Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Noisy Dinner, A Beautiful Sunday And Two New Paintings

I could not be more pleased to report the winds have returned to normal and the Vog is gone!  This final day of January is truly spectacular and I hope you enjoy seeing a few photos of it.  Last night we entertained friends from the building with a multi-course Italian dinner.  It wasn't the usual fairly quiet affair as revelers crammed the streets of Chinatown below us, to enjoy the start of the Lunar (Chinese) New Year festivities.  Firecrackers and drums and cymbals, along with several stages of musical acts and thousands of people filled Chinatown with color, light and noise.  Lots and lots of noise.  

Sally and Jim Stuart enjoying Michele's great meal and a beautiful evening in Honolulu.  We enjoyed drinks at sunset, the antipasto and first plate, and are about to begin the second plate.  In the left side background you can see a cruise ship all lit up, and to the right, Sand Island.

Sally enjoys a Mai Tai while watching the sunset.

Jim did a fine job of helping Sally and me polish off the pitcher of Mai Tais.

A partial view of the Chinese New Year street fair going all day Saturday and into the evening.  The annual parade was just finishing a block away.

Our last Vog-influenced sunset...for what we hope is a long time. :)

Looking west Sunday morning.  In aviation slang, a clear day like this, with unlimited visibility, is referred to as, "Clear and a million". :)))

The harbor, Sand Island and a gazillion square miles of bright, blue Pacific Ocean.

The view to the southeast.  The morning sun was making the ocean sparkle like diamonds--lots and lots of them.

I captured this TV image courtesy of KHNL Hawaii News Now, a couple days ago.  Someone flew a drone over the ocean and the on-board camera made this shot of a Humpback whale enjoying the warm Pacific waters.

This is NOT a drone photo!  It's on our living room wall drying.  The 24 x 30-inch canvas has many paintings buried beneath this latest effort.  It's an attempt to make some nice colors look vaguely like an aerial view of imaginary islands.  Can't swear it'll be there for very long, but it does look okay on the wall here.  Maybe it shows the influence of living on an island surrounded by incredibly blue water and lots of sunshine. :)

Another new work, but this one is more down to earth, so-to-speak.  This is a work-in-progress as you can probably guess.  The leaves of the plant need some shadows to differentiate them and the vase and its shadow need help, too.  The illusion of the leaves curling down into the vase REALLY needs work, but the goal is to put some great color on the wall and not detail it too much.

Hope you all had a nice weekend.  The NFL Pro Bowl is being held today, so if you happen to watch the game on TV, I expect you'll get some great views of the islands. :))   

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Golf By Moonlight And A Great Sunset

For some reason this morning, we teed-off at about seven AM.  As you'll see from the photo, the moon was helping us see.  Our sunset this evening was influenced by one of a series of cold fronts to the north of the islands which have blocked the trade winds for the last few days and that usually results in southerly winds, known here as "Kona Winds".
Kona winds is the Hawaiian term for winds that blow over the islands from the SW or SSW in the opposite direction of trade winds.  Kona winds occur when a low-pressure center is within 500 miles Northwest of the Islands, and seldom last for more than a few days.

The town of Kona is located on the Big Island, along with Kilauea Volcano, which has been erupting continuously since 1983.  Those Kona Winds winds have a nasty habit of bringing Vog to the other islands, including O'ahu.  Click on the link to learn all about Vog, but the bottom line for us is hazy skies, reduced visibility and potential breathing issues for those with compromised respiratory systems.  It's never stopped me from jogging, so you know it isn't that bad.

If there can be a "benefit" from Vog, it would be some very beautiful sunsets.  All that volcanic junk in the air creates great colors as you'll see below.  Luckily, such meteorological conditions don't happen often enough to drive people away, nor have they prompted a name change to "part-time paradise". :))

This is Marv about to tee-off by moonlight Wednesday morning at about seven AM.  It's a tough job crawling out of bed before dawn, just to hit and chase a golf ball around.

The sun was still behind Diamond Head, but the sky lightened up quickly enough so none of us lost their tee-shot. 

Fast forward to just a few minutes past six PM.  Hazy, but spectacular.

A few minutes later.  The sun was intense smoky orange.  How's that for a description!

Our last look for tonight. 

Hope your visibility today was clear and a million!

Self-Portrait At 65 Update

Sorry Rhonda!  Took a bit longer than I thought to get this posted.  It will still see more work, but today I re-worked the face using the Zorn palette.  Before today, it was looking way too orange and purple, two colors definitely not dominant on this old man's face! :)

Tomorrow, depending on how much energy I have after the pre-dawn wake-up to play golf, I'll work on the torso.  I've included a couple other photos taken a few days ago.

The nearly full moon looking west. 

Friday afternoon after hitting four buckets of practice golf balls, pitching and sand trap practice and a half-hour on the putting green.  I most sincerely believe I earned this beverage! :)

A U.S. Navy technician working on the latest version of the first fleet aircraft I flew after receiving my wings in December, 1975, the E-2 Hawkeye.  I flew the "B" and "C" models and I believe this is a "D" model, which first flew in 2007.  The models I flew had four-bladed propellers.  These high-tech eight-bladed propellers provide more power to the carrier-based early-warning, command-and-control aircraft.

The still-a-work-in-progress self-portrait at 65, as of 26 January, 2016.  The Zorn palette has been employed on the face only at this point.  I've been trying to make it look more like it was done from life, using a hand-held mirror to see just how deep those wrinkles are and how much those bags under my eyes really weigh. :))  If you have a strong stomach, click on the image for a closer look. :)))

Have a good day tomorrow!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Morning On The Lanai

It's "Aloha Friday" in Honolulu and I thought I'd share some photos taken this morning from our lanai.  Michele spotted a couple of whales, which I missed being busy taking photos of all the ship traffic.  Also in this post are a few images taken on the 19th and the 21st, of window washers on the job high above the street on a downtown office building and more ship traffic.

This gives you some idea of just how high up the window washers are.  Click on the images for a closer view.  This was taken on the morning of January 19th.

Working on their rigging.  From our vantage point, we never knew that row had such a deep recess.

Hard at work.  Wonder if they use sunblock?  I'm also curious to know what type of life and health insurance they have!

The entire quintet. 

This was taken on the 21st.  In this image, we see a moored cargo ship, lower left, another container ship heading for the harbor entrance, two tug boats standing-by to assist her to a berth, a large private fishing boat, just coming into view from behind the container ship, and finally, the Star of Honolulu and the Navatek on whale watching cruises.  Busy day!

A zoomed view with a better look at the large private fishing boat.

A great looking sailboat.  This was also taken on the morning of the 21st.

A dash of color to wrap-up the photos from January 21st.  Looks like two flyers here.  Safety in numbers?

This is the Carnival Miracle heading toward Honolulu Harbor today, January 22nd.  The white ship was turned to brilliant gold by the early morning sun.  In person, it was much brighter than this photo shows, looking like gold foil. 

Looking more like herself (color wise), she's getting closer to the harbor.  In the distance, you can see a tug towing a barge and a Coast Guard buoy tender.  The tiny boat just to the right of the buoy tender may be the captain's gig.  In front of the cruise ship is one of the tourist submarines being towed to her operating area off Waikiki Beach.  It was another busy morning at sea. 

The navy was up early this morning, too.  This fine looking ship is the U.S.S. Lassen (DDG-82), an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer.  We could see lots of white uniforms on the bow and stern as the ship's company prepares to render honors when passing the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.

A last look at the Carnival Miracle and the many passengers crowding the observation deck for their first close look at Honolulu.  Must have been a thrill seeing whales as they entered Hawaiian waters and now they're about to embark on a variety of land adventures in paradise.  Aloha and e komo mai!

Currently on the easel.  It will be a 14 x 11-inch portrait of the deceased wife of a friend in the building.  The two reference photos are her high school graduation photo and an image as an adult to give me some sense of her skin tones.  It's a work-in-progress. :)

Hope you had a great day wherever you call paradise!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Local Scenery

Still working on the self-portrait at 65 lately, along with a commission and a little something for the living room.  Between painting, swimming, weight training, jogging, golf practice and looking for whales mornings and evenings, the days really fly by.  Almost forgot...a moment or two each day is spent thanking my lucky stars that we live here. :))  If I may illustrate:  When I began this post on Tuesday, the small town in which I was born and raised, Battle Creek, Michigan, was experiencing snow, a temperature of 10-degrees Fahrenheit above zero and a wind chill of 4-degrees BELOW ZERO!  My hat is off to all of you who love cold weather and make the most of it. :)

Last Thursday evening, friends from the building joined us for dinner at Cafe Julia.  Since our first visit here, it has been our favorite restaurant in Honolulu.  Owner, Mr. Emerson Ribao, was busy in the Philippines, but the staff we know--Annie, Elijah, Jose and his son, Andrew, welcomed us like family.  It has been quite some time since our last visit, so their warm welcome was very special.    Here, Andrew is busy showing-off his skill preparing one of our desserts, Cherries Jubilee, tableside. During dinner, Mr. Ribao's daughter, Sonia, came by to say hello.  She is vice president of their catering and restaurant business, and very pregnant.  We had a wonderful conversation with her and husband, Elijah, and expressed our best wishes for the coming birth of their first child.  The restaurant is near our building, so after a fine dinner, we strolled home on a beautifully comfortable Hawaiian evening.

Our friends, Sally and Jim Stuart are on the right and that's Sonia and Elijah in the middle.  Elijah runs the bar in addition to being Sonia's husband.   Speaking from experience, he's a tremendously- talented mixologist! :)))

Back to yesterday!  Breakfast was a bit more interesting as we watched a navy submarine pass by a tanker on her way back to Pearl Harbor.

One of two small escort vessels approaches the sub at high speed.  This may, or may not suggest the submarine is from another country.

An airliner just airborne as the sub approaches the entrance to Pearl Harbor.  Can you say, "juxtaposition"?

Wednesday morning means golf--at least a couple of times a month.  A Hawaiian Airlines bird sneaks by us on its way to takeoff.  I'm not sure who hit their ball in such close proximity to the massive tree. :)

They were landing on runway-4 this morning and here comes a Japan Airlines jet just about to reach the threshold.  What a thrill to see such large aircraft go by close enough to wave "Aloha" to the pilots and passengers.

A Delta jet on the way in.

View of clouds probably dropping rain on the Ko'olau Range in the distance.

This is what it looked like from the center of the fairway, but I'm not bragging.

On most of the front nine, we have a good view of the reef runway and I caught this Kalitta Air  B-747 just beginning to lift off.  Click on the link to learn more about this company and some of the interesting jobs they've done.  Ever see the 1997 movie, "Air Force One"?

Mr. Al Foster, one of the players in our foursome this morning just finished putting as this FedEx DC-10 taxied for takeoff on the reef runway.  As you can tell, it was a typical Hawaiian morning with plenty of sunshine and an abundance of spectacularly beautiful scenery.  I continue to be amazed and grateful to live in this wonderful place.  Have you ever thought of moving here?

Sunset on January 19th.  Still awhile to go before sunset today.  I'll be there with binoculars and the camera!

Update:  Here's today's (Wednesday, 20 January) sunset.  It was more orange than yellow, but we all know camera and computer software often has its own opinion of the colors.  Anyway, it was quite beautiful as it came beneath the clouds only to sink into another cloud layer pretty much invisible at this point.  And speaking of clouds...This morning I had high hopes of seeing the five planet alignment, but clouds blocked what would've been a great view of this rare astronomical event.  It's supposed to be visible until February 20th, so I'm pretty certain I'll see it before it's only a memory.  Did any of you see it?

Have a good evening and an even better tomorrow!


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nippon Maru Sets Sail For Home

We had the pleasure of watching the Nippon Maru make preparations and get underway this morning for her voyage home to Yokohama, Japan.  We got pretty excited as we saw about forty-one crew members climbing ropes up to the yards, but it was a salute only and they didn't unfurl the sails.

In fact, shortly after two tugs pulled her away from the pier, they proceeded to climb down.  Oh, well...maybe next year. :)  It was nice to see the way the crew enthusiastically waved goodbye to the tug captains and crews.  During my run Tuesday, I came upon a lone sailor in his white uniform and stopped to see if he was from the Nippon Maru or the Chinese hospital ship, Peace Ark.  I was at the ready to say either "Ni hao" or "Kon'nichiwa"!

"Kon'nichiwa" turned out to be the correct greeting.  He is training to become a navigation officer and told me in very good English (and a big smile), that he was having a wonderful time in Honolulu.  Nice to know.  As our chat was ending, he asked if I knew where Yanagi Sushi was located.  Being one of our favorite restaurants here, I told him we'd just passed it and showed him where he could cross Kapiolani Boulevard to return.  Hope he had an excellent dinner and today is helping set course for Japan.

Manning the yards for a departing salute to family, friends and Honolulu.  The crew members on the highest yards are nearly 140-feet above the water!  In the "old days", manning the yards coming into a port showed that any guns were unmanned, as well as, the number of crewmen aboard.

The port side yards.

Starboard side.  Didn't want to leave anyone out of the post! :)

The two tugs pulling her away from pier-side.

One last shot of the crew manning the yards, just in case you'd like to count them.

Final nudges before she'll be steaming on her own.

The enthusiastic thanks and farewell to the tug captain and crew.

"Sayonara" to the Nippon Maru.  May her voyage home be a safe one.  Hope to see her again next year.

Hope you all had a great day!