Archive for September, 2015

Mean Meatloaf

September 23rd, 2015

Claus brought home a board game from Denmark called Ludo. It's essentially Parcheesi, but with an international name.

We like it. For me, it's definitely better than Fishing or My Little Pony Monopoly.

I used to let Olivia win games all the time, then I heard it's better to just play competitively and 1) teach your children to be good losers, 2) understand what it's like to win fair-and-square.

So I just go ahead and beat her in the games. I somehow became Mean Meatloaf when I disable her player. I get a lot of Meatloaf aimed at me when my guy is about to eat hers.

Then I taught her my strategy. She's like post-war Japan.

She learns, refines, and improves the method to best me at my own game. Now, she is the Mean Meatloaf more often than I am.

Then, Meatloaf has transmogrified into a verb to mean "lose," as in: "Let's play Ludo. Are you ready to get Meatloafed?"

I still enjoy eating meatloaf, but it sparks an entirely new set of associations when I see it on a menu.

Kaua`i Civil Defense siren tests scheduled Sept. 22-24

September 22nd, 2015

Kaua`i Civil Defense wants to let people know it will be testing nine newly installed Civil Defense outdoor warning sirens this week.

The special soundings are for acceptance testing, and will be conducted in partnership with the Hawai`i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA).

The testing will be conducted over a three-day period, Sept. 22 to Sept. 24, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the following locations:

  •   Wailua Houselots Park
  •   Wailua Golf Course (south end)
  •   Hanamā‘ulu Beach Park
  •   Puhi
  •   Kōloa Town
  •   Po‘ipū Beach Park
  •   Halēwili Road
  •   Kalawai Park
  •   Kekaha (next to the Chinese cemetery)

Area residents may hear the sirens sound for six to eight times during the 30-second to one-minute intervals. The testing will also include short blasts known as “burps.”

The Kaua‘i Civil Defense Agency is seeking volunteers willing to assist with the testing by reporting issues with the sirens, particularly the ones that are in new locations.

Volunteers living or working close to a Civil Defense siren would be placed on a phone list for potential calls following the monthly siren test, which is on the first business day of each month.

Anyone who would like to volunteer can call (808) 241-1800 or send an email to

Anyone with questions or concerns regarding the modernization of the statewide outdoor warning system may call HI-EMA at (808) 733-4300.


Special backpack

September 21st, 2015

Oh my goodness, I love my kid.

I gave her a little keychain-sized backpack and she immediately stuffed it full of treasures. Then she wanted to show me.


She pulled out some crystals and described them for me (again), and then produced some shiny beads from the small pouch for me to marvel at.

"I put all my special things in there. If I could fit more, I would, but I can't fit you inside," she said.


Later, we played Blackjack. It's not as laughable an idea as it sounds. It reinforces her math.

Also, it's the only card game I can remember, and it's way more interesting than Go Fish.

She laid all her cards on the table. I told her not to show me her hand.

"It's ok. You're not one of my friends," she shrugged.

"I'm not? I'm not your friend?" I gasped.

"Well, you are, but you're not like my school friends," she clarified. "In fact, you're number zero."

"I'm a zero?" I inquired. It's sort of a cultural thing that nobody wants to be zero, but Olivia hasn't figured that out yet.

So in her mind, zero comes before one. "Yeah, you're before number one, Mommy," she explained. Aha.

I'm a Zero Hero. I love it.

This kid. How lucky am I to have her. She brings the sparkle to my heart every day.

Shrimp experiment update: color problems

September 18th, 2015

The shrimp are not getting their color back. That's what the team has determined after about six weeks of having the shrimps in their new homes.

Annette has hers in a plain jar at work with rocks and an air line. Mike has his in a five gallon tank with a piece of Plexiglas cut to fit the top of the tank to reduce evaporation.

"I don't have very many rocks in the tank right now, because I want to make it easy to catch and remove the shrimp I want to isolate. Some of the shrimp are clear and/or whitish, and some have the red/clear banded pattern," he explains.

Dennis has three three-gallon containers outside with two inches of substrate that consists of coral and abalone shells. He says, "It makes for nice holes and niches for the opae `ula to hide, and hopefully mate."


Mine are in a "temporary-permanent" home in my dining room that's a five gallon bucket. In the beginning, I was using it as a holding zone until I could sort out the shrimp by color and put them in prettier containers. However, it seems the focus has shifted and so I'm letting inertia take over and they can just stay where they are.

They haven't really regained much color since I put them in there on August 2. Whereas they were initially completely pale, after a couple weeks some were tinged pink - enough that we could tell they have a banded pattern.

We've compared notes and I'm glad to know it's not just me. For the record, I have had wild success breeding the Hawaii Island strain of red opae `ula.

In 2013 I started a second tank with just two dozen shrimp, and now they are reproducing like crazy. There's hundreds in there.

I feed my Ewa shrimp a tiny bit of powdered spirulina every couple weeks. It's better to underfeed than overfeed, which can kill. Annette says there are probably teensy bacteria in there that the shrimp feed on, even though we can't see it.


Since a reasonable amount of substrate has worked for Dennis and me in the past, I decided to do that for these guys. My waitress friend saved me a bunch of clam shells which I washed thoroughly, sanitized in the sun for days, then added to the tank. We all theorize it might help the shrimp acclimate if they have more hiding places.

Now I'm watching to see how long it takes for them to turn red again. None of us was expecting this reaction. Science takes an unexpected twist!

The biologists revised our goals so that we're now hoping for the shrimp to breed, and then we'll see what color patterns result in the babies. Initially, we went into this thinking we'd sort out the shrimp by coloring (pink, red, banded) and see if same-colored shrimp created same-colored babies.

It has each time taken me about two years for my colonies to start reproducing, so I don't expect anything to happen until mid-to-late 2017.

In the meantime I'm looking forward to a field trip out with Annette and the Fish & Wildlife Service to view the animals in their natural habitat. This is going to be nerdy fun!

2016 World Gelato Championships

September 16th, 2015

A Hawaii man is leading the charge to bring home the gold in the upcoming World Gelato Championships. Il Gelato Hawaii owner Dirk Koeppenkastrop, Ph.D. is Captain of Gelato Team USA.

His team members include:
John S. Hui, CEPC, AAC – Team Manager (Corporate Pastry Chef, Pebble Beach Resorts, CA)
Michele Pompei – Lead Team Pastry Chef  (Baking & Pastry Instructor, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Art, WA)
Tim Brown, B.A. –Team Pastry Chef (Baking & Pastry Instructor, Johnson & Wales University, RI)
Chris Foltz –World Champion Ice Carver (Culinary Instructor, Oregon Coast Culinary Institute, OR)

2014: Chef Dirk & organizer Sergio Dondole

2014: Chef Dirk & organizer Sergio Dondole. Courtesy: Dirk Koeppenkastrop, Ph.D.

The USA is one of fourteen countries from around the world. The five-member team formed under the American Culinary Federation Chapter from Oregon. “We are very excited to have world class and competitive chefs, and one of the world’s best ice carvers on our team,” says Koeppenkastrop. He's referring to Foltz, who holds three ice carving and four wood carving world champion titles.

Since 2006, the USA has participated in seven gelato world competitions. Gelato Team USA received “Best Gelato Cake” award in 2006 and “Best Gelato Tub” award in 2008.

Team USA received the International “Best Taste Award” and the “People’s Choice Award” in 2012.

2014 Cake and ice carving. Courtesy: Dirk Koeppenkastrop, Ph.D.

2014 Cake and ice carving. Courtesy: Dirk Koeppenkastrop, Ph.D.

The World Gelato Championship, a prestigious event in the culinary industry, is held every two years as part of the International Exhibition of Artisan Gelato, Confectionery and Bakery Goods in Rimini, Italy. The Championships will take place from January 23 - 25, 2016.

The countries competing for the world title are Argentina, Australia, Chile, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. Each team will choose a theme, which has to be reflected in seven different championship tests including a decorated “coppa” (sundae), gelato cake, four assorted miniature chocolate gelatos, an entrée serving a savory gelato, a center piece croccante sculpture, an ice sculpture, and its final presentation.

2014 Gelato cone. Courtesy: Dirk Koeppenkastrop, Ph.D.

2014 Gelato cone. Courtesy: Dirk Koeppenkastrop, Ph.D.

The entire contest is streamed live in Italian and English.

When Maestro Gelatiere Koeppenkastrop isn't busy winning culinary titles, he's working at his three gelaterias in Kahala Mall, Kalihi and Haleiwa. He is no stranger to fame, either.

Il Gelato Hawaii served its Haupia Coconut Gelato at the final APEC conference hosted by President Barack Obama, and its Mango Sorbetto to the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet when His Holiness was here in 2012. Koeppenkastrop also competed in the last championships for Team USA in which its theme was 'aloha spirit.'


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