Saturday, May 31, 2014

Questionable Book Titles/Subjects 5

Here's another little group of those strangely funny book covers. This time the theme is ... "You Mean Somebody Actually Wrote About THAT?"

I'm almost tempted to buy a couple of these just to see what the authors' points of view are. I mean, c'mon!

I have one more small bunch of these weird book covers to share with you at a later date.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Is It Too Early for the Grinch?

During my recent visit to my son's home in Fremont, California, I did something I always do. I wandered around the house with my eyes wide open, looking for interesting subjects to photograph.

This rose bud stopped me dead in my tracks.

I thought I was looking at a botanical incarnation of Dr. Seuss' Grinch and stood there with my mouth open. Who can dismiss that strange face, and who could predict that a bud soon to erupt in beauty would remind me of the Grinch?

I mean, just look at it. If that doesn't remind you of the Grinch, then I don't know what will.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Return Flight Was Better – Almost

May 23, 2014, leaving Las Vegas for home five days later:

It started off fine. I did have apprehension on the Vegas-Seattle leg when a little baby, oh, maybe a year old, sat across the skinny aisle from me on the CRJ plane that took me from Las Vegas to Seattle. I needn't have worried. She took a shining to me, smiling cutely, then sleeping through practically all the two hours we were in the air.

It was a long wait in Seattle for my flight back to Hawaii, but the wait went well – no problems.

They announced a full flight to Honolulu, but the middle seat next to me in the Economy Comfort zone was empty, much to the delight of my row mate and me. We were able to lift the seat arms, and it was like sitting on a couch.

A couple in the row across the aisle was pulled and upgraded to first class. Lucky people, and the serviceman sitting in the row had three seats all to himself. Lucky guy, well-deserved.

Good luck for all concerned. And then ... this little 3-4-year-old girl behind me started whimpering, then talking, then singing. Oh well, updated score: two good, one bad.

And then (again) as we were taxiing for takeoff, the pilot came on the PA to announce there was right-engine control-light problem (electronic engine control), so we taxied back to the gate for repairs (Wha-a-at!) and a possible 30-minute delay. Actual delay: one hour and five minutes.

The serviceman across the aisle. Poor guy.  A young talkative chef student at the Culinary Institute of America was able to make the flight after originally missing it, but because of the delay, they put her on. She took the aisle seat in his row ... No more couch for him.

Looks like I spoke too soon, huh?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Flight from Hell ... Again?

May 18, 2014, on my way to Las Vegas again for a much-desired vacation from home:

Gate 20 Waiting Area

8:10 p.m. There's this woman sitting behind me in the Delta gate waiting area who smells like she took a shower in over-ripe floral perfume. I think it's time for me to change seats.

On the Plane

8:30 p.m. And now, sitting in the seat next to me – Economy comfort area, for which I paid extra - is a very big and wide woman. Jeez.

9:05 p.m. The woman from the gate waiting area with the heavy perfume aura is standing in the aisle next to where I'm sitting. Traffic jam, she's not moving. Oh so stinky.

9:20 p.m. Only thing missing is a crying baby. Oops, spoke too soon. Crying baby one row back and to the right.

At the Gate

9:30 p.m. And then ... a half hour after we pulled away from the gate, we're back at the gate. Pressurization instrumentation failure, they said. The good news (really?) is that the maintenance crew here can fix it. Déjà vu all over again, haven't I been through this before? Yep. The last time I took Omni International Air to Las Vegas.

10:45 p.m. Announcement that a part will be replaced and the delay will be an additional hour.

Gate 20 Waiting Area

10:57 p.m. Text message from Delta Airlines, new flight time is 11:30 p.m.

10:58 p.m. Damn! I smell the perfume lady, but she's nowhere to be seen.

11:15 p.m. Announcement, the plane is fixed and they are reloading the plane.

On the Plane

11:35 p.m. Pulling away from the gate.

11:45 p.m. Wheels up. On our way at last.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Leaving Las Vegas

Goodbye to fun, sorry you weren't here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Still in Las Vegas

Still having fun, still wish you were here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

I'm in Las Vegas

Having fun, wish you were here.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Flora in Fremont

I'm getting ready to take another few days vacation in Las Vegas next week, and am a bit lazy ... so instead of doing a lot of writing, I'm going to share with you some photographs of beautiful flowers and foliage that I took at my son's home in Fremont, California.

All of them, mind you, were taken during a walk around the house and his back deck.

Lots of beauty, that's for sure. Okay, I'll shut up and let you enjoy now.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Phone Pix 23: Buildings

One way to keep the mind sharp and working well is to look around for interesting subjects, angles and lighting, whip out your telephone and take a picture. (Isn't it amazing how we can do that nowadays?)

Buildings are always fascinating .. not only because of their shapes, but because of their lighting, meaning, and what's going on around them.

Here are some that I gathered late last year:

Old House in Makiki, Honolulu, HI, Aug. 26, 2013

Excalibur and New York, New York, Las Vegas, NV, Sept. 2, 2013

Catholic Church of Las Vegas, view from Encore Hotel
Las Vegas, NV, Sept. 4, 2013

Bodega Church, Bodega, CA Sept. 24, 2013

Potter Schoolhouse, Bodega, CA Sept. 24, 2013

Condominium, view from back of Honolulu Art School, Honolulu, HI
Nov. 8, 2013

Iwilei Industrial Area, Honolulu, HI, Dec. 30, 2013

Wyland Mural, view from Honolulu International Airport cellphone lot,
Honolulu, HI, Dec. 30, 2013

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Questionable Book Titles/Subjects 4

Women aren't safe from ridiculous book themes and titles. I guess the theme must be legitimate, but sometimes I wonder what the authors were thinking anyway.

And yes, I have a few more ... later.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Serino's Pizza Now in Manoa

There's a new pizza place in town ... actually, it's not new in town, just in the Manoa Marketplace that we frequent for our supermarket, drug store, Chinese food, and local snacks.

It's Serino's, which used to be located in Waikiki, where the International Marketplace used to be on Kalakaua Avenue. That marketplace is no more, having been razed to make way for ... well, I don't quite remember what for.

We stumbled onto this place when we went to dinner at Tokoname Sushi Bar & Restaurant (just to the left of the above picture). The new Serino's shop is located where a Japanese Hello Kitty store used to be. I never saw anybody in that store, but I've seen a lot of people in Serino's.

There's no place to sit and eat there, but there are a few chairs and tables in the vicinity.

We bought their $25 ultimate pizza (everything under the sun on a thin crust) ... very tasty. They have a loyalty program. Buy five and the sixth is on them.

I wonder how much business they're drawing away from North End Boston Pizza just down the street?

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Fauna in the Dell

In the Cameron Hills area of Fremont, across the bay from San Francisco, there's a grassy ravine (a dell, actually) that can sometimes be very interesting. In addition to birds (hummers and bluejays, which I've seen but haven't been able to take decent photos of), there are ...


Wild turkeys abound. I've seen as many as a half-dozen at a time, roaming around in the dell and sometimes in the residential neighborhood. There's usually a big tom with a number of hens hanging around with him.

Here's a pic I was able to take with my telephoto lens of three turkeys on the other side of the dell. Not a bad pic for such a small Sony Cybershot camera. That tom is a big one, spreading out in full display.

Now ... this is a picture of the turkey just outside the neighbor's fence. Yep, that's the one that caused me to fall (a few posts ago). It had a limp, favoring its left leg, just as I did when I photographed it after my fall.

At my grandson's birthday party, one of the guest's fathers was excited about seeing turkeys along the side of the road as he drove up to the house. I guess not many people get to experience that when we live in the city.


One day, as I was looking for turkeys, I happened to look left along the dell, and saw a large number of white dots on the big slope. I took a telephoto pic, but even when I blew it up, I couldn't identify what they were. So I surmised they were ducks ... then I changed that to sheep. Then, my son told me they were goats.

They are fenced into a certain section of the dell and serve as goat lawn mowers. When that area is cropped, they're moved to the next one. Then the next one, ad infinitum. Mighty clever indeed!

One day, I missed the turn to my son's house and had to travel a little farther down the road before I could make a turn-around. That's when I realized I was on the other side of the dell.

There they were, a friendly barking sheep dog and his charges, about 200 goats bleating and munching, and resting and playing. I parked for a time and watched them. Who wouldn't?


Now, this is a home where the deer also roam. I didn't see as many as the last time I was here, but I was able to take a picture of one as I stood on the back deck surveying the dell.

I don't know for sure what kind of deer this is, but I think it's a female California Mule Deer.

Fighting Fish

This ... is Toey, my grandson's Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendins).

I know, he's not an outside in-the-dell fauna, but my grandson will get a kick knowing his fish has become famous.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Trip Inconvenience 3: The Flat

I rather enjoy renting cars from Hertz; they always give me new cars so in a way, I test-drive a new car every time I rent from them.

This past trip, they rented me a 2014 Ford Focus.

It's not a bad car, roomy on the inside, easy driving, with pretty fair power.

It's got all the gizmos a guy could want, lots of flash. Plus, it doesn't look too shabby either.

The evening before we were to fly back from Oakland to Honolulu, I noticed a "tire pressure" indicator go on when I took it to the gas station to fill up the tank. So I did a walk-abound and saw nothing. I forgot about it and drove back to the house.

As I was loading up the trunk with our bags the next morning, my son said the left-front was flat. I checked it out and it was a bit low, but I figured I could stop at the service station and fill it up with air before heading out to the airport. No, he said, you can't do that.

Stubborn me, I decided to try anyway. So I backed up into his driveway ... that exposed something I hadn't noticed before -- a big screw had embedded itself in the tire. And the tire really looked flat now.

What to do, what to do? I called Hertz's Fremont office and they told me to call their emergency roadside service number. A nice guy answered and said because I didn't take the insurance, a service call would cost me $79. What I should do, he recommended, was call AAA and have them fix the flat, but don't wait for them and get to the airport so we don't miss our flight. Then, have them tow it to the nearest Hertz location.

(All the time, I was trying to communicate with the guy via my hoarse voice and blocked-up nose and ears. I had to ask him a few times to repeat what he'd said, while trying to get my bags out of the trunk without banging my damaged left knee.)

But he'd given great advice. My son had to take my grandson to school, which was on the way to the airport, so we jumped in his car. The only problem was that traffic on the 880 is horrendously slow in the morning as people head off to work. (Do you know how many cars have only the driver in them? Tons.) We scooted along in the carpool lane until we neared the airport and had to move over to the right.

It was like a caterpillar walking through mud. We barely made it to the airport in time, but thanks to this thing called "TSA PreCheck," we were hustled to the front of the long security line, getting to the gate just as they started loading first-class.

So ... the wife and I made our flight. Of course I had a cold, my knee hurt, and I'd had a flat, but we made our flight.

When we landed and I turned on my phone, my son had messaged me saying the car was not at Hertz and they charged the rental fee to my credit card. What a guy!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Trip Inconvenience 2: The Fall

My son's house in California has multilevel floors. There a step down from the front-door entry area to the living room and kitchen, and another step down to the family room and deck.

The wife took a tumble the last time we visited, so I was particularly careful to always look down as I moved to a lower level.

Well, on the morning that we were set to visit my grandson's class for his "Spotlight Day" in the afternoon (his real birthday), I was out on the deck looking over the grassy ravine, trying to spot some of the wild turkeys that roam the development. Then, something moved off to the left -- it was a turkey hen, poking around the tall grass one house over' I was as close to a wild turkey as I had ever been.

So naturally, I wanted a picture. Unfortunately, my camera was upstairs in the bedroom. So I called to the wife, who was in the kitchen, and asked her to go upstairs and get my camera for me. Well, she was washing dishes and had to rinse her hands off, then dry them, before she could go upstairs. Impatient me, I ran upstairs myself.

When I got back downstairs, I was so intent on photographing the turkey before she left, that I forgot about the step down. I did my worse imitation of a dolphin belly flopping in the ocean, landing hard on my left side.

The wife came running over to help. I hadn't broken anything, but it felt like somebody had given me a knockout punch on the left side of my stomach (good thing I have lots of padding there). My elbow hurt, but there was no damage.

My left knee, on the other hand, was skinned. Oh no, not again, it was right on the stop that I damaged when I fell in the theater two years ago (except that time I skinned both knees).

Being well practiced in skinned-knee care, I knew what I needed -- a 3x3 gauze pad, an alcohol swab, some antibiotic cream, and some hospital tape. Cringing in pain, I hobbled around the house looking for a first-aid kit, and when I could find none, began planning how I was going to drive to a drug store and get the stuff I needed.

Luckily, the wife found a first-aid kit with exactly what I needed. Once I patched myself up, I jumped (well, more like "crabbed") into our rental, drove with the wife to Walmart, and bought a ton of stuff to tide me over for another week.

We made it to "Spotlight Day" and everything was just fine ... except that my knee hurt until I got back home. Oh, and I hurt my back too, and experienced sharp pain whenever I sneezed or, because that's the day the cold started getting really bad.

And that's not the end of it either. I'll tell you about one more thing the next time.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Trip Inconvenience 1: The Cold

I really hate it when I catch a cold on a trip, especially one that lasts more than a week.

Well, I caught one during my recent visit to California when the wife and I helped celebrate my grandson's birthday.

It began like most colds begin, with a slightly achy throat when I woke up the morning of his birthday party, and turned scratchy when the kids began arriving. Not wanting to spend too much time in the house and chance spreading my developing cold, I went outside to the deck so I could soak up some sun.

Unfortunately, there was a big cool wind come blowing up the hill, one that gave me a slight chill ... not exactly the best thing. I should have tried to stay warm, but what could I do? The house was full of rambunctuous, energetic kids singing songs from the Disney animated movie, Frozen.

As the following days went by, the cold got worse, not a very leaky-nose cold, it was one of those that caused coughing jags and (I swear), pounds and pounds of yellow-brown stuff that I kept hacking up. I went through a whole big box of tissues during my week-long stay, not to mention cough syrup and Zycam.

To make matters worse, I lost my voice, although the wife must have been relieved that she couldn't hear my complaints. Like many a big ol' man, I turn into a whining kid when I'm sick.

The good news is, I made it home on the plane without being kicked off for being contagious.

The bad new is ... the cold was only the first of the problems I encountered on the trip. I'll tell you about another next time.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Phone Pix 22: Restaurant Dishes

Everybody's in the habit of photographing restaurant food these days; it's just another way of making Facebook friends jealous of your beautiful meals.

And that's why I carry my smart phone around with me when we go out ... so I can share them with you and make you jealous. Nah, just kidding. Enjoy!

Korean Chicken Sandwich, Zippy's Vineyard, Dec. 4, 2012

Butterfish/Tempura/Sushi Combo, Gyotaku, Nov. 4, 2013

Special Dinner Combo Plate, Asia Manoa, Nov. 25, 2013

Sister Karen's Thanksgiving Buffet, Nov. 28, 2013

Kalbi Breakfast, Big City Diner, Dec. 2, 2012

Frutti de Mare, Andiamo Italian Steakhouse, Dec. 10, 2013

 Appetizers, King Sushi, Dec. 24, 2013