Tag Archive for hawaii

Hawai’i Dreaming

The cold is just beginning in the Midwest, and the Wife and I are already dreading it. Spending just a week in Hawai’i over the summer was enough to make us fall in the love with the place, and we’ve been thinking about it ever since.

This morning I had Pepper’s “Wake Up” stuck in my head, and in doing some research I found the band is from Kona on the Big Island, the same town the Wife and I spent that week.

This led me to browse the climate statistics for Kona (technically Kailua, Hawai’i County, Hawai’i). Roughly 75-85 degrees during the day year-round. Down into the sixties at night. No more putting up the bike for the winter (and there’s even a Harley dealership on the island). No more shoveling snow. No more freezing our asses off because this house needs new upstairs windows.

I used to like the seasons, but I hate being hot more than I hate being cold. Escaping the damn Midwestern humidity would be great, and the Wife would love to ditch the occasional cold snaps that nearly freeze the air in your lungs. Kona is still small enough to have that small-town feel, yet has plenty to see and do. I still doubt I could become a beach bum, but just walking along the shore and listening to the waves was very calming and relaxing. It’s a huge difference from seeing nothing but corn or beans in the summer, and endless fields of dirt the rest of the time.

I understand Hawai’i is desperate for teachers. One year in they offer you tenure. I wonder how tough it would be to finish my Bachelor’s Degree…

Or better yet, finish these damn books so Evileye can make me rich. (Hey, dreaming is dreaming, right?)

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: Magma

Late again? Crap. Anyway. Finally dipping into the Hawai’i pics.

We went down into the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park one day, and I caught this fun piece.

Road Closed

Ya think?

Back in the ’70s (if memory serves), a lava flow came down the mountain and flowed over the road. This sign has been there since.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Karate on the Beach

Every day for the week we were in Hawai’i, we met at 6am for a karate workout on the beach. I didn’t look forward to getting up every morning, but once we got rolling it was very invigorating. I’d return to the hotel ready for a shower and hungry for breakfast, but full of energy for the day ahead.

Wa-taaaahhh!

Wa-taaaahhh!

Running kata in sand was very different from the carpet, mats, or even grass I’m used to. I expected the sands to shift beneath my feet, but I didn’t realize the surface would be different every single time I ran a kata. One step would be fairly solid, the next would be wet mush. I’d plant my foot in a mound to get a good footing, then I’d jump and land in a hole left from a previous kata. It was challenging and a tough workout, but it was also a lot of fun.

Throwin Down

Throwin' Down

After kata, we ran our wazas, which are sets of prearranged responses to attacks. The sand didn’t make as much of a difference there, only landing on sand after a throw or fall isn’t quite as soft as you’d expect. Slapping is a little more like hitting water, where if you hit it too fast it doesn’t quite yield right away and you get a bit of a sting.

On the last day we took things a bit farther. We visited a different beach, and we got right down into the water. We ran kata with waves crashing down around us, then again went on to our wazas and even added sparring to the agenda.

Plowing through the sand for a double punch

Plowing through the sand for a double punch

Kata in the sand then felt like practice for kata in the ocean. The currents pushed and pulled as we moved, and oftentimes the undertow would wash the sand out from under our feet. One moment I’d have firm footing to execute a kick, the next I have to hurry up and move before I lost my footing completely and fell over.

And yes, we did get smoked once. We were standing there running kata at one point and a seven-foot wave came rushing in at us. We braced ourselves as best we could, but it knocked us right on our asses. The Wife was laughing too hard to catch all of the action, but you can see the aftermath here.

Finish him!

Finish him!

Sparring on the beach was also a lot of fun. We had to time our attacks with the current, we had to keep moving in the shifting sands, and we used our environment by throwing water at one another for distraction. I never did get close enough to my opponent to try to sweep him, but we traded blows and I came out the winner.

Many martial artists recommend practicing in a variety of environments, and I’d like to recommend sand and water become a priority. I’ve run kata in pools at various depths in the past, but the beach was a whole new experience. On the physical side, it engages several more muscles to retain balance and execute technique. On the mental side, it requires a lot of focus to anticipate shifting surfaces and time movements with the current. A beach may not be convenient for many people, but if the opportunity should present itself, don’t let it slip away!

As an aside, be glad I can’t push scents out to you through the Internet. A karateka’s belt is supposed to retain the blood, sweat, and dirt of his practice, so we never wash our belts. I dried my belt in the sun, but the ocean has given it a rather unique funk and an almost greasy feel. I’m told it will fade in a couple of weeks, but I feel sorry for the next person I roll in a Judo match with.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to afford a return to Hawai’i, but when it happens, I’m sure I’ll be right back on the beach. I can’t wait.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: Hawai'i Karate

I may have been out of town last week, but I took a bajillion pictures. Tonight I selected one to be part of my Photo Friday collection, a simple shot of the group of karateka after a morning workout on the beach.

Karateka on the beach

Karateka on the beach

A total of 13 of us went to Hawai’i together, and as it was organized by our karate school and the majority of us were karate students, I thought this would make a great entry for the collection. Not so much for it’s photographic value, but for its sentimental value.

This was shot on the beach near the Outrigger Keahou hotel in Kona, Hawai’i. We worked out  here every morning at 6am, with the exception of the last day where we went down to the Magic Sands beach and got down into the surf.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

I'm Baaa-aaack

It was a long and much-needed vacation, but I’m back home and behind they keyboard. If you’ve been following me on Twitter or via my Flickr photostream, you’ve seen some of the things I’ve seen and done. Many, many more pics are forthcoming.

Of course, if you weren’t following either Flickr or Twitter, you probably thought I croaked or something because once again Twitter Tools didn’t post my Twitter digests as blog posts. I hate seeing long gaps in posts, and that was supposed to fill the void. Unfortunately it hasn’t worked since they upgraded their stuff, and I can’t upgrade my WordPress because my hosting company is holding me hostage (trying to get me to buy an expensive package), so I’m probably going to dump them and try another host.

Which means another downtime period in the coming weeks while things switch over. Ah well, it’ll be worth it.

If you ever have an opportunity to visit Hawaii, go. We had a great time on the Big Island and we’ve already decided it’s somewhere we’ll want to visit again. Wonderful weather, plenty to see and do, and generally just a great place. The Wife and I both joked about moving to Kona, and after a minute or two, we weren’t sure we were really joking.

I wonder if the schools out there need a good tech director…

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Drive-By Blogging

I ran into a few items today I thought were worth mentioning, but really didn’t merit a longer, dedicated blog post. So I’m just going to pile them up here.

After reading that the great state of Kentucky is officially relying upon God for their state security, I learned that the group American Atheists is suing to have that portion of the law removed. Normally I hate lawsuits, but this is one I fully support. Not just because I feel it crosses the line of separation of church and state but because I’m not sure where this one ends. Will God protect homosexuals, devotees of other religions, and atheists from terrorists? What happens when similar provisions are written into other laws, and these people are excluded? It’s a dangerous precedent, and allowing these people to write God into the law is taking us one step closer to an American Taliban. I have no problem with people living by their religion, so long as they do not force the rest of us to do it.

On a side note, I found the picture in the insurance ad accompanying the article strangely appropriate:

Next up, hot on the heels of their announcement to build infrastructure in the Bay Area, Better Place announces they’ll be setting up shop in Hawaii. Very, very cool. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this all plays out. The potential is huge if they can pull it off.

Finally, Hollywood is on the remake path again, this time on its way to remaking the Carpenter classic They Live. Now, I do use the term “classic” loosely here, but I’m not seeing any reason to remake a movie featuring a five-minute fight over putting on a pair of sunglasses. Even scarier, however, is the closing line of the article:

Strike is also working on a remake of Carpenter’s “The Thing.”

You’ve got to be kidding. Like 1951’s The Thing from Another World, The Thing is an adaptation of a novella by Joseph W. Campbell called “Who Goes There?”, so some already class it a remake. Some of Carpenter’s flicks are very uneven to me (They Live being a good example), but The Thing is a true classic. It’s scary, it’s suspenseful, it has some great scenes and memorable lines, the effects aren’t half bad, and it’s an improvement upon the ’51 adaptation of the novella. What are they going to do to improve Carpenter’s film? Cast Shia LaBeouf as MacReady? Write in a sexy love interest for him to protect?

It boggles the mind.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.