A while back I had the treat of a behind the scenes tour of the Honolulu Zoowith the Bytemarks gang. Bytemarks is a group of local nerds led by Bert Lumwho meet for lunch once a month and take on adventures that most normal peeps don’t get to see. And we are definitely not “normal” …Bytemarks members range from IT people, engineers, a librarian, me the token Realtor, photographers and mad scientists. The common ground is that we all share a love of technology.
Welcome to the Honolulu Zoo!
Our Zoo tour was led by Tommy Higashino, a 37-year veteran zoo assistant director. We started off with a yummy lunch hosted by the Zoo at the “Snack Bar”, which surprisingly had really great food. We then moved on to the Tiger Zone where we learned about the care and feeding of the Big Kitties and that some cubs had successfully made it to Zoos in Japan. The cubs were scheduled to go earlier, but then the Tsunami hit.
Hot fence helps prevent jail breaks...
Now we head to the new Elephant Enclosure, and got the chance to get in the area before the new tenants were moved in.
A much nicer home than the old digs, the new hacienda features several swimming pools as well as expanded grounds.
Can you spot the elephant?
The new Elephant home features state of the art technology to control the big kids if they get into an Elephant Hissy Fit and become potentially dangerous. Essentially it is like the trash compactor from Star Wars that has panels to enclose and hold the elephant securely. The elephant is then turned over onto it’s side which calms it down enough so that attendants can administer whatever needs to be done to control the situation!
Dr. Ben has Mr. Fox in Quarantine before he can meet his new girlfriend... The Fox's girlfriend, not Docs
From there we moseyed over to the veterinarian clinic to meet up with Dr. Ben Okimoto. The new 7,000-square-foot clinic was dedicated in 2005 and is an up-to-date facility, complete with rooms for exams, X-rays, surgery and recovery. It allows medical staff to keep sick animals away from those in for routine examinations. It also serves as a morgue for autopsies as well as a quarantine area for new animals joining the Zoo from outside Hawaii.
In the Zoo Kitchen, everybody gets special food every day!
We finished up our tour at the Kitchen. Not the Snack Bar Kitchen, this one is dedicated to preparing meals for all the animals every day. Special diets for everybody can include “Fuzzies”, which are depicted here with their own special walk in cooler. A tasty meal of Adult Mice, anyone?
Fuzzies are Fuzzalicious!
We all had a really great time and learned a lot of information from Tommy and Doctor Ben. We appreciate the Zootabulous Tour!
Asian Pacific Economic Conference snarls Honolulu Roadways
Road closures, rerouted traffic and restricted parking are going to plague Oahu until the Dog and Pony Show disbands on November 13th. And parks and beaches will also be closed, find out where and when here! Oh, and here too…I’ll keep y’all updated as to any thing else around town you might need to know. All of Oahu will be under lock down when Michell takes the First Wives Club on a tour of the Island…
Yikes! It’s the end of October already. I have been experiencing serious writer’s block and remiss in keeping up on posting here… Or maybe I’ve just been lazy?
But since it’s nearing Halloween in Honolulu, I’m going to fill you in on some scary treats that are happening around the Island this time of year. Back in the ‘90’s I went on a “Honolulu Ghost Walk” hosted by Glen Grant, a local master of the Hawaiian myths and legends surrounding Oahu’s spookiest places. My personal experience was very creepy; Chinatown under a full moon is scary enough without hearing tales of murder and mayhem as you stroll through the streets.
Vampire Bagel is watching you...
Glen passed away in 2003 and a new group, Oahu Ghost Tours, has continued the tradition. I have not personally been on any of their tours, but have heard some positive comments from friends that have. And they go all over Oahu in a van to haunted hangouts, not just tour in town. They do state that some of the content is not appropriate for younger children, so parents should contact them before booking a tour.
Pumpkin Pics Courtesy of Aloun Farms
More keiki friendly is theAloun Farms Pumpkin Patch in Kapoleiwhere kids of all ages can tour the pumpkin patch and pick out their own Great Pumpkin to take home and carve into a jack ‘o lantern!
Raising the Scary O’ Meter up a notch requires visiting the Dole Plantation Haunted Mazewhich helps raise money for some of the local schools, as well as raising goosebumps…
Redlining the Scary O’ Meter in my book is theHaunted Lagoonat the Polynesian Cultural Center. Hop on a frightening canoe ride and see the Laie Lady. The first time I did it was scarier than me looking in the mirror first thing in the morning… and that is truly terrifying!
And speaking of looking terrifying the morning after the night before, there are plenty of adult parties going on around town as well. Pretty much every bar in Waikiki has some sort of costume contest, and the people watching is as much fun as it gets! Check it out here for more info.
It’s that time of year in Hawaii; time to make sure you have a Hurricane Survival Kit. Of course this is assuming you are in an area where you won’t have to evacuate and can stay put. We’ll talk about putting together a “Bug Out Bag” in another post.
This batch of goodies is a great way to not only be prepared for a major catastrophe, but also helps during those longer than expected power outages.
Why do they name us after women? Does this wind make my butt look big?
A couple of cases of bottled water are great, but you also need a 5-gallon water keg. Fill it full before the storm and use it first. You can never have too much potable water. If you have a bathtub, fill it with water at the first storm watch notification. Remember, you not only need to drink the stuff, but you also have to flush that toilet!
Spam. It’s what’s for breakfast. And lunch and dinner, too. Well, here in Hawaii we eat a lot of the stuff. Add canned soups and other easy to heat or eat cold foods. I actually ordered supplies from Wise Foods and the meals are really very good. They also come in containers you can take with you to a shelter if you have to Bug Out.
Grab a small camping grill and a few small cylinders of propane. Unless you already have a backyard Man Cave BBQ set up, these are a must. Oh, and don’t fire up anything, charcoal or propane indoors. The idea is to live through the hurricane, not die of stupidity.
Not only do you need full tanks in all your vehicles, but also for the grill and generator, if you have one. Get this stuff ahead of time; don’t wait to sit in line with other procrastinators at the pump at 3 AM once the storm is inevitable. I work at filling it up as soon as I’m down to a half tank. Not only for storm preparedness, but also because we have the worst drivers here on Oahu and either roads get closed due to accidents all the time, or the commute time turns H1 into a parking lot.
Flashlights, camping lanterns and other lighting to keep the scary monsters away from you in the dark.
Buy the old fashioned disposable kind. Yea, the granola eaters will gripe, but what good are rechargeable batteries when you don’t have power?
Can you survive without one? Yes, but it makes things way easier. Pick up a small 2000watt portable generator. They run around $1,000 or so and it’ll power what you need, run quiet and has a very small footprint. Don’t forget to run it outdoors not in the living room. And don’t forget the fuel…
I don't know what it is, but it's got Bacon. So all is well!
These plug into your car’s cigarette lighter or power port as the politically correct call them now, and covert alternating current into direct current. With the right size converter you can run just about anything short term. Just keep the car running. Remember that Fuel thing?
Portable Television and Radio
A small, portable, battery powered TV is a must for keeping your eye on the storm. Of course, if the TV stations are down, make sure you have a radio.
This is one of those things you really need. And I do pay for a landline, even though I use my cell 99.999% of the time. But cells go down in big storms, and I want my family to know I’m ok.
No power, no phone, no way to process credit cards, no service. Everyone takes cash; so make sure you have a stash while the ATM is still working. Because what do ATMs run on? Electricity!
You can get these up to 10 inches, and move a lot of air for a long period of time. It’s enough to keep you cool over night.
Get a stovetop percolator you can use on the grill.
Portable DVD Player
Bored? Pop in a movie to pass the time. These things are designed to run a couple of movies on a single charge. You’ll thank me later.
No DVD Player?
Stock up on some good old-fashioned paperbacks. I loves me my Kindle, but without a way to charge it up it’s not the first round draft choice…
I don’t know anybody that likes to move. Except for perhaps Moving Companies…
Organizing, weeding out stuff, packing it & moving it are some of my least favorite things. So I’ve put together some tips gleaned from my many moving disasters and some successes. Learn form me, Grasshopper!
Before you move: PURGE! Get rid of old clothes that you think you may diet down and fit again in this century. Do you really need four sets of everyday dishes? Old ratty t-shirts and shorts to do yard work in? (Oh, wait…I don’t DO yard work!) I am famous for moving these things, then throwing them out when I get to my new place, muttering to myself as to why the heck I paid to move this stuff.
A totally moving experience
Hire professional movers. Why you ask? Well, you can pull your tooth out with a string and a doorknob, why go to a Dentist?
Clearly label boxes with contents and the room they will go in and tag furniture as well. This seems like a no brainer, but people often walk around and throw odds and ends for a bathroom into a box labeled “Garage” because there is room in that box. It’s a curling iron, not a tire iron…
Prepare a Moving Survival Kit for the new home. Clocks, box cutters, change of clothes, pain relievers, snacks, disposable dishware, extension cords, batteries,a couple of flashlights in case the power has menehunes, sheets and towels, medications, basic tools, cleaning supplies, trash bags, pet food and toys, TOILET PAPER!!!, work gloves, bottled water and toys for the kids. Have the movers put this box in the room closest to the entrance to your new home. In plain view, not hidden behind other boxes. You’ll thank me for this one. Oh, I throw in a box of Franzia Chablis as well for attitude adjustment… And did I say Toilet Paper?
Coffee Break already?
If you have hired movers, be present for the pickup and delivery. Check the movers inventory sheets, ensuring all items are accounted for. Give the movers an inventory list with serial numbers, make, and model of your key possessions. Make a floor plan of your new home and label the rooms to help the movers match boxes that say “Bedroom 1”, “Den”, etc. with each room.
It’s also nice to have cold bottled water in a cooler available for the moving crew. A little kindness goes a long way on a hot day!
The last thing you want is a child getting injured because they are in the way. This is a good day to let kids stay with a friend or relative. Pack their belongings ahead of time with them so they feel part of the process, but having them underfoot when the movers are carrying your sofa through the door is a recipe for disaster. Make it a priority to get your child settled into their room first. This helps them feel more comfortable with their surroundings and begin to adapt.
Pets get really stressed out with a move. I’ve moved with my pets and kept them in a spare room, but really the best thing for them is board them for a day or two. They go from one home to another with a lot less stress. My cats were boarded at the vets this last move and they did much better coming into a new place where I was relatively settled after two days rather than throwing them into chaos.
Remember the Pets don't like to move , either!
Let the neighbors know your dates and ask them if they would make arrangements for giving you street space. It is a courtesy and you will need parking for the moving trucks and friends and family vehicles. Of course, if you have friends like mine they will conveniently be out of town on your moving day and won’t be able to help, so that solves their parking issues!
Either hand-carry or send valuables via registered and insured mail services.
Do a last minute walk through to ensure you have not left anything behind. Lock the doors and windows, turn off thermostat/lights and make sure the faucets and toilet are shut off (if applicable).
We likez da new place!
Well, that’s it in a nutshell, or should I say moving box… stressful, frustrating and more expensive than you thought; moving is not fun.
I made a checklist you can download hereto help you keep on track.
But grit your teeth, get uber organized and “Git ‘er done”. Once you’re finished it is a great relief to be in your new place. Go out and explore your new neighborhood. Treat yourself to some chocolate. And you will forget all about it. Until your next move.
I moved to a new place on June 30th. Did everything like I said in my article. Except for one little teeny thing. Remember that part about Labeling the Boxes? You need to be specific, especially on those last minute boxes that you will be throwing stuff in as the moving van is ready to pull out of the driveway. I labeled a box “Kitchen”. Thinking it was just extra kitch stuff, I left the box unopened at the new place for a couple of weeks. Ever know what a Rubbermaid Container full of cheese smells like after it has been sitting in 89 degree heat in Hawaii, closed up for weeks? I do now! So be VERY specific…and fear the Box O’ Cheese!