Wow, time flies! It's once again almost time for the monthly plant exchange at Kaiser High School. Bring a plant, take a plant, or if something catches your fancy and you don't have an exchange, just leave a donation. Net proceeds go 100% to Friends of Kaiser PTSA, where they use it for teacher supplies, award donations and other academic endeavors.
This month, we'll be bringing our revolving stock of plants and adding pandan plants, which have finally matured enough to give away. Pandan is a great culinary plant, used extensively in Malaysian, Indonesian, Filipino and Singaporean cooking. I mostly use it to flavor rice, adding a few leaves before steaming. If you're feeling fancy, you can make a nice pot of Nasi Lemak with little ado.
We also have a number of green ti leaf remaining, as well as kupukupu fern and true oregano.
Kaiser High School Parking Lot, 511 Lunalilo Home Road from 4-7pm on October 4. Hope to see you there.
September 22, 2016 - Pacific Business News reports that Henry Kapono's Portlock home is on the market for 1.9 million dollars. [PBN]
September 22, 2016 - Aloha Petroleum will operate a new Hawaii Kai gas station to be located at the site of the current Tesoro on Keahole Street. Permits have been filed to demolish and rebuild. [PBN]
September 21, 2016 - 30-year-old Zachary Felipe of Manoa was pulled from the water at China Walls near Portlock. He was pronounced dead by EMS. [KITV]
September 21, 2016 - The Honolulu Star-Advertiser highlights reknown surf photographer Mike Prickett and his courage in persevering after paralysis. Prickett saved a surfer but suffered the bends and lost use of his legs. Prickett, 51, is a Kaiser High School graduate who landed his first photography job at the age of 15. [Star-Advertiser - library card required]
September 20, 2016 - Prominent Hawaii musician Ernie Cruz, Jr., of the Ka‘au Crater Boys, died after being found unresponsive at Sandy Beach. [Star-Advertiser]
September 20, 2016 - Following car break-ins at Manoa, Noelani, Wilson, Aina Haina and Waialae elementary schools this month, the Hawaii Department of Education issued a press alert. The break-ins occurred during afterschool hours. In each case, vehicle windows were broken and small items taken, including purses, bags, cellphones and laptops. [Hawaii DOE]
September 19, 2016 - Niu Valley Middle School registar's office reports problems with transitioning to the new statewide system. The school requests patience as the issues are remedied. [Niu Valley Middle School]
September 19, 2016 - National-chain Jersey Mike's Subs is scheduled to open in the Hawaii Kai Towne Center in early 2017. It will occupy the space formerly leased to GameStop. [PBN]
"I'm going to find it," she declared emphatically
I too had heard it -- the day before. I thought it was just thoughtless bubul birds fighting over an overripe papaya, so I ignored the sound. Her son had heard it too, first in the morning and then throughout the day. Truthfully, if it was a cat, I didn't want it, so I pretended it was still "just birds."
"I'm going to find it," my friend declared emphatically. She spent a considerable amount of time hunting for the sound around the yard before apprehensively announcing, "I think it's coming from there." She pointed to my car engine -- the same car engine that had taken me to Longs and Safeway several times that day. We opened the hood. The cry was clearer now, but there was nothing to be seen. We even looked inside the passenger portion of the car. Nada. Then, out of the corner of his eye, her son saw something move. It was an asphalt-colored kitty, the color of pavement and difficult to detect. By now the car was cool enough to reach into, but short arms combined with my short body made it hard to catch him. For at least a few minutes, all arms were in the car, but he dodged everyones'.
When we finally caught him, he was tiny, scared, and terribly young. His eyes were still blue, the color all kittens are born with before they change color at around 5 weeks old. By now, all the kids -- four of them -- were crowded around. There was excitement. All the kids wanted to keep him. The problem was that my friend already had a cat, and I didn't want one. To top it off, my husband didn't want one either, although he had an excuse: he was allergic to cats.
The first night
We didn't have anything to feed him, so he got a few eyedropperfuls of water mixed with cow milk to tide him over until I could get him the right food. I made a trip to Petco, where as luck would have it, I found an employee with extensive knowledge on abandoned kittens. I left with new knowledge, a can of premixed kitten milk and the smallest bag of kitty litter I could find -- we weren't keeping him, I kept telling myself. At home, the cat suckled on the new food gratefully, all the while peering into my eyes as if to ask, "Are you my new mommy?" Before my friend left, she had helped prepare a litter box. This was the moment of truth. If the kitten was too young, he would not be able to poop without help. Young kittens have their bottoms licked by their mother to stimulate bowel movement, I had learned. Fortunately, over the next few days, he would do his business in the litter box.
The first night with our kitten was tiring. He cried all night while lodged between boxes and hidden from view. Every few hours I would pull him out and feed him. It was a weeknight, and when my kids woke up that morning, I was already up. I had been up all night.
Plans to give him away change
My friend's husband initially nixed the idea of a second cat, although he did relent later. My husband seemed anxious to give the cat away quickly and asked another of our friends, a family of many animals, to take him. They agreed. Meanwhile, we held on to him for a bit, feeding him by hand and taking him to the veterinarian for his first set of vaccinations. By now, the kitten had grown very attached to me, following me around the house like a puppy and mewing constantly for affirmation. He was also much stronger now. Nights of crying for food were replaced by nights of pouncing on my head, claws extended and in need of playtime. Frankly, I was ready for him to go to his new home. Adding to the drama. the cat could now scale the pet enclosure we kept our indoor bunny in. Everyone I spoke to said, "Oh, he probably won't hurt the rabbit," but I knew better. His feral instincts said hunt, then eat. Just as we were ready to give the cat away, his planned adoptive family let us know they couldn't take him. Plans had changed: one of them was getting married and bringing a new dog into the house by year's end. Along with several cats and a rabbit, it would be too much. We went back to plan B and begged my friend who had rescued the kitten from my car engine to take him. They did, much to the delight of her children.
I can't sleep without a cat on my head
It was the worst night -- I felt as though I had lost a family member. I brooded. My son tried so hard to pretend it just didn't matter, but he too missed the cat intensely. By the next day, I asked my friend if I could get the cat back. I felt really bad, knowing how much she and her kids had bonded. Her current cat didn't seem to mind, but that's another story. Only thing is, I couldn't take the cat back right away. I had to find a way to protect the rabbit from harm. Over the next week, I would take out the power tools and build a three-story bunny hutch out of dog crates. If the rabbit couldn't have the large horizontal run he had before, he'd have to go vertical. We brought the cat home.
The cat immediately set to work trying to nab the rabbit through the crate openings. Out came everything we had stored in the garage, including hardware cloth normally designed to keep rabbits out of spaces, not safely in them. After a lot of trial and error, the cage was deemed catproof enough. Fortunately, while our cat has an instinct for hunting, our rabbit has no sense of being prey. The bunny is completely oblivious to this creature that occasionally charges at him from outside the cage.
It looks like.. .
As the kitten has matured, its tail has grown bushier, its fur longer. When I took him to the vet the second time, I couldn't help noticing his resemblance to the cat on the cat breed poster. The veterinarian read my mind when she said, "He looks like a Maine Coon," before quickly adding apologetically, "but maybe he's just part and won't get that large." He's now four months old and well over five pounds, so I'm beginning to wonder what the other part might be. As it turns out, Maine Coons are a pretty specific breed with some interesting tendencies, many of which we noted well before we suspected he might be one. He's really mellow, a bit dog-like and loves water -- especially toilet water. We constantly have to be sure to close the lid or our cat will make a drinking bowl out of it. He also thinks his paws are hands. He will scoop out kitty kibble, chase it around the floor, then pick it up and eat it off of his paw. All in all, our family is pretty hooked on this furball of trouble. My son marvels at how he now has the largest, furriest creature possible that doesn't trigger his allergies. My husband still claims he's allergic, but so far hasn't shown major signs of it. My husband closes his door to keep the cat out, but almost seems disappointed when the cat doesn't try to enter. The cat -- like bunny -- also likes my husband intensely because hubby is the most generous family member when it comes to treats. I hope hubby doesn't feed him too many treats. Even without the extra help, male Maine Coon cats grow to eighteen pounds and nearly four feet long. A Google search of the words "biggest cat" will turn up records of cats like Samson or Ollie with Maine Coon lineage. Those cats top the scales at nearly 30 pounds and over four feet of length.
Thank goodness it wasn't a Costco quantity pack
All I can say is, thank goodness I only got one cat. Can you imagine two 30-pound cats? Seriously, we don't know if the cat climbed into the engine at Costco, but I'm having a difficult time thinking of anywhere else he could have been picked up. By the way, my friend's kids named the cat. His name is Lucky.
For our family, the great phone shuffle began a few weeks ago, just after Apple's Iphone 7 announcement on September 7. We rarely buy new phones, yet the release of Apple's newest Iphone usually starts us thinking about upgrading to someone's hand-me-down.
As luck would have it, we made several good trades and now we have two SEs, a 5S and the lone Android -- mine -- a Galaxy Note 5, in service.
Phones Are The New Laptops
As Verge has so astutely noted, "The single-core performance of Apple’s latest generation of smartphone processors has basically caught up with Intel’s laptops CPUs. The A10 chip inside the iPhone 7 comfortably outpaces its predecessors and Android rivals, and even outdoes a wide catalog of relatively recent Mac computers." Verge then goes on to argue that perhaps it is iOS and not OS X that should be the new Operating System (OS) standard.
Which is yet another reason that every so often our household has to go through the major overhaul phone shuffle. I cringed when I shelled out over $300 for a used Android phone. When I did it again with a used iPhone, my senses had already been numbed. Yet, I'm slowly learning to think of the smartphone as a standard computer replacement. Case in point, we have just one desktop system left, a handful of laptops and enough tablets for everyone. We are changing the way we compute, with mobility being the most useful feature a device can offer.
Add to that, it doesn't matter what kind of device you have, you'll still pay your phone company the same amount for service. It doesn't make a lot of sense to shell out hundreds of dollars a month for service on slow hardware.
Used Goods: Finding the Market Price
After several rounds of buying and selling, I've established the following rule for myself: If I can get a desired technology product less than two years old for half of its original street price, it's a good deal. Conversely, if I can get half of my money back when selling a relatively new good to others, that too is a good deal.
There is actually a better way to find the real market price however, and I employ it regularly. First, go to Ebay and search for the product using advanced features. The advanced features button is tricky to find, printed in small font just to the right of the search button. Using the advanced screen, type in your search terms and be sure to check off the selection for completed listings.
As you can see in this example picture, the going rate for a Sprint Iphone 6S Plus with 64GB on September 16, 2016 was around $425.
As for whether you can get one for around that price, check Craigslist. What you'll usually find is that most people want more than what the Ebay market would suggest. Prices are negotiable, so I usually start at or just below the Ebay price. Quite often the offer is accepted. If not, there may be a counteroffer. For phones, I meet the seller at the carrier to make the exchange and to be sure the phone works correctly. So far, this process has worked out well. Some phones are in far better condition than I expected, some not so much. All of them so far though, have worked fine.
A good reason to buy from someone whose phone was on the same carrier as yours
I've been on Sprint for nearly a decade now. I have no intention of switching: service is great and they've always kept their word. I know this statement will elicit disagreement with some people, but I came from Verizon and my experience with them was horrendous. Verizon transmission speeds and coverage were good, but I was constantly on the phone trying to fix false billing. At least I didn't wait until Verizon created a $9,100 charge like they did with this woman.
In any case, sticking with the same carrier has several advantages. The first advantage is that you'll have compatibility. One of the downsides of Sprint service is that Sprint uses slightly different communication bands than other carriers; some devices are specifically designed for Sprint. The other advantage is that -- at least at Sprint -- you won't get charged for activating the device on your carrier's network.
I'm beginning to think of this process as somewhat more cumbersome than preparing tax return documents. It's necessary, but the amount of time and detail that goes into it is substantial. My other thought is that the amount spent on communication services has increased for most families. According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the price of Communication Services has dropped six percent over the last 10 years. However, we demand so much more than we did ten years ago. That is, we no longer have just one flip phone for the entire family. Rather, we have high end devices for everyone. I've even seen families including kids as young as six years old.
September 14, 2016 - Pro footballer Olin Kreutz, a Niu Valley native, has been nominated for the 2017 NFL Hall of Fame. Kreutz played for the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints for 13 years before retiring in 2011. [KHON]
September 13, 2016 - Whole Foods, a mainland chain with Oahu locations in Kailua and Kahala, has stopped buying fish from the Oahu fish auction until vendors can prove that they engage in fair trade practices. This change comes in light of investigations demonstrating slave-like conditions on fishing boats. [KHON]
September 13, 2016 - Hawaii State Federal Credit Union has posted video of its Hawaii Kai branch blessing and soft opening earlier this month [HSFCU]
September 10, 2016 - Honolulu police arrested a 25-year-old man in connection with the slashing of a 66-year-old man on Hunakai Street near Kahala Mall on Friday night. [Star Advertiser]
September 10, 2016 - Honolulu police are looking for two suspects in the robbery of a man in Kahala Friday afternoon. Police said the incident happened on Koloa Street. [Star Advertiser]
September 9, 2016 - A 27-year-old man was charged Monday with assaulting two police officers and possessing illegal drugs in McCully, police said. Tavin Winward of Hawaii Kai was charged with first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer and a drug offense. [Star Advertiser - library card required]
September 9, 2016 - A 46-year-old man has been charged with numerous violations of a protective order after he entered a woman's home in Hawaii Kai, police said. Lord Cabana of Wahiawa was charged with eight counts of violating a protective order. His bail was set at $16,000. Cabana entered the victim's home at about 2:20 a.m. Saturday, violating a protective order the 57-year-old woman had against him, police said. Patrol units found him inside the home and arrested him on Hakalau Place. [Star Advertiser - library card required]
September 9, 2016 - Aina Haina Genki Sushi set to reopen September 10 after being cleared by the Department of Health. Genki Sushi scallops were identified as the primary source of Hawaii's recent Hepatitis A outbreak. [Star Advertiser]
Every once in a while, a gem crosses your desk: one of those "how could I have lived without out this for so long" tools. For me, that's XODO PDF reader and annotator. Several years ago our family licensed the ridiculously-priced but-feature-packed Adobe PDF Professional XI; XODO competes quite nicely, either as a complement, or as a stand-alone in place of Adobe. If XODO was available back then, I wouldn't have bought the Adobe version.
Here's the quick take on what makes XODO a real winner. You can draw or type on it on major platforms (Windows, iOS, Chrome, Android, as well as an online application launcher) then save it. You don't even need to sign in to make it work. You can also add and remove pages from your PDF. Other than esoteric legal functions like Bates numbering, XODO does most of what everyday households need. In fact, the latest version also includes encryption. Think about how revolutionary this is. You open the form on your iPad, fill it in as you would a piece of paper, save it, then send it.
Here's the mystery: why is it free, and how does the company make money? Having tried it, I would certainly pay to have this product thrive.
To get your copy, go to your respective phone or tablet operating system: Apple App Store, Google Play, or the company website, www.xodo.com