Saturday, December 30, 2006


try an avocado, bacon and cheese burger... the weird yello color is the light, not the burger...
kua'aina burger is good. up on the northshore... nothing like it...

the hills are on fire...
here we are on top of this mountain thingee where the remains of an old hawaiin temple resides. the sun was quickly fading. not much of a "dusk" here. the sun goes down quickly.

gifts are good, even if she did give me a christmas ornament she got off her sister's dresser.
i also got some cazimero cds and cocoa samoa (which kinda gots me nervous, cause it may be mistaken for little bags of opium when i am trying to clear security at the airport.)

Friday, December 29, 2006

warning: not just beaches...

katie, beware... there is at least one picture on this blog that you will not wanna see...
everyone else, there may be two pictures you don't wanna see...
but here are some pictures of a few oddities i discovered to give yall a view of the other side of the islands--

a mean santa claus

burnt dinners... so post a comment and tell me what this was supposed to be, and the first correct (or closest) answer gets a box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts...

feral cats have their purposes too... this is the remains of fivel, an american tail... notice the tail in the bottom right (along with a tuft of fur); we determined the organ up top left must be its kidney.

this needs no caption. but how do you spell big?

this also needs no caption... (the best oddity of all)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

scroll down for hawaii...

sorry to do this, but for those who care, i gotta let you in on a new book coming out soon...

"I, Little Slave"-- maybe i can make it down in january to hear him read from the book... and i can give you more details. for now though this is all i know:

(edited from the columbian, article by tricia jones)

On a good day, Bounsang Khamkeo could collect rainwater to splash on his face. On a very good day, his makeshift trap would snare a rat, and Khamkeo could enjoy meat for supper.
Such days were few in prison. More frequently, the hours in the jungle "re-education camp" were marked by suffering, abuse and sickness.
Many died in camp, or went insane. Khamkeo refused to do either. He survived seven years of confinement, returned to his waiting family and escaped his native Laos to start a new life in the United States.
Now a Vancouver resident, Khamkeo has written a book he believes to be the first of its kind, detailing the persecution he says he and others endured under the rule of Laos' Pathet Lao party. "I Little Slave: A Prison Memoir From Communist Laos" (Eastern Washington University Press, $21.95) was released in November.
Its pages chronicle the chaos and corruption accompanying the country's political revolution in 1975. Khamkeo writes of his arrest in 1981, and his life in two filthy jail camps that were notorious for mistreatment.
They were also regarded as deathtraps. Khamkeo said he entered the camps knowing that the Laotian government claimed to be above mistakes. Most prisoners therefore faced life sentences.
"So I told myself, 'If they want me to die in prison, I don't want to die,'" recalled Khamkeo, 66, whose family owns Vancouver's Royal Cuisine restaurant. "'The date I get out of prison, that date I will be the winner.'"

Despite its accounts of physical and mental persecution, Khamkeo's is not a venomous book. It's true that his forthright sentences contain some anger, and occasional profanities. But Khamkeo's deepest wish clearly is for justice for his country, and not personal vengeance.
His message is effective because Khamkeo is not a whiner, says Ivar Nelson, director of the Spokane-based Eastern Washington University Press. Nelson said "I Little Slave" transcends its setting. It could come from Chechnya or Guatemala or an Iraqi prison, he said.
"It's a human story of perseverance through incredible difficulties and maltreatment ... and (ultimately) living well, without rancor," Nelson said.

So began Khamkeo's seven years, three months and four days as a political prisoner. He said he wore handcuffs for 18 straight months. He was forbidden to communicate with his family and didn't know that his wife had bribed officials to send him letters and provisions. None ever arrived.
"I knew my wife and our four children loved me and waited for my release," Khamkeo said. "To deserve their love, I told myself to be strong, to endure and to return home."
Eventually, the political climate shifted, and Khamkeo was freed. He and his family fled Laos for Thailand six months later. They emigrated to the United States, settling in Tennessee and Maryland, before arriving in Vancouver in 1992. Of their four children, now all adults, only the youngest still lives at home.
Khamkeo said he chose Vancouver because a friend of a friend mentioned the Portland area might offer a variety of employment prospects. Starting over in his mid-40s was the most difficult adjustment for Khamkeo, who speaks three Chinese dialects and five other languages. Between the restaurant and his addiction counseling at OHSU, the family is scraping by. Khamkeo said OHSU hired him to work with Asian clients who have alcohol, drug and gaming problems. But few Asians are willing to seek help, because most have been raised not to speak of such issues, Khamkeo said.

Khamkeo said his book is the first to be written about human rights violations in Laos, by a Laotian in English, and published in the United States. Nelson said he believes that's true.
Although Khamkeo naturally hopes the book will sell well, he says he wrote it from a burning need to tell the truth about human rights violations in his homeland. His survival depended on his belief that he would be able to do so.

Did you know?
"I Little Slave" was a formal style of address in prerevolutionary Laos, used in place of the word "I," to address an elder or person of higher social standing. The communists scrapped the phrase as an insult to members of a classless society, but then forced political prisoners to use the term as a form of humiliation.
The Pathet Lao began as a communist movement in Laos in the mid-20th century. After communist forces prevailed in Vietnam and Cambodia, the Laotian coalition government collapsed, and the Pathet Lao took power in Laos in 1975. The country is known today as the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

look for it on (to be released in february...)


in hawaii...

we went to the beach, and this is a surfer. you can kinda see him on top of the wave. i think he fell right after this.

i didn't go swimming, but 3 of the girls did. ailana got knocked over by a wave, so she was completely submerged- with her legs sticking up outa the water. i think that counts as swimming...
and here are my nieces. four of them. you can't see natahli, cause she was next to me reading a book. she likes to read. right now she is reading a series by mercedes lackey. the author sounds like a romance novelist (with a name like mercedes) but she is actually science fiction. i am proud of natahli for reading outside the box...

and this is a christmas tree from downtown. we went to go look at the lights they put up every year.

ailana gets a new bike...

and this is natahli with a macadamia nut pancake. good. very good. we got this at the hukilau cafe right up by the polynesian cultural center. its my second time there... but this time i brought my own sugar-free syrup so i could get me some macadamia nut pancakes. i think i will eat there again. and maybe again.

we also went to the punch bowl (not to be confused with diamond head, that was last trip's trek)... a dormant crater of a volcano. this is from the top. they have a memorial to u.s. veterans there and a cemetery.

hope yall are having fun wherever yall spent the holidayz... i will be here two more weeks, so check back with me often for updates!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

nieces and their cousin alan

wl, this is more for you than anyone else:

while we "old people" went to the cazimero concert on friday night, the nieces and their cousin alan stayed home, looking for a way to spend quality time together. (this was alan's last night in hawaii, so the girls wanted to do something with him that would be fun - alan left on saturday for vancouver b.c. - he is engaged to get married and was joining his fiancee there.) so this video is what they came up with - filmed by the girls and alan, and edited by ko'olina. i woulda chosen a different song, but to each his (or her in this case) own...


Monday, December 25, 2006

mele kalikimaka is the thing to say...

you can't argue with this one: "mele kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright hawaiian christmas day."

and let me give you five good solid reasons why this is so:

#1: a walk on the beach is only a walk away. and this is us, on christmas morning, while waiting for ivona to finish getting the christmas omelets ready for breakfast. the kids got up early to open their stockings while i slept in... but eventually i got up, & a walk on the beach is a great way to start christmas day.

#2: my 10 year-old niece, nohealani makes amazing sandwiches. i coaxed her into making this one for me... and there aint nothing like a turkey, egg and tomato sandwich to make the christmas season merry and bright.

#3: the brothers cazimero... these guys can sing. my brother, john, and my sister-in-law, ivona took me and my dad out to see their christmas concert on friday night at the newly restored hawaiian theatre. it was amazing. check out the link below for a sample of "the carol of the bells." they opened with this number, and it was hypnotic. some woman was so completely entranced, she walked off the balcony and tumbled into the crowd below. (only a few of us concert-goers noticed - the rest just went on listening...)

#4: my nieces really know how to bring it home when it comes to mele kalikimaka-- these girls are amazing! they're fun, beautiful, talented, and intelligent! and they know how to scream when they get that christmas present they have always wanted (and maybe even a gift they didn't want, but they know how to graciously scream for joy anyway).

Natahli, Welina, Nohealani, Ko'olina, and Ailana...

#5: when people carol here in hawaii, they sometimes sing in a language of the islands (samoan in this case)... and this was no different for us - here on the north shore - a family from the neighborhood came by- and sang songs, brought cookies and smiles.

so mele kalikimaka everyone; hope your christmas was great! and happy new year!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

under the weather

in case you aint heard: seattle is crazy. check out for details on our amazing winds, floods and power outages. (last month it was floods, record rains, and snow).

and i am kinda sick, getting better i think. i skipped work friday. thankfully i had power. i watched a lot of tv.

hello hawaii, goodbye whatever this is here....

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

back from cambodia

good for mom, good for the temple, good for the kid:

sometimes america, in all its wisdom, can't provide the answers. and sometimes the answers to life's problems are a little farther (or closer) to home than we think. thanks jacob for this link.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

me and my mom

my favorite picture of me and my mom - taken about 1976. notice the bicentennial celebration shirt that i am wearing. i think we were licking stamps for a fund raising campaign. i was the only one not in school yet, so me and my mom had lots of adventures like these back in the drama-filled, fast-paced days of '76. we jetted around LA like bonnie and clyde. there was no end to the action, thrills, and excitement.

Monday, November 13, 2006

its the end of the party...

elizabeth (emma) bennett

ginger rogers


marie antoinette and some guy dressed up like a russian

hurley day 4, with hurley day 815

i am lost until february

Friday, October 27, 2006

back in seattle - probably where i belong after all

yall. i had a set back in my quest for my southern identity... and i may need to do more than read "all the king's men" to counter this.

it all started on the monday night i first got to baton rouge, but at the time, i didn't see it just yet. the hadnots had me and my dad over for supper. they served a tasty meal: chicken and dumplings, black-eyed peas, green beans with pork fat... it was real good. well, i was dipping outa second helping of dumplings in my bowl when our host cautioned me, "make sure you save some room for some dessert! we got mincemeat pie in the kitchen!"

(ok. taking a break from the narrative, let me list the problems with this scenario: #1- as yall probably know, i don't eat dessert. #2- my dad doesn't eat dessert. #3- it aint good southern form for a guest to turn down dessert- especially both of the guests. #4- do you know what mincemeat pie tastes like? i like eating everything. but this aint anyhow part of the everything that i like to eat. my mom used to make it when i was little, and i hated it then too. in fact... when our host said the words, "mincemeat," that taste came back to me - and it was weird, cause i'd forgotten that mincemeat pie existed- for serious)

check out the picture... now check out this recipe-

i am not even sure what it is up in there that makes it taste so bizarre. i need to lay out all the ingredients side by side in a row and taste em all separately. they put so much gunk up in the dang pie you'd need to do a chemical analysis probably. and its so sugary and syrupy sweet combined with this earthy biting taste to it, like a pecan pie run amok - right off the road and into the ditch. for the life of me i can't describe this thing... but it's only with keeping on eating it that it really gets to you - real water-torture-like.

well, i had to bite the bullet. i sacrificed my sugar ban for the common good (for my dad and for our southern heritage, or mine at least. my dad's people are from the quaker oat (and corn) fields of the midwest); but here's the kicker, this sacrifice of my 8-year-old sugar ban wasn't even for something i like! (why couldn't it've been cheesecake?)

and i was served a full quarter of that pie tin. i swear. it was bigger than the moon. after i reached my saturation level, i finally resorted to eating only the crust, (i like pie crust), and i left a small pile of the gooey interior in a corner of my plate. left me down-right demoralized. that's what it did to me.
well... if that had been all... but this story continues, see, and pieces fit together that makes a picture of something about myself i wasn't wanting to see.

well... baton rouge is different than seattle- and you can be up in the ihop eating, and a nice old lady two tables behind you- off to the right-hand side, eating some pancakes with strawberries and a dog poo clump of whip cream, can join your conversating with nobody saying or thinking nothing out of the ordinary. and so it was. me and my sister were in the ihop, and we were discussing the sad case of wilbert rideau, who life magazine once called the most reformed man in prison. its a case of a 19 yr-old black man killing a white woman in 1961 and getting sent to death row by an all-white jury, although the murder was not premeditated. (see his website here - and the story of his eventual release. wikipedia also has an interesting summary.)

well, my dear sister was in a moment of corn-fusion and could not remember wilbert's name- so our table neighbor interjected, "his name is rideau!" my sister didn't seem at all surprised by the intrusion into our personal conversation; (we coulda been talking about something private!) she just answered, "yeah! that's his name," and the conversation continued... and this kinda thing happens everywhere - especially the grocery line at the wal-mart. people just talk to each other and say hello and comment on the weather, the upcoming election, your purchases, how the lsu football team knocked the socks off fresno state, and how nice your fake diamond fluer-di-lis ring looks on your pinky finger. if you tried all that in seattle you might get hit upside the head with a can of postum.

well our table neighbor was no different, and we chatted for a while, and eventually the topic came round to the mincemeat pie from monday night previous. she confirmed that mincemeat was indeed a southern dish and used to be made with real meat - and how good it tasted poured over hot italian meatballs. well, after talking on the subject for a while and feeling real friendly with her (i never knew my grandmothers) i decided to confide in her that i hated the stuff. she responded with a disconcerting stare - kinda poker-faced, as if she was thinking something she didn't wanna say.

but finally she did speak, deciding on a semi-neutral comment, "you just used to all that bland food you eat out there." (i'd told her i live in seattle now).

well, this shoulda been clear enough warning for me to change the topic, but instead it got me a little on the defensive side of things, and i explained that i liked spicy foods, asian food, thai food, lao food, crawfish, tony chachere's, jalepenos in a jar, tabasco; i mean, its all part of who i am - you are what you eat kinda thing- but she continued to give me a rather blank stare.

so i took it a step further. and this is true for so many of us,--so don't you, mr. and ms. blog reader, sit back in your chair (all 3 of you that will actually read this far in this entry) and think that its just me that don't know when or how to shut up, cause sometimes - when you're trying to defend yourself, and i mean all of us, you say just the wrong thing and it gets you deeper and deeper in that swamp of a mess you already got yourself into by opening your big trap in the begin with and that's what happened to my sorry self right there in the ihop on college drive in baton rouge louisiana usa.

so here's what i said: "well, i don't like bland food, i just don't like sweet things. mincemeat - it's just too rich for me." (and if i'd just left it there... why did i have to say more??)

"like pralines..." i continued, (and you gotta say it with the right pronunciation if you're from the south; it's not 'praw-lines' but 'pray-lines')

" ... i don't like pralines. they're just too sweet!" i said.

well, her face just dropped and i could see the pancake still in her mouth- and immediately i recoiled into my stupidity - but i had nothing left to say to get me back on firm southern dirt. and i can't express to you the magnitude of my comment. (but i'll try) i mean, pralines are a louisianian's birthright. it's their heart and soul, their joie de vivre, their memories of hearth and home, the good days and the bad, its their hand-carved pirogue under the moon and the stars, their bon ami and their chere - their mother and's their blood.

after a second of pause she finally replied,

"i'm mortified."

and still i had nothing i could say. as we strolled out the ihop, i said goodbye, wished her a good day, thinking the whole time that i knew what she thought of me, and left with a sinking realization that i've been away too long. the whole thing brings my credibility as a southerner into question. yep. i'm bout as southern as a crawdad. i still say yall, and i like red beans and rice. i say pin like pen, and i caught aint cot. so what does that make me? i mean, i will always call baton rouge my home, but will baton rouge always claim me as hers?

yall gotta check out the pralines on this page. make some and send them to the fourth row, second table by the end at the ihop in baton rouge on college drive- cause my little old table neighbor is sittin there waiting for em; her mouth's still hanging open in shock.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

last day in baton rouge

kone brought this massive red drum for us to eat. he caught it off the coast of florida proving that he is a very capable fisherman. (the fish fought old-man-and-the-sea-style). this is right before the big fish lost its head, so kone's smile looks somewhat maniacal, don't you think? he also brought a cooler full of other fish (that he, his wife, and kids all caught). we were generous in sharing the joy of freshly dead fish with friends.
and this here is kone's cooking, deep fried fish (seasoned to perfection) and stir fried veggies...
...proving that despite appearances, kone is also very capable at making some good food. as i always say, "just do it."

and i am proving that i am very capable at eating some good food.

Monday, October 23, 2006

american airlines

lv new orleans 300pm - flt 2350
ar dalla ft worth 435pm

lv dallas ft worth 525pm - flt 1925
ar seattle tacoma 730pm

Saturday, October 21, 2006

calling baton rouge

kone (pronounced gone) came to visit (he lives in florida now) and we went touring around baton rouge: (captions are below the photos)

xiengkone vongkoth

the state capitol- built by huey p. long; the tallest state capitol in the nation. huey p. long was gunned down in the back hallway, and he died 2 days later. the bullet holes are still there in the marble walls. huey long was then buried on the capitol's front lawn.

mississippi river bridge. that little dark mark is huck finn swimming. huey p. long built this bridge. he was a great man. everyone (except dr. weiss who shot him) loved him dearly. as he said, "every man a king" and "a chicken in every pot."

the uss kidd parked on the mississippi river. my brother used to work here a long time ago. for more info see

kone is panhandling here... relaxed style.

the levee - (they gotta put baton rouge on there in case people get confused and think they're already at st. louis)

an oak tree... this is right next to the old state capitol...

we took a quick trip down to new orleans. it is still kinda a mess down there, but that's okay, cause kone came on this little trip prepared.

the dome of the old state capitol - huey p. long didn't like this building - he said it had rats in it.

me by a window in the old state legislature room. kinda dark... shoulda used a flash...

louisiana is known for a lot of things - its food, its music, its hospitality, mardi gras, and also its politics. huey p. long is a big piece of that puzzle. for more on this fascinating man of the people, see the review of his life at notice the last words he uttered.