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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Hawaiian Subtitles: Why?

I never really paid much attention before, but for some reason I recently noticed that Hawaiian Airlines' preflight safety video not only has subtitles in English, it also has Hawaiian translations.

Immediately, the only thing that came to mind was one word: Why?

Other than paying homage to, and showing respect for, the native Hawaiian language, what useful purpose do Hawaiian-language translations accomplish? I'm sure at least 99.9% of their passengers don't understand the language (I know I don't).

Most just listen to the dialog on the screen. Or they don't. And if they can't speak English, they can understand what to do just by watching the video.

To my way of thinking, if Hawaiian Airlines wants to use foreign language subtitles, they should use Spanish ... or Japanese.

And that's all I have to say about that. Or, A i ka pau aʻu i, e olelo aku no ia.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fremont Neighborhood Fauna

Keeping an eye out for wildlife in my grandson's neighborhood always pays off. Sometimes, one has to be patient and wait, but there's usually a payoff.

This visit, I started seeing several five-inch long gray lizards scurrying about on the rocks of the front door.

They usually don't hang around and let me get my camera out and take aim, but finally I got lucky and photographed one as it was sunning itself.

I think it's a Northern Fence Lizard.

I also saw a lot of turkeys, but they were always on the wrong side of the car and I couldn't stop for more than a few seconds ... until our last day there. Four toms were displaying on the sidewalk next to a meter of sorts, trying to impress a female across the street.

One thing about males in sexual heat, they're single-minded and can't be bothered with a camera in their faces.

Good! I finally got some shots off for posterity!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Bodega Bay Overnight Jaunt

I always try to take an overnight trip somewhere in California whenever the wife and I visit our family in Fremont.

We hadn’t been to Bodega Bay (where Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” was filmed) in a couple of years, so we packed up our overnight bag, jumped into our rented Hyundai Elantra, and motored north to Bodega.

It wasn’t a short trip; it was a long (according to my standards) two-hour drive that started on freeways and then veered off into smaller country roads. But it was quite fun.

Once we hit Bodega Bay, we stopped by at Lucas Wharf for lunch with a Facebook friend. I took the occasion to snap some picturesque photos of just ordinary stuff lying about the piers.

Here … I’ll share some of them with you:

Once again, we stayed at the Inn at the Tides. You know, the one where they give you a complimentary bottle of Salmon Creek wine. I’ve run pictures of the room before, but that was two years ago, so here are the new ones:

Once we got settled, it was time for dinner, so we headed down the driveway and across the street to the Tides Wharf Restaurant for dinner. After dinner and a little wander around, we went back to the room for a relaxing lie-around to rest.

The next morning, we had breakfast at the Tides Wharf Restaurant. You may recall from my post two years ago that a free breakfast comes with the room. (By the way, pictures of our Lucas Wharf lunch and our Tides Wharf dinner and breakfast were posted yesterday.)

Finally, after a good night’s sleep, we went on that famous road that Tippi Hedren took around the bay to the Spud Point Crab Company, a little shack on the side of the road that makes the best crab sandwiches and award-winning clam chowder.

Can’t wait for our next sojourn there, but I tell you, the 2+-hour drive back to Fremont was grueling—my shoulders and neck ached by the time we reached the house.

But … it was worth it!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Fremont Vacation Lunches and Dinners

I'm a two-meal-a-day man. Breakfast and dinner.

It used to be lunch and dinner when I was working out of an office. But since retiring, I eat a big breakfast and skip lunch.

If I'm going out for lunch, I have toast and coffee in the morning.

During our recent vacation to Fremont, the wife and I did breakfast every day. However, on our second day, we ate late and lo and behold, one of the lunch specials was braised Short Ribs. Couldn't pass that up.

Another time, we had a lunch date after a two-hour drive to Bodega Bay, so we skipped breakfast.

One dinner at Bodega Bay, and two at Massimo's in Fremont, rounded out our dinner restaurant experiences on our vacation. Here's what I had:

Friday, May 5, 2017 • Braised Short Ribs (lunch)
Dina's Family Diner, Fremont

Monday, May 8, 2017 • Shellfish Sauté (lunch)
Lucas Wharf, Bodega Bay 

Monday, May 8, 2017 • Filet of Sole Petrale Doré (dinner)
The Tides Wharf and Restaurant, Bodega Bay

Sunday, May 14, 2017 • Mother's Day Special Short Rib (dinner)
Massimo's, Fremont
Massimo Salad
Fruit Sorbet

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 • Veal Scallopini Marsala (dinner)
Massimo's, Fremont
Caprese Salad
All of the meals were delicious, except for Massimo's Veal Scallopini Marsala. The veal wasn't the least bit juicy, and it was too lean and chewy.

And that’s about the size of it for non-breakfast meals.