December 14 - From Kokua Line, Two people in blue embroidered uniforms with laminated badges were going door to door in our Hawaii Kai neighborhood saying they were promoting fire safety and were doing free checks of extinguishers and fire alarms inside the home. The next day they called, trying to set up an appointment and when refused promptly hung up. Who are these people?
Answer: Kokua Line received phone calls from other readers asking about the same or similar door-to-door crews in different Oahu neighborhoods. Thet are not affilicated with the HFD, said spokesman, Fire Capt. David Jenkins. [Star-Advertiser - library card req.]
This website also notes that this is similar to a scam where individuals were going door-to-door posing as HPD and asking for entry to residents' homes. [Oct 2016 News] Please do not let unknown individuals into your home; call 911 to report the incident promptly.
December 13 - Police are investigating an armed robbery at The Shack, a Hawaii Kai Shopping Center restaurant. Two suspects were detained and another fled by motorcycle. The robbery took place at 1:15 in the morning, just as employees were closing the store. [HNN] [KHON/YouTube]
December 11 - Honolulu Marathon, Hawaii Kai Footage [heeman3/YouTube]
December 9 - CrimeStoppers and the Honolulu Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance in finding a robbery suspect who walks with a distinct waddle. The suspect robbed the Bank of Hawaii branch in Kaimuki, 3600 Waialae Avenue, on Friday, Dec. 9, at 11:39 a.m. [KHON]
December 9 - There is a traffic advisory for Sunday, December 11. The Honolulu Marathon will close certain streets in Hawaii Kai, and East Oahu. For details and times, check the [Honolulu Marathon] website.
December 9 - Hawaii Kai NOAA weather transmitter will be down intermittently on Dec 10 and 13 [NOAA]
December 8 - Police arrest man in Kahala after assault; burglary spree [Star-Advertiser]
December 8 - Several community groups are coordinating an effort against the rise of East Oahu burglaries. "Our community has really mobilized to put a stop to this," said Ed Miner, President of the Maunalua Triangle-Koko Kai Association. He invites others to email him for more information. [Star-Advertiser - Library Card required]
December 6 - Governor David Ige's office has released a Working Draft of Hawaii's Blueprint for Education and continues to seek public input. [Hawaii.gov]
December 5 - YouTube user video of fight outside The Shack, Hawaii Kai [YouTube]
December 4 - Bureaucratic tie-ups are costing Ka Iwi preservation group $7,300 in interest. Livable Hawaii Kai, which purchased the land with a combination of resident donations and State and City pledged money, is still waiting for both the State government and the City government to release pledged money. [Star Advertiser - Library card required]
December 4 - Islands, Hawaii Kai specifically, under flash flood watch. [Star-Advertiser]
December 3 - Civil Beat and KITV video piece on Hanauma Bay funding issue (1min, 40sec) [KITV]
Hawaii Kai Farmers' Market Options
With the exception of the Saturday farmer's market at Kapiolani Community College (KCC), Oahu's selection for farm to table agriculture has shrunk. Fewer farmers are finding it profitable to attend these markets and as interest dwindles, the audience likewise gets smaller. It's a self-fulfilling outcome.
Still, Costco can't fulfill all of a household's food needs. I often find myself needing fresh Thai basil or a bundle of cilantro. If I'm feeling ambitious, I'll make the trek to KCC on Saturday morning. More likely than not, however, I'll end up going to my favorite open market: the City's one-hour event at the Hawaii Kai Park and ride.
The City's People's Open Market runs from 1pm to 2pm on Saturdays in Hawaii Kai, at the Park and Ride near the dog park. Parking is ample and the selection is usually pretty good: mostly food staples like the type you can get in Chinatown. On a typical Saturday you can buy daikon, chinese parsley, chives, watercress and any other number of those vegetables not easily obtained.
I also like the Friends of Kaiser High School farmer's market on Tuesdays. It runs from 4pm to 7pm at the school's parking lot. Again, there is ample parking and access is fairly good. Selection at Kaiser's farmer's market is limited. Kay's produce stand is always there, however. I highly recommend it for its fresh basil. Without fail, the basil is fresh and full. You can choose from either sweet or Thai basil.
Olay Thai restaurant also has a booth at Kaiser High School's market. If you're having a craving for a Thai plate lunch, sticky rice, spring rolls, green papaya salad or an iced coffee, this is the place to go There's a regular following of customers who have made it part of their routine.
Recenly added, Kaiser also has fresh Waimanalo eggs directly from the farm, as well as rice milled that day or the day before.
Finally, if you're looking for those Chinatown-like vegetables and can't make it to the Saturday open market, the Hawaii Kai Towne Center also hosts a stand behind Panda Express, facing the marina. It runs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m.– 3:00 p.m. I haven't visited it in a while, but the last time I was there, the stand had about two dozen or so different items, including ripe papaya.
November 30 - Friends of Hanauma Bay claims that despite a court order, Honolulu City and County continues to misappropritate funds. The latest feud continues a long string of complaints by the non-profit group. Among allegations, that the City has purchased equipment for other venues with the funds, otherwise improperly allocated money from the earmarked money and kept accrued interest from it. These complaints date back many administrations, including during the terms of mayors Peter Carlisle, Mufi Hannemann and Jeremy Harris. [Civil Beat]
November 29 - The State of Hawaii is seeking to remove some mid-block crosswalks in East Oahu in an effort to force pedestrians to use crosswalks with stop lights. In a proposal being considered now, three crosswalks along a quarter-mile stretch of Kalanianaole Highway between Aina Haina Park and Waialae Iki Park (Waa Street and Kaai Street) would be removed. [HNN]
November 28 - Hope remains for reopening Kaimuki's Queen Theater. Some people would love to see the venerable Kaimuki venue reopen for live shows or classes and have even formed a Friends of Queen Theater organization. But the theater’s reclusive owner, Narciso Yu Jr., is said to be reluctant to sell the space. Nonetheless, a pair of artists who know him personally have been working to scrape together enough cash to reopen the theater. Support for the project by nearby businesses appears enthusiastic. [Civil Beat]
November 27 - This month Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) made its largest loan, $861,500, to help pay for two solar systems at an apartment complex called 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive. State lawmakers created the Green Energy Market Securitization, or GEMS, program in 2013 to make rooftop solar systems more affordable. The 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive loan is the first large-scale loan of its type for the GEMS program. Prior loans had been scarce, mainly going to already affluent household borrowers. The apartments at 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive aren't powered by the new solar system, just the common areas, including stairwells, pools, the lobby and the elevators. Renters still pay Hawaiian Electric Co. for the electricity they use in their home. [Star-Advertiser - library card required]
I'm notorious for buying myself presents that really aren't presents -- stuff like mops and storage containers. I did it again, this time with something a tad more exciting. I bought myself Corel's VideoStudio Ultimate X9 (Windows) for Christmas. It's on sale until December 1, 2016 for $39.99. The Pro version is on sale for $29.99. (I have a previous version of VideoStudio, so I opted for the upgrade. I presume one can upgrade from any type of video editing software, including Movie Maker included with Windows. In any case, the upgrade software is the same as the full version.) If you miss this sale, just keep your eyes open and check the Corel website from time to time. The price fluctuates to just about this level as a low point. You'll just have to act when you see a discount.
If you're on the fence over which version to buy, get the cheaper one for $29.99. On the other hand, if you can afford the extra $10, some video editing afficionados think it's worth the price. The Corel site has a table for comparison. As for me, I've been video editing on early versions of this product prior to it being acquired by Corel. That in itself is a story. It's hard to imagine that back then, the Ulead software cost $500 and had to run overnight just to render a five-minute clip. So, in other words, I'm not flnching over the extra $10.
But, let's get to what you get for your money.
1. The software package itself, which contains a number of standalone modules in addition to the editing package itself. One is called FastFlick X9 and out of the box, without reading any instructions, I was able to put together this video in less 8 minutes, including rendering (processing).
FastFlick is a quick and easy add-on solution to the otherwise longer learning curve that main module of VideoStudio software requires.
Another standalone module of VideoStudio X9 is the screen capture module. This does exactly what it sounds like, capturing what is on your screen and turning it into a silent video. This is an excellent tool for creating technical how-to videos.
As for the main module, the user manual is pretty straightforward and there's also a complimentary 30-day tutorial subscription. When I buy a new piece of software, I expect to put in at least six hours of intensive learning effort. With six hours of effort on VideoStudio X9, a first-time user should be able to create a nice video: removing the parts they don't want, doing voiceover or music where needed, and enabling fancy transitions between clips.
For comparison, I've also used Adobe Premiere which was less intuitive. I've also tried free options such as Chrome add-ons. Ultimately, I deem Corel's product well worth the price.
As part of this year's CyberMonday deal, Corel is also throwing in Corel AfterShot 3 and WinZip 20.5.
AfterShot is a post-production RAW image editor that additionally works on lossy formats like .jpeg. I found it both intuitive and the easiest way to do a quick crop, exposure correct and sharpen. Unlike most consumer products, it also comes with batch processing; something usually reserved for professional level editing.
WinZip is a file compression program. These days, simple extraction and zipping is included with the WIndows OS. WinZip is a fancier version of compression software that also allows users to encrypt and password-encode their files. It's a good middle ground for anyone considering storing their sensitive files on the cloud.
I really don't buy software much anymore. Most products are available without charge, and I'm more inclined to use open source options. Still, after taking this newest version of VideoStudio for a run, I'm walking away happy. I'm our family's in-house tech person, so this will save me quite a bit of time when helping the kids with video presentations. It's at least as useful as a mop and far more fun than storage containers.
It's here, It was rumored that Netflix was going to allow downloading of its video files for offline viewing, but they've delivered an early Christmas gift to Stranger Things lovers everywhere. Not all videos are available, but all of the Netflix series are, as well as select others. This new feature is available on both Netflix's Android and iPad apps and I just tested it out.
For the past week, I had been bingewatching Mischievous Kiss, a Fuji TV Japanese drama series. One of the best features of Netflix is its subtitles. You can choose the language on a number of them. On some series, you can even choose the audio language too.
In any case, I had been watching it first in Japanese, then in English to see how well I actually understood the story. I'm now going back and rewatching it again in Japanese to commit more words and sentences to memory. Now that I can take my movies on the go I'll be able to squeeze in even more study time -- although the series is so addictive I doubt I'll think of it as study at all.
In any case, Netflix lovers, your offline prayers are here. Check your Netflix tablet app to see if your series is available for download.