Monday, February 28, 2011

Seattle In Review

Husband and I went to Seattle last weekend. We spent just a day in Seattle but visited enough places to generate a review.

Directly from the airport, husband and I headed over to Pikes Market. I posted the pics in a previous post. I got some really good shots. I wish it weren't so cold. I would have really enjoyed it more. The market is open air and unheated. Brrrr.... that morning we arrived it was in the low 30's.

The treasure find of our visit to Pikes Market was Left Bank Books. Bookstores always attract me especially the tiny ones. They have the best book selection for people like myself and my husband. Several of the books that I have on my Amazon.com wish list were in the store and since they were running a sale, I bought a couple of them. From what we were able to gather, the store is in a temporary location for a couple weeks while their old location gets some needed earthquake upgrades. Their temporary locale is quaint and very intimate (I haven't seen the normal location). It doesn't feel sterile like a big Borders or Barnes and Noble. It's like comparing a hospital room (Borders) to your bedroom at home (Left Bank Books). There's just no comparison. I rather be in my own bed where there's still good energy in the room and where I feel alive. I don't want to be in a sterile environment.

There were two clerks in the store. They were helpful and seemed to be really interested in the topics and subjects of the books they were selling. I love that! I like to imagine that they thought of each and every book like it was a pet. They knew each one by name and all the wonderful things it could do. It seemed as if they knew a lot about every single book that we picked up to browse. I love that! In comparison to a Borders shop where the workers hardly acknowledge my presence, many of them are not well read, it's just too impersonal. Give me the Mom & Pop over the big box store.

By my own estimate I'd guess that the store was maybe 10x10. It was not very large at all. The only word I could use to describe it, really, is intimate! $60 dollars later we left 4 Books richer:
Guns, Germs, and Steel
Willful Disobedience >>huge treasure because this book is HARD.TO.FIND.
Black Women and Feminism
Leopolds Ghost

After Pikes Market, we headed over to Southcenter Mall where my sister and her boyfriend took us to lunch. They selected Rain Forest Cafe... a place that none of us had eaten at. Of allllll the places I have ever... ever... eaten at, the Rainforest Cafe in Seattle is THE WORST. This is what I ordered and this is what is in the menu:
FISH TACOS
Your choice of tempura fried or blackened mahi mahi wrapped in corn tortillas with red cabbage, fresh cilantro, pico de gallo and our avocado cream sauce. Served with carribean rice and black beans.
Doesn't that sound delicious? The server, Mary, suggested the blackened mahi mahi. I have to say that the servers we encountered were all very good but they can't have repeat customers with the food they served us. The corn tortillas were very limp and greasy. The fish had no taste. What was I thinking eating mahi mahi in Seattle when there's an abundance of it in Hawai'i? The food was very, very bland. My husband selected fish and chips and the "chips" were very greasy. So -- skip the theme restaurant if you're looking for really good food. They probably make more money on the "novelty" things they sell like the tshirts and magnets and all that stuff. I will never eat there again. Even if the PR person contacted me to offer me a free meal -- I will NOT eat there. If they significantly change the menu and have more control over how the cooks are trained then I might consider.

Photo Credit

My new love... Forever 21. I visited the Tacoma Mall because my sister suggested it. The Forever 21 store in that mall is gigantic. It is almost as large as the anchor stores like JCPenny and Macys. Love it! I snagged several outfits and mix and match stuff that fit like a glove on my body. Many stores can't produce exceptional plus size clothing. Especially the WalMarts of the world but Forever 21 has it down! The prices are affordable. The clothes are trendy. Large selection. It has just become my new favorite store. Oh... Nordstrom Rack is another store that I didn't venture into until Seattle. I just always figured they didn't carry plus size clothes. I went in there because my sister suggested that it is one of the best places to get shoes. She was NOT kidding. They had my size also. Love it!

Husband and I ended that very cold evening doing take out from Red Robin. We get the same thing every time we go there -- Whiskey River BBQ Burger. Yumm-o! No Red Robin in Hawai'i so when we can, we always get a bite to eat there. They never disappoint. When you eat-in, bottomless fries. Terrible for the diet but easy on the wallet.

Dessert was @ Marie Callenders. This is the perfect example of how BIG stores cannot guarantee good quality baked goods. I'm not sure how Marie Callenders produces their baked goods but the cupcakes we purchased were HORRIBLE! Just like the Rainforest Cafe, I will never consume anything from Marie Callenders ever again. Yuck!

My review of Seattle sounds so negative but at the same time I had such a good time.... had excellent quality time with my husband. It was our late Valentines celebration. I spent a ton of money in Nordstrom Rack and Forever 21. Spoiled!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Hive

CHALLENGE #5: If you had your own reality show, what would it be called? What would it be about? Who would the main characters be?

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We live in the era of REALITY SHOWS. I have my favorites. The Real World is the show that started it all for me. I think that was way back in the late 80's. That first season had me hooked. I was convinced that it was scripted because there just couldn't be that much drama in one place, seemingly, 24 hours a day. I am already a 'people watcher' by nature so reality shows have just taken it to another level. From Biggest Loser to Basketball Wives on VH-1 and Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo. True Life on MTV and Pregnant at 16. RuPaul's Drag Race is quite entertaining. Watching it makes me feel like I'm in a room with my tranny friends. HGTV's Design Star is another fave. My all-time reality show though is PROJECT RUNWAY on Lifetime. Tim Gunn is the shizzz! Oh -- I also like What Not To Wear.


If I had a reality show it would be called
THE HIVE


THE HIVE would star ten secretaries (administrative assistants) in a large corporation. Here are some "must-have" scenario's:
  • Single mother in a custody battle with her ex-husband
  • Admin assistant sleeps with boss
  • Super Mom that wishes she could be a housewife
  • Addictive personality admin assitant
  • The "B" -- nothing is good enough for her
  • The ultra conservative lady with "strong morals"
  • The Cheerleader turned Corporate Cheerleader
  • The lesbian that made a mistake and wants to go back to heterosexuality
  • The heterosexual male admin assistant (think of that guy in Sandra Bullock's movie, The Proposal)
  • The gay male admin assistant

I think that would make an excellent show if not, dramatic!! I call it THE HIVE to be symbolic of all the worker bees that make a corporation run.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Infused With Fear or Brand New Eyes

My previous post was about doing a "media fast" as suggested by one of my favorite websites -- Daily OM. That means that you skip watching TV, movies, skip the daily newspaper, turn off the cell phone, step away from the internet, etc. for a period time. It could be one day then maybe the following week would be two days, the next week would be three days, until you can successfully move about life without NEEDING the internet. I am totally guilty of needing the internet. I stepped away from browsing Facebook significantly. I just don't feel the draw to it anymore however I am still quite attached to my blog, this blog. I also have a fondness for my World of Warcraft game. I am amazed at how much time I spend on WoW. I have also walked away from my Blackberry. I'm tired of being totally accessible to everyone at anytime. Irritating. Misplacing the phone contributed to our gentle break-up.

Anyway, the point of this post is to tie my last two posts together and why stepping away from the media is important to how I formed my opinion about TSA as a whole. Of course this post is entirely philosophical in nature.

Let us imagine a child that grows up in a bubble. Let us call him Emile. (Bonus points if you recognize who or what Emile is.) Emile, having grown up in a bubble with two instructors -- his own curiosity and a tutor -- is given an airplane ticket to Hawai'i. Let's pretend that the bubble is located in Seattle, Washington (site of my recent TSA incident).

Emile is not aware of the existence of television, the internet, newspapers, or any other media outlet. He is fed a healthy dose of religious texts, from the Upanishads, the Holy Bible, to the K'oran, and the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and is allowed to interpret the information as he sees fit. Emile is allowed to explore every avenue that his natural curiosity leads him to. If, for instance, he reads about Jesus Christ in the Bible and would like further texts that mention him, he may request from the tutor any text that is similar to or mentions Jesus Christ. He has lived his entire life in this manner having access to any topic that piques his interest.

Let us imagine he approaches the Seattle-Tacoma airport. He is in awe of the highways and the automobiles that, up until this point, were non-existent to him. Perhaps he had read about highway systems in books about the Roman Empire or the Silk Road throughout Asia but actually seeing the road system exceeded his imagination.

Upon Emile's arrival at the Sea-Tac Airport, he checks his bag along with the tutor and makes haste to the security checkpoint, the TSA. This is a critical juncture. This, for me, is the most important part to this mini-parable. TSA screening is something that Emile has not experienced before. If you and I looked at the situation with new eyes, having no clue what the screening is about, what would it appear to be?
  • Emile's possessions are inspected and sent through a machine for further investigation.
  • Emile is required to remove his shoes, his belt, and all metal objects on his person.
  • Emile must empty his pockets.
Emile is reminded of the United State Constitution -- Amendment #4 -- the one about illegal search and seizure. Sure, he had emerged from a bubble but in the bubble, he had studied the Constitution in depth and was well-versed of the philosophical beliefs that influenced the Constitution; people like John Locke, Hume, of course Rousseau, and Imanuel Kant, amongst others. Emile thought, "Are we still in the United States?"

As Emile makes his way through the security check point, the tutor explains to him the reasoning for the invasion of privacy.

"Emile, the United States government implemented this security check point because they fear that terrorists will climb aboard a plane with explosives."

It is this exact piece of information/ story that Emile (all of us) must accept to justify the "search and seizure".

So I ask you, the general public:
Who is telling the story? Who tells us the story that would make us accept any information under the guise of public safety?

Though none of us live in a bubble, who creates your reality?

If I tell you that people in Hawai'i are cannibals, would that change your behavior or desire to come to Hawai'i?

If the government implements a National Threat Advisory, does that make you feel safer? Or does one have to accept the "story" that is told about terrorism. Remember the movie by M. Night Shyamalan, The Village? If you have not seen the movie and would like to see it, fair warning, SPOILER ALERT. A group of psychologists get together and create this 19th century village in the middle of nowhere. They are known as The Council of Elders. The Villagers and the creatures in the forest maintain a pact that keeps the villagers away from the forest and the creatures away from the village. All the young people tell stories about a world beyond the village. Whenever the young people begin to get riled up about going beyond the borders of the village, some kind of omen shows up in the village and the Council of Elders change the flags around the village from red to yellow or vice versa to signify that an attack from the woods is imminent. Very, very similar to our National Threat Advisory. In one explosive scene, the creatures actually do emerge from the forest and frightens the entire town into their cellars. Eventually, the story unravels and what is discovered is that the Council of Elders (the Village's government) is also the creatures from the forest.

Why would the government be the solution and the problem?
What benefits are associated with being both?
For me, there can only be one reason and that is:
CONTROL!

I don't know where this quote is from but I think of it often whenever I feel like my God-given rights are being stripped from me.

Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.


This is all food for thought. The media and the government tell us a story. We accept it because of some terrible tragedy. But what if, just as The Village, the government is the problem and the solution? What if we looked at the TSA with new eyes like Emile and reject the "story" the media tells us?

Who manufactures your reality? <---Click the link and read the article. Trust me, if they're doing it in China then it has already successfully been done in the U.S. For some, fear is a great motivator. For me, fear is the absence of love. In the New Testament of the Holy Bible, one of my most favorite scriptures reads:
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind.
~2 Timothy 1:7

Just remember we choose to either be "infused with fear" or seeing the world as Emile, with "brand new eyes".

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Daily OM: Evaluating Media

The following is from Daily OM. I am reposting it here because it is a great reminder to me that I/WE/YOU create the world in which we live in. What we put in our mind manifests itself.



* * * * * * * * * *


Evaluating Media
Fresh Mind

It is up to us to seek out media that empowers and informs us, and to say no to media that drains energy and hope.


There is a lot of information available to us at this time in history, more than ever before, and it travels fast. We are able to learn in the blink of an eye about something that happened halfway around the world, and it’s natural for us to want to know what’s going on. However, it’s also fair to say that we don’t want to become so caught up in one way of looking at events that we lose perspective. Often, the news comes to us in a very fear-oriented format, and when too many of us get caught up in fear, the balance of the whole is disrupted. It helps to remember that we have a much greater and more positive impact on the world when we maintain our inner sense of peace and joy.

We are aware enough to know when we are eating something that is not good for us, because we don’t feel well after we’ve eaten it. In the same way, we can determine for ourselves whether the sources in which our information comes are ultimately healthful. News can be presented in a way that inspires us to take positive action to help the world, or it can be presented in a way that leaves us feeling powerless and sad. It is up to us to seek out and support media that empowers and informs us, and to say no to media that drains our energy and our hope.

For a time, it may even be of benefit to commit to a media fast, in which we stop taking information in for a time to give ourselves a rest. When we return to the task of taking in and processing the information all around us, we will come to it with a fresh mind. This will enable us to really notice how we are affected by what we hear and see, and to make conscious choices about the sources of information that we allow into our lives.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Unfriendly TSA: Invasive in Seattle

I just got through the TSA screeners at the Sea-Tac Airport. I am very, very upset with the service of the TSA employees. Is this really necessary?

As I approached the screener today, I had made up my mind that I was going to opt out of going through the X-RAY machine. There are three purposes for my decision:
1. PRIVACY - Have you seen the images that are taken by those x-ray machines? They take a snapshot of your body in the NUDE. I have no shame when it comes to my body. I really don't. If it were up to me, I would never wear a bra or tshirt again in my life because I prefer being in a lavalava than being fully clothed. The issue with me is that none of the TSA workers or the Feds need to see any of it. This is my body and I prefer that strangers NOT be allowed to view it without my permission.
Click for Photo Credit

2. HEALTH - Who knows what kind of x-ray radiation our bodies are being subjected to by going through the machine? Even at the dentist you have to wear protective gear when they x-ray your mouth. They stuff all that cotton in your mouth then put that hard cardboard thing in too. Then they put that heavy blue apron on you before they snap the picture. Even the technician has to stand behind a partition when they do the x-ray'ing. With that being said, why would I want to subject myself to that type of radiation?
Click for Photo Credit

3. POLITICAL DEFIANCE - The final reason is that I am not a political pawn to be used to justify the use of taxpayers dollars to purchase the scanners. The TSA director is purported to have a vested interest in the company that produces the x-ray machine. In other words, he holds stock in the company that will produce and sell the machine to the TSA. If that isn't a conflict of interest, I don't know what is! He has also been quoted as having said that the x-ray machine would not have detected the explosives on the shoe-bomber guy. So once again... why do we need the x-ray  machine? Ugghh!!!

So as I approach the scanner thing I politely tell the woman screener, "Ma'am, I'd prefer to be pat down instead of going through the scanner."

She yells to someone off in the distance, "We have an opt-out." She points to a specific place for me to stand to wait for someone to do the pat down.

I have to point out that the gentleman two people in front of me was not thrilled with the process. He had not taken off his shoes or his belt. He was giving the TSA screener a hard time. I felt his annoyance with the TSA workers because they were very rude. As the man is beginning to remove his belt, she yells to the worker on the other side of the xray machine, "This guy is giving me a hard time." Okay -- embarrassing and very unprofessional even if it's true. Just because someone works for a pseudo-government agency doesn't give them a pass to be an ass.

Annoyed man enters xray machine. This extremely round man on the other end begins to bark out instructions to the man. Okay -- once again, embarrassing and very unprofessional.

Another guy follows the annoyed man and everything goes off without a hitch. Of course it does -- compliance is always the easiest route, right? Is it? Is compliance easier, rather, is compliance more important than PRIVACY, HEALTH, and REFUSAL TO SUBMIT TO UNFAIR PRACTICES? At what point is enough, enough?

So there I am standing at the appointed location to await my pat down. Husband is right behind me and he opts out as well. The very young woman behind him opts out also. So there we three are awaiting our pat down. I agree with all the people who say that these invasive practices are in violation of the 4th Amendment. As a refresher, the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (it was included in the original Bill of Rights) says:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Everyone complies with this "unreasonable searches and seizures" under the guise that this will protect us from the terrorists. The topic of terrorists could take this post into another discussion but I will reserve that for future examination and remain with the topic at hand.

As I'm standing there in the appointed position, a woman in the other line is attempting to get through. She has a very young baby in tow. He could have possibly been about 9 months. Her diaper bag is, of course, full of stuff for the baby from formula to baby food and the male TSA worker is giving her the hardest time about ziplocs and appropriate ounces. As she attempts to walk through the scanner, a female worker comes from behind and tells her that she has to remove the baby from her person and walk through the scanner. The mother tells the worker, "Are you going to carry my baby? I am traveling alone." I reach over and offer to carry the baby. The TSA woman comes over quickly and grabs the baby, tells the mother that she has to put the baby on the stainless steel table while she walks through the scanner. Really? Terrible!

As I am watching this whole scene unfold, the woman that will pat me down finally retrieves me. I must tell you that the 'pat-down' is very, very INVASIVE. If I were lesbian, the groping she did might have done something to me. It was THAT invasive. On top of that, they do it right there in front of the ENTIRE crowd of people waiting to come through the gate. The worker feels every inch of my body and it is NOT a pat down and more like a FEEL DOWN. Husband is getting the treatment next to me from a male worker.

After the gloved feel down, the worker then do a swab down of our clothing with this large cotton pad. They wiped both husband and I with the swabs then put it into this machine. The machine came back with no interesting results so I am free to dress and head to my gate while my husband's swab comes back POSITIVE for explosive material. Really? We were together all day. How is mine negative and his POSITIVE? hmmm... sounds random to me!

Two male workers take husband into a private area and question him. I can hear them.

"Where were you today?"
"Have you been in contact with anyone...?"

It was nonsense! When husband came out he told me that they did an even more invasive feel down in the private area. As a U.S. citizen, why is this ok? Innocent until proven guilty or are we all guilty to begin with?

I am going to let my the congress people in Washington D.C. know about how I feel about this. One voice can turn into many if more people would care more about their rights and less about willful obedience. All the young people are revolting around the world, upset with the powers in their governments. And here is America, with the most powerful military on the planet and the most apathetic, indifferent citizenship in the world.

We are laden with rights endowed from our Creator to force the government to obey its citizens or revolt until they do.

REVOLUTION!



Saturday, February 19, 2011

Photo Blog: Pike Public Market, Seattle, Washington

Seattle's Pike Public Market has so much to offer in terms of photo-ops. There were several photographers on site and even a few film makers setting up their scenes. It was much too cold for me to catch some of the other vendors at the market but hopefully I will be able to make it back here when it's warmer.

This is my mom's favorite so I will probably be taking a cooler home.

Lots and lots of seafood but it's cheaper at home.... even the salmon.


Plum and Apricot hybrid?

This is the most gorgeous produce display I have ever seen. The contrasting colors caught my eye.

Puget Sound




So glad that my husband is always a willing subject for my serious photo hobby. :-)

He makes my heart skip a beat...

Friday, February 18, 2011

What Noun Am I?

CHALLENGE #4: Are you an optimist, a pessimist, or something else?
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I remember when I used to consider myself an eternal optimist. For me, that meant that all of humanity was in concert to grant me the greatest good. I suppose I still believe that, except that now my greatest good sometimes come in the form of terrible heartbreak.

This blog has made my life such an open book. Many of my experiences in the past seven years have been shamelessly strewn across your computer screen. I have nothing to hide. I am human. I think my "About Me" section in the top right corner of the blog says it all:


This is my outlet! I write about
things I love,
things I hate,
things that hurt me,
things that go bump in the night,
things that disturb me,
things that are uplifting,
things that are on my mind,
things that are spiritual,
things that make me... utterly HUMAN!
In some philosophical traditions, a soul mate is someone that enters your life to teach a lesson. Thus, many people that have exited my life and most that are still in my life have contributed to my totality.

So the idea that "the entire universe is in concert for my greatest good" is still true. People who have hurt me are a part of teaching me to be the best me I can be. I'm thinking that the noun, OPTIMIST, still applies to me.

My world... the universe... is such an abundant place. Though I have crossed paths with some "not-so-good" people, I have a perfect understanding that they too are children of the MOST HIGH. I have great compassion on people in the past who have hurt me because I know that they were hurting also. It's almost easier to forgive those that I don't associate with anymore because I no longer have to deal with them on the daily. Whereas, people that I see day in and day out don't get that free pass to FORGIVENESS.

This is soooo 6  years ago! LOL... wish I was that lean again... but the noun that represents me is still "eternal optimist".

I can't say that in all situations I'm an optimist. What is probably more accurate is that majority of the time I'll select an optimistic outlook. So PMS time for me is likely to be 'gloom & doom', 'the sky is falling', but any other time optimism reigns. Yes. That would be an accurate assessment.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The ME That Might BE

CHALLENGE #3: If I could have any job in the world, what would it be?


* * * * * * * * * *


When I was little I always told people that I wanted to be a lawyer or a journalist. That's much too practical for the "me" that I am today. So I'm dedicating this post to dreaming up the "me" that might "be" in another lifetime.... or maybe THE HERE AND NOW.

I want to be a farmer!
My family is full of "green thumbs". My father is quite knowledgeable about commercial farming while my mother is steeped in family farming. Either way, they both have a deep connection to the soil that I hope to have also.

I want to be an oceanographer!
Skip the fancy title, this is the dream job for me only because of my love for the ocean. Marine life, marine plants, everything "under the sea" is so very exciting to me. Perhaps it's because my father and my uncles were avid fishermen that maybe, genetically, they passed that love of the ocean to me.

I can remember a time when I went out with my father and my uncle and some cousins. Our family style is skin-diving. That means... snorkel, face mask, fins, spear, and a t-bar or mesh bag for the catch. We left the Ka'a'awa shore at about 830 in the morning and did not return 'til late in the afternoon when the sun had already passed over the Ko'olau mountain range. We were hungry! As we sat on the shore, my uncle was the first to pick the limu (sea weed) off the rocks in the ocean and pop it in his mouth. We all followed suit. The ocean just like the land offers so much to humanity in terms of food and the environment.

I want to be a WITCH DOCTOR!
The idea of a witch doctor, for some, seems scary. I don't like the term but I think it creates an air of mystery because of the general population's association to witches. Think Salem Witch Hunts or the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz. I happen to think that 'witch doctor' is a fancy name for an herbalist-holistic-spiritual HEALER.

My grandmother on my Samoan side would have been considered by most people to be a witch doctor. She was, by far, the most gifted woman I have ever known. I wish I could have absorbed some of her great-ness. She is the reason why I want to be a HEALER.

I want to be a photographer!
Ever since I can remember I have always been fascinated by pictures. Still photos capture single moments in time. Moments that have never been and will never be again. I carry my camera with me everywhere I go. These are some of my favorite shots that I have taken in the last month or so.
My niece, Juliette. I was babysitting and let her play in the rain. Her mama was not happy when she came to pick them up. LOL... that's what Aunties are for! I love the contrasting colors in this photo.

Mena in this photo. I love the splash and the movement that I captured in this shot.

This is a picture I took at Alcatraz. Gorgeous! It was a beautiful day in the Bay.

This is one of my favorite photos from my visit to Japan.

This is another favorite photo from Japan.

This was MLK Day 2011. Gorgeous day!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hero

Challenge #2: Who is your greatest hero of all time?


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This question is difficult to answer unless I break down alllll my heroes into subcategories and who has the time? I could write about my parents and their unwavering love for me. I know it must have been hard since I am quite the crazy girl.... at least in their eyes. But I've written about them on several occasions on this blog. Bo-ring!

For the sake of argument (hopefully), I would like to share with you two of my Political Heroes. I really do love a good argument, the kind that are based on true personal opinions rather than regurgitated "spin" from the network news. My Political Heroes do cause quite a stir in some of the circles that I wander around in. Maybe I should stop calling it a circle and call it a BOX because so many people are stuck in the colloquial "box".

I take that back... I share my political heroes not just for the sake of argument but also to promote them. If I believe in a cause, in a thought process, in a philosophy... I should assist in advancing it.

I welcome a robust conversation in the comments section. If you agree or disagree with my opinion, I'd like to hear it. I will comment back. Please be respectful.


CURRENT EVENT HEROES: The young people of Egypt.
I am so amazed at how they have caused a REVOLUTION to come to pass in their home land. Fed up with the powers that be, they mobilized with partial support from their own government's standing military. I wish the American population were as courageous to stand up to the politicians in the White House and cause a REVOLUTION. Big ups to the young people of Egypt. They are my "current event HEROES".

If every person had enough courage to adhere to the dictates of their personal moral compass... just imagine the kind of world this would be!

PERSON IN POLITICAL OFFICE HERO: Ron Paul
He has been garnering media attention lately because he won the Presidential Straw Poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Though I don't really resonate with any single label (democrat, republican, liberal, conservative, etc.), I love RON PAUL who happens to be a republican!

My love affair with Ron Paul began when I found out that he was leading a campaign to End The Fed. Currently he represents the people of Texas. He ran for the republican Presidential seat in 2008 but lost to McCain.

On several occasions I've blogged about the Federal Reserve and how they have taken over the nation. Most U.S. Citizens are so unaware of how the Federal Reserve (the people who control the nations currency) is in total opposition of the Constitution. Ron Paul seeks to restore the powers of the Constitution for the benefit of its citizens.

My journey toward finding Ron Paul occurred when I began reading The Creature from Jekyll Island. The book is fascinating and is a crash course in how the Federal Reserve was created and how they affect the economy of yesteryear as well as the modern era. From the Great Depression to the founding of social welfare to the bail outs of the Chrysler organization decades ago. It's alllll in there! YouTube has audio versions of it also. I included one here. You should really take the time to listen to it. If you are not aware of the founding of the Federal Reserve, this just might rock your political foundation.



MY POLITICAL HERO THAT HAS PASSED ON: Malcolm X
Many people have a negative association to Malcolm X. People usually think of his "by any means necessary" philosophy and categorize him as a radical militant. And maybe he was a radical militant. Radical, as a noun, is defined as a person who holds or follows strong convictions or extreme principles; extremist. A person with strong convictions may sometimes lack the courage to live them. This was not the case with Malcolm X. His Autobiography, co-written by famed author Alex Haley, is still one of my favorite books today. Though Spike Lee did an excellent job on the movie, it doesn't even come close to the spiritual revelations that Brother Malcolm experienced.

Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. were emerging as leaders in the Black community at relatively the same time in history. While their approach and philosophy to political freedom were diametrically opposed, ultimately they desired the same thing -- to raise the standard of living for African Americans. Malcolm found his identity through the Nation of Islam (an American Islamic faction that still exists today under the direction of Louis Farrakhan).

What I love about Malcolm X philosophy is that he did not advocate assimilation or integration. He preferred that African American's be educated in their own schools, taught with their own books and their own curriculum rather than subjected to government-run "public schools" whose curriculum and books are littered with propaganda. I love that! That is one of the driving forces behind my desire to home school my children (whenever they come along). I prefer to be the person that designs the type of information that gets put into their brain. I am not bad-mouthing public education because many people flourish under its precepts. I just think there are several missing components that are left out ON PURPOSE.

Very few people are aware of the town of Greenwood, Oklahoma. It is known as The Black Wall Street. Here was a parcel of land in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area where an entire city of African-Americans, post Civil War, were flourishing. They had succeeded in stamping out the idea that former slaves and slave descendants would not amount to anything. As is the case in America, especially in the early 20th century, White mobs lynched several men and eventually burned the city to the ground. Google "Black Wall Street". You can read for yourselves.

This was a perfect example of how segregation CAN work. For me, this is the significance of my affinity for Malcolm X.



HAWAIIAN POLITICAL ACTIVISM (S)HERO(ES): The Trask Sister duo, Mililani and Haunani-Kay
Both are decorated academics in the American school system. Haunani-Kay graduated from Kamehameha and went on to receive her Bachelors, Masters, and PhD from the University of Wisconsin. Mililani also graduated from Kamehameha Schools then received her Bachelors from San Jose State University then graduated from the University of Santa Clara School of Law. This sister duo are as decorated as they come, in terms of education and academia.

What inspires me about them is that their education does not stop them from championing for na kanaka rights to self-determination. It sounds strange to a person that has never heard of self-determination however, most un-assimilated Hawaiians view our homeland as being politically occupied by the United States. Thus, we prefer that we be able to exist peacefully and determine the destiny of our homeland.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What the Neighbor Said

CHALLENGE #1: Write a story from your neighbor’s perspective


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I wish that dog would stop barking. All day long, he barks and barks. I wonder if they feed him. And why did they name him Stony? Hmmm... makes me wonder what kind of past SHE had. I'm new to the neighborhood but I've been around long enough to know a little about HER.

A couple of years ago, SHE left Hawai'i with her husband. HER second husband, I might add. Her mom told me all about how she took off with husband #2 and eloped... didn't tell a soul about the nuptials. Wild GIRL!

Sometimes she comes out of the house half-dressed. She wears a pair of shorts with a lavalava wrapped around her chest. She does yard work like that. Hangs the laundry on the line like that. Secretly, I'm jealous that she's so free and so comfortable with her body. She really doesn't care who's looking at her. Stretch marks and all.

Her husband is African-American. I know he's not African because he definitely speaks like an American. He's a really nice guy. Her first husband was African-American also but I never met him. Obviously her preference is outside of her Polynesian heritage. Some people are just like that. They don't have any kids yet. I wonder what the hold up is.

She talks really loud and laughs really loud. When her cousin's from down the road come over and they're all together -- the loud laughter is sometimes unbearable. I mean it is really loud. But laughter usually means happiness so I guess it's okay.

They just started a garden and they have the long squash vine crawling along their wall. It's so pretty. I love to see fresh produce growing. They have a Hawaiian lemon tree growing also. It never seems to run out of fruit except for maybe 2 months out of the year. They also have strawberries crawling on the ground, cherry tomatoes, several banana trees. That is one of the great things of living in the tropic region.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

NEW Blog Challenge

I love a good blog challenge. I didn't finish the last blog challenge I started mostly because there were duplicates... and that gets wayyyy boring!! Hopefull this will perk up my "LACK OF" inspiration.

Thank you to a dear sista for extending the challenge to me. I hope any or all readers take on some of the topics. It would be so fun to read!

Bring it on! One at a time would have been nice.

  1. Write a story from your neighbor’s perspective
  2. Who is your greatest hero of all time?
  3. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
  4. Are you an optimist, a pessimist, or something else?
  5. If you had your own reality show, what would it be called? What would it be about? Who would the main characters be?
  6. What’s one piece of technology you can’t live without?
  7. What’s going on in your life right now that’s driving you nuts?
  8. If you could live forever, would you? Why or why not?
  9. If stranded on a desert island, and could only bring one music album with you, which would it be? What is it about this music that never gets old for you?
  10. Who are the three funniest people in the world? Who are the three funniest people you know personally?
  11. What’s your idea for a perfect Sunday? How would it differ from a typical Sunday? If it’s Sunday where you are, what kind of day is it so far?
  12. What is your favorite sound?
  13. What are three things you can do to be a better friend to the people in your life?
  14. How do you define the word friend?
  15. Is it always better to know the truth, even when it hurts? 
  16. Describe what your laugh sounds like. 
  17. What’s the single most important thing you accomplished in 2010? And how do you plan to top it in 2011

Well, good luck everyone. I look forward to reading all of your responses.

Have a great day!



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**Cartoon credit

Friday, February 04, 2011

RECIPE: Oatcake (My Copycat)

I have been a fan of the Oatcake for a very long time... well, at least the Oatcakes that are served at most Starbucks Coffee Houses on O'ahu. They are the most delicious and filling pastry that I have ever had for breakfast. This is my recipe that I played around with and it comes pretty close to my coffee house fave. It is a COPYCAT from an article I clipped in the Star Bulletin.

1-1/2 CUP Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 CUP All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
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1 CUP warm water
1 CUP Blueberries (frozen is fine just be sure to thaw it; you can also use dried or fresh)
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4 CUP oats
1 CUP dried, sweetened cranberries
1/2 CUP raisins
1/2 CUP blueberries
1/2 CUP applesauce
1/2 CUP oil
1/2 CUP brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
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DIRECTIONS:

**PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 degrees**

1. Sift together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt). You can play with the combination of whole wheat and all-purpose flour until you get the right consistency. You can even go all whole wheat if that is what you prefer although it does tend to get really dry. If you go all white flour, this oatcake will quickly turn into a scone. I plan to experiment with other types of flour like soy or rice for a lower-gluten version.

2. Blend together the warm water and blueberries. Blending makes a difference. I think it's what gives the Starbucks Oatcake its distinct color. In the picture I posted, I DID NOT blend the blueberry thus... the cake looks brown. However, in earlier experiments with the recipe, I did blend and it does make allll the difference. Today I was just lady to get out the blender then have to clean it. :-(

3. In a separate bowl, mix the remainder of the ingredients (Oats, fruits, oil, applesauce, eggs, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla). Applesauce can be substituted for the oil to make this healthier fare but I found that all applesauce is too dry. The oil makes a big difference for me. You can play with the combination of oil to applesauce but make sure that you keep it at 1 cup. For instance, you can change the recipe to be 3/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup oil. That's actually going to be my next experiment and I will use extra virgin, cold pressed coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.

4. Add blueberry/water mixture to the oats mixture. Stir well before adding the flour.

5. Fold in the dry ingredients, one cup at a time. Once you add the flour, do not overwork it. I usually stir the mixture about 10 times to incorporate the flour into the wet ingredients and thats it. Overworking the flour will cause it to be TOUGH and too chewy. I like the texture to be crumbly.

6. Prepare 9x13 pan with Pam or a muffin tin -- whatever you prefer. I have not experimented with a muffin tin so you have to be careful with the cooking time. Keep an eye on it.

7. In a 9x13 pan -- bake for 25-30 minutes. If you use a muffin tin -- you're on your own. I don't know what the timing is.  :-)

Happy Baking!