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Monday, March 31, 2008

Books of Revelation...


We make it a habit to stop by the bookstore on weekends. The boys get to read books in the children's section. I love looking in the children's section too because it always fills me with hope, optimism, silliness, fun and a colorful look at the world. Again through the pure eyes of a child to keep my perspective. I made the mistake of wandering over to the photography section to see if there were any cool books on photography which spark my interest or which would improve my abilities in one chosen hobby of mine. Ansel Adams is great with the large format black and white landscape but not my style. The Great Life Photographers was interesting but too diverse for my cluttered brain at the time. Faces of Africa. Beautiful. I love photographing people the most so it was truly relevant but I don't do much portraits because I know many people don't like pictures of themselves and I haven't gotten over that issue. I do love looking at portraits other have taken however. The eyes always get me. 


Next came Impounded. Formerly censored photographs of the Japanese interment camps was disturbing and poignant. How racial relations combined with the fervor of war can alter the course of life for so many families. That bummed me out. I looked at Leonard Nimoy's Full Body Project with photographs of full-figured women baring all. I didn't even know Spock was a photographer. And the women's comfortableness with their own bodies was refreshing. That picked my spirit up. Again, their eyes were the most expressive and beautiful. Then Darfur. I only made it through a few pages of images before I started crying. I had to close the book so I wouldn't look like a mental case in the store. Feeling even worse for being too weak to bear witness to the genocidal atrocities. Like the indifference of the world on a smaller and more personal scale.

From the Armenians, to Nazi Germany, to Cambodia, to Bosnia, to Rwanda, to Darfur. The World says "Never Again." When will never finally arrive. Too late for most. The pure blackness of the human heart contradicts everything I believe in. I needed to go back to the children's section to be with my boys. Partly for them. Wholly for me. On my way I came across another section and found a book about a man who died and visited Heaven, only to return to this life just before entering. His seemingly lucid and vivid description in his bestselling book was just what I needed at that point as I sat down with my boys, among silly alligators and joking hippos, as I began to read it right there.

I reconnected with Ke Akua to try and understand how the heart of man can be so black and painfully cruel to the most beautiful and innocent among us. It rips me to the core of my soul. I left the bookstore with so much in my head and heart. The answers came that night at about 2:00 in the morning. When my two boys left their bedroom and crawled into bed with me. One nestled in my arms. The other entangled in my legs. They stirred me from my sleep to listen to several songs playing on my Ipod. The familiar words and music took on new meaning which brought me revelation, more tears, a purging of my guilt and then peace. I felt the presence of my angels. Mahalo no e Ke Akua. You are the Man...

Bad Choices...





My boys wanted to eat at Burger King. We sometimes frequent fast food over the weekends and cook healthy during the week. I ordered a salad as the healthiest item on the menu. If I left it alone. It would have been healthy. I added the grilled chicken. And the parmesan croutons. That added up. Then I topped it off with honey-mustard dressing. That added enough calories that I could have eaten six Whoppers instead. I think...

Rewards...



The boys get to choose a video game when they are good. Sometimes we buy. More often we rent now. Some games are educational and when the boys play together. That is the most rewarding time. Here they learn how to cook and flip Takoyaki on the Nintendo Wii. It is pretty realistic and entertaining. As soon as they are old enough to work. They will start contributing to the household income as cooks in a Takoyaki restaurant. Maybe. The only problem is that their takoyaki flipping often quickly turns into a lightsaber fight...

Curry House...




We ate at the Curry House at Ala Moana. They ran out of Beef Curry about two minutes before we ordered. I ended up getting Chicken Katsu Curry. The poor cook had to juggle four pots of bubbling curry on a gas stove at the same time. This is an example of a bad food picture. The curry splashed on the side of the container and there is a napkin in the photo which I used to wipe some of the curry sauce up. Not appetizing. But it tasted great. I'll try to take a better photo next time. I was in a rush to eat because I was hungry...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Guardian Angels...


M guardian angels have worked overtime most of my life. Especially in my college years. I did some stupid things and am very lucky that I came through unscathed. I owe it all to them. Keeping me alive and out of prison. Now that I am reformed, my angels have a different task. This is probably one of them. An Angel of Chocolate...

Small Steps...


I thought about buying my sons these slippers from The Gap. It would remind them that everyday they walk on the bones of our ancestors. The iwi of our kupuna. A sacred foundation. I have to teach them these important life lessons. In little steps of course...

Mr. Bubble...






When the boys get really dirty and stinky. I enlist the help of Mr. Bubble. Nothing helps bathtime like him. He doesn't exactly have the scrubbing bubbles that the toilet bowl cleaner has but he isn't half bad...

Surprised...


I took a photo of this Mini Cooper in my dark parking garage because I liked the car. I was surprised to find a couple making out inside the car. By the look on their faces. They were equally surprised...

Savory Fish...



A fisherman friend provided some ahi as a generous gift. There was so much, we shared it with others. I ate some of it, fresh, as poke and some as sashimi. After a day or two, the rest was fried up in olive oil with a little garlic salt and garlic powder. Oh man. That was sensational. Thank you my kind thoughtful fisherman friend...

Life Water...




On a hot day, my boys needed to cool off. We went to Waiola Market for shave ice on Waiola Avenue. Wai means water. Ola means life. Among other things. Life giving water. From the look on my dehydrated boy's faces on that hot day. And their reinvigoration. The name fits. And people wonder why the place is so popular. Location, location, location. There is true power in the Hawaiian language. Especially here in Hawai'i...

Thinking...


What goes through the mind of a little boy gazing upon in wonderment, and truly pondering such simple, yet beautiful complexity, hinting at the origins of time, in both the Western and Hawaiian concepts of man's creation? Probably Spongebob Squarepants...

Alluring...


Like your soft rivulets of hair which lead me wantonly to my painful demise. Yet always wanting more. If I'm a clown. I'm protected. If I am not a clown. That's the end of me. Go figure...

Clam Caper...



A couple of years ago, someone stole seven of these beautiful giant clams from their exhibit. They were returned a little while later after much publicity on their loss but one died about a week later from the mistreatment. They came from Fiji, Solomon Islands and Palau and their iridescent colors are prized by collectors. They have new security devices installed to protect the clams. They truly are beautiful. I am glad the thief returned them so the children can continue to enjoy them...

Hands On...



It was nice to have volunteers at the Aquarium helping the kids touch and feel in the tidal pool zone. I have been meaning to take my kids to the tide pools at the beach to let them touch and feel and explore. I have been too busy however and they are getting older by the day. I am glad that others have helped them experience these things. I am very grateful...

Exciting...


It is exciting for people from all over the world to witness the power of Mother Nature...

Visitors...


Dad saw many visitors yesterday flocking to the Volcano to see the new crater eruption of noxious gas as majestic Mauna Loa rose in the background...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Colorful Beauty...








I am always amazed at how colorful and beautiful saltwater fish are compared to their freshwater cousins. Some of the most beautiful colors in nature and wonderful designs and patterns. But such intense beautiful colors still pale next to you. So don't ever be jealous...

Mixed Blessing...


The aquarium has a self-guided audio tour which allows the boys to walk around with a little handheld device, press a corresponding number for an exhibit, and listen to facts about the denizens. It is great for educational purposes. But I think it ultimately reduces the amount of quality time a parent and child share together in talking about each exhibit. Even if parents don't have all the facts like the audio recording, it is sometimes still better to have the experience of human interaction despite the factual inaccuracies. For a child's imagination and interest, it is the difference between "The Leafy Sea Dragon, or Phycodurus eques, of the larger Syngnathidae family, and Phylum Cordata, inhabits shallow temperate waters" or "Wow! Look at that crazy seaweed looking thing! It is a little dragon! I bet they grow up monstrous and sink ships! And the males give birth! Gross!"...

Waikiki Aquarium...



The boys wanted to go to the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium yesterday. It was kind of hot. So I decided the aquarium had more shade and coolness with all that water. And if it got too hot. We could jump in and swim with the Monk Seal...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Good Clean Fun...











I couldn't resist wetting the boys. Elliott has forgiven me. Koa is still a little mad. You don't want to be too much of a nice guy in life. Besides. We go through this same routine at least once a month. They will be back for more. Trust me...