Friday, May 31, 2013

30 May 2013.

Two goals were on my list as I headed out today.  One was to take a look at the pirate galleon, "Treasure Seeker", visiting from San Diego and the other was to get a couple of papayas and some local bananas.  On the way, whatever interesting stuff caught my eye was fair game for my trusty Canon camera.
Olive trees in Honolulu!  About four of these very old olive trees can be found on the grounds of the Cathedral of St. Andrew, the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii, located just about four blocks from our building.  When late November or December rolls around, we'll check back to see if anyone here harvests the fruit.
Across from the state capitol on Beretania Street, is the Governor's Mansion.  Lots of history here, just put "Governor's Mansion Hawaii" in your browser to read all about it.  I'd write more, but I'm jogging just now.

A type of tree grows here and though I have yet to discover its name, the best way to describe the spectacular and abundant blossoms it displays is to compare them to a fountain of pink champagne.  When looking at one of these large trees, it's difficult to see individual flowers, rather you see the "bubbles" of subtle pinks and beige and white, massing into a foam of that most famous sparkling wine.  I've got to find out more about this tree.

See what I mean?  Pink champagne bubbles.
Zoomed-in a bit to show more of the "effervescence".


Another eye-catcher this morning was a truly amazing work of public art by George Rickey.  It consists of two rectangles of stainless steel, side-by-side, each mounted on a gimbal.  The two rectangles move independently with the wind and though it seems that they should smash into one another, they are engineered to forever dance, yet never touch.  I've posted about this previously, but today I stopped long enough to ask a very nice lady at the Honolulu Museum of Art about it.  She told me the sculptor's name and said it was here at the museum temporarily.  It normally resides at a federal building here.  I suspect that the federal building is being rehabilitated currently.  Anyway, I strongly encourage you all to Google George Rickey and read about his very interesting and long life.
I know it doesn't look very impressive here, but trust me...when you see these two shapes move in the wind, you'll be overwhelmed by thoughts of complex mathematical formulas and engineering genius.  Again, I strongly recommend taking a look at the life of the sculptor, George Rickey.
A view looking south.  The orange flowering tree grabbed my attention.  Click on the image for a closer view of that beautiful tree.
The sign on this interesting architectural work is Occidental, which (I think) is an insurance company. What came to mind was, "accidental"!
These look a lot like very small oranges, but I didn't taste one to find out.  They're about as big as a pearl and I have no idea what this plant is called.

As I continued on the jog, I snapped several photos of the beautiful flowers and trees along the route.  I'm quite certain many of the species photographed today are found in other places, but they all look a little more spectacular here.:)
Colorful flags line the upper level of the Ala Moana Shopping Center parking garage.
Can you say, "espalier"?  This seriously doctored palm is located outside the building housing a local TV station's broadcasting spaces.
Complementary colors--sort of--but certainly dramatically colorful.

After jogging a couple miles, I arrived at the Kewalo Basin and quickly found the "Treasure Seeker", a pirate galleon out of San Diego, California.  The "pirates" website never mentioned they would be coming here, so let the alarm go out to all vessels navigating these waters and landlubbers, as well, until these scallywags return to their home port.  Aye!
The pirate galleon, "Treasure Seeker", visiting from San Diego.  I guess the crew plundered and pillaged all they could and headed here for "R and R" and to sell pirate stuff.  The ship holds up to forty-nine prisoners...er...passengers.   Those cannon only fire water.  Probably insurance issues with real cannon balls and black powder.
A stern view of this modern day, scourge of the seven seas.

While at Kewalo Basin, I had to have more photos of the super yacht Musashi and sailing yacht, Kaori.  They are two magnificent vessels.
The sailing yacht, Kaori.  Click to bring closer.
Super yacht, Musashi.  The flag in the photo is flying off the stern of Kaori.  Some folks on Kaori were being served lunch, so I discreetly left them alone and out of this photo.
Here, you see a charter fishing boat heading to sea.  As I watched this, all I could think of was the theme from "Gilligan's Island"..."...a three-hour tour...a three-hour tour".  You Tube has the original song and after listening a couple of times, I'm still smiling as I type this.
This would be me, watching that fishing boat leave the safety of Kewalo Basin for adventure and thrills on the high sea.  I paid fourteen Doubloons, six pieces of eight and a bottle of rum to entice a reprobate off the Treasure Hunter to take this photo.  Who would've thunk a pirate would know how to work a digital camera?

Continuing west on Ala Moana Boulevard, then turning north on Bishop Street, I eventually made it to Fort Street and the little market I've been buying papayas and bananas at.  Henry's Place is a bit too far for everyday shopping, so I was lucky to find this place.  Usually, I've dealt with a lady who I believe owns the place, but today, it was her two sons.  I told them about this blog and asked if I could take their photo.  They were a little shy, but agreed and for the pose I asked them to make it look like they loved each other--as brothers should.  That got them to smile and I got the shot.  Thanks, guys!:)
On Ala Moana Boulevard, near the 300-Ala Moana Building, there are three or four of these very interesting trees.  Again, I do not know the name, but they should be called, "Shar Pei" trees.  The "wrinkles" they exhibit look just like the famous Chinese dog breed.  You might even see a face in the wrinkles...or something else?
Here is the small market on Fort Street.  I've posted this before, but still don't know what the sign above the shop translates to.  A customer is eyeballing the fruit and I hope he doesn't grab my papayas!  Wait!  That sounds funny.
Just look at those beauties!  Man-o-man!  I chose two papayas of varying ripeness and the bunch of local bananas on the right.  Those two bananas on the left are Caribbean imports.
 Hi guys!  I promised you Internet fame and here you are!  Please write a comment and let me know your names.  And say hello to your Mom for me, too.  These handsome young gentlemen are, I believe, the sons of the lady who owns this shop.  Thanks for posing!

It was a good run, with just enough distractions to provide me with desperately needed rests.  I hope you all enjoyed your day.      

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wow!

This afternoon a spectacular storm cloud moved over the Eva Beach area of west O'ahu.  I happened to be passing by the lanai and was stunned at what I saw.  We expected to see waterspouts, lightning and all manner of severe thunderstorm phenomenon, but according to the evening weather, it only produced heave rains and moved out to sea.

 This was taken at 5:45 PM.  Click on the image to enlarge to a scarier size!

Honestly, if you've seen the movie, "Independence Day", (as I have) when I saw this cloud, I half expected a city-sized spacecraft to appear.  In all my travels around this planet, I've never seen anything quite like this.

Here's the storm at 6:03 PM.  It was so impressive to see from our perch on the 18th-floor.

On a lighter note...a few days ago, I saw an article on the Internet talking about a conjunction of three planets which would be visible the next day.  I didn't read the entire article and didn't follow-up to see where it would be visible.  Old, dopey me.

 Here's a view of the conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and Mercury.  This photo was taken by someone in Las Vegas.  From our viewpoint, the planets were brighter and seemed closer together.

This photo is from the NASA article about the event.  It's the closest approximation of what we saw from the lanai.  Venus clearly stood-out as the brightest of the three visible planets.

The next day, as we were having dinner on the lanai, I noticed three rather bright lights in the western sky.  The lights seemed a bit large to be stars and their proximity to one another triggered a memory.  I said to Michele, that there was supposed to be a conjunction of three planets soon and perhaps this was it.  I hurried to the computer and it was a simple search to find the article.  Sure enough, we were looking at the relatively rare conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and Mercury!  I didn't take any photos because of doubts that they would adequately capture this seldom seen alignment.  I have, however, taken the liberty of downloading a couple of images taken by other folks and thought I'd share them with you.  This conjunction will not occur again until 2021, so enjoy!  Just another ho-hum day in Paradise.:)  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hawaiian Lantern Float, Memorial Day, 2013.

I was a little lazy today, working on the Koi painting and swimming in the afternoon.  Lazy, in that I decided to watch the Hawaii Lantern Float on TV instead of jogging to Ala Moana Beach Park to see it in person.  Of course, one could argue that swimming fifty laps could hardly be called being lazy, but the truth is, the pool is only twenty-five meters long and when finished, I don't feel like I've done much.  In contrast, running always leaves me drenched in sweat and feeling like I've worked really hard.  Guess I've gotta swim a couple dozen more laps!

Her Holiness, Shinso Ito, Head of the Shinnyo-en Bhuddhist Order of Japan.  Click of the image to enlarge.
This view shows Her Holiness and part of the huge crowd waiting to send their messages of remembrance and hope to sea.

An offering of rice was part of the ceremony.


The Mother Lanterns are blessed prior to their launch.




Ceremonial officials proceed to the launch point.

Mother Lanterns are carried toward the sea.  From this image you can see the scope of the production.

So, lazy me waited till six PM when the live broadcast came on and I took it all in from my easy chair.  Not wanting to disappoint you, I did take lots of photos from the TV screen and most turned out very well.  The ceremony was quite a production, with musical acts, a chorus, the high priest of the Shinnyo-en Buddhist Order, Her Holiness Shinso Ito, who officiated the ceremony, the Governor of Hawaii and the Mayor of Honolulu, among others.  The television hosts estimated the crowd at  more than the forty-thousand who attended last year's ceremony.
The lantern float begins.

Tears, reflection, prayers, love, unity and dignity are words I would use to describe the ceremony.
This woman's reaction to releasing her lantern was fairly typical--tears, memories and a peaceful joy.

Various attendees were interviewed and told their stories of who they were remembering and what this event means to them.  Even a cynical old timer like me found it difficult to remain unaffected by it all.  As the time came to release the lanterns with their precious and very personal messages of remembrance and hope, it was quite moving--even sitting in chair, watching it on TV.

From this shot, you have an idea of why I stayed home this evening.  I seriously doubt any of these views would have been possible in person.

As evening fell, I moved to the lanai to document the glorious sunset.  I hope you all had an opportunity to honor and think about your departed family and friends today. 
Quite the sunset this evening, perfect for the ceremony.  This photo was taken by me, on the lanai.
Downtown buildings catching the last rays of the sun.  

    

Sunday, May 26, 2013

It's Official.

Yup.  Today, Thu Suong was back in her hair styling/barbershop after a vacation and I had my first haircut by her.  I couldn't help but feel a little guilty, knowing Mary Lee was at Rough Cut in Portland, pining away, knowing this day would must surely arrive.  It almost felt like I was cheating on her, but it has been six weeks since my interim haircut at the Navy Exchange shop and I definitely was in need of a trim. 

Thu Suong's small shop, called, "Yes Hair Styling and Barber", located at 1190 Smith Street, just off Beretania.  I can see the "open" sign from our lanai.

The lovely and talented, Thu Suong, in her shop.

In the middle of the job, Thu Suong allowed me to document this momentous occasion.  You can already see what a great job she's doing, despite limited material to work with--on my head, that is!

She finished with another customer and after he paid and they exchanged pleasantries, it was my turn.  Thu Suong remembered exactly what I wanted done from our introduction a couple of weeks ago and it was very reassuring to hear her describe her plan to make me beautiful.  She got right to it and though I didn't reveal it, I was a little nervous.  I really want this to be my barbershop for the long term and my confidence grew with each buzz and clip.

Reminding me of Mary Lee, she took her time, worked efficiently and chatted about her vacation.  I admire barbers with the ability to multi-task like this and still do a great job.  After Thu Suong completed the cut and handed me a mirror to look at the back, I knew she was the one.  It was a fine job, exactly what I wanted and hoped for.

So, it's official.  The transition to a new barber in our new state was successful.  I'll always have fond memories of my days in Mary Lee's chair, but today was the beginning of a new chapter in the life of the hair I have left.:)

I awoke very early this morning--5:45 AM, to be exact--and as I walked toward the kitchen, I saw the full moon still visible in the early morning light.  The camera was nearby, so I got a couple of shots of it.

The full moon setting.  In a few minutes, the rising sun and lightening sky made it disappear.

After the haircut, I jogged over to Ala Moana Beach Park to scout out the Lantern Float scheduled for Monday.  The huge parking lot was completely full with the cars of mostly locals enjoying a beautiful Saturday.  Then I came to the preparations for the celebration.  I was stunned at the scope of the event, based on the scaffolding for the stage, the huge number of white folding chairs--they're for the Buddhist Temple congregation and local and visiting Japanese folks according to a security guard.  The event will be streamed live, as well as, broadcast on local TV.  I have my doubts about even trying to get close enough for any meaningful photos on Monday.  I may just watch it on the telly and call it good.  It depends on how ambitious I feel that day.

Lastly, I continued working on what will be a 30 x 40-inch acrylic painting for home.  The subject is Koi and both Michele and I have taken photos of the Koi pond here in the attempt to assemble enough reference material to make something worth looking at.  Trying to make the fish look like they're beneath the water is a first for me, as well as, achieving the somewhat distorted look caused by water movement.  Part of my brain desperately wants them to look anatomically correct, not unlike a portrait, but such is seldom the case when viewing these fish in their natural environment.  To look "real", there must be water-cause optical distortions.  It's as simple as that.  Easy to say and understand, but not so easy, I'm finding out, to make yourself paint.  Luckily, the acrylics dry so fast, it's easy to keep experimenting and correcting quickly.  Typical of my work with oils, it took quite a while to get the basic composition in mind and now the canvas is my sketch pad.  No doubt it will weigh a lot before it's finished.  I hope to have something to post soon! :)  Rumor has it this blog is supposed to have something to do with painting.  Enjoy the remainder of your weekend!   
   

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Poke And The Golden Bear.

Strange title, I know, but it covers a couple of things I wanted to share with those of you who have never been to these islands.

First:  Poke. "Po-kay" is sometimes called the Hawaiian version of sashimi, but the only thing the two culinary delights have in common is raw fish.  Poke may include a variety of vegetables and sauces added to the fish.

 Above, is the spicy ono poke.  Not intolerable, but nicely warm with a solid build-up of heat.



 Regular ahi poke, with seaweed and scallions, sesame oil and soy sauce.



Octopus poke, with cooked octopus, (he'e in Hawaiian) maui onions and little else.  It was really good.


The Pearl Harbor Commissary always has multiple versions of this dish displayed in a cold case and a couple of days ago, I selected three types which looked particularly tasty.  One was ono, made with a spicy sauce and another was ahi tuna.  The third selection was cooked octopus and Maui onion slices.  All were really good--the best I've had so far.

The second item today is the departure of the Training Ship Golden Bear.  She has been in port for several days with her crew of cadets from the California Maritime Academy.  She is nearly 500-feet long and is the third vessel to be called Golden Bear.  This ship, originally built for the U.S. Navy in 1986, was eventually retired from service and laid up in Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay.  After conversion of her living spaces, she was transferred to the California Maritime Academy in 1996.


 The Training Ship Golden Bear of the California Maritime Academy departing at 0830.



Another view of the Golden Bear leaving port this morning as we watched from our lanai.

This photo was taken from the California Maritime Academy website.

After leaving the harbor, she anchored out for awhile and we could still see her between the downtown buildings. 

The Tradewinds were providing their usual natural "air conditioning" today and we had dinner on the lanai.  As the sun set, the scattered clouds put on a show for us.

I hope you all had a nice sunset in your part of the world today!  Memorial Day, I plan on taking in the Memorial Lantern Float.  About 5,000 lanterns will be floated out at Ala Moana Beach Park from 6-7:30 PM.  People write messages of remembrance and hope and all sorts of good wishes on each lantern.  Here's a couple of photos of last year's event:


I hope I can get close enough to get some good photos of my own.  Please stand-by!:)