I went to Hawaii and ate all the plants.

We flew back in quite late last night after four days out of town, and a busy four days, it was! We took a family trip to Hawaii, where my parents were born and raised, and where, in the homes of extended family scattered across three islands, I spent most of my summers growing up. In my adulthood, I’ve only visited my family on the island of Oahu, because that’s where my parents live half the time. My one adult visit to the island of Maui had been at the end of the 90’s when we went to Grandpa’s memorial service. Last week’s long-overdue return to Maui was also for a special family event, but a happy one this time: my brother’s wedding!

We had a fantastic visit with my parents, brother, and nephew, and we got to know new family members and friends, all lovely human beings. It was an enjoyable way to flex my minuscule extrovert muscles a bit! We stayed with my parents and nephew in a condo we rented in Kihei, a place rich with memories of my favorite beaches on Maui (and my one interesting encounter with a Portuguese Man O’War). We braved the mad tourist bustle of old-town Lahaina only twice, both for wedding-related events, including the wedding, itself. Well, the wedding wasn’t exactly in Lahaina… it was on a boat, but the boat departed from Lahaina.

The highlight of the trip was the wedding, of course, but I also wanted to show Callaghan as much of Maui as possible in the four days we had. He’d been to Oahu with me, but never to Maui, and I’d spent more time there at my grandparents’ house than anywhere. Thanks to my brother and parents, we were able to drive up to Hana (on the infamous Road, which is more of an attraction than Hana, itself, if you ask me – it’s an exhilarating ride, and there are fabulous places to visit along the way. More on that later!), attend a luau, and hit the haleakala volcano crater. The first important thing we did was visit a few precious sites in Kahului, Mom’s hometown. The last important thing we did was go to the beach, where I did a little training (beach workout post forthcoming!) and swimming.

Callaghan loved it. He was also fascinated to hear that a Jurassic Park helicopter scene (view) was filmed over the rain forests around the road to Hana.

It was good times.

I ended up with more pics than I could prepare all at once, but they’ll get captured in the next few posts. For this first installment, I’ll show you some of the things I ate during the trip, as a few of you were interested in seeing what a person can eat in Hawaii other than seafood and Kalua pig.

Without further ado, take a gander at what I ate on Maui, if you’re so inclined!


I had fruit on the flight going over:


Breakfast on the airplane

Breakfast on the airplane


For dinner at Monkeypod, I ordered the delicious fresh island herbs farm organic kale salad (Maui onion, golden raisins, Mandarin oranges, organic waihe’e macadamia nuts, miso sesame vinaigrette):


At Monkeypod restaurant: Fresh island herbs farm organic kale salad

At Monkeypod restaurant: Fresh island herbs farm organic kale salad


For dinner at the luau, I had garden salad, taro leaf stew, stir-fried vegetables, pohole salad (fern shoots, Maui onions, tomatoes), and pineapple:


Dinner at the Old Lahaina Luau

Dinner at the Old Lahaina Luau


For dinner at the BBQ my brother, his wife, and her family hosted at their house, I had salad, veggie kabobs, a little rice, and a few small potatoes:


Dinner at the BBQ

Dinner at the BBQ


(Plate of fresh fruit for dessert not pictured)

For lunch at Ono Organic Farms along the road to Hana, we enjoyed the plethora of exotic fruit we tasted, some of which I’d never even heard of. My favorite was the rambutan, the barbed red fruit. I don’t remember the name of the spiky white fruit, but it was good, too:


Fresh organic fruit at Ono Organic Farms

Fresh organic fruit at Ono Organic Farms


For lunch at Zippy’s (it’s like a Denny’s; this one in Kahului is the first and only Zippy’s on Maui. I’d only been to Zippy’s on Oahu), I ordered their veggie-tofu burger, which I ate open-faced on a whole wheat bun:


Zippy's veggie-tofu burger

Zippy’s veggie-tofu burger


We also had lunch at good old Taco Bell one day, where I got the power menu burrito bowl. It’s like a Chipotle burrito bowl, but better, in my opinion! Black beans, rice, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, and six packets of diablo sauce:


Taco Bell power menu burrito bowl

Taco Bell power menu burrito bowl


And for lunch at Honolulu international airport heading home, we went to Chow Mein Express and had tofu, eggplant, and steamed white rice (they didn’t have brown). This was by far the best airport fast-food I’ve ever had:


Honolulu International Airport fast food: Chow Mein Express

Honolulu International Airport fast food: Chow Mein Express


During the trip, I also had a variety of protein/nutrition bars, raw nuts, and whole grain breads to fill in gaps. For breakfast, I had Dave’s power seed bread with coconut peanut butter (two ingredients: peanuts and coconut!):


Coconut peanut butter

Coconut peanut butter


A lot of wonderful local plants were consumed. But don’t worry… I did save some for the dinosaurs! The veggiesaurs.

How to cover a door window.

Plans for the ongoing renovation project at my workplace include new doors for the offices. The construction crew finished installing the doors last week. Now my heavy, dark, 70’s-ass door is history, and in its place hangs a sleek, pale, Scandinavianesque door, outfitted with… a huge, clear window.

Plus: The new door looks great!

Plus-Minus: The new door looks great, but it doesn’t block out sound when it’s closed. (In fact, it seems to amplify sound.)

Minus: Because of the big window, there’s no privacy when the door is closed.

Like when I close the door because I’m trying to concentrate on a project.

Or when I close the door because I’m taking a lunch break and wish to hide.

Or when I close the door because I’m changing my clothes after working out.

The window is so large, it’s almost like having a dutch door with the top half open all the time.

Understand, this really isn’t an issue. I love the new door in all of its contemporary splendor, and its downsides mostly don’t matter because I keep the door wide open at least 95% of the time.


Gorgeous new door all the way open in my office.

Gorgeous new door all the way open in my office.


When I do close it, though, it’s for a reason, right?

What the window does is it invites people to look in as they’re walking past. It actually draws the person’s attention toward the office interior, meaning at me because I’m right there in front of it. Invariably (human nature), I look up and make eye contact with the person. This sometimes leads to interaction, which defeats the purpose of closing the door.

It’s obvious that other people in my department share my concern, as some of them have already reclaimed their privacy by covering their door windows. One person covered his with blank white paper. Another covered hers with some kind of reflective material, like aluminum foil. This inspired me to create my own privacy, as well.

But what to use to cover my window?

In case you, too, find yourself in this predicament and ask yourself this very question, here are some privacy window-covering décor ideas from me, That Asian-Looking Martha Stewart:


Office as Velociraptor-occupied room outside of the kitchen in Jurassic Park.

Office as Velociraptor-occupied room outside of the kitchen in Jurassic Park.


Office as horse stable.

Office as horse stable.


Office as Nicolas Cage magnifier.

Office as Nicolas Cage magnifier.



Office as friendly aquarium.

Office as friendly aquarium.


Office as spooky haunted room.

Office as spooky haunted room.


Office as Oogie Boogie's lair in Nightmare Before Christmas.

Office as Oogie Boogie’s lair in Nightmare Before Christmas.


Office with Grumpy Cat "Do Not Disturb" sign.

Office with Grumpy Cat “Do Not Disturb” sign.


So many options for this huge window!

This being a tough decision, my door window will probably end up looking something like this:


Because you can't go wrong with black.

Because you can’t go wrong with black.



Jurassic World… because sometimes, your life is lacking in dinosaurage. (“Rage” being the operative part of the word.)

Jurassic World spoiler alert:

There’s a huge, pissed-off dinosaur in it.




No, really. In one scene early on, park operations chief Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) explains that their on-site scientists needed to innovate bigger, better dinosaurs (she may have said the words, “faster, louder, scarier,” but I wasn’t taking notes… you get the idea) in order to re-boot the general public’s interest in visiting the park of living, prehistoric attractions. Because, you know, living prehistoric attractions aren’t interesting enough as they are.

I appreciated how Claire was just as much speaking of we, the audience, as she was of the fictional Jurassic World visitors. We movie-goers are the actual visitors of the park; we’re now on installment number four of this behemoth of a sci-fi action-adventure franchise, and let’s face it: At this point, we need “bigger, better, faster, louder, scarier” dinosaurs if any movie starting with the word “Jurassic” is going to get us salivating to the tune of (insert lofty dollar amount in theatre ticket sales). 22 years after the fresh, meteoric impact of the original Jurassic Park roused millions of imaginations around the world, the team behind this new chapter in the saga had to come up with something spectacular… at least in raw dinosaurage, if the plot lines were going to continue along the uninspired course they’d taken in the intervening years.

1993’s Jurassic Park, based on the novel by Michael Crichton, was just a tough act to follow, so to speak. Steven Spielberg unleashed it on a public that’d been unaware of exactly how well dinosaurs could be done in cinema, and not a mind that saw it was left unblown. The sequel was, in my opinion, dull, and the third one looked to be even less interesting. Following that disappointment, folks on the Jurassic World team got busy spawning a super enormous, intricately modified version of a dinosaur. Callaghan and I entered the theatre fully expecting it, since the trailer had looked promising, and we really wanted to believe the hype this time. We weren’t disappointed. Indominus rex was delivered, and the Jurassic thrill was back and intact.

Because Jurassic World quickly developed into a well-paced, rollicking visual fest of panic and people flung asunder, I was breathlessly entertained enough to shrug off my annoyance and suppress my inward eye-rolling provoked by some of the sub-plots and caricatures of the people in the story. I was willing to overlook the absurdity of the shoes on Claire’s feet, which were 1). white (I noticed as she was running through mud), and 2). high-heeled (I especially noticed as she was running through mud). In fact, from the time she started running, I made it a point to look at her feet in each scene, checking to see whether she’d resourcefully broken off the heels. She hadn’t. She ran at breakneck speed through a prehistoric forest and fields with rampaging beasts and her life in peril… wearing high heels.

I wasn’t there for well-developed characters devoid of stereotypes. I didn’t go in expecting to marvel at the usage of restraint in the writing, or in any other aspect. I was there for the suspenseful thrill of it all, and the snappy lightness of the script allowed us to simply enjoy that. We didn’t have to wrangle too much with ethics in science or the over-arching concept of “playing God.” We could just appreciate the excellence of everything done well in the film. We could admire the panache of the motorcycle-riding Velociraptor Whisperer played by Chris Pratt. We could feel gratified when Claire started to see beyond the dollar signs in her park’s living, breathing “assets” and “attractions” and developed respect for the dinosaurs as actual, sentient beings. We could bask in the nostalgic pleasure of the Jurassic Park theme music sweeping through the theatre, carrying us along on our ride, and we could enjoy exhaling before the spectacle of it all. There were angry, vicious dinosaurs, and they were impressive.

[Side note: Glancing around the theatre, we couldn’t help but raise our eyebrows at each other over the sheer number of young children we saw. Especially with the level of advancement reached in CGI technology, how did this film end up with a PG-13 rating? The girl sitting next to us had to be around six years old, and she was in good company with plenty of other children – including babies and toddlers – throughout the sold-out house. We were genuinely confused. Did the parents think that perhaps Jurassic World would feature Barney?

I remember when I went to the theatre with my family to see Alien. I was ten, and the scene that horrified me – the alien popping out of the guy’s chest – made Alien look like a walk through Mister Roger’s neighborhood compared to Jurassic World].

Directed by Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic World brings dinosaur-sexy back after all these years. It’s a satisfying blockbuster summer action flick to watch, and it’s certainly unlike any zoo you’ve ever visited.

Getting Eaten by a Shark in Kansas Never Seemed More Possible.

Last week, I wrote about disaster movies. Imagine my horrified bemusement, then, when I woke up this morning to realize that #SharkNado struck the airwaves last night, and somehow, we weren’t prepared. The gory aftermath was splattered all over my Twitter.

It started with this:

#SHARKNADO (7/12/13)

Which drove me straight into the bowels of the internets. I had to find out all about it.

(This may or may not be related to Callaghan interrupting my train of thought just now to say, “Hey Baby – we need to start making a food stash.”  Seriously! He didn’t know that I was writing about this! The sixth sense is a funny thing.)



So, a Sharknado is a storm in which great numbers of some species of shark – I’m assuming Great Whites, from the looks of it – come raining down onto the land from a Category 5 monstrosity broiling over the sea. Meteorologists have no doubt already taken note that the eyes of these storms are special. For one thing, they’re lateral.

Now, I’m not a film critic. But if I were a film critic, and if I had the task of reviewing #SharkNado, the first thing I’d do is call out the omission of Samuel L. Jackson. Samuel L. Jackson was in Jurassic Park, and, of course, Snakes on a Plane, two of my all-time favorite disaster movies. Because this was the one thought pounding through my head as the trailer wound down:


Major casting FAIL.

That is all.

Thrashing around in the Throes

“Mr. Hammond, after careful consideration, I’ve decided not to endorse your park.” (Jurassic Park)

What a great conclusion! What valleys of chaos traversed to reach it! (Hmm, if we were to return to our wilderness home in France, would we find T-Rex and Velociraptor tracks in our wake?) Humans seem to thrive on mayhem. What is it about disaster – especially violent disaster – that mesmerizes us?

“I wonder if robots will ever watch Terminator and figure out that they’re supposed to kill the humans,” Callaghan mused as we were eating our salad the other night. “Maybe it’s the movie that’s going to trigger everything!”

Indeed. When it comes to entertaining ourselves with disaster, it’s not enough for people to kill other people. Nature killing people isn’t enough, either. We need robots to kill us, too.

For me, it’s clowns… call me a traditionalist, or maybe just a person with a weak imagination. For those of you who were wondering, the incessant buzz over World War Z extinguished my preoccupation with zombies. Main-streaming the topic to that over-budgeted extent in a “summer action blockbuster” production finally killed it for me. (I enjoyed Zombieland, but even that was borderline. We did try to watch Warm Bodies recently, but we lost interest not even halfway through, and couldn’t finish it. When it comes to zombie movies, nothing does it for me like Shaun of the Dead.) World War Z might be a great movie, and I might really like it, but its making dethroned zombies from the top of my list of dark, fantastical obsessions. My horror sensibilities are stimulated most effectively in the more obscure tunnels of pop culture. Reading the hundredth little article on the production troubles of WWZ, I turned back to clowns with a perverse nod of respect and restored to them their hold on the freak-out center of my brain.

Clowns scare me because those colorfully diabolical characters embody the insane. Insanity means complexity, and the more complex something is, the more there is to fear. Clowns also tend to be smart, and that makes them terrifyingly unpredictable. Zombies are brainless and therefore completely predictable, engendering fear in the opposite way. (If we use this comparison as a political analogy, which would be the scarier party, then, the Clowns or the Zombies?)

Plus, clowns’ origins can be found in nature. This explains everything:


Am I right?