Archive for the ‘Box of bacon’ Category

If you are one of the lucky few that have no idea what you are looking at, I envy you. There is nothing comforting about people dressed up in strange costumes, jumping around and causing mayhem, unless of course it’s Godzilla. I had the recent pleasure of being introduced to DJ Lance Rock and Company while visiting Tonya last month. The same Yo Gabba Gabba video looped in the background for 4 days straight. I learned to keep my hands to myself, the importance of sharing and that talking vegetables will do just about anything to end up in your stomach. I also learned that Mark Mothersbaugh can also draw.

 

 

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This is the first of Series Two, Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio. In S1 I painted all the pieces at once, working on 4 at one time. For S2 I have painted the base of all 9 but am going to finish them all individually. Not because I’m lazy as much as I have other projects that I am working on and also wanted to spend more time on each individual piece.
S2 is less naked women eating one another and more playful zombie action. Padma and Tom is an example of such and is timely in the sense that Anna and I had the opportunity to have dinner and drinks with Ming Tsai one Wednesday.
Enjoy!

So, here is my zombie army.
A few weeks ago I decided to do a watercolor study on Bikini Girls. But after a while I thought, ‘Why stop at girls in bikinis?’. That was when I decided to paint celebrities instead. To recap, these are my celebrity zombie watercolor paintings that I just finished. They depict people that we all have heard of, and some of them are naked. BE WARNED! If you are the type of person that can’t stand the sight of an undead, half-naked woman, eating people, then what’s wrong with you? I mean, avert your eyes.
To those who would label me a zombie sexist, in my defense, I would like to state that in the next series I will be including men and other detestable creatures.
I made a video slide show of them all and posted it on my website as well as youtube, if you want to take a look you’ll also have to be subjected to my caterwauling. I decided to post them individually because I always screw up the album somehow.
Also, before anyone cries, ‘Pervert!’ I will have you know that Anna picked all of the models except for ‘Daddy’s Girl’.
These are on 11×15 Canson 90# cold press paper, painted with Reeves (series 2 will be painted with Holbein colors), and were all painted at the same time.
Enjoy?

It’s roughly been 12 years since I stopped playing music. Not that I haven’t picked up the guitar now and then to make noodles, but that isn’t the same. Playing in a band for a solid ten years, practicing 3 nights a week and playing shows on the weekend, takes up a tremendous amount of time and energy. Needless to say, when that all stopped it left a considerable vacuum in my life. Add that frenetic pace to the way that our band just slowly came apart, left me with a bad taste that only time could cleanse away.

I’m either all in or out. That’s how I do things. So ‘dabbling’ in music was not an option. If I planned on doing anything music-wise it was going to have to be a complete re-immersion (although not nearly to prior levels!).

Back in February I got a wild hair and decided that the time had come for me to see if I had anything left in me, musically. I went out and bought a new electric guitar, bass, electronic drums, digital mixing board, and a couple of amps. Anna and I rearranged the office to accommodate it all, and in an instant I had a place to make noise.

The first thing that I noticed about playing music by myself was that it’s lonely. Not sad, lonely, but the collaborative spark of others was something that I had taken for granted all of those years ago. Now that I had no one to bounce ideas off of, it was truly like learning to write songs all over again. I was excited at the prospect of having full control over what was being produced but the lack of a counterpoint(s) made me second guess myself more than I was used to, in the context of creating music.

Since I don’t write or read music, the first thing that I needed to do was come up with a system of putting the music on paper so that I would have a reference. When I played with other people, I would simply remember all of the music. But recalling the queues would often be triggered from the other instruments and since there weren’t any, I would have to come up with a system. This would prove to be the biggest challenge.

Eventually, I figured out a way. The result looks more like an algebraic equation that anything, but it did the job. Once I had this template (which combined all the instruments at once), I was ready to go.

This song is a bastardized version of what it originally started off being and the loneliness that I spoke about earlier is somewhat apparent in this tune. I have always gravitated to the slower, dirge-esque tempo but fully understand that an album full of down beat music is just that. I don’t know in which direction I will be heading on my new reunion with music, but I’m certain that the journey will be the reward.

Here is the link to the song, which is free to download, just drag and drop.

Hope that you enjoy it.

Aloha.

Download Song: Penumbra

Once you have clicked on the link above, go to the BLUE link at the bottom of the page to download the tune.

Part 2

To many people, Hawaii is that magical land where clothing is optional, the sun always shines and the most difficult part of your day is deciding on which beach to visit. The trees are thick with all sorts of fresh, exotic fruit, the sea teems with every type of delicious fish imaginable. The people who live there have nothing to do but weave hats from pandanus leaves and sip drinks from coconuts with a straw. Everyone is tanned and healthy, there is rarely any crime and shoes are those things that horses wear. Well, that may have been true 40 years ago, but things have since changed.

Back then, aloha was something that just happened. It was there when you went to the local bakery for a dougnut and they gave you a half dozen malasadas to take home to your grandmother because they accidentally made extra and were her favorite. Or, when your neighbor gave you a few bags of smoked meat or opihi because they knew that you liked to serve delicious pupus during Monday Night Football. But aloha wasn’t only about giving and receiving, it was also about family and unity. Aloha was the foundation on which every Hawaiian built his or her character.

Now, it has become a rare commodity.

I live in the town where my mother grew up. It’s still a small speck of houses, at the end of the road on the Northern tip of the island. People wave at one another when they pass on the road. Everyone knows what everyone is else is doing (or think that they know, at any rate). Sure people smile, and for the most part are not rude to one another, but this is not aloha.

Most people who’ve move here or those who have come here on vacation have no idea that this bastardized aloha is not the genuine article. There would be no way for them to know. To most transplants, aloha is the fact that the big moke at the beach didn’t kick your butt or call you a racial slur, when you accidentally stepped on his luau feet. Or, that the check out girl at the grocery store called you uncle or aunty, which could be construed as a affectionate term, but in reality, was said because she forgot your name. To the untrained eye, aloha is alive. Maybe not well, but alive still the same.

The unfortunate truth is that aloha is dead. It has been for some time. Just when this tragedy occurred is not clear, but I imagine that the death throes began somewhere around the time that I was born. More specifically, around the time that the plantations began closing and the the hotel industry began to flourish.

At the middle of the last century, Hawaii was no longer viewed as simply another island outpost, run rampant with godless natives that needed to be whipped into shape, modernized and educated. It had become of strategic interest to many different countries who had already established themselves there. The logging industry and whaling industry had come and were on their collective way out. There needed to be another form of industry that could capitalize on the temperate climate and cheap labor force that Hawaii had to offer.

Enter the plantations. Sugar cane became the new king.

There were 5 main sugar plantation companies, all eager to ride their cash cows into the sunset. During the mid 1800’s the workers began to organize, demanding more pay and better working conditions. The plantations owners responded by getting rid of those upstarts and bringing in a new labor force from various Asian and European countries. Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Puerto Rican and Portuguese were brought in by the boat load to harvest Hawaiian sugar cane. Whenever one ethnicity began complaining about wages and working conditions they were replaced by another.

I won’t get into the politics or fallout of such practices, but I will say that during this time Hawaii began to undergo a transformation that put it on track to becoming the racially diverse melting pot that it is today. It is also important to mention that during the assimilation of those various ethnicities into Hawaiian society, those immigrants were educated about the importance of preserving the endemic island culture. Children were taught about Hawaiian history in school, they learned the language (to a certain degree), and while retaining their own heritage, began to adopt the Hawaiian spirit as an extension of their own. The idea of aloha, of having and sharing love for the land and the people was sustained despite the radically different origins of those new immigrants.

My grandparents generation lived and practiced aloha; I see it in the way that their generation interacts with one another. There is a certain harmony that guides them, an unspoken kindness and affability that is not so common in subsequent generations.

They are the last, the keepers of the flame. When they all pass away, so will what remains of the true spirit of aloha.

But why? What caused this decline?

The answer is as simple as it is complex, but in a nutshell it had to do with trading happiness with happiness and more importantly just trying to survive.

Part 1

Things were better when I was a kid.

Life wasn’t something that required a credit card, a password or any device with an acronymic name to enjoy. I wasn’t counting calories, concerned about keeping my sugar or sodium intake in check and certainly didn’t give a damn about my abs.

We had 3 channels on TV, the radio played rock, oldies and disco and you had 2 types of blue jeans to choose from: Levi’s or Wranglers. One made you a rad, the other made people gag with a spoon. The two fast food joints were known for their differences; one flame broiled their patties, the other fried them, and you chose were to dine according to your mood.

But those were luxuries found only on the mainland. In the islands, you could go to Tex’s Drive In, Dick’s Coffee Shop or Cafe 100, distinguished only by the quality of their gravy. You wore the pants that were handed down to you or bought on sale at Woolworth’s.

At night on the black and white, you could watch Star Trek re-runs if the rabbit ears were cooperating, followed by Happy Days and Lavern and Shirley. Your choice of footwear was simple: Rubber boots, rubber slippers or cowboy boots; farmer, beach bum, hillbilly.

Life was simple: Get up, eat a loco moco at Cafe 100, go to Itsu’s to buy bait, beer and hotdogs, head down to 4 mile to fish all day while my dad drank with his friends on the side of the road.

How much better could life be?

Star Wars? Oh yeah, I saw that in the movie theater. Ditto, Raider’s of the Lost Ark. Video games? That was when the ONLY place that kids wanted to be was the arcade, and it cost money. The look on your parent’s face as they forked over another fiver whose fate it was to be fed mercilessly into machines that returned the investment with sound effects and perspiration, priceless.

It was a simpler time.

There weren’t as many people, traffic was something that occurred in places like New York or LA, fantastical places unto themselves. People were friendly to one another; they didn’t exchange suspicious looks. No one worried about being mugged, tagged, flash mobbed or twittered about. There wasn’t H5N1, mad cow, GMO crops or Ethanol. No one had to worry about someone stealing their PIN or piggy-backing on their WLAN.

However, what existed in abundance was aloha.

Aloha: Hello, goodbye, love. Those were the good old days. So, where did it all go?

Recently, my wife Anna and I went to visit my mom in Idaho. She was born and raised on the Big Island back in the plantation days, which according to her, was a time that was less glamorous than it sounds. Back then, they were lucky if they got a new potato sack dress for Christmas. They ate what  grew in the garden or was raised in a pen. They watched the knobs on the tube radio.

Life was simple, perhaps too simple.

My mother saw living in Hawi as a trap, a dead end. She wanted more for herself and her son, so as soon as she could she packed me up and headed to the mainland. Although I returned to my home to spend summers with my father and the rest of my family over the next decade, my mother never looked back. She was done.

But I digress.

Despite the fact that the only racism that I have ever experienced in my life occurred in Idaho (granted that was before Idaho underwent a ‘cultural revolution’, yikes), upon returning with Anna, I encountered some of friendly folks that I had met in years.

Genuinely friendly, people.

Cashiers making minimum wage who were eager to engage in conversation over the health benefits of quinoa. Strangers on the street or in the malls that were smiling at one another. Waiters who really seemed to care if our french fries were crispy enough for us, who were willing to stand over the fryer themselves to ensure that we received the deep-fried, chipped spuds of our liking. It was both refreshing and alarming. Refreshing because I was beginning to think that geniality was dead, alarming because I live in the aloha state, which has become, over time, bereft of its intrinsic commodity.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t fantasize about living in Celebration, nor am I the type of person who enjoys engaging door-to-door solicitors of any kind, in any sort of debate. I enjoy my space as much as the next guy or girl. I prefer to sit in the least crowded section of a restaurant, I turn the chat function off on Facebook.

Am I guilty of killing aloha? Did the ideal somehow arrive at its current moribund state because of something that I or my generation had done? Now that we carry, at any given time, an average of three devices on our person that can not only receive radio, TV and streaming data, but help us find our way, do our taxes and make phone calls, shouldn’t we all be happier? Perhaps a better question would be: Where has our happiness gone?

Back from Idaho and none too soon. Apparently a massive front was in the process of moving into Boise on the day of our departure with a forecast of 20 inches of snow! I don’t know if we would have been able to fly out in that weather. We enjopyed our stay, visiting with my mom and her boyfriend, but I am a creature of heat, humidity and sun. Layering clothes is not something that I enjoy. Nor are frozen metatarsals or the phenomena known as snow.

Looking at our itinerary and doing the math we came to the conclusion that Delta had deliberately misled us. To fly into and out of Boise on Delta required a stop over in Salt Lake City, which to those familiar with geography, is in a state that is east of Idaho, meaning past our destination. I could understand this (somewhat) because Boise is not a hub of any kind and so going backwards to go forwards makes some rational sense, I suppose (although my previous trips to Boise, departing from California were all direct. Hmmm…). At any rate, upon leaving Boise our itinerary stated that we would take one airplane to SLC, where we would board another airplane that would bring us back home to Kona. However, when we did the math in regards to total travel time, it amounted to nearly 12 hours! Now I love Integral Calculus as much as the next guy (cough, cough, sputter) but our trip to Boise, which consisted of 3 airplane rides took 5 hours (Kona to Portland), 1.25 hours (Portland to SLC), and .75 hours (SLC to Boise), respectively. Using my handy-dandy brain I arrived at the total of flying time of 7 hours with 2.5 hours of lay-over time. So, 9.5 hours, give or take a Canadian Goose in the engine. Why was the return trip, with one less airplane, taking an extra 2.5 hours? Did flying East to West somehow take longer? Did it involve the rotation of the earth, atmospheric conditions undisclosed, or the mysterious Potato Triangle? Were we flying forward in time which required an extra 2.5 hours for our past selves to catch up with our present? Unfortunately, the answer was much less glamorous and involved transportation subterfuge of the likes that we have never before witnessed.

After numerous attempts to reconcile the missing 2.5 hours by visiting the Delta site, calling the airline (“Sorry, but due to bad weather, we are not able to answer your call”. Since when did weather and picking up a phone share any commonalities?) and consulting the Ouija board, Jenga sculpture and passing up the chance to buy Boardwalk, we came across a nugget of information that shed light on our flight plight.
Hidden in our flight from SLC to Kona was a ghost plane!
Wait, that is kinda glamorous. No, but really, it wasn’t.
Apparently, once we left SLC we landed in California (LAX) where we deplaned, waited for 2 hours and then boarded another aircraft (both airplanes sharing the same flight number) which then took us home to Hawaii. Thus we found the missing 2.5 hours. Yay! But why all the sneaking on their part, why not just come out and say that there was another flight and save everyone the displeasure of having to bust out a graphing calculator? Well, it seems that Delta likes to oversell flights and then cut those overbooked people out just as they board the airplane. By not disclosing that information it also helps to mitigate those angry folks who suck at math and/or reading itineraries, that like to jam switchboards with their concerns. The bottom line? It’s bad business. And we will never fly Delta again if we can help it.

So, 12 hours later we are sitting at home and my head feels like the inside of a snow shoe. The ringing in my ears is at a constant 140db and I’m chomping at the bit to move around the cabin.
Upon waking this morning, I felt disoriented, half-dead, half-alive; Schrodinger’s Cat without the lesson plan.

The appeal of sea travel entices me now, more than ever. Mainly because ships don’t make stops in Idaho or Utah or for that matter, anywhere that there is a delta.