Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Achieving My Goals

Ten years ago today I wrote a blog about 10 goals that I hoped to achieve in moving to Japan.  Let's take a look and see how I did.

1. Learn Japanese
Fail. I don't speak Japanese.

2. Make enough money to pay my bills and save a little
Success!  I have a 401(k) and an IRA and my bills are all paid on time.  I even have a mortgage!

3. Make some Japanese friends
Success!  When I made this goal I thought I would spend three years in Japan and then move back to the mainland.  I had no idea I'd end up going back to Saipan.  I still keep in touch with some friends from Japan via Facebook and I now have friends and colleagues spanning the globe thanks to my profession.

4. Learn some Japanese recipes
Mild success.  I only stayed in Japan for six months; I could have learned more if I stayed longer.  But in my travels since I've picked up lots of things, including a Filipino wife who teaches me all about the food from her country.

5. Do something resume worthy
Success!  I didn't do anything of note in Japan, but in Saipan I organized the two largest island cleanups the island has ever seen and was the lead advocate for the creation of the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.  Since moving to Washington, DC I helped pass a dozen or so domestic shark laws, among other sharky things.

6. Work on a political campaign
When I wrote this I think I meant work on a political campaign in Japan.  That didn't happen, but I ran for mayor of Saipan and lost.

7. Take some great pictures
Success!  Check out my Facebook page for proof.

8. Get my blog traffic up to over 100 hits a day
Success!  At least for a while I was receiving about 1000 hits a day.  I still average about 300 visits per day, which is decent considering how little I blog.  It's mostly people googling things related to Saipan.

9. Visit a few other countries
Success! Here's a list of countries and territories I've visited in the 10 years since setting this goal: Australia,  Bahamas, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cambodia, Chile, Curacao, Federated States of Micronesia (Pohnpei, Yap, and Chuuk), Fiji, Grenada, Guam, Japan,  Laos, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Saba, Samoa, South Korea, St. Maarten, Thailand, Trinidad, Turks & Caicos, and Vietnam.

10. Move on to something lucrative after my adventure in Japan ends
Fail. I make more money today than I did in 2005, but I work in conservation so I wouldn't call it lucrative.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Lost in the Maize

So Edz and I decided to head out to the country this afternoon.  Our destination? The Corn Maze in The Plains.

In addition to the corn maze there are some farm animals, a tractor ride, and lots of pumpkins.  These piglets are where baby back ribs come from.

It's $10 each to get in.  We had a couple of cheeseburgers, checked out the gift shop, and then went to the maze entrance.

The theme this year was sharks!  You couldn't tell from the ground, but from the air the maze was a giant shark.  And there was shark trivia all along the way.

I think we were a little late in the season; most of the corn looked pretty dead.  But I had no idea corn grew so tall!  It was over 10 feet.  I thought it only grew to about half that height.

There were six stations along the way that gave hints on how to navigate the maze.  You didn't really need the hints because it wasn't really that complicated.

You could also make rubbings of the map, which wasn't helpful at all because you had no idea of knowing where in the maze you were.  Well, except most of the corn was dead and you could see right through it and guess the right way.

But yeah, it was a lot of fun.  Except for the mud.

Edz didn't like the mud.

It took us about 30 minutes to navigate our way through.

And at the very end there was this raised bridge where it was fun to watch the people below.

And at the end I got to shoot pumpkins with a giant sling shot.  All in all, a fun afternoon.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Make The Ocean Great Again

One of my friends sent me a story this afternoon about how Donald Trump has spent $678,000 on hats and t-shirts on his campaign to become our next president. The story inspired me. Make America Great Again? How about Make The Ocean Great Again? Yes, you can now be the envy of all your conservation friends for the low, low price of $14.99.

I made a better version using Zazzle.com. This one is only $24.95, and you have the option of picking the color and style of the hat.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Almost Famous in Fiji

Of Shark and Man Deleted Scenes - Angelo Villagomez Interview from Scarlet View Media on Vimeo.

About 4 years ago I gave an interview to David Diley for his film Of Shark and Man. I didn't make the final cut of the film -- but I made the website's deleted scene section. Here's what David had to say about it:
Excerpts from an interview in Fiji with professional Shark Conservationist and Marine Sanctuary expert, Angelo Villagomez. The footage and sound is raw from the camera and audio recorder, no grading or post processing on either.

This interview focused upon the issue facing sharks in and around Fiji and the South Pacific. Angelo discusses shark finning, bycatch and the threats to marine eco-systems which arise from overfishing and also the importance to local communities, of protecting these environments.

This interview didn't make it into the final cut mainly because I wanted to focus more on the positive aspects of the shark/human relationship in Fiji and I felt its inclusion would have taken the film down a different path, away from the core themes.
And I'll just add that I no longer work in shark conservation. These days I'm working with grassroots community groups to create marine protected areas.

And I'll also add that this was filmed about a month before I got married. Married life has apparently been hard. I look so young in this video!