Monday, March 7, 2011

The one where I bitch about the IBEW

Last Thursday night the was a bit of a storm down Ewa way where I live. Lot's of folks lost their electricity, but my family and I were lucky not to be in the dark...yet. Things were happening fast, and by the time we were ready to roll out to work & school word came that the schools our boys went to were closed. My Mother in Law immediately offered to stay home with the boys. So with those bases covered my wife & I headed to work. By 9am I got a call that the power had now gone out at our home. As is the case in these situations, HECO has sent their repair crews out to restore power. The yellow & blue trucks along the roadside give us confidence that power will be resumed as soon as possible. Then at 3pm Friday, word comes from Twitter that the IBEW workers have decided to go on strike effective 3:30pm. Really? wow...

And that's just what they did. Why? As is most often the cases when there's a strike, it's about money (primarily). From listening to both sides, there's blame to pass around as to why they would want to strike...BUT! After a storm, when thousands of customers (and IBEW members, they are your customers too) are without power...that is not the time to walk off the job. You guys looked like greedy little children who got mad and stomped off with your ball when you didn't get your way. And no, you didn't put the screws to management, you put them to us YOUR customers.

OK Mr. Big Mouth Blogger, if you are gonna be so critical of the union, then what do you think they should have done? This:

Walk off the job at 3:30 just like you did. BUT! Alert the local news media that a statement would be made at 6pm (just in time for the local news). You announce the reasons behind the walk off, making a case for your beef with management. Get your side of the story out. THEN, you announce that in a situation like this were so many of YOUR customers are without service, you feel the need to return to work to ensure YOUR customers have their power restored. Only then, you will resume your strike.

And you would have been the heroes of the day, and you would have the public on your side.

For the record, our power was restored just before 6pm on Saturday. And several times on Saturday, we were contacted by HECO to see if power was restored. They kept checking with us, their customer. Well done, well done.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

GAR 2011

Monday February 21st was by my count, my 10th Great Aloha Run. A run/walk that goes from Aloha Tower to Aloha Stadium, it's in it's 27th year and this year attracted over 27,000 runners. I have been doing it on and off for the last 18 years, and am back on track with my second in a row. I like this event for several reasons.

First I enjoy these mass participation events for the single minded purpose of everyone doing the same thing, each to their ability or preference. It's like being part of a larger "whole", even though we all are doing an individual effort. These events also bring a ease & good nature to a large group that's intoxicating. The good vibes and endorphins can be felt by even the most casual person.

Another thing you can't help but see is the wide variety of people who do this event. You have everything from fine tuned athletes to couch potatoes and everything in between. You see some going for personal bests, you see some just cruising taking in the atmosphere. Some do it with ease. Some truly suffer. But everyone, even the ones suffering, seem to be enjoying it. I know some avid runners who swear they will never do it because of the mixed crowd, which causes them to run the race like an obstacle course, weaving in and out of the slower runners & walkers. I personally think with a few adjustments they could have a great time (line up closer to the front, cruise for the first half mile to break through the congestion and then light the fires).

I see this run in three segments of similar length. From Aloha Tower to Sand Island it's fairly crowded and people are maneuvering around a lot. The sun is not yet fully up so it is cooler. The next section is the Nimitz viaduct. Shade, a very off camber road, and lots of water stations. When you reach the end there's a flatbed trailer with several Taiko drummers to spur you on to the next section. Finally the last section, from the end of the viaduct to the playing surface of Aloha Stadium. To this point the route has been flat. The final section is best described as rolling. Not big steep hills, but big enough to remind you it's not flat. This is where the sun begins to sting, as it is now up and ready to finely steam you in your own sweat.

My experience this year was a mixed bag. I took in all the good vibes and was having a great go of it until the 5 mile mark where I could feel the string of a huge blister on the ball of my right foot. It got worse & worse and became quite painful by the end. I finished, collected the mixed bag of goodies (water, Pog "Energy Drink", sugar bomb pastries, & a banana), stood in line for my finisher t-shirt, and headed for the parking lot. I was sure of one thing, that if I stopped moving, my feet would hurt even more...perhaps too much. I got to my truck and plopped into my seat. That was perhaps the most satisfying "sit" I've felt in a long time. My feet continued to be problematic the rest of the day, but a couple Advil bombs and elevating my feet went a long way to making it tolerable. Still sore today, but nothing like yesterday. I envy those who felt so good after the run that they doubled back on the course to run back to the start (nut jobs).

The only gripe I had was the traffic in the morning. I made it to the Aiea exit area on the H1 at 4:45am. It took over an hour to get to the stadium parking lot a mere mile away. at 5:45 I even saw people jumping out of cars and running down the highway to the stadium and the buses that we are told will leave at 6am no exceptions. I made it to my parking space at 5:52am and hustled to the bus lines. BTW, the bus I was on left at 6:05am...pfffffft!!! Next year I'm telling the teen to catch a ride to school (he ran with his NJROTC unit) so I can get there earlier.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I will survive

You know this recession has really put a lot of folks in tough situations, and I Dear Reader am one of them. The amount of pressure put on me on a daily basis is beginning to wear on me in a destructive way. I am scrambling every hour of every day and have little to show for it. I have literally never worked so hard (mentally) for so little in results. The well isn't dry, but we need some rain and quick.

To combat all this I try to fill my head with positive words via motivational podcasts. I am indulging my taste for beer (that means I'm up to 3 a week). I'm trying to get more sleep than my usual 5 1/2 - 6 hours. I know exercising more would help too, but I just can't bring myself to make the time. I mean, I worked 15 days straight and then had two days off where I was going all day long with no other words, no rest. And starting this weekend, I'm back to working Saturdays as a scheduled day...6 day work week again.

The one bright spot that has helped me more than anything else is my faith. Without a doubt I would have folded a long time ago without it. Giving all my cares over to Him allows me spaces to breath...spaces I wouldn't have without Him.

I know in my heart of hearts that things will get better. But I'm also prepared for things to different in whatever form that takes.

What a ride...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Something I learned...

Been a while...

Recently I learned something I already knew...but didn't. I needed time off. I was too stressed out. I was putting my body through too much, and if I didn't address these things soon...there would be consequences...serious ones.

I credit my vacation for the clarity. A week away from the grind did me a world of good, but two weeks would have done me much much more good...alas one week was all i could manage.

I catch myself working up the stress...thinking too much, take a breath and let it go. When I feel that spacey creep of exhaustion coming up...I back off. I'm letting myself ease into things instead of the crazy manic charge I've done for too long.

Changes are coming...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Plant a seed, watch it grow...

The other night our oldest nephew came into our bedroom to show us a paper that came in the mail. It was a letter from UH Manoa saying he was officially and fully admitted, and ready to register in about 10 days. He was very proud of this, and he should be (and so are my wife and I). You see when he came to live with us, just before his 14th birthday, he was not the kind of kid who you would think would be headed to college. In fact you may even have doubted he would graduate high school. And if you were him…in a moment or rare vulnerability he revealed, you would have thought he would never have lived to see his high school graduation. The why and what happened are private…but let’s just say he was not headed in a good direction.

So what happened? He made a decision to change the course of his life. It was all from HIM. He did it all on his own. What was different? My wife and I gave him something his life has lacked, and that was stability. A home he would always be able to go back to, a fridge with (real) food that did not go empty, and an environment with positive values and goals. You see I believe that those “troubled kids” are often that way because they don’t have an opportunity to make better choices. Nature vs. Nurture? That’s a long standing debate, for me it’s clear, given a shot at better circumstances those kids can & will begin to make better choices. When a kid has a bed of his own, food in his belly, and no worries about “bad guys” coming in the night, he can worry about grades. He can worry about a future. He can worry about what people think of him. He can dream, he can achieve, he can grow, and he can prosper.

I don’t deny that my wife and I have helped…but I’m telling you, nothing would have happened without him deciding to do it.

I was especially proud of him when I saw the letter from the university. I always thought he had the brains to get there, and I also thought that he wanted to go. What was important to me is that he did it himself. There were bumps with paperwork & other financial aide things and he handled them himself. Once was a time were he would cave at the first sign of difficulty. Not here, not now. The self esteem and self belief that he deserved to make a better life drove him to overcome. From “I don’t give a sh*t” to “I can do it”. If that isn’t growth, I don’t know what is.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Catching Up...

It's been a long time since I last posted and I thought I had better do so now or I may never get back to it. So here I is...

The black cloud of the Hawaiian economy has really put a pinch and a small panic on my little corner of it. I'm having to do things I never had to before, and I'm trying new things to keep things positive. Challenges, challenges, but we are hanging in there.

A former co-worker's (ex?) boyfriend left a rambling in comprehensible message on the phone system. Was it venting or a threat? Who could tell? Drugs are sooooo f*cking glamorous...

The battle of the bulge has been a real mother...just as I was getting back on track...I came down with bursitis in my knee. I am impatient as hell waiting for it to heal, especially as it seems to have triggered a hunger I haven't had in a long, long time.

I've brewed two more beers since last time. A Imperial India Pale Ale (featured at and a simple pale ale. After the high gravity hop bomb of the IIPA I thought a more sessionable pale ale made sense. Next up will be a Belgian Wit beer or a robust porter with some chocolate & coconut additions. The pale ale will be aged by the 18th of August and the IIPA will be ready on Sept 2, just in time for the UH home opener vs. USC. I tasted the IIPA after a month of bottle conditioning and it was VERY promising. If the flavor stays the same and it just smooths may well end up replacing the hefe as my favorite beer I've made...stay tuned.

My son finished pre-school on Friday, and he begins the entry to Kindergarten on Tuesday. His only school time this week is a few hours on Tuesday. Then next week he'll be there on Tuesday & Wednesday for half days before finally having a full day on Thursday. Since he is no longer enrolled in pre-school, we do not have day care. So what do I do? I will be taking him to work with me for most on the next week and a half (as well as missing a bunch of work)...ugh. Thank God this is only for Kindergarten...if every school year started like this...yikes!

Our older nephew starts at UH Manoa in a couple weeks. It's gonna be a real shock to him, especially as he's done a lifetime of "having fun" this summer. Hope the memories last because he's about to learn the real meaning of work (he has no earthly idea!). His brother can't have him gone soon enough since it means he moves into his brother's room (after sharing a room with our son for 3 years).

I am waaaaaay too focused on my November vacation. Can't help it...I'm ready for a break from the constant stress and demands on me. Can't we go next week instead?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stream of blah-ciousness

I haven’t posted in a while. Been busy as usual, and didn’t have a theme to really sink my teeth into. But in the interest of keeping things going and perhaps inspiring a flood of posts after this…I present a stream of consciousness.

  • Once upon a time I did stand up comedy. This was before Seinfeld, when dinosaurs roamed the earth. I quickly discovered that although I could write comedy, performing it was another matter entirely. I quit after about a year and a half. Did plenty of shows, but never got to the part where it began to pay. Now I have the urge to write comedy again. I have no desire to perform (although I think I could do it better today than then), but I would like to write. Maybe I can use this space for some of that…hmmmmmm?
  • I have a new hobby, home brewing. I like beer, craft beer, high quality beer, not the stuff you buy in 30 paks of cans from 7-11. I mean expensive beer snob beers that come from breweries that even we beer snobs never heard of. So the next step was to brew my own. Armed with my $150 starter kit I brewed my first batch, a pale ale. It took a ½ day to cook up, 3 weeks to ferment, and 4 weeks of bottle conditioning before it was ready to share. That last part explains my motivation. The biggest kick of home brewing is the feedback you get from those you share it with. I’ve since brewed two more batches, a dark brown ale that’s bottle conditioning right now (ready to drink for 4th of July). And a hefeweizen that I cooked up this weekend and is in primary fermentation. I’ve already decided that batch 4 will be an IPA, even though I’m not a huge fan of IPAs. As hobbies go it’s not too expensive. My out of pocket cost for a 5 gallon batch is about $45 for ingredients & energy costs (lots of time on the gas stove). The next step would be to try all grain brewing. That would require a bunch of new equipment, and a greater time investment. For now I’ll be content to be the best extract brewer I can be.
  • I am thoroughly distracted by thoughts of my vacation that will not happen until November. I-am-torturing-myself! Maybe the solution is to take some time off during the dog days of summer. I could use it to see a movie without talking animals (ask any parent of a young child), go to the gym, and get reacquainted with my long suffering mountain bike. And nap, take lots of naps…
  • LOST ends this Sunday. My Wife and I have watched this show from the beginning. Before the house was over run with boys, we would sit in the living room with our dinner of kraut dogs and ponder the many mysteries & puzzles that made up this show. But after Sunday it will be all over. So now I’m on the hunt for a new favorite show. And I had better find one soon, and it better be one my Wife can enjoy too because I am driving her up the wall with all the Top Gear reruns on the DVR.