Monday, December 24, 2007

So this is Christmas (Eve)

quickie by John Lennon and Rocky Raccoon

Kind of hard to tell with the balmy weather gently blowing the palm trees. But Rocky knows and sends wishes via his quickie slide show in hopes that Santa is good to all of you tomorrow.

Quicktime         |         WMV

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Rocky Raccoon shares a brief morning-to-night holiday greeting, set to the piano version of "How I Disappear" by My Chemical Romance. That was the most amazing concert last week, experienced from the very first row pressed against the railing. Even the security guy who busted me was cool. After he took me outside and made me supposedly delete my pictures, he let me follow him closely through the frenzied crowd back to the front, a safe distance from the pit where people were being seriously injured.

Quicktime        |         WMV

Where did the last few months go?

You could never tell by my increasingly infrequent posts, but 2007 was probably was one of the best years in recent memory. Briefly:

October: Having the family back together, since my brother got married and moved back
June: Visiting another country again -- Canada counts, right?
Later June: Being one of the first on the island to own an iPhone
November: Getting the most beautiful Christmas tree (at a discount!!) that Rocky Raccoon and I have ever had
December: Surviving and having the best time at the My Chemical Romance concert
All year: Owning Apple stock has been verrrry rewarding

Monday, October 01, 2007

Free money

Interest rates have dropped, including those great online checking/savings accounts. But that doesn't mean you should pass them by. ING is again offering $25 when you open a new savings account with no minimum or fees.

(I got my reference code for the promotion when I ordered something from Codes can be found online...)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

No, I'm not mad; yes, I will get the $100 credit

Phone brouhaha

Since news of the iPhone price slash on Wednesday ($200 discount for the 8GB model in just two months!) people have been asking me if I had heard about it (yes, I followed it in real time the day it transpired), and more recently if I received my $100 (no, details of the credit will come out next week). Since I'm the only Mac advocate and iPhone owner most of them know, they ask for my take on it.

I'm actually surprised Steve-o capitulated a coupla days later and offered all early adopters a $100 credit. That totally makes up for how I felt when my 4GB iPhone suddenly became obsolete, and its remaining stock is being sold off for $299 ( I bought it for $399*). Of course, if I had purchased the $499* 8GB (non-obsolete) iPhone I'd be out $100...but I didn't. Hah.

I'm not sure if he meant all along to "apologize" and make kissie-kissie to his most loyal customers, because when asked about the dramatic price drop, he initially claimed, "That's (just) technology". Perhaps the ensuing complaints/hate mail really did get to him, compelling him to yield to the masses...but I kinda think not. It probably was all in the grand Steve-o scheme o' things.

I went out with friends tonight and as I was asked again about the iPhone news, one of them remarked, "That's OK, she's a shareholder." I never thought of it that way. I do check how AAPL stock is doing (131.77 as of Friday, down from a high of 143 a few weeks ago, I think -- but hey, the entire stock market has taken a hit). I bought shares at at around $18 for a purely emotional reason: I've always loved my Macs. Hardly anyone would've purchased Apple stock at the time, and it's performed waaay beyond anyone's wildest dreams. While it delights me, from a practical standpoint, I don't really care since I'll never sell. At least, that's what I've been saying all these years...

The $100 credit will come in handy eventually, but we have yet to hear details. Since I pretty much have all I want that's offered at the Store, I might just blow it on iTunes gift cards. . You won't see me getting any of the new iPods, that's for sure. My Classic U2 iPod serves me fine as my home sound system player.

Below are new iPods, fresh from the vault (not yet on display on the floor), at the Apple Store I visited the other night.

* OOPS: I stand corrected, thanks to reader/friend Willy. Evidently I don't know what I'm talking about. I was off by $100 in how much the original iPhones cost. 4GB was $499 and 8GB was $599. OK, so the $100 credit might not be such a great deal, but again, it was unexpected, and obviously I don't care all that much or I'd know how much I paid for the thing, so people, stop asking me!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

We'll be first - Apple Event

7:00AM - Hawaii
10:00AM - Pacific
11:00AM - Mountain
12:00PM - Central
1:00PM - Eastern
5:00PM - GMT
6:00PM - London
7:00PM - Paris
2:00AM - Tokyo (September 6th)

Pretty sure a new touchscreen iPod will be unveiled, but what's up with the rumor of Apple adopting the social circle concept?

Monday, September 03, 2007

End of summer stuff

Today I viewed some of my cousin's pics she put on PhotoShow, so I figured since I had to create an account to view 'em, I might as well throw up some of my own from this summer. *sigh* Never got around to formally putting them on Flickr or on a webpage. The most tedious part is going thru hundreds (if not more!), watermarking, and editing here's a snippet:

Make a PhotoShow Full Size

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Fun with camera phones

At my last chiro visit, the typical Hawaii sun-showers cleared and I mentioned how I'd been taking rainbow pics with my iPhone while driving. Dr. Dan told me how earlier that day he grabbed his iPhone and took pictures of his hand "holding" a rainbow from his 16th floor office, and insisted I take a similar shot with my iPhone.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Wanna fly?

Google now has flight simulators

Google Earth is amazing, but now with Sky, it's..hmmyeah, out of this world! Great for educational applications, if not for the general coolness factor. (Check out the galaxies!)

They've recently unveiled their newest feature. Fighter pilot wannabes should check out Google's flight simulator using virtual F-16s and SR-22s.

About a month ago, some of us were lucky enough to tour an Air Force base. A portion was about F-15s and soon-to-be F-22s. It was pretty exciting, even though security was tight during that part of the tour and were told that if we crossed certain lines we could be shot by an overly-anxious 18-year-old.

(That's me on the right climbing up to the cockpit.)

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Eagles' new CD

It's only taken 28 years ("Hell Freezes Over" doesn't count)
Double CD with 20 tracks to debut October 30th.
New tour starts October 18 (as they open the brand new Nokia Theatre in LA).

I was hoping to take in at least one of the six concerts in LA, but the timing isn't right. They'll probably make another round that I can hook up with, just hope it doesn't take them another 28 years. 28 + 60 yrs old = too tired to rock.

Love the Eagles, but don't really care for the appropriately-titled "How Long", the only song they've released so far. It's a 30-yr-old cover of a JD Souther country-rock song, but it was nice to see a video of it a couple of days later.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I'm conflicted

Whole Foods to open in Hawaii

As much as I was looking forward to Whole Foods finally coming to our little rocks (four stores will eventually be built on two islands), I'm sad that there have to be casualties in its wake, particularly at the location nearest to where I live.

Some of our favorite eateries will be booted from their long-time space in the mall, not because WF will be taking over their space, but because the mall management deemed them unworthy of the clientele WF will garner. Many of us who frequent that mall in an upscale neighborhood feel that's a huge mistake. One of our favorite restaurants is a perfect fit for WF because of its healthy offerings, but perhaps it's probably considered too "local" in that it serves most of the meals in "plate lunch" style (but with healthier options). My parents go there regularly and share fruit from their garden with the workers who've become their friends. (My dad made one of them cry the other day when he said that was probably the last time they'd come by with starfruit and guava.) Another place that'll soon be a mere memory after over 20 years at the mall is a very decent Chinese restaurant (lots of vegetarian dishes, not your usual crappy, oily, unhealthy fare), with really nice owners and workers. I had dinner there last night, and plan to at least a couple more times before they have to close.

Another site of a soon-to-be WF market has been plagued by rediscoveries of ancient Hawaiian remains, but has finally received the go-ahead the other day to relocate them and continue construction. Huge controversy surrounds that location. Might be a sign.

Most local folks don't know what WF is like, but are already developing a bad taste for it. I have no doubt that Whole Foods Market will do well in Hawaii, even though prices are likely to be even higher than in their (very pricey) branches on the mainland, and will shock the sh*t out of Hawaii shoppers. I do think four stores is about two too many, though. Basically, it comes down to theCostco/Walmart/K-Mart/California Pizza Kitchen/Starbucks syndrome. Anything new and big does great in Hawaii, out-perfoming Mainland equivalents. OMG, the only Krispy Kreme in the islands (on Maui) is ultra-popular and ships 'em in to other islands for fundraisers and parties. It's just doughnuts and it's just amazing.

It's just because we're so desperate.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Just another Hawaii

Isn't his what we're known for -- traffic and rainbows?


Hawaii has too many cars on too few roadways, so gridlock isn't unusual. But it gives drivers time to take pictures, which I saw others do as we crawled along -- but didn't see any others snapping them on iPhones!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More ways to squander the summer

Other than fiddling w/my iPhone

Summer vacation ends (and school starts for teachers) in exactly two weeks. So you'd think I'd be making the most of it, soaking up the sun, gettin' things done -- but nope.

Here's what I made today out of recycled floppy disks and the back side of calendar pages. I mean, do you know ANYONE who uses either of those? I guess I could count it toward my little effort of going green. Want to try your hand at it? Here are more ways to recycle floppy disks.


I took a look at my stash of never-to-be-used-again floppy disks and figure I might be set for Christmas gifts this year!

PS: To friends who actually bother to read my blog -- you know I'm kidding...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Got mine!

Apple iPhone

I really didn't want to be in line for more than a few hours, but since I heard that people had lined up early Friday morning (but no females, according to my mother who was at the mall at that time), I decided head out just after 1:00 pm. I know, nothing like the crazies who had camped out in Chicago on Monday, but this is Hawaii where we're laid-back and don't have as many iPhone/Apple fanatics.

I packed a lunch of fruit, carrot sticks, trail mix, bars, and water; grabbed a chair and cushion, and took along my iPod, a paperback, and a bunch of sudoku puzzles. I like to be prepared. There were fewer than 50 people ahead of me, and we were told we were in a good place in line, meaning the store would have enough iPhones for all of us. I should hope so.

Apple employees cruised through the mall to answer what questions they could, passed out bottles of SmartWater, and, toward the end, even served Starbucks coffee and tea! We wondered if that was part of the Genius' job description.

As the clock ticked closer to the i-Hour of 6:00 pm, people were getting pretty tired and achey from sitting on the floor. Earlier on a guy two spaces away left to watch "Live Free, Die Hard" for a couple of hours. Various mall security came by to tell me I wasn't allowed to sit on my chair, even though I told them my chiro said I needed to. This nonsensical outburst of pseudo authority upset my line-mates, but I didn't want to make a scene, and gave it up toward the end. I just went to my happy place with My Chemical Romance and Butch Walker on my iPod.

At 6:00 pm the line moved forward, but it was almost anti-climactic. This was the first time I wasn't within the first 20 (as I had been at the early morning Apple Store openings and OS X unveilings), and I actually was in line longer.

Those of you who I'd never pay full price if I could help it would be proud: I purchased my iPhone with two Apple Store gift cards, saving over $200!

Love it, love it, love it. Web pages load slowly on AT&T's EDGE network, but, hey, I never was able to surf the web, check email, play w/Google Maps, watch YouTube videos, etc., on my phone before, so I'm thrilled.

One definite drawback: it's a time-sucker. I've been spending waaay too long fiddling with it than I should, but I'm on summer vacation!


Thursday, June 28, 2007

See ya in line

I finally decided that I'd take the plunge, stand in line with the masses, be one with the hype, and get my new iPhone tomorrow. I normally wouldn't spend the money or take the risk on a first-generation appliance, but my current phone is literally falling apart (dropped it a few weeks ago and broke the hinge -- see below), and I have over $200 in Apple Store gift cards to spend. I see it as a sign.

This is turning out to be a pretty good (albeit pricey) summer. Just got back from Vancouver and LA, saw The Police in concert, and tomorrow -- an iPhone!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Today's bank freebie

Not quite as cool as getting a free iPod Nano and cashing it in for over $150 at the Apple Store, but this latest toy is pretty nifty. Non-battery-operated crank LED emergency flashlight w/radio, cell phone charger, and siren. For free, well, for opening a cheapie basic checking acct that I will never use and will close as soon as I'm able (increased from 90 days to 180 days, but I don't care).

Ooh, Christmas gifts ;) Wonder how many cheapie checking accounts they'll let me open!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

iPhone to debut June 29th

Whew, when they said "late June", they really meant it. Initially it was supposed to go on sale June 11th, then sometime in late June, but at least today we know for sure.

I'll be back from my trip by then, and if I work it right, I might talk my way into being hired at the Apple Store before it's unveiled!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

How to get noticed an an Apple Store

Back in August I blogged about applying for a "Mac Specialist" position in the yet-to-be-built Apple Store at my nearby mall. Something about "spreading the love" appealed to me. I didn't submit my application until November, thinking I could work there during the holidays, but the store didn't open until February. While I was happy to be one of the first in line on Opening Day, I never was contacted regarding my application..until last week.

I mostly want to work there for their t-shirts, but in the meantime I found one I really like from I happened to wear last night when I stopped by my nearby Apple Store, and caught the eye of a couple of Mac Specialists who admired it. I asked them how they liked working there because I finally got a call last week to come in for an interview in a few days if I was still interested. (I wasn't able to schedule an interview at the time, and will be out of town for a couple of weeks, but might see if they're still hiring when I return.

They encouraged me to go for it, and were more than forthcoming with information as we stood around and chatted for at least 20 minutes. They even learned to hit "Escape" when the default screensavers kicked in, revealing my cat's iPod webpage that I had set on a bunch of iMacs.

So..if Apple will have me when I return (they'll have already hired for the summer by then), I think I'll give it a shot. The two that I chatted with seemed to think I'm just what the store is looking for.

By the time I return from my trip, the iPhone will have debuted, and an employee discount would come in handy just about then!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I've been AWOL

Aside from the occasional postings about my cat, clothes, and concerts, I guess it's taken me this long to realize I really don't have all that much to say. A focus would've helped, but ohwell.

Life and work kind of get in the way. There've been changes, and I've realized I need to roll and grow with them.

Going analog might not be a bad thing. Bought a moleskine notebook recently and modded it a bit:


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Frugal domain renewal

A few of my domain names were up for renewal, but I couldn't see paying full price. I crave discounts, and I refuse to participate in the slight-of-hand mumble-jumble that entails buying super-cheap names from one company and purchasing DNS services from another; I'd rather have it all under one roof.

So tonight I went to the site that my domains are registered under and removed the private registration option that I had paid for when I first registered them. When I refreshed the page, the price for new private registration (as opposed to renewals) was on sale for $2 less, so I re-purchased them. Then I searched the web for promo codes, and was surprised how easily I found some. I decided to use one that would reduce my domain name renewals themselves a couple of bucks less each, and renewed each for a couple of years, saving a decent amount of cash in a single transaction!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Triskaidekaphobia - not

Happy Friday the 13th
I'm definitely not superstitious, but today was another opportunity to wear yet another one of my off-beat t-shirts. Most people didn't get it :(


Saturday, March 24, 2007

And then I blew it

So much for trying to save my pennies. I saw this Custo t-shirt yesterday and while it cost more than any other item of clothing I own, I had to have it =^.^=


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Movin' my pennies around

I wanted to look for a new deal, somewhere I could park some money and get a freebie in return (like I did w/the iPod nano in Oct.), with a very decent interest rate, of course. Not one to rest on my lowly teacher-income laurels when it comes to penny-pinching, I hopped on the task today.

I gave up on the freebie search, but discovered that HSBC Direct has a 6% promotion through the end of April. To take full advantage and throw enough $ in it, I'd have to move some of my other pennies around, dust off some idle financial resources..and take a deep breath.

While I was at it, I took actions to get my free online bill paying (can't live w/o that) through another one of my accts, and moved maturing CDs (no, not the musical kind) around to take advantage of higher rates. Other changes are in the works.

Also filled up my tank using a 5¢-off-per-gallon coupon while I was in the penny-saving mode.

My unsolicited advice: Take advantage of the HSBC offer while you can!


Trapped in Starbucks

There could be worse things than this


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy V-Day

My brother's moving back home, and I've been tossing stuff from my old bedroom in my parents' house so he can use that as his weight room. One of the things I saved was a 45 rpm record from 1989 of U2's "All I Want is You".

I've always loved U2, just didn't know from how far back. Take a listen..perfect for Valentine's Day.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Opening Day

Apple Store #2

Arrived a few hours early sporting my original iPod t-shirt and was among the first 20 in line for the opening of the new Apple Store in Kahala Mall. Years ago when our first Apple Store opened, I snagged pretty much the same place in line. The first guy arrived today around 3:00 am, but spent a couple of lonely hours alone for the honor.

Fortified by a yummy Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce (no fat, no whip), the morning newspaper, my U2 iPod, and the company of fellow Apple fans, I waited out the hours chatting with and taking pictures of other MacNuts. The obligatory Hawaiian blessing and dances provided a break in the monotony.

Attempts by employees to rouse the crowd (which eventually wrapped around the inside of the mall) were semi-successful, though everyone was a good sport and played along. I was among the first to enter when the doors opened, grabbed my freebie way-too-large XL Apple Store t-shirt (with "Kahala" printed on it), high-fived the employees who greeted us, then stepped aside to take more pictures.

I'd say the highlight was setting as many computers as I could to Rocky's iPod ad I made years ago, and watching the reactions.


Friday, February 09, 2007

They're getting ready

Apple Store opens tomorrow

The long-awaited/long-delayed (kind of like this blog, heh) Apple Store at Kahala Mall will finally open tomorrow. I stopped by this afternoon and observed ast-minute preparations that included mopping the floors and shampooing the carpet in front of the store. The gate was opened a bit and employees and workers could be seen hustling about.

A security guard started giving me dirty looks as I took pictures, and a few Apple fans stopped to chat as I snapped away. iPods, MacBooks, MacBook Pro laptops, and iMacs were displayed, but I spotted just one Mac Pro. They probably hadn't brought out everything yet.

I'll be in line bright and early tomorrow morning to get my t-shirt and other goodies. Grand prize is their "Digital Lifestyle Collection", worth $2,574. Since they never did hire me as a Mac Specialist, I'm eligible for the drawing!


Tuesday, January 02, 2007