Monday, September 21, 2009

The Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam AFB Honolulu Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force Honolulu Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force Honolulu Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force HonoluluThere's not much to say about it... it's one of those "you had to have been there..." things. Even photos or videos would not bring nearly the level of excitement one would receive standing there (in the the baking hot sun).

I've been to quite a few air shows in my lifetime, but they were all shows that were in Hawaii. I last watched the Thunderbirds perform for the Waikiki area in 2007 and I've watched the Blue Angels perform several times. No matter how hot, dehydrating, humid, crowded, dusty and secured the events may be I still manage to go and enjoy the display. Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force HonoluluWhen anything is held on an air strip or air force base, you need to expect that there will be a lack of shade.

<--Here is Solomish standing "solo" in the middle of baking hot pavement. Check out Solomish's photo blog Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force Honolulu

Here I am -->trying to keep cool under the shelter of a helicopter.

This is what a whole bunch of other people need to do if they want to find some shade. v*Below*v Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force Honolulu Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force HonoluluThis is 1 day that I'm glad I need to bring my own things to eat with me (due to my diet). It was worth lugging around this hand carry bag full of water, a banana & some Fritos. I had it in my backpack, but hesitated bringing the backpack in because a "large backpack" would not be allowed into the show area. I didn't know what a large backpack's size actually was so I abandoned my backpack in my car and lugged this lovely bag around the whole afternoon. Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force Honolulu
This man & his family obviously knew what size of a backpack would be acceptable... Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force HonoluluWhat ever the type of bag you were carrying your refreshments in, it was worth it to avoid the crowds at the refreshment tents.
Check out some of my video clips below.

This is a slideshow of some of the photos I took. Since I only take photos & video with my Nokia N82 mobile phone, I doubt they will be as good as any of these guys' photos (below), but at least I can slip my camera back in my pocket, send some emails, check out Facebook, Tweet or even make a phone call. Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force Honolulu

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Friday, September 18, 2009

A few Interesting Things I read in some blogs that I follow...

I came across these neat pears that are grown in the shape of a Buddah on Jaden's Steamy Kitchen. Check them out! <--.
Kat blogged about tandoori chicken and couscous. Makes me want to check if I can eat couscous for one of my starch replacements since I can't eat wheat or rice. Kat's Blog<--.
Affairs of Living Gluten Free... posted a tomato free red sauce this week that I'm anxious to try. It's based on beets & complies with my diet restrictions.
Photos by Jalna posted a bunch of old photos of Hawaii that she received from a friend. Those photos are amazing! <--
Solomish has been posting his hiking adventures. So have a few other friends on Facebook. I can't link their page Facebook posts because Facebook doesn't work that way. Anyway, it's been making me want to go on an adventurous hiking trip!
about to watch a movie @ the Movie Museum in Kaimuki. My 1st ... on TwitpicLast Friday I watched my 1st movie at the Movie Museum in Kaimuki. Neat little place there. The movie we watched is Kamome Shokudo, an excellent movie from 2006. It's a Japanese film that is filmed in Finland. I highly recommend watching it. Thunderbirds in HawaiiFinally, the Thunderbirds will be performing for Honolulu this weekend! I'm looking forward to watching the show tomorrow. This links to my blog about them in 2007.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Lunch at Fresh Cafe Fresh Cafe Honolulu Queen StreetOn Sunday after the Honolulu Academy of Arts, we were starved! We thought we would eat at the cafe in the Honolulu Academy of Arts, but they aren't open on Sunday. We decided to drive down Ward Avenue and visit "Fresh Cafe".

Fresh Cafe is a new cafe located in Kakaako at 831 Queen Street. It's nestled between dozens of industrial shops as Kakaako's businesses comprise moslty of businesses like auto body shops, auto mechanic shops, car dealerships, machine shops, etc. It's a nice oasis in the midst of all these shops.

The location is quite nostalgic for me as I spent several of my automotive racing industry years working on another corner lot in Kakaako. The shop was called Speedtek and it was in a blue building on the corner of Halekauwila and Keawe Streets. This was back in the early-mid 90's. Quite some time ago. Anyway, I recall having such limited options for lunch those days. It was either Queen's BBQ, Tsukenjo's, Kakaako Kitchen, Kiawe Cafe or that other Korean BBQ place. Almost daily I remember opting for the barbecue chicken plate from Queen's BBQ because almost everything is sold out at Tsukenjo's by the time we had lunch and the only thing left is roast pork. Tsukenjo's roast pork plate is fine, but I can't be eating that every day!

Now the community has a new option! Fresh Cafe has opened up and provides a unique setting for the area. I can sit there, relax and have an iced coffee out on the deck area without realizing I'm in the middle of one of Honolulu's most industrious neighborhoods. It also happens to be operated by friends of my friends that have a little automotive garage space next door! What a convenient place to visit and catch up with the car tuning world. Fresh Cafe Honolulu Queen StreetUnfortunately for me, my current diet restrictions limit my meals that I eat from restaurants to very plain salads without any dressings. Because of that, I can't really say much for the great food options now. I was able to order a spinach salad with bacon and garlic. I requested no dressing (normally comes with a homemade creamy house dressing) and got a little olive oil on the side. I'm already used to eating my salads plain so it was great for me.

Kelli ordered the turkey pesto melt sandwich on a spinach bagel. She paired it with a tomato soup. It was too filling for her to finish, but she enjoyed it. She also had an iced tea to go with lunch. It has fresh blueberries and a cube of watermelon in the tea for some visual appeal and a slight essence of flavor.

Fresh Cafe was also featured on KHON2's Morning Show. Here is a link to that.

The set up of this cafe is ironically very similar to what I've wanted to set up for the past 10 years. It's the goal I'm working towards and the reason why I actually became a Realtor. It continues to be a goal of mine and some day it will become a reality. One spot with all my passions (or few of the top) combined.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Honolulu Academy of Arts & The Pavillion Cafe... Honolulu Academy of Arts art museum Over the Labor Day Weekend, we visited the Honolulu Academy of Arts. I estimate that I haven't been there for perhaps 20 years! I used to go there a lot for elementary school field trips and that's the last I remember of it prior to this last weekend. I have been to the Contemporary Museum of Art several times in recent years, but just never made it to the Honolulu Academy of Arts. I think it must be due to the difficult parking options, but Sunday afternoon is a great option for free street parking directly in front!

It is very nice now. I don't even remember the museum having that many things to see back then. I think when we visited for school fielt trips, the tours are cut short to keep elementary school students interested. I definitely know that the galleries were not so well air-conditioned back then and also did not have automatic sensory lighting that would adjust slightly brighter when you entered the gallery. Very impressive renovations done to the Honolulu Academy of Arts since the last time I've been there! =P Honolulu Academy of Arts art museumI don't have many photos of the great displays of art because photography isn't allowed in the galleries. Although, photography is allowed in the open courtyard areas.

There are some special collections on display right now.

There was a collection of drawings titled "Goya's Disasters of War" by Francisco Goya. They are a very detailed collection of drawings that appears to be done in pencil. Read the museum's description of this collection here. Honolulu Academy of Arts art Honolulu Academy of Arts art museum
The Honolulu Academy of Arts is on the web at and they are located at 900 South Beretania Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96814 <--Google Map. General admission is $10 and they do have other discounted admission rates. Their normal hours are Tuesday - Saturday: 10a-430p and Sunday 1p-5p. They are closed on Mondays, New Year's Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas according to their guide sheet. The first Wednesday of every month is supposed to be FREE and you are able to visit the shop, The Pavillion Cafe and the library for free too. Honolulu Academy of Arts art museum the pavillion cafeWe actually went to the Honolulu Academy of Arts to check out The Pavillion Cafe, but it's not open on Sundays. We're considering the location as a potential spot for an upcoming party. Looks good so far, but I haven't asked if they can accomodate our event yet.

We'll try to check out The Pavillion Cafe another time, but they are only open Tuesday - Saturday during lunch (1130a-2p) so it might be difficult!

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Review- Watts Premier RO-Pure Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System from Costco Review- Watts Premier RO-Pure Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System from CostcoWe decided to purchase the Watts Premier RO-Pure Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System from Costco since the Brita pitcher takes up so much room in the refrigerator and can barely keep up with the amount of water I drink. The system seems to be the most economical one that is easily available to purchase. The replacement filters are supposed to be easily available also from the website. They don't carry them in the store. Interestingly, I searched for this model, but the system doesn't show up, only the replacement filter pack. They also only sell the sediment, pre-carbon & post carbon filters with this pack. They are missing the membrane filter so I'll probably need to buy those somewhere else and the membrane filter is the most expensive! I think I'll ask Costco to also provide that missing membrane filter since the box says, "replacement filters available at". condo kitchen renovation Review- Watts Premier RO-Pure Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System from CostcoEven after the major re-design of my apartment's kitchen, there is still dead spot that isn't very useful. This corner in the photo and the dead spot is under the dish rack. It's the only partially inaccessible corner. I am able to crawl under the sink and stick stuff deep inside and 10 years later crawl back in and discover some ancient artifacts, but basically it's not very useable for much. The sliding racks found at stores that are supposed to make use of these dead zones will not work because the stuff will just end up banging into the sinks drain pipes not to mention having to remove everything stored under the sink area just to slide out that storage slider. I decided this would be a perfect spot for the reverse osmosis system. condo kitchen renovation Review- Watts Premier RO-Pure Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System from CostcoHere is a photo of the under-sink area and the difficult to reach void to the right. As you can see, there is still lots of space to put my time capsule of things to be rediscovered when I move out of this apartment, but the reverse osmosis system is already installed. I installed it in the interior of the front panel, the most difficult area to reach. I kept the area that can be seen in this photo open because it's the easiest to access if I store things there. condo kitchen renovation Review- Watts Premier RO-Pure Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System from CostcoHere is what it looks like installed. I have the tank as far in the corner as possible and I opted to mount the reverse osmosis filter manifold horizontally. With the filter manifold mounted horizontally like this, all I need to do to replace one is swing the filter out 90 degrees and push the release button. The feature of allowing the filters to swing out 90 degrees is very convenient for me using this odd location. condo kitchen renovation Review- Watts Premier RO-Pure Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System from CostcoThis is what the filters look like when they are all swung out 90 degrees for replacement. It's a 4 stage filtering system. Stage 1 is the sediment filter and is estimated to require replacing approximately every 6 months. Stage 2 is carbon filter that is also expected to require replacing every 6 month. Stage 3 is the expensive membrane filter that is estimated to require replacement every 2-5 years. The 4th stage is the final carbon filter that should be changed every year. I won't need to be accessing these filters very often. Review- Watts Premier RO-Pure Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System from CostcoAfter the 4 stages of the reverse osmosis filtration process, how does the water taste?? Fine. I can't say I taste any difference between the water filtered by the Brita pitcher or the reverse osmosis system, but I do know there is a difference. I notice a significant difference in the ice cube. The ice cubes made with the Brita pitcher water, on the right, were like normal ice cubes. Softer with lots of white colored ice in it (like air bubbles and stuff). The ice cubes made with the reverse osmosis water, on the left, are crazy hard and clear as ice. The photo of the ice cubes might be difficult to distinguish that the right one has a larger, denser white center in the ice cube than the left, but it is distinguishable in person. You can tell there aren't any (or as much) impurities in the reverse osmosis water ice cubes. Another side affect is that it has made using these silicone ice cube trays very difficult. The reverse osmosis ice cubes are so solid that I can't twist this tray to pop out the ice cubes! I'll have to go back to the solid plastic ice cube trays until get a refrigerator with a built in ice maker.

It's so convenient to have the drinking water available on demand rather than having to wait for the Brita pitcher to filter a half gallon at a time. This system's tank store about 3 gallons of purified water for use on demand, cost about $130 at Costco and took about 30 minutes to install. The most convenient thing about not needing the Brita pitcher anymore is all that extra space in the refrigerator!! =)

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Okinawan Festival at Kapiolani Park Honolulu Okinawan Festival at Kapiolani Park Honolulu Okinawan Festival at Kapiolani ParkEvery year Oahu's Okinawan community has a festival at Kapiolani Park. It's followed by a ritual known as a Bon Dance that takes place around sunset below the slopes of Diamond Head! I posted a blog about it in the past when we visited that 25th anniversary festival in 2007.

The festival is filled with lots of traditional foods the local Okinawan community enjoy and share with everyone. There was soba (noodles), andagi (Okinawan donut) and a local favorite, the Andadog (hotdog on a stick coated w/ andagi). Since I can't eat any of those things due to my current diet restrictions, I enjoyed a vanilla flavored shaved ice!

Here is a video clip of the Bon Dance getting started... Click this image of it below for the link to the video.

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