Archive for October, 2006

The Closing of Tower Records

Tower Records Closing

Tower Records Closing

The entire Tower Records chain consisting of 89 stores nationwide announced bankruptcy liquidation 3 weeks ago. All stores are now in having their final liquidation sale. CDs and DVDs are 25 to 30% off their regular, high retail prices. It is quite funny that prices of previous bargain bin CDs have risen before the closeout discounts took effect. People are waiting for deeper percentage cuts, though some artists and sections are already selling out.

The old brick and mortar Tower Records stores are victims of file sharing, digital music download stores (iTunes) and big box, discount retailers such as WalMart, Best Buy and Circuit City. This series of photos were taken at Hawaii’s oldest Tower Records store on the corner of Keeaumoku and Makaloa Streets in Honolulu. I’ve been shopping at Tower Records for more than 20 years. The closing of this venerable institution will certainly be the end of an era for every music fan in Hawaii and around the world. Aloha Tower Records.

E-Waste Day

It was E-Waste day at the University of Hawaii today. This day was set aside by the U.H., the State Department of Education and Apple Computer. The public had a chance to get rid of their e-waste and not worry about sending it off to the landfill. Supposedly the e-waste collected will be shipped off to the mainland or somewhere, and have their components recycled.

It was a good opportunity for me to get rid of some of my household clutter. Among the items that I finally got around to letting go were the following:

Macintosh II computer, Macintosh Centris 650 computer, Sony Betamax VCR, Sony single play CD component player and various miscellaneous electronics and computer items.

Now I have more room. Next I need to get rid of some of my old books and perhaps my “newer” old computers such as my Powercenter 150 and Power Mac 9500. I also have perfectly fine Mac SE and Mac Plus compters lying around. Anyone interested in buying these? I may sell them for a song.

There is talk that some people would like to see a computer recycling tax be levied upon the consumers of Hawaii for every computer or TV they purchase. This is a bad, bad idea. Hawaii already has one of the highest tax burdens in the nation. We are already being taxed for way too many consumer transactions. The general excise tax is going to rise on January 1. Do we need a computer tax or as proponents would like to refer to it, a “computer recycling fee”? No!

Volunteer and corporate efforts such as today’s E-Waste day are great ideas and should be implemented more often. A mandatory new tax is not. It will only add to the cost of living and doing business in Hawaii.

Earthquake Aftermath – One Week Later

Night Shot of Iolani Palace

Photo caption: Historic Iolani Palace is lit in this file photo that I shot in 2004.

It has been a complete week since we were hit by a destructive earthquake that was felt nearly statewide. Damage reports and estimates continue to sprial upward, especially for everyone on the Big Island. It is quite possible that after all the damage is tallied the total will surpass the $100 million mark.

Several significant structures and places suffered heavy damage on the Big island of Hawaii. These include the historic Hulihee Palace and the Mokuaikaua Church, both in Kailua Kona. Further north in Kohala, a historic old stone smokestack was completely destroyed by the earthquake. The more than 100 year old structure simply collapsed. Much of a 150 year old church in North Kohala also sustained heavy damage. The cost to repair it has been put at nearly $3 million on the high end.

Elsewhere on the Big Island, Kawaihae Harbor, a major freight transit port for West Hawaii sustained major damage to its piers. The state was lucky enough to repair one of the piers in an effort to get freight moving again instead of forcing ships to go into Hilo and trucking the freight around the island back to Kona. Still serious work and upgrades will have to be made to that harbor in order to bring it back to full capacity.

Two Big Island hospitals, several schools, roads and bridges were also damaged. It will cost taxpayers a lot of money to have all of these public facilities fixed. Hopefully with the President declaring Hawaii a disaster area, the funds will come in to not only fix public facilities but also many private homes and businesses that may have also suffered quake damage.

On Oahu it was reported that historic Iolani Palace in Downtown Honolulu’s Capitol District sustained some damage. Otherwise the biggest concern for Oahu residents have been the lack of electricity for most of last Sunday and the flow of timely information to the public shortly after the earthquake.

The Governor will be putting together a committee to study the communications problem and report on any solutions. A public hearing will be held tomorrow at the Hawaii State Capitol with the Public Utilities Commission and Hawaiian Electric to go over the power problems. The electric company is to issue a report before the end of the year.

Four Days Since The Earthquake

It is now four days since the earthquake.

The political fallout is beginning as various people and entities debate what was done wrong and right. One of the early complaints have been the lack of timely information. People are complaining that the media did not have any information minutes after the quake.

Since power was off, most people could not get TV. While I was not aware of it at the time, I later learned that KITV Channel 4 was on for most of the day, broadcasting information from the newsroom with back-up power over the internet through their website The Great, people on the mainland and around the world were able to get the latest news and images through the webcast. With no electricity, most people on Oahu and elsewhere in the state could not get the internet.

On Sunday mornings, most radio stations run public service and pre-recorded, automated programs. KSSK AM & FM broke into their programming about 20 minutes after the quake. I remember hearing their mid-day personality, Kathy With a K broadcast the first snippets of information on KSSK before the station resumed the public affairs show. It was not until about 8 AM that Michael W. Perry and Larry Price were on the air, that KSSK started to broadcast emergency programming through the rest of the day. Once they started, they received “kudos” for the live emergency broadcast. I thought they did a good job too.

Several other stations made it back to the air including Cox Radio’s KRTR which I did catch later in the day.

Some government officials are now criticizing the timely flow of information. Governor Linda Lingle will be convening a task force to look into how communications could improve for the next major emergency. There is even talk of the state setting up its own radio station for emergency broadcasting.

Earthquake 1

Long Line

No Ice at Safeway

I don’t have too many images since Honolulu did not suffer any damage (as far as I know). After the power went out islandwide, there were long lines at all retail places that were open and things like batteries and ice ran out quickly. The earthquake was measured at 6.6 on the Richter scale.

I’ll be adding a couple more entries later today.


Looks like I must be the first of the Hawai’i bloggers to be able to get back on line.

When the temblor first hit I thought is was a large truck going by on the highway just behind my house. The rumble kept building and building and then my desk started to tremble. My poor cat, Bear, headed for the safety of the space under my bed. The quake lasted about 30-seconds at my location. Just about the moment it stopped is when the power failed. Every island in the State lost power. Each island has their own generators.

The biggest problem on Maui was total loss of information. It seems that none of our radio stations have emergency generators for their studios or transmitters. The only info we could get was from KSSK radio (590 AM) out of Honolulu and, naturally, their main focus was Honolulu. What limited info they received about the neighbor islands was immediately shared though. For which I was thankful.

I was in the Bay Area when the Loma Prieta quake hit. (October 17, 1989 – The “World Series” quake). I was also in El Lay when the Northridge quake occured (January 17, 1994).

This one didn’t hold a candle to those two.

This one would have caught the attention of most Californians but would, at most, have been just interesting conversation at Starbucks on the way into work.

Our Governor, Linda Lingle (R), was in Kona-Kailua, about 14 miles from the epicenter, when the earth started moving beneath her feet. She is now back in Honolulu, the State Capitol.

Luckily, there have been no reported deaths.

One home caught fire in O’ahu when someone lit some candles, not knowing that the propane line to their oven had been pulled loose. That is just plain stupidity. A definate candidate for a Darwin Award.

On Maui, the town of Hana is isolated. They have power, phones, cable, etc but both the main road and the back road are blocked.

You folks outside of Hawai’i probably know more about today that we do.

We lucked out. This apparently was caused by a submerged landslide rather that being associated with any magma movement. Geologist know that there have been landslides in Hawai’i, circa 100,000 years ago, that generated a tsunami over 1,000 feet (305 meters) high. This will eventually happen again. When it does, ever city on the Pacific Rim will disappear from the face of the earth.

A tsunami that large will erase most of LA County. There would be a wave taller than the Golden Gate Bridge enetring the Bay Area.

The way these waves propagate will cause a wave up the Hudson rRiver in New York over 300 feet high. London would see a wave at least 50 feet high coming up the Thames.

The Straits of Gilbralter would get a wave about 200 high enetring the Mediterranian.

Florida would disappear as would New Orleans.

Rio De Janerio would have a lot of dead bodies off of Ipanema.

Like I said, we were ALL lucky today.

Sleep well.


An iconic symbol of the Islands is the most beloved, late, great Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole


Found this excellent video taken by some tourists at the FEAST AT LELE, in Lahaina.


Pali Lookout

Anytime I am heading east over the Pali I try to make a stop at teh Pali lookout. I love taking in everything, mainly the fresh air and cooler atmosphere. The view never seems to end. The vibrant colors and large clouds are easy on the eyes.

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As always caution is advised. When I have time I enjoy hiking down the old highway and even climbing up to the waterfall.

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Well today I couldn’t old road was closed to falling rocks

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So I went up round the Iron Woods and snapped this shot.

Oh I want to say Mahalo to everyone that needed information about the CSA cause the food is so onolicious.



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