Category Archives: My Crazy Life

I Bought a Second Vehicle: My Perilous Journey

I’ve spent the last week or so trying to find a second car to purchase for my family. In that time, I’ve considered several dozen and test driven about half a dozen. Trying to squeeze car shopping in between work and other social responsibilities (like doing the big nasty) sure has been a hassle, but I finally got it done.

Here’s how it went down. My budget was $5,000 max, so I tried to find cars for around $3,000.

The first car I attempted to test drive was a Volvo S70 that looked like it was in really great shape. It was up for auction on eBay and looked like it was going to go for around $3,000.

So I emailed the seller. Here was his response:

The car is over at my office on 39th south and 7th east in SLC (that’s Salt Lake City for you non-Utahns).

The car has a ton of watchers and I am anticipating it going over 3500.00, are you prepared to buy it today in that price range if the car runs and drives well?

I don’t want to have you drive from Orem thinking you will win it at 2200 or something silly like that.

Actually, I was hoping that the car had a special button that would turn the car into a mythical white unicorn that spewed Skittles candies from his magical horn according to my whim. For that, I’d pay $3,500. But to win the car for $2,200 even though bidding at that moment had already reached $2,550 and had seven hours to go? Nah, nothing silly like that.

Of course, he had no way of knowing that I was not only an eBay PowerSeller veteran that had sold over 10,000 items but also a former eBay employee who WROTE A FREAKIN’ BOOK on how to make money on eBay. So I’ll forgive him for thinking I’m silly, have no knowledge of how an auction works,  and incredibly crappy at math.

2550 + 7 hours left in the auction  =  2200 ending price… right?

So I emailed him a second time, asking him to call me so I could give it a test drive. I then got in my car to make the 40 minute drive to the car’s location. I get there, and the car is nowhere in sight. I spend about two hours in Salt Lake checking out cars at dealers and eating lunch. Interestingly, there were a lot of beggars hanging out at the Wendy’s where I ate. The seller never called me, so I go home.

The auction ends for about $3,250. Too bad. If the seller would have just met me for a test drive, he would have gotten a few hundred more for it.

1997 Mistsubishi GalantThe first car I ended up actually doing a test drive on was a 1997 Mitsubishi Galant with about 150,000 miles on it.

The seller was a high school kid who had done some good work on it in his auto shop class. Who knew that a teenaged kid selling his car would be more reliable than an adult?

Well, the car needed a new AC compressor and the speedometer cable had been cut, so the 150,000 miles was really just a guess since the odometer wasn’t working without a good speedo cable.

It ran great, and I almost bought it, but thought I’d better mull it over and work the needed repairs into the budget before making a decision. He was asking $2,800 and I planned to offer around $2,300. The interesting thing about this car was that I communicated with the seller entirely through text messaging until I met him. Furthermore, unlike a certain other seller, he actually responded. Crazy huh?

1997 BMW 528iNext test drive was a 1997 BMW 528i with 170,000 miles on it. I was really excited about this one. He was asking $5,300 and had already turned down an offer for $4,800, so I withdrew $5,000 cash from my bank expecting to buy the car.

I drove it and it felt like I was driving a tank, the interior had some issues, and the headlights looked like they had cataracts, but otherwise it seemed okay. But I just didn’t get a good feeling about it. The seller texted me the next day to say he would accept $4,500. I told him I’d think about it. My main worry was repairs. They aren’t cheap on a BMW, and $4,500 wouldn’t leave much breathing room.

The coolest part, though, was that I detected a bit of an accent in the seller, so I asked him if he was a foreigner. He told me that he was from Albania.

“Cool,” I said. “So is the car from there?” wondering if he originally bought it in Albania and brought it over.

“No,” the seller responds, “it’s from Germany.”

“So you brought it over from Germany?”

“No, that’s where it was manufactured.”

“Right, but did you buy it there and ship it to the states?”

The answer was no, that it had been purchased and driven in the states only. The misunderstanding was interesting though. I told him, “Thanks. I’ll mull it over.”

Having never heard the term “mull it over,” and based on the look he gave me, I think he thought I was threatening to kill the rabito in his cabeza.

1999 and 2000 Toyota SiennasThe next day, I took work off early so I could run back up to Salt Lake and check out a couple minivans and a supercharged Buick Regal. The vans, though they looked nice in their online ads, were in pretty bad shape. The first one was a blue 2000 Sienna with 148,000 miles. Two door handles were broken, the passenger window motor didn’t work, a cup holder was missing, a speaker was falling out, and the carpet was all crusty. This minivan had clearly been well used and abused by many children and maybe even a few overly frisky midgets.

The red 1999 Sienna with nearly 190,000 miles from the same dealer was in better shape, but had a couple issues. And again, I just wasn’t feeling good about it. The salesman was awesome though, and offered to fix everything up before selling it to us. The place was called Smith Family Motors, and I think I might go there again someday. Even though I didn’t buy from them, I recommend you check them out.

1998 Supercharged Buick RegalSo I drove a little further north to another dealer to check out the car that I was really interested in, a 1998 Buick Regal. It had 190,000 miles on it, but for $2,800 I figured if I got even one year’s use out of it, I’d be happy.

The interior was awesome, nearly perfect for such an old car, and the engine ran about as well as one could expect to at nearly 200k miles. It drove like an old car, but it was the first time I had a really good feeling about any of the cars I drove. Maybe it was just the well-worn leather seats though.

The car sported a supercharged V6, leather interior, and every bell and whistle you could imagine — not the least of which was, and I swear to you that this is true, a button that turned the car into a magical Skittles spewing unicorn! I was ready to buy it on the spot.

But then my wife gave me the “I want a minivan,” look, so I told the salesman I’d think about it.

We drove back to Orem and hit Ken Garff Honda. We accidentally went next door to the Ken Garff Porsche dealer and went to turn around when a salesman grabbed us. We told him we were looking for a Sienna from the Honda dealer. So he walked to the Honda dealer, grabbed the van, and brought it over.

It was a 2000 Sienna, nearly identical to the one we test drove earlier except it had all its parts, had fewer miles on it, and everything worked. The engine seemed to be in good shape, it drove well, had a leather interior and was clean. You could tell it was taken care of. The van was listed at $4,877 and would cost nearly $6,000 out the door with taxes and registration.

That’s when I said, “Oops, I should have told you this when I first got here, but I’ve only got five grand on me, so that needs to be the out-the-door price.”

We haggled for a bit, but there really wasn’t any wiggle room on my part so the salesman, after pretending to talk to his manager about it a few times, finally caved and gave us the requested price.

That made my wife happy, which I guess is the important part. And here is my proud wife in front of her “new” 2000 Toyota Sienna:

My Wife’s “New” 2000 Toyota Sienna

If you’re ever in the market for a Porsche, I highly recommend talking to Edgar at Ken Garff Porsche in Orem. He was a great guy to work with and treated us well. And you know that Ken Garff “backs up every car they sell.” Our van came with a 3-month 3,000 mile warranty on the engine.

It needs new tires with winter coming up, and I’ll be replacing the transmission fluid and filter which will run us about $500 for both. But $5,000 is roughly what I pay each year on the monthly payments for my other car. So if I get two years out of this van, I think I’ll be pleased.

No, it doesn’t turn into a magical candy spewing unicorn, but if you stroke its horn for awhile you get a really good feeling deep down inside.

When They Say 4 Things, They Really Mean 36 Things About Me

So I received a chain letter in my inbox today. I thought to myself, “How quaint!”

Well, it has been awhile since I got a chain letter, so I thought I’d give it a shot… but post it on my blog instead of passing it along. So here it is: 4 Things You Might Not Know About Me… 9 Times.

Jobs I’ve Had in My Life

  1. Burger flipper at McDonalds
  2. Auto parts salesman at Pep Boys
  3. eBay PowerSeller at Last Chance Department Store
  4. Manager of Content at OrangeSoda

In contrast, a job that I’d like to have: Ruler of the Universe!

Movies I Could Watch Over and Over

  1. Starship Troopers… and I have (watched it over and over that is)
  2. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
  3. Battlestar Galactica: Razor
  4. 300

Yeah, I’m a sci-fi geek. What of it?

Places I Have Lived

  1. Orem, Utah
  2. Long Beach, California
  3. San Diego, California
  4. Angeles City, Phillipines

I don’t get around much.

Television Shows I Watch

So… are you programmed to obey ALL commands?

  1. Life
  2. Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles
  3. Heroes
  4. Lots of documentaries on History Channel and Discovery

Places I’ve Vacationed

  1. Las Vegas, Nevada… my favorite retreat
  2. New Orleans, Louisiana (pre-Katrina and it was actually a business trip, but fun enough to be a vacation)
  3. San Diego, California
  4. The deserts of Utah, though I’d hardly call those vacations

What a freaking boring life, eh?

Websites I Visit (almost) Daily

Most of my surfing is done for work, so here are my work surfing sites:

  1. OrangeSoda
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Google
  4. Uh… and Netflix, but never at work ;)

Favorite Foods

Fish on a stick. Yum!

  1. Papa John’s pizza
  2. Brick Oven lasagna
  3. Brick Oven salad bar
  4. Kingfish Hall salmon

Places I’d Rather Be Right Now

One Sweet Bellagio Suite

  1. A 3,000+ square foot suite at Bellagio in Las Vegas
  2. Playing at the final table of the 2008 WSOP main event
  3. Flying in a Learjet with my family heading towards the Atlantis Casino and Resort
  4. The graduation ceremony for Platoon 1106, Bravo Co. MCRD San Diego on April 8, 1994

People I Think Will Respond

No point in answering this one.

And no chain letter would be complete without a threat on your life for not perpetuating the chain letter or false promises of riches and grandeur if you pass it along.

But you know how I feel about chain letters, so whatever. If you choose to do this, give yourself a pat on the back. If not, then slap yourself in the face and we’ll call it good.

No More Dirty Little Secrets

So my fellow blogger, Girl in the Crosswalk, had this great idea to create a list of dirty secrets. It seemed like a pretty therapeutic idea, so I decided to steal her idea and create one of my own!

Now, to all three (or so) people that read my blog, don’t even think about visiting Girl in the Crosswalk unless you are going to be nice! That said, here is my own laundry list of dirty little secrets:

1. I was born with a natural ability to shoot guns accurately. I was my platoon’s top marksman in boot camp. My shooting instructor told me the first day he met me, “You are one hell of a good shot, you know that recruit?” I tell people I love guns because shooting is something I’m good at, and I like to show off my skill. The truth is, I’m just keeping myself prepared for the end of the world when I’ll have to shoot all the crazy people trying to come and steal my sweet 70″ HDTV – which I haven’t bought yet, but will someday.

2. I have this crazy desire within me to raid drug houses and steal all their money and guns. Seems like a great way to make a living, don’t you think?

3. I think Rocky Road ice cream is nasty. But in my defense, I love chocolate and peanut butter ice cream!

4. My youngest son, who is currently five, has turned out to have a very logical-thinking mind, yet at the same time he is quite creative. I’ve decided to start preparing him to become a dancing astrophysicist when he grows up. It’s what I would like to be, so I’ll precariously live my dream through him.

5. I love cats, so I went down to the local Humane Society and adopted a couple of them. About two days later, I learned to hate cats. But I still love my cats… I just wish they would stop shedding, crapping, and barfing all over the place.

6. Starship Troopers is one of my favorite movies. Yeah, I know. The directing sucked and the acting was cheesy. But man, I just LOVED it!

7. I’m a lazy bastie. Oh wait, that’s not really much of a secret.

What the–?!8. Even though I’m half Filipino, I used to want to join the KKK – which I’m pretty sure I could accomplish being that I look totally white (unlike the KKK member in the photo… what the–?!) – because I think those big dunce cap lookin’ things they wear are totally stylish and awesome looking!

9. After meeting a few KKK members, I realized they are a bunch of numbnuts, so now I want to join them because I know I’d be the smartest guy there.

I remember seeing the following headline on Yahoo! Magazine many years ago: “On the Internet, you can be a dog and nobody will know.”

Which leads me to the biggest secret of my life…

I might be a dog!

I Am Iron Man

It’s come to my attention that there are a lot of people out there claiming to be the man behind the iron mask. Well, I’m here to put all those rumors to rest. Conspiracy theorists need no longer concern themselves with what the real identity of Iron Man is. Donald Rumsfeld is NOT, in fact, Iron Man.

I had hoped I wouldn’t have to do this, but I’m just tired of other people taking credit for all my superheroing, world saving, cat-rescuing-out-of-trees and so forth. Yep, you guessed it. Iron Man is… ME! And here’s an actual, undoctored photo to prove it:

Stu’s First Comic Book

That’s me holding the very first comic book I ever bought, the May 1987 issue of Iron Man, purchased from a Safeway supermarket.

As you can see, the cover showed my demise. I had to check myself, because as far as I knew I was still quite intact. I had no choice but to purchase the comic book which was based on me. It was kind of weird having them call me Tony Stark and what not, but whatever. I guess they wanted to avoid getting sued by me.

Now, I know what you’re saying…

“Stu, how do we know you didn’t just create an Iron Man mask in your garage and put it on to fool us?”

Stu being escorted by F22 RaptorsTo that, I respond with this recent photo taken by the U.S. Military when I accidentally wandered into the air space over Area 51. My helmet was in the shop for repairs that day, so I just flew without it. And to answer your question before you ask it, yes I got a lot of bugs in my teeth that day.

Also, don’t forget to catch my movie coming out May 2nd. Unlike the comic book, I actually personally endorse it. Because, you know, me and director John Favreau are good pals. Maybe not as close as J.J. Abrams, but almost.

Outback Steakhouse: Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right, It Makes One Very Big Wrong

Outback Steakhouse screws upBeing that this week was perhaps the most stressful week in my life, my wife and I decided to take a date and have a relaxing evening on Friday. Dinner and a movie ought to do the trick, right?

Despite our previous experience with the Outback Steakhouse, we decided to try them again. So what about our last experience? Well, here we go.

Okay, so I order these beef tenderloins (called “fillet grillers” on the menu). I order them well done. My wife orders a 9 oz. center-cut fillet, cooked medium. She was going to order it well done, but I told her she should order it medium since the tendency is for restaurants to overcook steak.

After a bit, here comes the meal. My tenderloins are absolutely perfect! Very very scrumptious indeed. My wife’s steak? It was rare. I mean, we’re talking a barely-dead rare. I took a bite just to be sure and, while it tasted great, neither one of us likes the texture of raw meat, nor do we like our meat cold! This steak was definitely cold on the inside.

Penguins like it rareSo we send it back, and this time ask for it to be done medium well. A few minutes later, it comes back medium rare. We send it back again. This time, the chef/cook comes out and talks to us himself. My wife reiterates her desire for it to be medium well. Finally, after being cooked for the third time, it’s medium well. Except now it’s as tough as rubber!

So, wrong #1 tells us that just because a restaurant has the word “steakhouse” in the name, it doesn’t mean they know how to cook it. That was perhaps a month ago.

Since I loved my tenderloins so much, my wife decides she’d like to order up some. So for our date yesterday, we show up at 6:50 pm to get our name on the list (I figured that would be enough time to get in by 8:00 pm). That’s when we are told the wait is “80 to 90 minutes, so probably a little before 8:20.”

Okay, that’s still enough time to get in, eat, and catch a 10:00 movie. So we run down the the movie theater (about 20 minutes away) and buy our tickets. We then return to Outback Steakhouse to get an update on the time. No change. So we decide to wander through the other stores in the strip mall where Outback Steakhouse is located.

At 8:00, just to be sure we don’t miss a call to be seated, we return to the restaurant. Again, we go in to get a time update. Strangely, 7 minutes had been added to the estimated time. But they assure us, “Absolutely no later than 8:27.” Well, that’s starting to push it, but I figure we can still make it without too much rush.

So, at 8:28, I ask again how we’re looking on time. The lady looks at her list, which I glance at as well, and she says, “You’re next on the list.”

That’s funny, because I notice one name in front of mine that hasn’t been crossed out yet, and several names AFTER mine that are already crossed out. Far be it from me to assume how they keep track of when people get on the list, but I always figured the easiest way to do this is to simply list people in order top to bottom… but since not everybody is as smart as me, I don’t complain that it looks like they’ve sat several people before us that arrived later than us.

Anyway, about five minutes later (and watching 3 other parties get seated before us when we were supposedly “next on the list”) our buzzer goes off, so we approach the maitre d’. “Just one moment,” she tells us as she grabs our buzzer.

So we stand there for a bit, waiting another minute or two. That’s when they call another party up and seat them ahead of us. Uhhh… what the hell?!

At this point, my wife speaks up and asks them why, when we were just called up — after waiting over 10 minutes past the promised seat time — they are seating another party instead of us?

Well, I’m pretty, uh… not taking life very light, so I storm out of the restaurant with a vow to never return for several months when the maitre d’ is hopefully either fired for her total incompetence, or has quit.

I consider time to be one of my most valuable assets. Time is one of those things that, once it’s gone, is impossible to get back. When other people waste it, I’m not very happy about it. My time is for me to waste, not anybody else’s!

Arctice Circle’s fried halibut… Yum!So we wander on over to the Arctic Circle (a local fast food chain here in Utah) and have a quick meal — with substantially faster service heh heh. How about that? 20x faster service for a quarter of the cost! Sweet!

That allows us to get to our movie on time (10,000 B.C. — meh, it was okay) and enjoy the great service of those at the Cinemark 16 movie theater in Provo.

So my recommendation for the next time you’re in Utah County and are looking for a great place to eat? Try out the Chef’s Table, where the beef tenderloins are also quite tasty, and the service unfailingly exquisite (don’t forget to check out their awesome bathroom — the only thing missing is a bidet!)

Why the World Needs Stu

The world loves StuIt started just short of a few years ago. Since that time, the world has come to love Stu (okay, maybe not EVERYbody). I never understood it. But then just a few days ago, it hit me.

The reason the world loves me is because they NEED me. Without me, the world would simply take itself far too seriously and lead itself into ruination. Total destruction. Absolute catastrophe. You know… the kind where cats and dogs start living together, lions and lambs get along, and we end up spending all of eternity picking fruit. And well, nobody wants that!

Too-serious people end up doing crazy stuff, like becoming cyberbullies (aka, butt heads).

So here’s a little advice from Stu himself:

Lighten up… Life’s too short to take seriously!

Two Cats to Go and an Extra Toe Please

I did it. I finally did it. After years of promising my kids that we’d get pet cats after we bought a house, I’ve fulfilled on that promise (though not without some serious reservations).

A few weeks ago we made a visit to the Humane Society of Utah up in Murray. Seeing all those sweet looking cats, it was hard not to take a few home. On the same token, being around that many cats, it really made me think twice about adopting a cat.

See, the thing about cats, as much as I love them, is that they are covered in fur. Not that I don’t like fur — as long as it stays on the cat. But unfortunately it doesn’t.

So today, with the intention of adopting one cat, we got two. Two cat-loving friends of mine, Steve Lindhorst and Neal Jenks, both recommended I get two cats, so I did. In addition to the getting-2-instead-of-1 rule breaking, I also broke several other of my own rules (kind of like when I said I’d NEVER buy a north-facing house… doh!) For one, I always figured I’d get kittens (so they would grow up in my house, with me, instead of growing up somewhere else with someone else) and instead I got a 2 year old and a 5 year old.

At least I stuck with my rule about getting short hairs. I was seriously this close to getting a long-hair Maine Coon mix.

So how is it? Well, it’s about 24 hours into our adoption of these two cats, and so far it hasn’t been too bad. The two cats didn’t like each other too much at first, but they are just starting to get used to the idea that they are going to have to live in the same house together. I think they’ll be alright.

Both cats are females. My wife chose a 2 year old lynx point siamese mix. She has some interesting colors and is quite a talker. My wife likes talkers, and I don’t mind them too much, but dude! I had a lot of cats growing up and I’ve never heard a cat talk so much in my life! Hopefully it’s just her being nervous in a new home.

Snake’s first day at home

Originally named “Frost,” my wife renamed her “Snake.” No, not after the Simpson’s character, but because when she’s nervous she shakes her tail (more than most cats) and the tip looks like a rattle snakes shaking rattle.

The 5 year old is my pick. She’s a tortoise shell, or “tortie,” and is pretty good sized for a female cat. I had a tortie growing up, and I kind of fell in love with the crazy colors of torties.

Dax the cat

Originally named the very generic “Kitty,”I renamed her “Dax.” Yeah, I have a thing for single-syllable Star Trek names, and Dax was the only female character name I could think of off hand. She also has an interesting mutation that, despite her age, kind of sold me on her. Can you see it in the above picture? If not, here’s a close up:

Dax’ extra toeYep, that’s a couple extra toes you’re looking at. She has at least one extra digit on each of her four feet. One her front legs, it kind of looks like she has an opposable thumb at times, and I half expect her to just start picking things up in her paw like a human.

I know it’s kind of weird of me, but I really like the weird mutation, so I got her. We discovered that a claw on one of her mutant toes had grown so long, it had curled around and was stabbing her in the paw, so we trimmed it off.

So there you have it. We’ll see if I regret my decision after a few weeks with the new family members.

Half Life 2: Launching the Garden Gnome Into Space

I admit it. I’m a Half Life addict. Half Life was the first (real) first-person shooter I ever bought and played (save for the old original Wolfenstein 3D) and I was instantly hooked.

I also purchased most of the add-ons: Opposing Force and Blue Shift. I had to wait several years for Half Life 2 to come out, but I purchased it right away when it did release, then did the same when Episode 1 and Episode 2 came out.

There is a new character in Episode 2: a garden gnome. If you do any searches for the Half Life garden gnome, you’ll quickly find that he may very well be the most hated character in the Half Life universe.

Why is he such a hated character? Because he is so hard to kill? Because he insults your heritage in the game?

Garden gnome chats with Alyx and Vortigaunt

With the release of Episode 2, Valve (the publisher) added some optional challenges to the game. I didn’t notice them until after I had played through it once. The challenge that most interested me was launching the garden gnome into space.

I had remembered seeing the garden gnome the first time I played it through and thought to myself, “Hey, that’s an interesting thing to stick there.” The gnome appears near the beginning of the game.

At the end of the game, a rocket is launched into space to plant a satellite. That’s the rocket you must place the gnome on. So, yeah, you have to carry that stupid gnome through the entire game to accomplish the challenge.

I am currently attempting to complete the challenge. I’m at the part where you have to drive a car for quite awhile. This is a problem because that stupid gnome, which you are not able to carry and drive at the same time, keeps flying out of the car every time you accelerate, brake, or turn too quickly. It sucks!

Driving carefully when a bunch of bad guys are trying to kill you is no easy task!

I thought to myself, “There has got to be an easier way to get this gnome to his destination!”

So I did a quick searching on Google and, after reading several blogs, I found somebody who has figured out how to safely secure that piece-of-garbage gnome to the car. So if you, like many many other Half Life geeks, have been pulling your hair out trying to drive the car without losing the gnome, you’ll want to check it out.

True Half Life geeks seem to be able to complete the gnome challenge in as little as 3 hours. Me? I have a life, so it’ll take me a few weeks. You know… trying to make the $30 I paid for this game worth something more than 3 hours of enjoyment ;)

He Was as Close to Being an Angel as Anyone I’d Ever Met

I had the unfortunate occasion to attend a Tongan funeral over the weekend. Unfortunate because it was for my uncle (my wife’s uncle actually, which I guess would make him my uncle-in-law?) — the fourth uncle I’ve had die in the last few years, and the third to have passed away under the age of sixty. In this case, my uncle was just in his mid-thirties, a mere three years older than me.

Semisi caught pneumonia a couple weeks ago. From what I understand, it got out of control to the point that the hospital he was at was not equipped to deal with it. Yet inclement weather prevented his transport to a better facility.

We got the call on a Sunday morning that he was ill with pneumonia. We didn’t think too much of it. After all, people get pneumonia all the time. But less than an hour later, we got another call that he had passed away. It was quite a shock to my wife and I, and especially to his family.

Semisi was a big man (as you’d expect a Tongan native to be) and a hard worker. No matter the conditions, he was out there putting in whatever physical labor was required to get the job done.

Semisi with my boys

He was loved by all that knew him as was evidenced by the memorial held Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. One eulogy after another praised him for his kindness and service. As one man said, “He was as close to being an angel as anyone I’d ever met.” About half the eulogies were in Tongan, mostly given by members of his immediate family, so I didn’t understand them, but I’m sure they were good.

He loved kids, and kids loved him. My oldest son, who is just seven, put on a tough front, but it was clear he was very sad to lose his favorite uncle.

I have very little understanding of the Tongan culture, so this was an interesting, albeit very sad, look into it. Semisi’s family would break out in Mormon hymns sung in Tongan with seeming random spontaneity (I later learned that a full third of the Tongan nation is LDS) — and boy did they sing loudly! — during which time attendees would line up to view Semisi’s mortal body for the last time. Note the traditional dress. Those are actually floor mats they are wearing, something that has significant meaning in Tongan culture.

Semisi’s Sunday memorial

Because they are attending a sad event, the mats were generally tattered and torn. At joyous events, such as weddings, I understand that the mats worn are more elaborate and are not tattered.

To my Aunt Lucy and Cousin Keera, I know you now have a huge family of Tongans willing to do anything for you. But if you ever have need of anything I am able to provide, we are also here for you.

This one’s for you Semisi. We’re going to miss you.

Semisi loved my kids