Tuesday, February 6, 2018

2018 Begins

I turned 30, and shortly thereafter my quaint dirty thirty, I began my annual "holiday work-a-thon". Typically during the holidays the gigs dry up, and the BRGA students stop showing up, so to make up for it, I volunteer myself to work many many days in a row at the much busier surf school in order to offset my loss of income from those other ventures. This year I clocked in at 26 days in a row, from December 13th through January 7th. This Christmas season wasn't as busy as past years, as far as my memory can remember. And, per usual post-holiday phenomenon, I lost a couple BRGA students through the new year, but that's okay! More will be on the way...? (I hope). New Year's Resolutions???



I re-re-acquired my drivers license (for the third time) on December 26th, and not even a week later I got conscripted to do some surf safaris. Been at this surf school for 4 and a half years and only then did my first surf safari(s), one of which was solo. Why is this important? Cause of Jackass! My teenage self was star struck.



One of my acoustic band/duo projects I've been building up during 2017 had its first official paying gig lined up at Jazz Minds on December 29th, but it wound up getting canceled. So, as it stands, we still haven't accomplished what I had originally set out to do with that enterprise... I think I need to start carving out a hole for ourselves.


This Christmas, I was not the scrooge, so I got everyone in my professional circle gifts. This included band t-shirts! I got t-shirts for Console - The VGM Band, and the Shar Carillo Band. Figure I'd get something useful for everyone, rather than something generic.


Oh, and how could I forget. Sadly, BRGA did not have a recital this year. Unfortunately the place that I was to have it (same place as last year), lost it's permits to have live music. SHIT! My personal synopsis for 2017 was that it was a pretty shitty year for me.

In other news, I've been trying to regularly attened the Anna O'Brien's open mic on the second and fourth Thursday of every month and enjoying myself quite a bit at it. My attendance conveniently kind of happened for various reasons; a couple of the projects I'm in need some stage experience, Thursday evenings are a time that I don't typically have things booked, and although the open mic is rather late (9pm-12midnight), I now have BRGA students Friday morning allowing me to sleep in a bit with the lateness from the night before. It probably doesn't hurt that Anna's is just down the street too. Regularly being there has even inspired me to do the unthinkable *GASP* solo-acoustic performances. I've been working on a couple favorite tunes to perform if I happen to be there. Stay tuned on that.


In light of the last podcast, I went ahead and upgraded my internet service. I looked at my billing statement, and I was being charged $130 for the piece of crap motorola modem that the technician left. I thought this was going to be cheaper! Not $100 more expensive. I guess it's my responsibility to return the modem? The whole process was a little bit slimy, but I eventually got credited back; after returning the modem, and then following up by calling them and asking them to credit me back. Guess everyone's got to at least try and make a buck.

Since November, I've had three gigs with Shar. It's been very, very quiet. This, in of itself is a contributing factor as to why 2017 sucked. With my newly acquired license, and normalized schedule, I've been hustling craigslist (and even bandmix to some degree) on trying to find something that either A) pays or B) satisfies. There's been some light blips on the internet radar, but I doubt anything will come of it. I did have an audition with a funk band a few nights ago however, but I don't think I'll be getting called back. Anyway, the Friday and Saturday nights keep rolling by without gigs and although I try to look at the bright side being that I have more free time, I feel like it's such a waste! It's a similar feeling as to being laid off from work, or not being able to find a date. Is there something wrong with me? Haha. Man...

January 13th missile false alarm, that was fun.


The Mighty Sprites have a new guitar player and he's great! Very glad to have him on board. We're planning on hitting one of the aforementioned Anna O'Brien open mics here in the near future. Stay tuned.

Finally got my hands on a tool chest that fits perfectly in the kitchen!


Started this year off with some BRGA firsts; after teaching guitar here on Oahu since 2014, someone [finally] backed into a nearby car when pulling out of the parking spot. I felt partially responsible, but then I reasoned with myself -- they got a license. Also, just today I had the cops called on me due to one of my younger students acting like a total spaz. The cops were responding to a "domestic abuse" claim "involving a child screaming." Guess there's a first for everything. Mega-embarrassing. Sorry neighborhood, I guess it sounds like I kill kids at guitar lessons haha.

So I wasn't able to go to college again for this spring. My goal is to take college courses every spring for fun and maybe eventually get a degree of some sort. Degree not really being a priority really. In lieu of that, I enrolled myself in some "Intermediate Japanese Conversation" classes at Intercultural Communications College that'll gobble up some of my free time and restlessness. Hopefully I come out the other end a little more versed, and ever more prepared for my trip to Japan in June.

Console - The VGM was slated to go live February 24th, 2018. I was extremely excited mainly because everyone's schedules FINALLY synced up. I printed my own flyers, and began posting them places, only to find out that the venue at which we were supposed to play at is no longer hosting any sort of "heavy rock" genres at their venue due to some events that transpired during the recent Municipal Waste concert. Fucking lame. Back to square one...


Yesterday I got my wisdom teeth pulled. Four in total, two had to get pulverized. I got a lot of mixed reviews of the whole experience. People were telling me to go under anesthesia, etc. But I wrote that off as being wimpy. The procedure itself isn't bad, the local anesthetic takes any sort of pain away from the operation. The post-op experience though is a totally different story. After the local anesthetic wore off, I found myself being pretty useless and needing to take the pain pills I was prescribed. I didn't think I'd need it, but I was totally wrong. Today I'm in a little bit of discomfort but I'm fine compared to yesterday. My face/jaw/mouth is still a little tender, but I'm functional, and able to type up a blog and work my way through a couple guitar lessons today as a result.


So in light of my current circumstances, I'm looking at trying to establish residency at either Hawaiian Brians or Anna O'Brien's. Maybe like a "seond Monday of every month" kind of a thing for my various acts. I gotta do something!

Still battling footwarts...

Sunday, January 14, 2018

ICBM False Alarm Hawaii

I awoke to my rude alarm clock this morning just like any other day, but this time it was a bit earlier than usual, especially for a Saturday. It was 5:40 a.m. and it was the first of two waves of alarms [the next being at 5:50 a.m.] that woke myself and my partner who had been sleeping on the futon in the living room. We've been hosting some friends from out of town for the past week and were happy to give up our bedroom in order to lodge them comfortably. To catch a 7:30 a.m. flight bound for LIH from HON we needed to wake unusually early. As everyone woke and gathered themselves, I still had some things to prepare; a menial task of offloading an SD card to my computer before that same SD card would then be immediately repurposed to document their trip to Kauai. I did that as the girls got ready.

When we were all collected, I took the driver's seat with my newly minted drivers license, only to find out that I had sleepily grabbed the wrong set of keys! Inconvenienced and annoyed at myself, I returned to unlock the apartment for the right keys, only to again; fully lockdown the apartment for a second time. It was a crisp-cool cloudless morning, you could see the luminescent moon in the multi-color foreground of an impending dawn. A foggy/dew/vapor had collected on the inside of the car's windshield making it difficult to see through until the newly charged air conditioning system busted through it.

By 6:17 a.m. we were on the road. I remember looking at the clock as I drove the two travelers I was entrusted to deliver to the airport; ensuring that they we were to truly arrive in time. I can't really remember what we spoke about on the car ride, which is pretty typical for me when it's so early [for me] and I'm preoccupied with driving. Probably some shit about my lame bands or whatever, or some trivial conversation about loose travel plans. I do remember we spoke though, at least some bit about using Starbucks gift cards at the airport-based coffee establishments.

I assisted the girls with their belongings as they unloaded themselves from the vehicle. A cooler bag that had been lazily stuffed with trash from some previous beach adventure(s) released itself of all it's contained melted-ice, beer-bottle caps, half-empty sunscreen bottles and other various forms of beach-amusement paraphernalia. Embarrassed by the attention that the sound of scattering things and unsightly rubbishes had brought me, I quickly gathered up the second-hand mess that I unknowingly inherited assisting the two with their luggage. We said our goodbyes and we went our separate ways. They were headed for paradise, and I was headed to normalcy.

I rejoined the stream of traffic, and was cautious of the chaos that airport arrivals and departures typically brought, becoming a little more hypo-aware. As I began to return to the the freeway, I remember thinking "damn, this guy is close..." as I looked in my rear-view, triggering a brief memory of a similar scenario when my Uncle Tito was at the wheel taking me home after one of my neighbor island gigs. ...but perhaps it was only just because I fell for the "OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR" misperception. This ride home was probably one of the only times I had driven the car by myself. Alone. Serenity. I listened to the radio as I looked over the downtown skyline, noticing that the moon had taken second stage to the glow of the rising sun. More importantly, I noticed that one of them left a canteen full of coffee. Looks like they will be going to Starbucks, and I won't have to now.

I returned home with the neighborhood seemingly still asleep. I was up unusually early for a work day. I remember being as delicate as possible earlier that morning, loading the luggage into the car, trying my best not to wake the neighborhood. For a third time, I unlocked the apartment, and still had some menial things I wanted to do/finish on the computer before I began my morning work commute. Strategically, I left the ancient computer of mine running during my taxi service in order to shave off precious minutes of reboot time that old devices like this one suffer from. I received a peculiar message from my coworker I was to see less-than an hour later, which was kind of out of the ordinary... guess she was bring a loved-one whom I had never met -- only heard about -- to work with her today. A little more unordinary. Time stamp: 7:07 a.m.


By 7:30 a.m., I had completed what I needed to do on the computer and was on my way to work just like any other day. I was already wide-awake, and was self-assured I'd make it with time to spare, which always takes the stress off the trek, making me a little less of a societal-asshole than if I were a stressed systemic-procrastinator and "behind schedule" like everyone else. It was still quite cool, and I remember shivering, hoping that the sun would show itself soon and give me some warmth that my body couldn't generate for itself, even during the bike ride.

I arrived to work, and docked my bike at the sidewalk bike-locking rack. Timestamp, 7:56 a.m. I was early! Leizurily, I went to the nearby convenience store I regular for my much anticipated cup of coffee and morsel of sustenance. Today was different though, being that I had already drunk the travelers' forgotten coffee, I wasn't fiending for coffee, and wasn't at all hungry. I opted for a can of V8 juice, which I never really do for breakfast. Today was different though. I chose the empty cashier nearest the exit, the one that I have always perceived as the primary checkout stand. There she was, "NAME TAG", a shop clerk whom I see almost every day. We never really exchange any more words than what is professionally required of the two of us. Seems kind of strange being that I've been working here for 5 years and have never really have had more than a few stand out conversations with this person. Seems a little dehumanizing, but, maybe she's not a morning person like me, or maybe I'm just not an interesting person to want to talk to, maybe I'm anti-social? Or perhaps it was because I was raised by women and don't feel like it's my responsibility to initiate and encourage conversations? She counts the change out to me and says her ritualistic "save your receipt for free gifts" once we've finished our transaction.

Finally arriving at work, it's 8:03 a.m., and the co-worker(s) still haven't arrived. No big deal, I began to sloppily do the opening duties/rituals. Unlock door here, turn light on there, clock in, put my things away, etc. etc. etc. in no particular order. It wasn't long, and my co-worker arrives with her partner and she tells me that we have no bookings this morning. I immediately think of what kind of personal work I could get done with the morning...

8:07 a.m.
*BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP*
Emergency Alert
BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.

"Missile... coming?" "Is this for real?" "What do we do?" We look at eachother. I think to myself: where are the air sirens? We need a radio! And we don't have much time if this is for real. I attempt to use the company computer to find an online radio of some sort as the others buried their faces and frantically clawed at their phones searching for answers on their handheld answer boxes that we commonly call as cell phones now. Experiencing the grudgingly-slow pace of a computer boot screen for a second time already today, I think to ask the taxi men at the hotel to use their car radio to tune into the AM stations. Of course, as destiny would have it, two tourists enter the shop completely unaware of the impending nuclear ending, looks like they want to go surfing. I'll leave that up to the co-worker who was late and brought their partner.

I jog over to the taxi's who of course are all foreign and very poor with English. I explain to them to turn on their car radios. Some of them saying they have no radios. ? Did you not see the message? Are you guys not concerned? Listen to the AM radio!

"THIS IS AN ALARM. STAY TUNED FOR WHAT TO DO."

? that's weird... an alarm versus an immediate seek shelter order. Should I believe a cellphone, or a radio station?

I return to the shop to find the two tourists still there insisting to us that this is a false alarm. "If CNN isn't televising it, then it's not real." they argue. Gosh, I would hate to be wrong if I were you. "We have a bunch of methods of shooting those things down. We're safe." Really? Where's your PHD in rocket science? And when have we ever had fully documented instances of repelling an impending ICBM travelling at 5,000 meters per second that we were not already informed of being launched?

I think to myself, there is no way that a news channel halfway around the world could get it together in time to broadcast to a community halfway around the world again, that there is or is not a missile traveling our way, it would be immediate services that would be informed. Police, Air Sirens, Radio, etc. I don't have time to have discussions with fact-check-free people feeling impervious because they're on vacation and believe things that they don't really know much about; only repeating what they're told.

I called my girlfriend, a traveler whom I had said goodbye to that morning. I told her, "go straight to my mom's house." I knew she wouldn't know what to do... Growing up on Kaua'i, there is always a looming awareness of missile threats. To say I hadn't thought of what it would be like if a missile were to be headed our way would be a lie. "Just get to my mom's house. I'm going to see if I can make it home."

Home. Where I always have at any given time enough food and water to survive for at least a month. Home base. Where I know where all my survival tools are. The fortress. Where I know I am in control of my destiny, and ultimate safer because of it. The bunker. It was too far away and I would not have enough time to get there lest I wanted to be vaporized and memorialized as a shadow etched into the wall of a mangled building. I suppose immediate shelter would be the shop. The place I've been working at for 5 years. Wow.

My sister called, and told me she loved me. Maybe this was the end? So sweet, but I thought to myself, don't worry about me, worry about yourself and the kids! I know you love me, and I hope that everything I say and do reflects that I actually love you all.

I decided to get in touch with hotel security one last time to see if they had a radio. They informed me that they had spoken with HPD earlier -- it was a false alarm. Really? I hope so. I returned to the shop to tell my coworkers that it had been a false alarm. What a relief.



8:43am. Shortly thereafter the two tourists returned to the shop. I guess they had left the shop too to find out what was really going on, but now they were back. One was very proud to say "I told you so!" But again, I'd really hate to be wrong if I were him. I remember thinking about reading testimonials of people who witnessed Pearl Harbor, and even 9/11 who were also saying and feeling like "nah... this isn't real." Anyway, I guess it was time to give a 9am surf lesson.

I did the surf lesson, we were in the water paddling out by 9:02 a.m. and it went well in spite of it's sobering nuclear-armageddon overtones. It was an especially beautiful day, and probably even more so after having quite the scare. I uncharacteristically unprofessionally shared a personal morbid thought with my client, a thought I typically have whenever I watch propeller airplanes fly overhead thinking of what it must of looked and felt like seeing a bunch of aircraft like that dropping bombs over pearl harbor just a dozen miles away or so. A location that I can see fairly well from where I'm at when I'm working almost every day. My imagination puts two and two together sometimes when I'm out there.

I started collecting my thoughts throughout the day of some of the other things I thought about during that intense 45 minutes this morning. I thought about how all my loved ones are not physically near to me, but always in my thoughts. I thought about how tragic and violent a nuclear reality could be. I thought about how trivial the events and thoughts I had in the early morning before the scare were.

A couple months ago there was a false air siren alarm that went off which gave me personally quite the scare too mainly because I was out at sea, no AM radio in sight out there haha. I guess for that one everyone had access to the "false alarm" information, but being that I wasn't anywhere near a communication device, I was concerned the air sirens were sounding on a day other than the "first working day of the month."

A very sobering experience to say the least.

The main takeaway; I need an AM radio.