more hawaii pics

Kona Shoreline
Originally uploaded by actionjax.

I added some more of my Hawaii pictures. Click the link below to visit the collection of all the pictures I've put up from Hawaii.



just real quick here

I guess I sprained my ankle on Saturday, playing beach volleyball. I assume that's when I did it. It was sore all day Sunday, and then when I got home from San Diego, it was all swollen and stuff. It's pretty annoying, but hopefully it'll get better fairly quickly.

Pictures from Hawaii and Mexico to come sometime this week.


i saw a dolphin

Spinner Dolphin by the boat
Originally uploaded by actionjax.

Yesterday the snorkeling cruise was pretty nice. Standing in line to board the boat was quite possibly the hottest I've ever been in my life, moreso than Cornerstone 2003. Beads of sweat dropping to the ground kind of bad. Thankfully once we were on the boat it got a bit better, and once we were in the water it was even better than that.

We snorkeled Kealakekua Bay, which is some sort of underwater preserve. It was really gorgeous down there. I wish I'd brought an underwater camera - apparently my father-in-law did, so I'll have to get my hands on some of his pictures. But I saw a bunch of stuff down there. I also saw a black and yellow Moray Eel, swimming from one coral thingy to the next. Apparently they are nocturnal so I was lucky to see one. Lots of colorful stuff down there in the reef, I'm really glad I was able to go.

As the boat put up anchor to head back, a pod of spinner dolphins approached us. You could see their dorsal fins breaching the water ahead of us, and they kept getting closer and closer. Eventually they were swimming right along with the boat. It was pretty awesome - you can see the best picture above. And of course I uploaded a few more pictures, so feel free to peruse the flickr a bit more.

Today we are checking out of the Kona Reef hotel and into the Royal Kona Resort. So I probably won't be posting anymore until I'm home from San Diego. Janelle's family is leaving today, and Janelle and I will be staying one extra night. Hard to believe it's been a week since we left for Hawaii.


not so quick update

Turtle looking up
Originally uploaded by actionjax.

No update for the last couple days, so just a not so quick recap to let you know what I've been up to.

Also - I have a few more pictures uploaded - you can view all of my hawaii tagged pictures by clicking here.

Saturday we did indeed go to the King Kam hotel for a buffet. It was tasty...lot of hawaiian seafood stuff there that I wasn't a huge fan of - but there was enough other stuff to make me more than happy. I also took a couple runs at the desserts, which were oh-so-good. All of Janelle's sisters thought that the chocolate mousse was too chocolately...I didn't understand what they were saying. What is this "too chocolately?"

Parasailing didn't happen when I originally thought it would - we ended up parasailing on Sunday. You purchase the 800 foot line, and once you're up there they wave at you to see if you want to go up to 1200 feet. Janelle went before me, and she waved for the extra line, so of course I had to as well. Janelle's mom let us bring a waterproof camera so we could take pictures from up above, but I forgot to bring it up with me, which is quite disappointing. The view was awesome from up there, and I was surprisingly not scared for being way up high sitting in a harness. A couple times I freaked myself out by looking at the things holding me to the parachute and wondering what would happen if they broke...but for the most part I just enjoyed myself. I saw a (tourist) submarine that was underwater, which was pretty sweet.

Sunday afternoon we visited a Wendy's with the most spectacular view I've ever seen from a Wendy's. You'll see the pictures from that in my flickr soon.

Sunday night, Uncle Bobo cooked steak, shrimp, and other various delicacies. Being who I am, I basically just loaded up my plate with steak and shrimp. Both were fantastic...the steak came close to my Dad's tri-tip, but didn't quite reach the best of it. The shrimp was really good, having been fried in a mixture of italian dressing, garlic, butter, and a couple other things I've since forgotten.

Yesterday, we visited the gravesite of my father-in-law's parents, and also his grandmother. We also went shopping in Kona, and I sampled yet another shaved ice. If you think you've had shaved ice and weren't very impressed with it back on the mainland...you haven't had shaved ice. The stuff they have here is totally awesome. I wish we had it back in Fremont.

I have to stop now, because we're gonna go have breakfast at a place called the "Ocean View Inn," and then head to the City of Refuge. Apparently back in the day, when somebody would commit some sort of crime, they could run to this city and then, through some rituals, make themselves clear of the taboo they committed. What's interesting is that in the Bible there is a similar system set up - that is, there were certain cities that people could run to in order to be safe from those who would want to pay them back for a crime they committed. I wonder how many cultures had this concept of a "safe city."


snorkeling and eating

Those two things basically comprised my day today. Our parasailing will happen tomorrow, as we underestimated the demand and didn't call ahead in enough time to go this morning. So today we went to K-something beach, just south of White Sands beach. We did some snorkeling, and this time I loved it.

The last time I went snorkeling was went I went to the Florida Keys in spring of 2004. I spent most of that time ingesting seawater and wishing that I could see anything through my goggles. This time my father-in-law let me use some corrective goggles he had with a good snorkeling air-spout thing that had some protection from letting water get in. These things made it way more fun to snorkel. I saw a lot of cool stuff, many colorful fish, urchins, and coral. Hawaii really is like the commercials and movies show.

After that we returned to the condos, and I took a longer nap than usual beside the pool. We just got back from a quality buffet at King Kam (for short, it's actually Kamelealah or something) hotel. One dessert that isn't standard on the mainland that I am enjoying here is Haupia. It's a sort of coconut gelatin thing. I also had some great shaved ice today, with real coconut on top, and some vanilla ice cream in the middle - really refreshing. Way more filling that the shaved ice I had the other day. If someone opened up a quality shaved ice place in Fremont I think they could make some good money.

During the buffet, Auntie Lynn, the woman largely responsible for organizing the family (er, Ohana) reunion, got up and thanked people for coming, etc. She had the various siblings (the reunion is of the Cornelio children, of which my father-in-law is the youngest) introduce their children, grandchildren, etc. Then they had some of the younger people stand up and share what they were doing as far as school, a career, etc. I thought that was pretty neat.

I think it will be very cool when I get older to have family reunions like this and be able to look at my kids, their kids, my sister's kids, their kids, my brother's kids, etc etc. Of course, I have to start having kids for that to happen, and despite the cuteness that my nephew Anthony is unleashing on Janelle, I must stay strong and maintain that we wait a few years before having our own. His adorable assault is formidable, but we can hold up under it.

So tomorrow is parasailing, and then Uncle Bobo is cooking all day poolside. Lunch and dinner. The schedule will look something like: eat, talk story, swim, read, talk story, eat, read, swim, talk story, etc. Very good stuff. I won't be uploading any more pictures until I get home unless I get something totally spectacular, because it takes forever with this 56k connection.

Lastly, I'm reading a cool book called "In the Balance" which is an alternate history of WW2. Basically as it goes, in 1942 these alien lizard dudes attack earth and all the nations who were previously at war find themselves having to ally to try to repel the attackers. The aliens have superior technology, like probably technology about 10-20 years ahead of today's technology. So they way outmatch the humans, but the human can still fight back to some extent. Anyway, it may not be the height of literary achievement, but it's entertaining and a nice break from some of the stuff I usually read. That is all.


Kona Sunset

Kona Sunset
Originally uploaded by actionjax.

Yesterday our trip to the Volcano Park was didn't go through as expected because Janelle's dad came down with a Kidney Stone right as we were arriving. We went just as far as the entrance to the park, and then we had to leave and head up to Hilo for the Kaiser place. We ended up having a picnic out front of the Kaiser facility - got some funny looks from the locals.

So basically yesterday we drove completely around the island, which was neat, but we didn't end up getting to see the volcano park. We did pay the entrance fee to the park, and that's good for a week so hopefully we'll be back.

Today, after yesterday's escapades, we took it easy. In the morning Janelle and I walked into a touristy area of Kona and did a bit of shopping. I got a haircut from a british lady who was telling us about Kaballah, right on the beach. So that was pretty neat. Good haircut too. And she put really expensive gel in my hair. In the middle of the haircut some italian dude named "Tatsu" came and gave the lady his cup of tea. He actually said "Ciao Bella!" Seemed like a nice guy.

I told the lady giving me a haircut that I once got a wrong number from a french guy in the middle of the night. She then told me that perhaps it was fate and she wondered what the REAL reason he called my number was. I didn't bother saying "he probably wrote the number down wrong."

After that, Janelle and I came back to the condos, and went out to the pool where we swam a bit, read, and all that, after hanging out with her Uncle Bobo and Auntie Lynn. There was also a bit of napping at poolside. I made sure I was in the shade before allowing myself to fall asleep. Later we helped Bobo bring the food down to poolside, and everybody hung out together there. I got to meet a bunch of Janelle's family, and eat a bunch of good food.

I took a number of pictures - and I've uploaded a few of them for you to see. I will upload more upon my return home, to a broadband connection. But for now, the ones linked over at flickr will have to suffice. Just six of em.

Tomorrow at 10am we're planning on going parasailing, then also going to White Sands beach later. I'll do my best to take some good pictures.


an update from Kona

I just sent an e-mail to my family and figured it also might make a pretty good post up here so you all of you can stay up on my wonderful adventures while I'm here in Hawaii. I won't be able to keep up so much on other websites/blogs/etc while I'm here because of the dial-up situation. I will put up pictures if I get the chance to, but I'm not sure if Janelle's dad brought a cord I can use, because I didn't.

I'm using NetZero dialup service in my condo here. We're staying in some condos and they totally rock. You can just walk down to the beach if you want. There's also a sweet pool and jacuzzi, with a gazebo and four awesome grills. This place is really sweet.

Today we're planning on going to the Volcanoes Nat'l Park. Not sure what else. I know there will be a lot of food consumption going on here. If you ever thought your family ate a lot at family reunions, you are wrong. This family is crazy. There's this cool guy named Uncle Bobo and he was talking about the kind of stuff we'll be eating. Last night we had a meal with like 5 different kinds of meat to choose from and he called it simple. I'm pretty excited, but I'm not excited to be bloating up more.

I wish I'd gotten a haircut before I left.

Here are a couple cool Hawaiian terms/sayings I have learned:

"Talk Story" - Uncle Bobo said "You know, we can hang around, eat, Talk Story." So "Talk Story" is the same as hanging out and talking and whatnot.

"Da Kine." I tried to get a definition from Mike (Cornelio) but he was unable to provide a definite one. It sort of means "and stuff" or "and that kind of thing" or something like that. Bobo listed off a bunch of things we'll be doing, and said "you know, Da Kine" at the end of it. So I think it's one of those words you sort of have to pick up in context because it can mean a few things.

Anyway it's fun here so far...humid as crap but it's all good. And the fact that I can connect to the internet (even if it is on dialup) from the condo is pretty sweet.

OH yeah, last thing - I have the morning news on the TV, and the male anchor is wearing a blue hawaiian print shirt. What the? Who do these people think they are?!

Updates will come as I can do them.


leavin' on a jet plane

Tomorrow morning I'm heading to Hawaii, and I'll be there until the 21st. The day after I get back, I'm heading down south to San Diego for the weekend. So my internet access will be sporadic at best through that time.

I hope all y'all have a great couple weeks. I'll do my best to give short updates here and there, but I don't think internet access with be as bountiful as beautiful beaches and fruity beverages.



For those of you who don't know what Calvinism is, it can be summarized into the five points, TULIP, which you can read about here. Essentially this is a viewpoint stating that man cannot turn to God and seek forgiveness unless God "draws" him or compels him. So God chooses some to be forgiven, and he chooses others for condemnation. The decision is God's.

Now, my representation of Calvinism may be off to some degree, because I am not a Calvinist. At one point I carried on a long e-mail conversation with my friend Kevin about this. Eventually he said we weren't going to convince one another and we were starting to go around in circles, so we dropped it. Later he sent me another e-mail continuing the conversation, but by the time I got it I didn't have the energy to continue. At one point I had this conversation posted on my website but it was lost when I moved to blogspot.

Again the topic of Calvinism has come up with my friend Brian Quinn, whom you may refer to as Quinn or "his dudeness" or possibly "Walter." From what I can gather he is a rather staunch Calvinist. Read the comment(s) on the previous entry to see a bit. This post is a little bit of a response to that, but rather responding directly to these scriptures he brought up, which we can go on about at length (at perhaps will), I wanted to give a few thoughts on Calvinism, what I agree with about it, and what I find problematic with it. I think any discussion on how I take the books of Romans and Ephesians would be fruitless without an understanding of where I'm coming from. My view is not based solely on personal opinion, but rather on my reading of scripture and understanding of God.

My first and biggest problem is with Total Depravity, one of the five points of Calvinism.

Total Depravity declares that man is a slave to his sinful nature, and will never choose to do the right thing. Man does not choose to serve God in and of himself, and as such cannot turn to God and be saved. The Calvinist believes that because of this Inability, the only way a man (or woman) can be saved is if God chooses them and compels them to choose Him and turn to Him for forgiveness. This means that God chooses people, people cannot choose God.

What this means is that God decides who is saved and who is not - and that God creates certain people with the unchangeable destiny of an eternity in hell. They are created with a sinful nature, and because of this nature, they cannot and will not choose God. God chooses not to give His grace to some, so they die without forgiveness and suffer the consequences.

To me it is irreconcilable that a God of love, mercy, holiness, and justice, would create people who had absolutely no chance to turn to Him. I don't see how they can be held responsible for their actions if they had no other way they could go in life.

Burning Building Analogy

Let's assume there are 10 people in a burning building. Now, if I put the people in the house, or put them in a tunnel where they could only walk into the house, then I would be responsible for their place in the house. So it's important that I get the people out of the burning house, because they are trapped and can't get themselves out.

Now, if time isn't a factor for me (and it isn't for God), and I have the power to get every person out of the burning building, why wouldn't I? From my perspective there are only a two reasons I would NOT save everybody if I had the time or power.

(1) I don't care about everybody in the house and/or don't want to save them
(2) I offer my hand to the people in the house but they bat it away and refuse help

If I put the people in this situation, unless I offer them all my hand for help, then I think my goodness could be called into question. Too much of the Bible shows me a God that doesn't fit that description.

But humans choose sin

The Calvinist may agree with my assessment of the above, but say "humans choose sin, not God, so they are culpable." From my perspective that doesn't wash. If all humans are born with a nature that compels them to sin and makes them totally unable to turn to God and ask for forgivness, then it is not their responsibility when they don't turn to God. It is not fair to condemn somebody for not making a choice they could not have made.

But you are making God a beggar, dictating what happens to Him

Some believe that if you say humans can turn to God and ask for forgiveness without God's compulsion, then they are in effect controlling God's actions. God will save them if they ask Him to, so He is obeying them rather than the other way around. I don't believe this argument washes logically, either.

If I am asking God for His offered salvation through Jesus Christ's death on the cross, I am not dictating His actions. I am choosing whether or not to respond to Him. I fully agree that humans are sinful and dark, but the Bible would seem to say that we have no excuse for not turning to God. Why would it say that if we could not turn to Him without Him choosing us? Is it saying we have no excuse to not be chosen by God? Doesn't make sense to me.

The Role of the Holy Spirit

I believe that in scripture it is fairly clearly written that God draws people to Him. God, through the Holy Spirit, works in the lives of people to somehow draw them to Himself. I believe that there is a tension between God acting and mankind responding, and this is a perfectly reasonable interpretation of scripture. I believe that God reaches out first to us, not us to God. Giving all responsibility for belief to God is, in my view, a misinterpretation of scripture and an impugnment of God's character.

God condemns me for not choosing Him or asking Him for forgiveness. At what point can I ask God for his offered forgiveness? At no point, says the Calvinist, unless you are among the "elect." And I receive condemnation for that?

I rather believe scripture teaches that it is God's will that all people would turn to Him for forgiveness, but some do and some do not. If everything that happens is what God wills to happen...explain that to the rape victim, the child of abuse. And how can one read 1 Timothy 2:3-4 and say that only God chooses who is saved?

"This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."

I know it's possible to throw scripture around back and forth, and to people who are staunchly in the Calvinist camp or the non-Calvinist camp, it is almost certainly a fruitless endeavor. I cannot comprehend how people can believe in a loving God that would let people burn because they are the way He made them. I don't see justice in that either.

I believe God reaches out to all people, and that He offers all forgiveness and a place in the kingdom of God. (John 3:16, 12:44-48) I believe God desires that everyone would come to Him, but there are those who choose not to. (1 Tim 2:3-4)

I also believe that Calvinists are my brothers and sisters in Christ, and while I disagree with them on this point, I respect their views and devotion to God. These kinds of discussions are good for sharpening the mind, and delving deeper into scripture, but often end in frustration, and can sometimes be a waste of emotional energy better spent pouring into someone who needs an ear to hear them, or a shoulder to cry on, or someone to bring the love of God into their lives.

Okay, wow. I also believe this turned out much longer than I anticipated, and much of it came off the top of my head. So hopefully, Brian and others, you understand a bit more about my viewpoint on Calvinism and some reasons I don't agree with it.


some mexico pics

Ensenada Twilight
Originally uploaded by actionjax.

I added some pictures from the Mexico trip I just went on, which you can see if you head over to my flickr page. Hope you enjoy em.



You know what's annoying? Not realizing that you had to go get a blood test for your doctor to send in a paper for your application to grad school. Now I have to get a blood test done tomorrow morning, and hope Kaiser of all places gets all their stuff in order, in time. I wish there had been clearer communication here.

I am way more frustrated than I should be over this. Stressful week, I think.


panera bread in fremont

Okay, so there's now a Panera Bread open in Fremont, right around the corner from my house. It's probably a 10 minute walk away. I'd visited a Panera once before, while I was visiting my friends in the Chicagoland area. I thought it was pretty neat.

Sunday I went to the new Panera with my wife and my bro for some lunch, and I was duly impressed. They have all manner of breads there, quality deli stuff, good bakery stuff, and free wifi. That is perhaps the biggest attraction. They have some big comfy chairs, and even a little fireplace. I think I may be frequenting this establishment from now on when I need to get out of the house to work, but not into the office. Sorry, Bay St.


earth google

This is the bomb. And I don't care if only dorks still say "the bomb."


It combines satellite imaging with other stuff, and you can look in detail at most parts of the world. It's nifty looking around at satellite photos of my city and the surrounding areas. You can just type in an address and look at it. You can toggle the map to show roads, topography, restaurants, etc. You can get directions. I've noticed some of the restaurant listings around my house are wrong (there is NOT a Del Taco around the corner from me), but overall it's freakin awesome. It's the WHOLE WORLD!


i have returned

Back from Mexico. It was a good trip. Lots of driving involved. Yesterday I woke up in Ensenada Mexico and drove up to Fremont, California. It was a long drive, took about 13-14 hours on the way up. I hope to have pictures up soon. Right now, my wife is at work and my camera is in the car, and I am too lazy to go grab said camera to download stuff. Instead I am going to play some BF2 and meditate on the awesomeness of the A's 8 game winning streak. They've won every single game since I left for Mexico. Perhaps I should travel more often. But for now...I will reacquaint myself with rest and relaxation.