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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Kalimalena Neck Knife Scores

While I still haven't taken the Kalimalena Neck Knife outside to play, I did use it in the kitchen today to help me make dinner.  Dinner was chicken long rice.

The knife is such a great little slicer.

The onion and ginger was sliced paper thin.  The garlic (not pictured) was chunky.

My lame attempt at an artsy kind of shot with the knife on sliced onion.

Missus Hanzo had put some drumsticks in the fridge to thaw for me.  So since I am preparing the chicken right before dinner and didn't have a chance to season it overnight like I would normally want to do, I scored the chicken to rub the seasoning in.

The knife...SCORES!!

Ok, that was silly.  But what do you expect after I coached two soccer games today?

The knife was great.  It cut very cleanly.  Some of the chicken was still a little frozen.  No problemo.  The Kalimalena cuts through with ease.

So after a bunch of slicing it got a bath.  Then the shave was the test.  The blade was still sharp, but wasn't shaving cleanly.  So a quick touch up on Japanese water stones was in order.  I like the King brand, by the way.  Back to shaving sharp.  I gave it one pass on my formerly hairy forearm and now I have a smooth swath there.

Craig, great job on a fantastic little knife.  It won't process food like my butcher knife, but it does what it is supposed to quite well.  What is it supposed to do?

Be handy, which it is.  
Cut and slice like a champ, which it does.

The knife is so light and unobtrusive that I stuck it into my shoulder bag that I lug my computer and work stuff around in.  Next time I take an impromptu hike, it's coming along.

So everything went in the pot to simmer.  And I went to do something else.

An hour or two later, I went and tasted to see if I needed to add anything.  Nope, it was onolicious!!

Got caught up in the eating and forgot to take a picture of the finished product.  Maybe tomorrow, since we have leftovers and I made a huge pot.

Mahalo Craig!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

An impromptu hike today

After taking care of some business, I find myself on the windward side of the island and near a waterfall that I heard about but never been to.  So since I heard the hike to falls was short at only about 15 minutes each way, I decide to do an impromptu hike with just what I have with me.

So I know about where the trailhead is, but not exactly.  So I head out in search of it.

Today, I had several failures and one success.

I was hoping to find the waterfall, find some mountain apples that missus monkey and I really like, and to test out my injured foot that was hurting a bit after two soccer practices and a scrimmage on Monday.

First failure...

I find what looks like the main trailhead and head in.  After a short distance, I spot what looks like an opening in the tangled growth.  I look in and see a drop of about 6-7 feet.  The slope is steep at about 80 degrees and very muddy with limited hand and foot holds...basically one tree trunk at the top and lots of mud on the slope.  Looking beyond that, I see a small clearing and what looks like a trail.  It didn't look like the right trail to me, but at first glance, I didn't see another.  And I went for it.  It was slippery and I ate it.  Took a roll so as not to hurt myself.  And when I got up, I realized the I was still hanging on to my Guyot water bottle.  Lisa, at TwoWolves, might be proud of me for hanging on to the bottle I bought form her.  But she probably wouldn't be proud that I fell.  I explore the "trail" and find it leads into thick tangles of vegetation, like most of that area.  So I climb back up and halfway up, almost slide back down, but I make it.  At this point, I am muddy and not happy.

But I continue to explore and find another trail.  As I take this on, it looks much more promising.

It took me ten tries to get this picture.  There was a breeze and using a macro setting, the first pictures were all blurry.

The more promising looking trail.  This was the driest part too.

Most of the way looked more tangled than this, but less blurry.

More trail.

A little bit of an opening in a heavily covered trail.

There were several clear spots that afforded a view of mountain and sky.

Shortly after this, I decide to turn back.  I have gone for about a half an hour and crossed two valleys and am heading too high to find the waterfall, I think.  I am getting near the pali summit.  I figured that maybe my pace was slow since I was being very careful on the slippery trail.  It was muddy and rocky and the rocks were slipperier than the mud.  But I wasn't going THAT slow.

As I head back down I keep searching for other trails in case I took the wrong one.

I found a game trail but didn't take it.  In this picture, if you look through the vegetation, you may be able to see the game trail.  It is about five feet below the main trail.  I only found it because I thought I heard a pig and was trying to find it.  Saw the game trail but no the pig.

I found another trail and took it to see if it would lead anywhere.  I lead me into a thick dark tunnel of hau trees.  It was so dark in there that the trail was sloshingly muddy as very little sun got through.  I went part way and turned back.  I didn't see any footprints and didn't feel like I was going the right way to the waterfall.

So I failed to find the waterfall.  Bummer.

Second fail...

I see guavas, strawberry guavas, other berries, but no mountain apples.

No mountain apples.  Failed again.  Bummer.


In addition to wanting to find the waterfall so I could take my kids there, I wanted to test my foot injury.  It has been two months now and it still hurts.  Especially after the two soccer practices and scrimmage on Monday.  I found that it started to hurt less as I hiked.  When I finished and rested, it hurt again.

Tonight, after hiking and having soccer practice this afternoon, it really hurts.  I hope I can handle tai chi class and soccer practice tomorrow.  I should have listened to my Sifu and taped up.  But then, this was impromptu.  So I take it as a win, since I got to get outside, get a little muddied up and get a good sweat going while I raised my heart rate.

When I was leaving, I saw some young men successfully catch a rooster.  They were near the trailhead.  I did not see another soul on the hike.  As I drove out, I noticed that where those men had been was a small opening in the bushes.  I bet I went on the wrong trail and the one that goes to the falls was the one near where those guys were.  I was really tempted to stop and go check it out, but I had stuff to do and had to get back in time to make it to soccer.  So next time.

Normally, I take at least some basic kit with me when I go hiking or camping.  But on occasion, like today, I just want to go.  So here's what I had...

This picture was taken a couple hours after the hike and I managed to get most of the mud off the sandals, but not off my clothes.  I had my Keen sandals, a Victorinox alox Farmer, a Exotac fire steel, my iPhone, and the Guyot Designs stainless water bottle.  Not pictured is my camera and a two pieces of hard candy that I ate after I got home.

My lessons learned (or remembered)...

Hiking shoes or boots are better than sandals most times.  The Keens were slippery in the mud and wet rocks and lots of dirt and mud and stuff got inside.

Trust your gut.  I didn't think the first path was right, but I went anyway and went down.  Fortunately it wasn't a big drop.  

Do your homework.  I wanted to find the waterfall that I knew the general area of.  Checking first would have helped a lot and I probably would have found it.

Don't go hiking with an injury, especially a leg injury.  Screw that one, I had fun.

You can do a lot even with an injury.  I could have gone for hours more, I think.  But then, I might be hurtin' a lot more than I am now.

Bring a bag or something to carry stuff in.  Carrying the water bottle in hand was a drag.

Finally, getting out and doing something on a whim is awesome.

My after hike treat really hit the spot.  Hurray for the free refills at Starbucks.  I pounded down the first one there and got a refill to go.  When I got home, my two little monkeys drank most of it.

Last lesson, if you want it all for yourself, finish it before you get home.

Play Day @ Camp

We were all set to go camping after our staycation.

But then I had to work on Friday, and monkey princess #1 wanted to play her soccer game on Saturday, and missus monkey wanted to referee her soccer game on Saturday and the plan was to leave Sunday morning.  So we just went for the day on Saturday.  After watching the daughter's team is undefeated and she is playing the best she ever has...I blazed it home to prepare lunch (them meal I had signed up for when I thought we were going to camp) while the girls were left to play until the game my wife was scheduled to referee was finished.

So I made my moderately famous (at least among friends) sesame garlic chicken grilled and smoked with kiawe and dragon eye woods.  Delish!!  And a big hit at camp, if I do say so.  Since one of my tai chi students gave me some saffron...yes you heard that right...saffron, I decided to try and make saffron rice to go with the chicken and salad.  We just made it in time.  I finished up and drove over to pick up the family and away we go.

Missus monkey was the first to eat.  She said, smells good and I'm starving and she tore in.  Then the rest of us ate the remaining half of what I brought.  ;D  It was a busy morning.

So I didn't take too many pictures, but here are some scenery shots.

That fluorescent yellow soccer uniform blended pretty well in the foliage.  

The kids ran around and played from the time we got there until we left shortly after dusk.  I will try to get some pictures from the other folks who were there.  I really didn't take many.  I know there are fishing pictures (the kids caught a lot and some big ones too), fruit gathering pictures, camp fire and waterfall pictures.  I'll see what I can do.

I found this amazing.  Most of the kids were settled down by our lovely resident pied strummer.

One thing I did get to do was to test out the Gary Mills custom knife I won in the contest that Gary so generously offered.  As the kids were coming back, I didn't take many pictures, but I will tell you how it went.  When I received the knife, it came beautifully packaged and very sharp.  Not shaving sharp, but very sharp.  So I gave it a light touch up on my Japanese water stones.  And the knife is shaving sharp as well as beautiful.

I have another custom woodlore clone that I wanted to test too, but since we were only staying the day, I didn't pack a bag and just wore the knife on my belt.  I left my new neck knife and the other knife at home.

Here are my impressions on Gary's knife...

It is extremely well made with a carbon steel, full tang blade with teak handles and a very nice handmade leather sheath.

In used, I split some guava wood, which is a very hard wood, by batoning.  No problems.

Here, I stopped taking pictures since the kids were swarming back into the camp area.  I just wanted to focus on finishing my test and sheathing the blade.  The kids run everywhere!

Next, I split the wood some more.  The nice had no trouble making feather sticks that went on the embers which I fanned back into flame.

Shaving off bark was also no problem.  Then I chopped some seasoned hard wood across the grain with a baton.  I cut a clean wedge into it then snapped the wood to add to the fire.

I definitely broke it in.  I didn't use it for food prep at camp.  In fact, I still haven't cleaned it yet.  I will do so after I get around to taking a picture of what the knife looks like after use and an after shot when it is cleaned up.

Oh, one thing I noticed about the blade.  I originally thought it was a scandi grind, but then noticed it is more like a convexed scandi.  Maybe Gary can confirm what it is.

After all that, it is dirty, but is still shaving sharp.  And it does everything a bushcraft knife would need to do.  And do it well.  Mahalo Gary!


We have been very busy lately, so a staycation was much needed.  It is funny how things have a way of working themselves out.  Out of the blue, a friend of ours asked, do you like staying at the Hilton.  Well of course we do.  We had a great time there last summer for our staycation.  

And then she tells us that she is booking us at the Grand Waikikian, the newest building in the Hilton complex.  But why, I ask.  She says it is a thank you for the help she was given.  Wow!  So I offer to pay and she says NO and the next thing I know, we are booked for four days and three nights.  SWEET!

We get there and the girls love the suite.  They were more interested in exploring the suite and chilling than going out to explore the grounds and jump in the water.

We had a full kitchen.

And a cozy little nook.

And a quite spacious lanai that spanned our living room and bedroom.

Can you guess what the girls liked the most?

They really liked "their own" flat panel TV that was bigger than the one we had in the bedroom, the large and deep tub, and a new experience...a fold out sofa bed.  I was fully intending to have them sleep on it and when they saw me open it up, the both shouted, "I call the sofa bed.  I call the sofa bed!  The sofa bed is ours and you and mommy can take the bedroom.  And close the door."  Oh, OK.

The room maid and the girls all did a good job of creatively arranging the stuffed animals that girls brought.

And while the girls were content to just luxuriate in the suite, we had to go out on occasion.

The grounds of the new building were really nice.  And I really liked the Hawaiian artifacts that they used in the decor.

Of course, what caught my eye were the lei-o-mano!

We played in the ocean, in the pools, went shopping, lounged around and relaxed and all that good stuff, but one of the things we did the most, was EAT!  All I can say is the little monkeys ate good.  So they are continuing their training to not be cheap dates when they are older.

Getting ready to eat.


We had a delicious tan tan ramen dinner from Goma Tei, breakfast at Wailana Coffee Shop, lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, a fast food dinner (we still had soccer practice since I am the coach), breakfast buffet at the Hilton, Genki Sushi, teppenyaki at Tanaka of Tokyo, breakfast at the IHOP, lunch, dinnerm breakfast...

And throw in desserts, like green tea ice cream, a Lappert's ice cream treat...

Stuff we brought, like fruits and nuts and some nice teas.

It was nice to have a hot cup of coffee or tea on the lanai too, or on the kitchen bar, or the cozy little nook, and even soaking in a nice hot bath.

Joined by a buddy of ours.

The obligatory teppenyaki volcano.

The view from the Royal Hawaiian.

The girls really wanted to eat the buffet breakfast, since there was also a water element with lots of fish and turtles and various birds.

There is a four foot something swimming in there.  You can't see it because of the reflection, but it made the ripple as it swam away.  It was within reaching distance of us.

When the girls went shopping (ok, I went along, but I didn't shop), they each bought a new sarong.  They are so creative in how they put them on.  The older monkey princess is also a master of the towel head.  After every bath, she has a different towel configuration on her head.  Some are really cool too.

The Dread Pirate Monkey Princess #2.


Of course all good things have to come to an end at some point, so we had to go home.

So a nice staycation comes to an end.  It was relaxing and hectic at the same time.  We still had two soccer practices, a PTA meeting of sorts, tai chi and ukulele classes, as well as some play time in the park with home school friends.  I need a vacation after our staycation.