Tuesday, July 31, 2007

 

The Robots Are Gaining On Us

I haven't been eager to see the hot summer flick, the Transformers. Maybe you know about it and have seen it--it's the story of epic battles between two competing races of robots. There are the good robots: the Autobots. And the bad robots: the Decepticons. Even though I know the film is supposed to have awesome computer generated special effects and one really cute actor, I'm still not drawn to watch it.

However, I have been curious about the development of robots and have been reading more about robots in the news. And then came my big laugh of the day: the best of robot-schtick when I leafed through the September Sharper Image catalog!

Now you can purchase Elvis as a robot! "Heartbreakingly realistic "Alive" Elvis animatronic robot moves, talks and sings just like "The King" in his "68 Comeback Special"!" What you get is a life-size bust of Elvis Presley. Supposedly this bust "looks, feels, sounds and moves like a real person". You also get a microphone. Elvis will come and look at you with his baby blues, talk to you, share moments of his life, sing to you , and you can even synch him up with your iPod and sing along.

This robot Elvis has got to be the goofiest robot ever created in my book, and if someone gives me one for my birthday or Christmas, I will know the end is near, and the bad robots have won at last.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

 

This Video Inspired Me

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

 

Bloggers of Hawaii?

Art courtesy of Love Peace Happiness

One of the many reasons I feel Hawaii is a back-water is because of the lack of bloggers over here. Definition of backwater: "any backward region that is isolated from the world and resists progress."

I've befriended a few local bloggers, and you can find them linked on my sidebar. Recently, I became friendly with a blogger from another island, and I entered their contest. If I win, I told them I would offer it up as a prize for my readers. However, then I thought to myself, why not inform my readers of the prize too. Maybe they'd like to win it too!

So here's the link for the prize at Go Visit Hawaii. Tell them Kuanyin sent you!

And if you haven't subscribed to this blog, go up to the top left where it's written,
"Subscribe to this blog with RSS"

Oh, if you know some great Hawaiian bloggers, bring them to my attention. Perhaps we can all link up and share information, prizes, and turn our islands into a blogger's paradise.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

 

Of Avatars, Second Life, and the New World

Today is the kick-off day for the 2007 BlogHer Conference which I will be attending via my avatar in Second Life. There will be various artists performing for this kick-off at Hyperstring.net Island including Dalien Tabbot, Grace McDunnough and Montian Gilruth, all of whom I've never heard of before, but then again I'm a total newbie in Second Life. My avatar can perform the basics: dance, eat, drink, sit, and fly. Perform music? No way! It's simply amazing what so many avatars can do! Check out the YouTube video I've posted below to see what avatars look like in action.

Here's a screen shot (a touch blurry) of what my avatar looks like:


She's wearing a brand new pink dress for this prestigious event gifted to me from Vodkarella who also gifted me with lots more clothing. Now I actually have a wardrobe in Second Life with beautiful clothes. Thus far, these clothes only hang-out in my inventory as I have no home closet to place them in. I haven't decided where to settle yet as Second Life is an enormous and vast virtual world, and I've barely begun to explore it. Were it not for my wanting to attend the BlogHer Conference, I might have been too intimidated by the learning curve to jump into Second Life where millions of others play, perform, sell, and buy in a virtual reality.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the origin of avatars:

"Computer games

As used for a computer representation of a user, the term dates at least as far back as 1985, when it was used as the name for the player character in the Ultima series of computer games. The Ultima games started out in 1981, but it was in Ultima IV (1985), that the term "Avatar" was introduced. To become the "Avatar" was the goal of Ultima IV. The later games assumed that you were the Avatar and "Avatar" was the player's visual on-screen in-game persona. The on-screen representation could be customized in appearance. Later, the term "avatar" was used by the designers of the role-playing game Shadowrun (1989), as well as in the online role-playing game Habitat (1987)."

This is a YouTube video to view Grace McDunnough's avatar making music:



Gamers and young people in general are comfortable in virtual realities, and so I'm attempting to keep up with the changing times and join them in the New World. How do you feel about virtual realities, Second Life, and gaming? Are you holding back or diving in?

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

 

I Want To Fly...

Every now and then something fabulous will appear in my email which makes me drool. Such an invitation arrived this week, but unfortunately I won't be able to attend. Perhaps you will? If so, leave me a comment or email and tell me all about it.

Here was the invitation:

"A SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY DURING TRANSVISION 2007 ON JULY 27th TO EXPERIENCE ZERO-G WEIGHTLESS
FLIGHT WITH VISIONARIES RAY KURZWELL AND PETER DIAMANDIS

TransVision 2007, a global conference on grand challenges, will host a weightless flight with Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G®, www.gozerog.com). Notable visionaries Ray Kurzweil and Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, along with conference attendees, will experience the amazing zero-gravity flight – the only commercial opportunity on Earth for individuals to experience true "weightlessness" without going to space.

You can fly like Superman, flip like an Olympic gymnast and enjoy 10 times more hang-time than the world’s best basketball playe r. The flights also will benefit the X PRIZE Foundation, an educational nonprofit prize institute created to foster radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. These special flights are priced at $5,000 per seat on July 27th 2007.

Book now, seats are limited.

Please contact us at 800-937-6480 Ext 702 or by email edwin@gozerog.com"

Now tell me true--doesn't this sound like fun, fun, fun?

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Monday, July 23, 2007

 

Second Life Blog-Her Conference and Me

Photo: terragalleria

The growth I've made in one year on the computer is really quite phenomenal, and this growth was the result of study, diligence, and many long hours spent experimenting how to make things work. Nowhere is this growth more apparent--at least to me--than my ability to create a Second Life avatar, dress and design her, and move her around.

The reason I jumped into Second Life was because I wanted to attend the BlogHer Conference which will be happening this coming weekend in Chicago. Since many people can't attend, they are offering a live feed of the conference into Second Life. Queen Tureaud is the contact lady running the BlogHer Conference in Second Life, and all one has to do is register. This conference doesn't cost a thing, plus they're giving away lots of free goodies as well. This is my opportunity to listen to and meet some of the famous women bloggers for whom I have great respect.

I received this notice this past week:

"Group Notice From: Queen Tureaud

As may of you know Elizabeth Edwards, blogger and wife of presidential candidate John Edwards, will be they keynote speaker at this year's BlogHer conference. This will be a discussion, moderated by BlogHer Co-Founder Lisa Stone, which means questions will be taken from the ballroom floor in Chicago, from emails, and from the comments posted here:
http://blogher.org/node/22576 Be a part of this discussion from Second Life. Submit your question to Elizabeth Edwards, and listen to her answer live in SL!"

So all week long I've been wondering what to ask Elizabeth, and I keep discarding all my questions as not quite right.

What would you ask her?

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

 

Beyond The Fence, He Shines On


An old friend passed on today.

His death had been expected as we knew he didn't have long to live. Up to the very end, he said he still had things to do. Yesterday I posted a photo on my photoblog, Wailea Daily Photo, thinking of him and his imminent departure from his body which he donated to science. I posted it again today on this blog, for his light shows through the veil. He may be on the Other Side, but his light still shines.

He was a Cherokee Indian, strong, and brave, but confined to a wheel chair for some time. Not his style. On our last phone conversation, I issued him an invite to come pay us a visit once he crossed over. So he took me up on that, and he's been hanging out with us today. I didn't need a phone call to tell me that he had crossed-over, for I felt his energy at breakfast this morning.

I looked around for a great Native American quote which he might appreciate, so I'm including this one for Tom:

"From nowhere we come, into nowhere we go. What is life? It is a flash of a firefly in the night. It is a breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is as the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset." –the last words of Chief Isapwo Muksika Crowfoot

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Friday, July 20, 2007

 

On The Road Again--Maybe, Maybe Not

While I toil in delicious air conditioned comfort, many Maui drivers are hitting the wall because of the traffic congestion and heat. In this week's Maui Weekly, the Weekly Poll asked this question of eight Maui folk:

"Which road on Maui do you feel needs improvement the most?"

Out of eight people showcased, two of them agreed with me, Mike Stewart and Jake Rodriquez. They both mentioned the road going to Lahaina. And today, once again, this road is so backed-up that my partner had to take the long way around again which isn't any fun at all because this route takes longer and is dangerously curvy.

I don't know what's the best way to make the needed changes, but the road to Lahaina solution needs to be given top priority attention and brainstorming by the County, for every time there's a fire or accident, traffic backs up for hours.

Over and out---TGIF!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

 

The English News--What A Hoot!

The long, hot summer is not even close to being over. My partner's hassling with his insurance company because someone rear-ended him recently, and now this rear-ender is claiming that he too was rear-ended, even though he wasn't. My partner's all heated up like the Maui summer, maybe even hotter, as he attempts to sort this out.

Even though I'm staying cool with airconditiong, I've got the summer blahs! There is very little on television to excite me, and good movies don't come around fast enough. I'm slowing down on my fascination with Second-Life. I do my 'normal': create, exercise, meditate, counsel, email, and work.

The US news is so tedious and boring I've turned to the English news for novelty and chuckles. My favorite is the online Daily Mail. Something about the English news is funny to me.

Today's Daily Mail has stories about a goose whisperer, the domestic dictator, animals falling asleep due to the heat wave, a canine spectator falls for a Tour de France rider, and best of all, "Dare You Wear The Bump Incher?"

We see lots of bump inchers on Maui, and I never thought anything about them until I read this very English spin on them. Most young people wear bump inchers--it's the style here. I think bums are beautiful, but what we used to call dental floss, better known as thongs, looks so 80's --or is it 90's? It's good to see a bit of the butt, but not the whole THING.

Of course, bump inchers (don't you love those words?) look better when there is a toned butt, and so I'll stop posting now and get back to exercising. Gotta keep working it!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

 

Can You Relate? I Can!

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Monday, July 16, 2007

 

It's Raining--It's Not Quite Pouring!

Art Courtesy of Love Peace Happiness

At long last, some relief from the heat and hot, dry, and gusty winds--the rain has arrived on Maui, even here in South Maui! And with the rains have come some decisions!

I know we can't complain about the weather too much here because people are sweltering all over the world, and a lot of people would gladly exchange places with us in a New York city minute. The mornings are gorgeous--calm with just a hint of pikake fragrance in the breeze from our blooming pikake bushes. It's the afternoons which have been brutal--when the hot, winds blow so hard that the plants shrink down low from the wind.

Of course, I've always loved tropical rain because it's WARM rain. You can dance in it, and it feels good upon your skin. And that's what I'm gonna go do now!

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

 

Of Movies and Television

Even though we're dismayed with many of the changes happening on Maui, we're still in love with many of Maui's benefits. For example, the other night the new Harry Potter movie, "Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix", opened up at the Kukui Mall in South Maui. If you were in most other cities, you would most likely find long lines for this popular sequel. But not here on Maui! There were only about five people ahead of us, and we were even running late on a Saturday night. We had no problem finding a parking place either. Now tell me-- how many places within the United States would you be able to whizz into a popular, just-opened movie like this?

Since so many people download the latest movies free from the net, I think physical movie attendance is becoming a thing of the past. We don't download, but we've heard stories from others how easy it is to do. We joined the Spiritual Cinema Circle this past year and receive DVD's in the mail-- another way we watch quality movies. Of course, it takes my partner to operate all the different clickers to play a DVD as we have so many attachments on top of our big-screened television. He's the only one in the family who knows how to play a DVD! I'm the DVR queen, and it's rare for me to watch anything unless I've already DVR'd it. DVR totally spoils you!

Here's a technology which I would like to see developed for television: program in your likes, and then a device searches current television programming to see if there's anything which matches and then it automatically DVR's it for you. Wouldn't that be very cool?

Back to Harry Potter, I was surprised to see how matured Daniel Radcliffe has become. He's the actor who plays Harry Potter, and he's grown into a handsome man. Where has the time gone? How fast and fleeting life is!

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

 

Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes With Maui Hotels

Our recent Oahu guests reminded us of the Big Change in the Islands by remarking on how many hotels are being turned into time-shares on Oahu. On top of this, many more time-shares are being built--further threatening the hotel business. Will this happen to Maui too?

Consider this: two new 'wings' of the Ritz-Carlton are being renovated as I write this. The main Marriott in Kaanapali turned to time-shares. The fairly new Wailea Beach Villas--time shares. Renaissance Wailea Resort will be closed down Sept. 6 and turned into time shares.

This weekend there is a massive sale happening at the Ritz, a "really big garage sale", so says the Maui News. The Ritz renovation will be finished in December, a $95 million rebuilding project. I may go over there to check it out, even though I'll feel sad.

All of these changes are very depressing to us, and my partner and I grieve the earlier Maui of beautiful, glamorous resorts. We talk about moving away to a less-expensive, less over-built environment, and we've been scouting-out other locations in recent years.

Many of our friends have already moved away from Maui and become expatriates in various countries. They share stories of their lifestyles which sound extremely appealing, especially the health care, prices of real estate, and much lower living expenses. When they return to visit Maui, they regale us with stories of what money will buy where they live.

As I've mentioned before in this blog, it's hard to find employees these days because so many workers have moved away to where the cost of living is more affordable. If the changes keep happening, Maui may soon only be an island for the wealthy, and maybe the newly developed Japanese robots will perform the labor.

****UPDATE--Sunday July 15th****

I received an email from Wailea Beach Villas, and I was misinformed about them being time-shares. Below is a snippet of the email to me. I stand corrected, and I apologize to WBV.

"I recently noticed your post about what’s new in Maui and all of the hotel changes. I wanted to reach out to let you know that Wailea Beach Villas is not a timeshare complex. There are 98 residential units some of which are in a rental pool through Destination Resorts Hawaii which manages the property. Most of the units, if they are for rent, are available through DRH. There are a few – very few – units available through other management companies however they are not timeshares."

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

 

Thursday Thirteen--Recent Maui Photos

I take photos every day, and so for this week's Thursday Thirteen, I'm sharing thirteen recent photos of my Maui summer. People always like to see what places are REALLY like and not just the tweaked ones of vacation promotions. Below you'll see the real McCoy! Since I take so many photos, it's always a tough call to know what to include, but I hope you like the ones I've selected.

On another note, I've joined the "I-Follow" movement (see the badge on my sidebar), and thus, on all my blogs, I've removed the No-Follow attribute, so your comments will now have a back-link.

















To get the Thursday Thirteen code, click here.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

 

My Blog Learning Curve


Since I dived into blogging with passion this past year, I have learned a lot, and the learning curve was steep for me since I had the most basic knowledge of computers. One of the MANY things I've learned from my immersion into the blogosphere is the importance of social networking for this networking is instrumental in bringing readers to your blog.

MyBlogLog, Fuel My Blog, Blog Catalog, Spicy Blog, and Bumpzee are some of the social networks in which I participate. However, my partner has been extremely busy with his career and unable to devote the time to social networking, even though he also has a blog which is sometimes updated when he has a free moment.

So today I spent some time setting my partner up a social networking blog with him as the host. I'm quite pleased at how it turned out--the design, the colors, the look and feel. With this new social network blog, his friends can all participate by blogging and not merely by commenting. A year ago I would have had a major anxiety attack trying to figure out this simple set-up.

My blog learning curve was what lead me to create my humor blog, Blog-Blond. I was so stressed and frustrated, and humor was my response.

What is your response to anxiety and frustration?

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Monday, July 09, 2007

 

Rockin' Girl Blogger Award

After writing the post yesterday, some buried memory wanted to arise from the depths of my memory bank, but I couldn't put my finger on it until today. And then I remembered: I had been honored with a Rockin' Girl Blogger award by Queenie Carly a week or so ago. Hey, time is weird on Maui, and that's why it's called "Maui Time" by those of us who live here.

And below is my souvenir t-shirt from the Pink Taco Restaurant inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas where we've stayed a couple of times. Let me tell you: be prepared to party if you stay at this hotel! Even more than the Palms or Rio, the Rehab Parties and others at Hard Rock are something else. If you want peace and quiet, re-consider staying here. We even saw people conked out and sleeping in the hallways.


My hard-rockin' days are long gone, but I still love rock n' roll and chicks that rock. Below are my nominations for blogging chicks that rock in my book.

Maui Girl's Meanderings for her thoughtful, well-written blog

Miss Cellania for her humorous collection of subjects she blogs about

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

 

Loving The Earth

"Sounds of the Dawn" art courtesy of Love Peace Happiness

I spent some time yesterday watching the world-wide performances for the Live Earth special on the net. And I marveled at how much more interconnected we-the-humans-of-the-world are now that we can watch multiple concerts together as one. Simply by clicking, I could hear Cocco in Japan, Angelique Kidjo in South Africa, Blues Nation at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., or Spinal Tap in England. The return to awareness and appreciation for the earth is dawning, and I'm excited to see what the next years will bring in this regard.

Specials like Live Earth and Digital Earth Symposium at CAL Berkeley facilitate awakening and awareness of our eco-footprints and how we each can support the shift to an Earth-centered model of consciousness.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

 

An All-American July 4th

Commuting between two of our July 4th parties on different sides of the island, we missed the Wailea firework show, but according to friends at our Wailea party, we didn't miss much. The show supposedly lasted only a couple of minutes.

In any event, we had a great Fourth as we loafed...we shopped...we putzed... we ate hamburgers for lunch and barbecue ribs and beans for dinner... drank beer...and joked around with friends. We watched and smelled firecrackers going off all over the island, and best of all we didn't hear of any more fires.

July 4th was the anniversary of my daughter moving to the island fifteen years ago from New York City. She transfered from her school the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, the high school made famous in the movie Fame and the subsequent television series of the same name. At that time, she was on her way to an acting career for which she was well qualified. But then she became a Maui girl and focused her talents on teaching children which she is now famous for here.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

 

Hot Time In The Summertime--July 4th

Photo: Charles Pfeil

It's beginning to look as if it's going to be a long, chaotic, HOT summer because thus far, Maui has already had three fires! These fires cause congestion, delay, and damage. The last fire is still not completely extinguished, even though it's been contained. Today another fire began in Lahaina, and once again, evacuations were ordered. I haven't heard of the cause.

Tomorrow is the NOISIEST day of the year on Maui--July 4th--because many people go firework berserk. With the current dry grassy fields, I'm concerned about even more fires caused by negligence from the fireworks.

Grand Wailea Resort in Wailea will have fireworks, and the best place to watch them is on the beach imho. There will also be fireworks in Lahaina.

We can see the fireworks in both locations from the roof of our home, but it's way more fun to curl my toes into the sand and watch the beautiful explosions with strangers on a dark beach.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

 

The Movies of Summer

Our family loves the movies, but lately the choices of movies has not been to our taste which means they are violent, loud, scary, and mean-spirited. Ya see, we are sensitive light weights, and we can't handle 99% of the movies other movie goers eat up.

The Transformers, Live Free Or Die Hard, 1408, and The Fantastic Four are movies we'll never see. HOWEVER, we discovered Ratatouille on Saturday night and totally fell in love with it. What's funny is that even though it's considered a 'kiddy' movie, most of the people in the theater were adults. And something I don't hear very often at the end of a movie happened: a huge applause! So we're not the only adults who loved it!

Made by Pixar, Ratatouille is a hilarious animated adventure--the story of a refined rat, Remy, who has a dream to cook. Remy's destiny propels him to Paris where he discovers he's located underneath the famous restaurant, Gusteau. Monsieur Gusteau is Remy's spirit guide/muse who inspires him to follow his dream of becoming a chef.

I don't want to reveal too much of the movie, but if you're in the mood for a charming, uplifting, inspirational, funny, and heartwarming film, this is your best pick now.

We're looking forward to the opening of Michael Moore's 'Sicko' too, probably the only 'heavy' movie we'll see. Health care in our country is atrocious, and hopefully this movie will stir things up and propel the long overdue change for our health care system.

Having written about Michael Moore in one of my blogs, I was surprised to see an email from his assistant. She invited us to contribute our health care story video on Michael Moore's YouTube channel as others have. Check these videos out.

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