The annual Halloween party!

October 8th, 2012
By



It's become a tradition. Every year, KITV's Paul Drewes and I throw a Halloween party at Affordable Casket & Moanalua Mortuary. This year's party was a blast, as usual. We had such terrific guests who are the reason for the event's success!

(Yes, it's early this year. It's the only Saturday Paul and I both had off at the same time.)

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It started in 2009 when we were laid off from our jobs at KHNL. Always ones to view life with a heavy does of irreverence, we wanted to hold a funeral for our KHNL careers. That year, the party was comprised mostly of KHNL coworkers and people we knew through KHNL. About 70 people attended.

We did not know how it would go, but it was a surprising success, so we decided to make it an annual event. In the years since, it's grown, changed, evolved slowly. We have added on a psychic reading as a guest amenity, and offer a tour of the mortuary for the curious.

Darin, Melissa Kurpinski the psychic, Claus

Darin, Melissa Kurpinski the psychic, Claus

The guest list has expanded to include the people we work with now: my hotel coworkers and the folks I interact with via public relations; and Paul with his KITV friends, where he's a morning anchor/ reporter. There's a smattering of relatives, jujitsu club members, mommy friends, and my high school pals. Primarily, though, it's media people. I like all the worlds I circulate in. It's just logical that most of the contacts I have are from TV, having spent 16 years in it.

Cindy Paliracio, Paul N, Paul Drewes, Tabitha

Cindy Paliracio, Paul N, Paul Drewes, Tabitha

I enjoy my current job, but I also loved my old one. TV was a career path I chose, not fell into. Though there were elements over the years that I grew disillusioned with, my passion for the craft and the liberal characters it attracts remains to this day. It's a fun business. Which is why it was and always is special to mingle with my former colleagues or meet new ones.

KITV reporter Catherine Cruz and Claus

KITV reporter Catherine Cruz and Claus

A special thanks to Maile for helping me tremendously before, during and after; Jan for loaning me boxes of decorations, Rep. Tom Brower for helping clean a LOT, and Mike & Christy for making an ice run.

I'm already thinking about next year, but for now, here's a few of the night's snaps to share:

The party hosts + a party crasher

The party hosts + a party crasher

College graduate Diane and Chef Claus

College graduate Diane and Chef Claus

Some of the KHNL friends

Some of the KHNL friends

Hawaii News Now anchor Teri Okita, KITV producer Anna Gomes

Hawaii News Now anchor Teri Okita, KITV producer Anna Gomes

Howard Dashefsky, Tabitha Mitchell, Malika Dudley, Kaimi

Howard Dashefsky, Tabitha Mitchell, Malika Dudley, Kaimi Judd

American Lung Association Hawaii Chapter's Executive Director Lorraine Leslie; State Rep. Mark Takai; Mark's daughter

American Lung Association Hawaii Chapter's Executive Director Lorraine Leslie; State Rep. Mark Takai; Mark's daughter

Jo, testing out the EternaSlumber mattress

Jo, testing out the EternaSlumber mattress

Nancy, Kaimi, KITV's Yunji DeNies

Nancy, Kaimi Judd, KITV anchor Yunji DeNies

The chapel's reception area

The chapel's reception area

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Hold my noodle!

June 25th, 2010
By



Olivia has discovered the fun of a flotation device known as a water noodle, that flexible, foamy, straw-shaped pool toy that helps kids play and have water fights.

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Dash (Howard Dashefsky) had a pool party at his house. Olivia and Claus were in the water playing with two noodles. I apparently was the Keeper of the Noodles.

Darin and Dash

Darin and Dash

Kerry, me, Darin

Kerry, me, Darin

"Hold my noodle, Mommy," she would periodically command, while she did some other fun thing. "Hold Daddy's noodle, too."

Claus would smile at me and we would snicker.

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At some point, I decided to punk her by blowing water through the noodle while tricking her into peering into the center "to see what's in the hole." After the initial annoyance at me, she wanted to see it again. "Blow my noodle, Mommy! You blow my noodle!"

Then came the inevitable, "Blow Daddy's noodle now!"

Big smile on Claus' face. "Shouldn't you make your daughter happy?" he asked.

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She can use water wings next time.

***

Also reach me via DianeAko.com

Cake decorating

January 20th, 2010
By



When I was about eight, my mother took a cake decorating class. She was a housewife, and I was lucky to have her at home all the time, doing mom-type things. I have no idea how long this cake-phase lasted, but it made an indelible impression on me.

Mom and me

Mom and me

For what seemed like a glorious, golden stretch of time, but which was probably just half a year, we constantly had fancy cakes in the house. Not just Duncan Hines box mix crap, but made-from-scratch cakes, topped off with the most beautifully frosted designs.

Moms cakes pink

I remember distinctly cakes themed with a four-leaf clover for St. Patrick's Day, a lion for my dad's birthday, and a bouquet of flowers with "Welcome Spring!" I also vaguely remember nagging her for a custom cake for my birthday.

Moms cakes

It was SO much fun. I loved to look at the pretty designs, lick the frosting off the plastic cake decorations, and just marvel at the thought that MY mom could make stuff just for ME.

Moms cakes clover

My mom continues to bake as one of her hobbies. She has always been a good baker. Me, not so much. I've become a good cook, but cooking and baking are two different animals. I think all they share in common is the kitchen, and high heat. In cooking, you can substitute and improvise. In baking, it's so exact and specific. I shunned baking after a few lackluster attempts.

Thought bubble: "Mmmm. Cakes. Good."

Thought bubble: "Mmmm. Cakes. Good."

That is, until I met Lani Sonan and Lori Tamashiro when the Cake Creations Dessert Haven co-owners were guests on the KHNL morning show.

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Little did I know they would change the course of my confectionary life. They brought the most beauuuutiful cakes. I wanted to learn how to make that!

Diane, Lani, Lori

Diane, Lani, Lori

I'm not really sure what about their cakes did it, since I don't live in a cave, and I have viewed other pretty cakes before. I think it was a convergence of two things: 1) Having a child; and 2) having an extended conversation with them, rather than just the normal, brief interaction of ordering a cake over the counter. I raved about their skills and they insisted I, too, could learn it via their classes. Really?!? Never occurred to me before. Cool!

Fondant- my goal

Fondant- my goal

Their classes (a series of five month-long classes) are all at night, so I told them I'd sign up when I got off the morning shift. When I was working the morning show I'd go to sleep at 7 p.m. I didn't realize that I'd be off the morning show sooner than I expected, but oh well. That just means I could sign up for a winter class.

Us with Howard Dashefsky

Us with Howard Dashefsky

I wrote this! Not bad for a first-timer

I wrote this! Not bad for a first-timer

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It's something I want to do for Olivia. I have happy memories of my mom's cakes, and the joy it brought me (and my dad, of course!). I want to give that to my daughter. So for her sake, I'm going to force myself to like baking. The decorating part is fun, and I'm creative.

Here we go on a new hobby!

***

Also reach me via DianeAko.com

Jonas

December 5th, 2009
By



I spent three days visiting my old friend Jonas. We met when he shot news for KHNL, and have kept in touch ever since. He left Hawaii about eight years ago for Norway, where his wife is from. It wasn't a hard adjustment. He's Swedish, so picking up Norwegian language wasn't too big a leap.

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2000

Through the magic of e mail and Skype, and the occasional gift parcel, we keep in touch. I even saw him in Denmark when I was there in 2004. I was immensely touched he would fly over for the day to see me.

Jonas is doing well. He went back to Europe and got a job shooting for the network television station NRK. That led to a reporting stint, which recently ended, so he took a job with an internet business. He has a one year old son and another son due next month.

Jonas, Erik, and Ella

Jonas, Erik, and Ella

He lives on a ranch. We stayed in the main house, though he has a guest house that sleeps ten (or 15 if you push it and use the sofas), and another guest house that sleeps two (or three, if you use the sofa). He also has a really cute, clean, small storage shed, which has nothing in it but a freezer and an air bed (which can sleep an additional two people, in a pinch.) Honestly, how many guests would they have to have, to constitute a "pinch"?

He also has two fenced pastures and a barn, with horse stables he built himself. He and his wife Therese have two Arabian horses which we rode while there. Olivia got her first ride, bareback on the mare! She loved it!

Erik and Jonas

Erik and Jonas

If Jonas was in America, he would certainly be a Home Depot kind of guy. He chops his own firewood for the winter, and proudly showed us some kind of wood carrying sled as well as a tree cutter downer thingy that was apparently super expensive.

Comically, I could not get away from Hawaii while in Norway. All his European friends are hold-overs from his Hawaii Pacific University days, and he showed me his old resume reel with stories from his time at KHNL. It was odd but amusing to see Howard Dashefsky and Jodi Leong on a television in Europe.

We spent a lot of time doing nothing, which was perfect. We took care of the horses, went for a frozen trail ride (frost on the ground, chilled feet after an hour), cooked meals, and just caught up on life. They are funny, friendly, intelligent, interesting people, so it was neat to just sit and share stories over a glass of wine and a warm fireplace. I didn't want to go.

Had I planned the trip correctly, I should have gone straight to Jonas' house first. (See previous blog about jet lag difficulties.) This was the perfect, perfect set up. His son Erik could have played with Olivia, or she could have been entertained by the dog, two cats, or horses. It doesn't get more kid friendly than that.

Next time.

FOLLOW UP from Jonas:

Therese and Karl

Therese and Karl

"New baby (boy) was born on Dec. 28. Everything went well. 50 cm, 3.6 kg. (you convert it). Luckily we had just gotten the road cleared of snow, and the phone didn't break until the next day (it's now been out for almost two weeks). Since you left we had very cold weather (-26 degrees celcius) and lots of snow. Harsh! Too cold to take the baby outside. Hawaii would seem like paradise.
Jonas"

"Hawaii New Snow" and other ramblings

October 25th, 2009
By



http://www.starbulletin.com/columnists/thebuzz/20091025_New_news_shows_unveil_tomorrow.html

Erika Engle's Sunday column talks about the merger and the possible new name for the 3 stations as hawaiinewsnow.com

I say this with the most respect- just a humorous observation. The first and second time I looked at it, I thought it said "Hawaii New Snow.com" Like it's a snowfall monitoring service from atop Mauna Kea, for astronomers and snowboarders.

by MarloweHolt.com

photo by MarloweHolt.com, makeup by Cheryl Presbiteres

...In other news, I reactivated my Facebook account. I'm Diane Ako there. I opened it back in April to help manage the News8Today fan site, but realized I just wasn't that into it. Now that I'm unemployed, but doing freelance work, I need a way for people to reach me for new jobs.

I was trying hard to push this blog site as the way to contact me, but people get confused about how to find it. When my tech savvy friend Christine couldn't figure it out easily, that was the moment I knew I had to give in and do Facebook.

...Celebrated my new life with an extra cup of joe this morning. Love coffee. Now don't have to worry about not sleeping at night! (Am very sensitive to caffiene.)

...Friday night's KHNL station party was fun. I had committed to attend my husband's Consular Corps function (he's the honorary consul of Denmark) at KCC. We went to the station farewell after, and it was nice to see "alumni" of KHNL there as well. Wish I could have stayed through the end, but I was exhausted. Any day that I woke up at 3 am, I go to sleep at 7 pm.

...The oft-asked question is, "Where was Dash on Friday?" Dash had some days he learned of at the last minute. He had to use or lose. I can't blame him. He was off Tu, Th, Fri.

Tracy shafted us by not wanting to work. She said it was too far to walk from the weather wall to the temporary set.

From: Gladden, Tracy
Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 3:01 AM
To: Ako, Diane; Courtney
Due to the condition of the set I will not be able to do interviews this week. Thanks.

She was clearly insolent, having mentally checked out any obligation to her coworkers. And with no ties or intention of returning to Hawaii, she didn't care what bridges she burned.

Tracy Gladden, weathercaster

Tracy Gladden, weathercaster

During the commerical, I would answer the phones, let in the guests outside, escort them to the set, and mic them. Then run back to the desk. She was sitting right there and stubbornly refused to help. It was ridiculous. She was on Facebook or on social calls to her friends in Chicago.

Our boss heard, and scolded her. In revenge, she simply called in sick for the last 2 days. I wish she'd been edited out of the goodbye video. That girl is so pilau, she deleted the News8 Today fan page off Facebook. She was the main administrator and we were surprised to go there to find it gone- all the photos, everything. Gone.
Disappointing, since for most of the months, I got along with her. She wasn't well liked at the station, but she didn't give me a problem - until the last week. Just too bad to go out that way.

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I'd have had to read a 2 hour show (the weather part would just be me reading over weather graphics prepared the night before by Sharie) alone, but Paul offered to come in. I didn't have to ask. He volunteered. He is a real friend.

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...I don't know how to explain in just a few words about the pain of a layoff. It's truly different once you've been through one. It's way too simplistic to say I'm sad because I'm not on TV anymore. I'm not concerned about that. It has nothing to do with finding a new opportunity or feeling lost without a career.

It was just so much sorrow I feel I absorbed from everyone in the building who felt angry, disappointed, let down. I believe that no matter how much I tried, I couldn't help but take in some of the energy. So much betrayal and abandonment by co-workers, and disrespect and neglect by non-peers. A fatigue that increased gradually because I was working myself overtime to get projects done, before I left the business. The physical tiredness played into it. Sadness for friends who have no jobs yet. Fighting with Tracy Gladden. The mourning of the end of a work family. It's all THAT.

I'll be better in short order. A lot of it revolves around sleep and the body, and when I start taking care of myself it'll resolve.