Like “Hawaii Five-0,” the “Five-0 Redux” has been on a bit of a hiatus these last few weeks, as yours truly travels for work and pleasure. In every city I have landed, I have had a few quick visits with several “Five-0” fans who I have met on Twitter or Facebook. It seems as if every time I leave Hawaii, I am invited by a generous fan to have a meal together, visit their home, and in some cases, take a tour of their work or a ride on their boat.
Yes, folks, I am a lucky girl. I know I’ve written about fans before in the “Redux,” but in the last five months I have done some very cool things and met some amazing people all because of our mutual love of “Hawaii Five-0.”
July has been a good month for the fans. The July 9 blessing, which kicked off the third season of the popular show, renewed the fervor in fans as they began the countdown to mark the end of the dreaded doldrums of CBS repeats. As “Hawaii Five-0” began their shooting schedule, and a new wave of behind the scenes pictures showed up on Facebook and Twitter, fans are now tapping their feet a little faster as they wait for the September 24 return of McGarrett and the Five-0 crew.
As I have traveled throughout the continental U.S., I have been to three states and met five fans who I was honored to have shared a meal with, been guests in their home, and in one case, a guest on their boat. While we didn’t always talk of “Hawaii Five-0,” for the most part we talked about our families, our careers, and really bonded on a personal “in real life” level. I can say this over and over again, we “Five-0” fans come from all walks of life and even though we share a common fangirl experience, I never would have met these five ladies if it were not for “Hawaii Five-0.”
I know, some people have criticized me and told me to “get a life,” but what kind of life would I have if I were not open to making new friends who share at least one similarity with me? Fortunately, I also found that we shared much more than just the love of a television show. Believe me, these women have lives, families, hobbies, causes, and careers — and contrary to popular belief — they do not constantly worship at the altar of Alex O’Loughlin. Well, four out of the five are pretty good odds, right?
In March, I traveled to San Francisco and met two fans — Ellen Swedberg and Terry from the “Hawaii Five-0 Undercover” blog. Ellen and her husband Brian graciously invited us to take a boat ride on the San Francisco Bay and Terry invited us to San Bruno to have dinner. I had met Swedberg during the September 2011 “Sunset on the Beach” activities, but I had only spoken to Terry via Twitter and Facebook. I was excited to see Ellen again and meet her husband Brian, who would be piloting their boat, Thumper, and taking us around San Francisco Bay.
We had a great time with Ellen and Brian, even though the seas were choppy and rough, it was clear skies and the view of the San Francisco skyline and Alcatraz were amazing. My husband, Patrick, as well as my son, Dakota, both got to drive the boat for a while, and Brian was a patient and excellent teacher. It was lovely to do something completely different from the norm and be able to make new friends.
We may have talked a little about “Hawaii Five-0” in the hours we were together — but mainly we talked about Ellen’s sons, her quilting, Brian’s position as a Harbor Master, the houseboat they had renovated, as well as their many sailing adventures. My Navy chief husband was in heaven, but for a girl who grew up near the ocean, but not “on” it, it was fascinating to learn something new — even if it was a little scary going up and down on those rolling waves.
We took BART from the city to meet Terry in San Bruno and have dinner with her at a very authentic Italian restaurant. Terry was nice enough to pick us up at the BART station — another first for us island folk — and as we drove to the restaurant, we talked as if we met every week to have dinner together. After we ate, which was pretty delicious, we really didn’t want to end our evening, so we drove over to the Shops at Tanforan, found a Starbucks, and camped out until the mall was closing. I know we talked a lot about “Hawaii Five-0,” but we also talked about family, funny blogger experiences, and I’m pretty sure I told Terry my life story.
After Terry dropped us off at BART and we headed back into the city, my son asked me how I knew “Aunty” Terry. “Because of “Hawaii Five-0,” I said. When he said, “Wow, Mom, you know a lot of people because of McGarrett,” I had to laugh.
While Steve McGarrett may not have directly introduced me to all of these very cool and amazing people, the show seems to be my gateway to fantastic places and new friends. When I arrived in San Diego in June to attend a technology conference, I basically thought I would be attending workshops and hearing a lot of new information about what new tech gadgets I could use for work. But I had no idea that a fellow “Hawaii Five-0” fan and writer, Kate Davies, would also be attending the conference. Until I sent out a Tweet about the opening keynote — and Kate tweeted me back saying she was at the same conference — I know, small social media world.
We met for lunch the following day and talked about Kate’s books and her writing, as well as our families and careers. We talked very little “Hawaii Five-0” since we read each other’s blogs and knew about that part of our lives, so we covered what we didn’t know. It was really great to take a short break from a work conference to have face-to-face time with a Twitter friend, and to find we had a lot in common—writing, family, as well as professions. And of course, “Hawaii Five-0.”
After San Diego, I made my way south, where I met up with my husband and son to stay with dear friends in Alabama. As a side trip, we were also going to spend a week in South Carolina and drive to Charlotte, North Carolina to visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame. When I tweeted our plans, another Twitter friend Kate Mindak-Lopes invited us to stay with her and her husband Rob Lopes and visit the race shops around their home. Rob is the tire specialist for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Hendrick Motorsports, and he and Kate opened their home and their arms for us.
My family was thrilled to meet Rob and get a special tour of his shop at Hendrick, and Rob gifted us with official Dew Crew ball caps, and signed Dale Jr. Hero cards. We all had lunch together the first day we arrived and we were joined by blogger Mary Pitkin Alex O’Loughlin.org. Mary is a very knowledgeable and gracious lady and we had fun talking all things Alex O’Loughlin, but we spent more time getting to know each other and talking about Hawaii and other traveling adventures. It was an impromptu Tweetup, and I was glad I had been invited.
We had planned on only staying one day and night, but Kate and Rob invited us to stay another day so that we could see more race shops and get a chance to visit the Dale Earnhardt Sr. museum, Richard Petty Motorsports — where we met the King of NASCAR himself — and to be able to spend a day at the Hall of Fame. But the best part of staying another day was being able to spend more time with Kate and Rob. We talked a lot about racing and NASCAR — Kate was really surprised that there were race fans in Hawaii. I think our family is in a small minority, but even if we didn’t like racing, we definitely would have clicked with Rob and Kate.
It is amazing to me how a television show can bring together vastly different, yet like-minded, people. I probably could write pages and pages about all the wonderful people I’ve connected with in person, in social media groups, as well as at fan events. But no matter where I meet up with them, we all have one thread of connection — and that would be being fans of “Hawaii Five-0,” the actors, the characters, the storylines, and of course, Hawaii. And while I like to think “Five-0” spreads a lot of aloha every week it’s on television, so do the fans of the show, all of which I am lucky to have experienced.
Redux Side Note:
Mike Gordon updated us on the season three television premiere in his “Outtakes Online,” and covered a Tweetup for local boy Karl Herlinger, who played “Toothpick” in the season two ender, in his Sunday “Outtakes” column.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.