Thursday, March 31, 2011


Kalihiwai Bay, Island of Kauai
(Photo courtesy of Silas K. Aqui)

Hooked on the NFL?

Guess what!  Due to failed negotiation talks between owners and the NFL players' union, there may very well NOT be a pro football season this year.  (Can you hear housewives across America sending up a collective cheer?)

As a man who thoroughly enjoys football at all levels as well as being an avid fan of the Seattle Seahawks (see a humorous post on my sister blog, Hawaiian Odysseus 2:, I have been mesmerized into marking the seasons of my life with the viewing of college and professional sports.  I also confess that there were periods in my life when I struggled with compulsive sports betting, the majority of wagers having to do with professional football.  Perhaps I figured that as long as I didn't change my name to Pete Rose, I was perfectly justified.

I'm thankful that those days are behind me.*  

But my original intent of this post was to offer similarly situated NFL fans (who may not be looking for but may nevertheless be very much in need of) a healthy diversion.  One that's absolutely commercial-free.  One where you don't have to put up with that irritating robot athlete who shows up on your screen with just about every time out.  One where physical activity involves more than getting up from the sofa and walking a few feet to the fridge (and, boy! there'd better be fan-generic food and beverage in there!).  One where you know at the end of the day that you truly are a fanatic because you're at one of  the polar extremes--you're either pleasantly fatigued from the release of all that cathartic energy, or you're somber and depressed because your favorite team stunk up the entire stadium!

My friends, I invite you to take up the spectator AND participant sport of


Everyone knows at least one person in their circle of family, friends, and followers (you know, I like the fact that I've made some progress--albeit late in the afternoon of my life--in becoming more social networking-savvy) who has either participated in fly tying, fly fishing, or both.  

As viewers of my past blog posts are well aware,  my wife and I own a small online eBay business called


At the time of this post, we are selling Tiemco and Dai-Riki fishing hooks only.  My goal by year's end is to triple the store's inventory, eventually carrying other fly tying materials (like furs, feathers, and synthetics); books, DVDs; etc.  As my wife and I enter our retirement years, it'll be great to stay economically as well as socially involved with our faithful and ever-growing customer base.  Plus, I love how wonderful it's been to incorporate my passion for writing (e.g., my two blogs--Hawaiian Odysseus and Hawaiian Odysseus 2) with our small business development.

Anyhow, I want to encourage all couch potatoes--a group of which I am chief!--to at least begin Googling and reading about this fun pastime.  It involves physical activity rather than sedentary channel surfing; it involves sun instead of LED or plasma; it is about memory-preserving pictures rather than pixels; and it could possibly have a little or a lot with injecting more fun and frolic into your marriage or significant relationship.

And--in the beginning as well as throughout your fly fishing career--if we can serve you via our small business, Lords of the Fly, we would be greatly honored and appreciative.

So, who cares if there's no NFL season this year?  Hopefully, like us, you're on your way to not caring, either.

There's more fish to fry...or, going for the touchdown of political correctness, catch and release!


*I always aspire to be fair with those who disagree with my opinions.  In that spirit of equity, then, here is a link for those who are interested:

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Dylan and Joe--Just Two Wild and Kolohe Guys!
(Photo courtesy of Kathleen W.)

Three days ago, I had the pleasure of having family visitors from Kauai.  Needless to say, their sweet aloha and warm personalities were a wonderful contrast to the seemingly bipolar weather that has recently beset the Emerald City.  I think the sun is starting to win the Who's Going to Dominate the Sky Today? competition, however, and I'm convinced that my loved ones tipped the scales by bringing some of the Hawaii weather up least for a little bit.

Featured above with yours truly is the charismatic, vibrant, and adventuresome Dylan Imaikalani Watanabe, my five-year-old grand-nephew.  For your information, Dylan is highlighted in several of my humorous posts   on the close cousin blog to Hawaiian Odysseus, aptly named Hawaiian Odysseus 2.

Just in case, let me provide you with a link to HO2:

In fact, if you get a chance to view HO2 sometime soon, you will see a recent post on there (which I'm working on in my head just yet) that uses the same image as that above.

Okay, now that we've taken care of that detail, we can proceed.

Dylan is a very special child and is a permanent guest in my heart.  When I first met him a couple of years ago, he instantly won my affection.  The best way I can describe the close bond I feel with him is that he reminds me of the little boy that was me, fifty-plus years ago.  On some level that I don't quite yet understand, when I think of or interact with him, I am attending to that little boy growing up on Kauai in the 1950's when Hawaii was still a territory. 

And so we come to the gist of these two blogs that I pen--Hawaiian Odysseus and Hawaiian Odysseus 2.  The first is a more serious look at life and Everyman's journey to find himself.  For me, personally, it is a challenging trek, and I embrace each fork or curious bend in the road, each passage of imposing body of water, and each Cyclops, siren, Scylla and Charybdis, Calypso the nymph, Circe, and angry Poseidon passionately and voraciously.  Why?  Because to experience the process of working through and maybe even overcoming these obstacles and adversaries means that I am getting closer to going my queen, to my castle, and--most importantly--to my true sense of self.

It may be Everyman's journey, to be sure, but this blog seeks to chronicle my unique homeward trek to metaphorical Ithaca. 

The Greek playwrights and their successors knew and  understood the value of balancing life's scales.  If there is tragedy, then there must also be comic relief.  Real survival relies on this yin-yang balance.

This is where Hawaiian Odysseus 2 comes in.  It is light humor--sometimes obvious, sometimes cryptic, sometimes sophisticated, sometimes elementary school playground.  But foremost and always, it is a wonderful complement to Hawaiian Odysseus.

And it is my earnest prayer that my faithful followers and casual readers will review both blogs.  Undoubtedly, you will prefer one over the other, but just as the need exists for this writer to invest in both in order to maintain mental, emotional, and spiritual stability, you--the reader--will welcome a similar respite at times.

So, back to Dylan...he will pop up as the featured attraction now and then in the HO2 posts.  And when he does, I hope you smile and/or laugh your heart off.  

Thank you for your gracious attentiveness.

Aloha and mahalo!  See you around the next bend...


Friday, March 25, 2011


Photo courtesy of

1.  Use the bathroom.  You may have more than your creative juices blocked.

2.  Go for a walk.  It might be related to # 1 above.  I mean, why do we walk dogs?

3.  If you're an adult, living on your own, call your bmf or bff up.  If you're an adult living at home, I feel sorry for you.  Refer to # 1.  If you're a minor, go straight to your Facebook page, do your social media thing, and I guarantee that you will be in the mood to write.

4.  Take off your house slippers, shoes, flip flops, or whatever else you wear on your feet, and jog around the block.  I promise you--the stimulation will radiate from your feet to all parts of your being.

5.  For the more athletically inclined, stand in front of your sofa (or chair)  about--oh, say--a foot and a half away.  Visualize yourself doing this next procedure first.  (If you aren't ready to visualize it happening, go back to bed.)  From a standing position, bend your knees and then quickly jump onto the sofa.  Do this five times in rapid succession.  That should bring some oxygen to your brain.

6.  Pretend that your laptop or desktop is your cellphone and that you're texting your friends and followers.

7.  Go to the fridge and get the last can of Rockstar.  Okay, you don't have a Rockstar.  Mountain Dew, Pepsi, Coke, (but no root beer), Sprite, and Dr. Pepper are all okay...second-tier, but they'll still be potentially capable of stimulating your know, that thing that went on hiatus last night.

8.  Watch Hawaii Five-0.  Okay, I'm biased...but not because I'm Hawaiian.  I like how the Kono character has evolved from the original series.  Sometimes I think I'm  still viewing the remade Battlestar Galactica.  Hey, don't judge...I'll do whatever it takes to prime my creativity.

(By the way, for those of you who still haven't figured out that I pen a second blog called, oddly enough, hawaiianodysseus2, here's a funny post from said blog.)

9.  Take a cold shower.  (I figure if it works for pubescent males and frustrated middle-aged husbands, it ought to do wonders to aquatically and metaphorically release the writer's cramp that's irking your noggin.

10.  Last but not least, support your local Starbucks (or Tully's, or Seattle's Best, or whatever your favorite community coffee shop might be--like Aunt Jane's Java Jive or Hula on get the drift).  Next to riding on buses, an hour or two at a coffee shop is the very best way to get intellectually stimulated.  It is definitely a GUAVA JAM of delectable imagery and juicy conversation, especially if you are an adult still living at home with your parents (doggone it, I can't help it, I really, really feel sorry for you guys!).

Anyway, as you may have surmised, the above post was the result of my traveling from my south Seattle neighborhood to the more ritzy Madison Park community.  After a half hour bus ride from downtown Emerald City, I had a couple of slices of pizza and Coke at a non-franchise mom and pop pizzeria.  I then crossed the street to the cosmetically attractive Madison Park Starbucks.  If I'm correct in deciphering bits and pieces I've Googled about this particular shop, it was the inspiration of the Starbucks head coffee bean himself, Howard Schultz.

Here's to your success at unblocking your unique writer's edge!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Majestic 'Opaeka'a Falls
(Photo courtesy of Silas K. Aqui)

The rain was here long before any of us were around to complain about it.

This thought came to mind as I sat in a coffee shop one morning wondering if and when the sun was ever going to come out and play again over the Emerald City.  I was at the Olive Starbucks on Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood at the time, and the raindrops were pummeling the large window to my left.  Seattle rain usually is of the drizzle variety, but on this particular morning, it reminded me more of torrential Hawaiian rain.

Which only reinforces my split personality lifestyle--one mental foot in Hawaii, and the other in Seattle.

Japan is also on my mind.  A lot of people's minds, for that matter.  

Sadly, the death toll in our Asian neighbors' homeland has reached five digits.  The meltdown of the nuclear reactors currently poses an ominous threat to the safety and security of not only the people of Japan but also the populations of other countries.

True to its role as a socioeconomic barometer of global current events, the stock market plummeted and then gained back a small portion of its drop yesterday.  As I write this just before 10:00 AM on Wednesday, March 16th, the Dow is at 11705, a drop of approximately 150 points, or 1.28%.  Understandably, the crisis in Japan figures significantly into the current stock market weakness, but history dictates that the investor's best course is to maintain a cool and calm mindset.

The rain was here long before any of us were around to complain about it.

We need to be mindful that it is not the event but rather our attitude about the event that makes or breaks us.  I will be the first to admit that I have much to learn about keeping my cool under fire.  But at least I can be honest about my weakness in that regard, and that in itself is a beginning.

I purposely selected a photo of 'Opaeka'a Falls for this post today that showed it in all its muddy water glory.  You won't see too many island postcards, if any at all, depicting a brown waterfall.  I mean, it's just not great marketing, is it?

Still, it's a definitive mark of integrity to showcase that which is natural and real and brutally honest.  

We're seeing a lot of that lately in the news.

Here's some additional insight regarding the photo above.  It was taken before the Ka Loko Dam breached  one night, resulting in several people being swept out to sea by a powerful flood.  

Unfortunately, disasters happen.  It's an inevitable intersection where Mother Nature and civilized man 
have a head-on collision. 

Some blame God. Some praise God.  Some don't believe in God but nevertheless point their accusatory fingers at someone else. 

I choose to live by this simple and original homespun adage:

The rain was here long before any of us were around to complain about it.


Monday, March 14, 2011


In two previous blog posts, we featured my brother, Charlie, with good-sized trophy octopi.

(Please click on the following to access referenced blog posts.)

Now, we're pleased to present actual video footage of Charlie capturing an octopus. 

Mahalo, Charlie, for providing us with this wonderful opportunity to view this experience as it happened!


Sunday, March 13, 2011


In the aftermath of the worst earthquake to rock Japan and the ensuing tsunami devastation, we offer prayers and thoughts for the 1800+ victims (as of this writing) and their loved ones.

This post is produced to educate and share observations of interest with our readership and is by no means intended to exploit the Japanese crisis.  

On Friday, March 11th, following an all clear signal from Kauai Civil Defense, my brother, Charlie, immediately drove to Kapaa town to specifically check out the action of the water within the Kapaa Canal as well as the adjacent vicinity where the canal merges with the Pacific Ocean.

Photo 1:  Kapaa Canal
(All photos in this post courtesy of Silas K. Aqui)

Photo 2:  The tsunami high level water travels upstream.  The canal water turns increasingly muddy as the increased volume of water washes the dirt from the banks as well as creates unusual currents that stir up mud from the canal bed. 

Photo 3:  A local fisherman prepares his gear.

Photo 4:  Dirty water coming out from the canal appears to be wrapping itself around the left side of the jetty.

Photo 5:  The current now appears to be going back in--i.e., upstream.

Photo 6:  The ocean water is noticeably cleaner, not as brown as just moments before. This suggests that a stronger current is pushing the muddy water back upstream.

Photo 7:  The dirty water is crossing the dredge where my brother, Charlie, goes diving for fish and octopi.

Photo 8:  Homeless Jamaican sunbather oblivious to current global or local events.  Having a peaceful nap!

Photo 9:  In just a matter of a few minutes, the dirty water that had previously worked its way around the left side jetty has disappeared.  Amazing!  If you look carefully at the surface of the water,  you can see what appears to be evidence of very strong current agitation, not unlike the action of a giant washing machine.

Photo 10:  Here is a wild rooster, noticeably ailing or stressed by the environmental changes.  It is scientifically documented that animals are super sensitive to such changes.

Photo 11:  The water starts to recede again.

Photo 12:  The water  usually goes out during low tide.  Here, it is coming in.

Photo 13:  Once again, the water is receding.

Photo 14:  Here, a tourist is swimming in what my brother, Charlie, referred to as lepto water.  I Googled the term and learned that people who come into contact with fresh water and mud can contract a bacterial disease known as leptospirosis.  Symptoms include high fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, conjunctivitis, diarrhea, vomiting, and kidney or liver problems.

Photo 15:  Female tourist,  perhaps self-conscious about someone filming her swimming in the bacteria-laden water, makes her departure from it.

Photo 16:  It is highly unusual for all the Kapaa School buses to be parked in front of the Kapaa Middle School which is located on an elevated level.  Usually, they are parked in Kapaa town at sea level.  My brother found this noteworthy and sent this photo to me, yet another consequence of the tsunami warning on Kauai.

And now, for the conclusion to this post, here is a video of the unusual water activity in the canal. Charlie was on the bridge and used his cellphone to capture this footage.



Mom with one of her prize hibiscus flowers
(Photos courtesy of Silas K. Aqui)

My mom is 77 years young and an incredible example of  ho'oponopono.  Loosely translated, this Hawaiian concept embodies the process of setting things right.  This is the legacy of Mom's life--that in spite of having to bear an unmerited amount of pain, grief, and loss,  she has set a solid example for her descendants on how to maintain a life of dignity, compassion, and aloha no matter what one encounters.

This spirit of ho'oponopono is manifested in the way she continually esteems others before herself, not in a manner of being overly submissive and easily taken advantage of, but--to the contrary--exemplifying strength and respect for self, others, our planet, and God.

Another way she demonstrates the power of redemption and reconciliation in her life is in the manner in which she is a faithful steward of the earth.  I had not seen this part of my mother when I was a young boy still living at home.  She may have acquired a penchant for gardening sometime during the four decades since I left Kauai, or it may have been one of her girlhood interests that lay dormant until she was called to engage with the flora once again.  In any event, when I visited her this past December, I was enthralled with what she had done in her little garden space.

Recently, my brother, Charlie, sent me photos of Mom's hibiscus variants.  I am very happy to share these photos with you and so proud of my mother and her efforts.  What a  privilege to view and appreciate the beauty of Eden!

Check out the beautiful dish artwork.
A slightly different angle.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Grey Room by Damien Rice
Cover by Ryan

Hawaiian Odysseus discovered a long time ago that you don't deal with depression by trying to cover it with cotton candy, a happy face, pretend normal, or a plastic bag lifestyle.

The best way to deal with it is to run aggressively towards it, experience it, endure it, dissect it, be mindful and mindless of it at the same time, and--I daresay--befriend it...and, in so doing, discover that it holds no real power over you.,

Depression, contrary to the so-called experts, will not kill you.  Depression is not a live entity.  It isn't even an avatar. 

What will rob you lifeless is your empowerment of it.  And for most of us, we give our power away through fear.

"The only thing we have to fear
is fear itself--
nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror 
which paralyzes needed efforts
to convert retreat
into advance."
--Franklin Delano Roosevelt
(first inaugural address, March 4, 1933)

Depression is the bogeyman you feed in spite of all the signs around your zoo that say, Do not feed the bogeyman. In reality, then, it is your own creation.  Somewhere in your life, you spoke it into existence.  And the spoken word became a shadow that kept on growing and engulfing you.

When I was a child, one of the most powerful books I read  was Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.  For the sake of both the adults and children in your household, I will not give the plot away.  Instead, I will provide you with a Hawaiian Odysseus paraphrase of the book's theme.  

To defeat your personal monster, 
you have to find the courage to embrace it.

A Wrinkle in Time appeals to the writer of this blog because it combines the angst of yearning for family and conmunity, the overwhelming loneliness of one's personal journey through life, and the realization that one's monsters--whether depression or addiction or chronic pain or living on the fringe and wanting desperately to re-connect--become impotent when confronted by the greatest force in the universe...


So, now, don't try to run from depression (or whatever your personal monster might be).  Treat it as you would an onion.  Realize and accept that your eyes are going to burn as you deal with it, but when you are done, you will have taken something irritating and painful and transformed it by your thoughts and actions into something palatable, savory, and an old friend who's come to visit.

God bless you, my village friends and neighbors.


Monday, March 7, 2011


She's Only Happy in the Sun, by Ben Harper
Cover by Ryan
(Video and message brought to you by LORDS OF THE FLY)

She's only happy in the sun...
fly fishing with hooks from



Friday, March 4, 2011


Olohena Road Waterfall
(Photo courtesy of Silas K. Aqui)

The overhead palette for the Emerald City, consistent with the weather patterns of the last month or so, has changed about as quickly as a fickle television viewer flicking through expanded basic cable channels.

One minute, the sky is ash gray with the threat of busting loose in a torrential, okay, so it doesn't usually rain in torrents in Seattle.  Let me rephrase that.  The sky is ash gray with the mediocre feint of an aged pugilist's right cross. 

Then, as if on taped cue, the clouds disappear, and the sun comes bursting through like a Brahman bull on its virgin attempt to rip its rider from his saddle.  Okay, okay...the sun comes dancing from behind the smoky curtain like Richard Simmons in polyester striped shorts and shiny nude support hose.

Only to disappear--impotent, it seems, in the early March haze.  

In the midst of all this crazy weather, how in the world do most Seattleites keep from suffering from Seasonal Affect Disorder?

It would appear to be the coffee.  

I haven't conducted any formal research, but I'm willing to wager that the inhabitants of this city consume more java per capita than any other metropolis in the world, or my name ain't Joe.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

So, where does Walter Mitty fit into this scenario?

Those of us on the senior edge of the baby boomer generation may very well remember the 1947 Danny Kaye movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  Based on a 1939 story penned by James Thurber and published in The New Yorker, the story is about a daydreaming pulp-fiction writer with an overprotective mother who spaces off frequently, imagining himself to be a hero who experiences fantastic adventures.  

Truth be told, and are in great part (comedic, more often than not) contemporary allusions to this wonderful tale.  

Furthermore, this writer would posit that most, if not all, men need to have this imaginary hero alter ego to maintain not only their sanity but also their sense of male identity, especially in a world where boundaries are transient and gender roles are almost non-existent.

So, the Starbucks where I post today's entry is really Olohena Road on the island of Kauai.  And the coffee counter is not an urban water hole but, rather, a miniature waterfall that conceals the hideaway of a notorious terrorist and his cache of plutonium.  And the barista--well, she's the leading actress, of course, and I had better determine in the next few seconds if she's my ally or just another clever femme fatale.

But right now, I'm waiting for the Head Prop Man upstairs to change the look of the theatrical sky from drab gray to Polynesian azure.  

He can do it, you know, because He owns an awesome iPhone 6!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Bruddah Charlie's Innovative Fish Scaler
(Photo courtesy of Silas K. Aqui)

The Sound Transit 545 Redmond bus makes its last downtown stop at Olive and Terry before hitting the I-5 freeway.  On a whim, I decided that I would get off at this point and make the half mile up the hill to this newly renovated Starbucks I had been hearing about.

It was an experience well worth the effort.  I just love this coffee shop!  It is 2 to 3 times bigger than the average Seattle Starbucks store.  The average clientele (I saw about fifty people during the couple of hours I spent lounging here) are in their mid-twenties to mid-forties with a handful of seniors added to the mix. 

The baristas, all female, have a lot of energy and engage in a lot of witty banter with customers and each other.  Brandy helped me with my drink and was quite personable.  I told her that this was my first time at this particular Starbucks shop and that I really loved the atmosphere.  Without losing a beat, she said that this place is fondly referred to by the patrons as "...the Olive Starbucks or Gaybucks."  I found that quite amusing.

Introduced myself to the young black man sitting at the table next to me.  His name was Eric, and he was quite pleasant  as he shared with me the dynamics of this location.  Like many of his student peers who frequent this shop, Eric had a laptop and a pile of books on his table.  Oh, I almost forgot--he also had earphones in his left ear.  It's a twenty-first century cliche, after all, that bears mention in one's humble blog.  

I had written about the schizophrenic nature of the Seattle weather in a previous  post (see Morning Musings, January 13, 2011 post), and today was no letdown in that department.  Not unlike Hawaii, I might add, were the intermittent fluctuations of sun and rain...thankfully, as I write this sentence, it is very beautiful outside as I peer through a windowpane polka-dotted with water droplets.

So, where does Bruddah Charlie and his fish scaler fit into all of this?  Well, as I sat at my table working on my laptop, I came across an email from my little brother with a photo of an innovative fish scaler he had made out of a piece of fiberglass fishing pole, screws, and four Heineken bottle caps. 

I will share with you Charlie's own words as he describes this handy device he'd concocted:

Tim Carrillo gave me some 16" fiberglass cut offs that came from an ulua pole maker, so I had it for awhile. Then "lightning struck!" I said I'll make fish scalers out of them.  I have four Heineken caps screwed on the tapered end and a cord to hang it up.  They work real good 'cause your hand is far away from the fish, and you know how you can get poked from the fish fins or scales if you're too close.  
(Guest post from Bruddah Charlie)

Thank you, Charlie, for once again contributing to my blog.  

Simple is best.  

And just as with the fish scaler, the appeal of the Olive Starbucks is its departure from corporate cookie cutter store and a return to simple, nostalgic, roomy, and personable ambience.

Did I already tell you?  I like it here!  There is this certain--je ne sais quois--subdued hum of energy about this place, and it totally stimulates my creative juices.

I'll definitely be back!