Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Everyone is leaving Hawaii. I have more and more friends to visit on the mailnand every year, mostly because people are finding it too hard to get by here. And the momentum keeps growing. By this time next year I have 2 other friends who plan to be gone, and that worries me some. After my brief stint in LA, I figured I'd be ready to settle here in Hawaii, grateful for all the benefits this island has to offer.

But Oil prices keep rising. I visit the north shore every 4 months rather than every month now, and that benefit like many others seem to be occurring with less frequency. Its becoming more and more difficult to visualize a happy life here, where we all take on part-time jobs to pay for a cost of living that is far out-pacing our regular salaries. Weekend getaways are a thing of the past, and our longstanding relationship with Vegas will begin to dissolve when the oil cartel gauges prices high enough.

If anything, this MBA I'm working for will allow me to stay, and survive just above the poverty line. The only ones who will be able to afford to stay, will be the ones working for the luxury hotels who cater to clients still rich enough to visit. And that'll be me, working for the Hyatt Regency Kaimuki (when Waikiki is underwater), renting a shitty roach-infested 4th story walk-up aptartment for 3000/mo., paying 13.oo/gal for gas for my moped, and selling crack to rich tourist kids on the side to pay for my spicy ahi habbit.

This said, I vow to count all the blessings we have here now and go on more hikes on the weekends, get out to the ocean to swim and surf, and dangint - I'm going to Vegas as soon as I can scrape up enough to do it, while our purple, pink, and white planes are still in the air.

Lucky we live Hawaii eh?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Everybody Loves Apple

I admit, for all the crap I've been talking about Apple in the past few years, I have to say, they might actually be starting to win me over, and that's not a good thing. You see, I've always seen apple as a design company 1st and foremost, and their ability to sell products (computers as it happened to be back in the day) was based on integrated design that gave the consumer what they needed when they needed it. You can simply do more, faster, on an apple, based on the fact that apples design was intelligent enough to understand what its users wanted to do. That means less clicks on 'apply' and 'ok,' less sub-menus, sub-windows, and sub-folders to get through, to get to where you need to be. Of course that is assuming: you are like the majority of the general public who just wants to get the job done. I am of a different breed. I like to customize things, take them apart, put them back together, and configure my computing experience to the kind of experience I want. When something goes wrong, I like to figure out what it is, and when at all possible, I like to fix it. Apples on the other hand, need you to schedule a doctor's appointment for them at the local 'genius bar,' where the 'genius' on staff takes 45 minutes to tell you that your computer is broken, that they don't have the part, and reschedules another visit in 2 weeks. Yikes.

I may not be able to avoid the college kids a the genius bar for long, 'cause now there's the I-phone. I spent 2 years heckling and mocking apple's attempt to conquer the cell phone industry by relying on their design. Such a move is to me, a colonial display of greed and power, to enter into a whole other industry, confident that your brand and design could out-do industry veterans who have YEARS more experience under them. Such a move indeed. And they are winning, more specifically they are winning me over. The truth is, with the release of the I-phone 3G, Apple has ironed many of the wrinkles in its prior cell phone endeavor, and now, as more and more friends of mine are beginning to contemplate switching, I have a very hard time convincing them (or myself) that it's a bad idea. With the shoddy service of cell phone companies these days, it seems that Apple has become the knight in shining armor (or touch screen glass as it happens) saving us from the blandness that has become mobile service.

There is still hope however, in that competition in the industry pushes more innovation, and offers us valid alternatives to Apple's mobile monster. Google's Android platform is a promising venture forged between many industry insiders, developing an open OS that promises a mobile revolution. I am crossing my fingers that Android will be my savior. Aside from that, the mobile seas are turning red with the cannibalization of the touch screen wars. HTC, SAMSUNG, and even BLACKBERRY have products out or in development to piggyback on the innovation of the I-Phone's success. Every other week there is an article on the next 'I-phone killer,' none of which are ever valid. Someone out there needs to make a phone with a vision bigger than Apple's or we will all be waiting in a very long line at the genius bar.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fresh Air

I can say with confidence that I, Bryce Watanbe am a non-smoker. It has been half-a-year since my last smoke, and I can say that now with no doubts. I can't say however, that I am cured. The fact is, I am non-practicing niccotene addicct, and I always will be. Even today, when i step out of a bar and pass through the crowd of my old peers, quickly digging into thier pockets and purses for a lighter, I often hear myself in my own mind asking them for a drag. I haven't asked them yet. I refrain because I know that somewhere deep inside me, is a malinourished smoker who wants to be freed. I have made it my personal mission to starve him, hoping that one day, hell just dry up and dissppear, but he isn't doing that. He is still there in the shadows, waiting for me to have a moment of weakness during a stress-induced drinking binge, to prey on me at my weakest moment. I know now that he ain't going nowhere, but his voice does get weaker, and I have faith that as time goes by he'll become so faint, that I pay him no attention at all. For now, I'll chew my gum, write my blogs, and pretend not to notice the faint smells of the 2nd floor office ladies on smoke break 'round the corner.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Heat

Summer is here in full, and the concrete around me has expanded to its max. I wake up at 5 am to the sound of screaming mynah birds, a sunny glare in my face, and a sweaty pillow. I've been trying to hold myself back from driving down to Costco and bringing home a shiny new AC unit, in an effort to keep my electric bill down, but i dunno if I'll be able to make it all summer. I can smell the soles of my shoes melting into the pavement as I walk home from work, so i keep my steps quick and think about the popsicles I have waiting for me in the freezer.