SEVERE WEATHER scares!

August 14th, 2015
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BREAKING NEWS: IT'S RAINING IN HILO! EVERYBODY STOCK UP ON A MONTH'S WORTH OF EMERGENCY FOOD SUPPLIES... oh, wait, you already did that after last week's Severe Weather Alert and Updates every five minutes on the morning and evening local TV news shows. Or have you become immune to the incessant, prematurely hyped-up storm warnings that begin the moment there's a cloud on the radar screen somewhere off the coast of Mexico?

Look, we should be aware of potential hurricanes and tropical storms that could impact the islands. But we don't need pointless repetition of speculative "forecasts" five times in the span of a half-hour newscast. It's not news if there's nothing new to report! They are merely fanning anxiety and blowing a lot of hot air to fill time on the cheap instead of actually DIGGING DEEPER or going BEYOND THE HEADLINES and ALWAYS INVESTIGATING (unless the breaking news happens to be about one of their own reporters breaking the law).

Yes, I understand today's version of news reporting is that it has to be "entertaining" and friendly when they're not gravely stating we could be facing an impending weather disaster that we should prepare for by staying glued to the TV set (or download the Weather app!) to track the storm front's minute-by-minute progress. I mean, who knows -- it could get stronger! Or weaker! But it's extremely important to anticipate what you may have to be ready for a week from now, because... well, just because!

What's unfortunate is that all this non-news reporting is actually backfiring. I talk to people every day who say they no longer watch TV news or read the newspaper because there's so much fluff or "might happen/ could happen/ didn't happen" type coverage. I'm a news junkie and started my professional life as a newspaper reporter, so that bugs me. Yet I find I can keep up on things pretty well by skimming the Star-Advertiser headlines and DVR-ing the three local TV news stations, then fast forwarding through all the filler material to watch the 4-5 minutes each day that contain real news substance.

Here's my suggestion: by recording the local TV news and skipping the stuff you probably see via re-posted links and viral videos on Facebook, you will save enough time to watch something that is truly alarming -- like the Merchants of Doubt documentary, which is now available on Netflix. In fact, I suggest the local TV news people watch it and perhaps do follow up segments with one of the executive producers, who happens to live in Hawaii: Pierre Omidyar.

I greatly respect what the Omidyars have done here by creating Civil Beat and the Ulupono Initiative, so the only surprise to me about seeing his name on the opening credits is that locally I don't recall hearing anything in the news about this film project. For all the global warming skeptics and naysayers who contend climate change is just liberal whining and scare tactics, this is NOT something they will want to see. It shows the undeniable link between the same professional PR spin-masters in the cigarette industry and the campaign to discredit scientists who have been warning us for decades about global warming. And yeah, they're backed mostly by conservative Republicans who glibly smile while they peddle cancer-causing cigarettes or try to block regulations to protect our environment.

Instead of devoting so many minutes each day week after week to updating us on "possible" severe weather, couldn't our local news media put a fraction of that time and effort into enlightening the public about real matters related to climate change? Do they have the guts to expose the outright lies of Fox News and conservative Republicans who insist there is "doubt" in the scientific community about the dangers of man-made pollutants that are the cause of catastrophic tornadoes, fires, and flooding throughout the world?

To paraphrase Bob Dylan, you don't need a Weatherman to know which way the wind blows... and you don't need to have local TV reporters go out to Hilo to stand in the rain and tell us it's raining. Sheesh.

Add Merchants of Doubt to your Netfllix queue, or watch it when it comes to cable. Get angry. And the next time someone tries to give you a Fox News or Republican talking point to deny climate change, tell them where they can insert that DVD since they are unlikely to watch anything that conflicts with their myopic world view.

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One other side-note about the documentary: it begins with magician Jamy Ian Swiss performing slight of hand tricks to demonstrate the art of deception. I immediately recognized him as one of the bartenders that used to work at the Seventh Avenue South jazz club in NYC, back when I lived there in the early 1980s. Once, while seated at the bar, he asked me to pick a card and insert it back into the deck. After a quick shuffle, he tossed the cards up... and there in the corner of the ceiling, was the same card I had selected stuck into the ceiling somehow. I surmise he must have planted a second identical card there before I arrived. But how did he get me to choose that particular card?

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For daily viewing times of my Career Changers TV show, which is NOT a news show and consists mostly of sponsored content, please visit our website. You can also watch segments from past and current episodes on the CCTV YouTube Channel, which now has over 1 million views worldwide.

Uh... um... uh...

August 6th, 2015
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PROGRAM ALERT: The August episode of Career Changers TV premieres Thurs., Aug. 6 at 7:30 PM on Oceanic Cable channel 12/high def 1012 (a.k.a. OC16). We've got stories about the new Lunar Legends Night Stand Up Paddle tour of the Polynesian Cultural Center lagoons, local comedy legend Frank DeLima, and what a typical day is like at DevLeague coding bootcamp -- which has been named one of the Top 20 programs in the entire country! Click here for that article. For daily viewing times of my show, visit our website. You can also watch segments from past and current episodes on the CCTV YouTube Channel.

One of my pet peeves, which has been exasperated by my experiences as an interviewer for TV and video projects, is hearing normally articulate, intelligent people drop "uh" or "um" into every pause between sentences or phrases. I try to edit out those unintentional brain farts, but it can make the end result sound choppy and I have to cover those micro-snips with extraneous b-roll shots that I'd rather use elsewhere.

Is it my imagination, or does it really seem like the overuse of "uh" and "um" is becoming contagious? We all do it at times, including myself. For some reason, when I'm making appointments or dinner reservations on the phone, I lapse into it even though I know what I want to say. When I'm interviewing people, I sometimes become self-conscious about asking my subjects to refrain from doing it -- and in the process, I wind up saying something like, "I know it's hard, um, not to uh, say um or uh, but try to pause or swallow the urge to fill silences with um or uh, okay?"

It's risky to interrupt an interview in progress to ask the subject to edit themselves. Some become even more nervous. But I've also had company CEOs thank me for pointing out their unconscious vocal tics. To me, that's the mark of a professional. They take constructive criticism and instructions to heart instead of pushing back or wilting in the face of a challenge to their normal way of doing things.

Which is why it surprises me when highly-paid superstar athletes, coaches, academic leaders, and yes, even professional broadcasters or entertainers fall back on the uh-um crutch. I think in some cases they subconsciously do it to "humble" themselves so they don't appear to be overconfident or intellectually superior. It's like, Hey, I'm just an ordinary guy like you, um, you know what I'm sayin'?

Take Marcus Mariota for example. Terrific young man. From all reports, he's everything you want in a person or athlete -- smart, extremely coachable, humble, goal-driven. But for God's sake, Marcus, please hire a professional speaking coach! You're going to be doing lots of on-camera interviews and post-game press conferences for the rest of your football-playing days, so embrace it. Study experienced pro athletes who know how to work the cameras and deliver more than your basic sports cliches. The unnecessary uhs and ums make him sound like he lacks confidence -- and anyone who's ever seen him play knows how great he is.

I'm not sure why it seems like more people are getting in that habit. Maybe in the past, more teachers used to drill it into our heads not to do it? Or is it we just do a lot more talking these days without thinking first?

Seriously, I read that a recent study shows people who pause while they speak are considered by listeners to be more intelligent and thoughtful. I tell my interview subjects that it's perfectly fine to pause and gather their thoughts before answering a question instead of blurting out the first thing(s) that pop into their heads. Often, really smart people will start out on one train of thought, then in mid-sentence jump on another train going in a different direction, and wind up getting back on the original train a minute or two later. Talk about your editing nightmares.

As it happens, I'm not the only one who ponders the uptick in "pause fillers." Here's a link to a BBC News article about it, and as one of the accompanying stock photos shows, even gifted orators in the highest positions of leadership are guilty of doing it... am I, uh, right, Mr. President?

 

North Shore Fun, Rain or Shine

July 22nd, 2015
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One thing you may not know about the Waimea Valley summer movie series and concerts is that the show goes on, rain or shine. Which is an important consideration if you have to drive a long way to get there, given the recent "iffy" weather conditions. Last week, I wanted to see Surf's Up! because who doesn't want to watch a movie about the world of competitive penguin surfing? However, it was raining pretty hard on the Windward side and I thought it might be a wash-out.

No worries though. Don Brown, who handles the movie showings, and the crew at Waimea Valley had it covered -- literally. Instead of having the audience spread out on the lawn, they faced the screen inwards toward the pavilion where the Haleiwa Farmers' Market sets up on Thursday afternoons prior to the movie. After the vendors packed up their wares, lots of families stuck around for the free family movie, courtesy of Waimea Valley's ongoing community outreach programs to bring more locals into the park on a regular basis. And why not take advantage of it if you're looking for things the whole family can do without spending lots of money?

Next Thurs., July 30, they'll be showing Lilo & Stitch. For details, here's the link to our promo spot. BTW, Haleiwa Farmers' Market, which precedes the movie nights, made another Top 10 Best Farmers' Market list as reported in today's Star-Advertiser:

Congratulations to Haleiwa Farmers Market for being included in food52’s “10 of America’s Best Farmers Markets.” Food52 is an online site dedicated to all things cooking. A travel article on the site notes that the Haleiwa market is “one of Oahu’s Premiere Green Markets,” with vendors using inventive packaging to replace plastic bags, food vendors using bio-compostable plates and utensils, and shoppers being encouraged to bring their own bags. The market is one of four run by FarmLovers Farmers’ Markets, owned by Pamela Boyar and Annie Suite. The other markets are in Kakaako, Kailua and Pearlridge. For the complete list of food52 picks, go to 808ne.ws/haleiwatop10.

Unfortunately for me, I was unable to stay for Surf's Up! when the rains hit Waimea. I had scheduled a night shoot at the Polynesian Cultural Center, where Brett Lee just started offering Stand Up Paddle tours of the lagoons when the sun goes down and the villages are closed for the evening. It was clear in Laie, so I figured we should film before the rains moved down the coast. The surfing penguins would have to wait for some other time.

The segment we shot on the night SUP tours will air on my August episode of Career Changers TV. You might recognize Brett's name from an earlier piece we did about the Hukilau Marketplace and how he started his North Shore activities biz by winning a business plan competition at BYUH. He used the prize money to launch his Hele Huli Adventure Center at Turtle Bay -- which just unveiled their new mountain bike trails and pump track (here's that video link). Brett's North Shore Explorers biz at PCC is also tied into the new Courtyard Marriott Hotel next door to PCC, which had a soft opening a couple of weeks ago. Guess who runs the activities desk there? Yep, Brett!

night SUP horizontal

Getting back to Waimea Valley for a moment, just a reminder that there are still tickets available for this Saturday's afternoon concert featuring Pomai Lyman, Yoza and local diva, Melveen Leed. Here's the promo spot we did, which includes info on prices (cheap!) and hours. Since they set up canopies on the lawn, you don't have to worry about sun stroke if it's hot or getting wet if it sprinkles a bit. Like I said, they've got you covered either way. And it really is a beautiful place to enjoy local music if you can get away for a few hours this weekend!

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For daily viewing times of my Career Changers TV show, visit our website. You can also watch segments from past and current episodes on the CCTV YouTube Channel, which has over one million worldwide views and is growing each month. Advertisers, contact me directly if you want that kind of exposure at affordable prices!

Next Hawaii movie in works?

July 16th, 2015
By

jurassic trees

Took some time off for a mini-vacation trip to Kauai, where I proposed to my wonderful wife Isabel 30 years ago at the old Koloa Broiler, which has been replaced by a pizza place. It's been a few years since we last visited that island, and a lot of new shops and restaurants have sprung up from Hanalei to Poipu. But it still retains much of the laid back feel and natural beauty we associate with the Garden Isle.

Speaking of which, if you've never been to the National Botanical Garden across from Spouting Horn -- a.k.a. McBryde Garden and Allerton Garden -- it's really worth checking out. Especially on Sundays when it's free to residents with local IDs! That deal wasn't advertised in the tourist publications, but I asked if they had any kama'aina discounts and was delighted to learn we would save $45 each for the guided tour.

Also, we highly recommend the Hukilau Restaurant at the Kauai Coast Resort in Kapaa, where we were staying through the timeshare we own on the Big Island. All the locals said it was excellent and they were right. Make reservations though because with their ocean views, great service and delicious food, you'll usually wind up waiting a long time if you don't call ahead.

The old Coconut Marketplace next door was kind of like a ghost town, although it's evident they are redeveloping that area. Brennecke's Beach Broiler in Poipu was good too. I expected it to be overpriced mediocre stuff because they have such a terrific view, but prices were reasonable and the fresh seafood was very tasty. The one disappointment was the Merriman's Gourmet Pizza and Burgers. You'd think with the limited menu and Merriman's reputation, they would serve up something better than the average hamburger or pizza. Yet it was just "okay" and not worth the price. Maybe we should have stuck with Bubba's Burgers, which had lines going out the door in Hanalei and Poipu.

Anyhow, when you talk about Kauai, everyone pretty much knows a lot of big movies were filmed there -- including Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean. In fact, if you take the aforementioned McBryde and Allerton Garden tour, they'll point out where scenes from those films were shot on their grounds. Which brings me to the latest movie project that I heard may be coming to the islands.

Dubbed MICRO it's about a group of graduate students who  are lured to Hawaii to work for a mysterious biotech company — only to find themselves miniaturized and cast out into the rain forest, with nothing but their scientific expertise and wits to protect them. The story is based on a Michael Crichton and Richard Preston novel published in 2011. DreamWorks is producing it, so you can bet it's going to be a big budget tentpole movie. I'm a Crichton fan, going all the way back to his first sci fi book, The Andromeda Strain. Haven't read Micro yet, however.

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The new July episode of my Career Changers TV show is on tonight at 7:30 PM, and features master illusionist John Hirokawa plus a segment about the new North Shore Bike Park and pump track at Turtle Bay. You can find other daily viewing times at www.CareerChangers.TV or view segments from the show on the CCTV YouTube Channel by clicking here.

Pardon My French...

June 29th, 2015
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PROGRAM ALERT: The new July episode of Career Changers TV premieres Thurs., July 2 at 7:30 PM on Oceanic Cable Channel 12/high def 1012 (a.k.a OC16). We've got a fun segment on master illusionist John Hirokawa and the Magic of Polynesia show, plus a cool story about the new North Shore Bike Park at Turtle Bay, which includes family-friendly bike trails, as well as a pump track for advanced riders! Here's a sneak peek.

Our show host, Theresa Tilley, does a terrific job with our segment introductions, promotional spots and on-camera interviews. Recently, a prominent attorney who hired me to do a website video for him commented on her work in a piece we produced about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to help children of immigrants obtain temporary legal status to live in the U.S. He thought she was excellent. No surprise to me, since she displayed the same level of professionalism in the 808HALT human trafficking videos I directed.

She also has a full-time job in sales, representing a huge product supplier for hotels and resorts. Theresa is active with a variety of organizations too, and pops up in lots of photos at fashionable social events with her long-time significant other, Guillaume Maman. "G" as I call him, because my French is terrible, happens to be the General Manager of Loco Boutique. We profiled him in this piece awhile back. Well, G is not just a dashing figure with a charming accent who looks great in formal wear. He's been appointed Honorary Consul in Hawaii by the Consulate General of France -- a pretty big deal from what I understand.

Below is the press release about his new position. Congratulations, Guillaume -- and mahalo to Theresa for sharing this news!

The Consulate General of France in San Francisco has appointed Guillaume Maman as Honorary Consul in Hawaii, effective May 06, 2015. Mr. Maman has been a resident of Honolulu, Hawaii for 28 years and is originally from Paris, France. While in France, he served in the French Airborne Forces and received the medal of National Defense.

Guillaume Maman earned a French Baccalauréat in math, physics and chemistry, studied Economics at the University of Montpellier and a Master’s degree in Finance at La Sorbonne University in Paris. Since 1996, he has been heading a Hawaii based swimwear retail and manufacturing company, Loco Boutique, with locations in Hawaii, Guam, Saipan and Japan. He has also been the chairman of the Matsunaga Charitable Foundation since 2006 and a board member of the Alliance Française of Hawaii since 2007. Prior to his current position, Mr. Maman held many executive positions with high profile companies such as Louis Vuitton and Waterford Wedgwood.

As Honorary Consul of France in Hawaii, Mr. Maman perpetuates the mission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development in Paris. He directly collaborates with the Consulate General of France in San Francisco to provide assistance in administrative affairs and protection of French nationals settled or traveling within the state of Hawaii. He also represents the French Republic at official and cultural events in Hawaii and facilitates in deepening the relations between France and the United States.

Guillaume Maman succeeds Patricia Lee following her 18 years of service to the French government as Honorary Consul for Hawaii. “It is an honor to continue the tremendous service that Patricia Lee has provided to France and Hawaii. I feel blessed to have been raised in France and built an executive career in Hawaii, this has provided me with a deep understanding of the cultural differences and similarities between these two places I call home. I hope to serve as a bridge between France and Hawaii.” remarked Mr. Maman.

The Honorary Consul of France office is located at 1436 Young Street, Suite 303, Honolulu, HI 96814. Hours of operation- Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4pm to 6pm or by appointment Monday thru Friday.