Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas From the Johnson's!!!

We wanted to send you all a Christmas card but didn't really have a way to print them and send from Fiji so this will have to do:

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a wonderful new year!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Time?

First Noel- guitar-Stu Johnson-Yako Organic recordings-Fiji by mainlandmoke

As the youngest child of six I watched as each of my siblings graduated High school and subsequently vanished our east Los Angeles home in the suburbs, off to start a new life far away from Mom, me and Whittier. When the end of high school drew near, there was no question about what my next steps into life would be. It was subconscious instinct that I was out of there as soon as I could. My post High school proverbial "walk about" into life had a different travel itinerary. My belongings never made the cramped car ride up the Cajon Pass and Virgin River Gorge to eventually arrive in the familiar foothills of P-town. Instead I took a Five hour plane ride over the Pacific to an Island chain I only knew as the paradise romanticized by radio promo give aways' and popular surf films. Coming off the plane was magic. The foreign combination of heat, humidity and coconut palms only highlighted my excitement of starting my long anticipated life away from Via Del Palma. This is what my siblings experienced!? This is it! Magic!
From that moment off the plane I found a new inner instinct which I believe my siblings share. To take head on unfamiliarity and make it familiar. This is what I saw in my siblings as they moved,lived and worked in "foreign" lands across the country. (Yes, to me Utah remains foreign and mysterious).
I went into this walk about of post high school life without any preliminary rules or expectations and I find no instinctual pull toward laying foundation in once familiar communities. However my heart is not completely stone as you might think. Nostalgic smells and sounds remind me of my family who I love more than anything. But why do I chose to live so far away? I would live closer but the precedent to leave as soon as possible was set before I had any real choice.
Luckily for my own sanity's sake, its rare to ever smell or hear things that would trigger nostalgic memories, instead of the sweet smell of fresh Christmas tree shaped cookies we know curry garlic and ginger. Instead of Holiday Carols we know the bass driven reggae beats of the islands. When Sufjan Stevens rendition of the First Noel came up on shuffle I was reminded that its Christmas time despite the lack of holiday decor. This is my favorite time to be with my family. And though we have all spread out and moved away from the 90602, we will never forget our home there and the familiar smells and sounds that filled the house. I don't know why we all left in such a hurry!? Cant wait for our next Christmas all together.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Yako Organic recordings -Fiji Studio-

 I love recording music but am never satisfied with the production.  Its a combination of our poor quality microphone (stock mic in macbook) and the surrounding racket spoiling every take.  Ive had it!!!  I concede to the fact that my home will never be a sound tight studio. Now from these ashes of defeat, comes the timely introduction of "Yako Organic Recordings."  I now embrace the sounds of skreaching maina birds, the chirp of the gecko, the crackle of our hot tin roof, and our dog Mochi barking at everything that passes.  I will produce one track a week, mostly covers, (unless I can find one of my own songs i like enough) with minimal takes and editing.  Like most things organic, this will most likely be an unpleasant experience since your pallet is accustomed to the MSG filled perfection of your favorite studio artists.  Thats the nature of the organic medium; its free range, raw and tough to chew but if you try really really hard you might taste or hear something fresh and untamed.  Hope my new venture doesn't cause acid reflux...

The first of this collection is a cover of the Iron and Wine track, "Each coming night" 
From the Album Our Endless Numbered Days
A song of loss and the memories that never leave

  Each Coming Night by mainlandmoke 

Will you say when I’m gone away
"My lover came to me and we'd lay
In rooms unfamiliar but until now"
Oh oh oh oh
Until now
Oh oh oh oh
Until now

Will you say to them when I’m gone
"I loved your son for his sturdy arms
We both learned to cradle then live without"
Oh oh oh oh
Live without
Oh oh oh oh
Live without

Will you say when I’m gone away
'Your father’s body was judgment day
We both dove and rose to the riverside"
Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh

Will you say to me when I’m gone
"Your face has faded but lingers on
'Cause light strikes a deal with each coming night"
Oh oh oh oh
Coming night
Oh oh oh oh
Coming night
Oh oh oh oh
Coming night
Oh oh oh oh
Coming night 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

#55 Paint Tank COMPLETED

Okay so I know I'm way behind and going back in time by posting this one...  but I was going through some photos and found some before and After pics of Tank's Paint Job.  You have to understand that Tank was part of the family and we LOVED him!  We were sad to sell him but we had to sell A LOT when we moved.  Here's Tank before... pretty rugged :)

Tank Before


What a sexy beast!

What a great truck he was!  This job took about 2 hours, 3 people, and 6 or 7 spray cans... if I remember correctly. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

The West is Best!

When moving out to Fiji, the plan was to live in Suva (the south side of the island) Stuart would go to school and I'd work. When we got here, we were there in Suva trying to get things settled. We were looking for housing, going to USP to get all of the details taken care of for Stuart to enroll. During this time, we were finding out a few things we didn't anticipate. We decided Suva wasn't the place for us and Stuart wasn't going to go to school anymore.

We'll just treat it like a long holiday and move back home to Hawaii. We had rented a little spot in Pacific Harbour for the month. We would finish out the month there while we did fun stuff people do when they go to Fiji. We were looking for flights, and even asked a friend if he could pick us up from the airport.

We knew people would be asking us how the surf was and we had to try and surf Cloudbreak and all those spots. It was almost the end of the month and time to buy our return flight. But before that, we had to go surf. We found a company that would pick us up, take us out on the boat and drop us off afterwards. That's when we met Ian, the owner of Fiji Surf Co. Ian was looking for some surf photographers to work for him so he could offer that service to his guests. We talked a little bit about what he was looking for, and what we had to offer. We had found our match!

We were moving to the West!

Stuart remembered there was a family who lived really close to Ian's house and the boat launch where the surf trips left from everyday.  He also remembered there just happened to be another house on the property that didn't have anyone living in it back when he was serving his mission.  We spoke to the Reddy's asking about the house to see if it was empty and if we could live there.  Everything was falling into place perfectly!

Now a whole bunch of photos...  Pretty much just of our house and the "kids".  Sorry if you get sick of seeing mochi and kitty but they've already grown so much so I need to put up their little pictures so I can remember how small they started out :)

I love my "Mochi&Me" time.  He's gotten a little too big for him to sit comfortably on my belly now so he's always trying to get away. 

This is pretty much the whole front part of the house...  sitting room and kitchen.  I'm backed up against the kitchen sink.  I'm strategically down low so you can't see our messy kitchen table :)    

I love it when Kitty Sleeps with her tongue hangin out like that. 

I'm pretty sure this was a one time thing.  He started out as a good sharer.  Then I think he tried to "share" some one else food and he learned to be selfish when they barked and growled at him. 

He's so little!  And so cute!  I'll have to post a more recent picture because his ears aren't floppy anymore.  Heeler's have ears that stick straight up

Our House!

View from out our front door...  You can't see them in this photo but on a clear day I've counted  more than 15 islands out on the horizon!


The papaya tree in front of our house!  Sooooo Good!!!

Mochi, back when he was still having a hard time climbing onto the deck...
Oh and this deck Stuart and Bro. Reddy made one night without any power tools!!!  Pretty impressive :)
We made Board hangers in the rafters...  saves space.  Not to mention how awesome they look up there!

We're happy and healthy out here in Fiji and living a wonderful life!  We miss our family and friends but are grateful that we are able to have such a crazy adventure together.  

Have a great week!!! 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

#4: Take a Trip to Fiji. CHECK!!!

I must say that I think I went above and beyond on this one!  I didn't just take a trip to Fiji, I moved here!  Do I get extra credit for that???  I think I should :)

Here's the stamp in my passport from when I came in:

Fiji has BEAUTIFUL water:

Uh... yeah:

And BEAUTIFUL waves:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

#3: Add to our Family of 2. CHECK!!!

I've been slacking big time.  I've also noticed that I've checked off a few things from my 101 in 1001 list so I need to update the list and blog about some of them... The interesting ones at least.  #3 is: Add to our family of 2.  Now don't get too excited just yet.  We're not having a baby within the next nine months... but we have added to our family.  We have 2 "Kids" now.  A boy and a girl named Kitty and Mochi.  Here's a little video of them.  

Kitty is great!  She likes to eat spiders and cockroaches which I love!!!  She also keeps any rats away... I haven't seen any around since we brought her home.  Unfortunately she also likes to eat geckos and these cute little birds that hang around our house.  It was so sad the first time I saw it... but now its no big deal as long as she doesn't bring it inside the house I'm fine with it... Survival of the fittest (or biggest, sneakiest, and quickest) right?

I've always, always, ALWAYS wanted a puppy... and know we have one!  Mochi is awesome!  He's so cute and he can swim :)  We took him out on a stand up paddle board and went up the river... we had a few spills but nothing he couldn't handle.  Such a trooper.  Mochi loves to play with Kitty... I'm not so sure the opposite is true.  Mochi just wants to play but he tends to be a little too ruff with his sister... good things she's tough and can handle it :)

Kitty is a funny girl... I think sometimes she thinks she's a puppy because whenever we come home from somewhere, she's always running out to greet us... it's pretty awesome!  We love our Kids!  They're so fun!

ps...  we've learned how to use iMovie so we're making videos now :)  ENJOY!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Snap Crackle Pop!!!

This morning I woke up to the sound of.... well I wasn't sure what it was at first. In the state of confusion I'm usually in right when I wake up, I couldn't tell if it was POURING rain on our tin roof, or firecrackers going off (Yes when it rains hard, the sound can be confused to firecrackers, don't be jealous:). It was neither. It was the sugar cane field being burned to get ready to harvest.

There have been sugar cane fields burning around here for the past few weeks (or a couple months maybe) and I have been wondering when Reddy (our landlord/neighbor) would burn his. Since we live right next to it I was looking forward to witnessing it! A few days ago we were going past our house on the boat and saw the field burning. I was so bummed because I wanted to be there, up close and personal. And I wanted to see it burn at night... I thought it would be more dramatic that way and make for a better photo op. Turns out they only burned half of it. Lucky me!

So I woke up grabbed my camera and headed out to get a few shots of the guys hard at work. It's pretty amazing that they clear the whole entire field by hand! No machinery is used to cut the cane. Its just a bunch of guys with their cane knives. The only machinery used is for transporting the stuff!

Hard at work:

Oops! I've been spotted!

Here's Reddy taking some juice to the workers:

Taking a break:

Off to quench the thirst of more hard working men:

Some burnt sugar cane:

And of course Mochi was happy to be out tromping through the remains of the cane :)

And this is just outside our house and I thought it was pretty :)

Thanks for stopping by!
I know this doesn't show you much about what we've been up to but there's more to come :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I'm gonna try to blog again!!! Here are a few photos from our first month here in Fiji! This first one is kinda funny... it's where Stuart would have been going to school if things had gone as planned...

We spent our first few days in Suva looking for housing and checking thing out. We would jump on the bus and go into town or over to USP to get some stuff done. The buses are pretty awesome! Nice and open... they blast the music, unfortunately its the super irritating stuff (and the same 5 songs).

The beautiful beaches of FIJI:

Pretty stinky actually.... I don't know if Suva has any pretty beaches, I didn't see any. But this is where we would have lived.

This is the guard in front of the President's House. They're not supposed to talk or smile or anything... but we got him to talk... just barely, and through closed lips hahah! Stuart was speaking Fijian and he said it freaked him out! Ha!

Thats our green bus we always took to get back to where we were staying:

Me on the sea wall at Suva Harbor... there's actually a pretty fun wave out there that would have been our home break... but Tavarua/Namotu waves are better :) And there's way more options! Plus it's FREE! Can't beat that!

Hare Krishna Ice cream!

One day we went up to see Stuart old Mission President who is now the temple president... Jolly little couple!

Here's the Suva Temple! Beautiful... this shot was taken by the Security guard we were hanging out with while waiting for the Woolley's to come home.

Here we are on our way to our very first surf in Fiji!

Stuart waxing up his new board for the first time!

We had to go out from the Resort Waidroka (a beautiful spot) but it was pretty pricey)

Since it was our first time out, neither one of us wanted to play photographer so this was the only shot we got .

We moved out of Suva while we were trying to figure out what we were going to do and landed in Pacific Harbour. In a place called Arts Village. We had a cute little flat there.

It had the best pool ever that we would go play in every day! Tiki Pool Bar!

No one else was ever there so we had the place to ourselves... yeah thats a slide coming out of the Tiki man's head :)

I've never tried to post a video on here so we'll see how this goes :)

This was the view from our window!

We loved our little place in Arts Village while we were there but we were ready to leave when we did. And we're loving our new home in the West! The West is Best!!!

Hopefully I'll post more soon!!!