Thursday, July 23, 2009

This is where I live

Alright, as promised I am updating today. Some of you are new to my blog, so welcome!

I had been planning an update to show you all my new place and everything like that for a bit now, and what better way to show you where I live than by taking pictures from the highest mountain I can climb?? Welcome to my Koko Head hiking journal / "this is where I live" thingy.

Why climb a mountain? You may be asking yourself... My answer to you is: Because it was there! So for a little history of the "trail" it was actually made when the army was here and had to make a lookout on top of Koko Head mountain. Doing what the army does best, they built a rail pulley system straight up to the top of the mountain. When I say straight up, I mean just that...

Not kidding

To describe the climb, I have to tell you there are two major parts to it. The first half or so is at a pretty steep grade and it's pretty tough going. There are a total of 1048 "steps" or in my definition "railroad ties" to the top. How do I know this?

Silly question

They are not exactly spaced like steps. Remember this was build to haul stuff, not so much for tourists to climb. Each "step" is about 3 feet apart. By about the 300th step, I had to take my first breather. Keep in mind that this is still the first, easier half of the climb. Once you get to the halfway point or so there is a pretty little bridge!

Once again, this was not built for tourist hikes. Luckily someone was nice enough to space the ties a little closer together so you only have about a foot and a half or two feet between them...

Did I mention the rotting ones?

I did in fact walk over this thing on the way up, but by the time I was coming back down I was exausted so I took the path on the side that no one seems to know about. With the first half of the hike out of the way, it is just smoooth sailing up to the top now right?....

Just kill me now

Now the hike turns into what I would call a ladder made of loose dirt, rocks, and rotting railroad ties. But hey, I'm over halfway now and I didn't just walk over that stupid bridge for no reason! Time to get climbing. The going is REALLY slow at this point and I had to take a breather after every 50 ties or so. Pay no attention to the marines with their 70lb packs on running up and down for a nice cardio program.... I will work on that another day. The hike is really rough. Kinda like climbing straight up a 1200 ft mountain might be. At any rate, I made it to the top!

Actually, this was just where the pulley system had ended. There was another 25 feet of rock steps to hit to actually get to the top of the mountain. Once I got there though, this is what I saw:

Hawaii Kai

This was the marina area. There is alot more residential space tucked into the valleys. In fact, I couldn't even see my house because it was tucked behind anothe mountain. I could see the other side of the mountain, which had a calderra and a great view. I hear you can see other islands on a clear day!

Not a clear day

The wind way really strong up here, but it felt soooooo good at this point because I was sweating like crazy! It also made it really difficult to hold the camera steady, so I couldn't take the best of pictures. The view was awesome, I could see everything around and even the Honolulu skyline over one of the ridges in the distance! It was definitely a great feeling conquering this mountain, and I reccomend it to anyone who visits and considers themselves to have decent cardio. Now all I have to do is make it back down...


That was my climb. For whatever reason I forgot to take pics of my actual place and the valley that I live in. I will have to upload some quickly for you.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Another year down...

As I warned you all when I started this blog, I am a horrible updater! What is the occasion for you to bless us with your presence Pete? My 31st birthday of course! Welcome to The 31st birthday extravaganza of ludicrous proportions blog update spectacular!!!!!

To begin, I am moving out of Waikiki at the end of this month! For those of you who didn't know, I really can't stand living where I am right now. It is noisy, dirty, uncomfortable, and just unpleasant for me. I never knew I was so picky about the areas I live in, but sure enough, I am! I will be moving to a place called Hawaii Kai, which is on the eastern side of the island and in a bit of a mountainy area. I will have two roommates, brothers who are going to the school of architecture at UH. They seem pretty cool so far and one of them is named Pete so how much more awesome could he be, right?? It will be an adventure I'm sure, but I really think I will love it out there. AND, guess what is right around the corner from my new place?

That's right, the Kona Brewery is down the street! It is actually a really cool place sitting right on the marina. Beautiful view and very relaxing.

So obviously I am psyched, but it does mean I will be about a 15-20 minute drive from the city which will make me have to plan my work schedule more carefully. I also need to buy a car to drive...

Anyway, on with the birthday festivities! I started the day with a lovely Bombay Sapphire martini and went to watch The Proposal with a couple girls that work at the coffee shops. No ma, nothing romantic going on, just nice friends. ;) Afterwards we went to Jimmy Buffett's for happy hour and some light dinner. Not too shabby, I had about 8 coworkers who came out for my birthday so I was quite happy to have a social circle to hang out with. When happy hour was over a few of us went down the street and sat in a baseball mitt (okay, it was a booth that was built to look like one and the table was painted to look like a baseball) listened to a pretty horrible band that was pretty horribly loud, then hit another place down the road for some shuffleboard! So now that we had hit a few bars and had a good time I was pretty hungry, so why not go for sushi????

I know I know, this is sashimi, but man was it good!

Now there was in fact another reason for us to go to this particular place to finish my evening out... One of the guys had told us about a shot that they serve at said restaurant and what would be more memorable on my birthday that a shot of habashu??? Don't tell me you don't know what that is! Ok I didn't either. It is a liquor that is made in Okinawa.

Oh ho! What is that in the jar??? Yes, in fact I drank a shot of some weird grain alcohol with a little friend hanging out in it!

Wait, wait, wait. Do you think it's real?

It was probably the worst thing I have ever tasted.

So now you know. When I tell people I would probably try anything once I'm not really kidding (much). I had a pretty incredible time with some new friends out here for my 31st. I was really happy to have so many people want to hang with me. I wasn't really trying to get drunk so much, but inevitably the "snake drink" did me in pretty well...


Hope you liked my birthday as much as I did! I will try to make the effort to update more often. I don't want my readers to feel like I'm neglecting them!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Well I never!

Welcome back everyone! (Those of you who still check this) Today I have a very special update to bring you. Could you ever guess that something beyond my control has been able to feed my morbid and somewhat disgusting fascination with SPAM? Well lucky you! Today the not so well known Waikiki SPAM Jam was celebrated. When they call it a "Jam" they really mean "block party" or "whatever you call something big enough to shut down the busiest street in town". Don't believe me? Maybe this will help you picture it:

Yes ladies and gents, they shut down the entire street for 2+ blocks for SPAM! But what, you may ask, is entailed in said "SPAM Jam"?? Well basically half of the street was booths for restaurants selling their exotic SPAM recipes while the other half was full of street vendors selling pretty much the same Hawaiian crafts you find just about everywhere here.

Oh and concert stages...

There were two of these, one on each end of the street. While this one was rotating Hula dancers, the other was playing live cover bands playing material that is older than me. Joy! I will say that the reggae island rendition of Hotel California wasn't quite as impressive as the musicians seemed to think it was.

Now, you are probably thinking that this was some sort of low key event that simply blew through unnoticed. Au contraire!

This was an event to rival the infamous Pro Bowl block party! Yes, they did a very similar event for the Pro Bowl. I was working that night so I had no chance to document it, but rest assured, I would have ridiculed it much more than the SPAM Jam...

Now that I have introduced you to what passes for an excuse to have a huge shut-down-the-streets party, I will give you a look at the culinary "treats" that I endured tonight. First off, Mango BBQ SPAM Sliders!

These were basically thin strips of Spam with some onion rings and mango bbq sauce. These were also about the size of a typical slider. Tasty, but probably not worth the $6...

So after feeling fairly unsatisfied with my first course, I decided to shop around a little and find something more worth my cash.

BEHOLD, Volcano Nachos with SPAM Chili!!

If this wasn't a heap of food for the same $6 I'm not sure what would be! Can you see this alright? It is indeed nacho chips smothered in SPAM black bean chili, topped with pico, sour cream, and fresh guacamole. Good Lord I am full!

Now that I have had approximately 4 1/2 days worth of salt and fat I should probably find some vitamins or something to balance myself out a bit.

Come back soon y'all, I have a dish I am calling "Purple Chicken" that I am dying to share!


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Where do I begin? Again.

Well ladies and dudes, back again for some more updating. The job front is looking up. I will be starting more on my training type position this week and with that I am hoping for a more consistent schedule. The store itself seems to have gotten considerably better since I first arrived here, the new employees are doing an excellent job and most of the older ones that are still here seem to be giving positive progress. Next I will be working on employees in other locations as well as some new products and overall procedures for the company.. I hope.

I'm still kinda broke, but I am starting to find ways to have fun without spending the cash. I suppose it is easier to get by without money here than most places. As long as I don't end up a homeless bum living on the beach I will be happy I think ;)

I regret to tell you that I do not have any new and crazy culinary experiments as of late. I will work on that for you. There are all kinds of exotic foods to be had here. Maybe I will head to Chinatown and get some REAL exotic ingredients!

So I am thinking that once my lease is up here at the end of June I will try to move a little bit out of Waikiki. I have been finding that I love spending my time with close friends and smalls groups of people, but crowds and the hustle and bustle of the city really drains me physically and mentally. I am pretty bad at finding places to live and even worse at bargaining with people. I try, but man do I SUCK at it. So if anyone has any suggestions on where or how to get a deal then let me know!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I know, I know, everyone wants teh updates!

Happy St. Patty's Day everyone! I am here at the crack of midnight, just now getting my first sip of a beautiful (even if it is from a can) Guinness Draught. The sweet malt makes me remember good times and good friends, if only every beer could bring such nostalgia...

I come to you today with a little bit from inside. Most of you know that I don't always let out my emotions and feeling for everyone to see. It's just part of who I am, sometimes I am content with that and sometimes I desperately wish that I could change it. Tonight however, I am in the mood to share some of my inner thoughts, many of which have come to me from my time here in Hawaii.

Actually I should say from my isolation here.

One thing that has come to me is that, much like that old saying "Home is where the heart is", nothing really makes a person feel like they belong in a place or at least are comfortable in that place more than friends. Now don't get me wrong (dad, mom, family), family is where I truly feel loved. Unending love and complete acceptance from my family is one of the greatest things in my life. Yes even more than coffee (I know, right?). However the friends I have found, trusted, and loved for all these years show me a little bit more. What it tells me now that I am far from them all is that there is a reason I have made these people a part of my closest circles. They are awesome, awesome people whom I respect and admire for a myriad of reasons! I would certainly consider myself less of a man if these people were not in my life. For that reason I say that what makes a place, city, state, or whatever worth living in is those connections and the warmth that is felt from even the most inane days with those people you call "friend". It also makes me feel that calling someone friend should maybe hold more meaning. There are people who I have only known for weeks or months that I call friend who deserve it, and people I have known for years who I still consider an "acquaintance". Gives more meaning to things if you ask me.

Alright, now that all of the people who don't really know me got bored and left it's time for Hawaii! I know that I should have posted pics of the shop I am working in right now about 3 months ago. Better late than never?

Welcome to the order counter. Yes that is a Mistral espresso machine for you coffee nerds.

If you would like a close up just for proof here it is....

Yay for me. It is a little worse for wear though. The poor thing makes more shots in a day than I used to make in a week...

From the order counter you can see our bean counter to the left. We sell ALOT of Kona coffee every day as well.

I didn't take any pictures of the tables and chairs. They are tables and chairs after all. Sorry to disappoint..

So that is essentially the customer view of Honolulu Coffee Co. at the Moana Surfrider Hotel. Kinda shocking that there weren't any customers in those pictures actually. The place is always hopping.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Give me a pen and I will write you a witty title

I suppose it has been a little while since my last post. Now, before you think that I have been basking in the sun, sipping a refreshing beverage, and enjoying an ocean breeze whilst neglecting my loyal readers, the truth is far less romantic. Yes, in fact there are all of those little things that get in the way of the fun such as being broke and still really settling in. I have been a little homesick and been trying to really feel comfortable by myself. Finances are always a concern especially when moving like this so I have been limiting my activities a bit in the fear of overspending.

One thing that comes from a considerably limited budget is getting creative with food. I present to you:

SPAM with BACON!!!!!!!!!!!

Honestly, what could make Spam palatable better than bacon? I know you are wondering what kind of a weirdo I am to be eating unidentifiable meat from a can. Remember that whole thing about limited spending? Yeah, that is a big part of it. The other part is seriously morbid curiosity! The verdict? It actually tastes more like bacon than Spam! Curious of my culinary exploits with this tasty bacon-flavored mystery meat? I present to you the Spam(with bacon), tomato, ranch open faced sandwich!

My official conclusion is this: Spam(with bacon) is pretty stinkin tasty. I DO NOT recommend eating an open faced sandwich with ranch and tomato, and quite honestly one of those slices up there is more than enough for one sitting. Experiment with this "food product" carefully; consume it wisely. You may also want to buy a box of Alka Seltzer while you are out procuring the Spam(with bacon). I did find that chopping up one of those slices and incorporating it in a nice big pile of fried rice turned out to be pretty tasty though!

Enough about Spam(with bacon). Work has been draining me quite a bit lately with training, working a really busy bar, and lots of PHOTO SHOOTS!!!!! That's right, yours truly has been getting some press in a couple of Japanese magazines as well as some air time on the local news! It is amazing what a good PR person can do. If you would like to see my short little clip that aired on the evening news tonight you can see it at: So it's really not anything crazy but hey, I'm on TV ma!

I have been hearing you all have had a few days of really nice weather out there, so don't sit there are complain about how I get all this great weather... There was a freakin TORNADO on the island today!!!! Take that :P

Love to the ladies and totally manly high fives to the dudes,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hawaii is such a crazy place

I know everyone is jealous of me being here. Quite honestly I don't blame you. However, before you go and sell all of your stuff and hop a plane out here there are a few things you should know:

1. Honolulu is pretty polluted. That's right, lots of buses spewing out smoke and crap. It is also an interesting fact that as beautiful as this place is and as much as people seem to want to preserve the beauty here (lets face it, the tourism is what keeps this place going), there is very little as far as recycling is concerned. I think that Kansas actually had a better recycling program!

2. Your typical customer service here is pretty bad. Yes, if you stay at some high end hotel here and shell out tons of cash you will probably get some pretty great service. Unfortunately for the rest of us who are merely going to pay 15 bucks for a moderately crappy hamburger the typical service is more like a nuisance to our waiter. Not that everyone here is lazy, just most of the transplants from the mainland seem that way so far. I don't really understand how people get to keep their jobs AND make tips at these places.

3. Hawaiians have some crazy tie to all of those cliche things you have always heard about. I never in my life thought I would walk past a couple of guys deep in conversation at 6:30AM reminiscing about how it was when Don Ho was here. And my God, don't you dare say something bad about the Duke! You might get lynched! I know Don Ho didn't die that long ago, but it just seems so odd to me. Like the world was a better place when he was here....

4. Spam is like a food group here. I swear I have seen about 8 or 9 different types of Spam here so far. There is Spam with bacon (I have a can and will let you know how it is), tabasco, cheese, low-fat, low sodium, regular, and with onion just off the top of my head! I honestly never knew there was a market for the stuff, but that just shows you what I know.

I hope you like my pointers on what to expect when you come to Hawaii some day. Keep in mind that this isn't really a rant, but simply a few things that most people would never expect when they come here.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Join me as I frolic in the coffee leaves

Wow. That is what I have to say about my trip to Kona today. I will preface this entry by saying that I have never been to an origin country or coffee farm before, so I was pretty excited to be seeing all of this stuff!

Walking off the plane on the big island of Hawai'i I was assaulted by the harsh, moon-like surface of the island. This picture isn't quite as impacting as what I saw from the plane, but it gives you an idea of the desolation.

Luckily, once we got into the mountains and hit the Greenwell Kona farm it got considerably more lush.

The farm was overflowing with trees and Tommy Greenwell seems to be doing an exceptional job as a farmer. I learned alot from him, and was maybe a bit too excited to take many good pictures... I will link my random pics on flickr so I dont have to blow up blogspot.

Everywhere we went on the island seemed to have an amazing view. We ate at a little cafe that had about a 100 foot drop off the back deck. Great view of the ocean though!

Lastly, if there is one thing that cracks me up about Hawaii it is just how differently things are done here. For example, this is the waiting area at the airport. It was completely open air and mostly uncovered. The planes literally pulled up about 75 to 100 feet away from where we were sitting! Such an unusual place.

That is what I've got for now. Check out my flickr photos here! There are a few of my apartment, it became pretty spacious after i pushed the two twin beds together! Also I only took pics on one of my lanais. It's okay to be jealous ;D

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The adventure begins!

Here I am, sitting in Waikiki. I arrived at 3pm yesterday and my first impression was "Holy Crap this place is gorgeous!!" After spending the evening watching the sun set over the ocean with a maitai in hand I realized that this might be one of the coolest places I have been.

So, first impression, pretty incredible. Since I am 4 hours behind what I am used to I naturally woke up at 5 in the morning and couldn't get back to sleep. What do I do? Walk across the street to the coffee shop, get an "oat cake" and a double espresso and go for a jog. If you have never gone for a jog in the morning with the ocean to your right and the sun rising over the mountains to your left before while the cool morning air invigorates you, I HIGHLY suggest that you try it. I am obviously romanticizing this place quite a bit, but it certainly does feel a bit like paradise.

On that note, I came to a realization last night (or this morning, everything is a blur so far). This is a place where people DREAM of going. This is a place where people save thousands of dollars just to come for a week. This is a place that so many people find to be the ideal, and I am living here! My life is going to be so different from what I had in Kansas that it is a little scary. I have to remember that every time I have seen one of those stupid hula girls on someone's dash board or cubicle desk, they only get to fantasize about the place that I am seeing every day. Definitely going to need to work on my appreciation factor out here.

Now for a more pressing matter, should I go to the pool?

Or should I walk the extra 100 yards to the ocean? ;D