Limit Two Per Customer

I have no memory of the roughly eleven hours between 8 pm yesterday and 7 am today.

Yesterday I was stone cold sober for much of the day. And well rested; I enjoyed a brief afternoon nap in the recliner while reading a novel by Cormac McCarthy. It wasn’t the book that put me to sleep. I woke up showered dressed and drove to pick up the Happy Wife from work. We had earlier agreed to go to a local restaurant to watch an oyster shucking contest. We sat at a small table on backless bar stools because all the stools around the bar were taken. The shucking was well underway by the time we arrived, about six.

Unimpressed with the wine list — the best red was possibly better than Yellow Tail Merlot, a wine I wouldn’t even cook with — I asked our server to suggest a mixed drink. She pointed to the The Alaska Tea. Lots of people like this one she said. The ingredient list was long and followed by a rule: Limit two per customer per night. I laughed. We ordered two, one each for me and the Happy Wife. Boy they were good. Not cloyingly sweet. Neither the Happy Wife nor I like cloyingly sweet.

Happy Wife went to select a half dozen oysters from the ice-filled trough near the back of the bar and I ordered an appetizer of Gulf shrimp. We ate and talked about the day as we worked our way to the bottom of our Alaska Teas. I mentioned to you they were good. She walked over to the shucker contest to get a closer look at the implement they’d been given to open the oyster shells. She thought she might like to enter the contest later in the week. Meanwhile, I checked my phone and felt the Tea go to work. Without saying a word an ill-mannered buffoon reached over our table and helped himself to a napkin from the pile our server had left us, used it to wipe some goo from his face, then urged on by his equally buffoonish table mates returned the napkin to the pile on our table. I indicated my disgust by pushing the pile in their general direction onto the floor and shot them all a look that encoded what an asshole. Happy wife picked up on the tension when she returned to our table and shot them all a glare or two of her own.

What the hell, we were having fun anyway. I ordered another Tea and Happy Wife opted for a Pinot Gris. Halfway through my second Tea I recall saying what’s in these things? I never did finish it. Happy Wife paid and we left. We picked our way through considerable snow and ice in the parking lot, Happy Wife in heels and me in slippery-soled loafers. On the drive home we talked about the shuckers and the possibility of entering the contest later in the week and other stuff I don’t specifically recall but I do recall there was other stuff. I’m certain of that.

At home Happy Wife made the dogs their dinners. I remember that. And I remember standing with my face inches from the TV wanting to jump into the screen and throttle Bill Maher who was being interviewed by Pierce Morgan. The comedian was opining about something outside his scope of practice. And I thought (I remember thinking this) I know I’m not supposed to take anything you say seriously because you’re a comedian and like your fellow TV comedian Jon Stewart said guys like you and him shouldn’t be taken seriously because Hey, we’re really just comedians after all.

And then that’s it. Don’t remember eating the Chile Verde atop the potato flatbread topped with a fried egg that Happy Wife prepared for me. Don’t remember the dessert strawberries she hand fed me on the couch. Don’t remember watching more TV. Don’t remember what time I went to bed – don’t even remember going to bed. Next thing I do remember was waking up in bed this morning next to the Happy Wife.

You were kind of tipsy last night she said.

Vignette From Flight 303

The woman in 1D wore a revolver pendant hung from a heavy metal necklace. Looked to me to be a snub nose Remington, maybe a .38. She had leathery skin and a severe philtrum with several deep creases. When she extended her arms to lift her bag her drab shirt rose to reveal an anomalous tube of fat (she wasn’t a heavy woman) that slumped over her belt. She appeared to me to be wound tight. Seated next to her was a spittin image of Keith Richards. He had the deep socket eyes, the high cheeks and the gaunt face but lacked the crisscross creases owing to years of self directed tyranny. He was working on it though. The entire flight he decanted one tall glass of champagne after another into a half-filled glass of orange juice. Billie the fastidious flight attendant kept it half-filled. Revolver woman became frantic by the sudden command from Billie that all electronic devices be turned off immediately. An alert man seated in 1A leaned over and calmly demonstrated for her how to turn off her iPhone.

Later in the flight I awoke from a nap and saw Billie bearing down on me putting on a pair of stretch plastic gloves. Her eyes were aglow and fixed on me. Her index finger like a probe. “You may feel an uncomfortable pressure.” In fact, I wasn’t really awake.

Just prior to door closure and cross check there was heightened concern over inadequate room for passengers’ baggage. A commotion broke out between the boarding agent and Billie. My money was on Billie. It disturbed the overall quietude in first class. My row mate offered up a gesture of detente. Fortunate for him Billie didn’t see it.

Touchdown Home – Takeoff San Fran

Home now.

During the flight back I had snapped a picture of Happy Wife ready to take her first bite of an appetizer on a stick. Together the pieces formed the shape of a certain appendage. When the Happy Wife saw it she said, “Don’t you dare post that!” Damn, I had it all ready to go too. The title of the post was: “Suggest A Caption”. Sorry, you’ll have to let your imagination wander.

Anchorage was clobbered by another snowfall while we were away. This may be the most snow I’ve seen in any of the twenty years I’ve lived here. The house sitter experienced no septic tank woes or, thankfully, any other malfunction the entire three weeks, except the breaker the guest bedrooms and bathroom is on tripped once. It’s been happening sporadically the past few months and it is not reproducible. I wonder if the problem started when I screwed the J-hooks into the ceiling in the garage, if maybe I nipped a wire casing. My stud finder has an electrical wiring detector, but that damn thing beeps no matter where I scan so I’ve never paid much attention to it. Hmm.

No sooner am I off a plane than I have to get back on one. To San Francisco tomorrow, where I’m talking at the Molecular Medicine Tri-Con conference in the Bioinformatics & Cancerinformatics track on Wednesday.

One More Day Then Home

All is well now. The grand Poobah of the Internet has blessed the Alter Ego free of badware. Bless you back Oh Great One.

At the beach now.

In front of me there’s a Gecko doing push ups on the trunk of a palm tree (did you know many species are bushes?). Supposedly to create a draft beneath itself to cool off. Why the effort — there’s a perfectly cool ocean not twenty feet away. Skitter down the tree, find yourself an inch or two of still water in the tide pool and chill out.

It worked for us after an hour in the sun. Not in the tide pool but just a short walk beyond it, in a bay that Happy Wife discovered swimming with green turtles. She said the bay was a “cleaning station”, a place where the turtles come to have tiny fish pick accumulated nits and lice from their shells. I wasn’t in the water long when I spotted one. I gulped twenty seconds of air and flippered down to have a closer look. This turtle had wedged itself in a triangular formation of rocks, probably to prevent the push ‘n pull of the current — less strong down there but still a factor — from sloshing it about. Sure enough, working like a busy pit crew a small school of parasitic fish were sucking bits of something from its shell. I had hovered long enough to be noticed by the turtle, who shot me a furtive look as if to say, “Buzz off, willya.” I was out of air so I complied.

When Happy wife got out of the water she saw she had lost her ankle bracelet. See V-day photo below. Like so much other treasure in the ocean, lost forever.

Back on the beach now and will you look at this, two whales close offshore! Moving left to right. More in the far distance, off Molokai’s north shore; even from here I can see the splash from their breech. Must be ten miles or more. The two that are close, right out in front of us now, I see their (hump) backs break the surface then disappear, then re-appear further along. Happy Wife says, “Watch, if we’re lucky we’ll see ’em breech”. I look but then lose patience. Plenty of people around me are looking though, scanning the vast blue plane of water with binoculars.

V-day @ Merriman’s with Happy Wife:



There may be no better place to observe human futility than at a beach. It sets you to wondering if the biological ancestors of human beings actually emerged from the water. An episode in a grander just-so story we are supposed to feel shame to disbelieve. From behind the anonymity of sunglasses we watched with great amusement so-called “snorkelers” don their gear to prepare to go snorkeling. It’s really very easy. First, commit your entire self into the water. Get beyond the surf before you begin to put on your fins. Then, as you bob along effortlessly on the surface of the water put on your mask, adjust and straighten your snorkel, secure the straps around your head and you’re ready to go.

Do not put the mask on upside down as you walk toward the water. Do not balance on one leg in a pounding surf struggling to get one fin on, and then the other. Do not be timid once everything is finally on and walk backwards into the water and fall on your ass and roll two or three times in the pounding surf filling your trunks with sand.

Later, as we lounged, Dickensian pigeons roamed the beach begging for scraps. They exhibited no fear of humans, and were even willing to perch on an outstretched arm. Even without the promise of a nibble of food.

<Ahem> You do see the pigeon, right?

Moving on to things more serious, as the title of this posts indicates, there is a transition nigh. The name of this blog will remain Rod’s Alter Ego, as for years Rufus has channeled my thoughts, however, from this time forward the Alter Ego will no longer be Rufus, although I’m certain he’ll drop by now and then, but another voice inside me waiting to get out. I will use the blog to write about things I feel like writing about.

That is when I’m not writing my book. That’s as much as I want to say about that right now. I have things to say and the novel I am convinced is the venue in which to say them. I don’t when it will be finished or even if I’m capable of such a thing, but the time has come to try, to get the “bones down” as they say.

That said, posts authored by me will show as “Rod”, who you will understand is the “Alter Rod”. Others will post under other names, although I expect these will be infrequent.


At night we park the rental car beneath trees evidently preferred by birds because in the morning the car is covered with pooh. It makes our white car easy to find among all the other white rental cars. Wash it? I don’t think so. Who washes a rental car?

Went for another bike today — Napili to Kihei (blue line B –> A). I took advantage of a sturdy north wind that turned against me when I rounded the southern point. The wind was at my back again once I turned southeast towards Kihei.

Saw a cruise ship offshore, fortunately upright. Tons of whales too. They give birth here and swim to Alaska to feed later in the year. Amazing.

High point of the ride, near the southern terminus of the “Lima Bean”. The island of Lanai looms in the distance.

The happy wife and I rendezvoused in Kihei where we enjoyed lunch at Stella Blues Cafe. Perfect timing to have a flat front tire. Into the car the bike went.

Afterwards, the beach.


Finally, Mai Tais at happy hour in Kaanapali; the Napili Market for shrimp and steak (& a Redbox movie); home to grill dinner & watch the movie; a glass of wine or three. Blog. Bedtime.

Tomorrow, who knows. Whatever moves us. We parked the car in the same place. Should be no problem finding it.

Things Seen Today

White Wigwam socks on doughy-white legs inside thick black shoes with Velcro closures. Lots of these on Front Street in Lahina, where I cycled for espresso this morning. We’re staying in the Napili area.

Whales galore spouting off, flipping their flukes and even performing a full breech now and then.

Sea Turtles. Lots of Sea Turtles.

A snail. Discovered in the grass not more than two feet off our back porch.

A Happy Wife.


Welcome back to those of you who may have been scared away by Google’s warning that the Alter Ego was an “Attack Site”. This is like flagging Mother Theresa as a terrorist.

I removed various malware, and submitted a formal request to Google for a new review of the site, in order to have it removed from the “no surf” list.


Meanwhile, we waited in the Anchorage airport for our plane to Maui. The latter being ninety degrees warmer than the former.

Later, free decadence in first class at thirty six thousand feet above the Pacific. “Would you like another Mai Tai Mr. Nibbe?” Yes, plz. Bring one every fifteen minutes until I doze off, then bring one every thirty minutes.

Fatty’s Lament

I want to lose 185 pounds and get back to my original weight. Fat chance. Ha!

When you’re young it’s all about growing up, getting bigger, clean your plate, etc. Somewhere around your thirties the great reversal arrives. Someone notes your Milwaukee tumor – “Dude, you’re getting a paunch.” You resolve to slim down, exercise more, eat less and less often. Beaches and skinny jeans terrify you.

Here in Alaska in winter we battle another urge, the ceaseless voice inside imploring you to eat! eat! eat! Hard times are coming. Time to store fat. Yaddy ya. You feel helpless to resist. A bag of Lays and a pint of French Onion dip disappears in under an hour. Before you realize it you can barely bend over your tumor to tie your shoes.

And it has been cold. And snowy beyond usual. Look.

Ugh. Time for another bag of Lays. Krinkle cut.