Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I'm Tired Of Coughing

Since our wet bike ride in Myrtle Beach, I've been sniffling and coughing. I might have gotten sick, but I have a feeling it's more of an allergy. Just from riding the motorcycle, my eyes would become extremely itchy and swell--I truly think it's pollen.

I gotta go out tonight after work and buy a humidifier. I can't sleep; I hack and cough all night. Kevin isn't getting much of sleep, either, poor thing...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Daughters-John Mayer
I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
and she's just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change

And I've done all I can
To stand on the steps with my heart in my hand
Now I'm starting to see
Maybe it's got nothing to do with me

Ooh, you see that skin
It's the same she's been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she's left cleaning up the mess he made

Boys you can break
You find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong and boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without warmth from a woman's good, good heart

On behalf of every man, looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters, too

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Never Again

Damn, thank God today is over. Kai had some friends over for his 13th birthday, and it was nothing but a headache. Along with breaking our 4-wheeler, attempting to put too many people out on our boat with no lifejackets (and not asking), tossing sausage around in my newly cleaned living room, he got a birthday tongue lashing from Kevin and I both. I can't recall ever acting this brainless when I was 13.

I've only got an hour left before these kids go to bed, and then I'm going to need my privacy and R&R. I'm really tired, though, and can't go to bed before them. Who the hell knows what they're going to get into.

It's been a loooooonnnnggg ass day. I've got until they're dropped off at 6 p.m. tomorrow.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Myrtle Beach Bike Week 2005

Cruisin' around

Every year Kevin and I go to Myrtle Beach for Bike Week. Because of Kai's birthday, we went the first weekend of it, instead of the second. It was a little more tame, but as the weekend progressed, the crowd grew.

Bike Week is really nothing but riding around and hanging out. It's kind of nice because there's not really much of an agenda. We wake up when we please and drive around to see where we feel like eating and hanging out at wherever. We meet up with friends, go back to the hotel for a nap, and then hit the bars or clubs til late at night. It was a much needed time away for both of us.

Sunday afternoon, I wanted to go see the Budweiser Clydesdale horses by Hard Rock Cafe. A director spotted me and Kevin and asked us to do a shoot for him for a Budweiser commercial. It was pretty easy; all we had to do was walk across the parking lot (a few times at different angles), and pet the horse. I'm not quite sure exactly what kind of commercial it's supposed to be, but we complied anyway. Everyone was standing around watching us make the commercial, while I walked around with the cheesy perma-grin on my face...

Soaking Wet!

Our last evening of Bike Week, we met Shihan Kazu Nakamuru and his friend at Suck Bang Blow. The biker bar was dead and we were getting hungry, so we left in search of some chow. I wanted something a little different for dinner, so we tried out a nice Thai restaurant called The Blue Elephant. The food and company was great, until....flash...crap, it started raining outside. Yeah, we had to ride 20 miles back to our hotel in the damned rain. That's okay, it was fun anyway.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Is It Just Me...

How I feel internally most days

I got a massage last weekend, and my massage therapist was astonished at how tight my muscles were..."Are you relaxed? You look relaxed, but you don't feel relaxed?!" I think just as I appear to be relaxed to my massage therapist, I appear in my day to day life as well. I think I've inherited my mother's high-anxiety gene, only I hide it well. Perhaps too well, because I don't realize most days how stressed I am. The doctor has even mentioned this to me, as I've had history of hives (remember that?), mystery burn-like water blisters, and temporary hair loss--"stress related" he keeps telling me. Even during my chiropractic visit, my chiropractor is surprised at the tightness of my neck of shoulders ("Wow! Why are you always so tight every time I see you? Are you stressed out?!")

I have a huge problem with bottling up my emotions. Things that upset me or make me angry, I often try to ignore. Of course, after awhile, it becomes too great, and I end up blowing up. When is it the appropriate time to act? When do I keep it to myself? Why don't people just quit acting like dumbasses and pissing me off....

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Another Reason To Look Forward To Hawaii

I'm going to Hawaii again in a few weeks. Usually we hang out in Oahu, but we'll be spending 5 days in Maui, which should be really cool. Then we'll go to Oahu for 3 days to compete and train.

I asked if we could spend some time in Maui, since Kevin and I have both never been to that island. Oahu is not exactly what you think of when you visit Hawaii. Well, not to me anyway. The first time I went, I envisioned hanging out by a secluded beach in the hammock. Instead, the island greeted me with skyscrapers and crowded streets. Since then, I haven't been quite as excited each time we go. Call me spoiled, but our trips normally consist of competing, training, and meetings. Not this time....

I was reading through my Parachutist magazine today, and found a list of dropzones throughout America. Well, whaddya know? There's one just 45 minutes out of Honolulu! Duh...why didn't I think of that?? I've jumped out South Carolina many times before, but Hawaii would be gorgeous to see, flying 13,000 feet in the air!!

I called the dropzone over there this afternoon, and found out that they jump out of King Airs, which I've jumped from on my very first tandem in 2000, and once in October during a solo jump. The exit is a little different, and I tumbled a bit from improper body position. Hey, give me a break-it was my first time jumping out of one of those aircrafts! Nonetheless, they're really cool; you get about 15 seconds more freefall due to higher altitude, and also the climb is much faster.

I've taken a break from jumping partially due to financial reasons, but I think I should splurge on this one. This will be a gorgeous jump; I just know it! My heart's already pounding and I'm getting butterflies, just thinking about it! I can't wait!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

A Star In The Family

Hail Social

Damn, it seems that my cousin Richie Roxas, is becoming quite popular! His band, Hail Social, recently signed a record deal and their first album will be released August 23rd. He's been touring the U.S. and Canada with Interpol, and will probably be out and about again soon.

Be sure to check them out and support the artists!!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Don't Book Your Vacation With William Shields

Three years ago, I was coordinating a Hawaii trip for our dojo. The "travel agent" that I found on AOL Travel ended up being a complete sheister and took us for about $2000. Luckily, we figured out what was going on and cancelled our $11000 check before he cashed it in.

Apparently, he's been hitting up lots of others, because the FBI came by today and interviewed me and Kevin. I think he's got someone for about $100000, for a company safari trip they were to go on in Africa. Thankfully, I had a huge file I compiled with everything that I knew about him. I've got documentation of all our phone conversations, every single email sent and recieved, even printouts of his "travel website." I hate lying thieves, I hope they catch him.

So anyway, I don't coordinate Hawaii trips anymore-to each his own. Not worth my headaches.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Nothing Short of Miraculous

Teenagers rescued off N.C. coast after week at sea

Of The Post and Courier Staff

SOUTHPORT, N.C. --When the sun rose over the Atlantic Saturday morning, Josh Long and Troy Driscoll were clinging to their 14-foot Sunfish sailboat, praying for the Lord to take them peacefully.
They had been lost at sea for a week, fleeing sharks, nearly being hit by containerships and struggling to keep their boat upright. They had spent more than six days trying to flag down passing fishing boats, eating jellyfish and singing hymns while their bodies slowly burned and dehydrated under the harsh Carolina sun.

They tormented each other with fantasies of banana splits and strawberry milkshakes, dreamed of passing Mountain Dew trucks. But they couldn't take it any longer.

"I asked God to take me," Driscoll said Saturday night as he lay in the emergency room of Dosher Memorial Hospital here. "You're out there fighting for your life. We didn't want to fight anymore."

Against all odds, Long, 18, and Driscoll, 15, survived. They outlasted many of their searchers, inspired prayers and survived a six-day ordeal that's being hailed as nothing short of a miracle.

Fishermen aboard a North Carolina fishing vessel named Renegade spotted the teens' sailboat about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, roughly seven miles off the coast of Cape Fear, N.C. The fishermen snagged the boat and hoisted the teens aboard.

Their families and a relentless corps of rescuers and volunteers had never lost hope. "This is unreal," Long's older brother Jonathan Goerling said as he drove toward North Carolina late Saturday to reunite with his brother.

Shane Coker, Driscoll's older brother, said he would first hug his sibling. "Then I'm gonna hit him and let him know how much he made us worry."

"It's a miracle," said Mike Willis, a spokesman with the Department of Natural Resources.

The rescue capped off a tense and emotional week across the Lowcountry that began shortly after the best friends failed to return from a fishing trip from Station 9 on Sullivan's Island on April 24.

They were last seen that afternoon. It was a blustery day and the National Weather Service had warned small boats to keep off waterways.

Within minutes, the boys knew something was wrong, the tug of the current was too strong. They jumped into the water and tried to swim for shore, pulling the boat along with them. They could see the Breach Inlet bridge between Sullivan's and the Isle of Palms. They yelled at people they saw walking along the beach, but no one heard them.

Before anyone even knew they were missing, they had been pulled out to sea by the current. Within hours, they could no longer see land.

"We lost our tackle the second day," Driscoll told one of his relatives on the phone. "So we couldn't catch any fish."

The boys wound up 111 miles away from where they launched. The fishermen on the "Renegade" radioed the Coast Guard, which scrambled a 26-foot vessel from the Oak Island Coast Guard Station in North Carolina.

The boys were moved to the Coast Guard vessel. They received medical attention on shore and were then taken to the hospital.

They had no fresh water, no food and, without their fishing gear, no way to catch any. Against their better judgment, they drank saltwater. They couldn't help it, the days were unbearable.

They would slip into the water to cool off, but sharks chased them back aboard the boat.

At night, it was freezing. The shared a wetsuit to stay warm.

Sunburned, dehydrated, exhausted and bruised, the teens were in relatively good shape considering the odyssey, Coast Guard officials said.

"We were praying for a miracle and we got one," Charleston Coast Guard Cmdr. June Ryan said. "Everybody on the East Coast has been looking for these boys."

The Coast Guard called Tony Driscoll's cell phone at the Sullivan's Island beach house where the families have been staying throughout the search.

He said he didn't recognize the North Carolina number on his caller ID, but there was no doubt about the voice on the other end. It was his missing son, Troy.

Family friend Kay Withrock was at the beach house when the call came.

"It's Troy," someone shouted. Everyone went hysterical.

"He started screaming 'It's my boy, it's my boy. He's been found, he's been found,' " Withrock said. "Then the whole house started screaming and crying."

After that call, Josh Long called his father, who was also at the beach house. Some people ran to neighbors' houses to share the good news.

The teens' parents and other family immediately headed to North Carolina for the reunion.

The Coast Guard had suspended its search for the teens Tuesday after 48 hours but continued to do flyovers.

The state Department of Natural Resources and a spate of other law enforcement agencies continued to comb a search area that grew to include the entire coast of South Carolina. But the boat traveled farther and faster than many had expected.

Ryan said she was shocked the boys made it so far north. "Had we thought they were any place other than our search grid, we would have been there."

Long's uncle, Richard Goerling, flew in from Oregon earlier this week to coordinate search efforts between the family and rescue officials. Goerling is a member of the Coast Guard Reserve and a police officer back home.

Based on his professional background, he figured the boys could not have survived. "I lost hope. Their odds were zero," he said.

But the families' unshakable spirit kept him going. "They refused to give up. I latched onto their hopes."

Withrock said she never lost hope. Faith pulled the families through. "You always look for the light." she said. "It shows you that there is always hope, and if you never give up, you will always find the victory."

Withrock called to share the good news with local businesses that had donated food, drinks and other items to the family.

One of the calls was to the Olive Garden Restaurant on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston, where sales manager Mark Pierce announced the news to diners. Jubilation swept through the restaurant. One woman burst into tears because her son is a friend of one of the boys.

"What awesome, awesome news," Pierce said. "I'm still feeling so good."

While the hardest part is over, this story will have more chapters. The Coast Guard will review its search operation to determine how the boys and their boat stumped the computer models and mountains of weather and nautical data, Ryan said.

People will be clamoring to ask the boys how they did it. "What we have is an absolutely miraculous story of survival that's going to be studied for years to come," Richard Goerling said. "I think those two boys have a book to write."

While on the water, the boys saw ships often and stood up in the Sunfish, waving their paddles and yelling. No one saw them. They woke up once to find a containership bearing down on them. The water from the ship's bow's wake splashed into their faces, waking them.

"It was like some monster building in the water," Driscoll remembered. One night it rained, and they scrambled to catch the precious freshwater in their mouths, to slurp up whatever puddled on the boat.

As the days passed, their energy ebbed, and they feared they had drifted across the ocean. Their hands locked up like Santiago's in "The Old Man and the Sea." They endured all the torture Hemingway dreamed up for the Old Man, and then some.

Still, they drifted. By the end of the week, they figured they must be close to the African coast.

Instead they had drifted 111 miles north, off the North Carolina coast -- far outside the search grid. The computer models had been wrong, just as their families had argued. On Saturday afternoon, as their families were beginning to lose hope, an offshore fishing boat sailed close.

When they saw the fishing boat, they mustered the strength to stand, wave and yell one more time.

This time they were spotted.

The boys don't remember much about their rescue.

They were pulled aboard the boat, given some water and asked what they wanted to do with the Sunfish. "We told them we didn't want to see it again," Long said.

Late Saturday night, the family of the two boys crowded the otherwise quiet hospital as they awaited an MUSC ambulance that would take them home. The family attributed the rescue of the two boys to the power of prayer.

"I was in the Navy for four years, I was out there and I couldn't see them surviving," said Troy's father. "This was definitely God doing his work. He told me, "Dad, I didn't know what you'd do if I didn't come back.'"

He'll never have to know.

As the Coast Guard interviewed Driscoll, Long talked to his grandfather by phone in a nearby room. He was exhausted, his eyes barely open, as he clung to a cell phone.

"I thought about all of you while I was on that boat. I was hoping I would see you again," Long said. "I want the whole family to go out to eat."

As he spoke, his family broke hospital rules to crowd into the room. As Long talked to his grandparents about family get-togethers, his mother rubbed his hair and hugged him.

"You're home now, it's not a dream," Connie Long told her son.

I recieved a phone call yesterday from Kai's aunt. She was in tears telling me that the boys had been found in North Carolina by a fisherman. I held my breath, not certain if I should cry or rejoice...and she continued, "...They're alive!"

Against all odds, the boys have been brought home safely. God certainly works in wonderous ways.