A Hardware Store

A new shopping center here in Waikoloa is cause to celebrate. However… It is not the fancy new resturaunts, or the gym, or even the pizzarias I will be celebrating… It is a hardware store.

Waikoloa Ace Hardware
Waikoloa Ace Hardware

This week a new Ace Hardware opened its doors for the first time. Yes, I was there to check out the new store. Not having to take to 30-40 minute drive to Waimea or Kona when we need one little thing is a big deal for me.

I remember all too well need to make that drive on several occasions when something was busted in the house. There was the time I put a pickaxe through the water line supplying the house. I had the PVC pipe, and the glue needed to fix it, and one coupler… I needed two. I was short a single PVC coupling. Off on the hour long trip to Waimea and back for a single 50 cent part, that or no water in the house.

Stopping by our new Ace on their first morning I checked out the store, walking the aisles just to see what hey have, and do not have. Not that I left empty handed, I did buy a replacement garden hose for the driveway spigot.

The new store is a bit on the small side, not a huge selection of stuff. They do have all of the basics, a good selection of plumbing parts, screws and bolts, and electrical fittings. This will save a great deal of trouble in the future.

An Antonov AN-124?

An Antonov AN-124 at Kona International Airport
An Antonov AN-124 at Kona International Airport

At the south end of the runway there is a parking area for transient aircraft. The hard stands here are usually populated with a flock of private jets that ferry the well-to-do to their Hawaii vacation homes. Occasionally there is a regular cargo 747 that is parked here, looming above the Learjets and Gulfstreams.

This was a bit different…

An Antonov AN-124 at Kona International Airport
An Antonov AN-124 at Kona International Airport

From a distance I thought it was the usual 747, not paying much attention during my routine commute. A bit closer and I did a double take… This was no 747, but rather an Antonov. I knew immediately it was an AN-something, but could not remember which.

Social media chatter later that day provided the answer… An Antonov AN-124 making a stopover from Asia while headed to Seattle. A Ukranian aircraft currently operating out of Germany on charter for special cargoes.

2022 in Photos

With recent history having been a bit bumpy, looking back on 2022 is not too bad in out little part of the world. More than a few good memories.

  • Kailua Bay
  • PBR's with Asparagopsis taxiformis
  • Harvesting Atax
  • Raceway pond
  • Waimea Canyon
  • Kīlauea lighthouse
  • Kōloa sugar mill
  • An air compressor rusts in the abandoned Kōloa sugar mill
  • Sunset over Lawaʻi Beach
  • Charter Boat
  • Ben halibut fishing in Yakutat Bay
  • King Salmon
  • Icebergs on Harlequin Lake
  • A six inch gun emplacement
  • Total Lunar Eclipse
  • Equator
  • Masaka Road
  • Line for the ferry at Nakiwogo, Uganda
  • Kids at Kazinga
  • An older male lion (Panthera leo) in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
  • Tour vans arrive to see the lion
  • Pied Kingfisher
  • Rüppells starling
  • Marabou Stork
  • Elephant
  • The Elephant's Eye
  • Toyota Land Cruiser
  • Mauna Loa eruption at dawn
  • The 2022 eruption of Mauna Loa on the second day
  • The 2022 eruption of Mauna Loa on the second day
  • Sunset over Lawaʻi Beach


As usual we rang in the new year staying quietly at home. Quietly? We may have been quiet, the neighborhood was not. I have always considered the amount of fireworks the neighborhood launches to be a rough economic indicator. Apparently this last year ws not too bad, the quantity of explosives launched over Waikoloa was impressive.

While Waikoloa was impressive, Honolulu was insane…

Our celebration? Testing a little telescope and enjoying a cup of cocoa at midnight.

With celebrations complete we shall have to see what this new year brings. There is some optimism and no complete disasters looming, which after the last few years is all I am going to ask for.

A Time Capsule Package

In the back of a plastic crate, forgotten for a decade or three, a little cardboard pack holds a few battery holders. A humble package, not containing anything particularly special, yet this is a time capsule from another age, another me from decades ago.

Skin pack holding a set of battery holders from another era.
A set of battery holders in retro packaging

This little package brings back memories… I remember when shelf after shelf of components were packaged this way. The look, the smell, the facination with the fantastic array of parts on display in those little packs, each inspriation for a project or solution. The young teenage me wandering those shelves wondering what I could do with those components.

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Magnitude 6.2

Well? That was the strongest shake we have had in a while. Magnitude 6.2 well offshore of the south end of the island.

The whole house rattled for a while, then a few sharp bangs, then it rumbled on for a while longer. Nothing knocked off shelves, just a steady rattle of plates and photos on the wall. The 3D printer took no notice, happily plotting along.

The cats did take notice, Electra disappearing under the bed, not to re-appear for a while. Ras was all perky-eared and vigilant.

For this quake I guessed not only the distance correctly, but the magnitude to within 0.3, (guessed 6.5, USGS revised 6.2). We have plenty of experience with big island shakes at this point. I felt both the S and P waves arrive, that gave me distance. What surprised me is the depth, 21 miles down, that is below the crust, into the mantle.

Magnitude 6.1 Down South
USGS plot of a magnitude 6.1 earthquake off the south end of the island with aftershocks, Oct. 10, 2021

Getting a Vaccination

After navigating the phone menu system and a few minutes on hold the phone rings and a nurse practitioner picks up…

Nurse: “What can I help you with today Mr. Cooper?”
Me: “I need to schedule a vaccination.”
Nurse: ” You can do that by going to our website and clicking on the COVID link at the top of the page.” …and she continues with an obviously well rehearsed answer with information on getting a COVID vaccination.
Me: “Stop! Not COVID… Tetanus!”
A long pause…
Nurse: “Let me find you an appointment time, do you prefer the Kona clinic?”

A tetanus vaccine syringe after the dose has been delivered
A tetanus vaccine syringe after the dose has been delivered

A Month for Disaster

There is a meme running around that relates all too well at the moment…

Smoke Over Waikoloa
Smoke from an approaching wildfire stains the skies over Waikoloa

Worst month ever!
What do you mean this is only the 1st?

Anonymous social media meme

This month is only four days old and we are quite ready to agree with whomever coined that meme.

Sunday, August first started out peaceful enough. I was looking forward to a relaxing day with a few chores about the house. The only nagging worry was keeping tabs on the large brushfire raging towards Waimea, though it was many miles away. As the winds picked up this worry also intensified, to where I had to the local emergency radio feed streaming on the computer speakers.

When the fragmentary radio chatter from the fire units indicated that the fire had jumped Highway 130 I knew what was coming next… An evacuation of Waikoloa Village.

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The Last Loaf of Love’s

It was not happy news when we learned that Love’s bakery would be shutting down earlier this year. After 170 years of baking bread this Hawaiian business would shut off the ovens for the last time. The COVID pandemic pushing yet another business into closing. Much of their business was supplying bread to the resorts and hotels, business that disappeared with the tourists.

Love’s whole wheat has been a staple in our house for many years, the basic bread we always have on-hand for toast and sandwiches. When the last week of production was upon us I bought several loaves, placing all but one in the freezer. Now a couple months later the last loaf is on the counter and I am making a PBJ sandwich for lunch.

Franz Bakery has picked up the Loves brand, shipping bread from their NW bakeries to fill shelves in island groceries. We have tried it, just not the same, not as fresh.

Love's Bread
The last loaf of Love’s whole wheat bread

Fourth of July

It is a subdued Fourth of July around the island. Most large scale gatherings are still cancelled such as the annual 4th of July Rodeo at Parker Ranch. There will be some official fireworks in Hilo and Kona, but Deb and I are not planning to attend.

It remains to be seen how many illegal fireworks there are in the neighborhood, something I have usually considered a local measure of economic optimism. Given the oddness of the year I suspect that will not be a good proxy this year. Nothing is predictable this year.

There have been rumors of shortages in supply as well, maybe the reason for some loud bangs in the neighborhood over the last week… Improvised fireworks or more illegal imports?

A good evening to reflect on history, where we have been, and where we might be headed. Celebration will remain quiet and introspective, in this household at least.

Fireworks over Palm Trees
A fireworks display over the coconut palms of the Fairmont Orchid resort