understanding what it means to be privileged and to accept the blessings of life.

And we never stop to think of it, but the decisions we make and the world we continue to change today, are the stories we will pass on to the next. Until then, it's always a pleasant mystery what stories the next stranger on the plane will be willing to share.

Went snowboarding yesterday. I feel like I got run over by a truck. I love it!

I'm posting from my old IBM Thinkpad X23, running Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon). I had Kubuntu previously, but decided to uninstall and try out Ubuntu, and I'm pretty impressed! Everything seems to work right out of the box - so far. The biggest headache I previously had was getting the wireless to run, but this set up peachy keen.

I think my room has officially turned into the nerdery. In front of me I have a total of 4 computers: a PC desktop, two macs (iBook and PowerBook), and the Thinkpad. Don't ask.

So I guess the yearender story is long overdue. Original plans were to take Vanessa out to Death Valley two days after Christmas, with Nickel the boy wonder in tow. Fresh from the mechanic with a brand spanky new starter and solenoid, we had unwavering confidence that the veedub would roar into life bravely after each slumber, and putter along merrily into the depths of the desert. And for the first night, it did!

It is widely known that the design of the VW type-2 Bus is most conducive to fun paced slacking rather than picking up the slack against soccer moms with 205hp Porsche SUVs on the highway. So the Vanessa Adventure Team (Paul, Kat, Nickel) found themselves two hours late, with the waning winter sunlight, outside of the park and decided to camp it out at this place called Walker Pass. Elevation: 5,000 feet. Probably not a good idea, but for all not-so-good ideas, great adventures are to be made and unforgettable stories to be told!

Hunger was averted when we barely had enough propane/butane fuel to boil water just to make two cups of noodles. Not only due to the lack of fuel, but to the damn cold.
It was literally freezing! The morning after, we discover that our water turned into a solid block of ice. Nickel's water bowl was frozen solid. All our knees were shakin'!

The pit toilets were quite interesting too. The mens pit toilet told stories of an unfortunate camper's bout with explosive diarrhea. I was curious about the women's toilet, which I would've used if it were marginally cleaner. No dinero - some (most probably heavy-set) lady missed the hole and landed a massive chunk of brownie the size of a bigmac right on the toilet hinge. I kid you not, but I reeked for a full 15 minutes after subjecting myself for a mere 15 seconds in that hellhole. Imagine what that would smell like in the heat of summer? Yumm.

The next morning, we packed our gear as fast as we could to get the hell out of there. And so Vanessa tried to wake up. And tried. And stopped trying.

We spend another half hour waiting for the sun to come out and took turns underneath the car poking fun at the starter and solenoid for it to magically cough up its troubles and grant our wishes. And, just like the randomness of winning the lottery, the engine roared into life! Crawl underneath the bus count = 1. Start the bus count = 1. As long as the crawl count was equal to, or less than the start count, we were good.

Well, as the trip progressed we eventually came up to an impressive count of 5, 5, when we were dealt with a joker card. In the outskirts of Zabriskie Point, the fuel pump started coughing up and the engine would wheeze like a suffocating fish before finally shuddering into a dead heap of metal. To make the long story short, we again played our chances fiddling with the innards and at least got the engine fired up, and running. The bus would randomly shudder through the rest of the abort journey back home, but the crew was all brave and ignored our worst-case-scenario fears of engine explosion and "by the way the fire extinguisher is expired" thoughts. What a day! Saga will be continued...

I skateboarded for 12.5 miles today. Confirmed on Google Maps. The front axle fell off. Wow.

Happy 2008 :)

Happy 2008, friends in real life and friendly strangers of the intarweb :)

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