What Hawaii Is to Me

(The following is a paper I wrote for my Hawaiian Studies class over 4 years ago, but it is all from the heart and true still.)

Hawaii is home. I was born on Oahu in Honolulu, where I lived for my first 26 years. It did not take long for me to find out what a melting pot of cultures Hawaii is, and struggled to find where I fit in. Being considered “haole” my whole life, I was often picked on and ridiculed by others. I tried to not let this get to me as a youth. I was busy falling in love with Hawaii and all it had to offer in beauty and culture. I noticed that I was living among Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Samoan, Tongan, Portuguese, Hawaiian and others as well as mixes of each. I found that Hawaiian and Chinese was a very common mix among Hawaiians that I knew growing up. I spent much time at the many beautiful beaches, hiked mountain ridges and swam under waterfalls, enjoying and eventually taking for granted my surroundings.

My father was a professor at the University of Hawaii in the department of Zoology. He embraced the Hawaiian culture after moving to Kaneohe from Texas. He bought and taught himself ukulele and played and sang for me as a child. This inspired me to learn to play and sing Hawaiian music myself. Some of the music was more jazzy than traditional Hawaiian, and I would learn later that it was the foreign influence on Hawaiian popular music that brought forth songs like “The Hukilau Song”, and other songs in English that were not originally sung in Hawaiian.

I was a city boy, and either caught the bus, walked or rode a bike to get where I was going, since having a car in Hawaii was more of a luxury than a necessity for us as a family. I had to know the streets of Honolulu well so I would not get lost. I came to know the streets of Makiki , McCully, Moilili, lower Manoa, Kapiolani, Kaimuki and Waikiki very well, down to how long each traffic light would take to change. I also knew where to get the best cracked seed snacks and plate lunches and shave ice. We never made a trip back from the North Shore without going through Haleiwa to stop at Matsumoto’s for shave ice. As a youth, I figured everyone in the world took their shave ice with azuki beans at the bottom!

I found out through a handful of trips to “the mainland” to visit family in Texas that there were a LOT of things I enjoyed in Hawaii that were not available anywhere else. I remember the frustrated look on the face of the cashier at a McDonald’s in Texas when I kept trying to describe my breakfast order of Portuguese sausage, eggs and rice. Things are different outside of Hawaii. This made Hawaii even more special to me. I miss it when I am not there.

I embrace being a “local”: I learned and spoke pidgin and proper Hawaiian phrases, as well as proper English, I participated in May Day ceremonies, sacrificed my physical health for “ono grinds” and gave and received hundreds of leis in my life there so far. I brag about my heritage to others, even though I do not have any Hawaiian blood literally running through my veins. To me, what matters is being able to say that I have the Aloha Spirit, which is palpable to anyone who tries to see it or feel it. I am proud to be from one of the hubs of the Pacific and the world, “The Gathering Place” of Oahu.

LEGO for Christmas

Chris Pirillo is giving away some cool rpizes for Christmas. One of the is about 500 bucks worth of LEGO. I have a friend who could really put this to good use, so I am hoping to get it.

Check out Chris’ site for more details and a chance to win one of the other prizes.

And shout out to Ponzi, Chris’s wife! Merry Christamas to both of you.

Chris and Ponzi

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Comment or Die?

What the hell is the world coming to? We are so wrapped up in our new narcissistic, ego-feeding digital persona – MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Blogs (yeah, like this one, SO??), full names as domain names (again…) and so much more, we should be happy. But no, many are not. Once we have tasted the fruit of “commenting”, there apparently is no cure nor any amount of comments that will quench the rabid thirst that is now rampant online.

I have seen endless pleas from these people for readers to comment their pages, pictures, etc more and more lately. Some ask nicely. Most do not. I have seen one that regularly sends out a MySpace bulletin reading “Comment or Die!” every time new pictures are posted. Today it was “Comment or Die a Thousand Deaths!!”

Um, WTH??

First of all, asking nicely at all is already pretty pathetic. But threatening, even jokingly, that one will die or be harmed if they don’t comment? Are you serious? This does two things:

  1. It alienates your readers/viewers. You now remind them of that kid at school who ate his own boogers just to get attention.
  2. It takes the wind and sincerity out of any potential comment-givers: ones who would have left a comment on their own, without prompting, but now are having second thoughts because you are coming across as a total douche bag.

voteordieJust like P-Diddy’s Vote or Die was such a laughable, raging failure, so too will your Comment or Die campaign. It just needs to be said. Next thing you know, someone is going to snap and go “blog-dal” on everyone and go on a spamming spree or something. Sheesh!

PS – Comment on this post or die!!

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5 Ways To Get Past Writer’s Block

We’ve all heard the saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” So what about bloggers? What if we have nothing to say at all? Does it mean that we don’t have anything nice to say? Is it the rule in reverse? Not hardly. Bloggers don’t always have nice things to say, and they usually will let it all out, no matter what.

But there is such a thing as writer’s block, and bloggers are not immune to it. If you find yourself in this situation, here are a couple of ideas that might help spark something to get you out of your funk and get back to writing.

  • Go ahead and write about nothing
    • Remember Seinfeld? The hugely popular show about nothing? It was not only hilarious, but was actually a show that many people were able to relate to. You never know if your “nothing” is going to make a connection to a reader’s “nothing”
  • Start writing the first thing that comes to mind
    • No matter how stupid it may seem at first, the drafts and notes you write can be the catalyst for a great idea later. Also note that it might not be in the same day that the inspiration comes, so keep all of your drafts and notes handy so you have a launching point when the topic comes back up
  • Consider “not writing” not an option.
    • ANYone can sit at a computer keyboard and write SOMEthing, even if it’s just smashing fists into the keyboard like this: lbawpi aci beaiboarnjiaiouqreflob qre, something you might see if a toddler was left alone at the helm of your computer. This is, at least, SOMEthing and you have taken the step of sitting yourself down in front of the all-too foreboding blank page, and have changed it from blank to not blank. This one step may be the thing that gets you inspired to write something. You will definitely NOT write something inspiring if you are not writing anything at all.
  • Make it easier on yourself to get ideas down quickly
    • Some might prefer to carry a small notepad and pen in their pocket or purse. Nowadays you can have digital voice recorders to instantly “jot down” ideas in real time, even while driving (Please be careful, though! An injured or dead writer can’t write much.) If you are always in front of a computer, create a special folder or file for ideas that you can access wherever you are. There are tons of online task and calendar oriented applications that can help you manage data (your inspirations) online or on your pda or cell phone. If you don’t have any of these fancy gadgets but do have access to a phone, you can always leave yourself a voice mail and your idea will be ready for you when you find time to check your messages.
  • Read, go out, go do something fun or interesting.
    • When done, or perhaps even before, you will instantly have something to write about. It may not be a topic you need to write about for whatever deadline you may have, but it keeps the brain working and your skills honed. An idea for the topic you are stumped on may jump out at you while stretching out your brain

These five tips are only a few of countless ones that are out there, but are the 5 I felt help me the most now. Feel free to post your own ideas as well, in the comments. Good writing to you all!

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