Planet Haolewood

A toolbox, a change of underwear, and a surfboard.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


It’s come to our attention here at Planet Haolewood that there has been some cold weather on the mainland. Now we all know that temperature alone does not fully convey the reality of the weather experience. That’s why meteorologists came up with the concept of wind chill, which as most probably know, takes into consideration the added chilling effect of wind during cold weather. Then there’s the ‘heat index’ which takes into account the humidity to give a better idea of how hot it FEELS on a muggy day. While many people don’t think of Hawaii as ever getting really cold it can sometimes FEEL cold to those who live here and whose bodies are unaccustomed to drops in temperature. In order to convey the feeling of the weather as Hawaii residents experience it, we at Planet Haolewood have come up with a system we like to call the Hawaii Temperature Index. This is how it works: think of 70 degrees as zero degrees so that if the temperature were to fall down to say, 67 degrees, you would instead say the Hawaii temperature index was 3 degrees below zero. I think that gives a better picture of how we on Hawaii truly suffer when it gets cold. Now instead of thinking of us in Hawaii as basking in the sun and enjoying a carefree life while you on the mainland huddle inside and wait out ferocious winter storms, you can see that really we are all in the same boat.

My friends, I feel your pain. But together we can make it through the winter cold. I want to help so I have come up with a list of practical suggestions for what to do when it REALLY gets cold.

1. Start by turning off any fans that you may have on. No sense it bringing more outside air in if its cold out.

2. Close the door. (I don’t mean the screen door. I mean the ACTUAL door –with the lock and the handle and stuff) that will stop air flowing from outside.

3. Put on a shirt.

4. If you’re going into the ocean whether to surf, swim of snorkel, consider wearing a wetsuit. Sure the water’s not that cold, but if the breeze picks up you might get chilly without it.

I have found those four measures are more than adequate to deal with even the most extreme cold weather. However, for those of you who are especially sensitive to cold here are some additional measures you can take.

1. Try closing the windows. If it gets stuffy you can always open them again.

2. Put on long pants.

3. Wear closed-toed shoes. In extreme cases you may want to put on socks.

4. If you get cold in bed, you can put another sheet over yourself. If it gets really cold use a blanket. If YOU feel cold but your bedmate thinks you’re crazy you could try wearing pajamas. (anyone who has to go to such lengths probably IS crazy!)

If all that doesn’t keep you warm I don’t know what will! On a more serious note, I want to talk a little about global warming and our responsibilities as citizens of the earth. I realize that some people have become convinced of the necessity of artificially heating their homes. The people of Hawaii have set an example to the world by voluntarily choosing not to heat our homes with fossil fuels. In fact our homes don’t even have heaters! You may think that you will “freeze to death” if you don’t turn on your heater but people have been living here for hundreds of years without heaters and no one has ever frozen to death. So come on people! More and more of us have traded in gas-guzzlers for hybrids, why do so many continue to cling to their heaters? Just think of all the carbon emissions we could prevent if the whole world would follow the example that Hawaii so humbly sets. So suck it up, people! The next time you start feeling sorry for yourself about how cold and miserable you are just think about me here at Planet Haolewood heading out to go surfing in the middle of winter. Do you hear me complaining?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Hindu Monastery in Kauai?

Well, the answer to that question is yes. I wouldn’t have much to blog about if it were no, would I? It seems unlikely; how many Hindus are there on Kauai anyway? I don’t know but at a minimum there are the twenty monks that inhabit Kauai’s Hindu Monastery and they are building a temple out of hand carved stone that may last over a thousand years. It seems that in 1968 Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami came to Kauai and had a vision instructing him to found a monastery there. It’s located in a lush mountainous area near a beautiful river and they have tours once a week.

As I stepped into the monastery gardens I felt as though I was no longer in Kauai but had been transported to India. A friendly monk showed us around and explained some of the basics of Hinduism. The natural beauty of the are makes it an extraordinary place but the really amazing part was the San Marga Iraivan Temple which is still under construction. In 1991 a crew of 70 began hand carving granite stones in Bangalore. Ten years later the first of these stones was laid in Kauai. A crew of six more stone carvers fine tunes the stones and assembles them. They project the temple will be complete in 2010 and include 4000 stones. The beauty and intricate detail of the stone work, performed only with iron chisels, is astonishing. Next time you are in Kauai, don’t miss it.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Something Poetic About the Moon

In the last year I’ve taken a renewed interest in the moon. It’s always been there, but I just seem to notice it more. This change undoubtedly has a lot to do with living in Kauai. There aren’t so many lights around and when it’s dark, it’s dark. Unless, of course the full moon is shinning like a spotlight as it was last night. I thought of someone running across the prison yard and getting caught in the bright light from the guard tower, only the moon would be more likely to help by lighting the prisoner’s way then to try to foil an escape.

It was about a year ago when I was on Kauai on vacation when I first re-noticed the moon. The moon over Hanalei Bay is something very special to see. In fact I think someone wrote a song about it, but when I returned home to California I found that the moon had not lessened its grip on me. All those city lights may drown some of the dimmer stars but they are no match for the moon. And so I gazed at the same moon that inspires songs in Hanalei and everywhere else and made the decision to move.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against the sun. We own everything to the sun. Without it there would be no life on Earth. The sun is all business; it comes up; it does its job and allows us to do ours and then goes down. It’s like a co-worker who always shows up on time and does their job well. We could still have life on earth if it weren’t for the moon. Tides would be much more moderate and poets would have less material to work with but we would get by. On the other hand some planets have many moons. Perhaps there’s an alien on a planet with seven moons writing a blog right now and wondering what life on a planet with only one moon would be like. Our moon is actually kind of boring compared with many heavenly bodies. It has no color and without any atmosphere it always looks the same. But there’s plenty of change here on earth. I like the moon the way it is.

Sometimes when I get home at night and get out of the car in my driveway I pause and watch the moon. There’s nothing to see that I haven’t seen before and if the moon and I could communicate I’m not sure what there would be to say but I watch anyway.