Sunday, May 6, 2018

Keyless Has Left Me Clueless

(Reminder: in case you forgot, I drive a 2016 Toyota Prius Hybrid. It’s keyless, with push button start and touch-lock/open driver’s door.)

On my most recent visit to family in California’s East Bay Area, I rented a 2017 Hyundai Accent from Hertz. Nice car, very comfy, good get-up-and-go. Except that ... it had a key.

“What’s wrong with that?” you may ask. I refer you to the reminder above.

The first time I drove the car was an adventure. I slipped into the driver’s seat, reached forward to start the car ... and couldn’t find the start button.

Forehead slap. I forgot I had to use the key. So I had to unbuckle my seat belt, arch my back, and squeeze my hand into my tight jeans pocket to retrieve the key ring with the key and remote. Then I had to find the ignition, which wasn’t in plain sight, on the steering column, step on the brake, aim the key, stick it in, and turn it.

How many steps is that? Five, right? Or is it six? Anyway, with my Prius, I just step on the brake and press the start button. The car even tells me what to do on its dashboard screen

At our destination, I had to lock the car, so I touched the driver’s-side door handle (my Prius has three small ridges on the door handle to touch-unlock the door).

Forehead slap. I had to dig out the remote and key from my pocket again.

Later, I tried to unlock the car by just opening the door like I do on my Prius (just grab the handle and the door unlocks). Nope. Need the key or remote, which I had to dig out of my pocket again.

(I should clarify that the automatic features on my Prius only work when the special remote is close by, like in my pocket.)

The final frustrating moment came when I had to open the trunk. After fruitless groping for the latch with my arms full, I had to put bags back in the shopping cart and dig out the key ring, discover there was no trunk opener on the remote, and open the trunk with the key.

Frustrating indeed.

Upshot? The convenience of a keyless car has made me lazy and reminded me of what I used to do without even thinking (or complaining about it.

But then, that’s why they invented blogs, right? So I can grumble.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Hilo Days: Pooped Out for Real

Were you ever so uneasy, uncomfortable, frightened, or traumatized that you pooped your pants? I did just that, and I’ll never forget it. Here’s the little story I wrote about that stinky experience in my long-gone “Hilo Days” website. Enjoy, but hold your nose.

A Traumatic First Day

The first day of Riverside School, I shit my pants.

Honest! Here I was, a first-time first-grader, being dropped off by Dad, who pointed out the first-grade classroom, got me steered in the right direction, then drove off to work.

My stomach dropped. Something else dropped too—a golf ball-sized lump of stuff.

I've always wondered if anyone else smelled it. They probably did, but nobody said anything about it. I went through the whole day with this lump in my shorts. When I got home, I finally got rid of it.

We all had a good laugh about it, but I can tell you that my laughter was due more to relief that I made it through the first day, than because I thought it was funny.

And I bet Mom and Dad also wondered if anyone had smelled it. I'll bet they were embarrassed "in absentia."

But wait a minute -- think about this: What if EVERY kid in my class had a lump in his/her pants as well? Huh? What if they all did it too? Can you imagine 30 kids, all self-conscious, all with doo-doo between their legs.

And what if the teacher also had ... nah, can't be.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Generational Conversation

I woke up yesterday morning with the song, “Oh, My Papa” by Eddie Fisher, worming around in my ear.

I reflected on what a beautiful song that was (it still brings tears to my eyes). I believe anyone who loves/loved their father and knows this song would agree.

Y’know, Eddie Fisher recorded that song nearly 65 years ago in 1954. Since then, we’ve seen the rise and subsequent “seniorizing” of several generations—the G.I.s, the Silent, the Baby Boomers; the X-Gens are now middle aged, the Millennials and Z-Gens are taking over the country.

And then, I thought, what if I initiated a conversation with some young Millennials and younger Z-Gen’ers about the song? Would the conversation go something like this?

Me: Eddie Fisher did a great job.
Millennial: Who’s Eddie Fisher?
Me: He was married to Debbie Reynolds.
Millennial: Who’s Debbie Reynolds?
Me: She was Carrie Fisher’s mother.
Z-Gen’er: Who’s Carrie Fisher?
Millennial: She was Leia in Star Wars.
Z-Gen’er: Who’s Leia?
Millennial: Luke’s twin.
Z-Gen’er: Who’s ...
Me: Not important. So anyway, Eddie Fisher divorced Debbie Reynolds and married Elizabeth Taylor.
Millennial and Z-Gen’er: Who’s Elizabeth Taylor?
Me: Hey look! A squirrel!

Want to hear the song? Go here: Oh, My Papa

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hazards of Imaginary Exercise

I think Earl Pickles nailed my problem with exercise!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Former Crush Revisited

Recently, while watching “Midsomer Murders” on Netflix, one of the older supporting actresses looked awfully familiar. But for the life of me, I couldn’t think of her name. So I googled the episode’s cast.

C. 1962
It was Hayley Mills. Remember her? She starred in “Pollyanna” and “The Parent Trap.” She’s a little younger than I am, and I had a crush on her in high school and college.

C. 2014
TV cinematography can be rather unforgiving at times and if I paused the picture, I’m sure I could have counted every single wrinkle on her face.

But having said that, she’s gone from early ‘60s teen-age cutie to mature senior beauty.

God, I feel old.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Hilo Days: Quick Draw Gets Shot Down

Just when I thought I was a hot shot, I fell through the cracks—intp a chasm, actually. Here’s my entry in my once-upon-a-time Hilo Days website.

100 + 11 = Eleventy-One

Eleventy-one. Sounds stupid, but that actually was an answer I gave in class.

I remember Miss Yanagihara gathering a bunch of us first-graders around the blackboard and asking us what certain numbers were. When 111 came up, I shot my hand up like a flash and could hardly wait until she called on me.

"Eleventy-one!" I blurted out proudly, and puffed my cheek out as several first-grade heads nodded in agreement.

I basked in the glow of peer adoration until I was brought crashing back to earth by Miss Yanagihara's chuckle, and the devastating words, "Wrong! Anybody else know the right answer?"

These things tend to stick with you for a long time. Maybe that's why I hardly volunteered answers in any classes I was in during my career as a student.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Phone Pix 82: Black and White

Take a few inanimate objects, snap pictures of them with the iPhone7, remove the color, and voila! Old-fashioned photographs of timeless objects.


Christmas Decorations, Costco Iwilei
Nov. 19, 2013, Honolulu, HI

Royal Summit Recreation Room Book Case, Feb. 12, 2015
Honolulu, HI

Artificial Arrangement, Queen's Hospital, April 7, 2015
Honolulu, HI

Hole in Tree Trunk, Carmel Valley Ranch,
March 24, 2017, Carmel, CA

Screw in Wooden Fence, May 14, 2017, Fremont, CA

Electric Meter, May 14, 2017, Fremont, CA

Valves and Wire Tangle, May 14, 2017, Fremont, CA

Pebble Bed, May 14, 2017, Fremont, CA

Entry Way Lamp, May 14, Fremont, CA

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Random Musings 34

Shouldn't a lecture on diarrhea be called a "running commentary"?

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I’ve stayed up nights wondering what color a Smurf would turn if you choked him.

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So, if frog’s legs, ‘gator tail, and snake taste like chicken, I wonder what chickens think we taste like.

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What are male ladybugs called, anyway? Gentleman bugs?

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You know how they make such a big deal about the first baby born on New Year’s Day? What if its head pops out at 11:59:59 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, and the rest of its body doesn’t come out until after 12 midnight? What day was s/he born on?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Hilo Days: Where I Spent My Formative Years

In my old website, Hilo Days, I spent some time talking about our Ekaha Street house. Lots of memories there, we lived there from 1949 until about 1964, when the family moved to Reed’s Island while I was away at college.

It’s always fun to drive by the old house whenever I visit Hilo, to see how much the house and neighborhood have changed.

The Ekaha Street Neighborhood

Ekaha Street [in Hilo] was a neat street.

When we moved there, the street had a chicken yard, a Portuguese sausage smoker, a large vegetable patch, a rich contractor, a cane field behind our house, and a cattle rustler.

It was the third in a series of streets with strange names one encountered along Kaymana Drive on the way to Ainako/Kaumana. The first was Wiliwili Street, the second was Iwaiwa Street, and the third was Ekaha Street.

Our street was situated just below the Ainako residential area, which itself was situated just below the Kaumana area. It was a cul-de-sac, with 11 homes. Three of them on the left side of the street were built and rented out by Dr. Kutsunai.

Current Google Map with 2 Homes Added
We lived in the middle one. The first one (on our right) was distinguished by no basement, no porch, and an elevated front yard. Ours was distinguished by a low basement, a large front porch, and a sloping front yard. The third (on our left) was distinguished by a large basement, no front porch, and a regular front yard.

Let's take a look at the neighborhood, starting from the right side of the street as you entered, then coming back down to Waianuenue Avenue.

A Portuguese family lived in the first house. I don't know anything about it, except that over the years, they had a lot of foster children living there.

The family was related to the family in the second house—the Aguilars (also Portuguese). There's not much to say about them either, except that they used to make Portuguese sausage in a little smokehouse. I remember one girl who lived there—Carol. She was a few years older than I was. And I do remember marveling at her cat's new-born kittens once. The Aguilars had a large "Vee" tree that you could see from the road.

The next house was the one directly across the street from us. According to Mom, the father had been convicted of cattle rustling. They were the Medeiros family. We played a lot with the two kids—Reggie, and Michael. Reggie was a little slow and a funny-looking, awkward kid. Michael was actually kind of intelligent. I got my second wasp sting on their porch when we were dive-bombed after knocking down a paper wasp nest.

Then came an empty lot (actually two lots) that variously sported a vegetable garden, weeds, and an old shack of a house.

Next to it was a rather nice home that soon would be occupied by a haole family with a boy that we all liked. I think it was the McKenzies. They had a son, Scott, and a dog—a cocker spaniel named Freckles. The McKenzies moved in later. They weren't there when we moved in, and they weren't there when we moved out.

At the right side of street's end was the Sonomura family. They were rich. He was a general building contractor who bought a new Cadillac every year. His old Cadillac went to his wife. We didn't see too much of them.

Next to them lived the Kawasaka family. Their daughter Carol was my classmate (Hilo High, 1962). They had two sons; Gary and I spent a lot of time together, and I can't remember the name of his little brother. They lived next to a gully (they called it the "pali") at the bottom of which the father had set up a basketball net.

Mr. Kawasaka, by the way, worked for the State, and actually interviewed me for a job when I applied for a summer job at the Hilo nursery during the summer of 1962.

Heading back to Waianuenue Avenue, the next house belonged to Miss Matsuo. She lived there with her old mother, and I remember the whole neighborhood went to her mother's birthday party one time—maybe it was her 75th, or 100th, I don't remember.

The funniest thing happened years later when I visited Disneyland for the first time. There used to be a guest book at the end of Main Street where you'd sign your name in your own state book. Guess whose name was just before mine. Miss Matsuo's. Small world!

The Teradas' house was next. They had a son whose name totally escapes me, a daughter, Deane, and a cocker spaniel. They were older kids, so they didn't play with us too much.

Later, when I was in high school, one of my classmates told me he had been talking to Deane, and that she had told him she didn't care for me too much. Her loss. She just didn't appreciate brilliant strange kids. Mr. Terada, by the way, made neat slingshots out of guava branches and gave me one, which I used to shoot a neighbor's kid and almost put her eye out.

The next house was the one on our right. The Wongs lived there—William and Doris Wong. They had four kids—Marian, Wilton, Laureen and William Junior (everybody called him "Billy Boy").

The Wongs were a neat family. Mr. Wong did all kinds of stuff. He ran a sausage factory (Hilo Meat, later to be known as Miko), and he either ran or took care of a golf driving range. I have lots of stories about the Wongs.

Our Old House Today
Then came our house.

On the other side of our house was the Kutsunai family. No, not Dr. Kutsunai—his brother and his family. They had two children, but they were much, much older. I believe they were in high school when we moved in. They were the only ones who never cleared out the back portion of their lot. The Wongs had a large backyard, and so did we after Dad hired some church kids of clear out the weeds. Instead, the Kutsunai's backyard was full of California grass.

The last house (actually the first house on the left side when you entered Ekaha Street) was another mystery. But it had a chicken yard. And what a chicken yard. There were regular chickens, ducks, bantam chickens and turkeys there. The fowl population never seemed to diminish, but you can bet your buttons they weren't there just for decoration.

That's it. That's Ekaha Street. I lived there 15 years.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

Why is it that when I get bored, I hunt up movies on my Roku 3 that seem to be zombie- or infected- or contagion-related? It just happened again. I found one.

Set in a dystopian future, The Girl with All the Gifts opens in an army penitentiary at Beacon, England, where a couple of dozen children are imprisoned.

Dressed in orange hoody jump suits, the adolescents are transported every morning from their cells to class in special restraining wheelchairs.

The military complex is protected by a heavy link fence, strong, but apparently not strong enough to hold back a massive army of "hungries," fungus-infected humans, who overrun the compound.

One especially intelligent child named Melanie (Sennia Nanua) is rescued by her teacher, Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton), from Dr. Caroline Caldwell (Glenn Close), who wants to use Melanie's brain to manufacture a cure for the fungus that has ravaged the world. 

They and a small group of soldiers, led by Sgt. Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine), seek an emergency mobile laboratory, their movement among the hungries masked by a blocking gel that hides their human scent.

It works, but there is a problem. Remember the kids in the penitentiary? They smelled the gel every day and know it means normal humans (food) are nearby.

Even Melanie smells the humans and becomes ravenous. So they have THAT to deal with as well. She's hungry and antsy, catches and eats a pigeon, and calms down. She gets hungry again, catches and eats a—well, you get the idea. And yet, she is a savior in more ways than one.

This is not a zombie film, by the way. Zombies are slow and plodding. “Infecteds” are alert and fast. Remember 2013's unsettling World War Z (Brad Pitt)?

Based on M.R. Carey's Edgar-winning 2014 short story, The Girl with All the Gifts is one of the more-intelligent "infected" movies I've seen ... and I've seen a lot. It joins a list that includes three based on Richard Mathewson's iconic 1954 sci-fi novel—1964's The Last Man on Earth (Vincent Price), the 1971 remake, Omega Man (Charlton Heston), and the 2007 reboot, I Am Legend (Will Smith).

It's an entirely plausible movie with an uplifting (if unnerving) finale.

Memorable quotation: "The (pregnant) mothers were probably all infected at once, in a single incident. Then the embryos they were carrying took the infection as well. Through the placenta. They ate their way out."

Memorable scene: Melanie catches and eats ... a cat.

Book Adaptation, Drama, Apocalypse