Archive for April, 2009

Zapatag! Don’t Get Mad, Get Even!

  Zapatag.com

I am probably THE wrong person to be posting about this fun little site.  I have a bad feeling it won’t be very fun for me in not too long a time.  I have a heavy foot and always want to get where I’m going in a hurry.  Hey, I admit it.

So go on — zap a tag!  Squeal on that terrible driver, get back at that rude parking person or tell the World about that jerk who almost ran you over in the crosswalk.   Just don’t tag me, okay?  🙂  We all have to be more careful now because of this.  We have to be more courteous or our rudeness will be posted on the Internet.  Ha!

As if taking our phones away from us wasn’t enough.  Tsk!  Speaking of which, you can Zapatag via Twitter too.  You might have to pull on the side of the road to do it after July 1st (that’s when the new cell phone law goes into effect), but there’s a way!

Twitter Logo

There’s a secret code.  I’m just kidding, it’s an easy formula.  Here’s the quote:

Just post a tweet beginning with “@zapatag” followed by a space, the two-letter state abbreviation, a colon, and the license plate number. Anything that follows the next space is the text of your zap. It sounds a bit more complicated than it is, but the format includes spaces and colons so Zapatag can parse the different parts of your Twitter post. For example, this tweet:

@zapatag HI:ABC123 Illegal left turn on Keeaumoku Street.

Will zap the Hawaii license plate ABC123 with “Illegal left turn on Keeaumoku Street.”

Using the Zapatag! site and using Twitter are both easy.  It’s actually a good system if you think about it.  Both the driver and the person reporting them will be identified, at least a little.

Identifying the zapper as well as the driver will help keep us all honest.  We can tell on people that tick us off but we need to be honest about it.  Your Net reputation depends on it!

I know I suffer from road rage and I think this may be a better way of dealing with that rage, rather than giving myself a coronary.

This is Ryan Ozawa‘s brain child.  Thanks Ryan, you may save one of our lives someday.  Save the rage, go home and Zapatag instead!

Carnival Reminder for Bloggers!

Beach near Barbers Point lighthouse

Just a reminder to bloggers: the deadline for the next Carnival of Aloha is this coming Friday.  It was supposed to be Wednesday but I extended it because I know we’re all in a time crunch these days.

Join us f0r a little break from the monotony and a chance to share our favorite blog posts with each other and the rest of the blogosphere!

Don’t forget to submit your posts that you want to share before midnight on Friday, May 1st!  As long as it’s about Hawai’i, you’re good to go!  🙂

Worry Still Lingers

This post has been pending for a while now.  It was put it on the back burner for a variety of reasons but this past Monday (I think it was Monday) one more fatality brought it right back up, front and center!

A couple of Sundays ago, a young woman riding a motorcycle in Waialua lost control of the bike, hit the guardrail, and was pronounced dead at the scene.  She was only 27 years old!  Her passenger was 23 and, while injured, survived the crash.  Apparently it’s not uncommon for a passenger to be thrown clear and suffer little or no injury.

Blue motorcycle at 2007 bike show

People who have cruised through this blog from time to time know that I am a big proponent of motorcycle safety.   The media reports on the fatality rates on our roadways.  I have seen a variety of numbers reported but one of the reports said that this was already the 7th one this year, on Oahu, which matches the total of all of those that happened in 2008.  HPD said that the motorcycle accident at the end of February was the 17th but that may have been traffic fatalities in total, not just motorcycle-related accidents.   No matter how you look at it, it’s just way too many!

If you’re a biker, I know you guys want to just brush me off but, guess what?  I’m not the only one!  Listen to the words from some of your own!  Am I wrong?  Still think I’m over-reacting?

I’ve been telling myself that I’m becoming my mother — I worry too much about people’s safety.  With no biological children of my own, I guess I have a deep-seated, maternal need to adopt all of our Oahu ohana who constantly put themselves at risk.  I worry about all of the things that any good mother would worry about — the risks involved with dangerous locations, dangerous equipment with sharp blades, and all dangerously fast-moving vehicles with a bad rap.

The fear of accidents and the heavy grief over the loss of a friend or loved one would be unbearable.  It doesn’t happen often but when it’s someone you know, once is already too much.  The lu’ulu’u (heavy grief) caused by a tragedy like this lingers over the community for several days and is hard to shake off, especially when you have friends and family who share the same hobby.  The danger is something that mothers and spouses have to deal with and/or shake off every time their loved ones step outside the door.

Sunrise River Wild Boar Hunting Knife Model 503 Another one that is not usually on my radar of concern, is another favorite pastime that I had forgotten about. Factor in another relatively-recent incident and this particular activity moves right back to the forefront.  Granted, this was a truly unfortunate case of po’ino (hard luck or peril) that caused this tragedy.  I guess technology makes things more dangerous now.  Mahalo to KITV4 for keeping that link active for us.

We have several hunters on the island (responsible ones who don’t kill other people’s pets; don’t even let me get started on that one again) who hunt pigs, goats, deer (on the Big Island), etc. using a variety of techniques.  I’ve lost friends because of accidents in the mountain so I can speak with a little bit of authority on this.

Yes, I do worry about animal rights and , were it not for the destruction done to the environment by these non-indigenous characters, I would be screaming about their slaughter.  Don’t worry, the photo of this charming little guy was actually borrowed from a photographer who took this in India.  It’s illegal to kill the pigs there.  They are necessary to that ecosystem (destructive of ours).

Wild boar in India

To avoid sharing a bloody photo, I got permission from Flickr.com member, zedaxis22, to borrow this wonderful photo of this wild boar.  If I had not told you this photo was taken in India, you never would have known the difference.  I didn’t! Thank you, zedaxis22, I’m glad that this little guy is in India because I would hate to see anything happen to a fine creature like that.

With the exception of the wild animals and the choice of equipment, this past time would be no more dangerous than hiking, right?  Wrong.  The problem is, there are so many other factors to consider.  Hunters consistently step off any paths or trails created for hikers.  They need to go where their targets go, which is usually anywhere but the marked trails.

In short, I’m sending strong urgings to friends and family who are passionate about their favorite pastimes:  please use caution, please make good decisions, and please remember your loved ones before you take those dangerous steps.

Strong urgings to drivers:  “Look Twice, Save a Life.  Motorcycles are Everywhere.”  This is especially true now that gas prices have made us think about our methods of transportation.

Drive smart, ride smart, and play smart!

TGIF and Hooray It’s Done!

Last-minute tax filers

There’s not much to say except TGIF! We finally have a weekend without that tax deadline looming over our heads! As always, the last minutes filers were lighting up the streets of downtown Honolulu. Here on Richards Street, the US Post Office was anticipating a lot!

Mailbox with Tax Sign

Apparently the US Postal Service, like the rest of us, is in a budget crunch and found it more economical to label the boxes rather than having a lot of staff on board for the annual rush of later tax filers.

They were obviously expecting a lot of procrastinators because there were at least five boxes marked for late drops. I remember the year (several years ago) when one of the radio stations (I don’t remember which one) and the US Postal Service were out on the street collecting returns from cars as they drove my with the theme song for that year playing in the background. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” was the message sent out to everyone that year.

I think this year would would have been a good year to have such an event. Even if you’re stressed, there’s nothing wrong with being forced into a smile. Perhaps next year they should set up another event so we can share the drama as a community and commiserate with each other over the condition of the economy.

We just need to think of a song. Maybe after the new year when we welcome in 2010 we can start taking suggestions for one of our radio darlings to pick up and run with! Perhaps KQMQ   93.1 FM or KIKI   93.9 FM or KRTR   96.3 FM or KCCN   100.3 FM will step up to the plate and make something fun out of something that is otherwise dismal.

Let’s just get past it all and enjoy the weekend and join the hula halaus over on the Big Island of Hawaii for the 2009 Merrie Monarch Festival! For that, we need to venture on over to our ABC affiliate, KITV4!  They’re broadcasting it in high definition and they’ve got an Internet feed going across the globe as well!  Check it out!

“Taking Back the Streets!”

UPDATE:  This evening, April 10th, KHON2 News reported that the City, Mayor Hannemann and the Honolulu Police Department, have started “Operation Chinatown.”  They have “tripled the number of police officers” and they’re “taking back the streets!”

It’s not going to be easy, we know that.  We just need to keep our eyes open and share the responsibility of keeping our home a happy place.  Our job is to let them know when we see bad things happening.  Hey, it’s a Neighborhood Watch!

Anyway, write this number down, 768-6800.  This is the Chinatown Alert Hotline — if you see something going on, call and let them know!  (If it’s an emergency, call 911 like you always would.)

Let’s help the City take back the streets!  Store that number in your cell phone — I did! Mahalo to the Mayor and the Chief of Police for taking action!

Criminal Element Too Close for Comfort!

Excuse me, Mr. Mayor?  I thought we were cleaning up Honolulu’s Chinatown.  How much are we expected to pussyfoot around crap like this?  I’m sorry guys but this has got to stop!  I work only five or so blocks away from these areas and I live only about a mile away.  I walk these streets and I run passed those areas.  My friends, family and loved ones do too. 

We all, at one time or another, shop in the vicinity of this drama — during the day time.  Something happens around here when the sun goes down.  The rule of thumb that I generally follow is to not travel west of Nuuanu after sunset.  There’s already blood on the street between Fort and Smith Streets because of the raunchy clientele over there; you don’t even have to get to Nuuanu. This is ridiculous.  Sometimes you even have to get mauka of Vineyard Blvd before it’s safe.    

Since other cities have no problem giving one-way tickets to homeless people (yes, we all know about it), why don’t we do the same for the non-resident homeless and the drug pushers?  Send them back!  

Send the drug lords skanks in a separate boat, a leaking one.  Vicious?  Perhaps.  But, Chief Correa of the Honolulu Police Department is right, they have no business here!  They have no right to shed blood on our streets and we have no desire to lose any of our officers to their shenanigans either!  

This is our home and they’re tarnishing all the beauty and camaraderie that we have tried so hard to create and propagate.  I’m not making this up.  The Honolulu Advertiser stated that both the residents and the merchants are concerned that the increase in crime will “undo years of revitalization efforts.”

It’s cool when our own local newspapers and media take these things to task but it’s a little troubling when blogs and media outlets elsewhere pick this stuff up.  I am pleased that The Snitch (I like that name) was kind enough to actually accept the ownership of this particular gang element.  Thanks, Joe.

Even the kama’aina homeless are afraid.  They don’t admit to their fear but when they talk among themselves you can hear it in their voices. Hello, Mr. Mayor?  We’re supposed to be focused on making our home green, not blood red. 

With tears in my eyes I ask you why.  Why is it that I, my friends, and my neighbors have to be afraid to take the dog for a walk or to go buy a damn soda?  Tell me!

City & County Department Protects Our Home

Where do I go?  Where do we all go?  Did anybody else know that the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Environmental Services (the ENV) does and is doing smoke testing?  Does anybody else even know what smoke testing is?!?  Am I the only clueless one?  Maybe I am, I don’t know.  Anyway, I checked into it and now I’m sharing it with anyone else who did not know the City and County of Honolulu is working hard for all of us and for our home!

Dump No Waste signed carved into sidewalkYou know how we’re always concerned about our ocean and water supplies?

Smoke testing is a proactive, preventative approach to protecting our environment from any more dreaded sewage spills.  The ENV (Department of Environmental Services) pumps smoke into the sewage lines and checks the lines for leaking smoke.  What a great idea!  They use smoke to find leakages and/or breaks rather than using some kind of liquid to further complicate matters.

Wait, wait, wait — relax, don’t get all nervous.  The smoke “is non-toxic, harmless and has minimal odor.  The smoke is not a fire hazard and does not pose a health hazard to humans or pets.”  This smoke will lead the workers to any breaks in the lines that may allow the runoff from heavy rains to infiltrate the sewage lines, further inundate the treatment plants, and ultimately create an overflow situation.   This kind of testing has apparently been going on for about four years.  Where was I?

Canal Drain

I couldn’t really find many appropriate pictures except ones that show how we need to pump up our care of our water — both fresh and ocean.

Trash in water of canal

Pretty yucky, huh?  These are just to prove a point about just how important the protection of our environment has become.

Since my pictures don’t help much with the explanation of the sewage project I’m talking about, let’s be sure we understand this clearly.  It’s not just the leaks where things can get out of the lines; it’s for the prevention of things liCurbside Drainke excessive rain water from getting in to these lines.  If there are places with illegal hook-ups to the sewer system or places where excessive rainwater can get into the line, we could end up with a sewage system finding itself overloaded beyond its capacity.

Remember the Ala Wai?  Something like that. I was not happy and I know a lot of others were even worse.  Was there really an alternative?  Probably not.  The Public Communications Officer over at the Department of Environmental Services pointed that out to me and, while I’ve finally resigned myself to accepting the fact that there were few or no other options, I’m still not happy about it.  Let’s set up a way to avoid having the same thing happen again!

That Public Communications Officer actually returned my call.  He probably thought I was crazy but then he’s just as crazy as I am because he was checking his voice mail on a Sunday!

I just think that this is some of the coolest news I’ve heard in quite some time.  There are places that are “broken” so let’s fix them before they create another sewage fiasco!

They were working in Wahiawa when I read about them.  I guess they’ll be making the rounds.  There are an awful lot of pipelines on this island and this is quite a project!  There are a lot of things that I disapprove of but this is a project that I am happy to spend my tax dollar on!

Working on the sewers and the sewage system has got to be a thankless job.  I’m here to say that I am both very proud and so very grateful for all they’re doing.  Hats off to our protectors over and the City & County of Honolulu’s ENV — “Mahalo!” you guys for caring about our home!

If I’ve missed something or not stated something correctly, please feel free to correct me in the comments below.  Please?  I’m more than happy to receive those corrections.  That way, everyone can benefit from the knowledge you have to share and we can all better understand all of what you guys are doing for us.  Seriously!