Archive for December, 2006

Happy Holidays from Hawaii

The annual Honolulu Hale (City Hall) Christmas light display is once again up for people to enjoy this holiday season. Thousands flock to city hall during the holiday season to view the lights, sights and sounds of Christmas. The annual display is kicked off on the first Saturday of each December with an annual Christmas light parade put on by the city featuring colorful and festive entries from various city departments. After the parade is over, the decorated area becomes a major community and tourist atraction during the holiday season.

To our Hawaii Metroblog readers, have a safe and happy holiday season. Aloha.

More photos at macprohawaii’s buzznet site.

The End For Tower Records

It was Tower Records’ last hurrah in Honolulu. All CDs were advertised at 99¢ each but when customers got to the checkout line, they were 50¢ each. Very slim pickins, but at this price I bought 8 CDs to the tune of about $4.16. Not the huge blowout sale that I had expected 2 months ago when Tower announced their bankruptcy, but hey…. not a bad deal today for CDs that normally cost more than $16.99 each. It was a slow burn to oblivion for this once mighty chain store. Today all of Tower Records’ locations in Hawai — Honolulu Keeaumoku, Kahala Mall and Pearl Kai are closed for good, victim of changing times, big boxes and digital downloads. It was a good run and old timers will definitely miss it. Aloha.

Click here for more photos.

Hawaii’s Gifts 4, 5, 6 & 7

So these are all late and I am just going to briefly mention them since the deadline already passed.

Gift #4: Hawaii Five-0 and Other TV movie productions: Surely many other cities have had film and TV productions based there. Hawaii has long had a presence on the industry map and is known for the TV series Hawaii Five-0, Magnum P.I. and most recently LOST. There have been others. We have some TV fans who make it a hobby to keep up with filming of current productions such as LOST. Fans of Hawaii Five-0 will finally get to see their favorite TV show released to DVD this coming February. Hooray!

Many other TV productions, commercials and news programs are shot in Hawaii.

Hawaii has long been a good location for movie production and several major pictures have been shot entirely or in part at various locations throughout Hawaii. Among the well known titles are Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Tears in the Sun, 50 First Dates, Mighty Joe Young and Blue Crush. There are many others going all the way back to the early 1900s. Hoorary for Hollywood in Hawaii!
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Hawaii Gift #3: Hula!

What can I say about the Hula? The Hula is known around the world as the official dance style from Hawaii. In recent years Hula has seen an explosion of popularity to the point where hula competitions are held in Hawaii and all over the world. Hula Halau come to Hawaii to compete in the annual Merrie Monarch Hula Festival that is held in Hilo during the months of March or April. It is the biggest and most well known hula event in the world.

There are two type of hula, namely the hula kahiko which has its roots in ancient Hawaii and the modern hula ‘auana which you will see at many tourist attractions and parties. Both are practiced vigorously by the many hula halau (groups) the world over as both are represented in the Merrie Monarch festival.

Probably the most fun aspect of hula is the non-competitive spontaneous hulas that you may be lucky to see at local parties and festive luaus. Find a group of Hawaii people having a party and it is very likely someone will do a hula.

Additional References:

Merrie Monarch Festival

Wikipedia: Hula
Hawaiian Hula Archives
Hula Preservation Society

Photos by macpro taken May 2004.

This is where I first played Pac-Man


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Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

My family used to come to Hawaii a lot when I was younger. As such my general sense of the geography of the place tends to be fairly limited. We stayed on Maui that’s what I knew and all I knew about our location. The hotel next to the suites we would stay in had an arcade, and the arcade had Pac-Man which was always one of the more exciting things about coming here.

Now I know we stayed in Wailea, and that’s where we’re staying now. Everything around here seems to evoke some memories, more so than a place like Vancouver where I’ve spent more time. Maybe it’s because every place in Vancouver I have countless memories, and here I have one or two. The airport seems unchanged in twenty-some years. The shopping centre a few miles from where we’re staying once made up of a corner store, an ice cream place and tourist traps is now a corner store, an ice cream place and very high end tourist traps such as the Gap, Banana Republic and Tiffany’s. The airport seemed more inviting, familiar.

I haven’t been able to find the Pac-Man machine yet. The hotel is undergoing major renovations so they may have moved it, but when I do I’ll have a quarter saved.

Hawaii’s Gift #2: U.S. Senator Barack Obama

senobama.jpgU.S. Senator Barack Obama (D – Illinois) was born and raised in Hawaii for a few years of his childhood before moving to Indonesia after his parents divorced. Over the years, he worked his way through school and college and graduated from Harvard with a law degree in 1991. From there he entered politics, served in the Illinois State Legislature before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. He is now in the middle of his Senate term and is frequently mentioned and speculated as a potential candidate for the U.S. Presidency in the 2008 election.

Hawaii residents and Democrat politicians have been watching Senator Obama with keen interest over the past year anticipating whether or not he will indeed enter the race for President. If he does, the Hawaii media will have a field day with this as they do with any Hawaii resident or ex-resident who rises to the world and national stage. We love our local sons and daughters.

That said, Senator Obama will indeed be a “gift to the world” who started in Hawaii and may probably have a chance to make a bigger impact on the world and national stage should he become President.

Additional references:

U.S. Senator Obama official website
Wikipedia: U.S. Senator Barack Obama

Hawaii Gift #1: Steel Guitar

OK… so I am very late and we’ll see if I can cram 7 Christmas items all in by today.

First up… the Hawaiian Steel Guitar, which has been adopted in various shapes and form the world over. I think it was invented here and spread all over the world to enhance many genres of music. There is a Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association, and they have a ton of info on their website.

From their history page:

“When mainlanders first saw it, they didn’t know what to call it, so they reported that it was held on the lap and played with a steel bar. That’s how it got stuck with lapsteel which is still much used. But if you want to go first class, you’ll call it a steel guitar. It was originally a 6-string wooden guitar built to be a Spanish guitar, but converted to a steel guitar by inserting a metal converter nut (adapter nut) (extension nut) over the nut at the headstock to raise the strings about a half inch off the fretboard. It was originally tuned A Major low bass (1-6) E.C#.A.E.A.E, which has three strings tuned the same as the Spanish guitar.”

All I know is that the Hawaiian Steel Guitar produces a beautiful sound that enhances our local music. Of course anyone into country and western music or contemporary country and even some rock music, knows that steel guitars have long been in use. Hence Hawaii’s contribution to the music world.

Select this link for a steel guitar sound sample (MP3).

Reference links:

Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association
Table Steel Guitar @ Wikipedia
Pineapple Pete’s Steel Guitar Samples
Pineapple Pete’s Steel Guitar Site
Photo credit: Frank Baum, website

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