Defending Diet Coke’s Honor

Here’s what Snopes.com, the respected gossip/rumor rectifying website has to say about the people out there that spread lies about how incredibly unsafe aspartame is, and that Diet Coke should be taken off of the market and that the FDA isn’t doing its job. The article is titled Kiss My Aspartame.

I will also take this time to repost my Ode to Diet Coke, for those who have not yet read it.

Grant us the strength
to make it through each day
with the help of Diet Coke

Grant us the temperature of product
that is as cold as possible
without little slushies

Grant us ample access
to fountain, bottle and can
in that order

and ice
oh yes, grant us ice

Grant the linings of our throats
the tenacity and power
to guzzle your cold, fresh nectar
in one held breath

Grant us pretty stars and spinning rooms
when we catch our breath
from such gulps

May we always have enough change
for a diet coke for ourselves and a friend

May we always have the means
to keep our diet coke cold

May it last
longer in styrofoam

May it maintain
full carbonation

May it remain
cold cold cold

May it provide
minutes of refreshment

May it quicken
both mind and body

May it never
get mixed with the root beer feed line by careless workers at some random buffet

May it ever
be sugar and guilt free

May it always
be near me

Oh diet coke
we do love thee

–by Josh Haley, Houston, TX

Iā€™m Truly Speechless – A Portuguese Sausage Comparison Article

When I see dedication to portuguese sausage like this, it makes me smile, knowing that someone else in this lone dreary world gets it…like I think I do. You have got to read this guy’s blog on Honolulu Food! At least look at the pics!

http://tastyisland.wordpress.com/2007/05/13/the-great-portuguese-sausage-shootout/

Josh

PS – I will dream up some wonderful reward for the first person to give me a source for ANY portuguese sausage in the Houston, Texas area! Please?

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Hell Yes!!

Just click on this link….go ahead. I’ll wait here.

http://www.aloha-bbq.com/

See the purple header….and then scroll down to the yellow highlighted part. A new store just opened in Humble!

Uh….DUDE!!! I live in Humble! Now this kanaka can kaukau da kine laulau anytime he wants! Stay right down da street and den!!

Well, I’M excited, anyway!

K-den,

Josh–

Hawaii Part VI

Today was our last day for this trip. We fell asleep accidentally last night when we had planned to do all of the packing. So we spent this morning doing it all. No worries since our flight is a late night flight so we had all day to play one last time. Trish found a way to stash all of our loot in our bags. She had the foresight to buy a decent suitcase while at the swap meet Saturday. Were it not for that moment of split second decision making, we would not have been able to fit all this stuff into our goodie bags! Yay Trish!

We checked out of the hotel and drove down Kalakaua Avenue to Eggs n Things, a popular breakfast spot and one of Trish’s favorite places to eat. The waiting list was about 45 minutes long, which was all the time we had on our street parking meter that we had just fed coins into. So we blinked and pouted at the cashier/hostess and she asked if it was OK if we sat at the “bar” they had, which was the shape and look of a very large surfboard. We agreed and were seated in about 5 minutes, bypassing about 20 people who were waiting before us. Sorry guys, our meter is running and we gotta et moving!

I had the biggest, baddest Portuguese sausage omelette on hash browns and some sourdough toast. Trish ordered the famous buttermilk pancakes, and we shared each others’ food. It was some of THE best pancakes and the biggest Portuguese sausage ANYthing I had ever had! Good call Trish! I had never gone there my whole Hawaiian life. It was about time.

We then moseyed (mosied?) over to the ABC store (one of like a zillion on the island) and window shopped. See, we were just about out of money by then and had to keep things simple. We went to 7-11 once more and I took pictures of the display case where the bentos, musubi, sushi and other yummy things are. So pretty dat one! I wish we had such options in Texas.

We then went to Ala Moana again to walk around the top floor since we pooped out after only two floors last time. So old, yeah, us? They really did change things up there. They have restaurants up there and more stores. Ala Moana is metastasizing! Sheesh! I can still remember playing in the sandbox right out in front of the mall, lower level, by the Keeaumoku side of the parking lot. That’s been gone a while, but.

We had to go to Longs one more time, just cuz. They have SO much of everything. We even saw this one local Asian chick putting on lipstick in the mirror in the makeup section, and it wasn’t her makeup and she wasn’t buying the stuff she was using, so….dang that’s just tacky.

I got a couple of trinket gifts for some of the people that I have to go back home and work with just about every day. A little kindness goes a long way there, I believe.

We got all pooped again (tired feet mostly) and left Ala Moana for good. We got a wild hair and decided to go up to Tantalus over Makiki, my old stomping grounds. The road was closed so we had to just stop in front of some rich dude’s house and took photos of Honolulu from the street. Not too shabby of a view I must say.

We then drove up Manoa Valley just cuz and took lots of pictures of the valley and the luch front yards all over the place. On the way down Punahou street I remembered to snap some photos of Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, where Sarah was born. I know she will be very interested to see these pics. She really wanted to come with us on this trip. We have to bring the whole family next time for sure.

Trish wanted to see the Pali lookout on this trip and we still had many hours to use so we drove on up Pali Highway to the lookout. It was very windy today, perhaps having something to do with hurricane Flossi on its way over, changing air pressure and making wind. It was a blast up there! Lots of people were leaning into the wind and jumping up and landing a few inches downwind. Everyone, young and old, was acting like kids, including us! We took some pics. The view is still quite breathtaking from up there!

We drove down toward Kaneohe and hopped onto H-3 to see the sights on that newer freeway. It was a smooth ride and afforded us some spectacular views of the Ko’olau mountains up close. I videotaped almost the entire stretch of freeway on my phone while driving. Should be up on youtube later tomorrow. The freeway dumps you into Halawa, right by Aloha Stadium, where you can connect to H-2 or H-1, which is what we did.

We had the idea that we should spend some of our last few dollars in Hawaii on Grace’s chicken katsu plate lunches, which we did with no hesitation. We got the food to go and drove down to Magic Island for a pre-sunset picnic. It was SO peaceful there. I really think that’s my favorite spot on the island. Diamond Head is the backdrop to the east, where you can see the Ala Wai boat marina and people surfing out at Kaisers, all of this in front of the famous Waikiki skyline leading to Diamond Head. Just classic Honolulu to me, and I love it and always will. The breeze was perfect and the water was gorgeous!

The only thing left to do after that was to top off the gas on the rental car, turn it in, check in at the airport, grab a diet coke and a seat at one of the airport cafes and sit and blog this day’s activities on my little phone. I am amazed I have been able to keep up on it all with this little phone! It sucked not having internet access at all at our hotel, but it all worked out OK.

So we bid Honolulu a fond Aloha for now. Until we meet again.

Josh

PS – this trip was Super Kawaii! That’s Super Cute in Japanese!
PSS – uh..yeah we are Harajuku lovers, ya!

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Hawaii Part V – Graduation Day


Today was a perfect day! I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Hawaii at Manoa!!! I finally did it! The commencement was brief and painless and the feeling was almost overwhelming. To my right was a bored japanese/maybe portuguese guy playing with his new iPhone the whole time, and to my left was a tall skinny Filipino dude who was smiling the whole time. He took a moment to congratulate me right before we walked from our seats to get our names read.

I was a bit nervous, I’ll admit. But when I heard my name, pronounced correctly even…I was just floating! I pumped my arms into the air as I walked over to shake the dean’s hand and receive my diploma (a holder for one anyway), have my photo taken and was even on video for a bit. I was able to shake hands and give a hug to Tom Bingham, my old band director and music academic advisor. He is one of the good ones, and yes, happens to be haole. coincidence?? hmmm. Anyway it was really good to see him and to have him see me finish that degree!

Trish was in the audience videotaping and taking stills of me during the whole thing. Corey Nakayama was there too. It was good to have him there. He videotaped the whole thing and handed me the dv tape after. Nice yeah?

Also in the crowd to see me graduate were Todd and Hazel Anzai, who came to see me aftrwards and we took pictures and talked for a long time out in the sun at the UH baseball stadium where peeps met the graduates after the ceremony. They invited us out to lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, and we had an absolute blast talking about all kinds of stuff. I am overwhelmed by their generosity and friendship. It is so great to have great friends that are fun to hang out with, even if they live 3000 miles away!

After a wonderful lunch at CPK, as it has been referred to, and after having the carribean jerk chicken pizza (oh my yes…yum!), we said our goodbyes to Todd and Hazel and went strolling through Kahala Mall, which we had not done yet on this trip.

The place changed a bit, but it’s such a small mall anyway so it wouldn’t take much to make it look different…and we stopped into Sanrio, a little japanese “Hello Kitty” store for lack of a better term, and got a few cool items for the kids, and found some of my favorite gum there too. It’s this fruity flavored gum that comes in a wrapper that has a temporary tatoo on the inside of the wrapper (called Fusen gum). I use to mess with those when I was a kid. Funny how now I don’t let my kids mess with temporary tatoos huh? Hypocrite, but hey, it comes with title of parent, I have learned.

While at that mall, we popped into a GameStop to see if they had the Nintendo Wii console in stock. They said they were out but they knew who would most likely have them in stock. I thanked the guy for the info and left. After going back to the hotel to change, we then went to “Toys N Joys” to see about getting a Wii. They had them in stock!!! We got a Wii!


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Hawaii Part IV

Saturday in Hawaii…started out with Trish sneaking out of the hotel to do some grocery shopping. I was sleeping in anyway thanks to the late night I just had playing guitar hero II with Corey. Trish came back with biscuits from a bakery nearby. They were huge and yummy! Hit the spot.

We were slow to move but we did manage to get up and out over to the swap meet they seem to have every Saturday at Aloha Stadium parking lot. We got there a little late since they close up shop at about 2 or 3 but we did miss the heavy rain that was there earlier, so that was good.

We kinda went nuts on buying all kinds of stuff. I can’t remember all of it right now but that’s ok. It was very hot and muggy while we were there but we still had lots of fun.

When we came back to town, wondering what and where to eat, I couldn’t think of anything that I really wanted besides mexican food. So we went to Compadres for nachos and to relax. It was very nice.

We sat rihgt at the window where you can see Ala Moana park and the people that walk through or around it. We also got the fish tacos, and I gotta tell you…those were really really good! Yeah, it seemed kinda lame at the time to go have mexican food in Hawaii rather than plate lunches but I guess I was in a plate lunch overload or something so the chips and salsa really hit the spot!

After a little walking around at Ward center, we drove around Magic Island and Ala Moana park. It’s so cool to see these people that used to be me and my family, getting out of the water and having picnics and playing in the sand or grass.

We then drove down to Kapiolani Park by the aquarium, parked and walked over to The Wall to see the sunset and to watch the sand volleyball players. Trish used to be one of those girls, wearing just a bikini, diving all over the sand to get the ball back over the net, getting sand all over! She ran into an old friend and we chatted a while. I took a bunch of pictures of the volleyball action and the ensuing sunset.

We were beat after all of that so we went back to the hotel and chilled and crashed for the night. So old and boring yeah? heh heh.

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Hawaii Part III

Wow! Aloha Friday here in paradise was great! We got out of the hotel and began our search straightway for Portuguese sausage eggs and rice, which is literally the breakfast of choice for many locals here. So much so that they have it at McDonald’s. That was yummy! We had that and decided to do a bunch of video today and drive around the entire island.

We headed towards Kaimuki and stopped at Leonard’s bakery for some famous and incredibly delicious malasadas, which must be some ancient word for “greasy spongy sugary yumminess” in some language here. Nobody can touch the perfection level given you at this place for malasadas, hands down. We ate most of the ones we bought right there in the parking lot, cuz they’re SO good hot!

Then we proceeded to go through Kaimuki and Kahala and take Kalanianaole Hwy over to Hawaii Kai where we used to live. We stopped by the old town house and videotaped it in its current state, just cuz. It was such a perfect day to drive around the island, I must say. We saw Sandy Beach on the east side as we went around the bend over to Makapuu and Waimanalo. The view and the water were gorgeous! It has been too long since I had seen that area! The colors in the water were so many shades of teal and green and blue and my polarized sunglasses made the colors pop out even more.


I told Trish about the time I almost drowned at Makapuu beach…I was boogie boarding and got pounded into the rocky area. I lost my board and was getting pounded over and over by the set that came in and got my legs scratched up really good on the rocks. But I made it! Thank God!

As we drove through Waimanalo, I remembered much simpler days, although my days were in town and Waimanalo is beautiful country tucked beneath what I think is the most breathtaking part of the Ko’olau mountain range. The whole time on that side of the island, we drove past school after school that was right by the water. That’s just so cool!

We made our way over to Kailua and drove through Lanikai and got lost for a bit (sheesh! some local I turned out to be) and saw some cool homes by the water. Trish and I have teased each other about the idea of coming back to Hawaii to live, and where we might want to live, all things considered (read: money not being an issue). We always come back to Lanikai for some reason. It is neatly tucked away and such a beautiful beach town. Maybe it’s the haole in me or something, cuz there are a lot of haoles over on the Kailua side for sure.

We took the long way around Kaneohe Bay next. It’s a winding road right on the waterfront. Once we made it around, we soon found ourselves out by Chinaman’s Hat or Kualoa beach park. We stopped there to stretch and take photos and some video. Trish went “swimming” up to her knees for a bit. It was so soothing to hear the little waves lap up on the shore. It’s like, but even better than, those Corona beer ads that put you on a beach and make you feel relaxed etc by the gorgeous water. sigh….that’s my Hawaii right there.

We also saw some Portuguese Man of War on the sand. Three within a 9 foot stretch of beach. That’s the risk you take when you swim on the windward side of the island..the jellyfish blow right on up and can sting pretty bad. Knock on wood, I have never been stung in my lifetime thus far! We took some more photos and carried on towards La’ie.

I used to make that drive alot when I was in college out at BYU in La’ie. It doesn’t really get old, it’s so pretty. Once there, we stopped for photos at the PCC and the temple, then drove over to BYU campus to show Trish where my dorm was and where I played music and so on. She says I already showed her all of this long ago when we were first dating or married. Oops!

We proceeded through Kahuku and you’ll never guess what we saw, correction, I saw first! Cows! “Look a cow!” I yelled. “I win! HA HAAAAAAA!” we always play this game in our family while in the car, if you are the first to see a cow and you say “look a cow!” you win. What does one win, you may ask? Haley family bragging rights, that’s what! And I won the contest all the way over in Hawaii! Booya! Trish was a good sport, letting me rub it in BIG time! šŸ™‚

We stopped on the north shore at Waimea to see the younger generation have their turn having fun jumping off “the rock” that is there on the beach. That place is really crowded now!

We stopped at Matsumoto’s in Haleiwa for shave ice, but the line was about 30 people strong and we were not THAT hard up for it so we kept going.

We drove through the old pineapple fields on the way through the valley under the Waianae mountain range. It is always awesome to be near those mountains. I think of December 7, 1941 sometimes while I look across that valley and see how easy it looks to fly a plane through it, below mountain peak levels. I also think of the history with the pantations and see all the old red oxidized dirt. I also see the shortcut home from the north shore. It’s a beautiful side of the island.

We made it back into town and stopped to eat and shop at Ward Warehouse. Trish saw an old co-worker friend at Executive Chef where she used to work when she was putting us through school. We then proceeded to eat two huge Korean bbq combo plates! Yum! The Korean lady serving us cracked me up! You get 4 choices of side vegetable with the combo plate and as soon as I say the first choice, she says “and?”…uh…uh….and some kim chee “and??”…uh..uh…the pressure! It was freakng hilarious! It was just like in that movie Dude Where’s My Car? when the lady at the drive thru kept saying “an den??” ha ha ha ha! “no mo an den!!!”

Trish decided to then relax at the hotel and let me go play at Corey’s house (apartment now). We sang a little karaoke and then stayed up till 3 playing guitar hero on the playstation. Dude!!! That game so totally rules! I am definitely going to try to get my hands on that very soon!

It was quite a fun filled day!

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