Thursday, June 23, 2011


Celebrating at a beach cafe near San Luis Obispo, CA.
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo.)


on this wonderful lifetime achievement



 for a most successful adulthood!

Master's in Business Administration
Master's of Science in Engineering Management;
Cal Poly Tech

High School Diploma;
Walla Walla Valley Academy

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Tully's Coffee at Union Station in the International District
(This and subsequent images are Hawaiian Odysseus photos.)

A STAND OF BAMBOO TREES separates this Tully's Coffee shop from its competitor, Starbucks, which is located diagonally to the northwest in the busy Union Square of the Emerald City's International District.

While competition is said to be healthy in a democratic society, it's more than just a Bamboo Curtain that sets Tully's apart--not necessarily vertically, but definitely horizontally--from Starbucks.

For starters, I like the presence of more furniture (and, in some areas of the room, more comfortable furniture) at Tully's.  As you enter the shop, there's a variety of seating arrangements that meet the eye. To the left, if you're fortunate enough to arrive there early or when the area is vacant, you'll find an ideal writer's or student's table.  This is where I plopped down for a few hours today to write the previous post and do some prep work for the one you are reading right now.

(I am laughing inside because I am actually finishing this piece while seated at the handicapped table at the aforementioned Starbucks shop.  Hey, it's a free world, right?)

Anyway, I was served by two very personable young men, Tobin and David.  

David is sporting a handsome Van Dyke these days, and I complimented him on doing such a good job growing and grooming it.  David immediately called out my drink by rote, and that impressed me to no end since it's been months since I last saw him in the shop.

Tobin, whom I have featured in a rather complimentary Yelp post I wrote about a year ago for this same coffee shop, has a very sincere and winning way about him.  Often, I see him sporting a dapper derby hat.  He is probably older than his youthful appearance belies.  

Between the writing and photographing, I got a refill of their drip coffee and ordered a savory tomato and basil roll, heated to draw out its wonderful flavor.

Another feature of Tully's Coffee is the presence of a large, attractive table adjacent to where I was seated.  I've observed many a friendly, familial, and/or serious business meeting occur at this table.

The sign on the table kindly asks patrons to reserve the table for large groups.  For the most part, customers politely honor this request.

The atmosphere is laid back in direct contrast to the competitor shop.  While this is not necessarily viewed as a business plus at the corporate level, it is--from the customer's perspective--a tranquil alternative that encourages the flowing of creative juices, the catalyst for pheromone chemistry, the suitable arena for finals cramming, and the fostering of business and political liaisons.

Who frequents the shop?  Well, Hawaiian Odysseus, for one.  Many a blog post has been written in this Tully's, several of which were born in a mind severely fatigued from having just emerged from a one-hour bus ride immediately following a graveyard shift at the bagel sweat shop.  Oh, did I just write sweat?  How purposely Freudian of me!

There is a corporate Amazon presence close by, and many of its employees enjoy a nice caffeinated brew here.  Police officers, security guards, transit authorities, and--no doubt--plainclothes cops and detectives stroll in at times.  On the other end of the spectrum, there is an occasional homeless person who just scored on some coffee money handout.  In between are the yuppies, attorneys, public transportation (Amtrak, Sounder, Link Light /Rail, and Metro and Sound Transit bus) commuters, janitors, and backpackers (a loosely defined group of which I am a proud cardholder).

I digress at this point with a SECRET moment...


There, I manifested my secret by daring to boldly proclaim it in a public forum.  The seeds are taking root in a very fertile universe.

Thank you, Tully's Coffee at Union Square in the International District, for being a groomsman (or maid of needs to be especially politically correct in trendy and super liberal Seattle) in my wedding to SUCCESS.

Ah, my narcissism rears its swell head when fueled by the java jolts of not just one, but TWO coffee competitors.

It's time I draw this to its illogical conclusion.

Tomorrow, I will ride an Amtrak train for the very first time in my 6-decade life from Seattle to Portland.  

The occasion?

For the first time in 33 years, I will be reunited with my father.  So, as much as I know you enjoyed this current post, do me a favor, won't you? and help me pay tribute to dear old Dad by revisiting the last entry.

For your convenience, here is the link:

You'll hear from me again when I'm crabbing with my loved ones on the Oregon coast.



(Photo courtesy of Kele and Jennifer)

An Honorary Tribute to
Silas A. Aqui


KUHINA--the highest chief, second only to KAMEHAMEHA--diligently scanned the horizon from Pihea Peak. 

Perched high on the cliffs above Kalalau, he and his brethren ali'i, clad in malo, red and yellow cloaks, and brilliant feathered helmets, formed an awe-inspiring cadre.   With dark curls framing broad foreheads, ruggedly proud and handsome features, and strong, set jaws, the royal Polynesian aristocrats brooded collectively.

They were huge, statuesque men, averaging 6'4" and easily 250 pounds.  Their bulky, generously-muscled bodies provided an earthy complement to their colorful attire.  The native villagers below likened these impressive god-like men to mirrored images of the sun setting on the nether regions of the sea.

Where is MANO?  Kuhina whispered to himself.  

The slight yet steady tradewind, dancing with a current closely matching the pulse of the waves far below, carried Kuhina's sighs to his attentive men.

Yes, where indeed was MANO?

There had been an unforgivable violation to Hawaiian law.  Someone had trespassed a beach area that had been KAPU to all.  This virgin tract was used by sea turtles as a birthing ground.  With complete disregard for the well-being of fellow villagers and the magnificent yet gentle creatures of the Pacific depths, someone had selfishly and brutally clubbed a group of basking sea turtles to death.  The carcasses and entrails had been left to rot on the lava rocks.  Crabs and sea terns engorged on the rotting meat, and the foul smell had plagued the villagers for several days now.

MANO was furious!

The behemoth shark god had had enough of Man.  All the patience of Eternity would never be enough for the gods and mankind to coexist in the same universe.

Where indeed was MANO?

Many, many miles to the north--just an aggressive swim upstream for a raging shark god--MANO came to rest in a tranquil cove off the western coast of an immense land mass.  One of the original islands, as it were, that had once been part of the aged empire, ATLANTIS.

MANO was emotionally spent...and very tired.

He fell asleep.

The forever sleep that even the gods eventually succumb to overcame Akua MANO.

Today, all that remains is MANO's immense dorsal fin.  

In the sunset that heralds the blanket of night, you will see the memorial of MANO.

And if you and your loved ones are especially quiet and thoughtful, you will hear the whisper of KUHINA offering up a gentle lullaby to the departed shark god.  It pulsates in time with the alluring hula of the Pacific Northwest waves.

Hawaiian Odysseus.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Stinkhorn Mushroom
(Photo courtesy of Silas Kaumakahia Aqui)

Another UGO (unidentified growing object) siting in Wailua Homesteads on the island of Kauai makes today's blog headlines.

My brother, Charlie, found this particular oddity specimen growing just a foot away from the original one he'd seen a few weeks ago.  Here is the link for new readers to peruse and for other to review:

This clearly is a testament to Mother Nature's way of using the ants that were busily carrying on their transactions amidst the gooey secretions of the original stinkhorn to transport any adhering spores to another site.  

Among the faithful followers of Hawaiian Odysseus are several amateur mycologists (mushroom scientists).  It is our hope that you find these occasional blog posts about your favorite biological subject interesting and provocative additional incentive for finally making that trip to the jurassic Garden Island.

In closing, here's a closeup of  what Hawaiian Odysseus has dubbed, LITTLE BIG STINKHORN.

See, but don't smell!
(Photo courtesy of Silas Kaumakahia Aqui)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


WK Buoy 
Off the coast of Kauai
(This and all subsequent photos in this post, with the exception of a couple of images, 
are presented by courtesy of Silas Kaumakahia Aqui.)

The best fishing hole in Hawaii?

Arguably, it may very well be just past the WK Buoy off the southeast coast of Kauai.  

At least, the testimonies of my brothers, Charlie and Glenn, and Glenn's son, Jared, and the pictures that follow seem to bear this out.

I mean, 5 koshibi (baby ahi, or yellow fin tuna) and 15 aku (bonito) are pretty solid evidence for bolstering my case.

My brothers did most of the fishing while Captain Jared adeptly piloted the boat through the deep liquid turquoise.  Getting up very early to make this trip, they were able to spend twelve fruitful hours in the hot Hawaiian sun.  

Weather and tide patterns held up well, and by day's end, these tired,  hungry and well spent Hawaiian mariners were ready to pack it in and head on back to terra firma.

If the following photos are any indication, it would appear that deep sea fishing isn't about heavy labor but, rather, recreation for the body, mind, and soul.  A time for ohana, or family; a time for talkin' story--making good conversation; and truly a time for healing, for connecting with nature, for introspection, and for deep gratitude for a God who provides.

Braddah Glenn with a freshly caught aku.

 Fish On!  for Braddah Charlie.

Braddah Glenn congratulates Braddah Charlie  on landing this good-looking aku. 

 A friend's boat partially disappears behind a large wave.

 Captain Jared steering the boat.

 In deep slumber, the Sleeping Giant rests with Mt. Waialeale, the wettest spot in the world, providing a picturesque backdrop.

 Glenn helping his son, Jared, with another exciting catch of the day.

 Jared chops an aku into small pieces that will be used as chum for drawing koshibi (young ahi, or yellow fin tuna) closer to the boat.  Larger pieces of aku will serve as bait.

 Hey, wake up, Sleeping Giant!  You're missing all the action!

 Glenn might be the head guy on this boat, but he's wise to check in with the real boss of 
fishing operations, wife Linda.

 A great looking koshibi!

Glenn's t-shirt slogan says it all:  BETTER LUCKY THAN GOOD!

 The three fishing poles are secured at the stern of the boat.  Check out the size of the fishing reel!

Glenn proudly displaying two of the five koshibi that were caught.
(Photo courtesy of Linda A.)

The majority of the day's catch.  (Charlie took a few home.)
(Photo courtesy of Linda A.)

Nothing is wasted.  While squid-like lures were used for the most part, some of the aku was cut up and used as chum and bait to catch koshibi.  Some of the fish will be sold to pay for fuel for the boat and for business revenue.  The rest of the bounty will be eaten raw, dried, fried, and/or put into the freezer for future use.

The very next morning, Charlie sets out strips of aku to dry in the hot Hawaiian sun.

When afternoon shadows are finally swallowed whole by the impending darkness; when the old yet sturdy and faithful boat has been parked, ever so carefully, in the back yard (watch out for the dogs and cats and chickens, now!); when the fish and tackle are cleaned and put away; and when freshly showered, weary, aching bodies finally merge into the comfort of familiar beds, the dreams will come.

Dreams borne on the tradewinds that rouse the ghosts of ancient times.  Dreams of the fish that were caught today--only now with voices speaking in the ancient Polynesian dialects, their music swelling with the percussion chorus of the vibrant sea.  Dreams of a more peaceful era, an age of antiquity when everything blended harmoniously and sensibly, when men treated each other and all other living creatures with dignity and respect.

Where brothers and sisters could man a huge outrigger canoe and ride the surf--yea, even ride past the surf--and find the sweet spot where hooks of bone baited with the flesh that Mano, the shark, had sacrificed for the sake of the island village, could be lowered into the water to make their alluring siren call to the great fishes of the deep...

Hele mai, Ono!

Hele mai, Mahimahi!

Hele mai, Ahi!

Hele mai, Aku!

Hele mai, you denizens of the eternal deep blue!

Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono!

Hele mai...

Saturday, June 4, 2011


An Inside View of the Fremont Starbucks
(This and all subsequent images in this post are Hawaiian Odysseus photos.)

You can go to most major cities in our great country and notice the same phenomenon--every neighborhood will have its own distinct personality.

Fremont is no different.  

Then again, it's because Fremont is...well...DIFFERENT

It's about 66 degrees inside this coffee shop as I write this post at twenty minutes until 4 PM.  Outside, it's at least ten degrees warmer.  A beautiful and picturesque Pacific Northwest day has finally graced the area, and people cruising the sidewalks are bringing their own quantum mechanics theory to the forefront--i.e., shorts are getting shorter, and legs are getting longer.

No apologies...a guy like me feels right at home in this hamlet.

I'm sidewalk-shopping from my window vantage point here in Starbucks.  It's interesting to note how much difference a little bit of sun makes.  The Seattleites are out in droves.

Pardon me for just a few seconds while I check out the Mariners' score.  These guys have won  five or six series in a row, and maybe--just maybe--they'll have it in them to sweep a team (in this case, the Tampa Bay Rays).  Back in a jiff...

Nope, the Mariners lost today's game, 3-2.  The fourth and final game of this particular series will be played tomorrow afternoon.

Okay, so where was I?  Oh, yeah, in the middle of blogging about Fremont. 

Sorry about my peculiar ADD approach to writing today's post.  But I did this purposely to illustrate the very nature of Fremont.

In a nutshell, the local denizens proudly proclaim in their brochures their inherent right--THE FREEDOM TO BE PECULIAR.

There are several noteworthy indications of this belief that I hope to illustrate with the photos that follow.  I already hiked through parts of the town earlier in order to take a set of photos, but for some reason, the pictures never appeared in my camera's memory.  Ah, well, I'm not complaining--I'm thankful for an excuse to give this town another touristy go-around.

Friends have told me that there's a local celebration each summer in this town known as the SUMMER SOLSTICE PARADE AND PAGEANT.  This event is sponsored by the Fremont Arts Council.  While this event provides its attendees with lots of enjoyable and entertaining activities, the most memorable characters that have truly put Fremont on the map are the NUDE SOLSTICE CYCLISTS.

For those of us who grew up in the sixties, perhaps the best comparison I could draw for you is to think of the Fremont population and lifestyle as throwbacks to the HIPPIE GENERATION.

But one must guard against overgeneralizing the area.  Not unlike what is occurring in the region I presently reside in--the Rainier Valley in southeast Seattle--Fremont is experiencing its own form of gentrification.

Along that line, one of the recurring themes of the Hawaiian Odysseus posts is the metaphorical image of a giant straddling the Pacific with one foot on Kauai and the other foot in Seattle.  With that in mind, I find the turn of the (19th - 20th) century buildings, simply renovated and now the sites of dozens of small businesses, very similar to the "Old West" architecture in Kapaa town where I grew up,  

Indeed, even the relentless traffic--compounded even more when the Fremont drawbridge goes up to facilitate the passage of tall boats through the Lake Washington Ship Canal--is reminiscent of the huge vehicle congestion in the middle of as well as just outside of Kapaa.

Also, there's the water...the beautiful expanse of aqua, azure, turquoise, and emerald green, mixed with the foundational elements of murk and mud...that paints the final cosmetic makeup on this peculiar neighborhood town.

Leaving Starbucks and am now making a more involved and observant tour around town.  First, an external shot of the coffee shop...

 Starbucks in Fremont.

In keeping with its bohemian, artsy reputation, it would only follow that Fremont has its very own rocket ship.  When the great quake hits, the Fremont locals will be well prepared.

Blue Moon Burgers
featuring Long Valley Ranch's 100% beef
from free range cattle; no additives, no b.s. (well...)

One of the several restaurants in Fremont with outdoor seating.

Again, in keeping with the theme of this post...

I really appreciated the creativity of the merchants--not just their wares, but also the names they chose for their respective businesses.

Peet's Coffee & Tea--
the very best mocha and a quietly superb inventory of great teas and coffee beans.

Soft-spoken art abounds even in the A-frame billboards.

More on these guys up ahead...just follow the arrow.

At the Fremont Cigar.
That's Ed on the left and John on the right.  
John's handsome grandson didn't want to be left out.  

Hey, folks, if you're ever in the Fremont area, please check their store out.  Ed and John are from eastern Washington (as am I), and I had the pleasure of seeing their innovative talent and creativity at work.  They actually make stringed instruments that have a surprisingly wonderful acoustic sound out get this!...RECYCLED TOBACCO BOXES!  And what's really terrific is that they only started putting these instruments together last week.  AMAZING INNOVATION, that's for sure!  I teased them about how appropriate their work is when you consider the PECULIARITY of Fremont, and they good-naturedly agreed.  A great pair of guys doing wonderful work and, of all places, right there on the sidewalk...which makes it really fun for the tourists and looky-loos like me with cameras at the ready.

Just two wild and crazy banjo-pickin' guys!

Aren't these terrific?  

This is ground-floor productivity.  I'm just honored that Ed, John, and John's daughter and son-in-law were kind enough to permit me to take photos of their tiny but nostalgically appealing shop.  I'm blessed to meet people like them who are open to this kind of old-fashioned "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" business acumen.  The parallel contemporary phrase is "win-win."  

In today's economically challenging era, Americans would do well to honor the small businessmen and promote the style of the old days when the founding fathers and, later , the early pioneers of this country practiced a very simple bartering system.  I was grateful for this very sort of exchange which took place this afternoon between these wonderful "transplanted" eastern Washingtonians and me...I bartered my marketing (this blog and its social media links to Facebook and Twitter) in exchange for their willingness to provide me with literary and pictorial substance for my blog.  If it results in even just one person making it over to Fremont sometime and saying, "Hey, Ed and John!  I read about you guys online in this crazy blog!" I will be one happy Hawaiian.  

With my upcoming move back to Walla Walla County, it may be some time before I make it back to visit these guys, but I'm going to bring my ukulele with me so we can jam right there on that sidewalk.

Products for sale at the Fremont Cigar.

Looking at all the cigars inside the cigar humidifier.
These are some primo quality cigars, alright!  
(Sorry about the flash!  I had to take this photo through the glass door.)

A Collector's Item--
TIME Magazine Cover of Secretariat

Carlos Fuente of the Dominican Republic--
Cigar Entrepreneur Extraordinaire!

Poster of Frank Zappa in a Compromising Moment--
Cigar, Frank?

Stone Pony

Tawon Thai--
One of several outstanding Fremont restaurants.

Yak's Teriyaki--
Generous portions of Japanese and Chinese cuisine.

Shades of James Joyce!

Flying Apron Bakery--
I love the creative name!

Law Offices

One of several quaint sidewalks in Fremont.

Jive Time Records

Caravan Carpets

This gorgeous carpet adorned the sidewalk in the vicinity of
Caravan Carpets.

Why, Comrade Lenin, what in the world are you doing here in Fremont?

The Notorious Fremont Troll.

That's what happened to my VW!

Just a simple small town look...ah, but what action!

These Fremont locals were waiting to catch the express bus to Hawaii.

Heading south on Fremont Avenue.  
Queen Anne Hill up ahead forms the southern boundary of Fremont.

Turning around, I took this photo of the Greek restaurant, COSTAS OPA, across the street.

As I headed towards the Fremont Bridge, I turned to my left and saw the lofty Aurora Bridge.

From the vantage point of the Fremont Bridge, I took this photo of a small pleasure craft headed west on the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Another boat, this one headed east, with a kayaker attached.

From where I stood on the east side of the Fremont Bridge, I photographed the opposite side of the street, or the west side of the bridge.

  Another boating family.

A better shot of the Aurora Bridge with Capitol Hill in the distance.

A shot of the marina on the north bank of the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Finally, an underbelly photograph of the Aurora Bridge.

The weather was perfect for my project this afternoon in Fremont.  All told, I must've walked close to five miles today.  It was great exercise and well worth the effort.  I captured some great images, met some wonderful people, and added precious memories of the Emerald City to my growing collection.