Sunday, July 29, 2007

Some Random Pics of Rota Island

We are still sans-apartment, but Suz's boss and her husband graciously and furthermore, heroically saved us from homelessness (or, at least, draining our wallets at the hotel) and put us up in their guest room until we find a place.

One thing to note about them outside of how omnipotently hospitable they have been to us is that their house is the nicest house we have seen on the island. I'll ask if I can take some pics of it and post them. Why it hasn't been featured in a house magazine or on HGTV is beyond me...

Anyway, Suz is over at school and I have to go and paint some tables for the school. We'll be back later. In the meantime, please enjoy these random shots of the Southern Coast of Rota Island except for the first one, which is the swimming hole up on the north coast. More to come.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Here's a Quick Update

Sorry we have been out of touch for the past few days. It has been a really stressful time.

We are having some trouble finding a place to live because all of the landlords who own the places we are interested in are either in Saipan or are in places unknown, and therefore, we are stuck in a small hotel with no internet service until we can figure it all out.

Right now, we're in Suz's classroom, where she is hanging pictures and I'm trying to figure out why my email is all screwed up. There is internet access here, but since it is in her room, there is a block on a lot of sites like Photobucket, so it's hard to upload any pics (I hate using blogger to upload pics.)

Here's one of Harry and Angelo up in Saipan. I'll upload a lot more when we get settled. I'll tell you this about Rota: It is a beautiful island; perhaps the most beautiful place I have ever been. However, despite its beauty and the almost unsetteling friendlyness of its people, we are left feeling a little lonely, especially because of our internet situation and lack of a working phone. Hopefully this is just a matter of adjusting, but just in case, we ask that you do keep in touch and remain a little more patient than usual until we get our housing and phone sorted out.

We'll catch you tomorrow. Right now, we have to go and see a lady about an apartment.


Andrew & Suz

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Checking in from Tokyo Narita Airport

Real quick:

We made it to Tokyo @ 5:00pm yesterday afternoon. As anticipated, the hotel for our layover got all messed up and we had to find our own,

We'll be in Saipan @ 3PM Saipan time if anyone wants to meet two unimpressive and slightly obtuse Mainlanders.

Look for the married couple who look sick of each other.

Gotta run and board the plane.


Andrew & Suz

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Busy Busy

I'll check in later on this evening.

It's crunch time and Suz and I are scurrying about, trying to get everything out of the house.

If you live near Quakertown, PA, there's a great place to donate your furniture, cookware, and (small) appliances. They are a Mennonite organization, but they do not attach testimony to their charitable services, so you that shouldn't be a concern if you were worried about it. From our experience with them, they have an uncanny dedacation to helping the poor and incapacitated, so anything you were thinking of trashing would be better served over there.

It's called Caring and Sharing and it's in Souderton, Pa. on 113 just off County Line Road.

We're making another dropoff today, so I'll update this with more info later on.

Lastly, I'm it, it seems. I'll do that later tonight. After which, I shall tag Suz.



Saturday, July 14, 2007

Some Juicy Meta

So you guys over there know, I'm updating my blogroll as fast as I can. Please keep in mind that I intend to do some real designing when we get over there, thus, the site's kinda messy look will change.

Also, if I didn't get to your link yet, please forgive the delay. We're swamped.

Suz will be contributing soon, too. She's a lot busier outside of the house than I am, so she hasn't had a lot of time to place herself before the Nerd Machine™.

Also, we have pics, I just can't seem to find the camera right now to upload them.

Some emails I got indicate that there's not a single palm tree or 'tropical' image on here yet. This is because we have yet to arrive and enjoy some palm trees ourselves. Also, it helps (IMHO) indicate that we aren't actually residents of Rota until the 25th, when we begrudgingly lurch out of the airplane and look for the nearest bed.

We hope you are enjoying this poor excuse for content anyway!


Andrew & Suz

Speaking of poor excuses for content:


What Kind Of Music Is Hip in the CNMI?

I like a wide range of music, from issimo to Jazz and back around to industrial. Moreso, I like to play and hopefully, my guitar won't get squashed on a steamer to Rota.

One thing to note is that to my wife's (et. al.) chagrin, I have an uncommon affection for the Cocteau Twins. In all I've heard thus far, and believe me, I've heard a lot, they reach right in and put their fingers on my soul.

Howzabout you?

While you're thinking, enjoy (or loathe) this clip:




Friday, July 13, 2007

Bank Horror Stories

Where have I been lately?

Welp, Lemme' put it this way:

If you are a person moving out of country and want to keep your bank, let me save you some time:

Forget about it.

I just went through the most annoying 2 days of my technical life trying to set up a check scanner. From the moment I opened the box and read the (incomplete and lousy) directions, horror ensued. Couple that horror with waiting forever for some tech people to call me back and Tobe Hooper would be horrified.

First off, no one asked if I used Windows. I don't. I am a graphic designer, therefore I use a Mac. Further, I hate Windows, but I digress. It seems that with all of the swashes and globe graphics I've been looking at over the past 2 days, my check scanner absolutely will not work in Mac OS.

I thought to myself, "no worries, I'll just partition my Mac and install Windows (yuck.) Long story short, my XP wouldn't install because I don't have service pack such and such and Windows Update wouldn't install it properly. And so, I reluctantly reassured myself that I could spend the 200 bucks I didn't have to upgrade to Vista, so off I went to pick it up.

Get home, re-partition my drive, install Vista.

At last, the phone rang with a tech support person. After all that, he said in a crushingly mild tone that "your scanner won't work even if you have XP partitioned on your Mac." and worse (and to the contradiction of the system requirements on the scanner packaging,) "It wont work with Vista on either system."

Awesome, then!

So now I sit holding a $200 copy of that piece of you know what, Vista that I can't return and a rock shaped like a scanner, its "DEPOSIT NOW!" logo strewn across its face in Comic Sans Itallic (eew) mocks me in Pantone 181C.

Worst of all, I have absolutely no Idea how I'm going to handle my deposits when we get there. Right now, I have my father as a signer so that my temporary billing address can be at his house and he can make deposits; but that's a micky mouse way to run a business in the long term.

So much for me!

If anyone over there can lead me to the best bank that has a branch on Rota, I'd be grateful. In the mean time, don't ever buy a PC, of course; but, more importantly, don't upgrade your Windows if you use a check scanner. You'll be stuck with me in banking hell.



Wednesday, July 11, 2007

El Master Listo

Over at the Saipan Blogger's spot, there's an excellent list of CNMI bloggers, many of whom will likely be hazing us when we get over there.

Click here to chiga-check it out!

Thank you sir, may I have another.

Pics tomorrow, BTW.




Tuesday, July 10, 2007


We're back... Discuss.

Here's a topic to get you started:

Right now, it's 96° in SE Pennsylvania. Yesterday in Bennington VT, it was 94° (which is very hot for even Southern VT.)

Saipan and the CNMI have one of the most equable climates in the world. (Average mean temp= 83° F)

We're pretty busy, so we'll get back to you later.

In the mean time, how are we doing with this blog thus far?

PS: Somewhere across the Pacific, there's a guy named Angelo whose phone will be ringing soon. On the other end will be two folks who haven't forgotten to call, but just haven't had a lot of time lately.



Saturday, July 7, 2007

Trekking up to Vermont

We're taking our final trip to see my uncle in VT.

Thank god, they've accepted one of our cats (2 down, one to go.) That should be an interesting ride.

We'll be back Monday barring any internet cafe' along the way. In the mean time, ponder this:

Suz and her mom found an old globe she gave her mom way back when the USSR was still the USSR.

Closer inspection revealed that yes, Rota indeed, is a place on the globe!



More Beautify CNMI!

This is really one of the things I am most excited to participate in when we get to Rota. I think it's an inspiration for everyone, no matter where we're residing around the world.

Imagine if everyone on earth planted a tree, or just bent down and picked up that piece of trash.

Here's a vid of their one year anniversary.

Be sure to visit their blog and contribute if you can via their store or their donation link on the homepage.

You'll feel just that much better. I guarantee it.



Friday, July 6, 2007

Just 11 More Days

I plan on keeping my speedbag up for as long as possible before I take it down and pack it in my carry on.

I hope you guys in Rota like Boxing, because I intend to start training whoever is interested, especially with the Speedbag and double end bag.

It's a great workout and chicks dig it! And from my pespective as a married man whose wife digs me hitting it, a lady with speedbag skills is all that.


Three rules:
  • You have to wear the stupidist looking hat you can find (no brims) to hit the speedbag.

  • If you spend more than $3 dollars on a cheap pair of work gloves and cut the fingers out, laughter and snark shall ensue!

  • (Optional) you have to blast some hard music. Techno from the late 80's and the 90's works best.

  • ::::::

    A Word About Your Comments:

    Sorry about this, but I had accidentally turned moderation on. I turned it off just now, so the comments should be all set.

    If I lost a comment, please forgive me.. [we are] new to blogger and we'll likely make some dumb mistakes like this.

    But this one was my fault..

    Commense Smackdown.



    PS: I'm not new to blogging, just to Blogger, so please be patient if I screw something up. Patient, but snarky if you like!


    Beautify CNMI!

    (Bumped up from yesterday)

    We thought that we'd mention a site and program that is happening in the CNMI that we are highly impressed with and think the world (or the 80 people who on average visit us daily thus far) would be inspired by.

    It's called Beautify CNMI!

    Please visit their site. You can also support them by buying a product in their store!

    Here's a cool vid:

    We are going to ask that we be permitted include their link on our blogroll.. Just haven't gotten to it yet.



    Thursday, July 5, 2007

    Google Ads Goofing

    I'm seeing a lot of Guam, which is good, but no Rota Island and not enough Saipan. And so:

    Saipan is an island in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or "CNMI" for short. Saipan is north of the Island of Rota, which is the sothernmost island in the CNMI. Rota island has many fine features that help to contribute to the CNMI as a major tourist destination. For example, Rota Island, CNMI has two villiages, Songsong to the south and Sinapalo toward the north of Rota Island, CNMI. Here, you will find tons of friendly people and many hotels and restaurants, golf, fishing, diving, and history, including the rich culture of the Chamorro people.

    You'll benefit greatly from a visit to the many Saipan hotels and restaurants in every area including Garapan, Tanapag, San Antonio (Saipan.)

    Your next flight should be to vacationing in the Northern Mariana Islands, where you'll see all that Saipan, Tinian, and the Island of Rota have to offer!

    We'll get there. :)

    A question about Rota Island and Boating

    We are wondering if there is a specific reason that there is currently no ferry service linking Guam and Rota, or Rota and Saipan.

    I am told (and somewhere have a photo) that one can see Guam on a clear day from the summit of Wedding Cake Mountain, which makes the lack of a ferry route curious to us.

    Also, should luck intervene on our current financial situation, we thought we might buy a boat while living on the Island. Would it be possible to run the boat to Guam and pay to dock it at a public slip?

    These thoughts about getting a boat are kinda' pipe-dreamy, but we ask ourselves about why a seemingly easy link between the islands isn't available at this time.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.


    Andrew & Suz


    Got Shirts?

    We are waaay behind in opening our store.

    That said, my lurking around has led me to discover lots of nice stuff in other stores of Saipan/Guam Bloggers. And so, if any of you would like affiliation with our store, please drop us a line and we'll fill up our side bar with your shirts, stickers, etc.

    Please note that we won't market products that don't adhere to our labor policies, such as black or multi-colored Cafepress shirts. Otherwise, we'd love to help you out.


    Wednesday, July 4, 2007

    Happy 4th..

    We'll be out shopping for supplies to ship today... and later, some visiting.

    I hear there is an Apple Store in Saipan. Is this right? If so, shall we wait to buy our (first ever) laptop til we get there?

    We'll check back later.



    Tuesday, July 3, 2007

    Google Ads Goofing

    You may notice that Operation Rota uses "Operation Rota" a lot in the beginning. Also, you may notice that we will have some odd terminology such as "Rota Island," or "The Island of Rota" instead of simply "Rota." This is deliberate because Google and Google ads have not resolved (from our observation) certain parts of their algorythm that keep on topic and filter out similar topics with the same name or phrase.

    For example, were we to omit "Island" or "the Island Of" from "Rota," our ads would be saturated with another S-the letter P-a-n---ish resort area (which I added hyphens to so that google won't mix it up from this post.)

    More on our Google goofing to come, in the mean time:

    Operation Rota likes Saipan Bloggers and Micronesia, especially Travel and Politics of the CNMI, which is the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

    We wonder if David Bowie, or David Bowie for short has ever visited the CNMI, Saipan, or anywhere in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas. If David Bowie Did, We at Operation Rota wonder if he brought some books from Barnes & Noble.



    [In the interest of preserving objectivity and a positive tone, we have decided to redact this portion for now. After some discussion, my wife and I have decided that it is prudent to keep our ad filtering a trade secret until we actually arrive so that we don't cause any problems of perception about this blog's intent. We feel that this would be the fairest and most objective route to take to ensure that we don't inadvertantly lose potential contributers or benifactors of this blog and its purpose.]

    Please be patient about this, it's a lot of workie!



    Making Friends Already

    We have talked to several CNMI Bloggers and are in the process of adding their links to our Blogroll.

    Please take a look to your right and check out these new links. Also, The Saipan Blogger sent me an excellent artilce about the impact bloggers are having in Saipan. Please give it a read when you get a moment.

    "The network, started in December 2006 with the purpose of uniting the community around the goal of improving Saipan’s national identity, has scored some wins while acting as the de facto island town criers.

    But what’s most impressive, is that the We Love Saipan Network’s influence extends beyond Saipan’s shores. The bloggers, through their unique stories, perspectives, ideas, opinions and photos, are helping Saipan’s international image and satisfying a curious world’s interest in life on this island paradise."

    From The Saipan Tribune
    "Saipan bloggers creating change in NMI"
    Local News 7/3/07

    Today, I have several projects that need finishing because this week is probably going to be the last billing cycle before we depart. (Money Money!!) I'll try to come back around in a little while.


    Sunday, July 1, 2007

    The Grand Opening:
    What’s This Blog All About, Anyway?

    Right now, this blog is about our personal experiences as we dive into the unknown. You may notice that much of the content you’ll see in the posts will be written within a context of an intimacy one would share with a friend or family member. This is deliberate as my wife and I, as of July 2, 2007, will be sending a link to this blog out to our friends and family so that we can raise a little money for moving and offer a central point of communication while we are in Rota, CNMI.

    But, just hold on a second!

    Upon our arrival (on July 25, 2007,) this blog will undergo a dramatic, although gradual, shift toward the inclusion of content based on enlightening the world and specifically the Continental United States about the CNMI, its people, and hopefully a lengthy list of reasons why you should come and visit Saipan, Rota Island, Tinian, or all of the islands in the Northern Mariana Islands (Guam, even) and go through the process of helping local artists, crafstmen, and retailers share online growth with what we hope will be the growth of this blog. Further, we hope to offer a diverse and long list of profiles and links pertaining to artists, hotel owners, fishing and dive services, and the full gamut of entrepreneurial ventures that individual citizens and families of the CNMI are working on. Sans megacorporations, that is.

    Because Saipan and especially Rota Island have small populations, we feel that if we can get merely 100 more people to endure the long travel time from the Mainland (US) and visit the Northern Mariana Islands, the people of the CNMI will benefit. And by the way, from all accounts thus far, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and specifically Rota Island, is a tourist’s paradise.

    From our current perspective and based on the perpetual Where is that? I never heard of the CNMI? we get when we tell people where we are moving, it is clear that exposure is in high demand in the CNMI. After all, it is a United States Commonwealth and therefore is richly deserving of the same awareness that the typical American holds with Puerto Rico or the United States Virgin Islands. Otherwise, we feel strongly that this important island chain will remain under the thumb of what historically results from the dangers of mainstream ignorance: the tipping tree in the woods, so-to-speak.

    It should be noted that our perspectives might are very, very likely to change after we have arrived. We feel it is crucial in both our lifestyles and in this blog that we approach this adventure with deliberate objectivity.

    We are firmly opposed to the imperial or missionary ideology and feel no duty to pursue any quest based on some sort of ‘cultural superiority.’ After all, if you’ve paid attention to the last century or so, especially the past six years, you’ll know where that road leads.

    What we intend with our new lives and with this blog is to be a blessing to our new surroundings, which is best served by assimilating as guests rather than pursuing the blatant idiocy of dissimilating via some baseless notion of cultural, religious, or moral superiority. In fact, I’ll guarantee you that within hours of arriving in Rota, I’ll have met someone who is thrice the person that I am; thus, it will be I that will require the moral repair.

    A last critical point of note is that while my wife is working, I personally intend to generate some income from this blog. Because of the huge move from Pennsylvania, I will be losing a good portion of my income as a freelancer from local business. However, I intend to generate income based on my own store here and through Google ads, etc...; and not through links and ads from small businesses and retailers of the CNMI. Large corporations who wish to advertise here are another story; but whomever I find in the CNMI, Guam, and (possibly) Micronesia who wishes to be profiled and possibly linked here, upon review, of course, will be linked for free and hopefully profiled in a blog post. More on that later.

    And so, we invite you to venture with us into the unknown. We sincerely hope that you answer the questions and gain the knowledge about Rota and the CNMI that we will as we go along. Further, we hope that the people of the CNMI benefit greatly from our presence there. We pledge to approach this venture with objectivity and the utmost respect for the people who have graciously invited us into their Commonwealth. We shall make our best effort to make our presence positive and productive, doing so in the absence of historically foolish notions or intentions. Therefore, we pledge to dedicate this blog to the specific benefit of the people of the Island of Rota and the other populated islands of the CNMI, both economically and socially, hopefully contributing the growth of the former and growing ourselves from the latter.

    Please visit this blog off and on in your spare time. Granted, you may feel a little bored watching us pack, but better things are ahead. We promise you. Just hang in there until we arrive. That’ll be when the real excitement begins.

    Best wishes and thank you for visiting Operation Rota!


    Andrew & Suz