Archive for February, 2008

Morning Moon and “Shocking” Surf

Morning Sun shines on the Moon

It’s morning, the sun is shining… and the moon is still hanging around for us to admire. Apparently our evening skylight has decided that being full last week wasn’t enough time in the limelight. I’ve always found it curious when the moon is so visible in the daylight.

Obviously the moon is always there, but it’s not always quite so obvious about it. I wonder what other anomalies accompany months when the moon shares the daylight with the sun. The surf was up, I know that. It still is. Well, on the North and West shores of Oahu it was.

When a Swim is a Shocking Experience

So, where am I going with this and what’s so shocking about daylight moon sightings and high surf?

The jellies! The box jellyfish will be here today or tomorrow. Like clockwork, they will make their appearance, float around, wash up on the beaches and wrap their loving tentacles around unsuspecting swimmers, divers and surfers. Some people say 8-10 days after the full moon while others say 10 to 13. I’m going with 10 just for the sake of simplicity.

Hawaii is one of the very few places, if not the only place, that has this peculiar behavior of mass jelly movement. But, they’ll be flocking into the beaches if they haven’t already. Perhaps we should say constellating since we’re tying it in with the full moon… or maybe we should say “schooling” since they’re more like a school of fish rather than a flock of birds. I like constellating because it’s more visually accurate — the beach will be dotted with them for sure.

Getting away from the pretty bubbles floating on the water is not enough… it’s what’s under the water that’s gonna get you! Although they are toxic and have been known to be deadly, Hawaii has never had a death from these not-so-charming characters. We’ve had illness, pain and maybe even infections, yes, but no deaths.

When I was lucky enough to feel that kind of trauma, it was one of Hawaii’s Portuguese man-of-war that caused the problem. At least with them you can see them coming… they’re the pretty blue bubbles that the unsuspecting swimmer can admire just before they feel the sudden shock of pain. The box jellyfish are clear and under water so you may not see them in time… but you’ll sure feel them if they’re there and you cross their path!

Stinging Jellyfish
Mahalo to “Rob’s Aquatic Moment” at Explore Biodiversity for this wonderful graphic!

All is not lost, swimmers! The lifeguards will post warning signs and they will have remedies ready for tearful victims. Of course, you do need to heed their cautionary statements and the signs they post. If you’re feeling adventurous and in the mood to ignore the warning signs, or if you’re just going to a beach with no lifeguard on duty, be sure you have a bottle of vinegar on hand and a clear knowledge of the closest aid station (fire station or hospital) in case your reaction is more severe than just pain. They also say to use heat but some people say ice. Everyone is different, just see which one works. Personally, I think I would go for the ice.

Certain months bring more squishy visitors than others. Hmmm… with the moon being so cocky and the Northshore having a high surf advisory yesterday morning, maybe the jellies will be out in force! I’ll let you guys know what happens. I’ll listen to the news and we’ll make this our little scientific experiment! Shhhhhhh! We’ll list it as “Homespun Honolulu’s Studies in Biology.” Of course we’ll have to do this more than once to confirm our findings. ๐Ÿ™‚ Then someone will just come and beat us up about it. Oh well.

Beware of these little aggressors — they’re not just dumb, floating bubbles. If you’re more than familiar with these characters and are leaning towards shrugging it off, beware of anaphylactic shock. I’ve seen similar, unexpected reactions like this to things like Penicillin and aspirin. “But I wasn’t allergic to it before,” you say.ย  Well you are now! It can happen so just beware. Don’t let the surf be too shocking!

Don’t Forget the Carnival Deadline

Ohia flowersDon’t forget to submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Aloha using our carnival submission form. Today’s the deadline!

This is just another note so you don’t forget. If you have a post about Hawaii and you haven’t submitted it to the Carnival of Aloha, please do!ย  This event will go live on Monday, March 3rd. ย  Come join the fun!

Oysters: The Other White Meat

oysters

Oysters are the culinary pearls of the sea,
A prized ocean delicacy for you and me
Dining on raw oysters? Check your fork…
Think twice my friend — you’re eating sea pork!

Photo compliments of Jon Aslund on Flickr

I made that up. What would make me say something like that? Well, while reading about them I couldn’t help but remember the stories I’ve heard about people getting sick from eating raw oysters. I usually hear people say they got sick because they ate too many of them. Well, apparently it may be more than that.

Let’s see… they are found in brackish water (water that is salty but not as salty as the open ocean). Now, I can’t help but see that description as a definition of our own coastal waters — where the fresh-water streams meet the ocean. The oysters feed off of what they filter through their gills. Anything floating in the water might end up stuck in their flesh. Hmmm… warning signs for streams talk about how the water may be contaminated. Need I say more?

To be fair, the dangers of raw oyster consumption are primarily aimed more at the Gulf oysters because there are a lot of laws and restrictions about harvesting the oysters from that region. But, I’m paranoid about the handling of food products as it is and I say it couldn’t hurt to be safe about it around here too. This site goes to great lengths to share information about the the health issues raw oysters may cause.

If you love oysters and you’re feeling offended, relax, nobody’s trying to ruin your favorite food. These guys are obviously serious about protecting people from eating this stuff raw. To make oyster lovers happy, they have even provided some mouth-watering recipes. Those recipes sound so good I was actually trying to figure out which ingredients I already have and which ones I’m missing.

Cook them! That’s the message. Remember, you’re eating sea swine. Come on, someone has got to have come up with that analogy already! ๐Ÿ™‚

Honolulu Says Aloha to Another Legend

Aunty Genoa Keawe at Ma'e Ma'e Elementary School in May of 2007Genoa Keawe, that’s Aunty Genoa Keawe to most who knew her, passed away yesterday, Monday, February 25th. She was 89 years old.

KHON Channel 2 put together a nice tribute to her that explains her life and career.

In spite of it all, Aunty Genoa’s memory and all of the music she left behind will live on for decades.

Someone that I would have called a living legend, Genoa Keawe, will be remembered for her many contributions and influence on Hawaiian music, culture and the entertainers that followed after her. I will also venture to say that her work will continue to act upon the entertainment industry for at least several more decades.

This snippet from The City and County of Honolulu News and Events, released yesterday, quotes Honolulu’s Mayor who sums it up quite nicely:

Mayor Hannemann said Aunty Genoa should be remembered for her kindness and contributions to Hawaiian music, and as a symbol of Hawaii’s culture.

‘Aunty Genoa was an icon in the Hawaiian music scene for more than 50 years, and her signature falsetto voice and tremendous repertoire captivated audiences everywhere,’ Mayor Hannemann said. ‘She was a true island treasure who served as an important resource for scores of local musicians.’

The choir of angels just acquired a very powerful soprano! Rest in peace, Aunty, while your music and memory live on! Every Day is Lei Day in Hawaii, and in Heaven now too!

“Save Queen’s Surf!”

I remember that! I don’t know why I remember it, I just do. It’s an old childhood memory and, as I got older, I frequently thought about it and wondered where we were when people were trying to “Save Queen’s Surf.” While I was looking up something about the Natatorium, which is located next to the Waikiki Aquarium, I found the answer to this age old question of mine — the Queen’s Surf was a restaurant and nightclub that was nearby a beach where we used to go swimming when I was only about 4 or 5 years old.

View of Waikiki from the Diamond Head end

They must have made good cheeseburgers or something… or maybe I thought we were trying to save the beach. I don’t remember. All I know is that it was an important issue to this little girl — so much so that it has stuck with me all these years! As it turned out, that little girl, and a lot of other Honolulu residents, lost that battle. The restaurant was closed in 1969 and subsequently torn down in 1971.

Picnic with family

It was a perfect area to have a little family picnic and celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday. We just happened to be very close to the Natatorium on Monday, after the Great Aloha Run. It was also perfect timing too because, after 8.2 miles, I was hungry!

Meat!

Okay, maybe this was not the healthiest of diets, but we had veggies too!

Shish kabob vegetables on the grill

In fact, there was tossed salad and some mushroom, zucchini and tomato kabobs — I don’t like tomatoes, but I love zucchini!

Beach Walk in Waikiki

While waiting for the food to cook, I just had to take a quiet saunter down the beach walk. I can imagine how beautiful this place must be at night.

Since we were so close to the Natatorium, I thought it would be a cool thing to write about. So, I decided to continue in that general direction.

While meandering towards the Natatorium, I passed a lady sitting and talking on her cell phone. I couldn’t help but notice the tattoo on her arm. I continued on for just a bit but then I stopped and went back to where she was sitting. I’m sorry, I just had to get a picture of those star fish! I’ve told you guys before, it’s all about the art!

Star Fish TattooI motioned to the lady that I wanted to get a picture of her arm. Without even flinching she turned a little so that these lovely star fish faced in my direction. I took pictures of her tattoo as she just sat comfortably and continued her phone conversation. This was obviously not the first time she has had this happen!

Anyway, on to the Natatorium. I know very little about it except that it is “The War Memorial” that was built to honor WWI veterans from Hawaii and the 100+ local lives that were lost in that war. Unfortunately, the Natatorium has been closed since 1980 or so because it is deteriorating and has been deemed unsafe.

Natatorium

It is a point of contention as many want to see it restored while many others want it torn down and the beach restored. I have no opinion myself except that if it is polluting the coastline, it needs to go. If not, we should preserve it in some form to memorialize its original purpose. Maybe they should just lose the crumbling bleachers, maintain the facade and clean up the swimming pool portion for schools and other organizations to use.

My mother used to participate in a lot of swimming meets there — around 1950 or so. My grandfather pushed her to be a champion swimmer — probably with the hopes that she would follow in his Olympic footsteps.

We had a lot of strong swimmers back in the days of Duke Kahanamoku. In the 1920 Summer Olympics, Duke Kahanamoku won the Gold Medal in the 100-meter freestyle; my grandfather, William White Harris, Jr., took the Bronze. Pua Kealoha took the silver in that same race and Warren Kealoha won the Gold in the 100-meter backstroke. Yep, we had a lot of strong swimmers.

  United States Duke Kahanamoku
United States (USA)
1:00.4 United States Pua Kealoha
United States (USA)
1:02.2 United States William Harris
United States (USA)
1:03.2

Someone was kind enough to provide Wikipedia with the above information and for that I thank them. Like I said, I’m sure my grandfather saw to it that Mom participated in several meets! The water wasn’t dirty then.

Even “The Duke,” according to an article I read, didn’t want to swim at the Natatorium in the later years. It’s unfortunate, but understandable. The Great War Society has some nice pictures and further explanations about the Natatorium.

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Carnival Reminder!

I’m late! It seems that I’ve been dragging pretty badly this week. There’s always a lot going on behind the scenes that you may not see. I really am working on things and watching the rest of the blogosphere. Honest!

Diamond Head Lighthouse

Somehow sitting down and posting about stuff seemed stifling this week. I guess I’ve been busy hunting and gathering useful information and couldn’t bring myself to focus. That sounds impressive, don’t you think? Who am I kidding? I’m late!

Okay, the deadline for the upcoming Carnival of Aloha is this Wednesday, February 27th. The Carnival will go live on March 3rd! These are always fun so please join us. If you have a post about Hawaii on your blog, or will be writing one, go ahead and submit it!

For those of you who have already submitted your posts, thank you and I can’t wait to share them! If there are any problems or concerns, do let me know and we’ll try to work around them. Much aloha and I apologize for the late reminder. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Hawaii’s Votes Actually Matter!

They Told Us We Matter!

Finally! They said on the news that our votes in the caucus would actually have an impact on who is chosen to go on the ballot! Every Presidential election is pretty much decided across the Nation while Hawaii voters are still showing up at their polling places. The time difference between here and the mainland is dramatic enough to just leave us at the tail end of the national vote count and make our votes simply the rubber stamp to the Nation’s election results. Not this time…

Media from all the networks scour the area

The lines were long and slow-moving but people were, I think, excited and shocked at the same time. People kept coming… the line kept getting longer. At Kawananakoa Middle School, my polling place, people were lined up all the way around the cafeteria, around the next building, all the way to School Street and the line was quickly backing up to Pali Highway. It just kept getting longer! It was exciting to watch and shocking to see.

Line of voters stretch across school grounds

As I approached the location where I’m designated to vote, I saw all the people… on the wrong side of the school… what are they doing on that side? Uh, the line was that long! The media had obviously picked up on things and there where news hounds wandering around with cameras hoisted on their shoulders. As it turned out, it was the same way across the island. All across the State we had a voter turnout of 37,000 — compared to about 4,000 or so at the last Presidential Caucus.

People line up all the way back to Pali Highway

What a blast! History in the making, without a doubt! The Democratic Party didn’t expect it and they were as shocked as the rest of us. People were smiling in spite of it all and giddy with amazement!

Looking out across the basketball court at the cars of people still coming to cast their votes

It’s 7:00 PM and people were still showing up and traffic was worse than it is during morning rush hour! This caucus was not only momentous in its decisiveness, but it was historic in the amount of enthusiasm and the overall body count! For Hawaii, this was amazing. Even Dan Inouye said he felt proud witnessing this and he hadn’t felt anything like it since 1962.

People line up to join and/or vote at the caucus

One lady working with the 26th precinct (that overflowed into the auditorium) said, “It hasn’t been like this for over 20 years, and I’ve been here that long.” It was hot in the auditorium with all of the bodies and the flood lights. It was kind of neat for me though… the rest of the media was in the cafeteria so this was my little piece of news coverage.

KITV4 Sets up for coverage

While trying to somehow capture all of the emotion with this post, I was listening to the news reports from the various news channels as my husband continued to channel surf in the other room… and I was squealing with delight and even more shock as the numbers started coming over the air. I knew Obama would just have to pull it off here, but I was shocked yet again as I listened to the preliminary numbers. The outcome?

Barack Obama – 74%
Hillary Clinton – 26%

The reporters were all quick to remind us that these are preliminary numbers and we will not have a final breakdown of the delegate count until maybe as late as March 1st, but man or man! These numbers are just too huge for it to swing back the other away!

There was a lot of frustration and confusion but on this night we all saw and were a part of a historic moment! We finally got to have our say and be heard. We mattered!

Slithering Right Along

Big Lizard on brick wallI was out attempting to prepare myself for the pending Great Aloha Run and as I rounded a corner, paying attention only to the behavior of one of my leg muscles, a whole bunch of lizards sunbathing on a brick wall slithered quickly out of sight. I wondered what they were all doing there. Hmmm… those would be fun, silly pictures. Bloggable? Um, not really. Well… maybe.

Just as I turned to walk back towards that wall I caught a glimpse of men on the roof of the house behind that wall, a bunch of tarp on the ground and a truck in the driveway. Yes, you guessed it… pest control!

Do you really think they might have known what was going on? “Geckos Flee Reptile Masacre! Film at 11.” Kind of a silly notion but maybe we don’t give them enough credit.

Lizard in HollowTile Wall

This guy looks like the same type that scurried away quickly when I rounded the corner. These are the ones I prefer to label lizard rather than gecko because they look snake-ish, hence my use of the word slither. Their color and whippy tails creep me out. I think they are more of the outdoor variety. The word Gecko, for me, is more a term of endearment when talking about these guys.

Small Lizard on Wall

There seemed to be all kinds of different breeds of reptile hanging around this fence. I know one of them had to be a chameleon — he just had that look. Judging from the color blend going on in the picture above, this may have just been one of them!

I couldn’t help but feel bad for them. Of course, if you think about it, they were already on the outside and they were soon to be free from a lot of their competition! They would be starting with a new slate… as long as they stayed away from the house for a day or so!

When I saw the rolled up tent and the pest control truck I thought of my friend, Skeet, over on the Leeward side of the island. Skeet is all too familiar with these house guests and she described them very humorously in this, one of my favorite posts. If you know geckos, you’ll love this one. You can go read all about the Gecko Gathering at her house! Skeet had no problem giving them loads of credit for their level of intelligence!

Great Aloha Run Reminder and Runner’s Warning

Reminder

GAR LogoIt’s getting closer! Sports, Health & Fitness Expo 2008 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall. This is where you need to go to pick up your packets and participate in some of the things they’ve got going on there. Fun stuff! If you haven’t registered yet, this is your last chance!

The Great Aloha Run is on Monday, President’s Day! That’s this Monday! If you haven’t made up your mind yet, go to the Expo and see if it helps you decide! Come on — join the community and have some fun, get some sun and get some exhaustion exercise.

Seriously, it’s fun and very rewarding! I promise! Okay, so now where’s the warning?

Warning

While looking forward to this event I have been a little apprehensive. I was trying to figure out why my leg was having so much trouble “getting it together!” I’ve been thinking about a possible cause for a few weeks now but thought I was just crazy. Last night, I finally decided to look it up.

Well, I found one site having a discussion about my exact concern, another site talking about a clinical trial and then, ultimately, WebMD talking about the side effects of Albuterol — pain in the knees and week muscles. OMG! One of the sites I found even used the word dystrophies.

Some time back I attempted a half marathon and I mentioned in a post that my leg pretty much quit on me. Well, I inhaled a little more than usual before the start of that event, because I needed “all the help” I could get! Regular readers might remember the end of this story? I fell — same leg, same symptoms. Now I have a lump and a scar on my brow to show for it.

Trust me, I’m going to have a discussion about this with the asthma/respiratory doctor, soon! But, for now, runners and other sports enthusiasts who think this sounds familiar, be aware. Carry it in case of emergency, of course!!! But, if you don’t need it, why use it? Be careful and talk to your doctor, please?

I would label this a Honolulu Rant but I have nobody to really blame. It is, I think, something that has only come to light recently. I’m angry that this happened to me, excited about sharing the news because I know a lot of people use Albuterol and I’m relieved that it’s not my body falling apart or my old age that’s to blame!

Come join the community, have fun and stay safe!

Renting a Car Really Can Be Easy!

If you drive around Honolulu International Airport for just a bit, you’ll see all kinds of interesting things. Almost exactly a year ago, I was meandering around the same area taking pictures of the lei stands. Just beyond the lei stands, you will see a rental car agency. Then you’ll see another. And then another.

Budget Car Rental Sign

So, this time, I couldn’t resist taking pictures of all those rental car places. This doesn’t even include the ones that were just outside of the airport grounds. Which one will I choose? I don’t know, the cheapest one? Which one is the cheapest? Are they going to want my blood type? You can tell that renting a car is not my favorite thing to do.

Enterprise Car Rental Sign

Well, since my car is still functioning at least reasonably well, I hopefully won’t have to face that dilemma any time soon!

AVIS Rental Car Sign

But, what happens to the visitor who really needs a car? If they’re on Oahu they can always catch the bus or a trolley if they’re not going too far outside of central Oahu, but the adventurous visitor will need a little more control if they’re going to go exploring. They’re going to need their own car!

Thrifty Car Rental Sign

Well, in the interest of saving time and because I’m lazy, how about a place that compares them all and gives you the best rates and maybe any bonus offers? There is a Hawaii Car Rental site that does just that! What a great service — so you don’t have to call them all yourself. Check out their web address — Hawaii Drive-O, I love that! I was waiting for the theme song from Hawaii Five-O to start playing. Don’t worry, it didn’t.

Dollar Rent a Car SignMore importantly, scroll down a bit and check out the little orange bullet points — no pre-payment or cancellation fees, unlimited mileage on all rental cars, no credit card to make your reservation and they all have air conditioning! Okay, those are just the ones that caught me… I’m sure the other points will be of even more interest to people who travel a lot.

The biggest concern that came to mind while I was thinking about what to do with these impulse photos, was what to do on the other islands where they don’t have the public transportation system that we do on Oahu. Guess what? They’ve got it covered! There’s a link that covers Maui Car Rentals quite nicely.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, what about the biggest island where people need a car the most? They know that Hawaii Island Drives! Can you imagine being on the Big Island without a vehicle? Wait, it gets better… there’s also a map on that page that shows Kauai and Molokai as well!

Wow, they’ve even got Molokai covered? That is some serious visitor care! Actually, this is some serious customer care — for both visitors and kama’aina. If I were going to Molokai, I wouldn’t even know where to start! Uh, the phone. That’s all I would know. Then, while I would probably get a car to drive, I would not necessarily get one at the best rate.

I’m bookmarking this place. They even have a sitemap with an abundance of links and a wealth of additional information. Contact Hawaiian Discount Car Rentals so you can ask them to, “Book ’em, Danno!” Sorry, I couldn’t resist saying that. I told you I liked that web address!