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KB 19 Jan 2009


Online forums are about people, regardless of what it says on the forum header it's the people that makes it interesting, the people that gives it soul and ultimately the people that keeps it alive.

All forums have different levels of cost that they tackle in many ways, membership fees, raffles, donation pledges etc.

Some forums are fortunate enough to have a great membership base that rally time and again to keep their board afloat, some will even have that special one out member who will give up a great deal of his time (and money) to see his beloved board sails easy.

Today my interview subject is such a man, a man who single handily opened up a new source of revenue for our board; it is my very real pleasure to introduce Mr Lanikai.

Kenberg : Aloha, or as we say downunder, G'day Lanikai and thank you for joining us today.

Lanikai : Aloha Mai Ken, and G'day ! and needless to say I am humbled and honoured by this, it's truly a privilege to be here today !

KB : Ok Lani everyone has a story as to their attraction to watches and also how they came across RWG, what's the Lanikai story?

L : Like everyone here my fascination with watches started at a very young age.. so much so that I cannot remember how young I was, only that my Grandfather had one of those tall pendulum clocks in the living room and I was mesmerized by the tick-tock and chimes .. and my Father brought home a hand carved cuckoo clock and I used to sit in from of it and wait for the bird to pop out.. and I really thought that the bird was real, as I say I was very young.

As I grew older I was always drawn to the divers watches,. Being born and raised in Hawaii, we were taught to free dive at a young age.. then to dive with tanks (as we called the iron lungs at the time) . My cousins whom were much older than I had Rolex divers watches and we would literally be in awe when they would tell us how much they cost ! ( ya know how kids just drop their jaws) I remember that day vividly as it was the first time I went out with my Uncle with my own tank on a 'Hawaiian Harness' and my cousin let me wear his Sub on my first dive with my own tank. And we encountered a Tiger shark that was of pretty good size.. but we always saw them so until 'Jaws' the movie it was no big deal to see the sharks when we were in the water.

I came out of the water with my chest stuck out and felling like I jus grew 12 inches, I felt like I could now take on all my other cousins'. Lol' cause growing up I was the smallest of the pack (that changed) .. and they would use me as the 'tackling dummy' .. and that particular day I felt like I owned the Ocean with that Rolex on my wrist..

And finally, when I lived in Seattle I worked for 'Mayer Brothers' one of 2 of the big wholesalers in the Northwest. And funny as it may seem I worked in the Watch parts and jewelry findings and tools dept. .. every watch part for every watch made in the world' inventory once a year was very tedious .. obviously I didn't retain too much from that episode..

How I came upon RWG, was through friends in Hawaii, who aren't really active anymore, told me about RWG .. I had gotten a PAM 127 from one of my friends when he went to Thailand, I had worn that 127 for 5 years as my daily beater from 1 am until 7 am .. it served me well, and just recently stopped. So I started making group buy's for our little group long before I started posting .. and have been here ever since.

KB: Now I'm going to ask a serious question (and don't you go bullshitting me Bro), how many watches are in your current collection?

L : Oh, I have a 'few'' .. hahaha, ok, on the up and up .. honestly I have not ever kept a count, I think I would scare myself if I did. But I would say .. maybe somewhere around 5 to 6 months without wearing the same timepiece.

Having said that, the only ones I really count as true treasured reps, are those that have been made from genuine samples and have been to Ziggy for movement service and re-lume .. and genuine parts swap.

KB : Your standout favourites and least favourite..and why?

L : Ahhhhh,.. that would like being in a Harem of gorgeous ladies and asking to pick1

But I would have to say, the vintage Rolex' that have been to Ziggy and the Breitlings of course and the Omega's and IWC's .. I think you get my point.. I also like great Hotel buffet's .. variety being the 'spice of life' .. my taste really change from week to week.. month to month.. what didn't appeal to me last month may be a rekindled love this month..

KB : Of course watches are only one of your loves, tell us please about your days of body building and competitions

L : Wow, that goes back a long way '.. I started training at a young age .. actually to rehab my knee, I had my ACL torn in my left knee during an All Star baseball game .. I was 12 years of age .. and caught the bus everyday to a gym owned and run by Mitts and Dotty Kawashima,.. Icons in Hawaii's bodybuilding community .. this was before gyms were coed.. and Arnold S. first came to America, and Mitts was instrumental in helping him start out .. they are life long friends and Arnold has co-sponsored his 'Hawaiian Islands' bodybuilding contest for years, Arnold has been here recently for the funerals of both Mitts' daughter and wife.. he gave the eulogy for both.. quite sad .. after a life time of friendship,.. I didn't feel it was the right time nor place to approach him for a pic.. as many people were..

Anyway, there were many memories of the old 'World Gym' .. Rocky Johnson was one of my mentors and I trained with him,.. at the time his Son, .. Duane was a freshman in high school in Hawaii,' today he is known as 'The Rock' .. very happy for him as he was always a humble kid and really takes care of his Mom and Grandmother with his fame and fortune.

I never made the national ranks as my partners did .. one made it to the pro ranks and is making a come back as I type this .. but I parlayed my bodybuilding into a very lucrative Personal training business, I was the director of fitness at Hawaii's most exclusive health club, and was training for the National qualifier when I blew my knee out, the same one that was shredded as a kid.

There was some nerve damage during the surgery and I was actually walking crippled for 6 years.. until one of the WWF wresters (retired) .. pulled me back in the gym ,.. and told me I would have to endure more pain than ever to break through scar tissue to walk straight again.. that took 2 years of daily pain, medically my left leg looks odd as it will never be the same .. it atrophied and due to the nerve damage will not regain it's size.. but I can walk normally .. so for that I am grateful.. no regrets, I still leg press and hack squat over 700 lbs.

Today whist training, I give back.. meaning when the young athletes ask me a question, I go one step further and tell them if they are committed to 'winning' then I would like to help them,.. remembering my mantra .. 'second place is the first to loose' .. that is the only mind set that I will accept. One kid in particular.. I am sending to train with my friend he is a pro .. and I told the kid that I have taken him as far as the gym we are at will go .. and now to get where he needs to go, he will train with people who's intensity is far from anything he has experienced . he has a great attitude and humble quiet.. but can take on the best if given the opportunity ..

There is one other athlete I am working with.. 'she' is a long and high jumper .. girls have great emotion for athletics .. they have 'heart'.. she will probably be given a scholarship to a college in North Carolina .. tall girl over 6 ft. tall.. she has been a joy to work with .. so 'coachable' .. eager to improve !!

There are those who I ignore .. when they ask for help .. too arrogant , to much 'show off' attitude, that was not how I was raised in sports.. quite the opposite . we were taught that competition is not about recognition nor praise.. but about team values.

I could go no .. but I am grateful for what athletics has given me, through all the injuries.. I would do it all again.

KB : They say King Kamehameha could crack coconuts with his bare hands, ever give it a try yourself

L : Well, King Kamehameha the I was more than just a Warrior King,.. he is also known as a great diplomat ! The Hawaiian flag is said by some historians to be a mixture of the Union Jack and the Stars and Strips,.. because he wished to stay neutral during the Civil War .. and fended off the RussianS with diplomacy ' there is still remnants of the old Russian Fort on Kauai.

It's just really sad what is happening to the Native Hawaiian Lands .. that is a crime .. some cousins are of Hawaiian ancestry .. I tell them when they are of age .. to vote for the issues on the ballot for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs .. I abstain from voting .. I believe that you should have the bloodline to have the right to decide issues that affect the Nat5ive Hawaiians.. although I am third generation here and have been raised in the Hawaiian culture, it is not my place to be given the right to vote for their freedoms.. the only reason that everyone can vote is because someone of non Hawaiian blood litigated the legality of the issues .. BS if you ask me .. anyway, back on point.. we used a shapened stake in the ground .. and no one could beat the record times of the Samoans .. it's like peeling an orange for them..

KB : Motorbikes (and their clubs) I believe is another passion, any interesting stories there to share?

L : I am inactive (it's a long and political story, for another time) .. of one of the most storied Clubs in Hawaii . the oldest actually, dating back to the 1930's .. I was the 'Sargent of Arms'

I represented Hawaii when we had a World Conference back east .. all the clubs from EU and the biggest club that has chapters world wide were present .. some of my tats were inked by their members. .. It was great to meet bikers from Germany.. UK.. Belgium..

There are many stories.. but I'm afraid I'm not able to share them.. J

I did however get to tour the Harley factory in York Pennsylvania . that was like a fantasy dream come true.. warehouse walls topped off with evo engines .. I followed a Road King for 2 hours from start till finish . fired up right off the line .. it was labelled with the Hawaii dealer tag..

KB : Lani as mentioned earlier last year you stepped up to the plate and made RWG raffles a 2008 success story, something we had tried on and off since the board inception with very limited success. The average member would probably not realise the time it takes to get one of these rolling as well as the dedication to follow it through, PM'ing ticket buyer and such, there were even times when you put up your own watches, for this the whole board owes you a great debt of thanks. I see you even have the first raffle for 2009 rocking, do you have any surprises lined up for us this year?

L : First off, I just did a little footwork.. it was truly the membership that stepped up to the plate, and I hope they do so again. RWG's admin team is the best.. and Admin (T) has drawn the best team on the net IMO .. the leader attracts people that reflect his qualities.. and in talking with T and TT during the past year.. their calm leadership really talks volumes about their character.

For T to pay out the expenses to run this place and not look for 'returns' .. what can you say about a person like that !! And for all the Mods who 'work' .. at making this a safe place and 'Home' for us all.. It would behove me not to make mention of this to all the membership that have just recently gotten on board !

What I would really like to see is for RWG not to 'have to have' raffles we should be 'self supporting' . but the same members pitch in all the time.. I realize this forum is 'free' .. but now with the huge membership and usage.. we need members who are riding free to become supporters . Platinum members.. give back.. cause this place certainly will give to you !!

KB : I know you send a lot of watches off to Ziggy but do you try to do any mods yourself? If so what have you tried that you wish you didn't (happens to all of us)?

L : OK ' I have decided not to send Ziggy anymore of my 'mistakes ' errors' and also not to use other mods .. so I don't have to send Ziggy emergency 'rescues' .. just your usual screw ups for me.. set levers messed up etc.

I have decided until the day that my work schedule becomes somewhat normal.. I run my business 7 day's a week 365 day's a year .. that my watch classes and modding will be put on the back burner, except for crystal swaps.

Working and learning the movements cannot be done when one is tired , it ios just not something to attempt without being fully rested,.. you need to really take time and when I am tired which is 90 % of the time .. errors are made .. bringing on frustration and anxiety'

I can read a whole paragraph and then totally space out.. fatigue .. everyone has some ability .. but to learn .. one really needs to be alert..

KB : It seems you buy every new rep but do you have a favourite brand and if so what about that brand appeals to you most?

L : Yes .. nuff said file:///C:/Users/Bob/AppData/Local/Temp/lu1832vbkbfu.tmp/lu1832vbkbg3_tmp_76207ae0f5675113.gif

KB : Watch reviews, move over By-Tor there's a new kid on the block. Ok we all know we can't rock By-Tors boat on reviews but the is also no disputing that you have taken a major step up when it comes to compiling them. Without naming them (for fear of leaving someone out) there is a core group of members who's reviews are not to be missed, Lankai is one of them. The vast majority (like me) has never done, and never will do, a review, can you please tell us the time you put into one of your reviews and which one you enjoyed doing the most?

L : By-Tor is in a different league '. BT's are Periodical 'Class'

What I try and do with my threads is give members a close look and write up so they can make a more Informed choice '

I think RWG's reviewers are more truthful than the other reviews ranging from cars to cigars.. they go for the brands that spend the most money on advertising .. much more politics involved..

I always's try and explain that my reviews are not for the purpose of selling the reps .. are not sponsored in anyway, .. I mainly do them to give the members a close up and personal view.. with the reps made from genuine samples they sell themselves.

On the average a review could take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours.. to all week .. depending on the research and images.. sometimes I could take 50 to 100 images and use 10 then the written.. uploading.. I upload off the forum .. trying to conserve some.. because with the digital images that have 10 million pix .. well imagine how long it takes to upload one image..

My fav review has to be the recent Skyland Black Steel, .. it was the first 'Team' Review that we did.. Andrew , DBR, Dave 123 .. that was really rewarding.. I figured with all the wealth of info here .. we don't have to do a one member review' look at what we got here !!

Andrew for his years of expertise with Breitlings.. DBR's synopsis on the DLC coat, that was a masterpiece.. but for DBR.. just a paragraph in a very busy Professional Carreer .. nad Dave 123.. owns a DLC'd Breitling and could verify our rep.

That was the most fun and rewarding.. we did it as a 'team'

KB : Of course with reviews come photography and your pictures are as good as anyone's, have you always been into photography or is it something you have perfected through your watch collecting?

L : I'm still learning .. never took a macro nor was into photography . knew nothing about manual settings or ISO's before taking up that hobby as a result of this forum..

Bazz has just recently helped me correct my ISO settings .. Phoband is eagerly trying to help me learn Photoshop .. but he knows my retention level when I am up from 12 am the night before..

Someday I hope to get the images as good as the members who have eloquently been supportive

KB : Ok 5 minutes of fame.....

KB : Age?

L : I am a robust half centurion .. haha.. I can still take you members half ma age.. I prove that in the gym.. only they don't see me soaking in the ice bath after..

KB : Occupation?

L : Independent Agent for the Gannett based Newspaper

KB : Meat fish or tofu?

L : all of the above.. there is only one thing in my whole life that I have not eaten twice .. balut .. it is a Filipino dish' it's usually a duck egg with the duck about 1 week from hatching .. it's feathers are formed .. you make a small crack in the shell and suck everything out .. uncooked btw..

KB : Beer, wine or......?

L : Coffee, diet soda's .. Janurary 11. I made 18 Years without a drop of alcohol. I have nothing against it.. nor the people that drink in excess - it was my problem that I had to deal with

KB : Traditionalist or Modernist?

L : right in the middle some place

KB : Three people past or present you would love to share dinner with?

L : My Grandparents on my Dad's side.. I would like to say Hello.. jus once J

I could make a wish list of famous people ' But I could not wish for more than to have dinner with everyone on RWG ..

KB : The dunny (toilet) roll hangs under or over in the Lanikai household?

L : Ya got me on this one K ..

KB : And times up, I just have a couple of last questions before we wrap up the interview...

KB : You live in the tropic's and our Admin lives in more Artic climes, if you were to swap homes who would last the longest and why?

L : Ya kiddin right.. me in below zero weather ? if T gets home sick for the cold.. we have an ice skating rink here.. he could sit on the ice with his swim trunks and feel at home.. whist we are all bundled up and cannot wait to get outside to the 80 degree warmth..

KB : And finally.......do you really like raw octopus?

L : raw octopus ' raw squid .. raw fish ' clams, blue point crabs ' you don't always cook your vegetables do you ?? 'Onolicious'

KB : Lanikai thank you for joining us today and on behalf of the whole board thank you for everything you do.

L : Thank you K.. it has been a privilege to be here .. and It is I who should thank the board .. each and everyone for being here and allowing me to be of service !!



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