Sunday, February 28, 2010

Seems Like Old Times...

So, I sat in my home office in the Western suburbs of Chicago yesterday (Saturday) morning and watched the online coverage of the tsunami in Hawaii...which is still "home."

It brought back memories of a day in 1960 when we woke up to the devastation of the last major tsunami to hit Hilo. My Auntie Olive and cousin Rodney showed up at our house, both visibly shaken. They had seen that half of our little town was gone, smashed into rubble.

My brother, G, and Rodney walked down to Keawe Street. The land rises up from the bayfront just makai (seaward) of the street. It was as if a giant arm had swept the buildings and anything else up against the rise. The second story of our Boy's Club building was sitting on the ground just behind the remains of the concrete foundation. The first floor was just gone, missing.

We just stood and looked...stunned. How could this have happened?

My mom had stayed up the night before. The tsunami was supposed to hit around midnight. She later said she just fell asleep just before 1:00am. She didn't hear the screams of the people or the sound of the buildings being smashed by a 30-foot wall of water that hit the shoreline at several HUNDRED miles per hour.

It was the third wave that was the killer. The first two were just minor floods. I have a book that our local newspaper put out about the tsunami. In it are pictures of people laughing and playing in the water from the first two waves. There are NO pictures of the third wave.

Many people died that night in Hilo. One woman woke up on the roof of the Hilo Theatre. Several tourists, curious about the tusnami, were on the bayfront.

I walked around that day...and the next few days...just looking at the now empty land that had held familiar buildings just the day before: Moto's Inn, one of our favorite restaurants, home of the famous Hilo "gravy burger" was just completely gone. It had been in the middle of where the wave hit. Kitagawa, our service station/Plymouth dealer also gone. The Boy's Club, as I said before. And, of course, that icon of Hilo, the Hilo Theater and it's wonderful organ. Oh, the building was still there, but the double steel doors that were behind the screen couldn't hold back the wave and the theatre was gutted. And those are the ones I remember well. There were many, many more that were just GONE.

After that, the City and County left the area open land. No buildings. Most new building was done further inland. But the core of Hilo, the old shopping are was still there. On one side of Mamo Street, there was nothing but devastation; on the other, the buildings were OK. That's how directional the wave was.

So, yesterday brought back a lot of memories. I watched the online news and video feeds most of the day. Modern technology and the web...amazing. I watched the live video feed from Hilo Bay, with the camera focused on Coconut Island. I put my hand on the screen, trying to "feel" home again.

In the end, the tsunami was a non-event. Some were disappointed that they didn't get to see a tsunami. Well, I for one am glad I didn't see one yesterday. A good day for Hawaii after all.

So, we still have snow on the ground. But the temperatures are rising and today should be "warm"...near 40 degrees. Woo Hoo!!

A hui hou...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It's Been a Long, Long Time...

So, as I was saying in...when was that?

I'm working again. Got a job as a consultant for a company that has a government contract. Doing the usual stuff, IT documentation. At least it's income...right? And in this economy, having a job is a good thing.

I've become a fan of the show "Castle", starring Firefly's Nathan Fillion and the wonderful Susan Sullivan. Literate, witty and funny, it's a joy to watch, considering what else is on.

Come on, what other tv show would reference Anais Nin, or David Mamet or graphic novels? A good cast and interesting episodes. Watch it, it's good.

OMG, as the kids say. For my birthday, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed made reservations at Roy's Restaurant. Roy Yamaguchi's restaurants are Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine, or da stuff that I used to eat as a kid.

We started with a poke...that's cubed tuna with sesame oil, shoyu and peppers. The poke at Roys' was the best I can remember eating. The fish was outstanding, melt in your mouth Ahi tuna. Just spicy enough. Accompanied by sliced avocado and homemade won ton chips, it was delicious. I could have eaten it myself, but did share with you know who.

For an entree, I had the Roy's Classic Trio: Hibachi Grilled Salmon, Roy’s Original Blackened Island Ahi & Hawaiian Style Misoyaki Butterfish. OMG, OMG...the BEST fish I can remember having. Wow.

I don't like salmon, normally, but this was the best. Grilled then drizzled with a Ponzu sauce and picked cucumbers...oh my. The Ahi was just fabulous...and the Misoyaki Butterfish was rich and it really did melt in your mouth. AND, it was served with a scoop of steamed white rice...just like we used to have when I was a and rice. But this fish was unbelievable.

For dessert, I had the pineapple upside down, not like the traditional one, this was an individual cake...oh so goood.

GO TO ROY's. It's really good. Yup, we're going back, and very soon.

Read most of Jim Butcher's "Dresden" books. It was made into a tv show that you can see online through "HULU". But after reading the books, the show is really bad. I prefer the characters as described in the book and not how they're portrayed in the show. Disappointing. Read the books; forget the show. It was only on for a season, IIRC.

We were in our local Borders and I saw a book supposedly written by Richard Castle. Yup, the character from the tv series I described above. So I bought it. It's a fiction-fiction, supposedly written by the tv character. Really good, too. If you're a fan of the show, you gotta get the book. And read the book notes. Hilarious.

Rain, cold, leaves falling. Fall is finally here in the upper MidWest. It also means our Family Room flooded again. I have to do something with the rug, as it got all wet.

Watch "Castle", go to Roy's and read a good book.

A hui hou...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It's FINALLY Spring!

Well, the weather has finally gotten to Spring...maybe. Around here you never are really sure. May 4th was supposed to be the "freeze-free" date, meaning there shouldn't be any more freezing temps. Yeah...right. We'll see. This IS Chicago, after all.

Anyway, yesterday the beautiful wife and I went to the Wheaton French Market. The Farmers and French Markets are starting up...a sure sign of Spring. The one at Wheaton is really nice. It's a French Market, as opposed to a Farmers Market, because they sell more than farm-grown produce; they also sell bakery goods, cosmetics, jewelry, etc, and prepared foods. I always visit The Pickle Guy...the BEST pickles, olive salad and mufulatta around. (I got a tub or "Original" and a tub of "Garlic Crunch." Yum - as Rachel would say)

Tonight I'm preparing some of the vegetables we got yesterday as a "red sauce" to go over Parmesan polenta. Eggpland and zucchini in a home-made tomato sauce. Should be good...lots of onions and garlic and cheese. How bad can that be? (Yup, that's an Ina Gartin-ism - can you say too much Food Network?)

This afternoon, after I fixed barbequed hot dogs for my wonderful wife for Mother's Day - hey, we (my boys and I) used to take her to McDonald's for Mother's Day...but we always Super-Sized her order - we put in our container garden on the patio.

Herbs, flowers, shrubs and, of course, tomatoes...cherry and pear this year. Last year we had cherry tomatoes until September.

Work is, well, work. It pays the bills, and that's the most important thing right now. Don't know how long this contract will last, maybe two years. Then...what? Retirement? I don't know if I can retire. I think I need to continue to find some writing jobs to do maybe until the mind really goes and I just don't care anymore. But til then, I'm just going to plug along.

Hey, a comment on TV: one of my favorite shows, or at least it used to be until last Friday, was Numbers on CBS. I liked the puzzle-solving aspects and the familial relationships. Jeez, Don FINALLY got a real girlfriend...although she's been absent for a couple of episodes. Then this last episode's ending. Had to set up the "Season Finale" with the usual..."who will survive and who will not and will Charlie and Amita's relationship be changed forever???????" Oh, bull----!

Here's my rant: "Hollywood" just CANNOT write a decent relationship. Are all the writers divorced or gay? Do they HATE marriage? Oh, well, I know it's just me. Just ONCE, I'd like to see a TV show with a married couple that is truly in love with one another, where BOTH are smart, sexy and funny. I guess it's the "James T. Kirk syndrome", named after the legenday StarTrek captain who had to be able to have a new relationship with the hot female guest star each week...tired, trite and unbelievable.

But, I guess nothing's changed. It's either the "will they or won't they" relationship (Bones, Castle, etc.) or the "they really don't get along because they're married" relationship (all the sitcoms and most dramas). This is perhaps the primary reason I record most of the shows I care to watch. It eliminates the commercials (yeaa) and I can fast forward through the really cliched and trite parts. I guess I've watched toooo much TV in my life, and can really see the "same old, same old" situations coming along. I had so much hope for Castle, but I guess it's gone after 10 episodes. Too smart, literate, funny, warm, familial and not "dark and edgy." Bull----! And the TV execs wonder why we are watching less and less TV?

OK, done with rant.

Blackhawks up 3 games to 2 and play at home tomorrow night. GO HAWKS!! Bulls eliminated in 7 games by year!! Cubs and Sox playing well. A good Spring in Chicago sports.

Oh, and Fly-In season is starting up. Wooo hooo.

Happy Mother's Day to all those fantastic women we know and love. You're the best!

A hui hou...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

See What Working Does to the Blogger...

Well, it's been a long, long time, nah? I'm going to use the excuse that I've got a job and am working, so blogging takes a back seat. But really, no one is reading this, so I don't think it's a great loss.

Happy Easter everyone, even if you don't believe, so there.

The weather is finally trying to be more Spring-like. But, typical Chicagoland, it's still COLD. Maybe next month the temps will FINALLY get to the point of actual warmth.

Went to downtown Chicago on Sat, April 4th. Mainly to go to the Art Institute and renew our membership. We let it lapse last year as I was unemployed and it was deemed a "luxury." But now, I'm working, so...

Also, there was the exhibition, "Becoming Edvard Munch" which, she-who-must-be-obeyed wanted to see...she's of Norwegian heritage, so...

It was really great. As members we got in free for the first hour. Got those audio thingeys you hang around your neck. Very good narration and music. Actually made the whole experience better.

Then to renew membership at the Chicago Architectural Foundation. Wifey is a real architecture fan and actually thought of becomeing one...but, you know how that goes sometimes. A very "bad" many "shiny" things to buy.

Lunch was at The Gage, a "modern American bistro"??? Great food, though. My pot roast (Angus beef) was one of the best in a restaurant. Her fish and chips was also really good.

A really fun, great day...except for the $26 bill to park in the city lot. Do the people running the city really think that high prices and taxes is an INCENTIVE for suburbanites to go downtown? Really?

Last night was "date night." Took SWMBO to Harry Caray's at Yorktown Center. (Yeah, like I'm going to drive downtown on a Saturday night to high parking prices and 10.25% sales tax.) Wonderful food. We're going to do that more often. Hey, we're not THAT old...yet. SO much left over that we had a nice lunch today, too. I think I'll ask her out again...(joke).

On the Hawaiian front, this week is the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival in my old hometown of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii. They stream a lot of it on the Internet as so many ex-pats are interested. This is THE hula festival in Hawaii, an invitation-only competition. Many halaus (dance groups) are honored when they're selected to participate. Tickets are almost impossible to come by, but those lucky enough get to see it live. I'll just have to be satisfied with online video.

Fly-In season is starting up. This year we're definitely going to AirVenture or Oshkosh as we all know it by. WhiteKnight Two, Burt Rutan's spaceship launcher aircraft, is supposed to be there. It really is the center of aviation for a week. So many innovative things to see; so many beautiful aircraft to drool over; and a great airshow every day. Looking forward to it.

Also planning a trip back to the "old sod." Maybe late in the year or early next. Hawaii tourism has taken a real hit this year with the economy and such. Empty hotels and high unemployment. Need to do our part. It's been too long between visits. Need a shot of "da aina."


A hui hou...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mid-January Blues

Well, the temperature today was positively balmy: 25 degrees!!! No, seriously. It was -31 (yes, that is minus) degrees yesterday. Damn you AlGore.

Our mayor rang our doorbell this afternoon. He lives just around the corner from us. He's running again for village mayor and was collecting signatures on his nomination papers. He's a really nice guy and has a tough job in these tough times.

He said they were just "hunkered down" and trying to stretch every one of the village's dollars to cover public services until things got better. A thankless job.

Icicles hang from our front gutters, and the snow in the yard is pretty deep. Our mayor said we had gotten 40 inches of snow this season. It started before Thanksgiving and hasn't stopped yet.

Well, Hope 'n Change gets his coronation on Tuesday. Imperial Presidency for real. Let's see how he does. Of course, EVERYTHING will be OK once he's in office. Yeah, right.

BTW, if you want to read an article about the forgotten person in this election, that would be Barack Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, follow this link to the University of Hawaii's online magazine, Malamalama. Paula Bender is the author of "Legacy of the President's Mother". Go read.

NFC and AFC Championship games tomorrow. Anyone care?

A hui hou...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thank You, Al Gore

Well, my last post was about the cold, cold temps we were suffering through. NOT ANY MORE!!!

The current temperature is 56 DEGREES!!! YUP, in the last 24 hours, a warm front moved up from the south and we're being dumped on by rain from thunderstorms. Most of the local area around our neighborhood is flooded.

There's a big retention pond at the end of our side street and it's up to the top and overflowing. The houses across the street were flooded this morning and the Clarendon Hills Fire Department was there pumping out the water.

I tried to get to our favorite bakery this morning for fresh donuts, but couldn't get down the major streets as the intersections were in 2-3 feet of water. I was following a Ford Explorer and got through one "pond" but when the water went over his BUMPERS, I made a u-turn and took a different route.

Our family room flooded, AGAIN. Of course, as we had just put in two new area rugs. Still, my brother rolled them up before they got soaked. It's drying out now. Thanks, G.

The Chicago area may set all time HIGH temperature records for today. Some places downstate are in the 70s already!

SO, after all my criticism of him, I do want to thank AlGore and his Global Warming for this tropical respite in the middle of our winter. THANKS, AL.

Now to go and buy some carbon offsets...

Hey, Bears pulled out that Packers game. Too bad. Now they still think they're going to make the playoffs...yeah, right.

Oh, and condolences to our Hawaii Warriors football team and the loss to NotreDame. Charlie Weiss and Jimmy Clausen should send UH champagne and roses for saving BOTH of their jobs. Still, I think the Irish over-achieved at 6-6. They're really NOT that good.

Now with a year with a new coach, coaching staff and players, UH should be set up for next year. Maybe back to the WAC Championship. GO WARRIORS!

Make sure you go read Steven Tsai's Blog at the Advertiser online. It's da bestest...

Dat's all folks! Gotta go dry stuff off...

A hui hou...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cold? Cold? You can't handle the cold...

Whoo whee...on our way to 29 tomorrow. Time for shorts and flipflops...which we called "rubba slippas" in Hawaii...where our Prez-Elect is sunning himself on da beach.

I wish him nothing but the best and hope he rests up for the struggles he will face starting next month. Yeah, it's the most powerful jobin the western world, but I don't envy anyone having that job. Just look at how GeorgeW aged in his 8 years.

BTW, there was a "big story" today reported by FOX News about how President and Mrs. Bush would privately and quietly visit the wounded troops and the families of those fallen. Well, I've been reading some of the MilBlogs over the past few years that were written by some of those guys and occasionally they'd mention a visit by a "very special VIP" to Walter Reed Hospital. No publicity, just kind words, hugs and comfort.

Whatever you think about the President and "his" war, I do respect the man and would not want to have had to make the decisions he's had to make over the last 8 years. God Bless President and Mrs. Bush.

OK, on to more mundane things.

Late 2nd Quarter and it looks like Green Bay is going to put da Bears out of their misery. Just sayin'...

More snow tomorrow. Some places around here could get up to a FOOT of snow. Where da heck is AlGore and his friggin' Global Warming when you REALLY neeeeed it???? Jeez...

Christmas in a few days. We don't do much here. No big gifts, or small ones. Just family and food and quiet reflection. Trying to remember those no longer with us and hoping and praying that all our ohana (that's extended family)will have a happy and holy holiday.

So to those who read this, if anyone does, Merry Christmas. Try to remember Whose birthday this is and the REAL reason we celebrate the Light in this time of darkness and cold and look forward to the warmth and rebirth of the coming Spring.

Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau'oli Makahiki Hou

A hui hou...