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Monday, December 29, 2008

Rugby Muscle

So that’s what I look like when I’m running down the field breaking tackles, and heading for the try line? OK, maybe not. But you do notice that he’s holding a rugby ball in this exhibit?

This is from “Bodies, The Exhibition” currently in Honolulu. There’s a couple of these traveling exhibits of dissected human bodies, and one is in Honolulu at the moment. I haven’t been to see it, but that’s just because I’m too cheap to pay the price of admission. I first heard about these exhibits a year or so ago on National Public Radio, and they sound pretty interesting. If you can handle seeing actual human cadavers being displayed this way, that is.

This photo (by Dennis Oda at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin) accompanies an article in today’s paper about the exhibit. Specifically about the controversy surrounding the bodies themselves. The company can’t guarantee that they came from willing donations, rather than from executed prisoners (they’re from China). A valid concern, of course. But mostly I thought it was neat to see that this particular body was carrying a rugby ball.

Lights Out

In case you haven’t heard, the power went out across the entire island of Oahu Friday night. Now I’m not going to get into the question of how this could possibly happen only two years after it happened before, that’s been asked enough already in the press. No, what I’m going to talk about is how some businesses stepped up during and after the blackout – and others didn’t. Think about your own business and how you’d react in adverse conditions (such as the sour economy we’re going through?).

My first shout of high praise goes to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, the smaller of the two local newspapers (yes, Honolulu, a city of only about a million people has two daily newspapers). I generally read the papers every day, and I usually try to read them both. The fact that I primarily am interested in the comics, and that they each publish different ones, is irrelevant to this discussion.

On Saturday morning, after power had been restored, I was very interested in finding out about the power outage. I didn’t know the extent of the outage at the time, or how long it lasted (what do you do at night when the power goes out? Sleep), so I figured I’d get the paper and find out. I knew, of course, that the papers might have some trouble, but, again, I didn’t know the extent of the outage. There were no papers in the morning. OK. There were no papers into the afternoon. OK, must have been worse than I thought. Then, finally, late in the afternoon there was a paper.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, perpetual underdog in the local newspaper market, had managed to get out an edition. Not only did they manage to out maneuver their larger rival, I like the way they did it. Because the blackout was island-wide and lasted about 12 hours, they were very limited on what they could get out. So what they did was print a one-section edition. But within that one section, they printed one to two pages from every section of their normal paper. They had the blackout covered, of course, on the front page and a couple of pages inside, but they also had a couple pages of national and international news, business, sports, and even the comics. Sweet!

The larger paper (Honolulu Advertiser, if you must know), did nothing. So, while I’ve always enjoyed the Star-Bulletin, I am now a raving fan. That’s what business is all about; being flexible and adapting to the situation, out maneuvering the competition, and getting your product or service to the market even in the most extreme circumstances. I’m going to be writing about some other Honolulu businesses that stepped up, and others that didn’t, so come back.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Race Results

I ran the Honolulu Marathon yesterday. I use the word "run" loosely. Actually, I did run most of the way. My finishing time was almost exactly one hour off my target goal time, but that's OK. I'm not out there to race. I sign up for the marathon mostly for motivation, to get me out and exercise on those days when I'm feeling lazy and need a little push. The fear of the pain I would feel without proper training is a great motivator.

I trained pretty well this year, but I discovered that my training did nothing to improve my time. It did, however, help me greatly with my recovery. Aside from a little soreness in my thighs and lower back, I feel great. No tiredness or fatigue. My main goal for the marathon is to finish without too much pain. My secondary goal is to improve my time. I did good on the prime goal, now I need to work on the time improvement.

The Honolulu Marathon is a great race. It is the third largest marathon in the U.S., behind New York and Chicago, but what the Honolulu Marathon is known for is it's organization and that the course doesn't close until the last person finishes. This year the last person finished in over 15 hours, and the officials and volunteers were still there to welcome them (her, I think).

The fun of being in the midst of 23,000 people for 26 miles is not to be missed. In this marathon, you're never alone. And besides all the officials and volunteers, people who live all along the route come out and cheer on the participants. Throughout Waikiki, many tourists get up early to take in the spectacle. Even with this year's heavy rain in the early hours, the fans were out.

Overall I was happy with my performance, but I've still got a ways to go with my training. I know I'm not a born runner, but I enjoy it and will start training for next year's marathon about March. Next up is the Great Aloha Run in February (8 miles). I wouldn't miss the excitement and entertainment of the Honolulu Marathon for anything (well, OK, I did miss the past couple of years, but I wouldn't miss it for much).

So, with my finish time of 5:34:32, I'm not in the elite group (winning time was something like 2:14), but I could compete with some 80 year olds (look at some of those age group finishing times, it's amazing).

In Males age 45-49 I was 646th out of 1,062
For all Males, I was 5,598th out of 10,504
And for All Finishers, I was 8,795th out of 20,058

It makes me think I'm almost in good enough shape to get out on the rugby field.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I've got a refrigerator full of fruitcakes. I baked them last week and they're aging for Christmas. I make a great fruitcake. Nothing like those bricks you find at the grocery store. Everyone who's tried mine love them. It's hard to wait for them to age, but the anticipation adds to the excitement.

Instead of using the candied fruits that most people use, I use dried fruits - mango, papaya, cherries, apples, apricots, raisins, pineapple, figs, and more (meaning I can't remember). I chop up the fruits, then soak them in rum for a few days before mixing and baking.

Yum! I can't wait.

Hawaii Food Manufacturers

I attended the Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association Holiday Party on Tuesday. I enjoyed myself. Met some people, had some good food (made with Association members products), and utilized my drink tickets. I met, and spoke with, Kai Cowell of Kaiulani Spices, who makes some great spice mixes. I thought I recognized her when I met her, and I had. She has a booth at the KCC Farmers market every other week and she mixes up some curry and potatoes using her mixes, for sampling. Her samples are great! I also met and spoke with Suzanne from Wong's Meat Market. I'm not familiar with their products, but will have to try them out.

I had to leave before the drawing, so don't know if I would have won.

Professional Rugby Blogger

Joe Ward, hooker for the London Wasps, has a blog, Inside the Locker Room - Life Inside a Pro Rugby Team. The title pretty much sums it up. If you want to know what life is like for a professional rugby player, take a look, it's pretty interesting. That's a picture of Joe, there on the right (photo lifted from the Wasp's website). Yep, looks like a hooker (for those of you who are not rugby knowledgeable, the hooker is the guy/girl who "hooks" the ball in the scrum. For all the teams I've played for, it's the short guy on the team.)

I'm going to add Joe's site to my link list (and update for those I mentioned in my last post).

Good luck with your recovery, Joe (he's injured), and good luck to the Wasps!

And, if you want to help the growth of rugby here in the U.S., shop at the Adopt-A-Rugger and Hug-A-Rugger stores, where all proceeds are donated to USA Rugby.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

More links

Yes, I know, I haven't posted in awhile (again). Keep meaning too, but been busy. Sorry.

In the meantime, here's some new links; a few more Rugger Owned Businesses, a rugby league in London made up of business, mostly in the financial sector, and an interesting website with lots of business articles. Again, looking at the Rugger Owned Businesses, you can see that rugby people (players, coaches, refs) are a diverse bunch. Just about any type of business you can think of is owned by a rugger. Take a look at these business, and if you need their products or services, support the rugger.

Citisports, City of London Rugby Union - John Cardosi

LakeHouse, a Marketing Communications company (The Netherlands) - John Jildera

FreelanceToday, a freelancer and temp site (The Netherlands again, hope you speak Dutch) - Richard Koops

rugby15 (rugby gear) and The Rugby World Cup (an unofficial site dedicated to the Rugby World Cup, I bet the IRB would like that web address) - Peter Montague-Ebbs

SayEconomy, all sorts of business articles (may find one from me sometime soon)

Will update the sidebar asap, 'gotta run right now....

As always, Hug-A-Rugger or Adopt-A-Rugger....