Thursday, September 19, 2013

Spotty Posting Ahead

For the next week and a half or so, my Wandering blog posts will be off and on, mostly off, as the wife and I head back out to California to visit family and spend time with our grandson.

Things should get back to normal sometime after Monday, Sept. 30, when we return home (although I may take a couple of days to recuperate from the trip).

So until then, don't forget to brush your teeth at least twice a day, don't forget to floss, and don't forget to drink lots of water.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hilo Days: Third-Grade Memories

Elementary School is rather a fun time for most kids. Two years of school behind us and a sense of comfort and confidence begins to infuse our souls.

I have fond memories of third grade, it's where friendships are solidified and where I learned penmanship. No longer were we the littlest ones in school. Halfway there, we were, halfway from moving up to intermediate school.

Here, from my defunct Hilo Days website, is a little about what I remember:

Mrs. Deverill’s Class

Mrs. Deverill was our third-grade teacher at Riverside School. She was a stern-looking lady who actually was quite soft-spoken. I liked her. In fact, I guess I liked all my elementary school teachers.
Anyway, toward the end of the second grade, we all started talking about which third-grade teacher we were going to get. The other teacher was Mrs. Wessel. We used to call them “Mrs. Devil and Mrs. Weasel.” The outgoing third-graders used to pull our legs and tell us that it didn’t make any difference who you got.
Both the Devil and the Weasel were terrible, they told us. As usual, we believed them – after all, they were older than we were.
Third grade is when I won second place in that Easter egg decorating context I told you about earlier. For some reason, I mostly remember things connected with this table that was in the back of the room. That’s where the Easter eggs were displayed.
The table was also the place where we put our CARE package donations. This is an interesting story. Mrs. Deverill told us we were going to have a CARE drive. Everyone was to bring something that could go into a CARE package that would be given to needy people in needy places.
I told Mom about it that night. After thinking it over for a while, she said it would be nice to send soap to the needy people. I didn’t argue – it made sense to me. So I brought three of four bars of Camay soap to school the next day. Most of the kids brought canned goods – Vienna sausages, soup, corned beef, packaged spaghetti, you name it.
A few other kids brought soap, but they brought Ivory soap. Cheap Ivory soap. My Camay was expensive, and it was perfumed. Some of the kids (mostly the girls) look at me in awe as I laid that “upper-class” toilette item on the table. The rest of the kids (mostly boys) snickered.
That table was also the place where we had our practice neighborhood store. We were told to bring empty product packages so we could practice making change and learn how a real store is run.
We had a whole bunch of different stuff to “buy.” Most of it was cheap stuff (we had a lot of bread wrappers filled with paper), most of it was common.
Not Craig’s. Craig brought an empty ham can. Again, the awestruck looks and snickers (“You mean they’re rich enough to eat ham?”) as I laid my contribution down on the table.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hawaiian Airlines First Class Meal ... Again

Nobody: "Hey, Craig, how was your meal when you flew from Vegas back to Hawaii in first class this last trip?"

Me: "Oh, it was pretty good, but my entrée was a bit on the dry side."

Nobody: "What did you have?"

Me: "Well, the appetizer was a choice of assorted cheeses and grapes, or Balmoral Smoked Salmon with missed greens, cucumber and a sliced hard-boiled egg. Which would YOU choose?"

Nobody: "The salmon, of course."

Me: "You got that right. The entrée was a choice of Minted Beef Stir-Fry or Spinach Fettucini. I went with the beef, it came with steamed rice and green beans. But the beef was kinda dry and they didn't provide any ketchup."

Nobody: "Too bad. What did they give you for dessert?"

Me: "Cheesecake with dark berry sauce. It was pretty good."

Nobody: "Lucky you!"


Monday, September 16, 2013

R-Rated Stamp

On Oct. 25, 1995, New Caledonia issued a 65-franc stamp (Scott #730) picturing a sculpture titled, "The Lizard Man." What's so unusual is the man's ... er, privates. It's pretty prominent, no?

But that's not the interesting part about this stamp. What? You want to look at it more closely? Okay, I'll wait ... *humming and cleaning my fingernails*

Ready? Okay, the interesting part about this stamp is the stamp designer's name. It's in the lower-right hand corner of the white "frame." Find it?

It's "Dick Bone." Kind of appropriate and ironic, don't you think?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Bellagio Conservatory Birds

The second thing I did after visiting The Palazzo on the day I arrived for my mini-vacation at Las Vegas was to drive over to the Bellagio Resort and check out the Conservatory. It's one of my "gotta go" destinations whenever I'm in Sin City.

Well, I have to say I wasn't all that impressed this time. Maybe it was the theme? Birds are nice, but they're not as nice as say, butterflies, or winter scenes, or spring flower gardens. Still, the display was nice, just not as nice as I have come to expect.

Maybe it was that light house in the back. They always seem to have a light house, or a water wheel, or a windmill. Or maybe it was that big black bird cage in the middle of the display. Something about caged birds doesn't quite cut it. Maybe they should have gold-gilt the cage?

Maybe birds aren't whimsical enough for me? Yeah, that's it. More whimsy needed here.

Anyway, the pictures did come out pretty nice:


Maybe I'll like the next one better. We'll just have to see.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Palazzo Atrium Carnevale Display

The first thing I did when I got to Las Vegas last week (aside from having breakfast) was to check out the ever-changing magnificent floral display in the Palazzo Resort Atrium that connects the hotel with The Venetian.

There's always a great sense of anticipation as I walk into the hotel lobby, turn right into the casino, walk about halfway through, then hang another right. Easy to find, easy to get to. It's like a lighted glory area inviting one to come over, come over, come over.

This time, the theme was Carnevale. Now, Carnevale is celebrated in Italy about a month and a half before Easter, and here it was, the end of Summer. But that didn't stop the folks at the Palazzo/Venetian from showing off their Carnevale talents. No siree Bob.

So without further ado (and definitely no adieu yet), enjoy some of the pictures I took of the display (no 'splanations necessary):


Can't wait to see what they come up with the next time I'm there.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Funny (To Us) Signs from India 3

Here's another set of signs found in India that illustrate how funny it is to us when another culture tries to speak English the way we know it.

How come nobody ever tells them what they did wrong? Wouldn't you think it's better to hurt their feelings now than have them be humiliated in secret?

Goodness. Anyway, enjoy, because they ARE funny.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Interesting Preliminary Ancestry Research

Remember a while back when I mentioned watching Who Do You Think You Are on TLC? I’ve kind of developed an itch to find out more about my own ancestors.

So, I went to the other night and got started, doing some surface scratching. I came across the passenger manifest of United Airlines Flight 649-5 from San Francisco to Honolulu on July 5, 1947, and found Dad’s, Mom’s, and my name listed.

Everything on the printed form was handwritten (remember, there were no computers back then), but all of it was legible. Our last names had been scratched out and reprinted, so evidently, the United staff in San Francisco didn’t know how to spell Japanese names. It’s kind of humorous if you stop to think about it. Plus you have to remember, it was less than two years after the Japanese had surrendered during World War II.
But I digress.
I scrolled up and down the page ( had only the first page of the manifest), and recognized a name – Walter Dillingham, age 72.
Walter F. Dillingham was known as the “Baron of Hawaii Industry” when Hawaii was a territory of the United States. His birthday was listed on the flight manifest as April 5, 1875; a little research on the Internet confirmed it, so yes, that was him. We were on the plane with a famous man in Hawaiian history.
I betcha Dad didn’t know who he was, and for sure, Mom, who grew up in Sacramento and Chicago, didn’t. Me? I was only 2½ (it said so on the manifest), so I definitely didn’t know.

In a way, it’s amazing that it took all these decades for me to make this discovery. It’s not of great significance in my life, but it’s pretty interesting.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Vegas Restaurant Tour

During my trip to Las Vegas last week, I decided to do something different, something I've never done before.

I went on a restaurant tour of dining establishments in the two resort hotels I stayed in, The Red Rock Resort in Summerlin, and The Encore/Wynn on the Las Vegas Strip.

The only times I ate outside the casinos were before I could check in (twice), and after I had checked out and had to spend time in Sin City before my return flight left.

Here's where I ate:

  • Dona Maria's Mexican Restaurant on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. Ole!
  • Terra Rossa in the Red Rock Casino. Mangiare! Mangiare!
  • The Grand Café in the Red Rock Casino. Breakfast omelet!
  • Hachi in the Red Rock Casino. Hai! Irashaimase! Itadakimasu!
  • Mimi's Café in Summerlin. New Orleans style breakfast!
  • Society Café in The Encore. Affordable gourmet dinner!
  • The Buffet at The Winn. Oh so much food!
  • Wazuzu at The Encore. A mix of traditional Asian!
  • Mr. Mama's on Decatur. A great local place for breakfast or lunch!

The best part? These were all restaurants I'd never eaten at before.

I'll be reviewing each of them over the next few weeks in my "Place for My Taste" blog (url in the right column of this blog).

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Smart Phone Pictures 4

I love to take pictures of plants ... the greenery is gorgeous, especially during the summer months. I'd take more pictures of leaves turning color in the fall, but as you know, we don't have fall here in Hawaii, just perpetual summer.

Nevertheless, sometimes our foliage does turn color. Not because of the season, but just because they do. Enjoy these pix I took with my smart phone:

Dracena Surprise, Top of Driveway, Aug. 19, 2012
Hosta Plant, Diagnostic Labs, Aug. 5, 2012
Rock Island in Hosta Sea, Diagnostic Labs Aug. 5, 2013
Ti Plant in Hosta Sea, Diagnostic Labs, Aug. 5, 2012
Red Ti Plant, Front Yard, Aug. 8, 2012
Cactus, Driveway, Aug. 19, 2012
Pink-Rimmed Ti Plant, Driveway, Aug. 19, 2012
Palm Tree, Zippy's McCully, Aug. 12, 2012

Monday, September 9, 2013

Thoughts & Stuff

Every now and then, I come across something worth keeping, but not meaty enough to warrant its own post (of course, I could just be lazy). So I gather them up in a file, add them as they come along, even including some thoughts of my own that don’t quite fit in the “Random Thoughts” category.

With that … here's what I have so far:
“My brains are al dente, just a step away from smooshy.” – Me
“My thoughts are like escargot – meaty mushrooms.” – Me
1 + 1 > 2 (Even Frodo didn't do it alone.)
"A stupid idea is still a light in my brain. A dying match in a dark cavern, perhaps, but still a light." – Somebody Else
"Eternity is very long, especially towards the end." – Woody Allen
“How nice it would be to be a plant, Just sitting there outside, face to the sun, Witness to birds as they wing overhead, Damn! They pooped! Now, that's no fun.” – Me
“You felt warm because I blew on your heart.” – Somebody Else
“Enjoy life - it has an expiration date.” – Somebody Else

Sunday, September 8, 2013

World's Worst Comb-Over

As I was walking to my gate at Honolulu International Airport last Sunday night, to catch my flight to Las Vegas for a well-deserved five days of debauchery and gluttony, look what I saw in front of me:

It was a guy with the world's worst comb-over. Now, I ask you, why do guys do this? When my hair began thinning, did I grow it longer and comb it over a huge bald spot? No. I did the logical thing. I cut it really short.

As the women used to tell me, bald is beautiful. Other have told me they loved it when I had a full head of long hair. But y'know, what can you do? If your hair is going to thin out and disappear, well, so be it.

I've done the Rogaine thing and all it did was make me impatient. So I gave it up.

But never ... NEVER ... have I contemplated, even for a millisecond, sporting a comb-over.

I felt like tapping the guy on the shoulder and telling him no matter what he did with his hair, he couldn't look any worse than with that horrendous comb-over. But you know what? He combed it to look like an egret plume, I'm sure he saw it in the mirror, and I'm sure he thinks it looks good.


I kid you not.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sophisticated Scam Spam

I got this in my email a few weeks ago, saved it to write about, and completely forgot about it until today. It's an example of how sophisticated these scam spam emails have become.

This is the first one I've received that has a bank logo on it to make it look official. It comes from a Xiao Y. Fang from the Wing Lung Bank in Hong Kong, and tries to entice me to write back at his supplied "private" email address. He has a business proposal that could make me $16.5 million.

Of course, I didn't reply. But I'm probably one of millions that received this email. I'm curious how many people actually fell for this scam.

Not you, right?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Going on a Walkabout Today

I'm going on a walkabout this week. I'll be back soon.
Be nice to your friends. 
Call your mom and tell her you love her. 
Do something unexpected for a stranger. 
Say your prayers at night. 
Be happy.

I'll see you on Saturday, most likely

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Oh, the Glare!

Remember a while back I told you about our re-roofing project? Remember that we'd had it painted white even longer ago, but a roofing contractor told us the paint had caused leaks in our roof? And remember how we replaced the painted shingles with light tan ones to help make our house cooler in the summer?

Remember that?

Well, the owner of the house next to us is having lots of renovation work done to prepare for a new tenant, who just happens to be her daughter. And part of the work involved fixing up the roof.

As you can see, they painted it white ... which is fine, but the roofing contractor is the same one who re-shingled our roof. Ironic, isn't it.

The thing about their new roof is that it reflects the sun. Harshly. It's very bright out there during the day. Goodness, the glare. The glare!