Archive for April, 2007

Maritime History and Pirate Ships

Talk about hidden treasure! I was out running one Saturday afternoon and caught site of this little place we must have passed a million times. I got closer to see just exactly what it was. A gift shop? It’s right next to Aloha Tower Marketplace so it must be. No, it’s not. It’s a museum! OMG, I love museums! Hawaii Maritime Center

Sign for Hawaii Maritime CenterI made a date with my mother to go a week or so after Easter. So, we did. The Hawai’i Maritime Center is a must-see attraction that is certainly not advertised enough! The shows in Waikiki are great but here is a piece of Hawaii’s history put together so nicely with information that is invaluable! I kept thinking about how it should be a requirement that all Hawaiiana teachers go to this attraction. I think I’ll write a letter to the Department of Education. I don’t remember anyone teaching me this stuff! Largest Marlin Caught Diver's HelmetWhat made me walk into this place to begin with? This big fish! I thought it was strange that they would build such a large model… it’s not a model. It’s a REAL fish. Honest! Then I read signs that said, “World’s Largest Pacific Blue Marlin caught on Rod & Reel in Makaha, Oahu on June10, 1970.” No way! Back to the West side of the island again. Back to my old stomping ground. Well, sort of — I’m pretty sure this guy was out in a lot deeper water than I ever ventured into! I think I would have had a coronary if I suddenly figured out that I was swimming next to something as big as that without knowing it! For you fishermen out there, that is sixteen feet and 1,805 pounds of marlin! Caught with 130 lb test and an angling time of 45 minutes, Captain Cornelius Choy and his daughter, Gail, somehow brought this giant with a 97-inch girth to shore. He was made into a display by taxidermist, Jordon Lee. Anyway, we’re not even in the door yet and already fascinated.
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Hawaiian Hunger Pangs!

A plate of Spam Musubi I have been hungry all morning. I was checking out other blogs and so many were talking about food. When in doubt and in Honolulu, if you can’t make it to a Zippy’s restaurant, get a Spam musubi! I’ll talk about Zippy’s soon, I promise.

I know, people in the mainland U.S. think we’re weird because they see Spam as food for poor people. We just like it! Hormel has got to love Hawaii!

Case in point: WalMart is going to open their doors with a great sale on microwaves and things and cases of Spam. People were sleeping in the parking lot waiting for the doors to open. Okay, I won’t go to that extreme, but I like it too!

So, what is Spam musubi? It’s fried Spam on a block of rice wrapped in nori (dried seaweed). The picture above, compliments of Wikipedia, is a good example of what it would look like… this plate looks like something made for a high-school football team after the game! I wasn’t invited. Dammit!

The only problem with that musubi is that there is no furikake. Furikake is a seasoning of sorts that is sprinkled on rice. It is made of sesame seeds, seaweed, salt and who knows what else. It just tastes good — sort of like putting salt on your french fries. Some of us affectionately refer to Spam musubi with furikake as “dirty” so the cashier knows what to charge when you’re buying it already made. Once they add furikake the price goes up a few cents.

I know, now you guys think I’m making this up. I’m not, honest. You can get the history of Spam musubi and a recipe off the Internet! Just don’t add vinegar to it for this purpose. It doesn’t quite fit. I love vinegar dishes, don’t get me wrong. I’m sure I’ll get to those too eventually! Hmmm… pork adobo! Oh dear, now look! Maybe I’ll eat sweet-sour spareribs for lunch and then I’ll be happy.

The beauty about the cuisine in Hawaii is that it’s made up over time of so many ethnic mixes. We take a bit from Japan, a bit from the Philippines, something from Puerto Rico, sprinkle in some Chinese, add it to the Portuguese, the Hawaiian and who knows what else, mix it all up and then decide what works, what we like and then morph it all to fit our taste buds! They don’t call us the “melting pot” for nothing!Β  Such is Hawaii’s version of “American” cuisine.
You’ll notice I’m not bitching. I don’t bitch about food, only the lack thereof. But, I still need a name for my bitch and complain category! Come on you guys!

I Hate Money!

Money clipart

Or I at least hate needing it! Money should have been a four-letter word! I know we all need it but all it seems to do is get us into trouble! It gets individuals in trouble, it gets politicians in trouble, and it gets businesses in trouble.

We all go through periods in our lives or the life of our business when things just get messed up. Stuff like this can happen. It happens either because the decisions made were not always the best ones, because you’ve lost your job, because you’ve lost your spouse, or just because you’ve temporarily lost your mind.

When it’s time to return to some kind of normalcy with your personal or business finances, consolidation loans are a miracle come true. For some. The problem is that some of these loans do more harm than good.

A borrower may want to borrow money that in reality they cannot safely pay back and risk-taking lenders, like New Century Financial, irresponsibly lend money to people who will never be able to pay them back.

The buzz is out there about problems with sub-prime lenders. I have heard it on the Internet, I have heard it from bloggers whose opinions I respect, and I have seen it in hard-copy publications like Financial Week. It shook me. It does that when drama impacts your own backyard!

Home123, a subsidiary (or something like that) of New Century Financial, has a Honolulu office. They do what any other lender does. They review your request, they review your financial situation, and then they review their ability to assist you with your needs.

New Century’s problem is with those offices that don’t see the big picture. They don’t assess the borrowers ability to pay, they don’t pay attention to the company’s regulations, and their only focus is their commission.

I’m not as caustic about it as my blogger friend, Sauer Kraut, but the extent of the damage and the impact it has already had is far-reaching! It even has the investment managers biting their nails over mortgage-backed securities and it’s giving them second thoughts about investing client monies in these things!

New Century called me the other day to remind me about my payment — not because I was late, but because it was almost due and because they’re, quite obviously, afraid. I was going to say nervous, but I think fear is a more appropriate definition at this point. I let the caller know that he scared me because I thought I forgot or something.

He said they have had a problem with payments being late. “Not yours,” he said quickly so as not to offend, “but many are.” I told him that I doubted there were that many late payments from Honolulu because the Honolulu office of Home123 “knows how to dot their I’s and cross their T’s!” He agreed.

I have it on good authority that the Honolulu office of Home123 has always been careful not to get the borrower or themselves into trouble. From my own experience I have to agree. Yes, I got myself into debt trouble, and they bailed me out!

New Century Financial is terrified (or should be), the Honolulu office of Home123 is going to come through this unscathed (I hope), and I still hate muny! That’s right, M-U-N-Y. It IS a four-letter word!

Since we’re on a rock and safely away from the heart of this mess, the Honolulu office still has its doors open. They may not be able to lend money at the moment, but they’re still there! I’ll update this as I hear more.

Home123
841 Bishop Street, Suite 2001
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
808-531-5500

Rise and Shine!

Yellow hibiscusIt’s Tuesday, so you can shine. As long as it’s not Monday!Β  There are just a few tidbits this morning.

First of all, yesterday we lost yet another pedestrian. This brings the number of pedestrian fatalities so far this year up to 12. Still the battle continues as drivers and pedestrians become more belligerent and continue to cop attitudes about the whole scene.

Don Ho’s funeral services are planned for May 5th. His ashes will be paddled out by canoe and scattered just offshore of Queen’s Surf Beach in Waikiki.

Kaiser has done absolutely nothing to correct their parking oversight.

On a lighter note, the surf’s up! On the Northshore of Oahu the waves are reaching 12 to 15 feet. On the West side (Makaha) we have 6 to 10 foot waves. Makapu’u is at 4 to 7 feet and Diamond Head is bringing up the rear with 2 to 4 footers. There were a couple of marine warnings for small crafts, etc., so be careful.

Don’t forget to help me name my category! “I need to come up with a new category for posts about things that have made me angry, upset, etc.”

Category Contest!

Okay, this is a quick post for all of you with the creative minds out there.  I need to come up with a new category for posts about things that have made me angry, upset, etc. 

This is a contest of sorts.  I will figure out a way to give you some “link love” (there’s that dumb phrase again — you notice I keep using it though) and if you are in North America, I will send you a bottle of my favorite, appropriately-named wine!

I already have one entry just since I mentioned doing this.  Carole Lane has already started the contest with “Evelyn’s Evil Itch” as her entry!  I want to get this accomplished by April 30th.  Since that’s my birthday, I’ll consider my new category name as a gift from the blogosphere!  One week is enough time I think.  πŸ™‚

Can We Get a Refill?

When I first mentioned my irritation with Chevron and my out-of-order gas station , I sent the link to Chevron’s corporate office. I guess I really was annoyed to have gone that far. (I did the same thing to Kaiser but we’ll deal with that later.) Anyway, a few days later, Chevron’s response was to put a new tarp on the sign.

Chevron's sign with a new tarp

Okay, so I’m being paranoid. It probably had nothing to do with me. But, it’s amusing to think that it might have. They may not have liked me saying their sign looked like an abandoned infant “with it’s fallen tarp looking like a dirty baby diaper.” A couple of weeks after the new tarp, something happened. Check out these windows! So clean! Hmmm… most people clean house before moving in don’t they?

Chevron's clean windows

A couple of days ago, there was a little truck there. I had to walk up to it and ask (because I’m nosy like that). “Whatchya doing?” You should have seen the glaring look I got! Sorry! I think I scared him. Anyway, I had to know! “Is it going to reopen?” I queried. “Sometime next month” was the curt reply. Good enough for me. We shall see. I’ll be sure to keep you informed! I know, you’re thinking that that’s what you were afraid of. I guess I have to add another category to this blog… maybe “This Irritates Me” or “This Pisses Me Off” or something like that but not so crude.

Hey, how about a contest?!? You guys give me a title and I’ll give the best one some “link love.” Who made up that expression — link love? And you guys think I’m weird? I gotta think about this. Back with this in a bit! You think about a category name while I think about how to do this, and remember to keep it clean.

Water: for Life or… Not?

One of the things that Hawaii takes pride in is its clean water. There’s no chlorine in our water! Our Board of Water Supply has on its billing envelopes the phrase, “Ka Wai Ola” which means Water for Life. We’ll just sneak this in as a vocabulary word for the day. What a wonderful and appropriate phrase.

Surf off of Barbers Point Lighthouse

This is a story I have avoided for a long time. As angry as it has made me over the last year or so, I didn’t want to talk about it, didn’t want to remind the rest of the world of the heinous error made by the City and County of Honolulu. All over the world this story made the headlines!

Back on March 23rd of 2006, we had a huge volume of rain that just kept coming down for weeks. The force main sewer line in Waikiki could finally take no more and it ruptured. So, what did they do? Let’s just dump the sewage into the Ala Wai canal where the kids paddle canoes and the water leads out to the ocean along Waikiki Beach. No problem.

Talk about shock — “They did what?!?” Could we not have called in every sewage company and every available truck to pump it out and carry it to the sewage plants? Maybe it was just cheaper to destroy the ecological balance and make our environment toxic. Is that it? Forty-eight million gallons of raw sewage?!? WHY?!?

It was an emergency? Is that what you’ll say? Duh! Call the sewage, pumping and plumbing companies. You think they wouldn’t run to the scene to help? First of all, at times of emergency we always pull together. They would have been more than happy to help. Secondly, do you think they would pass up a job with guaranteed pay? Again I say, “Duh!” If the mayor had just sent out an urgent bulletin, people would have kicked their spouses out of bed to get down there! Come on, man!

Tourism is impacted by this kind of stupidity. That’s our lifeline, our survival! What is wrong with you?!? Then you have the audacity to insist we pay more taxes to pay for a rail transit system? I would much rather pay more taxes to cover an upgrade to the sewer systems before you dorks pollute our environment again.

Okay, all this is doing is making me angry all over again. Breathe.

Canoe paddlers on the Ala Wai Canal

So, after a year, where are we now? After several months, the canoe paddlers are returning to the Ala Wai, the Board of Health, or some such organization, says the bacteria levels of the beach water has returned to normal, people are swimming again. Some people. I was asked a few weeks ago if I’ve been going to the beach. Uh, not since March of last year. The closest I came was the very welcome ocean water pictured above by the Barbers Point lighthouse. That’s half way around the island from Waikiki. Even then it was just my feet.

Sewer line on the sidewalk along the Ala Wai

They’ve put in a new line underground but… are they going to leave that sewer line Super Chicken!on the sidewalk adjacent to Waikiki?

Look, Mayor Hannemann, you knew the job was dangerous when you took it and, I’m sorry, but part of that job is to accept the liability and take ownership of the mistakes made by the office you govern. Hello?!? I don’t know a lot about politics; in fact, I’m a bit of an idiot myself when it comes to the subject. But I DO know who is responsible for my City’s governance. Get off your little blamethon, stop trying to redirect people’s attention elsewhere and fix the *%&$ing problem!

Sewer line along the opposite side of the Ala Wai

Super Chicken train wreckGet your priorities straight, fix the Ala Wai, and get that damn piece of sewage paraphernalia off the sidewalk! Then, and only then, talk to me about rail transit systems, and re-election. Right now your term of service is nothing more to me than a train wreck and, to be honest, I just don’t like the way it looks.

Am I the only one feeling like this? Hell no! Others have taken the City to court to demand action. Play the video and see for yourself. The site of that dumping makes me want to puke. Yeah, the crabs got bigger in the Ala Wai, but, I’m not eating ’em!

Honolulu & All Hawaii Bids Aloha to Don Ho

Don Ho Dies on April 14, 2007

Don was 76 and died today of heart failure. I am stunned by this news. They called him a “Living Legend” but now he’s gone. Don was a Hawaiian icon — one that most of us grew up with. Talk about a way to burst a person’s Tiny Bubbles!

I grew up with that song from the time I was only three or four years old. Our babysitter would play it and we would sing along. I never knew what the lyrics meant. I always wondered how bubbles could “make you warm all over” if you were all wet.

As I got older, I finally figured out that the bubbles were the ones in the wine, not the bubble bath. You know, like the ones in soda? I still couldn’t figure out how you would keep warm that way. Um, I guess I should mention that I get it now.

Don Ho, Englebert, and Rod Young

Don Ho, left, is pictured here with Engelbert Humperdinck, center, and Hawaii’s local entertainer, Rod Young in a photo taken one January evening in the early ’80’s at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Yes, that is Engelbert, I was there when this photo was taken.

I was happy to find out from KHON Channel 2 News that Don was here in Honolulu and at home when it happened. He was rushed to Queen’s Hospital where he died at 10:30 am. I’m glad he was here at home; I don’t think he would have wanted to be anywhere else.

Aloha, Don, thank you for all the memories you left for locals and for so many visitors over the years! CNN has posted details and a nice write-up and photo compliments of The Associated Press.

Merrie Monarch Festival, LIVE! Tonight!

Portion of KITV's Merrie Monarch Festival bannerI almost missed the video feed. Sorry!

Okay guys, KITV is gonna get mad at me for stealing their pretty banner, but they’ll forgive me since I’m sending you their way!

KITV4 will be televising the closing and award ceremonies this evening at 6:00 PM HST. Again, that is 9:00 PM Caifornia time and 12 midnight in New York.

For now, or in case you miss it completely, here is a link to some slides.

KITV reports that, “There will be links on the front page of the Web site and the Merrie Monarch Festival section during the broadcasts starting at 6 p.m. on April 12-14 HST”

Ohia Lehua Blossoms

Mahalo to KITV for making this possible, and, for not getting mad at me for “borrowing” their picture! I have no complaints or bad comments about any of our media so I’m cool… I hope. Now that I think about it, I actually like them all… for one reason or another.

For those who don’t know, Mahalo means Thank you!Β  Aloha gang and have a great weekend!

Good Morning, Honolulu!

Today’s Hawaiian Vocabulary WordRed hibiscus

It’s probably not a bad idea to start a page with a list of our vocabulary words so that anybody can look back at them whenever they forget the meaning of a word.

Ohana: Family or kin group.

In Hawaii this term is used quite often when referring to families or to other tightly-knit groups. When a group of people band together for the same purpose or with a common goal they often refer to themselves affectionately as an ohana. For pronunciation, ohana sounds like (rhymes with) “oh mama.”

Recently, our fearless leader, Jon Symons at Home Turf Media had a logo designed for our little ohana of city bloggers. They don’t know that I have labeled our group of city bloggers an ohana, but they will once they read this post and get their vocabulary word of the day! The first item on the agenda was business cards. I took the file to Kinko’s to have it printed.

The staff at Kinko’s knows how to use Photoshop and I do not, and I wasn’t in the mood for the new-software-learning-curve thing. The problem is, Kinko’s hires young people with no concept of making an impression on the customer. They have no idea that they should call the customer and let them know when something looks bad. Okay, I was lazy and it cost me, but I came out a winner in the end.

I was upset but paid them and left — normally I would have gone into bitch mode but there were no “bosses” around so I just blew it to the wind. After letting my irritation fester into anger, I started talking to myself about their ignorance and poor customer service.

Diane at work at her businessThen I started to think about the woman who used to print our newsletters for Church. If a page didn’t print straight, “she would always tell me and just FIX it!.” If a page didn’t look right she would always reprint a page until it came out right and only then would she run the whole print job.

“Why didn’t I call her? You idiot! Duh!” I was out the door and sitting at her counter in a matter of minutes. I knew her for newsletters and flyers, I just never thought of taking her some business cards.

The shop used to be a Sir Speedy franchise store. The name has since changed, but certainly not the quality of service or the personality of this little business! You’ll never guess what the company’s name is now…

Ohana Printing & Graphics store signYou got it! Does this company know the meaning of our vocabulary word of the day? You bet! I told the owner, Diane Wernet, all about my little fiasco with my first printing attempt and she just started talking about getting the template and fixing it up.

She worked on the colors to get them to match and she made the important parts readable, attractive and attention-grabbing — like they should have been from the start. Then she sent me four different drafts to choose from. We both liked the same one the best.

At one point I asked Diane how she would recommend that I cut the cards once they were printed. In a bit of a stunned tone with a touch of annoyance, she said, “I would never let my customers cut their own cards!” Diane is one of those people who takes a project and makes it her own. The finished product has to meet up with her standards.

It was a stupid question — I don’t know why but I still had it stuck in my head that I would need to cut them myself. In all fairness, Kinko’s did cut them too, albeit not evenly. Sigh. This is just part of the difference between drive-through printers like Kinko’s and professionals like Diane.

Sign inside store Ohana Printing & GraphicsThe advertising tag line used by Ohana Printing & Graphics with their logo is “We take care of our customers like family.” That statement is, of course, in line with their name (and our word of the day) but most importantly it is one where I must say I have to agree. Diane made me chuckle when she said she would have trouble hiring others to assist her. Their work would have to meet her standards. Anything less wouldn’t walk out the door.

My new business cards and the invoiceFor about the same amount of money that I would spend on a color-printer cartridge for my computer, Diane fixed it up, made it pretty, printed it on “real” card stock and, yes, cut them for me too!

I think I’ll crown her princess for the day! I love my cards and I’m proud of them. Thanks, Diane! You’re awesome!

Ohana Printing & Graphics
822 Fort Street Mall
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: 808-537-5333
Fax: 808-536-1825