Thursday, February 26, 2009


That's right, I've completed my third photo album of the island. I'm now up to one for every entire month that I've been here!

And, a bit more fairly, around 1.5 for every month since I've been here where I had Internet access.

Also, for those of you that already saw it on Facebook, I've now filled in the captions of the last twenty or so pictures. There are explanations for almost every one of those towers on the mountain.

Joey, if you get the chance, check over the last fifteen or so of those pictures and let me know if I have it right.

The story about riding the buses to come...sooner or later. Hopefully before I forget most of it.

Also, did I mention that you can watch and rate Barbara's video? Because you can.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


UPDATE: The links to the video now work. But if something goes wrong again, just go to and then click "all applicants," and then click the drop-down menu and select "American Samoa." Browse through all one of the videos and select Barbara's

There seems to be some kind of tradition going on with this blog: Every time that I say exactly what I'm going to be blogging about next time, I end up writing about something else. So I'll write about riding around on the buses...soon.

So anyhow, I helped my friend Barbara make this awesome video for her application to The Best Job In the World, the job of being the caretaker of a tiny island on the Great Barrier Reef where she would get paid $100,000 to live in a giant house on the Reef and blog about diving, hiking, snorkeling, and generally adventuring* on the island for six months.

So anyway, please go here and watch the video. Then rate it five stars. Then share it with all of your friends, relatives, and casual acquaintances and tell them to do the same. Then rate it five stars again on your school or work computer. Then go to your local library, log on to every computer, then rate the video five stars each time. Then drive to the next town, sign up for another library card, and do the same thing again.

Did I mention that if she wins, a lot of people will see that video that I helped make? And that I will get to be one of her guests on the island? Oh. They will. And I will.

Even if she doesn't win, Barbara, who is originally from Italy, will continue adventuring** like she has been doing for the last ten years. Her contract as a Marine Biologist here has ended, and she will be leaving us soon. And by soon, I mean that while typing this, I looked out the window and saw the plane that will take her off of the island come in for a landing. While leaving the going-away party for her and someone that I didn't really know last night, she spoke some great words of wisdom: "You only leave once!" Later on, I realied that sometimes her accent is a little heavy sometimes, and that she actually said "You only live once." That makes a lot more sense.

Next, she plans on visiting friends in San Francisco, then mountain climbing in Oregon while visiting other friends there, then possibly heading up to Alaska to meet more friends during the Idiot A-Rod Iditarod. Presumably not as a contestant. You can follow her further adventures on her blog, which is on the list of blogs to the right. I think that she's really shown us the value of making lots of friends along the road of life. That's something we should all be doing for a very good reason:

To get more people to watch and rate the video!

*It's a real word! No, really!
**Even Firefox's spellchecker says that it's a real word!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lake Mormon

So a week ago it was raining hard. Really hard. Imagine the hardest rain you've ever been in. Now throw that image out of your head completely because it's nothing like the intensity that goes on here in tropical rainforest areas. While leaving church and then going to lunch, I took some pictures:

This was actually taking the long way around, because there was an even bigger puddle in the way of my normal route. But on the way back, I decided that I was being silly, and that I could certainly wake* it through the big puddle in front of the Mormon church, known as the Great Salt Lake and Lake Mormon.

"See, there was no need to drive all the way around town just to avoid this puddle!"

*Car dies*


Some Samoans who saw me jump out and wade through water that was just beneath the floorboards of my car were nice enough to help me push it out of the water. Refer to the picture at the top of the post, taken three hours later. One of them told me to come back in a few hours and try to start it again, so I went home and learned about how my engine may have been destroyed through the magic of hydro-locking. A few hours later, it didn't start. I almost called a tow truck that night, but at the advice of my friend Barbara, who's blog can now be found to the right, decided to wait until the next morning so I can have this Indian she knows come and look at it for much cheaper.

I come outside the next morning to leave the key for the mechanic. Joey is with me, ready to give me a ride to work. Just for the hell of it, I start up my engine and...IT WORKS! I drive it all the way to work without any problem but a clacking noise from the engine and a chugging at very low speeds. I drive it for the entire next few days without any more problems, save for when I drive it up a steep hill and can here a boiling sound coming from the engine after I stop the car.

Yeah, I'm getting it looked at.

I'm expecting to get it back in the middle of next week.

Next time: My wacky adventures of riding the agia buses around this weekend.

*This was an actual typo that I made, but I think it was more of a Freudian slip.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


So, after reading the previous entry, Joey filled me in with the following detail about the AFN feed:

The feed of the Super Bowl came from AFN, which carries no commercials. AFN instead airs military announcements in place of commercials. These are of a sensitive military natures and are not allowed on civilian airwaves. Therefore, KVZK played alternate programming during the AFM program breaks.

Also, there's another album of pictures up on Facebook for those of you who haven't seen it yet. And for those of you who went through the whole thing before I had a chance to write all the captions, it now has all of the proper captions.

And for those of you who have seen it since I finished writing the captions almost a week ago, I've started working on the next one, so that'll be up eventually.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Super Bowl, Samoan Style

I just watched the Super Bowl for the first time since arriving here. It was...ah...different.

But first, the runup to the Big Game. American Samoans LOVE American football, so it's a big deal here. Due to their size and athletic ability, there are quite a few Samoans in the NFL. And of course, the locals favor any team with a Samoan player. A lot of Samoans claimed to be "HUGE Steelers fans," but have never even heard of the world-famous Terrible Towel. The real truth is that they're fans of California-born safety Troy Polamalu, a Samoan.

I was also interested to learn that one of the players for the Carolina Panthers is a Tongan. Which really gave everyone here a reaction of "Oh." Turns out the Samoans and Tongans don't get along very well. Possibly due to centuries of war between them.

I ended up watching it in Taps Sports Bar, because our radio station had a live braodcast there, and I figured I might as well watch it with the people I know best (and where they have $2 Heinekens). The live broadcast ended about 10 minutes before the game started, and half of the people with the station left at that. But the rest of them stayed, and I was pretty nicely settled in (had just started a beer) so I stayed. I had a couple of nachos and some "Chile fries," according to the menu. I had no idea that Taps had such international cuisine.

It's incredibly weird to see a Super Bowl in the middle of the day. For almost the entire first half, it felt like just an ordinary football game on a Sunday afternoon. Plus, all the excellent Super Bowl commercials are gone.

See, since my station is set to become the NBC affiliate and already kinda/sorta is, we had the rights to the game. But Joey wanted our small sales staff to focus on getting long-term sponsors for the station, rather than just a few short-term sponsors for the game. Plus, it would be a lot of work to get ready for, and we're still only available on cable in a place where only about 5,000 homes have it. And it would suck to have to cram your giant Samoan agia (extended family) into the house of the one guy you know that has cable (as rival station/fake Fox affiliate Malama forced them to do last year). So we gave the game to government-owned station KVZK.

All live sports get here via the Armed Forces Network satellite feed. But for whatever reason, the AFN doesn't want the Samoan populace watching their commercials (I guess the website for info on how to get the most out of your GI Bill money is a closely guarded military secret), so they have to be covered up with something. Presumably because we gave them the game, we didn't let them air any commercials. So KVZK instead used footage of some kind of candlelight vigil for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. And something else that appeared to be a funeral for a Samoan soldier killed in action. They also cut out almost all of the speakers and hymns from both of these things, so the first five commercial breaks were literally just people walking up and putting candles on an altar.


It's like they decided to air the most depressing thing that I couldn't possibly make fun of.

Anyhow, watching the game went really well. Except that the captions on the TV were set with all of our Spanish-speaking Samoan friends in mind.

I tried to help them fix this during the "commercial" break, but the controls for that were only on the remote, which had been lost. Turns out it's one of those TVs where they used up all the buttons on the set for things that 99% of people are afraid to touch, lest they find themselves watching everything in black and white with a permanently squished horizontal picture and all of the captions in Tongan.