Archive for March, 2007

Kamehameha Schools Presents Live Webcast of 2007 Song Contest

Hand-Made yarn lei of red & yellow, symbolic of Hawaiian royalty.The 87th Annual Song Contest will take place at Neal Blaisdell Center located in Honolulu, will be telecast live on KGMB Channel 9 (CBS) and will have a live, streaming webcast for the rest of the world to see!

It is slated to being at 7:00 HST on Friday night, March 23rd.

For the curious, Hawaii is 3 hours behind California and 6 hours behind New York. So, at 7 our time, it will be 10:00 PM in California and 1:00 AM Saturday morning in New York.

The Contest may not have the biggest audience outside of Hawaii, but it will be available for those who are willing to stay up late and want to get a taste of this unusual access to Hawaiian culture.

This event promises to provide music, dance, vocals and traditional attire, providing a treat for viewers.

Good Morning Honolulu!

Today’s Hawaiian Vocabulary Word

Pink Hibiscus Taken at Hawaii KaiI think we’ll do this going forward so I can tell you what a word means if I plan to use it! So, we will start with the most appropriate word for this site…

Honolulu: The capital City of the State of Hawaii. The literal translation is “sheltered bay” and Oahu does have bays, at least four that I can think of, that are very sheltered from the surf, etc.

Surf Report

Sunset Beach on the Northshore is the high point today with 6-8 foot waves. Makapu’u follows with 3-5, then Makaha on the West side with 2-4 feet and Diamond Head comes behind at only 1-3 feet. Sunday and Monday were great days for the surfers but today looks like a day for reef fishing or checking out the tide pools around most of the island.

Aside from the surf report, in other surfing news, KHON Channel 2 News reported yesterday that the public schools are trying to get surfing added to the list of high-school sports. I never thought about it, but I guess it definitely is an individual sport. It’s a sport that has a lot of added safety regulations that other sports do not. The sad part of this is that mainland schools already have it as part of their school sports program. And, Hawaii doesn’t?

Follow That Tomato!

Tomato with menusWhat do you do when you see a tomato walking on the street? You investigate! If it’s not the Fruit Of The Loom guys, it’s got to have something to do with food! No, that’s not underwear our little tomato is carrying, it’s menus!

Bishop Street Cafe has found a cute and fun way to get their message out and attract people who have either not been there or who haven’t been there for a while. The menu is an interesting combination of local favorites and healthy choices combining a mixture of selections from primarily Mediterranean and Japanese cuisines.

The Eggplant Parmigiana is great, the Oriental Chicken Salad is good, and the Basil Pesto is awesome. This is another restaurant that will adjust their usual manner of serving things to accommodate the likes and dislikes of their customers. I appreciate that and it shows a desire to please those who have decided to patronize your establishment. I still need to try some of the ramen, udon and donburi choices on the menu.

Courtyard alongside Bishop Street Cafe

Located in the old Dillingham Transportation Building at 725 Bishop Street, this little restaurant is in a spot that is easy enough to see and find, yet out of the way enough to be just a bit more peaceful than some of the other locations that sit right in the middle of the flow of pedestrian traffic. There are some nice outdoor tables placed in a rather inviting atmosphere.

Take my advice, if you see an item of produce walking around the street, I suggest you follow it!

Even a Glamour Puss Can’t Shop in Peace!

Another icon from the past bites the dust. Ala Moana Shopping Center is quickly losing its attraction for some of us as it loses the stores that many of us grew up with. Pacific Business News reported a couple of days ago that Petland, Ala Moana is closing its doors. That does leave the one in Kahala Mall but that’s a further drive and I am not one for shopping malls anymore and will have to search for it to figure out where it is. The malls have become too crowded, parking is a nightmare and by the time Ifinda place to park I have road rage. Yes, it’s that bad.

Ducky and her things

“Ducky” is not one for shopping but she is one for reaping the benefits of what the pet stores have to offer. (She also likes to have her picture taken and gets in the way of the lens whenever possible.) Petland was closer than most of the other well-stocked pet stores. They carried just about everything you need for dogs, cats, fish, birds, etc., and had a lovely array of shampoos and things to make the felines and canines smell good and look good. I guess I’ll have to figure out if the Kahala Mall store is worth the drive and let everyone know.

I’ll wager the Ala Moana’s overhead is the biggest reason Petland has decided, after 45 years, to close up shop at the most heavily marketed shopping complex in Honolulu. Petland’s owner reportedly said they anticipated an eventual slow down in business. I was there the other day and was struck by just how empty the store was. I don’t think eventual is exactly the right word. It looks to me like it’s a little bit of both — too much overhead and not enough customers to cover the cost of that overhead.

Petland has been there longer than I have been alive! When I was little, I would walk from one end of Ala Moana Center, where there was one pet store (that vacated long ago), to the other end to visit Petland. It’s a little crushing for me to watch part of my childhood go out window and this is yet another reason to NOT go to Ala Moana. There is one less practical reason to go there now.

As Ala Moana sees fit to bring in more high-end stores, affordable Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club have opened just across the street, maybe a block away. Wal-Mart is very busy now! Ala Moana has become, for many of us, just a place for window shopping or emergency shopping; it has almost become a place to be avoided. Even the tour buses are busing tourists to Waikele Shopping Center — a good 20+ miles away. What does that tell you?

Kaiser Loses Its Proper Focus

Kaiser Honolulu Sign

Auwe! to Kaiser’s Honolulu clinic which has lost its focus and has forgotten who pays for its survival. As a non-profit medical provider, you would think Kaiser would cater to its patients, not some obscure taxi company. Auwe, which means “oh” or “ouch” is often used as an exclamation of annoyance or irritation, similar to, “Oh please!” or “Give me a break!” or “You need a slap!” In this case, Kaiser needs a slap — a hard one!

Kaiser Urgent Care ParkingThe entrance to the urgent care department of this clinic had, at one time, four or five stalls for those who needed urgent care. Now, it has been chopped down to two. There are two handicapped stalls and that’s it. The other two stalls have been marked off to be used by a taxi company.

From what I could gather, the clinic got tired of dealing with the taxis parking in front of the main entrance to the clinic. Well, if the security guards can’t deal with the taxi companies, they need to find another job! The lazy, arrogant, do-nothings have no problem dealing with ailing people who really NEED those stalls. I had to bring an ailing family member to the clinic the other day and the only two stalls available were taken.

Kaiser1

So, of course I parked in the stalls used for nothing. There were no taxis around and taxis should certainly not have first priority anyway. The guard couldn’t wait to ask whose car that was when he decided to come out of his cushy little hiding place and stop doing whatever it is they do in there… which ain’t much. Like I said to the security guard, patients are more important than taxi cabs!

Reserved Parking for Taxi SignYou know what’s even more irritating? Who the heck is Akamai Cab? I don’t even know this company! “The Cab” or “Charley’s Taxi” would at least be familiar, but it’s even an unknown company! Akamai means smart or intelligent. They’re not very bright letting themselves be put into such an unpopular situation. I know some people catch cabs to the clinic but most people in need of urgent care drive are driven to the clinic… by family members or by friends.

This is a medical provider not a shopping center! Kaiser, get your priorities straight! Next thing you know they’ll reroute the ambulances to make room for the garbage truck. Sorry Kaiser, but this was an idiotic thing to do!

I am always the first person to back this medical provider up and to tell people they are crazy for paying the rates of other medical providers and that they should be a Kaiser patient etc., so THAT has NOTHING to do with it! This move of theirs was just plain dumb! My advice? Fix it and hire a new security company.

And call “The Cab” at 422-2222. No, no connection, I just love the commercials! The Cab is “for Tutus too!” Come on guys, fix this so I can update this story and send the clinic flowers… kick the cabs to the curb and let your patients have access to their care!

Something’s Fishy… and Healthy!

AHI & Vegetable entrance.If there is one thing that Honolulu has, it’s a lot of restaurants. If there is one thing that residents love to do, it’s EAT! There are many restaurants but some are often overlooked because either they are very small,they are out of view of the mainstream, their menus consist of somewhat esoteric entrées or any combination of these characteristics.

One place I discovered actually has all of these characteristics. Even it’s name is a little… odd. AHI & Vegetable is a tiny little hole-in-the-wall located at 1126 Fort Street Mall that sells itself on the freshness and healthy quality of the food on the menu. Their motto says, “Eat fish, Live healthy!” They also bring in fresh fish daily from auction and have “No MSG” posted just about everywhere. Okay, these are positives. It’s clean, the staff is patient, they will let you re-create their menu without blinking and, unlike most restaurants in a business district, they stay open — until 6 PM!

Drawbacks? It’s a little pricey. But then, fresh ahi (tuna) usually is. The average cost for a meal is somewhere between $7 and $8. Everything on the menu comes with “Vegetable” automatically. There is ahi and vegetable, shrimp and vegetable, salmon and vegetable, crab and vegetable, and then there’s teriyaki chicken with a small salad or beef curry and a small salad. If you want a more complete meal, you can order a “set” which,along with a choice from the aforementioned menu, includes miso soup and your choice of steam, brown or sushi rice. They also toss in some fish eggs and ginger.

Inside AHI & Vegetable restaurant.There’s definitely a Japanese influence but, there is something more that I just can’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps it’s the boss who picks up on a customer’s possible likes and dislikes. I had the crab and vegetable set with miso and sushi rice. The chef/owner automatically said to me, “you don’t want fish eggs do you?” I just looked at him and said, “No, I don’t.” I was actually confused by his question because it was so unexpected. He was right, I don’t do fish eggs. To be honest, this was not my kind of meal at all. But, it was late and I was desperate. By the time I left, I felt satisfied both with the food and with the service. The servings are not skimpy and the food is good… and fresh!

Chevron Ran Out of Gas!

Sitting at a red light the other day, my car was dwarfed as it sat idling alongside a very proud-looking Chevron gas tanker. The light changed, I left him in the dust, and couldn’t help but think about the sight I knew I was about to see. Again. For about the 250th time. My Chevron station that has been sitting abandoned, deserted and desolate for at least that many days.

Deserted Chevron gas station.

Located next to Kawananakoa Middle School on Nuuanu Avenue, this station was ALWAYS busy. Last summer they lost their lease, or so we were told. I watched and waited, and waited, and waited. Then, back in October, I was able to corner some Chevron staff members as they were doing some corporate philanthropy at the Susan Komen Race for the Cure. (I love it when I have a captive audience and they HAVE to be nice to me!) I questioned them about the station and they seemed to be comfortable both with the question and with their answer.

Busy traffic next to Chevron.

I asked them, “So, are you going to open my station again?”
“Oh, yes, it should be opening very soon.”
“You know, that’s a very busy corner. Chevron CAN’T just leave it empty like that!”
“Yeah, I know.”Chevron sign.

Fast forward to now, the beginning of March, and still my Chevron sits empty. That beautiful tanker was less than a mile away! Still the station sits, quiet and alone. Even the sign looks like an abandoned infant with it’s fallen tarp looking like a dirty baby diaper. Not that we want to be reminded of the price of gas, but those blanks on the sign make it look anemic!

This poor little station is not well! There is no gas, no air, no water, no safety checks, no diet Coke, and no individually-wrapped cheeseburgers for my husband to pop in the microwave and call dinner (his idea, not mine). It is not only a place for all of these things but it is a security blanket for a busy neighborhood that rarely sleeps.

It used to be open early in the morning giving neighbors a feeling of security while waiting for the bus in the dark. After dark it offered solace when a driver ran out of gas or was suddenly hit with a flat tire. It was always a place to seek safety or refuge because there was always somebody there. Somebody with a phone, a flashlight, a tire gage, or just a sympathetic ear.

Can someone please tell Chevron they don’t live in a vacuum? In addition, the 7-11 that is on the other side of the middle school is too darn busy now because that’s now the closest place to get gas! But, there’s no air, water or auto vacs at 7-11! That’s not what they do. That’s what Chevron does. They used to. I want to be able to update this story. This is the petroleum provider that the Honolulu Star-Bulletin calls Hawaii’s market leader. Hmmm… Chevron?

Hats Off!

Emergency Supplies March is Red Cross Month and the Hawaii Chapter of the American Red Cross decided to start its “Hats Off” campaign on Friday with a donation-collecting rally downtown.

The local chapter assures residents that, “All funds collected will go to the American Red Cross, Hawaii State Chapter, to support local services for Hawaii’s people. Donations stay in the islands to help those in need throughout our State.”

Table of Goodies

Feeding the not-so-needy and looking to collect donations, the American Red Cross, joined by the Honolulu Fire Department, parked and set up tents at Tamarind Park on Friday.

Fire Truck

To make sure they covered all the bases, the Red Cross also set up tents of various purposes along the street-fronts of both Bank of Hawaii and First Hawaiian Bank — one purpose was to serve up some yummy-looking food! I’m always happy to report on good food!

HFC Bosses HFD Troops

With the weather being nice and sunny there was quite a draw with the food, the firemen and a couple of our radio stations hustling around outdoors .

Krater96 Van

KCCN FM100 Vehicle

The Red Cross had themselves a relatively captive audience with money collectors on all four corners of the busiest intersection of Honolulu’s business district. At 8:00 AM that morning they could be seen setting up and at 3:00 PM that afternoon, they were still wrapping things up.

What can I say? It doesn’t hurt to recoup some of the financial expenditures encountered with the earthquake that did some major damage to the Big Island in October, or to try to recover from the smaller, less-publicized incidents in Honolulu and beyond. The Red Cross is doing its best to stay above water… in case we get buried in some. Many of us forget that the Red Cross is not supported by any State or Federal government agency. It is the donations of concerned citizens and charitable organizations that keep it afloat.

We have had our share of things go wrong in the last couple of years, but nothing like what New York or New Orleans has had to endure. We are comparatively fortunate, and will hopefully never encounter, the devastation that was 9-11 or the tragedy that still is Katrina. I am a bit presumptuous when I say that we would never face a lack of response like New Orleans did. Would we? Well, there are still many people that lived through Pearl Harbor so let’s not get too arrogant! I think it’s a human protective device that forces us to bury the memories of extreme heartache or pain.

Unfortunately, partly because of this psychological trait, the emergency response people are often forgotten about when there is no current drama. If we are not directly involved with a crisis, we seem to take these agencies for granted. But, sit us down long enough, remind us of these unpredictable things, and we’ll be grateful that they’re there. As smug as we are, it’s sure nice to know there is a crisis crew in our own back yard!

Red Cross Bears

So, “Hats Off!” to the Hawaii Chapter of the American Red Cross and to all of their volunteers!