Happy MLC Easter everyone!

Easter Bunny
Can you find me?  Hint: I’m not the blurred out one.


Remember small-kid-time Easter?  Here are some of my Easter memories:


I remember that from Good Friday until Easter, we used to refrain from eating meat.  You don’t really realize how often you eat meat until you give it up.  What was automatically a “hamburger”, suddenly became a “fish-burger”.  But this went on only for a couple of years as I remember my dad saying “We’re not Catholic” – so that practice was over.


I remember watching the Lawrence Welk Easter show:



And what’s Easter without coloring eggs!  I remember that the Saturday night before Easter, we’d take out old newspapers and cover the table.  And the kitchen would smell of warmed up vinegar for the dye.  Had to be Paas brand.

Easter Egg Coloring Kit


And remember how it came with that copper wire egg-dipper?  And the clear wax crayon so you could write on your egg before you colored it?  Only problem was that you couldn’t see what you were writing until after you dyed the egg!

Easter Dye Kit


And remember how you used to dye an end of the egg one color and the other end a different color?  And then you got all artsy-fartsy and made a 3 colored egg?  It was all good until you got carried away and dyed an egg so many times that the whole thing ended up turning an ugly purpleish-gray color.  That’s when you knew that you pushed it beyond the limits.


Then on Easter day, after coming home from Sunday morning service – it was time for the annual Easter egg hunt.  Someone in the family would go outside and hide all the eggs while you had to wait in the bedroom – and no peeking out the window – until you got the “Go!” signal.  First eggs in the corner of the yard were the easiest to find.  It was all eyes to the ground.  Then you started getting wise and started looking in the ti-leaf plants, and plumeria tree branches, and behind the water hose.


Then we’d bring the eggs into the house and eat at least 1 colored hard-boiled egg.  Always had to add salt on the egg when eating it.  The rest was made into egg salad for the next day’s lunch.


Did you used to get a chocolate Easter bunny for Easter?  We always had one and my brother always made a fuss that it was hollow.  That was fine with me because it was easier to eat and tasted just as good.  Well, one year we did get solid chocolate Easter bunnies.  Do you know how hard it is to bite into a solid chocolate Easter bunny that’s been sitting in the icebox?  Ended up chopping it up with a knife into little bite-sized pieces.  Sometimes, less it more.


What are some of your Easter memories?  Remember when Ala Moana Center used to be closed on Easter Sunday?  And most everything else.  Did you have a special luncheon or dinner?  Betcha you had a ham.  How about an Easter basket with all that fake green grass stuff?  And the Easter candies: Peeps, pastel almonds, jelly beans, etc.  Share your Easter memories with us.  I know you had an Easter egg hunt.  Did you pass on the tradition to your kids?




As of this post, only 2 tables left for this big event!  Call Dennis now!


… or a root canal

… or a bout of food poisoning

… or a pimple in your nose

… or a hang-nail

… or an earache

… or a busted timing-belt

… or a (fill in the blank)


Ultimately, nobody likes to do it, yet it has to be done.


However, when it comes to jury duty – you can always try to make excuses to get out of serving.  Can’t do that with taxes.  Can you imagine your blank tax form with an attached letter “Please excuse Rodney Lee from submitting his taxes as he is needed to complete an important project at work“.


On the other hand, unlike taxes where you can take it to an accountant to have them done for you, that can’t be pulled with jury duty.  “Your honor, my name is Joe Blow from ‘JurorsRUs‘ and I was hired to serve as a juror for my client, Rodney Lee.”


Can you imagine…


But really, isn’t it all about attitude?  I mean, think about it.  It could be a fun thing, if you allow it to be.  I always hated jury duty because that was the normal reaction to serving.  That is until at an old job of mine, my boss got called to serve for jury duty and she wanted to get selected because she thought it would be so cool to see the trial and how everything unfolds.  But being as truthful as she was, she was dismissed from the jury selection because she honestly had some preconceived thoughts about the case.  And she was kinda bummed out.


That changed my thinking and I could almost not wait to get a summons to serve for jury duty.  And both times I was selected to serve!  I wouldn’t say that I was elated, but I was a bit excited to see the court in action.  And see one of the cases all the way though.


Now, if I can only get excited about doing my taxes.  Turbo Tax does make it easy, and a little bit fun.  And getting a return is always a happy ending.  But if you have to pay…  Then it’s no fun.  But then again, that’s part of the beauty of doing taxes – you won’t know if you’re going to have a happy ending or a sad one until you’ve plugged in all the numbers.


So… since it has to be done – why not take the “glass is half-full” attitude and make the best of it.  I’m going to do so starting right now!  And since I’ve finished doing my taxes – and my 2 daughters’ taxes – I can’t wait until this year is over so I can start gathering all the W2′s and 1099′s and spending money to buy an updated version of Turbo Tax and spend countless hours plugging in numbers, and searching to make sure I entered all the forms, and hoping that I’m doing it right so the IRS doesn’t send me that dreaded letter, and getting more gray hairs.  Can you sense my elation?


Okay, I’m still working on the attitude thing…


Doing Taxes is like Serving on Jury Duty:


… or fighting the flu

… or having the runs

… or losing your phone

… or waking up with a stye

… or (you fill in the blanks)




Okay MLCers – here’s your chance to dance to some old-school LIVE music.  The Magic Mushroom Reunion IV dance party at the Manoa Grand Ballroom on May 17th.  That’s the weekend BEFORE the big graduation weekend so no try use that excuse.  Line up is: White Light with the full horn section and lead singer Joy (she is such a babe!), New Experience 2 (you may know them as the band that turned into The Krush), and Audissey and friends (including Rob Yamamoto from Natural High).  Tickets are just $30 with heavy pupus (also known as dinner for us MLCers).  Get your tickets soon!


… still wrapping up my taxes.  Next year I’ll start working on them earlier.  (yeah, right!)


Mike Tabura – 107.9 FM Kool Gold’s mid-day personality (10:00AM – 2:00PM) always plugs the MLC blog on his show – and I am very grateful to Mike (Thanks Mike!) – so, I thought I ‘d return the favor and use some questions he posted on the 107.9 Kool Gold Facebook page.  btw, if you’re on FB, please “like” the 107.9 KOOL GOLD facebook page.


So here are the 107.9 KOOL GOLD Thursday-3 questions:

  1. What decade had the best music?
  2. What instrument is the sexiest?
  3. If you could be in a band, which role would you choose?


Okay, you know the drill.  Here’s my replies:


  1. What decade had the best music?
    Me, I have to say the 70′s.  But then again, I wasn’t listening to the radio back in the 60′s so I can’t really rule out the 60′s.  I’d like to compromise and say from 1965 to 1975.
  2. What instrument is the sexiest?
    Hands down, the saxophone.  To me, anyway.  There’s just something about the sound of the sax, and how the notes blend into each other.  It’s so “smooth” sounding.
  3. If you could be in a band, which role would you choose?
    Guitarist.  Didn’t even have to think about this one.  Just to dress up and look cool while strutting around the stage like Keith Richards.  Or wailing your guitar like Eddie Van Halen.  Or rockin’ out in a frenzy like Angus Young (maybe in my younger days).


Okay, your turn to answer the questions.  And remember – don’t hesitate to share any stories relating to the topic.  Or even answering the questions more than once.  And if you get a chance, check out Mike Tabura on 107.9 FM mid-days on Mon-Fri.  Especially during the 11:00 hour when he “reminisces” like we do here on MLC.


Thanks for the shout-outs Mike!



This weekend!  Not sure if I’m going yet.  But stop me if you see me there.

20140412_Dance Party

Crunch Time

7 April 2014

Sorry MLCers – I don’t have a blog entry prepared for you.  I’ve been procrastinating on the taxes and it has snuck up to bite me in the okole.




Actually, my daughter came home from California for the weekend so I was rushing to get her taxes done before she heads back to the big, big island.  I still have to do my other daughter’s taxes and ours.


So, I leave this post open to anything having to do with taxes.  Tax Songs.  Tax Jokes.  Tax Stories.  Tax Tips.  Tax Cheats.  Tax Rants.  Just have a taxing time!



This week Saturday – at the HIC

20140412_Dance Party

Mmmm… Boiled Peanuts

3 April 2014

Warning: This post contains mention of and pictures of peanuts.  If you have a peanut allergy, please take precautions when reading this post.  The author will not be responsible for any allergic reactions.


Remember going to the old Honolulu Stadium in Moi’ili’ili and buying roasted or boiled peanuts?  I hardly do but I’ve read quite a number of times about the lady that used to stand outside of the stadium and sell her boiled peanuts.  Something about the ashes from her cigarette was what made her boiled peanuts taste so good.


When I was in college, I got hooked on boiled peanuts from Ruger Market.  That and and Icee to wash it all down.  Then after not eating it for a decade or two, I decided to try them again.  But now, the Ruger Market boiled peanuts were too salty for me.  After the bag was gone, my lips were chapped from all the salt.


I tried the boiled peanuts from the Chinese guy who used to have a stall at the old Ala Moana Farmers Market.  He had the long white beard and looked like a Kung-fu master.  But his one had too much of the Anise taste for me.  And I think his was dry-boiled.


So my hunt for boiled peanuts continued.  Paula likes dry boiled peanuts but not me.  I like them juicy so you have to suck in when you bite into them otherwise there’s a chance that the delicious juice is going to squirt out.  Bite um, suck um, then bite um some more to get to the peanuts.


So about a year ago, I stumbled upon some boiled peanuts from Alicia’s Market.


Alicias Peanuts 1


I grabbed the bag of peanuts that was closest to me and was in small-kine shock when it rang up around $10.  But whatever, I go try.


Alicias Peanuts 2


Ho, you know what?  The buggah is ono!  Nice and juicy, not too salty, little bit still crunchy.  I whacked half the bag in one sitting.  I don’t know what their secret is but I cannot go into that store without grabbing a bag of peanuts.  Maybe this weekend I’ll need to make a stop there.


At craft fairs, I see different flavors of boiled peanuts like this:

Boiled Peanuts Variety


I think I could come up with some flavors too.  How about Kim-Chee flavored boiled peanuts?  Or pho flavored.  Not so sure that pizza flavored boiled peanuts would catch on.  Nacho cheese?  Ewww!


Here’s a peanut memory: remember walking under the bleachers at the old Honolulu Stadium?  And all the peanut shells would be falling from the bleachers above your head?  And every so often, a spilled beer would come pouring down from up above.  And at the Hawaii Islanders Fan Club shack with the totan roof, you could hear the empty peanut shells falling on the tin roof.


Where do you go for your boiled peanuts?  Was there a place from small-kid-time that had broke-da-mout boilded peanuts but isn’t around anymore?  How about flavored boiled peanuts – what flavor would you try making?  I think Kim-Chee boiled peanuts would work!  Have any peanut memories to share?


While eating pho with Paula and my daughter Stacie one night, I was explaining to Stacie that pho and Vietnamese restaurants are new to us.  I mean, we didn’t have Vietnamese restaurants when we were growing up like today’s younger generation does.


It wasn’t until high school that I discovered In Sam Korean restaurant in Kailua and Kim Chee 1 restaurant in Kaneohe.  Before then, the only Korean food I had was either at home or at my hamulni’s house.  Or at new year’s day get-togethers at my relatives.


I went on to explain to my daughter that, for one – we didn’t eat out much in our day.  And when we did, it was usually at the local drive-in or chop suey joint.  Every now and then on a special occasion, we at “American” food at a Spencecliff restaurant or Violet’s Grill or something similar.  And we had the mom-n-pop eateries like Tsukenjo’s, Jane’s Fountain, or Torii’s Lunch Room.  And of course the saimin houses like: Hall Saimin, Saimin House, Tanoue’s Saimin, Washington Saimin, Palace Saimin, etc.


But when it came to ethnic restaurants other than Chinese restaurants or Japanese okazuyas – there weren’t many.  Maybe a couple few Mexican restaurants, Hawaiian restaurants, Filipino restaurants, and Korean restaurants.  But definitely no Thai restaurants, Vietnamese restaurants, Greek restaurants, or Italian restaurants.  Well, actually there were Italian and French restaurants in Waikiki, but not the kind that we would patronize on a regular basis.  The closest I got to Italian food was a pizza parlor.  And French Fries doesn’t count as French cuisine.


And ramen shops are something new too.  Our time, there were only saimin houses.


So eating pho bo, bánh mì, summer rolls, pad thai, red curry, gyros, and Fettuccini Bolognese is all pretty new to us MLCers.  It’s not something we grew up with – like today’s kids.  In fact, I still have this image of a Bolognese dish being made with chopped up “…cause Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A“.


What other kinds of foods or places can you think of that are fairly new to us, yet run-of-the-mill eating places for our kids’ generation?  What kinds of foods did we grow up with that are getting more and more scarce today – like okazuya delicatessens.




And just a couple of weeks away…

20140412_Dance Party



Hawaii Welcomes H&M

27 March 2014

Okay, it’s a bit off of the usual MLC path, but Paula and I had the pleasure of attending the private opening of H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) first store in Hawaii.  It’s located right at the corner of Kalakaua and Seaside.  I’m sure a lot of you remember the Waikiki Business Plaza koi mural landmark – because that’s how we knew where to turn left to get to the Waikiki 1 & 2 theaters.


Waikiki Business Plaza Koi


Well, the koi mural has been replaced with the grand entrance of the new Waikiki H&M store.



Waikiki H_M


Yes, the iconic koi mural is gone, but it doesn’t really matter because the theaters aren’t there anymore for us to get to.


Waikiki has been changing a lot lately.  Lots of new up-scale hotels and stores.  That’s why it’s refreshing to see H&M set it’s roots in Hawaii – and especially in Waikiki.  H&M prices are reasonable and their clothing rocks!  Even for us MLCers.  I had a chance to check out their goods at the H&M store in Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas.  That store is HUGE.  And loud.


Yes, the mainland – and in this case, international – stores are here in Hawaii.  And I say that if we’re going to bring in the mainland or international stores, let’s bring in the ones that we can afford to shop at.  Like H&M!


What mainland/international stores or eateries would you like to see come to Hawaii?


Here’s some photos from the event:






Mahalo to Shauna for hooking us up!

Remember the old days when there was no such thing as cell phones?  From home, you’d call up a couple friends – at their home – and made plans to go check out a movie or something.  If they weren’t home when you called – oh well,  too bad.  And when they came home and were told that you had called them, they’d try to call you back.  But if you left the house already, ruff-ruck.


Or remember when you were trying to avoid someone and you’d have another member of the house answer the phone for you and tell the person calling that you weren’t home?  No caller ID back then.  We had to use live screeners.


Or how about when you were out on a date?  You didn’t have to worry about your date being interrupted by a ringing cell phone.  Or text message alert.  Or a bored date checking his/her Facebook page.  Or an overzealous date posting pictures of the car, restaurant, food, drinks, shoes, bathroom, etc.


Remember when there were more than 1 car load of friends – like after a social or dance – and the 2 cars would be following each other around town?  If somehow you got separated, then it was impossible to find each other.  It helped to have a planned-ahead-of-time rendezvous point for such occasions – like McCully Zippys.


When we got separated, there was no chance of finding each other.  It wouldn’t be until the next day that we’d find out what happened.  “Eh, what happened to you guys last night?”  “Well brah, if you never blast through the yellow light, we would’ve followed you”.  “So, where you went?  We was waiting for you guys at Zips”.  “Zips!?! – we was looking for you guys at Ala Moana beach”.


I remember after we got married and our girls were about 4 and 5 years old, shopping meant everyone hanging out together.  If we had cell phones back then, I could take the girls somewhere while Paula shopped on the 3rd floor of Liberty House.  But we didn’t have cell phones then.  So it meant that when Paula shopped at Liberty House – we all shopped at Liberty House.  Me and the girls knew exactly where all the chairs were in the store.  And we would race to grab the available seat.
Then later as the girls got older, we did the “Okay, meet back at the ‘nook’ next to the escalator in Macy’s at 3:oo” (it was no longer Liberty House by then).  Then I could go looking at electronics and tools in Sears while the girls shopped at Claire’s and Hot Topic, and Paula shopped in – you guessed it – Macy’s.


When cell phones became available, but they weighed 4 lbs, held a charge for only 5 hours (stand-by), and cost $3.50 per minute – we went with the poor-man cell phone:

Walkie Talkies


Yup, Motorola personal walkie-talkies.  They only worked as far as half of the mall at a time and caught mostly only on the mall level – sometimes on the street level – but they served their purpose.  I must’ve looked dorky wearing that thing on my belt…


I must say though – before cell phones, it was much easier to ice out someone.  And you didn’t have to worry about them trying to find you.


I wonder how today’s kids would react if we told them that in our day, we had only 1 phone that the whole family had to share.  And the phone couldn’t leave the house.  And you couldn’t walk around the house with it.  You had to sit by the telephone base and have your conversation – even if everyone else could hear.  And if you stayed on the phone too long, you’d get scolded.  And it was only good for voice communication.  They probably wouldn’t believe us.


Do you wish we had cell phones when we were growing up?  Or are you glad we didn’t have cell phones in our day?  Where you one of those who waited until later in life to get on the cell-phone wagon?  Or did you jump in early?  If so, who was your original cell-phone carrier?  Me, I had Primeco, which later turned into Voicestream, which later turned into T-Mobile.  Can you imagine how different things would be going on a date nowadays with cell phones?


Edited:  Thanks AnkleBYTERS for sharing this picture of a Vette with a CB antenna.  I forgot all about the CB craze in the 70′s.

CB Vette


Mark Shelby had a great suggestion for a blog topic – Outdoor Life.


Back in our day, we didn’t have video games or 100+ TV stations to keep us indoors.  Once the morning cartoons were over, it was time to get outside and see what’s up for the day.


When it was the start of vacation, there were so many things on our list to do.  But after about a week or two, we ran out of stuff.  We usually all rode our bikes to some person’s house and hung out trying to decide what to do.  You can almost picture it: about 3 or 4 of us sitting on our bikes in a makeshift circle with all the front tire facing the inside of the circle.  Hanging over our goose-neck handlebars tossing out ideas.


Then someone suggests “Let’s go swimming at the YMCA pool!”.  We all look at the sky to make sure it’s nice an sunny.  Then we all race home on our bikes to change into swim shorts and meet up back at whoever’s house in 10 minutes – towels in hand and a quarter for entrance to the YMCA pool.  Maybe try to scrounge up another quarter for the candy machine afterwards.


Or someone might suggest “Let’s go hiking up Gorilla Head”.  Everyone agrees and we all take off towards Kalaheo Intermediate (at that time).  When we got there, we’d lay our bikes down somewhere close to the trail-head and start heading up the mountain.  Barefoot.   After reaching the top of the mountain and enjoying the view of Kailua on one side and Kaneohe on the other, we begin our trek back down.


I remember one time hiking up “Oneawa Hills” from the Aikahi side and walking along the ridge-line all the way to Kalaheo, then back.  Of course we had to stop by the military antennas, the old abandoned water tank, and the pillbox.  Again, this was all barefoot.  We sure had some leather-tough feet back then.


Another time my friends said “Let’s catch the bus to town!”.  So I rode my bike home to change and ask my mom for 2 dimes to catch the bus to town and back home.  She said “No”.  She thought that I was too young to be catching the bus.  Even after explaining that I was going with my 2 friends, she still refused to let me go.  I had to meet back up with my friends to tell them the bad news.  They went anyway.  I had to spend the whole day by myself – mad at my mom.  When my dad got home from work, I told him what happened and he said I should go ride the bus around town and explore like he did when he was a kid.  But it was too late.  My friends went and came back already.  I missed the outing.  Boo-hoo-hoo.


Sometimes we’d go diving.  We used to have the home-made Hawaiian sling – the kine made with the bent door-hinge and surgical-rubber tubing. And an old rusty black spear.


Hawaiian Sling Speargun


We didn’t catch anything, but was good fun anyway.  Was probably pretty dangerous riding our bikes down to the beach hauling a spear, fins, snorkel and mask.  I think we used to have a bag – made of old rice bags – that was used just for diving.  We’d use it to store all our diving gear in and make it easier to carry – while still riding our bikes with spears facing forward.  Talk about Abunai!


We used to have so many things to do when we were little.  Even if it was just shooting hoops at the park or hitting tennis balls with rackets we got from Gold Bond stamps.  There were so many activities for us – all accessible by bike.


What was your small-kid-time Outdoor Life like?  What kinds of activities did you do during the long summer breaks?  Share your memories with us.


And Mahalo to Mike Shelby for today’s blog idea!



It’s not live bands – but a MLC kine party nonetheless:


20140412_Dance Party





17 March 2014

AnkleBYTERS posted on his Facebook page:


How many of you MLCers ( Rodney , Midlife Crisis Hawaii blog ) are members of the ‘SAYWHAT???….What?….Can you repeat it….’ club ? I was until today…not ashamed to say I’m wearing hearing aids for high frequency loss. I have been missing out on hearing so many sounds that I could never hear for decades….clicking of the keys on the keyboard…wow they sound so different….many with hearing loss miss music….me, cymbals in songs, top hat….really missed that…now I don’t have to turn the treble to max and still not hear it. Shoelaces slapping on your shoes as you walk…freaked me out when I heard it for the first time. Check with your health plan….mines fully covered both ears and I can get new ones every year if needed. It’s also bluetooth enabled so you can connect to your cell phone and the voice will stream to your hearing aids….same with smart TVs (you’ll need to purchase a device for it).

Why miss a decibel of life??


As we become more MLC, slowly but surely, our parts start wearing out.  And sooner or later we’ll have to cross that bridge and seek help.  And as Ankles said, he’s not ashamed of getting hearing aids.  And he shouldn’t be.  I just wish that sometimes others would follow suit.


For example, there’s a guy that I used to work with and he suffers from hearing loss.  But because he won’t seek help, he misses out on parts of conversations.  You can tell by the way he just kinda smiles and goes along with the joke that he didn’t hear.  But the worse part is that because of his hearing loss, he can’t hear himself – so he talks LOUD.  He’s not yelling – just talking LOUD.  It’s almost embarrassing to ask him a question because his answer can be heard from 3 – 4 cubicles away.


But how do you gently tell someone something that they probably already know?


I don’t know about you, but I grew up cranking the stereo.  The big-ass speakers with the tuner/amp/pre-amp/turntable set up.  When no one was home, it meant time to rock the house!  I can’t tell you how many times that my stereo was blasting in my room so loud that I didn’t hear my mom come home.  Then she pops her head in the door and looks at me with the WTH look.


Or the late-night sessions with the headphones blasting straight into my eardrums.


Those concerts at the HIC were crazy loud.  I remember that after the concert when I got into my car – that’s when I could really hear the ringing in my ears.


And I don’t know about today’s younger generation.  They all use personal music devices attached to headphones or earbuds.  If that’s all they listen with – it can’t be good for their hearing.


If any of your young ones are looking for a good career – consider audiology.  With us Baby Boomers losing our hearing and the young kids also losing their hearing – there’s lots of work to be found.


And… if you want the latest Apple product – you can’t buy it at the Apple store.  Nope, you have to see an Audiologist.  The device is called LiNX and is dubbed “the world’s smallest hearing aid”.  It syncs wirelessly with all iDevices, making use of iOS 7′s new accessibility options for the hearing-impaired.

Apple LiNX resound-hearing-aid
LiNX is “a hybrid of hearing aids and stereo Bluetooth headphones,” picking up and amplifying sounds in the vicinity while also being able to make use of a smartphone’s various features, including making phone and FaceTime calls, playing music, getting turn-by-turn directions, and so on.
Apple’s development team has included some neat little extras too. For example, a user can input custom settings in the device’s app for different environments, so you could choose particular volume, bass, and treble levels for your local movie theater, while at home you’d probably opt for a different set of audio levels. With the iPhone’s GPS functionality enabled, the device will switch to your custom settings automatically depending on your location.
Another feature, Live Listen, utilizes an iOS device’s microphone, so if a hearing-impaired person is trying to converse in a particularly noisy environment, the mic can be used to cancel out irrelevant noise and send a live stream direct from the speaker to the person’s ear piece.


How cool is that!?!  I’ll tell you.  It’s $3,000 cool.  I don’t know if insurance will cover this one.


Oh yeah, Android users – you’re out of luck.  Maybe Samsung is working on it.


I know a number of musicians who are trying their best to preserve their hearing and use ear-plugs when playing.  Are any of you considering hearing aids? The benefits far outweigh the stigma of wearing hearing aids.  And you don’t embarrass yourself by talking too loud or missing out on what others are saying.  Have any hearing loss stories to share?


A big mahalo to AnkleBYTERS for letting me share your story.