Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Boar

I'm on the Hawaiian island of Oahu visiting my uncle for spring break. He lives near the main city of Honolulu on the southeastern shore, about a mile from the beach up a verdant canyon. The street he lives on is the furthest one up the canyon wall on this side, so his backyard is essentially wilderness. It's a really gorgeous place where it rains a few minutes a day and usually stays above 70, even at night. Needless to say, it's a perfect place for a break.

My activities here so far have been pretty laid back. I've spent a lot of time playing with my uncle's Korg Kaoss Pad, which is basically a touchpad synthesizer/sampler, loopdigging through my music. A couple of days ago we took a day trip to Kauai and saw some of the famous vistas. Trips to the beach have been interspersed throughout. I expected to spend the rest of my time here doing the same sorts of things, ironing out the stress I have accumulated recently.

But then something funny happened. Last night, a little after sundown, my uncle's next door neighbor Kono came over. He's a warm and funny guy with a Hawaiian accent and a goatee. He told us that he saw a boar in the upper part of his backyard eating some food he left out for it. He told us that he snuck into his house, grabbed his crossbow, came back outside and shot it. Kono said he got it square in he shoulder, but it ran off up the hill. He asked us to help him look for it, as the brush was pretty thick up there. We immediately agreed.

I got my boots on and grabbed a flashlight and a machete. Kono estimated that the boar was over 100 pounds, and a boar of that size can do a lot of damage. We hiked up the steep incline about 10 yards until we reached a large path that ran parallel to the street. There were about five of us, and we split up to look for a trail of any kind. For about ten minutes, none of us could find anything. All of a sudden, my uncle called out to us. He found a small spot of blood on a rock a little further up the hill. Three of us went up the hill directly from that spot, including me. I was following a trail obviously made by animals through the thick brush, and decided to get on my hands an knees. 10 yards up from the parallel path, I found it.

The boar was clearly dead. I saw it through what was essentially a tunnel through the brush, formed by weeks of animals' use. Its hair was dark with some silver tinges in places, and no wound was visible. I called out to the others that I had found it once I was sure, and Kono came running. He grabbed the beast by its hind leg and dragged it into the open. He rolled it over and exposed the arrow, buried almost to the feathers. Kono's face lit up: "Hooooooo. Look at the size of him." And with good reason. The boar must have been over 130.

We worked it down to the open space of the path, and Kono found a good rock to pose the animal on. Then he chopped down a length of some tree, and quickly whittled down a 3 inch stick. He pulled open the jaws and stuck the stick in to prop them open. Then he posed the pig with some rocks, and we took some pictures. Once the photoshoot was over, Kono proceeded to gut the animal. He did it quickly with only a few cuts, his hands protected by latex gloves. Two of the four razors that made up the arrow point sheared off in the boar, so he had to be especially careful. Once the animal was gutted, he tied some rope around the back legs and the snout, and carried the boar with his friend down to his backyard. He found a branch of a tree that suited him, and tied the boar snout down to it.

At this point I decided to go home. Kono told us he would skin the boar, then butcher it and debone it in preparation for smoking. His friend has a smoker built in his back yard, and it can be done in less than 48 hours. I thanked him for the adventure, and headed to bed. All I could think about as I drifted to sleep was how good the smoked boar was going to taste. About a month ago, me and some friends got together and ordered a suckling pig, around 30 pounds, and roasted it in a backyard. That was absolutely delicious, and I can only imagine this will be better. I'll let you know.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Quick One While It's Away

I find it somewhat funny that I can feel guilty about not writing in something that nobody reads anyway. It's as though writing in here is a continuous investment of some sorts, but I don't know what I am hoping to get out of it in the end. Sometimes, like now, it is just a nice activity to let my brain decompress between studying, gritting my teeth because I can't remember how to solve a differential equation, and shooting off terse emails to my professor who I've never actually met.

I'm in the North Reading Room in our main library. It's a huge cavernous space that echoes more than anywhere I have ever been. This makes people especially silent, and on a relatively clear day like today the big windows let a lot of light in. I like that. It took me a while to realize it, but florescent lights drive me crazy. Most of our library is underground and that awful unnatural florescent color pervades every nook. The problem is that I have a very tough time putting my nose to the grindstone when the sun is up, so most of my work gets done under those demon lamps in the wee hours of the morning. This dilemma haunts my every step. It's a really tragic catch-22 that will likely end up costing me thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in therapy at some point in the future.

Well, back to work now. I have to read Macbeth and the sun is already starting to set. Thanks a lot, Daylight Savings.