30 May 2008

Day Three: Swimming with the Fishes

On the third day, we attended a wedding. It was lovely, but it did mean we didn't go very many interesting places elsewhere on Oahu.

Beach of the day:

Hanauma Bay is a shallow, protected bay that started out as a crater. Nowadays it's a great place for snorkeling or scuba diving, or even just standing there looking into the crystal clear water from above. The snorkel gear they rent out is excellent. The reef grows nearly right up to shore. We saw lots of different kinds of fish, and also an enormous black sea cucumber, which looked like a giant fat worm resting on the bottom.

29 May 2008

Day Two: A Day of Scenery

Southeast Oahu is full of steep, sharply-ridged mountains right up against the sea. We drove on every major road running through there at some point during that day. The grandeur has California's coast beat any day, and my mother commented that there was no longer any need to do the famed Highway One scenic drive. For some reason the mountains remind me of Japan, even though I've never been there.

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout is a very tiny state park that consists mainly of the one lookout point. According to the signs, the valley being viewed was formed by a gigantic landslide, when half of a volcano fell into the sea.

Makai pier is a research pier. There was no indication what sort of research was done at the pier. Two small islands are visible from there - Manana, also called Rabbit, and Kaohikaipu.

Behind the pier, the mountains loom very ominously. They look like they're right there, probably because of how steep they are.

Some land juts out to the right of the pier.

The right picture is the same land jutting out, except from around the corner on the other side. The pier is visible beyond the part that juts out. This was viewed from near the Makapu'u lighthouse, which we didn't see because by the time we got there it was too dark to do any climbing.

Hawaii Kai is a fairly wealthy-looking residential area to the east of Honolulu. It has some very nice mountains in it.

A lookout point just past Hanauma Bay, next to Sandy Beach.

Beach of the day:

Sandy Beach Park is between Hanauma Bay and Makapu'u Point. The waves aren't too tall but can be strong. I spent my time poking around in a bunch of rocks covered with algae, urchins, anemones, and other small creatures, and trying not to get dashed up against them when the water came in.

28 May 2008

Day One: Between the Mountains

Dole has a pineapple plantation just north of Wahiawa on Oahu, Hawaii. They grow lots of different kinds of pineapples there.

There were some other interesting plants in the same garden, including Norfolk Island pine trees (my favorite tree) and a pineapple-like plant with tiny purple flowers.

They also have the world's largest maze, but it wasn't that interesting to photograph from the inside - just lots and lots of tall green hedges.

Kukaniloko was once the birthplace of kings. At the center of Oahu, the mothers were carried in and never allowed to touch the ground. Drums announcing the birth could be heard anywhere on the entire island. Now it's a quiet copse of trees and boulders, right next to the highway but very hard to find (on purpose). The mountains to the east are said to resemble a pregnant woman lying on her back. It's holy ground. People still bring fruit offerings there.

The Iolani Palace was where the last of Hawaii's royalty lived. It's a three-story mansion with a lot of history.

Modern luaus aimed at tourists seem to be showcases of dances from several different Polynesian islands. The best known kind, with the fast-shaking hips, is actually Tahitian.

Beach of the day:

This is somewhere on the North Shore, west of Waialua. We were actually trying to find Haleiwa but got lost. The rocks under the sand are black.

(Video, Iolani photo from my mother. Rest are mine.)

24 May 2008

WiFi Commensalism

My home wifi is, and always will be, unlocked and open for anyone to use.

Why? Because sometimes when I travel - or sometimes if my home network is down, I need to borrow from others. Also, sometimes I enjoy hearing from friends when they travel, or their home networks are down.

And sometimes others might need to borrow from me.

Some would call it theft. The borrower is using something they didn't pay for, and if they want to use it they should pay for it themselves. But wifi isn't a zero-sum commodity. That someone else borrows mine takes nothing away from me. I still have the same service and pay the same monthly fee. I prefer to call it sharing.

08 May 2008

Some pretty white flowers

There's a whole row of enormous hedges along one of the gravel roads on the campus where I work. Right now they're blooming. I have no idea what they are.

My office used to be in that white building. Back then it wasn't such a nice, gleaming white - it looked more like a dilapidated shed. Then one day they decided it'd be good to have it look less like an eyesore for when visiting dignitaries go by. This is probably the most scenic-looking version of it I've ever seen (including in person, while taking the picture).

As you may have noticed, my post rate has dropped precipitously in the last couple months. Unfortunately it's going to get worse. I'm probably not going to post again until the end of May.

06 May 2008

There is no meaning OF life. Life IS the meaning.

Greta Christina rationalizes how to look at existence if Heaven is absent:
    The fact that your lifespan is an infinitesimally tiny fragment in the life of the universe, and that there is, at the very least, a strong possibility that when you die, you disappear completely and forever, and that in five hundred years nobody will remember you and in five billion years the Earth will be boiled into the sun ... it can make everything you do, and everything anyone else does, seem meaningless, trivial to the point of absurdity.

The article goes on to talk about how change always results in loss (but not how change also results in new joy, except as an afterthought) and thinking about one's existence by detaching completely from the universe, to think of its timeline as a whole. Then at the end it says "but all of that's okay because you got to be alive."

What a depressing way to look at the universe. What a negative way to spin the same thing I would say, which is that the meaning of life is to live. But we are not individual motes of meaningless dust in a vast, uncaring universe. We are all connected to everything else, individual threads in a great tapestry, individual drops in a mighty stream. Each of us might be small, but we all matter. And meaning is found in each individual moment that we live.

05 May 2008

There's a girl outside...

She wants to know if I can play with her. Can I make her go high on the swings? Make her go fast on the merry-go-round? Play tag? Hide and seek? And look, today she has a coloring book. Can I come to the park with them when her daddy comes home? Watch the ants? Look at the moon?

Her mother says she never listens about not talking to strangers. She boldly goes forth, fearless. In another time and place, she would grow up to be the village matriarch.

And suddenly I feel like making more freetime in my early afternoons.

02 May 2008

My Lush, Expansive Garden Vol. 2: Sprouted Grocery Store Produce

Sprouted grocery store garlic, when I plant them, almost always send up four leaves, then die. When uprooted after the four leaves have died, there's usually a brand new protohead about the same size as the original clove, which I then eat as if it were a clove.

This time around I actually gave them a real pot with real drainage in the hopes they would do better. Unfortunately I also didn't bother to separate the individual cloves. I only found two protoheads. Next time I'll separate the cloves into separate pots and water a lot less.

I tried a sprouted onion before the garlic (same pot), but it never formed roots at all. It had probably sat too long in the fridge before I got around to planting it. I had great success with a sprouted potato one time but unfortunately it drowned in a heavy rainstorm - which was just as well, as their thick stems were all kinds of scary to my plants phobia. The one time I tried planting a sprouted carrot top, something ate all the leaves just as it started thriving.

Meanwhile, my chives are doing quite well. These also came from the grocery store, but as live plants in small pots with soil. They've reached the point where they'll suck up all the water I put into the bottom of the self-watering pot in a few minutes, which means it's time to give them a bigger pot again.

Yesterday I replaced the garlic with some grocery store basil. Hopefully these will do as well as the chives.

General Comments

This post for general comments that don't fit on any particular blog post already in existence. Such as things people want to tell me, or random hijacks...