Browsing articles in "Hawaii"
Mar 7, 2013

Your Room Will Be Ready At 3:00 P.M.

When Mark and I first moved to Kailua we had five teenagers living with us.  There were a lot of comings and goings.  Neighbors thought we were running a bed and breakfast. One actually came to ask us how much we would charge to put up their mother-in-law and some other family members.  I am surprised we didn’t do it.

When my mother died, Brook made an early power point of “The Resort At Iana Street” to lure my father to Hawai’i at a time when he was truly alone and finding it hard to do anything other than miss my mother. We highlighted “the pool,” “the library,” “excellent guest rooms,” and our in-house chef (me at the time, later Ian).

Over the past 20 years, we have had well over 100 visits, from more than 55 different visitors.  I am guessing at the numbers, but they aren’t far off.  We have had young people live with us for a year and a half, we have had other young people live with us for eight weeks.  We entertain friends, family, friends of family, and friends of friends.  People who know about this aspect of our lives find it hard to believe.

Now that I am in my sixties, I can’t believe us, either.  My brother thinks we are crazy.

This weekend is the first time we have visitors “checking in and checking out” on the same day.  We are now officially a hotel.  Our friends the Weisingers (from Canada) are here with their daughters Maja and Monika.  They will depart on Saturday and Kulia and Travis Petzoldt (on their return from a two year Navy stint in Australia) and their daughter Maya will check in on the same day — to stay with us for two weeks.    The Petzoldts will have to stay in the lobby (living room) or out by the pool until we get their rooms ready.

This is only March.  I am sure by the time fall rolls around, four or five other visitors will stop for a short stay at our house.  We should publish a calendar and send updates to people who are likely to come.  We are popular:  we have many repeat visitors.  We actually love this aspect of our lives.  Because we live in Hawai`i  we know we will see our friends

in the next year or so.  What better expression of Aloha than to welcome people into your home.  We do, and we love it.


Feb 28, 2013

I Had That Idea Forty Years Ago

mine had a white cord, but close

When I came to Hawai`i 40 years ago, my goal was to be a copywriter at an ad agency.  Besides the fact that I was an East Coast Haole (in the 70′s, not cool), I had never written a word of copy.  I had written poetry for my school journals, articles and columns for the school newspaper, but not a line of copy.

Nevertheless, I presented myself at several local agencies as a copywriter.  One of the people I interviewed with was Phil Woods, who I would run into fifteen years later when Starr McCombs Koch merged with Seigle Rolfs and Woods.  Somewhere along the way, someone suggested I ought to write some copy for some imaginary products so people could actually read my writing.

So:  I “invented” — at least in a 2D sense — the electric fork.  I called it the Enrico Prestini Electric Fork, in a riff on the name of my friend Dr. Henry Preston who was at the time in medical school here.  I carefully attached an extension cord to my sterling silver fork, and created some fancy settings at my mother-in-law’s elegant table.  This particular shot was for the “Executive Electric Fork.”

Another version of the fork, and the one I am complaining about herein, was the Dieter’s Electric Fork.  It worked by rejecting every third bite.

The Enrico Prestini Electric Fork did get me an interview with someone I won’t mention, but whose initials are Pat Patterson.  He invited me out to lunch to celebrate and it was not long before I caught on that I hadn’t really gotten the job.  Shortly thereafter I got a job as a secretary — thanks to my expertise as a typist, acquired in 8th grade summer camp — at Sheraton’s advertising department.  My boss, Tom Radar, actually called Smith College to see if I had really gotten a B.A. in English there, not that my college degree was required for the job.

Recently, I heard about Hapilabs new product, a dieter’s fork.  Theirs works a bit differently than mine, but the result is the same.  From their website:

Eating too fast leads to poor digestion and poor weight control. 

The HAPIfork is an electronic fork that helps you monitor and track your eating habits. It also alerts you with the help of indicator lights when you are eating too fast.

Every time you bring food from your plate to your mouth with your fork, this action is called: a “fork serving“. The HAPIfork also measures:

* How long it took to eat your meal.
* The amount of “fork servings” taken per minute.
* Intervals between “fork servings”.

This information is then uploaded via USB to your Online Dashboard to track your progress. The HAPIfork also comes with the HAPILABS app plus a coaching program to help improve your eating behavior.

I heard on the news that the Hapifork goes berserk when you have taken 75 bites, the number Hapilabs says it takes to eat a decent meal.  (one that is not too fat, not too slow…).  Too bad I was ahead of technology.  I wonder how many people will buy Hapiforks?

Here are the product specs: (especially interesting is the patent on Capicitive detection)


  • Length : 7.87 inches // 200 mm
  • Width : 1 inch // 24.5 mm
  • Height : 2/3 inches // 15.70 mm
  • Weight : 0.14 pound // 65 gr

Electronic Key

  • Micro USB connector
  • Batterie Lithium Polymere + 3.7 V
  • Microchip Cortex M3 ST Micro electronic
  • Capacitive detection
  • Return to user : 1 vibrator + 2 leds
  • 2 component plastic shells

Handle Fork

  • Fits both electronically and mechanically
    with the electronic key

Patents : The technology is covered by four patents

  1. Measure of the hand to mouth
  2. Capacitive detection
  3. Specific mechanical cooperation in between electronic and fork
  4. Special cooperation between apps and data platform


HAPIfork is a connected fork which looks for a healthy eating behavior.

  • Eat at the right time
  • Eat at the right pace : not too fast
  • Share with your coach : download his feedback alarm.
  • Share with the community



Feb 21, 2013

The Centerpiece Ran Away

A close approximation

Today I am picking up my granddaughter at La Pietra and driving her to Punahou, where she will meet up with Mark to do her homework.  We are planning to do this frequently, so her parents don’t have to get involved with homework issues.

Driving to Punahou (or the thought of it) always brings back memories of picking up Ian and his friends lo those many long years ago.  Today I am remembering when Ian was in 8th grade and part of the curriculum involved cooking.  Among the activities was a tour to the Hanohano Room, where they met the maitre d’ and ate Strawberries Sabayon.

The final “test” was to put together a “dinner” and invite a guest  – most people invited one or both of their parents.  Not Ian and his friends.  They invited the maitre d’ of the Hanohano Room, who was happy to attend.  I have no idea what they served him, but a key part of their centerpiece was Ian’s Jackson Chameleon.  Ian’s idea, I am sure.

Needless to say, it escaped during the meal.

Feb 4, 2013

Waikiki’s Tallest Building Yet To Come???

Last week an announcement was made that Ritz Carlton has entered into a partnership to erect the tallest building in Waikiki.  On Kuhio Avenue, the new Ritz Carlton (if it happens) will be a combination hotel, condo and retail building.  Mixed use, as they call it.

In 1972 I got a job in the advertising department of Sheraton Hotels in Hawai`i.  Located on the 4th floor of the newly built Sheraton Waikiki, it was the headquarters of Sheraton in Hawai`i, five in Waikiki and two on the Neighbor Islands.  It was completed in 1971, and built pre- Japanese ownership by the Kyo-ya company.

Print advertisements for Sheraton shouted ” Four of the Five hotels on Waikiki Beach are Sheratons.”  The other hotel was the Outrigger, and although the Halekulani was still open as a cottage-style hotel, it is officially on Gray’s Beach and so Sheraton excused it from Waikiki.

At the time, the twin-tower Hyatt Regency Waikiki had not been built.  Later, when the Hyatt opened and occupancy did not match Waikiki standards, we joked that the Hyatt keep lights on in both towers and claimed that occupancy was 90%.  (I think they really did).

Another inside joke was “Stay at the Sheraton Waikiki because it’s the only place in Waikiki where you don’t have a view of the Sheraton Waikiki.”  In lots of ways that was true; it sat close to the Royal Hawaiian (built in 1927 and known as “the pink hotel”) and appeared as a vulture of a building, about to take off and flap its wings towards Diamond Head.  At the time, it boasted that it was the biggest hotel in Waikiki (it was) and Sheraton’s meme was “As the Sheraton Waikiki goes, so goes Waikiki.”  In other words, if it was full, the others could be too.

The Sheraton Waikiki appeared on the scene as more and more repeat visitors came to Hawai’i but the business of tourism was largely still a group travel business.  The Japanese travel market was opening up and groups of Japanese followed toour leaders with bright flags around the hotel.

In 1992, the City Council imposed an absolute cap of 32,000 hotel rooms in Waikiki, to be reviewed every five years.  Until 2004, the cap remained in place because there was no call for new buildings in the 1990s and after 9/11.  Today, the Hilton Hawaiian Village is easily the largest hotel in Waikiki (although it, too, is not “officially” on Waikiki Beach.

Now comes Ritz Carlton, in a partnership to build not only the tallest hotel in Waikiki, but possibly the tallest building in Hawai`i.  The City Council has approved a height of 350 feet, although the current regulations at the DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) allow only 300 feet.  As one council member said, “we approved it, now it is up to the DLNR.”

It hardly seems that Waikiki needs another highrise, and it also seems like we are on a slippery slope to becoming the island of Manhattan on a small strip of land with the ocean lapping at the shores of an ever-crowded beach.  Waikiki gets the lowest satisfaction ratings of all Hawai’1 resort areas, but it is still the most important resort area for tourism (in terms of dollars generated).

As travellers from all areas of the world increasingly visit the islands of Maui, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai and Hawai`i, it seems like O`ahu should be worried about building another place in Waikiki that will dwarf the landscape.  350 feet on Kuhio Avenue, away from the beach under the Ritz Carlton moniker.  Really?


Feb 2, 2013

Why are those people having breakfast?

Honolulu is an early-to-rise town and there are always breakfast meetings, typically at The Pacific Club and The Plaza Club, the big banks’ executive dining rooms and Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch and Crab.  It is always interesting to see who is having breakfast with whom and speculate as to what they are talking about.  News on the coconut wireless can give you a hint — but you can never know for sure.

Kokan is the name of a group that has been having breakfast together for thirty years.  No kidding.  Maybe even more.  At the outset, it was formed as a small business tip club — like Rotary on a smaller scale and with a motto which might have been “self above service.”  It was intended to meet weekly, and each member was to bring business tips/referrals for other members in the group.

Over time, we lost the interest in the tips, but not in each other, and we started to have breakfast once a month, usually at the Pacific Club, sometimes at The Plaza Club and now, more often than not, at Sam Choy’s.  The group is comprised of a lawyer, an entrepreneur, a retailer, a stock broker, a Democratic party operative and multi-tasker, a banker, a head hunter, a customs/immigration officer, a real estate developer, an accountant, a retired marine and an information specialist.   The banker has decamped to California, so he is Emeritus, and one of our original members, the insurance man Big “D” Don Dawson passed away a few years ago.

We have seen each other through changes in jobs (me and others), changes in husbands (me).  We have added new members, but since about the mid-eighties never lost one, except Big “D” and that wasn’t because he wanted to leave or because we wanted him to.   One of the original members, real estate developer Phil Russell, gave the group the name Kokan, a Japanese term for which I forget the meaning.  I even googled it but gave up when I couldn’t find it easily, because it is not the point.

Now, we have breakfast once a month to see each other, to enjoy each other’s company, to talk about the weather, the business and the politics of Honolulu/Hawai`i, to share books and movies and generally shoot the you know what.  It is amazing to me that we are still doing this.  Phil Russell is the grown up who takes responsibility for making sure that we know how to reach one another and who is responsible to pick up the tab for a given month’s breakfast.

Politically, we are lefties and righties, and we know who is who and mostly don’t take each other seriously.  Only one of us could be considered to be still in his youth — the rest of us are older:  my goodness, we have been breaking bread together for 30 years!

These people are my very good friends, even though I don’t see them very often.  Our relationship is not based on professional connections or who-can-do-what-for-whom, but on genuine, heartfelt affection for one another.    You might think we could stop meeting for breakfast, but we couldn’t because Kokan is a part of the rhythm of our lives.  It is now part of each of our back stories.  Together, we have lived through five governors, only one of them Republican, five Mayors (one of them a woman, one of them an independent, otherwise all Democrats), several University Presidents, several athletic directors, and lots of interesting scandals (none of them our own).

We have watched big banks come and go, smaller banks spring up, advertising agencies grow and die.  As a group, we have outlasted Hawai`i’s very long serving Senators  — thank you Dan and Dan.  We have seen a revival of the Hawaiian language and the growth of charter schools.  We have watched Waikiki reborn, Ko Olina built up, and the Neighbor Islands become truly viable visitor destinations.  We have watched the visitor industry grow from just about 1 million visitors a year to more than 7 million.

We’ve seen a lot, we know a lot, but mostly we enjoy each other’s company.  We don’t text, we don’t email.  We see each other in person.  Once a month for 30 years.


Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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