Despite Quakes, Church Keeps Praising

Screenshot of 'site closed' message

Hawai’i’s 6.6 and 5.8 magnitude earthquakes yesterday morning shook many, but not churchgoers at New Hope Christian Fellowship, one of the state’s larger churches, with a typical weekly attendence of 12,000 spread across five services. New Hope’s web site was down as of the time of this post. Instead, a front-page story describes a scene which sounds much like business-as-usual:

During the 7 am service, worship leader Tiffany Thurston was speaking about worshiping through restrictions. Just then, the electricity in Farrington Auditorium went off. Lights, sound, cameras, everything all at once ceased to work. But instead of panicking, a collective chuckle rose from the congregation.

Teams at the church passed out flashlights to the congregation and jury-rigged a sound system using portable generators and other supplies on hand. The 9 AM service was also held “normally.”

As luck would have it, I was at service yesterday, and missed all the fun this morning. The church often has people roaming with portable camcorders. Hopefully, some of the footage will make next week’s service. Service times are Saturdays at 5:00 and 7:00 PM, and Sundays at 7:00, 9:00, and 11:00 AM (all Hawai’i Standard Time).

I’d encourage you to check out this dynamic church if you live on O’ahu, or watch the live webcast. They make sure every attendee (including me) is surrounded by positive role models of the impact a life centered on Christ can have on one’s self, family, and the larger community. Their mantra, “Doing Church as a Team,” doesn’t begin to describe the true feeling of ‘ohana you feel there.

Newsgathering Now and Then

Today marks the Honolulu Advertiser’s 150th anniversary issue. In 1856 (five years after the first edition of the New York Times), a few hundred colorless editions came off the press. Today, the Advertiser can print 48 full-color pages per issue.

The longevity of newspapers in an increasingly digital age seems to be a testament of simpler times. Despite the proliferation of radio, television, blogs, RSS, podcasts, and vidcasts, the nature of informing the public has changed dramatically, yet enough things stay the same. Even with all the competition, dailies still sell millions of copies a day.

Standards developed by papers over a century ago are largely still followed today, and in many cases have influenced competing media. For example, considered the “inverted pyramid” style of writing – originally developed to cope with the unreliability of the telegraph, but now a staple of reporting found in every form of news we use today.

With news now mallable and routinely edited by the reader, it’ll be interesting to see how newspapers continue to adapt to the brave new world delivered by technology.

Presidential Campaign Ads in Hawai’i

In an almost bizarre announcement, KITV is reporting that the Democratic National Committee and the Bush-Cheney Campaign will be buying TV commercials in Hawai’i in the final week before the election. Ads could appear as early as tomorrow.

According to Wikipedia, Hawai’i has voted for the Democratic presidential candidate every election since 1998, and has only voted Republican twice since statehood: for Nixon in 1972, and for Reagan in 1984. (Both were landslide victories for the respective candidates, in terms of electoral votes.)

Normally, Hawai’i is one of the most ignored states during election season. It’s the most isolated land mass on Earth, meaning it costs a lot of money to fly here, and it takes a big slice of time out of a campaign schedule that could better be spent in the lower 48 states. As a result, the only ads we see for President are on the national cable news channels.

However, the Honolulu Advertiser has calculated that (given an election sans Florida-style problems) there is a 1.5% chance that Kerry and Bush could be tied for electoral votes, compared with a 1.4% chance of the electoral votes being what they were in 2000. Numbers like this, combined with polls that say Hawai’i’s electoral votes are locked in a statistical dead heat, mean that Hawai’i’s four electoral votes have suddenly become crucial.

Since I’ve already cast my vote by absentee ballot, I have the liberty to sit back and watch with fascination at how the numbers will turn out. 2004 is going to be another close year.

Basking in the Orange Fakeness

SunglassesIf you’re living in the United States, you may have watched an episode or two of the new NBC crime drama Hawaii. In my humble but informed opinion, it’s a lousy copycat of all the other crime shows on TV.

Hawai’i’s primary industry is tourism, and like a Disney theme park, the reality of day-to-day life is hidden by aggresive marketing by both the government and private industry. That’s fine, but realize that Hawaii comes from the same glitter and gleam and doesn’t reflect reality.

Sure, a news anchor of the local NBC affiliate got a cameo and there’s some pretty pictures of the palm trees and street signs, but it really didn’t remind me much of home. Trust me, the island I live on does not look like you’re wearing orange sunglasses all day and night.

If you want to see Hawai’i much closer to the way it actually is, catch the re-runs of Hawaii Five-0. It’s as much of a fiction as the newcomer, but somehow the plots are more realistic and the characters more believable – and if you’re into scenery, you can’t beat the fact that it’s incredibly easy to see where Steve McGarrett and company are catching the bad guys – my own back yard.

Sorry, NBC – not even close.

Aside: I’m baaack! (braces for the deluge of comment spam)

Image courtesy stock.xchng and Nathalie Beauvois.

Windstorm in Hawai’i

Hawai’i was hit by a huge windstorm today. Gusts as high as 85 miles per hour were recorded. Trees and utility poles have been knocked down, stranding people on roads with no way of exiting. Some poles have actually fallen on cars.

Boats have been torn from their moorings, and docks have been destroyed. A local dinner cruise, the Star of Honolulu, was forced to return to port with the aid of a tugboat. Most other ships didn’t go out.

Electricity has been sporadic today, and as I write this, about 20,000 homes are still without power…whoops, make that 20,001 – good thing I’m on a laptop with a built-in battery ;). Being without power isn’t nearly as bad as the 95 people who have reported major roof damage to the Honolulu Fire Department, however.

The electric company and other services are treating this as a hurricane, with their entire staff recalled and on the job. It’ll likely be a few days before everything is back to normal.

Electricity is going on and off (mostly off). I’m posting via dial-up.

See you all tomorrow.