Monday, January 26, 2015

Mom's Egg - An artifact

I recently found some interesting artifacts that I wanted to talk stories with you about.  The artifact on the left is a broken off adze (higam in Chamorro) head made out of a giant clam (hima in Chamorro) shell.  I posted my journey in making some higam hima in this post.
At times, when you happen upon broken clam shells, it is hard to distinguish if they are artifacts from the ancient Chamorros.  This one was pretty clear in that you can see the straight edges that was worked on as well as the angled cutting edge.  I illustrated how the whole adze head could have looked like if it was whole.  There are some illustrations here from the The Catalogue of Prehistoric Micronesian Artifacts Housed in Japan (Intoh, May 1998) that I wrote about as well.

Mother's Egg
The artifact on the right is a mystery to me.  Some people who have found similarly shaped stones think that they are the ancient Chamorro sling stone is acho' atupat (or atupak).  I describe sling stones here when I fashioned some myself.  History books describe them as egg or acorn-shaped stones fashioned with “jasper-like” stone, or with sun or fire-hardened clay. People now use the words biconical or football-shaped to describe them.  The stone here is really in the "egg-shaped" category. 
A few years ago, I saw one displayed in the Saipan Museum that was very smooth and also egg-shaped.  A historian that I was acquainted with shared a very interesting theory that he had about these egg-shaped stones.  Maybe they are not sling stones.  He says that they could possibly be implements used by some of the ancient women to strengthen their pelvic muscles, much like modern day Kegel exercises.  Smiling, I had to ask how he came about that seemingly off-beat theory.  He asked if I ever wondered about the expression, i chada nana mu?  I told him that I know that it is the most offensive thing you can say to someone in the Chamorro language but literally, it translates to, "your mother's egg".  He asked me to consider the meaning of the expression now with this theory.  Interesting, yes?  Anyway, I didn't get to ask him if there were any other evidence in stories or in literature that may support his hypothesis.  What do you think?
Thank you for talking stories with me again.

Ti napu.

The Beachcomber

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2015 - The Beach and the Blues

This is the first hike of the year 2015: go down to San Juan Beach and then go to Hidden Beach.  At least that was the plan.  The path to Hidden Beach was overgrown, so Laurina and I ended up going to Old Man by the Sea instead.  It was an enjoyable walk even though the body ached and the lungs were screaming.  I gotta get back in shape.  There seems to be a lot more tourist traffic here.  The beach has grown probably due to a few small storm events last 2014.  The sand has reached where the coconuts and fish-kill trees (Barringtonia asiatica) once dominated.

I found this gem at Old Man.  I told myself that for 2015, I will study Blues guitar.  It seemed like the universe was with me when I found this broken bottle top.  With a few modifications it can be used as a guitar slide.
I brought the thing home all excited, but maybe a little too excited.  I took the aluminum lip and some plastic off the top and brought out my grinder.  I was too in  a hurry, and I cracked what the universe has given me so serendipitously.  I was so bummed.

All I needed to do was to grind the rough edge but the grinder was too rough, and I didn't cool the glass off with water often enough.
Bye bye bottleneck slide!  A few days later, I researched some DIY online so I can practice on a wine bottle I already had.  It wasn't the best choice since it seemed a bit short and had a pronounced line where the halves of the glass were bonded.  I wanted to get some practice though before finding a better candidate.
So, I got the bottle to crack where I wanted it to and used a Dremel bit that was one made specifically for glass.  It is a good second try, I think.
 Hopefully, I can make a better one soon and that my playing improves dramatically.
Thank you for talking stories.  Happy New Year!

Tin napu,

The Beachcomber