Time for a Thursday 3.  Since we’re full on into the Christmas season and the Christmas parties, I thought we’d talk about Christmas Grab Bags.  You know the drill – copy/paste the questions or just answer them by number.  Additional comments, stories, jokes always welcomed.


  1. When you need to get a Christmas Grab Bag gift, do you get something funny, like a gag gift, practical, naughty, functional, or *gasp* regifted?
  2. How do you like grab bag games?  When your name is called you just choose a present, then everyone opens them altogether?  Or when your name is called, you can either grab an opened present that a previous person already opened or take a new present, open it and maybe have someone else take it from you?  Or pull a number and get the corresponding gift?  Or some other kind of gift exchange game.
  3. What’s a good grab bag gift to give or get?


Here’s my replies:



  1. When you need to get a Christmas Grab Bag gift, do you get something funny, like a gag gift, practical, naughty, functional, or *gasp* regifted?
    I normally go for something practical – unless specifically told to get a gag gift.  Food is usually good.  Boring, but functional.
  2. How do you like grab bag games?  When your name is called you just choose a present, then everyone opens them altogether?  Or when your name is called, you can either grab an opened present that a previous person already opened or take a new present, open it and maybe have someone else take it from you?  Or pull a number and get the corresponding gift?  Or some other kind of gift exchange game.
    I personally don’t like that game where after you open your gift, someone after you can take it away.  Because if it’s something good, it’ll be taken away.  If it’s something junk, you’re stuck with it.  I like the kind where you’re assigned a gift or you go up and choose one.  And what you open is what you keep.
  3. What’s a good grab bag gift to give or get?
    I think gift cards work good.  A friend once told me that they have a special gift card that’s good at any store, restaurant, airline, or can even be regifted.  It’s called a $10 bill.


Okay, what’s your replies?



If you’re not doing anything on Saturday night, come on down to Gordon Beirsch for a Funkshun Christmas Party!



Ala Moana Foodland pano


And then there were only seven.  Seven original stores left at Ala Moana Center after Foodland.  At 5:00 PM on Saturday, 12/13/14 – Ala Moana Foodland closed its doors for good.  Although not in the same location in the mall, Foodland was there since the mall opened in 1959.


I remember when Foodland used to be located on the street level, makai side, in the center of the mall.  There were two entrances into Foodland.  The main entrance was facing the ocean.  There was a long ramp just inside of the doors that took you right inside the market.  And the other entrance was the stairs leading down from the McDonalds.  The entrance to the McDonalds was, IIRC, across the sidewalk that separated the parking lot and the Continental restaurant.  Actually, McDonalds was built into the market – as it was “Sully” Sullivan who owned Foodland and also brought the McDonalds franchise into Hawaii.  (Do you know why the first McDonalds opened up in Aina Haina?  It’s was right across the street from the Sullivan mansion)  I remember how the booths in the McDonalds had a railing which overlooked inside Foodland.  And you could watch all the people doing their marketing while enjoying a Big Mac.


Then somewhere around the late 80’s or early 90’s – Foodland moved to the Mauka side, still street level – where the Woolworth’s street level entrance used to be.


The Ala Moana Foodland wasn’t one of the stores that I frequented a lot.  But it was always there when I needed it.  For a few years, I was in there at the end of almost every month – to by student bus passes for my daughters when they were in high school.


Then if I was hungry for a light dessert, I would wander into Foodland and check out the Beard Papa cream puffs.


When Foodland had their Fri. – Sat. sale on poke bowls, I would sometimes take advantage of the sale and get me a poke bowl with the Secret Spicy poke.  Or sometimes I would just walk in and check out the deli.  I always wanted to try one of the Boar’s Head made-to-order sandwiches.  Or one of their custom made salads.  I guess it’s too late now.


There are other Foodland markets, but the deli’s that I see in them aren’t quite a big and extensive like the Ala Moana one was.


And the Ala Moana Foodland always had customers in there.  I hardly ever saw an idle cashier.  And I’m sure it was a convenience not only for the mall customers, but also for the mall workers.  Needing a few items before heading home – so much easier buying them before starting the drive home and having to stop off at the market.


I wonder how many customers Foodland had that were from some of the surrounding condos?  And with more condos coming up in Kakaako and the ones already built in the Ala Moana/Ward area – where are they going to do their marketing now?  Closest place might be Don Quijote.


Some people are speculating that Whole Foods will open at Ala Moana Center, but I don’t think so as they’re planning to build a Whole Foods by Ward – where Nordstrom Rack and Office Depot was.  *Tip: Wanna be rich?  Open a supermarket in Kakaako.  With all the highrises coming up there – people will want a grocery close by.  About the closest one now is the Safeway on Beretania.  That’s quite a hike from Kakaako.


So yes, the Ala Moana Foodland will surely be missed.  People may not realize it yet – but they will.


Oh, the Foodland orange chiffon cake is ono.  Real ono.  I used to always check out the price in the Ala Moana Foodland to see if they were on sale.


What are some of your memories of the Ala Moana Foodland.  Will the closing impact you in any way?  And without Googling it – can you name the last seven original stores left in Ala Moana center?


Ala Moana Foodland mahalo



Christmas Party – this Saturday with Funkshun!  Guest appearance by Santa Claus.


Trees of Christmas Past

11 December 2014

Reprinted from December 21, 2009


Surprisingly, nobody has blogged about this year’s hottest Christmas item – a Christmas tree.


If you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few weeks, you probably didn’t know that there is a shortage of Christmas trees this year in Hawaii.  People waited in line for over 8 hours just to get their hands on a Christmas tree last week – and paid over $50 for one.


Even artificial trees are sold out!


Here’s an article written by Will Hoover about locals paying $120 for a 4 foot tree.  Crazy!


But this is MLC where we’re not interested in the sheared Douglas or the Noble fir Christmas trees that went on sale the day after Thanksgiving.  No, we like to remember when Christmas trees were purchased at the local market, hardware, or department stores.  And they were all the same – what I like to refer to as “Charlie Brown” Christmas trees.


Maybe some of you might remember this picture from a blog entry from last Christmas:



Christmas Tree Paula

Paula with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree


We must’ve paid around $7 for a tree back in the day.


And then there were the artificial Christmas trees.  Who remembers seeing one of these Christmas trees?



Christmas Tree MLC

See that colored wheel? It rotated so the aluminum tree would reflect different colors.  Ingenious.  Plus, being a “metal” tree – it wasn’t really safe to string electrical lights on it I suppose.


Yup, those days of simple Christmas trees as all but a memory.  Nowadays, you’re lucky to even get your hands on a Christmas tree.


Were you fortunate enough to score a Christmas tree this year?  Or do you have an artificial tree that you put up?  Or did you even bother to put up a Christmas tree?  Our state-of-the-art fiber optic tree is still sitting in it’s box, stored away.  But hey, we’ve still got a few more days before the big day.  Maybe, just maybe, we’ll have our tree up yet.

You didn’t think I’d let you MLCers down now did you?  It’s time for the annual Christmas music blog post!  Let’s get the ball rolling!  This year, I’m going obscure.



Here’s one that I heard a few times in various Las Vegas stores.  Anyone heard it yet on local radio?


Here’s another one that I’ve never heard before.  Heard it on the I heart Radio Christmas station.

Give this song a listen to.  It’s pretty catchy:


New age Christmas.  Enya:


One of my favorite female singers: Sarah Brightman:


Can’t have Sarah Brightman without Andrea Bocelli:


Remember this classic Flash Mob Christmas song:


Here’s a Japanese Christmas Song:


And for the finale – the WHOLE album of The Ventures Christmas Album:


Okay, list your Christmas songs.  Links to the video allowed, but don’t put more than 2 links per comment or that comment will be held until approved (spam control).   Don’t worry about listing a song that has already been listed.  And the songs don’t have to be obscure Christmas songs.  :wink:




Funkshun‘s Christmas dance party – coming up in a few weeks!






Christmas Goodies

4 December 2014

Remember these Christmas candies?


Christmas Candy 1


I used to love to eat these.  Didn’t care much for the pillow shaped ones with the jelly filling in them.  Just the sweet, hard ones.


Got me thinking about other foods that come out only around Christmas.  I remember how my mom always bought Christmas nuts and placed them in the dark red glass bowl that was usually reserved for bananas.  And Christmas Nuts.


Christmas Nuts

I used to sit at the counter and with nutcracker in hand, trying all the different nuts.  Little did I know that I was eating Hazel nuts because I just hate Hazel nut flavored coffee.  The inside of Walnuts reminded me of brains.  And the Almonds were hard to open as the shell was soft and didn’t “crack” open like the others.


Another Christmas item that has been around for only the last 20 years or so (because I don’t remember seeing them when I was small) is the Royal Dansk Danish cookies.

Christmas Cookies 1

Ever notice that the ones with the sugar chunks on top are always the first to be eaten?  Sitting at your desk at 10:00AM – these cookies start tasting good!


Oh, how about this classic Christmas food:

Christmas Hickory Farms

I always thought that it was so “mainlandy”.  Who eats cheese and sausage?  Give me Portuguese sausage and rice (with shoyu).


And remember the dried fruits gift set?

Christmas dried fruits

I liked it just to play with the little plastic 2-prong fork.  Actually hated the fruits.


Speaking of which… What’s Christmas without:

Christmas fruitcake

The classic Christmas Fruitcake.  Does anyone actually eat this stuff?

At least I can say that I tried it.


What kinds of Christmas foods can you think of?  Or even Christmas drinks.  Some of these seasonal gifts can last well into the summer – and still taste good.  Like the Danish cookies – the plain round ones with the hole in the middle that no one likes to eat.  LOL




My apologies to Mark ’75.  From our Thanksgiving post, 4G had mentioned the Thanksgiving Day Double Header at Honolulu Stadium.  And Mark ’75 wanted to share these actual lineups that he kept from 1969!  I was away from my computer and couldn’t post them.  Thanks for these pictures Mark’75.


I’ve heard these names before!



Thanks Mark’75!


Cyber Monday

1 December 2014

Reprinted from 11/30/09


If you missed Gray Thursday or Black Friday, here’s your chance to look for on-line shopping deals as today is known as Cyber Monday – the day that on-line shoppers flock for some of the best on-line deals of the year.


I’m not all that much of an on-line shopper.




I always look for deals on-line after I’ve looked locally for items.  Sure, I’ll have to wait a week or so for my item, but if it saves me 15% or more off the local price, I’m on it like white on rice.


I know what you’re thinking – the shipping to Hawaii kills the good on-line price.  Well, not always.  Amazon often has free shipping on items marked with Free Super Saver Shipping.  And since it usually costs more to ship to Hawaii and Alaska, the value of the savings is that much greater!


I know some people don’t believe in Twitter – but believe it or not, deals can be found from having a Twitter account and following the right people.  For example, I follow freecoupontweet.  They alerted me to a Free Shipping coupon code to use at Calendars.com – where I order my special calendars.  I went to the site, picked my calendars, then at checkout was about to use the Free Shipping coupon code – then I read that dreaded footnote “Does not apply to Hawaii and Alaska”.  Dang!  But I selected it anyway and continued on with the checkout – and it took!  YES!


I wasn’t sure if they were going to contact me and say I need to pay for shipping to Hawaii, but I figured – what the heck, try anyway.


Well, it took 19 days for me to receive my shipment, but the shipping was free!


You still have time if you want to order your calendars with free shipping.  The coupon code is FS2308 and is good until February 2010.


So today, I open up MLC to share any on-line shopping tips or secrets when shopping on-line or good deals you’ve found on Cyber Monday.


Here’s a couple of sites to get you started:





Happy Thanksgiving 2014




  1. What are you thankful for?
  2. What are some of your best Thanksgiving memories?
  3. Are you gonna do Black Friday?


Here’s my responses:


  • What are you thankful for?
    I’m thankful for my blog readers.  Thank you for those who take time to comment and share their stories with others.  I’m thankful that I have a second chance at having a great family.  And I’m thankful for landing a job that I love and grateful to the ones who had their trust in me to do this job.  I’m thankful for my friends, family, and loved ones.
  • What are some of your best Thanksgiving memories?
    Breaking up the toast to help mom make the stuffing – that was my one and only contribution to making the turkey.  Looking for someplace open to eat lunch because the kitchen was off limits for mom as she prepared the feast.  And riding my bike in the middle of the deserted streets on Thanksgiving day in the late afternoon – and smelling the turkeys cooking as I pass the homes.
  • Are you gonna do Black Friday?
    Does a bear shit in the woods?



I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.  Please take a moment to sit back and reflect on this special day.  Look all around you and be thankful for all you’ve got.  So many things we take for granted.  We are truly blessed.



Getting the appetite ready for some Thanksgiving grinds and it got me thinking about some of my favorite dishes that my mom used to cook.


The first one that comes to mind was her Trader Vic’s broiled chicken.  Mom had a Trader Vic’s recipe that she used to marinate drumettes and wings in.  I know that it had pineapple juice in it because I remember the small tuna-sized can of pineapple that mom used to open.  She’d use the pineapple juice part and put the pineapple rings in a small Tupperware container.  I would always see the leftover pineapple and ask mom what it was for.  And she’d tell me to go ahead and eat it if I wanted to.  One fork and a couple of minutes later – it was gone.  I remember when mom cooked the chicken, she’d cook it in the oven on a tin foil lined baking sheet and the oven door would be partially opened.  And I could see the orange glow of the heating elements in the oven and I would poke my head near to sneak a peek of the ono pieces of chicken.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of mom’s Trader Vic’s chicken, but it looked just like these Trader Vic ribs;


Trader Vic Ribs


Mom’s Trader Vic’s chicken pieces had this orangey color accented with the crispy black charred areas.  It was so moist and tender.  When I’d peel off the skin (best part), the meat would fall right off the bone.  I miss it so much, that I might be willing to give it a try and cook it myself.  I said I “MIGHT”.  Now if I could only find the recipe.


Another one of my favorites was mom’s bul go gi.  I don’t know what kind of pieces of meat she used, but mom used to pound it and tenderize the meat, then marinate it in her own bul go gi sauce.  Then mom would cook it slowly in an iron skillet and let all the juices soak into the meat.  I remember seeing the bits of chopped green onion on the pieces of meat.  And when mom was through cooking the meat – she’d throw in some rice into the frying pan and make bul go gi fried rice.  Ho, never could get enough of that!


And then there was mom’s fried chicken.  I remember when Mom would take out the blue and white box of frozen chicken and put it in the sink to thaw out.  Mom’s fried chicken was so simple, yet tasted so good!  I think it was just flour, salt, & pepper.  But the pieces were so crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.  The closest thing I found to mom’s fried chicken is KJ’s in Kaneohe.  Oh, and of course I always saved the crispy skin for last.  Right before eating it I used to say “No… I don’t want to take this yucky medicine!  Don’t make me eat it.  Mumfrmprmmm…” and savor it until the last piece was gone.


Mom used to make this other dish that I just referred to as “breaded meat”.  Turns out it was meat jun.  But “meat jun” wasn’t widely known then, so breaded meat was what we called it.  And I used to use dad’s “cho jung” sauce with it.  Dad use to make this “cho jung” shoyu sauce in old Hawaiian Sun Guava jelly bottles – remember how had the piece of wax paper between the cap and the jar to keep it tight.  I’m not 100% sure of the cho jung recipe but I know it contained shoyu, sugar, chili peppers, green onion, sesame seed oil, and sesame seeds.  And it had to sit for a couple/few days before it was ready for use.  I used to watch my dad eat the chili peppers when the bottle was almost empty.  But mom’s breaded meat was the best.  I remember asking her how she made it.  She said that she just dips the meat in the flour, then in the egg batter, and fries it in the skillet.  So easy.


Some nights it was just a simple comfort dish that mom cooked for dinner.  It was pieces of chopped beef and sliced round onions, simmered in a sato-shoyu sauce (shoyu/sugar sauce).  I used to take my rice, coat it with dad’s “ko cho jung”, then put the meat/onion on it.  And had to have the gravy.  I always loved the gravy.  By the end of the meal, I had only gravy/rice soup in my plate that I slurped up.  That stuff must’ve been so bad for me – yet tasted so good.  Only drawback was that the onions would make be gassy.  And my buds would regret going to the movies with me after eating meat/onions.  IYKWIM.


Mom also used to make; hash patty, pork tofu, beef stew, beef curry, beef teriyaki, kalua pig/cabbage, liver, pork chops!, spaghetti, and more that I can’t think of right now.  And it all tasted good.  Okay, the liver had to be drowning in ketchup, but I managed.


What foods come to mind when you hear “Mom’s cooking”?  What were your favorite dishes?  Did you learn to cook some of them in order to pass them on to future generations?  I wish I had learned how to cook my mom’s dishes.



In the previous blog post Do You Remember… Small Kid Time Shenanigans, we recalled all the naughty stuff we did when we were growing up.  Mostly stuff around the neighborhood.


So now we’re recalling naughty stuffs we did in school.  Whether elementary, intermediate, or high school.  Shoot – I’ll take college too!  I would guess that most of it was during intermediate school because in elementary – you’re too obedient to do anything wrong.  And in high school – you’re too intimidated to do anything wrong.  But in intermediate – it was almost expected.


Let’s start off with elementary school.  Nope – can’t think if anything bad that I did.  Wait.  First grade.  I didn’t like my teacher and used to run after my mom when she left the classroom.  One time I did it during the Pledge of Allegiance and the teacher called me a communist.  My mom was not happy with the teacher after she said that.  I ended up transferring into another class.  But that doesn’t really count.  How about yanking off someone’s “fruit loop” – does that count?


Intermediate school.  We had a walk-out one day.  I was in the 8th grade and during lunch – all the students gathered by the school exit and as a sign of protest, the students planned a walk-out.  I don’t even remember what it was about.  But no one wanted to be first to walk off the school property.  It was the ol’ “You go first and I’ll follow.  No, YOU go first and I’ll follow”.  Until finally, someone just walked through the crowd and went off campus.  Then everyone followed.  Even made the news that night.  But I stayed in school as did a handful of us.  So the 5th period was pretty much a do nothing class so Miss Duncan said that we could have a paper wad fight.  All the girls could stand in one corner while the rest of us flipped over desks and had it out.  I remember Clint B. climbed up on the broom closet and was sniping everyone – until @shoyu burner sneaked up on him and shot a paper wad right on the ear.  Was all swollen and red!


Remember, “Food Riot!”.  I lucked out and was never in a food riot, but I remember when there was one in intermediate school.  It was always planned ahead of time and somehow the teachers monitoring the cafeteria always knew.  Probably because everyone was more quiet than usual and making side-eye at each other just waiting for it to begin.  But it’s not like they could stop it anyway.


High school.  Didn’t really act up in high school.  Flung our ice cream sticks at each other – but that’s about it.  I remember one time when we were hanging out on the benches and people start hollering and clapping.  By the time I turned around to see – the “streaker” was gone.  Remember that?  Streaking in the 70’s.  We had a guy, buck naked – running through the school campus.  Actually, he had a sign on the front that said “Nude is not Lewd”.  His picture made it to our yearbook!


There was a tradition of the outgoing seniors always pulling some pranks during one of the nights preceding their graduation.  I think it was the Class of ’75.  They stacked around 10 old tires on the school’s flagpole.  I still don’t know how they did it.  Did they stand on an adjacent rooftop and throw them onto the flagpole?  I don’t think so.  Car tires are heavy.  Did they use the rope that’s for the flag to somehow lift the tires up and over?  Not sure.  All I know is that the Kailua Fire Department came down with their ladder truck to remove the tires off the flagpole.  That prank was classic.


What kind of school time shenanigans do you remember?  Something you did?  Maybe something you were a victim of.  Share your school time shenanigans here.


Remember small kid time?


Little Rascals


Okay, maybe not THAT long ago.  But kids were kids and when we got bored – we had to find ways to amuse ourselves.  And many times, it lead to trouble.  But it wasn’t on purpose – most of the time.  It was just shenanigans – a part of growing up.  Right?  Yeah, right.


What kind of shenanigans did you pull?


The one that comes to mind first was blowing up Clorox bottles.  I don’t know how we learned this, but the Clorox bottle fitted perfectly on the water hose end.  I mean, it twisted right on with a perfect seal.  So we used to take my mom’s old Clorox bottle, twist it on the end of the hose and place it right in the middle of the front yard.  Then we’d turn the water on “Full Blast”.  The pressure would build in the white plastic jug until it would burst with a loud BOOM!  This one time our neighbor came running outside to see what the big boom was (as well as did my mom).  Then we got good scoldings from the neighbor man for alarming everyone.  “Do you know what could happen if a piece of the plastic jug flew into your eye!?!  You could be blind forever!“.  But there wasn’t any plastic pieces. It just cracked at the seam.


So we learned to blow up Clorox bottles only when no parents were around.


Another one we used to do was stick the water hose into the ground.  See, where we lived in Kailua – the soil was mostly sand.  White beach sand.  And I don’t know why we kept doing this when we knew the outcome wouldn’t be good.  But we just couldn’t help it.  We used to face the garden hose straight into the ground and turn the water on, you guessed it – “Full Blast”.  The water would start splashing out the sides and would eventually wear a hole in the soft ground.  Then we’d push the hose further down as the ground got softer.  Until the water stopped erupting out the sides of the hose.  Then when we tried to pull it up – NO CAN.  It was stuck.  Turning the water off and on again didn’t help.  Yanking didn’t help.  So there was only one thing to do; go into the tool-shed, get the “dagger” and cut the hose.  Man, do you know how many times my dad was pissed when he wanted to connect the sprinkler to the hose only to find the ends were cut?


And if anyone excavates that lot, they’re in for a big surprise.


Climbing on the roof.  No ladder needed.  I could get up on the roof by climbing on the window frames next to the garage roof.  Once I was up there – I just had to walk around and throw down the Frisbees, sticks, parachute men, and everything else I could find.  And walking on the aluminum garage roof took some technique.  The trick was to look for where the nails were pounded in and walk there – because that’s where the cross-beams were.  Step off from the nails and chance going right though the flimsy aluminum.  I remember this one time that @LostHawaiian brought over his sister’s 45 record.  IIRC, it was Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour”.  I put it on the record player in my room, lifted up the record holder arm so it would repeat over and over again, and cranked up the volume.  Then @LostHawaiian and me took a couple of goza up on the roof and laid down to get sun tans while listening to Stevie.


Only once did I fall off the roof while hanging off of it.  Luckily, the stand up bar-b-que broke my fall.


Ever egg someone’s house?  This was in my later years when we used to walk to the beach to go surfing.  One day while walking down the public access, we were just minding our own business and looking over the wall as we walked down the trail.  The homeowner looked at us and said “What!?”.  You know, in da kine tone like we should’ve responded with “Why?!”  But we didn’t.  However, Halloween was right around the corner so on Halloween night, loaded with eggs and firecrackers, we walked down the trial, egged his house and threw the lit firecrackers into his backyard.  And we ran and laughed all the way down the trail to the beach.


And we kept running along the beach and through a private lane until we got back to our friend’s house.


Speaking of the beach.  When we used to surf – surf leashes weren’t invented yet.  When we wiped out, if we didn’t hold on to our boards, we’d have to swim back to shore to get it.  Then through reading surfing magazines, we learned how to drill a hole through the base of our skeg, stick a piece of nylon rope through it, tie a knot so it wouldn’t come out, then tie the other end around our ankle.  We used surgical tubing around the rope part that went around our ankle to prevent rash.  Anyway, we found out that bungee cord works way better than nylon rope as the “tug” on your leg isn’t so harsh.  But no one knew where to get bungee cord.  That is until someone notice that the Hobie Cats on the beach yards had a lot of bungee cord tied to their sails.  And we never see those people take out their Hobie Cats anyway.  So…


Soon we all had new surf leashes made of bungee cord.


Okay, that’s all the small-kid-time shenanigans that I’m going to confess to.  What were some of the shenanigans that you did while growing up – NOT COUNTING SCHOOL STUFF (that’s for Thursday).  Share your growing up naughtiness stories here.  We’re all amongst friends.  :mrgreen: