Archive for March, 2011

Giant Monsters Attack Hawaii! indy film

March 16th, 2011

Giant Monsters Attack Hawaii! is the name of a new indy film produced by Dane Neves, a fun movie in which the monsters are cartoonish puppets and I have a cameo as a newscaster predicting disaster. This would have to be the cutest disaster I have ever "covered."

If you'd like to check it out, GIANT MONSTERS ATTACK HAWAII! will be featured on Hawaii's Reel Stories on OC16 this week. It premiered on, Monday, March 14 at 7PM on OC16, with six more re-runs on:

Tuesday at 1:00 AM and 8 PM

Thursday at 11:30 AM

Friday at 3 PM

Saturday at 5 PM

Sunday at 12:30 PM.

Check out a preview at:

Ty Sanga talks about the making of "Stones" and his experience at this year's Sundance Film Festival with it. Brian Watanabe reveals how he got his script "Rogues Gallery" to the big screen. Dane Neves takes us behind the scenes of "Giant Monsters Attack Hawaii". Producers Ric Galindez and Roy Tjioe discuss the making of "Soul Surfer".


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Stealth ski trip

March 14th, 2011

My husband, Claus, travels way more than I do. He has work conventions once or twice a year, biannual visits home to Denmark, and his annual boys' ski trip.

Alpine skiing is something I introduced to his life. You might assume that growing up in Denmark, he'd be familiar with skiing, but perhaps you're not aware of the Kansas-like terrain of the country. It's flat as a pancake. Cross-country, maybe; downhill, no.

He had gone once or twice in his life before me, but after we met, it became something we enjoyed yearly. Because he's so athletic, he picks up sports quickly, and usually sticks with them long after I've lost interest. (Exhibit A: triathlons.) At some point, it turned into a group ski trip with some other male friends. That morphed into a boys' ski trip with me as the token female.

After I got pregnant, I mostly stopped skiing. At first, my body was too exhausted and out of condition. It was hard to travel with a baby. Then, work came first, and for various reasons, I couldn't take time off. We had discussed taking a trip in February 2011, but then I got a job and I haven't accrued enough vacation.

In the last five years, I've had one serious ski trip, and that was because my in-laws were staying with us (for two months) and could provide us a solid chunk of babysitting time. Olivia was one year old and I had not found time to hit the gym, so I was quite out of shape.

I probably skied for only two or three hours each day and then went back to the hotel to wait for Claus. Our idea of a good day on the slopes is at least half a day.

Skiing is my favorite sport and I spent a lot of time on the slopes while living in the mainland. Right before moving back to Hawaii, I had great fun as a part-time ski instructor on my days off from a TV reporting job. I have a lingering fantasy that I could live in Whistler one winter and ski five hours a day. Ain't gonna happen, but one can dream.

Last month, Claus told me he had a convention to attend in Vegas in March. "Would you be jealous if I went skiing too, since you can't go this season?" he asked. I thought that very polite of him.

"No, I understand," I replied.

Nothing more was spoken of it- probably so it wouldn't be rubbed in my face. Life steamrolled along and the demands of work and family kept me too busy to touch upon it again.

Last night as he was packing to go to his convention, he said, "Can I borrow your earplugs?" I love me some earplugs for the plane ride. He doesn't.

"I thought you didn't like to use earplugs," I said.

"Oh, no, it's because Dan and I are sharing a condo, and Dan snores," he explained, without realizing he had not really informed me of any firm ski plans.

I, however, figured it out in three seconds. Who rents a condo in Vegas when they can stay on the strip? And, Dan is a regular ski buddy.

Eyebrows raised, I said, "Oh, interesting. So you're going skiing, too? Where?"

"Salt Lake City," he said. "I told you. Remember that day when I asked if you'd be jealous if I went without you?"

"I remember the day. I don't remember any follow up," I answered. Not like it matters, but... it just had that feeling like he was trying to sneak that by me. <eye roll>

As one male colleague said to me the next day as we chortled about it, "Well played, Claus. Well played."


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Hawaii Bone Marrow Drives for Natalie Oana

March 11th, 2011

Last February, Natalie Oana, 51, mother to Jeannin and Brigitte, was diagnosed with acute leukemia, a cancer of the blood.  Her Kamehameha Schools, Class of 1977, friends quickly came forward to comfort their longtime friend, who has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy treatment.  Now, many others have joined the effort to help find a bone marrow donor that can save Oana, as well as many others who are having a hard time finding the match that will save their lives.

The group, who recently adopted the nickname “Team Nat,” is asking for people to attend one of the upcoming bone marrow donor drives, hopefully increasing the number of native Hawaiians and multi-ethnic registered potential donors.  According to the Hawaii Bone Marrow Registry, it is very difficult to find a match for anyone of Hawaiian ethnicity – less than 1% - and only 3% for those of mixed race.  Asians have a 15% chance of finding a match, Caucasians have an 80% chance.

A recent drive at Kamehameha Schools registered 200 people, a sharp increase from last year’s 30 registrations, which is extremely encouraging.  Team Nat, the Hawaii Bone Marrow Registry, and all of the patients who are still waiting to find a match, urge the public to please register.  You may just save a life!

The next Bone Marrow Registration Drives are as follows:

MARCH 11 (Friday) - HONOLULU
Time:   9:00 a.m.~2:00 p.m.
Place:  Hawaii Pacific University-Downtown Campus (Courtyard)
Info:     (808) 547-6154

Time:   5:30~8:00 p.m.
Place:  Sangha Hall, 424 Kilauea Avenue
Info:     (808) 547-6154 or Toll-Free at 877-HI-DONOR (443-6667); See attached flyer.

MARCH 13 (Sunday) - HILO
Time:   9:00 a.m.~1:00 p.m.
Place:  KTA – Puainako, 50 East Puainako Street
Info:     (808) 547-6154 or Toll-Free at 877-HI-DONOR (443-6667)

MARCH 15 (Tuesday) - HONOLULU
Time:   10:30 a.m.~2:30 p.m.
Place:  Punahou School, Mamiya Science Center, Conference Room
Info:     (808) 547-6154

Call the Registry at  (808) 547-6154, or email Team Nat at to find out about more drives and fundraisers happening in your area.  Please also join their group on Facebook at

Donors must be between the ages of 18 and 60, and in good general health.  Registration only takes about 10 minutes, and consists of a registration form and a quick, painless swab of the inside of your cheek.  You only need to register once.  If you have already registered and need to update your information, or would like more information about becoming a donor, call the Registry at (808) 547-6154, or visit

“We sometimes forget how privileged we are to have good health.  What a miracle, if you could help someone by being the match. You could be the difference between one more birthday, one more graduation, one more anniversary … or none.”
-Lawrence, KS ’77

“Being a donor match is a privilege that does not ask much of you.  It’s a blessing.  You are given the chance to really make a difference in someone’s life.”
-Monica, KS ’77

“Please remember that if you registered in the past, you should make sure your contact information is up to date so the registry can get in touch with you if you are a match.  Some people registered years ago when it was needed for Alana Dung, and haven’t updated since.”
-Cathy, KS ‘77

If registration at any of the above events is inconvenient, you may register directly with the National or Hawaii Bone Marrow Registry, as follows:

National Marrow Donor Program
Be the Match Registry at

Find a bone marrow drive near you at,
Or go to/call the Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry offices at:
2230 Liliha Street, Basement Level
Honolulu, HI 96817
Tel. (808) 547-6154
Toll-free:  1-877-HI-DONOR

Go to, and complete the online form and order your registration kit.  Follow the kit instructions to collect a swab of the cheek cell and return by mail.

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Penny Palfrey swims Hawaiian Island channels

March 9th, 2011

Australian marathon swimmer Penny Palfrey is a third of her way to reaching her latest swimming goals. On Friday, she'll attempt another leg of a three-part effort  to swim three Hawaiian Island channels. The former Olympic-hopeful and 48-year-old grandmother will start from La'au Point on Molokai before dark on the morning of March 11.

Captain Jim Dickson, Penny Palfrey, Chris Palfrey

Captain Jim Dickson, Penny Palfrey, Chris Palfrey

The timing on these kinds of swims has to be fluid (no pun intended) even down to the last minute, so she can’t be more specific. She will swim solo, 26 miles to Oahu and end up on Oahu’s Sandy Beach some 12 or more hours later.

Over the weekend on Saturday March 5, she and husband Chris swam the Alalakeiki Channel (Kaho’olawe to Maui- 7 miles/ 11.5 km), logging times just over five hours each. “Starting from Ule Point on the northeast side of Kaho'olawe, we were greeted by schools of pelagic fish next to a sheer 200 foot wall drop off, making for a spectacular start with a back drop of the massive rugged cliffs of Kaho'olawe. Conditions were calm at the start, with surprisingly warm 25 Celsius degree water - ideal for swimming,” said Chris Palfrey.

On Penny’s last Hawaiian swim in fall 2010, Portuguese man-of-war were a problem. This time it was jellyfish, and the two said they were regularly stung throughout the swim.

Chris Palfrey two-day-old jellyfish stings

Chris Palfrey two-day-old jellyfish stings

“Despite relatively calm conditions, there was a very strong cross current which quickly carried us south, forcing us to battle uphill for the last half of the swim, with our pace slowing to a slow crawl. Finishing times were 5:07 for Penny and 5:09 for Chris. We finished on soft beautiful sand at Makena Beach, South Maui,” Chris summed up.

“If I am feeling good after this swim, with no injuries, shoulder soreness, etcetera, I plan to swim the Kaluakahi Channel (Kaua’i to Ni’ihau- 17 miles)along with Chris,” said Penny. The Kaluakahi Channel is swim #3 for Penny. All told, the three channels total 50 miles.

Palfreys at Makena Beach in Maui at the end of the first swim

Palfreys at Makena Beach in Maui at the end of the first swim

Six people have done the crossing before then; four men and two women. The Palfreys are the first couple, and it's the fourth channel they have swum together.

As world-class level marathon swimming goes, this is an unusual duo. "Currently, we are the first (and only) married couple to have swum the following major USA swims: Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (NY), which we have each done on three occasions; Catalina Channel (CA); and Tampa Bay Marathon Swim (FL). We are also the first and only married couple to have swum the Strait of Gibraltar (Spain to Morrocco), which we have done on two occasions. We are one of only two couples (but not the first) to have swum the Au’au channel."

 Penny and/or Chris' Hawaiian swims this March:

-Kaiwi Channel (Molokai to Oahu- 26 miles) (Penny solo)

-Kaluakahi Channel (Kauai to Niihau- 17 miles) (Chris - and Penny?)

-Alalakeiki Channel (Maui to Kaho’olawe- 7 miles) (Chris - and Penny?)

Some come to Hawaii to enjoy the warm ocean, but the Palfreys sure take it to a new level!

(*Disclaimer: Waikiki Parc Hotel sponsored the Palfreys' Oahu accomodations, and my employer owns the property.)


Update as of March 11, 8 am:

At 4 am Hawaii time, the crew for Australian marathon swimmer Penny Palfrey called me to confirm they would be attempting Swim #2 today, on schedule.

"Weather and water conditions are optimal," said swim advisor Steve Munatones. "There is no wind, which was a concern as we were watching the weather forecast. When the harbor master opens the harbor, we will be starting the swim."

State authorities evacuated all coastal areas throughout the state of Hawaii after a  massive earthquake in Japan triggered a Friday night tsunami warning in Hawaii, as well as in other US states and nearly two dozen countries around the world. At 7:30 am Friday, all islands were downgraded to a tsunami advisory.

The crew had flown from Waikiki Parc Hotel on Thursday and checked in at Hotel Moloka'i. They had hoped to depart at 2:30 am Friday morning for a 5 am start from La'au Point on the western point of Moloka'i.

Munatones explained that the start time would be pushed down a few hours - based on the harbor master's opening of the harbor - but would still commence today. Projections for a finish time were 12-18 hours.

Successful completion of this swim puts her a third of her way to reaching her latest swimming goals. The Kaiwi Channel, a well-known waterway for paddlers and the hardiest of swimmers, spans 26 miles between Oahu and Moloka'i.


Update as of March 11, 11 am:

Munatones wrote to say, "She started at 10:54 am. Very rough, windy and wavy but short of aggressive marine life, she'll make it."


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Preschool photos

March 9th, 2011

Another touchstone in the journey of parenting has arrived: school photos. The note came home with Olivia one day that picture taking would be on Wednesday. I was actually excited about going through the ritual. Yes, we've had three other professional photo sessions with her, but this would be her first school picture!

The morning it was to occur, I got up extra early to make sure I had enough time to French braid her hair. I usually put it in a ponytail or a braid (I ask her what she wants) but I think a French braid looks really pretty, and I'm not super great at it, so I had to allow time for a do-over, if necessary. She looked so cute going to school.

A few weeks later, I was looking at the photos at the adminstrative office. Each child got three poses, and in Olivia's case, one picture was fantastic, one was so-so, and one was with a fake smile. I could envision that the fake smile came either first, when she was still shy; or last, when she was bored with it.

The photography studio then pre-printed out a packet from each pose consisting of: one 8 x 10, two 5 x 7's, four 3 x 5's, and eight wallets, should you want to buy it on the spot. (I did, to save time.) Naturally, there's all kind of add-ons too, like t-shirts, CDs, collages, calendars, and a tote bag.

There's slightly complicated price structure that involves discounts for buying a certain number of pictures, but I didn't buy enough, so my cost was about $15 per sheet. Is that expensive? I don't know; yes and no? One of the other moms in the room was surprised at the high price, and said, "That's how they get you!"

In comparison to Walmart's current offer of "over 30 portraits for $7.99" or Sears' very similar $7.99 deal that promises "no session fee," sure, it's pricey. On the other hand, you could pay a lot more at a studio like Floyd Honda's and, though it shows in the high picture quality, you will pay for what you get.

In the end, I figure the photography studio makes no money on a session fee, and it is working on spec, making money only if the parents end up buying. I thought Olivia's picture came out really nicely, so I'm happy with what I bought. I know my mom loves toting around her new canvas bag screened with her granddaughter's picture.


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