Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Picture Me At Disney

I never get to be in photos because I am always the one holding the camera.  That's not fair.  Every now and then someone offers to take a photo for me.  I present these six photos of proof that the lens will not break when pointed at me.

Want to see more?  I've posted 74 photos from Christmas week in Florida to the Saipan Blog Facebook Page.

Best Christmas Present Ever

I have complained for years, maybe even decades, that I am underrepresented in photos hanging in my parents' house.  This year I decided to tackle this problem head on and give everyone photos of me.

Everyone agreed it was the best present they ever received.  Even the dog liked it.

Kevin and Catie gave it two thumbs up.  If you would like to be as cool and popular as them, you can download the photo from Facebook and print it yourself.

Monday, December 30, 2013

That's One Happy Eden

These photos do not require commentary.  My mother got Edz a peridot ring for Christmas, and I think she liked it.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

We're a Family Full of Tweeters

A couple of weeks ago I was reading the news about the shark cull in Western Australia and started tweeting out a bunch of things that are more likely to happen that be killed by a shark including this gem:
I came in just shy of 300 retweets with about 130 favorites. It was even retweeted by Kevin Bacon.

To celebrate Boxing Day, my wife, my sister, my niece, and I went to the Mall at Millenia where the girls ran into Instagram celeb Princess Lauren. This was apparently a big deal (and because I am blogging about it, I am apparently a giant husband/brother/uncle nerd). The hits are still coming in, but Catie's tweet got many more favorites than retweets, the inverse of my popular tweet (Princess Lauren is more popular than Kevin Bacon, after all). I thought the difference in the ratios of likes to favorites was strange, and if I had more free time to worry about things other than sharks I might actually do some research, but I have a hypothesis. Old people use Facebook, young people use Instagram, and they both use Twitter to syndicate their thoughts. Facebook has like, share, and comment functions, whereas Instagram only has like and comment. I hypothesize that the two groups of Twitter users are modeling their behavior after their respective use of Facebook and Instagram. The old people share and like, while the young people mostly like.

I asked my 14 year old sister what she thought about this and she said sharing and retweeting was, "Look, this is my life. I agree with this," whereas liking denotes, "This is cool." You heard it here.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Saipan Blogger not running for office in 2014

I've decided not to run for mayor, delegate, senate, governor, or representative next year.

Politics is an interesting sport on Saipan.  The ultimate sign of success is to be elected governor, and everything below that is seen as a stepping stone to get there.  People even suggest that the delegate, who is paid three times what the governor makes and has the power to declare war on other countries (he can introduce the resolution, he just can't vote on it), should one day run for governor.

I think this is because there aren't many locals who participate in the private sector and the governor has always been the largest employer of voters.  The local businessmen who have done well over the years mostly employ foreign contract workers, and they don't vote.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The World Flies By

Saipan and Tinian
Whenever I fly from Saipan to Japan, I try to sit on the right side of the plane in the hopes that I'll see the Northern Islands.  The islands come up quick after takeoff.  Uracus is only about 300 miles from Saipan and the plane is hurtling through the sky at about 500 miles per hour.

Last Monday I flew from Guam to Narita, and although it was too cloudy to see any of the Northern Islands, I saw Rota, Tinian, and Saipan.  From 30,000 feet up and several miles out, Saipan doesn't even look inhabited.  It is humbling to see the center of your universe in such a way.

I had just come from a fisheries meeting in Australia where the official CNMI position was in line with that of the Hawaiian longline fleet, in opposition to the position of the Micronesia countries trying to set sustainable catches. The fisheries meeting ran as all the governors and presidents of the Micronesia region met in Saipan to discuss the immigration impacts of the US Compact of Free Association (and sharks!), which would be lessened if the Micronesian islands had more control over their fisheries and economic self-sufficiency, which the CNMI was opposing.

The whole situation was very disappointing.  I'd like to see the CNMI and Guam, which do not export tuna, supporting Palau, FSM, and the Marshall Islands, which depend on tuna to keep the lights on.  As I flew over Saipan, I wondered how many people living there were even aware this was going on, and if this particular dynamic was discussed between the island leaders?

I'd like my island to do better, but the wheels that have brought us to this particular place have been spinning for decades.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Layover in Narita

Monday was one of those days that goes on forever.  I started the day in Cairns, hopped on a plane to Guam, and then hopped on another to Japan.  During my seven hour layover I left the airport, as I have been known to do, and took the train to Naritasan Temple.  I was hoping for snow, but was not disappointed to find the last wisps of fall.

After the temple I walked to the AEON shopping mall and ate my favorite dan dan sesame seed noodles.  Then it was back to the airport for a quick shower, some more shopping, and a 9 hour flight to San Francisco.  Then I was bumped from my last flight (with no compensation, I might add!) and downgraded from economy plus to a non-reclining middle seat in the last row.  Due to the time change, this all occurred on Monday.

Thus ended another adventure in global travel.  This trip was the last of the year.  I traveled 160,000 miles in 2013, a new personal record.  I hope to never have to repeat it.  I've posted more photos of Japan on Facebook.