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Oahu Photography’s Circle Sunrise Tour

Koko Crater at Sunrise
Sunrise on Oahu

Oahu Photography’s Circle Sunrise Tour takes its guests on an all-day adventure where guide and participants become fast friends. A smaller group and De-Jay’s, the guide, openness make these friendships possible. Full of humor, knowledge and a genuine sense of love for the state and the people he is showing it to, De-Jay provides and easy entry into the sights of Hawaii and how to photograph them. Be prepared for lots of dad jokes and a modicum of movie-based humor.

Groups are purposefully kept small, which allows each person to receive as much or as little personal interaction and instruction from the guide, who is also a professional photographer. The tour itself can be adapted within set parameters to accommodate different impulses of the guests, and there’s never any rush to get in and get out of the van. If someone wants to spend a little more time taking photos of a certain area, they are welcome to do so. This flexibility also allows the group to adjust to local weather patterns and ensures that everyone has the opportunity to get his or her perfect shot.

When you come to Hawaii, give yourself a couple of days to adjust to the climate and relax. Then take this tour. That way, your photos will be better than ever for the rest of the trip, and you’ll have the inside scoop about where to eat from someone who lives on the island. Don’t forget to purchase the photo package ahead of time to get photos of you and your group (or loved one), both candid and posed, from a pro!

For more about Oahu Photography Tours, check out our Oahu page.

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Island Vintage Shave Ice Is Cold Comfort Food

Pink Island Shave Ice
Pink Island Shave Ice

Shave ice – that’s right, without the ‘d’ – is a flavor sensation, at least the way it is prepared at Island Vintage Shave Ice. The syrup used for flavoring tastes like real strawberries – none of that sickly-sweet syrup we get stateside on a sno-cone.

Pink Island Menu Board

“The Pink Island” had pieces of mochi in the corners; the syrup flowed down the sides and collected in the bowl. The lychee popping boba were liquid refreshment at mini-size. But it was the soft organic ice cream that stole the show. Underneath the layers of shave ice was a beautiful tasting vanilla ice cream that gained strength from the flavor and texture of the shave ice and its syrup.

Shave ice is like cold comfort food with flavors you never tasted at home. Our serving was big enough to share. If it isn’t big enough for you, I would suggest getting different flavors for each person in the group to try.

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‘The Lion King’ proves emotions and cash rule Disney’s box office decisions

On a visceral level, the new “Lion King” trailer strikes all the right notes. The sunrise, the building crescendo, James Earl Jones, the beginning of the stampede scene as James Earl Jones talks about his demise, and the African Call that is the original movie’s signature. It inspires goosebumps and causes the heart to speed up. Remember! Let’s face it. People are going to see this remake, and they are going to love it. That doesn’t mean there aren’t problems with the idea of it.

Same Old Stories

Disney has gone into their film vault, dragging their beloved animated classics into the light and exposing them to live-action remake status. Some may point to 1996’s “101 Dalmatians” with Glenn Close as the first successful live action remake. It was successful enough, and possibly sold enough toys, to inspire a sequel.  However, 2014’s “Maleficent,” with Angelina Jolie who was born for the role, started the current era of live action adaptations. It was followed by “Cinderella,” “The Jungle Book,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and Christopher Robin.” With one movie released every year. “Dumbo,” “Aladdin,” “The Lion King” and “Lady and the Tramp” are on the docket for 2019.

That’s four live action adaptations in a single year. Those aren’t new stories; they are recycled stories that required less creativity to make and provided more stability for the financial side of the ledger. People may say they want new stories; they don’t. They want properties they know they are going to enjoy, especially when they are spending $15 a ticket. If people wanted new stories, “Kubo and the Two Strings” would’ve been a box office hit. And from the looks of it, “The Lion King” is going to give the audience what it wants. The trailer shots are ripped straight from the animated film. This isn’t a remake or remodeling; it’s a straight up rerelease.

Sequels and Remakes

The Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars film factories are releasing, or distributing, 12 films next year, including “Glass,” a sequel to “Unbreakable,” and “Split.” Of those 12, only “Artemis Fowl,” the DisneyNature release “Penguins” and, possibly, the Marvel production “Captain Marvel” are not sequels or remakes. Giving “Captain Marvel” the benefit of the doubt, the same universe doesn’t necessarily make a sequel or prequel in this case, only 25 percent of Disney’s 2019 releases are new stories. That’s bad for writers and people who are creating new ideas. And let’s face it, “Penguins” is more like a public service, which I’m totally going to go see because, uh, PENGUINS! (Shameless plug: Come on, my website is “penguinate”and my wife makes stuffed penguins, which you should buy!)

Not Live Action

“The Lion King” is being lumped in with Disney’s live action remakes of animated films, but it isn’t live action. No matter how beautifully rendered, the characters are computer animated. At least in “The Jungle Book,” Mowgli was a real actor on screen. (Props to Neel Sethi who had to act against the green screen.) “The Lion King” is computer generated images that, at least as far as the trailer is concerned, will match the animated classic in every way. Fire up the computer and redo every Disney Classic that way; maybe, it will allow Disney to extend the copyright, again, of “Steamboat Willie” before it expires in 2024.

Disneyland and Mary Poppins

There’s a story that at the end of the premier of the original “Mary Poppins,” P.L. Travers had some suggestions for making the film better. Walt looked at her and said something to the effect of “Pamela, that ship has sailed.”

One of the many reasons that Disneyland exists is because Walt wanted something he could change. Once the movie was done, there wasn’t any going back and redoing it to make it better. That ship has sailed, except now, The Walt Disney Company is remaking the films. They just aren’t making them necessarily better.

Where’s the Creativity?

The original “Lion King” made just under $1 billion dollars worldwide in 1997. It was the highest grossing animated film of all time (not adjusted for inflation) and remained at the top of the list until “Toy Story 3.” The new “Lion King” might not live up to the original, even if Disney gets it right – whatever that may mean. Maybe only die-hard fans will see it a second time, but judging by the Twitterverse… God, Disney’s going to make some cash, and that’s bad for creativity. (See Pixar.) Why take a risk when you can take a known commodity, change its medium slightly, and make a boatload of money?

Want More Creativity?

If you want more creativity in the world, I urge you to find several independent authors and artists and support them. Give up one movie this year and use that money to pledge $1 a month to someone on Patreon. Go to a comic convention and find an artist in Artist Alley; buy something from them. I’d love for it to be me. Mostly, I’d love for us to get more original stories out there. We all have a story to tell, but they need to be supported financially in order to get heard.

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The War on Thanksgiving: Avoid Consumerism on Gray Thursday

Thanksgiving is traditionally a day of cooking, football and expressing love and gratitude for those who make life worth living. Capitalists and big box retailers are taking that away from Americans and turn Thanksgiving into another day to bolster the bottom line. It is time to take back Thanksgiving before these ne’er-do-wells get a foothold on the last bastion of family time.

Those who enjoy watching football on TV are in luck as long as they own a DVR or another way to get rid of the commercials. If a family happens to not have this convenience, it may be better off avoiding the TV and its commercials altogether.

That means filling those hours of family time with meaningful activities. Board and card games can be fun if everyone remembers that it is just a game. Try Charades or Win, Lose or Draw – it is hard to be mad when family members are doing ridiculous things to get their points across. To make it more fun avoid the points altogether, don’t even keep score.

Do something creative. You will need to plan ahead to get the supplies, but Thanksgiving is the perfect time to get together and make your Christmas presents for those who are far away. They don’t have to fancy or great, they just have to come from the heart.

Eat plenty of dessert. If you are lucky, you will be so full that going out to buy something during Thanksgiving will be more of a chore that can wait than a must-do event that retailers want it to be.

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Raven Vs. Gull

“AAAAAAAAA!”  The man went running by screaming as loudly as he could.  His bag was flapping against his hip.  The raven noticed that it wasn’t latched.

The bear went by a moment later.  Seeing opportunity, the raven flew into the air and followed the two creatures through the wilderness.

It was obvious that the bear was toying with the man – running leisurely, catching up to the man, taking a half-hearted swipe at the legs and falling back again.

The man, on the other hand, was terrified.  He didn’t noticed when his hat flew off.  He lost a shoe at the last turn, and it looked like his bag was about ready to dump its contents.  He, also, hadn’t stopped screaming since the raven first spotted him running down the trail.

The bear was gaining on the man again.  He took a swipe and snagged his claw on the bag.  Something silver tumbled out as the man ran faster than the raven thought men could run.  The bear was too busy to notice what he had knocked loose.  Bear and man continued down the trail; raven lit upon the top of a pine.

He looked down at the trail.  It was a…  No, it couldn’t be…  But it was – a FISH!  The raven called out his claim to the fish at the same time that another call came from the tree exactly opposite to him.  Raven recognized the call as that of a gull.  He called back to the gull in the gull’s language.  The gull responded with a threat.  The raven returned the threat.  They eyed each other.  Both left their trees at the same time and clashed in mid air.  Black, white and gray feathers fell from the sky and onto the trail.

The birds returned to opposite sides of the trail.  The raven knew he was smarter and more sophisticated than the gull, but the gull was cunning when it came to procuring food to satisfy its voracious appetite.  He called to the gull.  The gull ignored him – its mind was consumed with the thought of its next meal.

The gull darted out from its tree.  The raven intercepted him.  The gull shouted “MINE!  MINE!  MINE!” as the two birds fell to the ground, claws interlocked, beaks snapping.  They pecked, snapped, scrabbled and flapped.  They scratched and screamed.  They hopped on each other – neither gained a clear advantage.

Both tired, they stepped away from each other.  Black eyes stared into gold eyes.  Both squinted.  Their chests heaved as they tried to regain their breath.  Then, the raven heard something.  He cocked his head to keep one eye on the gull and to look at where the other sound was coming from.

There, where the fish had been, sat three bloated magpies – clattering away like some old hens.  The fish was no where to be seen.

Author’s Note: Living in Alaska gave me time to explore the wilderness and watch animal behavior in the wild. My time wandering the streets of Anchorage, where a gull attacked me, and through the woods near and far in the rest of the state gave me the experience I needed to write this story. What life experience have you used to further your creativity?

You can order a hard copy coloring book “There Are No Penguins in Alaska” from penguinate.com or an eBook from Amazon. If you want more stories, check out “Tales at an Alaskan Cabin” on Amazon.

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Salem Holiday Market Friday Night Special

Snow penguins, Coffee Klatsch penguins, Pirate penguins $5 off $45 or more on Friday Dec. 7 at Salem Holiday Market penguinate table C41

If you want additional savings, join us at www.patreon.com/penguinate. Get an additional $1 off for any $10 you spend at our booth for being a Penguinator at any level! Don’t forget your Salem Holiday Market discount entry coupon!

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Speakers’ Club celebrates Mickey Mouse

We talked about Mickey Mouse, his place in cinematic history and what he has meant to the success of companies and stars. But the most exciting part of the evening was that we drew Mickey Mouse. The following two photos are included because one shows the Mickey Mice… Mouses… drawings better and the other two show the faces of the students better. Be sure to check out the lesson plan for more info on Mickey Mouse!

Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse!

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Speakers’ Club Nov. 17, 2018

Speakers’ Club Nov. 17, 2018

The Rules?

Win, Lose or Draw: https://youtu.be/Q5O7rCQaVDw

Three of these things: https://youtu.be/pzVbRmrc9-Q

Your questions?

Baby It’s Cold Outside: https://youtu.be/hnH_RGyzbSU

Do You Hear What I Hear? https://youtu.be/Cm8goTp16js

Who has a birthday on November 18?

Steamboat Willie: https://youtu.be/BBgghnQF6E4

The first fully synchronized sound cartoon, 1928

The Lionel Caboose and the Mickey Mouse Watch Ingersoll, 1930s

The Band Concert, Mickey’s first color cartoon, 1935: https://youtu.be/qLbmWE-0Rmk

Fantasia, 1940: https://youtu.be/3hKgEylk8ks

Mickey Mouse Club, 1955: https://youtu.be/qq6Kgf6Tnus

Stars from the Mickey Mouse Club, 1990s: https://youtu.be/J0vjHWrYL7g

How to Draw Mickey Mouse: https://youtu.be/R-JFC6cyTmc

America?

New Year’s Eve?

Book?

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Kubo and the Two Strings: Storytelling is magic.

Kubo and the Two Strings was released in the U.S. in 2016, and according to IMDB, it made about $76 million worldwide with $48 million in the U.S. This is sad and maybe should be left for another day and another discussion about originality and sequels. As it is, if you are among the many who haven’t seen this film, I suggest seeking it out, maybe with this link, and pressing play before you read the rest of this article. It’s okay, just bookmark this article and come back to it. You’ll be glad you did, and if you aren’t you can tell me why in the comments below. This was a long-winded way to say:

SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT

Kubo goes to the village every day to tell his stories. He brings them to life with origami characters made with the magic of music. The people gather around him and watch intently as he strums and talks his way through the deeds of his father as told by his mother and translated through Kubo’s magic. Storytelling isn’t just something people do around a campfire or to their children at night. The best advertisers, TV shows and sports broadcasts know that story is what keeps people in front of their sets and buying products. Storytelling is a powerful tool anyone can use. Storytelling can improve people’s moods, capture their attention and make them beg for more.

We are the stories others tell about us. As Beetle points out to Monkey, Monkey will live on in Kubo’s stories and through generations of storytellers who pick up Kubo’s thread. She will continue to live, even when her spirit leaves this plane. Kubo’s grandfather forgets who he is and becomes the person in the stories of the villagers. The moment is both profound and dark as he is a microcosm of living up to what others believe about him.

Storytelling is magic. It can bring the dead back to life and create images that never existed. It can be used to enhance a person’s worldview and self-esteem or to destroy that person. Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to keep memories alive, and it’s something people have done since they first gathered together in groups.

Long before there was written language man gathered in the caves of Lascaux and painted pictures on the wall. They used these pictures,that came to life in the flickering firelight and the imagination of the audience to tell their stories – how to hunt, how to survive, and what it meant to be a part of the tribe. People kept their stories alive, so the next generation could learn and grow from them. Keep your story alive, tell it in whatever medium you are comfortable with, and if you don’t know what that medium is, find it. You and the world will be glad you did. Human beings are storytellers. You are a storyteller.

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Marvel Vs. DC: Who has the better fans?

Looking at the box office scoreboard, this discussion may seem like a no-brainer. Clearly, Marvel wins in every aspect of movie profitability. Critics and audiences alike seem to score Marvel films highly, and the receipts for this $4 billion Disney purchase make Marvel a bargain buy for the House of the Mouse. While the box office dominance is undeniable, this doesn’t mean that Marvel has a better fan base; it just means that it has better movies.

In fact, the box office reveals something quite different. DC clearly has the better fan base. When a POS like Batman Vs. Superman can rake in $872 million worldwide, it isn’t the casual fan that is making that happen. When a decent but not super film like Suicide Squad can show the legs it has at the end of summer start of fall, it is the DC fans that are making it happen. DC has been making clearly inferior films, and yet, those films have been blockbusters. It can only be fans who return time and again to see their favorite characters. If Marvel had the same fan base, it would have garnered more than the current 4 in the top 12 films on the all-time box office list.

Not only are DC fans propping up the box office, they are also propping up the advertising campaigns. A vocal movement, which made international headlines, to shut down Rotten Tomatoes because of the critic rating of Suicide Squad was enough to create more curiosity among casual movie goers. This seemingly absurd and outlandish petition generated controversy and kept Suicide Squad in the minds of the population who may have otherwise skipped the film because of the critic rating. Critics are often wrong, and in this case, it worked to the advantage of the film.

All of this happens at a company that has no Stan Lee at its forefront. Lee is a god amongst geeks, and his word generally carries fans beyond the pale. His presence in every Marvel film, doesn’t make the film better necessarily, but it does make the fanboys and girls squeal. Lee and his cult of personality should be able to drive every Marvel film above the $1 billion mark. Instead, DC is relying on the strength of the appeal of its characters, if not the actual characters themselves, to bring in audiences, and it has thus far worked.

Marvel films may be glorious hits that are super profitable, but they are drawing on the return presence of fans that aren’t necessarily Marvel fans. DC relies on its core of superfanatics to make sure that it has enough in box office to bring out the next movie. That gives the rest of us hope that DC will figure out how to make the next movie wonderful.