Archive for December, 2009

Spirit orbs or dust specks?

December 30th, 2009

Do you think the spots in these photos are spirit orbs, or dust on the lens? They were taken at Affordable Casket & Moanalua Mortuary during my KHNL funeral party.

It took someone else to really point it out to me. I noticed it on many of the photos (the really big spots) and I didn't care or give it much thought after that. I thought it was just dust, and that I'd have to remember to clean the lens eventually.

Look: here's my baseline. I'm the person who was holding a cell phone and a coffee mug, and put the phone down, and kept talking into the mug. I'm distracted and scattered. It was good enough for me that I had photos and I could see all the faces.

After cousin Val noticed all the spots, we theorized it was dust trapped under the lens, so I was evaluating whether or not I could hire someone to take the camera apart to clean the lens, or if it'd be cheaper (yes, probably) to buy a whole new camera.

Apparently, my grade school friends from Kamehameha independently came up with their own theory that the dots are spirit orbs. I mention that we're from Kamehameha Schools, because so many alum are sensitized to Hawaiian culture, spirits, and stuff like that.

We were at our holiday gathering/ gift swap, and the subject came up. They think it's spirits because the orbs are different sizes, transparencies, and locations.They also think the mortuary is located along a nightmarcher path (were there nightmarchers on December 12, 2009?) , and they pointed out that spirits like water. The mortuary is located on the banks of the Moanalua Stream. Other possible explanations for why there might be ghosts at my party: that it was at a funeral parlor, with dead people in the next room?

I called my friend Floyd Honda at Hawaii Pacific Photo. Floyd has been a professional photographer for over two decades. He surely would know what dust specks look like. When I told him about the spirit theory, he decided to bring in his psychic colleague, Irvin Yamada.

Irvin has also been a professional photographer for decades, and has a Maui studio called Photography by Irvin. He is sensitive to ghosts and the like. Irvin concurs with the Kamehameha girls. He added, "I think they're good spirits. They seem to want to get in the photo."

I've read online articles about the problems with digital cameras capturing dust orbs, but flash photos I have taken since the party do not have spots in them, or that many spots. Hmm. Also, the mortuary is brand new. Is it not dusty.

Oh! Did Paul Drewes and I literally raise the dead with our party?!? If they enjoyed themselves, then great. I guess I had some extra guests I wasn't aware of that night. I hope they had a good time.

I've posted all the photos with spots in them. The more you look, the more you find!












There's a few more on the Facebook page, but these are the best. You get the idea. If you want to see all of them, or maybe see it larger (I don't think I can make it larger on Word Press), go to the fan page for Affordable Casket & Moanalua Mortuary and look in the Photos section. I posted them all there.

Do you have any photos to share? What do you think it is?

Heeia Pier beach cleanup folo

December 26th, 2009

The beach at Heeia Pier is a tiny bit cleaner today, after our first cleanup on Christmas Eve. It's something my friend Christian and I organized, in an effort to instill a spirit of volunteerism and environmentalism into my daughter, as well as malama our aina. If we don't take it upon ourselves to care for the Earth, who will?


Also, I really don't want Olivia to grow up thinking Christmas is only about presents and material goods. It bothers the heck out of me that for the six weeks leading up to the 25th, Christmas in America has become largely an economic story. It's too much. It's out of control. This is my personal backlash.

Shayna, Christian, Olivia, Dancetta

Shayna, Christian, Olivia, Dancetta

Half a dozen people showed up. Including the organizers. And including people who had no say in the matter, like Olivia and Inca, but I'm going to count them since they were happy to play around while we picked up litter. My husband and Christian's girlfriend came, which could kind of be a grey point in counting them.


Is it their duty to show up since they're our romantic partners? Um, at this point, I'm gonna say no as well. Because I need all the bodies I can get. Or as Paul Drewes spun it: You wanna start low, so next year when you do get a dozen people, you can say you doubled your attendance!

Dancetta Feary, butterfly farmer

Dancetta Feary, butterfly farmer

So actually, the only bona fide attendee was our friend Dancetta Feary, who took a break from her Realtoring to join us. Cleaning the land instead of selling it. She raises butterflies, and brought 20 monarchs to release to commemorate the day! How sweet!

Olivia's first time to hold a butterfly

Olivia's first time to hold a butterfly

We had some  >mumble mumble<  technical issues also. Um, Christian and I miscommunicated on who was in charge of the garbage bags so we ended up having only six. We did, however, have 150 pairs of gloves. And he also got Jamba Juice to sponsor us! He had 20 free 16-ounce smoothie coupons for people! Awesome!

Lots of plastic bags buried in the sand

Lots of plastic bags buried in the sand

We easily filled all six bags. We combed the area from the canoe hale to the first underpass; about 20 yards. I was disappointed to see there was a LOT of trash. It doesn't look that way in photos, but when you get out and start picking up, there's more than you realize. A lot of it is plastic bags and plastic wrappers of all sizes, and it's all filled up with sand. Much of it is tangled in the trees that separate the highway from the shore.


I think if even two dozen people came out next time, we could really clean the beach much better. The strip we cleaned constituted about a quarter of the full length.

I'm theorizing a lot of the garbage is tossed from cars, and a lot washes up with the tides. It makes me sad to see how much litter is out there. Even if it's accidentally blown off people's yards or something, it's just too much. There's so much overpackaging, so much... consumerism.

Some of the grosser things we picked up were four USED DIAPERS. What kind of jerk is leaving their kid's used diapers? Seriously, people? There are trash cans and a dumpster at the pier. Walk ten feet! Someone also left a used, large gasoline canister. People can be such pigs. WHY DON'T PEOPLE CARE?

We are definitely going back next year. Next time we are going to plan it much better. And again, you're all invited!

December 25th, 2009

I pay a lot more attention to what children do around Christmas, now that I have a small child. It never dawned on me that kids today want to e-mail Santa. I'm sure I've read stories on it before but apparently, it hasn't made enough of an impression that I internalized it.



Recently, I saw an e mail from Olivia's six year old cousin Camie, written to Santa. I laughed and laughed. What happened to the good old days with crayon penmanship? Camie's mom had to type it in for her, and pretend to hit Send.


I searched for him on Facebook but was surprised there's no individual with that page, just groups and one application. Pretty funny though.


Subject: Santa Claus

Dear Santa,

Please can Camryn have a pink DS for Christmas. I will leave cookies out for you on Christmas night.

I was a good girl in school and at home. I'm trying my hardest in school. I hope you have a safe chrismas eve.




Merry Christmas, everyone!

We spent the morning at my cousin's, where the fun was watching five children demolish hoards of presents in under ten minutes. The best gift I got? The gift of a wonderful family.


Akos, Lums, Lees

20 photos and 10 minutes later... a half decent picture

20 photos and 10 minutes later... a half decent picture


Don't forget the dogs, too! This was the best I could do.

Don't forget the dogs, too! This was the best I could do.

Entertain me!

December 23rd, 2009

When I was a pre-teen, I watched my cousin Janice - who is like a big sister to me - prepare for the Narcissus pageant for a couple years. I remember my aunt turning her sights on me, next, hoping to groom the next Miss Hawaii or something with a tiara that didn't involve a night out at Fusions.

Copy of DSCN9679

Jan and me

I was painfully shy and disinterested in any kind of stage talent. I declined. I would rather read books. (Still would.) I think Aunt Roz was disappointed, because it wasn't a stretch to envision me as liking the spotlight. My mother was a Vegas showgirl. My father is a classical pianist and a total ham.


Aunt Roz

I crossed the spotlight gene with my love of books in my former career choice as a newscaster. It involves talent, but not the kind that would garner any kind of crowns.

Which brings me to this. My friend Jim Bryan is putting on a new variety show. "Aloha Kia Presents Entertain Me" premieres at 9 p.m. January 23, 2010 on KHON. Acts include singers, dancers, ventriloquists, impersonators, clowns, and the like. He calls it the "classic variety show" but a little edgy. Sounds great.

And then he invited me to go on the show. Wha-? Bw-ha-ha-ha-ha! I have no talent. Come on! I don't even do karaoke, and I'm from Kamehameha! Go figure!

He insisted it doesn't have to be actual talent. I could be entertainingly bad, like the people who do stupid human tricks on Dave Letterman. But no. I can't blow a balloon via my ear. I can't pop out my eyeballs. I'm pathetic. I have no good talent, and no bad talent.

I'm double jointed. Does that count? So far my only hidden talent is cutting key blanks. I worked briefly at a hardware store in college.

For now, we'll settle for me being in the studio audience. If you'd like to check it out, you are welcome to go! It's free, and it's open to the public. Drinks & food are cheap. It's at Hawaiian Brian's on 1680 Kapiolani Blvd. Pass it on to your friends.

To see the trailer:

If you have a talent, even better. To audition, call (808) 528-1073. Let me know if you get on and I'll watch for you!

Christian & Diane's Christmas Beach Cleanup

December 21st, 2009

Who: Anyone who wants to come

What: Beach cleanup

Where: Heeia Pier- 46-499 Kamehameha Hwy. The beach to the north of the parking lot. Park in the parking lot and there is a skinny strip of beach parallel to the road.

This strip of sand

This strip of sand

When: December 24, Thursday. 2-4 pm (please note time change from original post; we forgot to take low tide into account)

Why: To be good citizens

I want to instill a spirit of volunteerism in my kid. I was discussing this with our family friend Christian and he also likes to volunteer. I wanted to do something in line with my environmental values, so I thought picking up trash at Heeia Pier would be nice.


It wasn't meant to be a big deal - I was just going to take the family down there, invite any friends if they wanted to come, and do something for a couple hours. I imagined half a dozen people. I hope to do this every year on the 24th. I picked the 24th because I think the 25th is too busy; isn't that when most Americans celebrate Christmas?

Park here (or alongside the road)

Park here (or alongside the road)

However, Christian plans big events for a living, so of course every conversation turns into "Hey, we can make it a public event!" Oh, why not. If anyone out there wants to join us, please do. We'll bring extra trash bags and gloves in case you show up. Also, be prepared for a large black dog.

Merry Christmas, Mother Earth.

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