Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In the Spirit of the Holidays: Cyber-Activism

This is a repost from the NinjaGirl Productions Blog... because I think these causes sound cool enough to be mentioned multiple times:

Recently, the following causes have come to our attention, and we think they are pretty damn cool. Please check them out, and if you think they are cool too, please come together and give them whatever support you can.

http://www.childsplaycharity.org/ - Provides toys, books and video games to sick kids in children's hospitals on four continents

http://www.videogamevoters.org/ - A network of American voters trying to defend free speech and creativity in video games from intrusive US legislation and regulation.

http://www.xogiving.org/ - Provides laptop computers to children in developing nations, who otherwise have almost no access to education or means of self-expression.

"Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness."
- Napoleon Hill

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hawaiian Thanksgiving

There are only certain things I miss about New England since moving to the Pacific. Near the top of that list is Thanksgiving Day with my brothers, parents and cousins. Even on the outskirts of Lahaina, no picnic on the beach could ever compete with Mom’s cooking surrounded by the dramatic comedy that is my family. However, today in the Maui sunshine, I chose to be content with a simple meal, a boogie board and some new friends.

Despite certain hardships, I am very grateful for a lot of things and people in my life right now. To all the folks who have continued to stand by me near and far, as well as those with whom I’ve shared simpler kindness and have since parted ways:

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Maui Mailer

Last week, while I was raising unholy heck around the island with my German buddy (see previous entry), the holiday issue of Maui Mailer hit tens of thousands of mailboxes across Maui.

Now if you have a copy, trust me, don’t just toss it. Maui Mailer is the only magazine I know of on this island that sincerely dedicates itself toward real quality print advertising both for and to Kama'aina. Plus, it has some interesting articles, good deals, event announcements, charity stuff, and best of all, a whole bunch of ads and artwork designed by yours truly. ;)

So, before you need to wrap some fish or line the cat-box, actually take a look through it and let yourself be surprised... and better yet, if you have a business on Maui, and need a great new advertising angle, contact them today, cuz you can't beat it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

German Invasion

As many people know, I was a bit hard to get a hold of last week. As many of those people know, it was because my old friend Carsten was visiting from Europe. Carsten is originally from Frankfurt, but these days, he's dealing with the British while working in jolly-old London. Fortunately, he was able to divert himself here last week, right before a big business trip to Southern California. The two of us went to school together years ago, back when I briefly lived in Australia. These days, we only get to see each other about every other year on average. So, whenever we do get together, we always try to make it a helluva thing to remember!
For example, this time...

We had meals in humble surroundings.

...and acquainted ourselves with marine life.

We also got really high...

...visited a goddess...

...and journeyed past the end of the road.

Carsten was happy to see that he wasn't the only one representing German coolness in Maui...

...and he was oddly fascinated with the notion of cows and palm trees sharing the same setting.

Have fun in LA, buddy!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Attention Kids: Don’t Drink Glass

I use to love thermoses. When you’re a little kid at school, that’s what you got, your lunch box and your trusty thermos. Mom packs them up all nice for you and you always knew the thermos would keep your juice cold and your soup warm, and as a little kid you can only ponder the magic and wonder, “How does it know?” Best of all, both the lunch box and the thermos were always tough as hell, so if you drop them, maybe a little dent or scratch, but no worries. If a bully messes with you, you could always hit them in the face with either the lunch-box or thermos and then run like Hell, and all would be good. Yeah, I use to love thermoses... until recently.

In my apartment we have a seemingly nifty thermos. It is a one-liter “Add-A-Cup” Thermos brand bottle (pictured left). It supposedly keeps warm stuff warm for a full 12 hours and cold stuff cold for twice that. As you can see in the pic, it’s made of that tough-looking red plastic that people are just socially conditioned to perceive as really durable. So yesterday, when my roommate took it to work for the day filled with coffee, but then accidentally dropped it at some point, he thought nothing of it. Later on, he poured himself a nice cup of coffee at work (like he would on any other day); but just then, as he started to sip his coffee, one of his colleagues inquired if it was hot coffee or had ice in it. He told her it was hot, which took her off guard because she could swear she heard ice when he put the thermos down. Obviously, my roommate gave his co-worker the “you’re crazy” look, but just the same, someone picked up and shook the thermos anyway. Sure enough, there was a noise of something that sounded like ice in there, but upon closer inspection was clearly not ice.


Now, in fairness, they do have the word “glass” on the sticker on the bottle (stated once in faded text set no larger than 10 points). However, I don’t know about you, but when I look inside a product known for durability and see a metallic color, my mind doesn’t immediately go, “Hey, that must be glass in there.”

So, the very next day, I called the company to express my concern. I thought that Thermos, practically being a cultural staple in the western world, might be receptive to my complaint and genuinely troubled that many shards of broken glass could be so easily found in the devices they create to hold liquids that go down your throat. I mean, wouldn’t you want the security of mind to know that such a company would entertain the notion of recalling this product before some random eight-year-old dies from ingesting sharp fragments of glass?

Ah, to dream of such a kind world.

Upon calling the corporate headquarters of Thermos (847-439-7821), I surprisingly got a human being on the phone immediately, as opposed to an automated response system. Taken a little off-guard, I hoped this was a good sign and I stayed calm and collected, but also very frank. I immediately told this receptionist that I was calling to complain about a product that could have seriously injured a friend of mine. After I had started to explain the situation, the receptionist started to tell me I was breaking up and she couldn’t hear me well (funny how often that happens whenever I call to complain about something or try to collect on a bill). After a few minutes, I did eventually get my situation across. Unfortunately, in lieu of concern for potential harm to human life, this receptionist was very well versed in the apparent company line. Among other things, she had implied I was being unreasonable and informed me that glass thermoses are quite reliable and have been around for over a hundred years (which is arguably a redundant misnomer because apparently the etymology of “thermos” comes from a word for “glass flask”...but I digress). She also tried to justify the product by stating that I am not likely to find a less expensive beverage container of that type; which made me ask myself, “Does saving a few bucks justify the risk of swallowing broken glass?”

Well anyhow, after several minutes of both of us bumping our heads against opposite sides of the proverbial brick wall, the receptionist stated that the person in charge of risk management for the company had the day off, but I could express my concerns to someone else. She transferred my call, at which point I was disconnected after three rings.

Fantastic… * sigh*

So, remember kids, if you ever drop your Thermos brand thermos and your eyes aren’t naturally drawn to small gray san-serif lettering, always be sure to look for broken glass in your beverage before you drink it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Lahaina Halloween

This still being my first year living in Hawaii, of course I had to go check out Halloween in Lahaina. Apparently it is one of those events that people come from far and wide for and it’s quite the staple in contemporary Maui culture. Now, first of all, I’d like to go on record and say that people talked this thing up to me way too much. I went in thinking it was going to be like Mardi-Gras with all sorts of dangerous partying and crazy Girls Gone Wild crap all over the place; and while it was indeed quite crazy and somewhat raunchy, it certainly wasn’t of the caliber I was set up to expect. However, being a Halloween person who grew up with people who usually gave it limited due (with preference to occasions like Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter), I felt extremely gratified to finally be amidst folks with true spirit in celebrating Halloween. In my opinion it’s the most fun holiday of all if you just let go and allow yourself be young again... and trust me, many of the cool folks who celebrate All Hallows Eve in Lahaina are definitely feeling me on that one. Now, let’s cut to some pics.

Yup, I called upstairs, Heaven is indeed missing an angel.

...and speaking of religious phenomena, here's the Last Supper.
...but wait a sec, Leonardo is sitting in for JC!
Where the heck... Oh, wait... here he is...

I always suspected he was really black.
"For my next miracle, I'm gonna turn water into funk!"

Always the case: Chicks dig guys in uniform.

...but I guess it can go both ways, cuz the babe on the right here can cuff me any day. =)

This Sith-Lord is indeed strong with the Force.
He made the crappiness of my camera look like cool special effects.

Anyone who knows me, knows I can be a sucker for cartoon babes.

So, of all the babes there, how could I EVER pass up this one?

See you next year everyone! :)