Vacation report

I’ve been putting off writing up the rest of the vacation because I got a cold towards the end that turned into a sinus infection and, after flying with it, turned into an ear infection. I’ve now had 3 days of antibiotics, a good amount of decongestants and lots of sleep, so I’m getting better. Photos still aren’t up in gallery form, maybe tommorrow morning.
So, from the notes we wrote up while waiting for the flight out of Honolulu:
Our visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park started before the gate was staffed, so we didn’t have to pay to get in.
We hiked at least 7.5 miles that first day, 6.6 mi on the trails in the rainforest and around the calderas, and at least 1 mi out to the lava flowing into the ocean from the end of Chain of Craters Road. No wonder we were sore the next few days.
After driving back to Hilo, we walked around the Japanese Gardens that was close to the hotel.
The next day, we went to various waterfalls around Hilo including Rainbow Falls and Akaka Falls and a couple of beach parks along the east coast of the island. We then went to the Mauna Loa macadamia nut farm and processing plant. Not much to see, other than rows and rows of macadamia trees. We then went back to the hotel and swam in the pool.
The next day, we drove to the southeast corner of the island, making our way to the east edge of the lava flows that we saw the first day. We visited the Volcano Winery, taking a tasting and buying 3 bottles of wine. We returned to the Hilo area, walked down the rocky beach on the bay and walked around the downtown area. (We stumbled upon some rather large cockroaches on the sidewalks that night, Alisha was not pleased.)
The next morning, we wandered around some parts of downtown Hilo we hadn’t seen, including the farmers market. Then we went to the Borders bookstore and used the wireless waiting for our flight back to Honolulu.
After the flight, we picked up our little blue 4 door Cavalier, drove to the hotel and discovered the overcrowded mess of Waikiki Beach. The sidewalks were shoulder to shoulder for blocks. We ate at The Cheesecake Factory, after a 90 minute wait.
The following day was dedicated to visiting the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor (I just couldn’t go to Hawaii without visting it). We got up fairly early, and got to the Memorial about 8:30 am, and the first available program was at 11:30 am. We walked around the U.S.S. Bowfin, a submarine moored next to the Vistors Center and the other things at the vistors center until our program started. The film before the launch ride to the memorial was almost chilling, lots of actual footage and statements from survivors. The ride out was smooth, and the memorial itself was just that, a memorial to all the servicemen killed on that day. Then we drove off to the Dole Plantation, looked quite a few varieties of pineapple, and realized that Oahu is a much smaller island with many more people than the big island. We returned to the hotel and watched the sunset from Waikiki Beach while hanging our feet in the water. Alisha even saved an infatable toy duck from floating out to sea.
The following morning, we had breakfast at Denny’s, drove around Diamond Head and then returned to the airport a couple hours too early. At this point, I wasn’t feeling too well, so that was fine with me. After the 8 hour flight back to Chicago, I felt even worse.
And let me tell you, the warnings about flying with a cold are all true: if you can’t clear your ears, you will have an ear infection. I’ve now spent 2 days recovering from it, and I’m still less than 75%.

Aloha and mahalo!


Well, aloha from Hawaii! We’ve been having lots of fun. We got here Tuesday afternoon (11 pm CDT), picked up a cute little red Cavalier, got to the hotel and crashed.
We both woke up early (just after 4 am HST) and we got to see some of the sunrise. Then we spent half the day hiking around Hawaii Volcanos National Park, getting some great shots of lava and rainforest, including hiking to where lava was flowing into the water from the end of Chain of Craters Road.
We crashed again early, and woke up the next morning almost as early. Got to see another sunrise, then went and saw several different waterfalls, drove lots of miles up the coast, went to a couple beach parks that didn’t really have beaches and ended up swimming in the pool at the hotel.
The next day, we drove down to the other end of Chain of Craters road (where the lava flowed over the road) and tried to find Lava Tree State Park, but mostly Alisha just got carsick on a winding, rollercoaster ‘scenic’ road. We stopped in a 7-eleven in Pahoa, and a local exterminator asked if we were getting to see the local sights. Then he asked where we were from and he told us he had a friend who lived in Loda, IL, at PO Box 1, a local Verizon repair guy. The local here left California, took a steady job and grows coffee in his spare time. What a small world. And now we are waiting around, in a Borders on a t-mobile hotspot, to drop off the rental car and take the flight over to Honolulu. A day and a half there and then we head home on the red eye.

Untouched photos here, stay away if on dialup (Mom and Dad, this means you).

A few tips:

  • If you come to the big island, don’t stay in Hilo for more than a couple days. Stay in Kona a couple nights, drive over and fly out of there.
  • If you stay at the Hilo Hawaiian, DON’T eat at the Queens Court restaurant, it’s overpriced and bad food.
  • The food at Uncle Billy’s Steak & Seafood isn’t bad, and the free Hula show isn’t bad either. It’s the only Hawaiian owned hotel, so that’s kind of neat.
  • Take it easy hiking around Volcanoes National Park, the trails really can get to you.
  • If you don’t handle altitude changes well, this place is not for you. Going from sea level to 4500 feet is less than a 1 hour drive.
  • Cafe Pesto, in downtown Hilo and somewhere on the Kona Coast, is very well priced and darn good food. The best (and cheapest) dinner we had was there.


SuperSize Me

Alisha and I went to see SuperSize Me at Boardman’s Art Theatre last night. Definitely worth seeing, though the squeamish may have to look away during a couple parts. And, like others, it seemed to have an other than intended effect of making us crave McDonalds and other fast food. Maybe he’s on to something there.

Before the movie was a trailer for Fahrenheit 9/11, which I’m not sure I should see. Just the trailer was enough to get me pissed off at Dubya all over again.

And here are pictures of the flooding at my parents house last Friday.

Work Funny

(The names have been changed to protect the innocent)

So, user A complains that they are unable to access Google, when they attempt to a spyware warning pops up. No other site is affected. User brings laptop to netadmins, user has never logged into laptop. Error can’t be happening here.

The next morning, user A complains to helpdesk that they still can’t get to Google on said laptop. Huh? We explained to the user yesterday that they couldn’t possibly be using the laptop, no one besides administrator had logged in. So, helpdesk person goes to look at the problem again. Finds out this isn’t on the laptop, but on the desktop. So, helpdesk person looks at it, sees spyware warning pop-up, calls netadmin.
Netadmin assumes that user must have been made local admin for some strange reason and all manner of spyware must be installed, starts looking around on the hard drive remotely, finds nothing out of the ordinary. Checks to make sure user is not a local admin, and user is not. So, using some remote control software, takes a look at the desktop. Sure enough, there’s a spyware warning window popped in the front. What the hell? How did site hijacking spyware get installed without being a local admin?
Looking at the address line solves the mystery: (I wouldn’t recommend visiting that site).

Glad I got to use my 4 year degree today.


One of the freebies (well, they do have my contact info) from TechEd was a full copy of VMWare Workstation. I’ve been messing around with it a bit, but my laptop doesn’t have anywhere near the RAM it needs to run it well. This screenshot should be enough to scare most people.