Wednesday, August 31, 2005

State of the Onion

The Moovie Nite season, just arbitrarily, begins and ends on Labor Day. Since Otis and I are heading off to Spokane tomorrow, there won't be another Moovie Nite this season, and I thought I would produce the annual report a few days early. For some reason, I wound up channeling a late 18th century secretary when I wrote the report itself; the spreadsheet, however, has maintained its modern character. (Both of these are PDFs, so that launch-thing should happen when you click.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Dog days in blogville

Well, Wheylona is off to SanSe and Neds to Roma, so who knows when they'll be back in the bologosphere. I'm for Spokane (hardly as exotic, but there you go) in a few days, leaving most of the heavy lifting to Johnbai and Just Jon for a while. Perhaps, wherevever we are, we'll all be busy celebrating the American working class, and it'll all work out fine.

Labor Day marks by many measures the end of summer (or of the summer holiday season, at any rate); Otis seemed to sense this yesterday. In some strange way, the angle of the sun, the color of the sky, the quality of daylight seemed different to her and she responded in a physical way to the impending change of seasons. All of which got me thinking about our calendrical markings here in the West.

We have two solsticies: summer (~June 21, the longest day) and winter (~Dec. 21, the shortest day). We also have two equinoxes, when the periods of daylight and nighttime are equal (vernal ~Mar. 21, and autumnal ~Sep. 21). The seasons are traditionally thought to change on these dates.

But did you know that there are also four half-way markers in many pagan traditions -- days that mark halfway on the journey from solstice to equinox, or from equinox to solstice? These are called the cross-quarter days, and are denominated in Celtic tradition Samhain (the middle of fall), Imbolc (the middle of winter), Beltane (the middle of spring), and
Lughnasdh (the middle of summer). The first three have related modern holidays that fall close to or at the cross-quarter moment: Halloween, Groundhog's Day (or Candlemas), and May Day. The summer cross-quarter holiday has not survived in any modern form, except perhaps for the archaic feast of Lammas ("Loaf Mass"), a Xtianization of an ancient pagan festival.

This kind of marking of the cycle of the year always reminds me of my favorite riddle:

How far can a dog run into the woods?

Only halfway, because after that he is running out.

So maybe that's what Otis was feeling yesterday, even though it was technically a couple of weeks late - her senses told her that we are no longer running into the warm verdant woods of summer, but that we have reached the middle, and are running out.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Rainy days and sundaes

Manoman, did we get wet today! Otis and I went for a bike ride; the bikes were still on the car from Indy Jon's visit, so we drove down to Freddy's to do the B-G up to LFP. We left about five, had some dinner up at Third Place Books, and then came right back. Not soon enough, it turned out: before we hit Gasworks Park the skies opened up and it just started pouring rain. It was like riding through a car wash for about a mile or more, then it tapered off to something a little more bearable, but it didn't stop. We slogged the bikes on the rack and drove home to discover puddles under all the open windows in the apartment and another one in my scooter helmet, which I had left on the scooter. Whoa, rain!

But, I only have about 250 miles to go for my summer goal, so I'm not going to let a little rain slow me down now.

Otis's skull-holes seem to be of normal size today and she's feeling pretty good.

The Hilo weather updater is gone, but it does not signify. I was just cleaning up some of the graphics and realized i was bored with it. I haven't heard back from HawCC yet.


A little Bay City Rollers, anyone?

Wow, this has been a walloping weekend. After the Friday festivities, we had a little more of Indy Jon in the morning before he set off back down the eye-five corrydor to the Willamette Valley. Our petit dejeuner was accented nicely by the aroma of reflective roofing finish being applied to the adjacent structure - gotta love that city life!

After IJ's departure, Otis and I just had enough time to get it together and pick the house up a little bit before a visit from Ms Matcha, a buddy of Otis's who is currently living in Japan. We passed a delightful afternoon of Thai food and goofing off together. MM is an incredibly positive lady and a joy to be with, even if she is a little shy and retiring (heh). MM may be back in town soon, or at least on this continent, and we look forward to her increased presence in our little world.

Lens flare aside, this is the best picture of Otis and Ms Matcha.

The only unfortunate thing was that Otis's foramen magnum problem didn't go away altogether but rather continued to hang on. It may have been muscle strain or a low-grade migraine, but it was enough that we chilled out last night rather than going to Sunni-V's party (sorry, dude!).

Friday, August 26, 2005

Fryday fysh wrapper

Here's a picture from the cabin trip - Otis and I spent some time in the river building rock pools. This is "my" pool: a work of art, non?

Today was an active day with Indie Jon (ne Jonbrit). He and I walked all around the neighborhood and partway around Green Lake in the morning, and then were joined by Otis and Di
in the afternoon for a ride from the very start of the Burke-Gilman trail in Ballard to Matthews Beach and back. We provisioned up at the Freddy M's for a picnic at Golden Gardens (sorry we missed you, Johnbai), which was great, except that we missed out on a bonfire site (there's a crackdown going on). We finished off the day with beverages at Caffe Ladro in Fremont.

The bad news is that Otis had an awful headache for most of the evening and felt that her foramen magnum was getting bigger, which would not be cool, but it's probably not really happening, although it still feels like it.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Jonbrit is sitting in my living room right now, blogging about sitting in my livingroom while I am blogging about him. If this black hole of geekiness reaches singularity, the entire space-time continuum could be disrupted...

Jonbrit is up visiting from Independence for a couple days. He hung out with Di until Otis and I got back from the mountain, and then we all went to General Yao's for dinner. Fun and excitement planned for the next day or so!

Otis and I had a great one-day trip up to the Putnam cabin in the national park land just past Chinook Pass. Hot, hot, hot in the daylight, and we went in the river and moved rocks around. Cold, cold, cold in the nighttime, and we made a fire and read. Good times.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Mo' graffito fom Hilo

Here's some more urban poetry from the same place as the previous posting. I like this one better, even though I don't understand it any more than the other one.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Hilo graffito

Here is a graffito I saw in Hilo, on the side of that rain channel storm drain thing that I posted a picture of. I'm not sure what it means.

Busy day today: meeting at 9:00 am, class at 7:00 pm, and lots of work done in between. Off to Yakima at lunchtime tomorrow!

(I am going to ignore the soccer theme in Ned's and Whey's recent posts, tho' I am surprised Jonbrit didn't jump on that particular trend.)

Monday, August 22, 2005


One: Grammar Goodness: Since pull-that-stick-out-just-a-little-bit types such as Lynne Truss are so quick to jump on the punctuation errors of just plain folks trying to make a living, I thought I would share this punctuation perfection with you, courtesy of a Hilo car dealership. A plural possessive, correctly used and punctuated. Huzzah!

Two: Saddle Perspective: I have always thought of the Burke-Gilman as a quiet and mostly limited-access pedestrian/biking trail. A recent conversation with Jonbrit led me to make a count today on my ride, and the numbers seem to show that it is anything but. In the about 8.5 mile stretch from the Fremont Bridge to Matthews Beach, there are

4 intersections with city streets controlled by traffic lights and pedestrain signals
13 intersections with city streets that are marked with stop/yield signs and crosswalks
2 intersections with service roads that are marked with signage and striping
8 intersections with other trails that are significant enough to require signage/striping/other traffic control (most of these are on the UW campus)

This doesn't include unmarked driveways, parking lot entrances, or trail intersections

I guess it's all a matter of perspective. It's a lot quieter than Aurora Avenue, anyway.

Three: Me!: Otis left yesterday at noon for a writing retreat with her mom. What do I do with myself, suddenly all footloose and fancy-free? Organize closets. Do laundry. Watch Justice League cartoons. Eat rice-a-roni. Yee-ha! Otis will be back after lunch today, and we're busy for the next few days with appointments and classes and dinners and such, and then hope to go up to the Putnam cabin for overnight sometime midweek. The aforementioned Jonbrit is threatening a visit at week's end, so we have that to look forward to.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Some proof that Benjamin Franklin was smarter than us (tangentially related to Hilo, too)

A few months ago, Ned introduced this blogtropolis to the phenomenon of Su Doku, a game in which nine-cell grid sections are filled with the numbers one through nine without repeating any numbers in rows or columns across the whole grid.

So I was reading this new biography of Franklin* and this illustration catches my eye. In case you can't read the caption, it says

A Magic Square of Squares. Franklin crafted this puzzle some time before 1752. The numbers in each column, horizontal or vertical or within the double diagonals, all add up to the same amount, 2,056, and so do the sixteen numbers in any four-by-four square.

Okay, you can go back to your Su Doku now,

*I got the biography of Franklin in a gift shop in the Honolulu airport, but I didn't buy it or steal it; the shop didn't even sell books. I was buying something else and the lady
gestured to the book lying on her counter and said
"You want a book?"
"Oh, did somebody leave it?"
"Yeah, you want it?"
"Well, maybe you should hold onto it a while. I'm sure they'll come back."
"It's been an hour. They're not coming back. They never come back. I can't hold onto all this stuff. It clutters everything up. I gotta--"
"Okay, I'll take the book."

More Hilo thoughts

After some discussion with folks, particularly after posting the pictures, I have been thinking about the disconnect between my response to Hilo (not overwhelmingly positive) and the apparent reality (which looks pretty good). For whatever edification it may add, here are my "journal" entries made on the spot, mostly undedited. (I have put them in quote block format so you can skip them if you want. See you below, then.)

It’s a quarter to six on Sunday morning local time. Dawn is breaking, and I just took a couple of pictures of the shy getting lighter over the mountain that I can see from my balcony. Looking at the map, I think it must be Mauna Kea. It looks like the sky is actually blue this morning. The hotel coffee is brewing on the washstand and I thought I would take a few minutes to record some thoughts. If I do find a wi-fi area today, I will post all of these on the blog, otherwise it will have to wait for later.

The flight to Honolulu was long and uneventful. I think I just don’t enjoy flying anymore. I like being new places, and I still like traveling by other means, but the whole flying thing just doesn’t excite me anymore. I used to like airports, even, but now I’m just bored.

I sat next to a nice Chinese guy who didn’t speak much English. He asked me a few questions, was polite whenever I needed to get past him to go to the can, and mostly slept. Perfect seatmate, except that he twitched his leg. I read all of Steven Saylor’s Judgment of Caesar, beginning when I stood on line at Sea-Tac and ending somewhere over the Pacific, and slept much of the rest of the way.

The layover in Honolulu was a little too long to be fun. I did the blog thing and read my email, had a snack and read a newspaper, but it was hard to break out of the airport coma. It was 88 and very humid, and that wasn’t much incentive to go walking around (not that walking around an airport has all that much to recommend it anyway); I spent some time in the garden, but it was just a bit muggy. On the short flight to Hilo, I sat next to a kid and his mom. It tuned out they lived in Hilo, and told me that it did rain a lot, but that the other side of the island was wonderful and that it was a nice drive over there. They also said Hilo was a quiet town, and that one of the reasons that they liked it was that it was cooler than Honolulu. Her husband works at the university “taking care of the dorms” but she didn’t elaborate on what it was like to work there.

Hilo was gray when we landed, and stayed that way. The Hilo airport is rather small, and mostly open air (although covered). I got my bag, but there was no bus or shuttle service, so I had to take a cab to the hotel. The cab driver had a daughter who worked at the UW and son who was attending there, so we chatted a bit. I told him why I was in town, and he said that the high schools were offering $50-60 thousand for people with master’s degrees to teach, because Hawaii County was short 400 teachers. I told him I would think about it.

The hotel room is fine, a little older and shabby in a seventies-chic way. I am reminded of my trip to Reykjavik, oddly enough, because once again it seems I am in the wrong part of town. The hotel is right on the bay, and is a little east of town (open water is to the north), in the same general direction as the airport, so I did not come through town to get here. I am also on a long road that has nothing but hotels on it. I walked for a half-hour in both directions last night and only found too-expensive restaurants and convenience stores. This is a little bitty resort strip, so there were lots of tourists (I heard German and French as well as other languages) and what looked like locals who were partying (hootchie-girls, as Otis would say).

The desk clerk told me that it was a ten-minute drive to the University, but we are adjacent to the Bayfront Drive and old downtown. I want to do this without a car, so today I am going to walk to the old downtown, and the new downtown, and the university, to get the lay of the land. I should be able to get a Sunday paper and look at the local ads and get a sense of things, and hopefully find a wi-fi place to log in.

Another early morning jotting:

It’s Monday morning, again before six. It looks very gray out; it has certainly rained overnight, and looks like it’s raining now. That may put a hitch in my plans for today, but all it will cost is money. Let’s catch up first.

Yesterday I did take my lay of the land walk. I had breakfast (eggs, rice and LOTS of fruit) in the hotel, and then just set out for old town about 8:15. There is a bay front road and a bayfront park; I walked through the park most of the way and then came to a place where I should have gotten out onto Kamehameha Road, but didn’t, so I wound up walking on the shoulder of the bay front Highway for a while. I could still see everything, so it was fine. I was walking alongside a park that was on the landward side of the highway, but I couldn’t get into it because of a fence. Most of the folks in it at 8:30 on a Sunday morning looked like they lived there; some were sharing their 40-ouncers already.

I came to the intersection at the west end of old town, and just walked up and down the streets for a while. There was a bit of a preserved feel too it, but not so much. A lot of the buildings were from around 1910, but it wasn’t like they had really dressed the place up. It didn’t have the self-conscious feel of Poulsbo or Leavenworth; some stuff seemed a little touristy, but most of it just seemed old. Not much was open on a Sunday morning; there was one coffee shop doing land-office business and a supermarket where I recorded some prices to check when I got home. Mostly, it looked like downtown Vancouver or Edmonds. Walking to town and around took maybe an hour.

I headed out of town on a slight southeasterly angle to go to the college and University. I just walked down some larger parallel streets, checking out the neighborhoods. Mostly, the feel was a lot like Greenwood: a little shabby, with some nicely maintained small homes sprinkled through. I didn’t see any large or expensive-looking homes anywhere on my whole walk. Some of the sections had no sidewalks, but there were some, and certainly at the bigger intersections, most of which had controlled pedestrian walk signals.

I deliberately angled my path to go by the Hilo Shopping Center. It wasn’t a mall in any real sense; it was a two-level, outside access center with some interior bits. No anchor, no chains – it all looked like local stuff. It was also closed on Sundays, except for one coffee shop and the video game place.

I got up to the college neighborhood at about 10:30. I had some trouble finding the community college lower campus, and wound up walking to the University first. It is not overwhelming on first look – a lot of portables, a lot of red railings, the usual grass and landscaping, and mixed architecture. Some buildings were wood, some monolithic concrete, some brick; there didn’t appear to be a plan.

I went to the library to cool down a bit – it was so hot that I was drenched with sweat after walking for two hours. It was a smallish library, maybe the size of the Clark College library, and didn’t have any public Internet access. The rest of the college was shut down, since the students aren’t back yet. I walked around a bit, but didn’t spend much time there, since there wasn’t much to see.

I went past the community college lower campus as I headed back to the hotel; it was singularly unimpressive, mostly a collection of portables. I headed back toward the water, passing some commercial stuff, and more of the same kind of residential blocks, and the county park, which appeared to be more like a county fairgrounds, with event buildings and such. There weren’t a whole lot of places to eat, at least not on the route I took, and when I checked with the hotel desk later for dinner options, they confirmed that the closest food was farther out than I had ventured.

I got back to the hotel sweaty and sore and blistered. I had a salad bar lunch and then logged on to the pay-internet terminal. My cycle sold, Otis’s ring has not; I checked some email and felt connected. Then I went back to the room and read a Sunday paper. Local politics seemed to be mostly about native-Hawaiian issues; the rest looked pretty typical for a town this size.

I took a little walk after that and tried to figure out what to do next. I figure I need a car after all; this is not a walking town, and lots that I need or want to see is a ways out. So I made some calls and arranged for a car at the airport this morning. The I was going to walk to the airport for fun, but since it looks so rainy, I think I will just get all ready for the day, catch a cab to the airport, get my car, and tour until the interview this afternoon at 2:00.

So let’s get to it.
As you know, I did get the car and toured the town. I found where all the chains and malls were; just a little outside the radius of my walk was a strip like any other strip in America: Borders, Office Depot, Sears, Jack-in-the-Box, and so on. Traffic wasn't so bad anywhere, but was more congested around the strip area, of course. I didn't see neighborhoods any different from the ones I had already seen. So, other than being cooler, it was pretty much the same trip.

In addition to the comments I have made about the HawCC interview process, I guess the big thing was that it seemed that their pedagogy was about 40 years old: a real lockstep, conformist, skills-based approach to Basic Writing. I don't know if there's a match there.

I think the whole Hilo trip experience can be summed up by this anecdote: I wanted to buy a ukulele in Hawaii (I think it would be easier to learn to play than my recently-sold melodeon). In all my wandering through the town, I never came across a music store or even a Hawai'ian store that sold ukes. Finally, when I was up at the volcano, I saw some teen boys, one of whom had a uke and was strumming it. I asked him if he had gotten it in Hilo, and he said they had been on the Kona side. I told them I hadn't been able to find a uke store in Hilo. He told me they had bought it at the Costco in Kona, and that it was a real good deal, since it came with a case and everything.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Hilo photos

I have thrown two albums up on Yahoo Photos to share the pictures I took in Hilo. These links should take you there.

Paradise Adjacent: Shots of downtown Hilo and the campus.

Touristy Stuff: Waterfalls and volcanoes.

There are a few other unclassifiable photos that I will share individually over the next few days.


Y'know, I have papers to respond and lessons to plan, but summer is short, and starting in about a month y'all won't be seeing me much for the rest of the year, so today is for bike riding and such. If Ned was here we could take in a game; single-A short season ball in Everett. First, some brekkies, then the Burke-Gilman beckons.

Although I have not yet been hit with the kind of c-span (heh) that Wheylona has, I have added word-verification to the comments as well, just because All the Cool Kids are Doing It (tm).

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Triple dipple

So, y'all know I'm doing the major-miles biking thing, and y'all either know or have presumed that I am keeping an Excel spreadsheet on my miles &c., but you may not know that it is color-coded. If I don't go far enough on a given trip, for example, the little mileage box turns pink. If I do enough miles, but don't go exceptionally far, it turns green. If I go really far, it turns gold.

There are three major statistical elements of a trip: mileage, time spent, and average speed. If I exceed standards in all three categories, and all three boxes turn gold, it is a triple-dipple, and I turn the date box gold, too.

Today was my first triple-dipple. I rode to Cascadia and back, to pick up some paperwork from Mel.

Total mileage: 38.3 Total time: 2:28 Average speed: 15.5 mph

Yay for the triple-dipple!

On a more normal kind of note, I got some other good news today: Antioch wants me to co-teach a Communication Design class in the master's program offered through their Center for Creative Change. This is a majorly cool thing for a relatively new teacher like me to have offered him. This is even better than a triple-dipple.

Well... just as good, anyways.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Okay, so I'm back

and I was sorta doing the catching-up thing all day. I took some pictures for Otis's website this morning and then had a meeting down at Antioch about the new class. Mags was up from The Couv for training so she got together for dinner with Otis and me. I also took care of my flapper bracket (see below): I got a certified check today and signed over the title to Ural; the fellow will be back to pick it up before the weekend. (The battery is dead.) I may also have a line on selling my comics

So, I want to get together with everyone and shoot the breeze over the whole Hilo thing and everything else that has been going on. Anyone fancy a get-together over glass candles at a bendix somewheres on Friday night? Maybe the Red Door in Fremont, unless you think that would be too trendoid? Any other suggestions?

At any rate, as a little substitution for fairy tales of the Hawai'ian islands, here is some faux-forties slang, neatened up by me but courtesy of Calamity Jon Morris, a comix blogger guy. We might even be able to actually use some of this:

Ajax: A $20 bill. Also “both sides of the blender” and a “vichy quarter.”

Back room dentistry: A punch in the mouth. "Take this guy in the alley for a little back room dentistry."

Bendix: A diner, usually lit with neon outside and fluorescent inside, with steel stamped siding.

Body Work:
The opposite of an Oil Change: When a meeting goes bad and the two parties end up fighting. The loser of the fight "got body work." “I met Knuckles at the bendix and gave him a little body work. He won't be bothering no one for a while.”

Chuckle Jockey: A stand-up comedian.

Dance hall telegram: Any public display of affection, especially an obvious one like a kiss or a goose. "Hey, look out, Jerry, it looks like your cousin is sending Mae a little dance hall telegram."

Eskimo Floorboards:
ice, ice cubes, particularly for use in alcoholic beverages. As in "Serve me up a scotch and lay down plenty of Eskimo floorboards." Also as in ice covering the ground, "He didn't know that the sidewalk was all Eskimo floorboards, so he took a nasty spill."

Flapper Bracket: A motorcycle sidecar.

Give [someone] the squirrel: Mess with or trick someone.

Glass candle: Any alcoholic drink. “Man, Harper and I blew out glass candles all night and I'm really feeling it this morning.

Goin' Down to Georgia: Making a dangerous bet or wager, as in: "Ten thousand bucks against my life; talk about goin' down to Georgia."

Liquid sandwich: A cold beer. "Three liquid sandwiches, Morty, and roll 'em down fast, I got a deadline."

Matchsticks: Baseball bats.

Oil Change: To up all night in a diner drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. Usually done as a peaceful meeting to handle a dispute. "I met Knuckles McGee at the Bendix and we got an oil change.

Panther Sweat: Cheap/bad whiskey or alcohol of any sort.

Sell it to the French!: "I ain't buyin' the line you're handing me, pal."

Smirk merchant: A used car salesman.

Sweating votes: v. Gladhanding the public, via speeches, handshaking, babykissing, and other forms of sucking up, in order to garner positive opinion. 'Sweating' can also be used generically to indicate brown-nosing: "He's really sweating the boys upstairs. Must have a new kid on the way."

Wolf tickets: Interaction with someone who is bad news, trouble, or generally insubordinate. "Don't fuck with him, he’s passing out wolf tickets."

Wooden kimono: A coffin.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Airport posting

Well, I am on my way back. The flight over from the Big Island was fine, and we board the Seattle leg in a few minutes, so here I am at the big bank o'terminals in the terminal. (If I was at the last one, I could be at the terminal terminal terminal. But they are in a circle, so I can't tell.) Sorry abiut the double post yesterday; I was pushing buttons wildly as my time ran out on the pay terminal.

I almost went down and posted last night, but island lassitude got to me and I watched the Cartoon Channel instead.

What to say about the interview yesterday? That I showed up at the designated classroom at ten minutes before the designated time to find it empty? That I wound up greeting the members of the selection committee as they showed up, rather than otherwise? That the interview questions included one about how rigorously lockstep all their classes were and how I would fit into such an environment? That their "final exam" for lower pre-college English consists of the students writing a paragraph, not an essay? That in the one-on-one interview with the chair she told me that what they were really looking for was someone who had taught reading and writing? That once again I had to wait around for a too-short interview with an instructional vice-president at which he asked no questions of substance? Hmmm...

Or maybe I could just give you the minutae, like there is no public access to the internet anywhere on campus, that most of the classrooms have chalkboards, that my selection committee was 3/4 Caucasian and 1/4 Japanese and that the VP was caucasian, and that the welcome signs for the incoming UH students were in foreign languages (as they typically are) but that those languages were mostly from places like Tonga and Va'anu Atu.

After the interview, I did drive up to the volcano and did the rim drive. I'll post some pictures and descriptions later.

It's mid-afternoon there and I'll be home tonight. This has been a strange trip.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Spending money

(BTW, I have been writing a more detailed record of this trip on the laptop, but since I have no way of transferring the data, you won;t see it until later. Wait - maybe I do have a way. I may post a really long message tonight.)

So, it's early morning on Hilo. I have broken down and decided to get a car, so in a few minutes, I will get a cab to the airport and pick it up. I can then wander around the town to a wider extent than I did yesterday, and get to my interview unmussed and unsillied, and then maybe even head out to the volcano afterwards. If nothing else, I will be able to find some places to eat! I need to sample more of the local foods.

The day is once again half-sunny and half-cloudy. It rained overnight but it doesn't look like it will start up again for a while. The back of my neck is all sunburnt from my walk yesterday, so I won't mind staying out of the harshest of it today.

There have been no epiphanies or revelations since yesterday's excursion. I have talked to every local who would chat, I have walked all over town, I have read the Sunday paper from cover to cover, and I still can't get my head around this place. On some levels, I am thinking that this is Hawai'i and it really should be great, and I am wondering why I am not just bowled over by it. On the other hand, I have travelled enough, I think, to realize that some places are just places: not every small town in the states is quaint, not every village in France is charming, not every cathedral in Europe is magnificent, and so on.

In any event, today is the last day to take a taste of Hilo, and I will be about it.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A haole in Hilo

Boy, am I hot and tired right now.

I left the hotel at about 8:15 local time and walked all over Hilo until about noon or so. Most of the time I was walking it felt like it was 90/90 - heat/humidity. My t-shirt looked like I had been hit in the chest with a garden hose. When I stopped to look at my map, I couldn't push my sunglasses to the top of my head: it was too slick and they would slide off. As I tried to read, drops of sweat would drip into my eyes and onto the paper. It's effin' warm, kids.

Hilo reminds me, variously, of Reykjavik (the topography); Poulsbo (the old town); and Greenwood (most of town). I have seen lots of native Hawaiian people, lots of crappy cars, lots of bodywork places, and lots of banyan trees. I have not seen many expensive cars, any scooters (although I have seen some donorbikes), many chains/franchises (one McDonalds, two Subways, and three 7-11 stores; all the rest have been local/independent), or any free wi-fi. Hey, I haven't seen a Starbucks in Hilo yet!

I am going to go get a large drink now and let my body core temperature get below 110.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Greetings from the middle of the Pacific

Hiya, gang! I am sitting in Honolulu Airport, having completed the long leg of my trip to Hilo. Now I have a three-hour layover before the short hop to the Big Island. I guess I could drive there in that much time if these Hawaiian Islands weren't all surrounded by water...

Actually, every once in a while it's nice to find out that there are some things that don't give immediate gratification, that there are still details in this complex worldd that cannot be smoothed over. I think we all forget sometimes how amazing it is that I woke up in Seattle only ten hours or so ago and now I am in Honolulu, with remarkably little muss or fuss. I'll be in Hilo for dinner and that's cool.

BTW, I am posting this on a terminal in the terminal. Five bucks for a little more than half an hour; cheaper than Kinko's, actually. I guess I could have checked to see if there was wi-fi in the airport, but this just looked like fun, and it's nice to be working on a full-size keyboard.

Friday, August 12, 2005

A hasty au revoir

First of all, here's a sample of some of Otis's kinesiology homework

Otis and I just came back from a little send-off with Diandra, Johnbai Bummerman, Soapy McSpittle, and Dar-Dar Binks. A bit of a bon voyage for me since I'm going to go back to my little grass shack in Kealakekua, Hawaiii tomorrow; a bit of a good luck start to the pre-finals weekend for Otie and Di. And a great fun time was had by all, if you count waiting too long for a table and waiting too long for our order as great fun. No, really, it was great fun, just s-l-o-o-o-w.

Anyhow, Jonbrit stole my thunder about the congruency of his calling me on my mobile while I was biking from his mobile while he was biking. So read his blog to hear about that. For the record, I did 39.9 miles today in 2:43: 14.7 mph average, which includes coming up the Fremont hill at the end of the trip. Yay me!

I'll be blogging from the Sandwich Isles, but I don't know what it'll look like, since I'll be working on IE. Yuck.

See y'all soon!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Tone of voice

Is it just me, or when Dubya says stuff like "As the President, I have to..." and "As President, it's my job to..." does it sound more like he's reminding himself than it does he's claiming ethos?

Just askin'.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sike on a bike

Wow, y'all sure know how to feed a modest man's hidden vanity. What a response to my proposed new profile photo! The consensus seems to be against the Mount Rushmore look, so, reluctantly, I share another photo with you, one that has a little more cheer. Bear in mind that this was taken while I was fixing my second flat in three days. (Here's a picture of Otis helping.)

Hey! Schweezey is back! Go get your fill of goofiness and golf.

Sixty hours until I'm at the airport for Hawaii. Hilo had a flood advisory the other day, but it looks to be over now. It is 81 and partly cloudy there as I type this. My philosophy statement is about done and my lesson plan is about ready. All systems are green.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I'm tired...

...and I'm not feeling very witty.

I was pretty high wattage in the classrooms today, and I have been doing a lot of stuff, trying to get everything set before leaving for Hilo: I have to prepare a lesson and write a statement for the interview, I have to do a sample paper response for Antioch, I have to do drafts with the syllabus committee at Antioch, I have to assign grades to my Cascadia class, I have to get things ready for Mel to cover my Antioch class next Tuesday, and so forth. Geez, with Di and Otis and I, not to mention Wheylona's paper trails, it's like a convergence zone of busy-ness in Blogville.

What do you think of this picture for my new profile?

Oh yeah - the cycle has hit reserve, so it will sell. Still no action on the ring.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Go Speed Racer

Well, Otis was busy with kinesiology studying, so I took myself down to the Burke-Gilman for another time trial. Once again, I left from the dinosaur, headed northeast, rode until I hit 30 minutes, and then came back until I hit 60 minutes. Total mileage: 17.01, a 1.1 mph increase (7%) from July 1st. It was actually a very pleasant ride, too, even though the trail was pretty crowded. I passed a number of people, and never said "on yer lef'" once! (I have a bell.)

My eBay shows 27 watchers on my motorcycle! Yay! None yet for Otis's ring! Boo! But Otis did have a paying Reiki session today, from a total stranger who found her through the internets. Yay! And someone may want to buy her Wahl 7-way Comfort Electric massager with Heat! Um, yeah.

And speaking of trolls, what do we think of this story? A nice ray of community spirit or meh?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Just like Memento

Wow, when we decided to make the weekend after Otis's A&P final a sort-of vacation, I never figured it would be so jam-packed that I would actual miss my first daily posting in weeks. So here's is a trip backwards in time, all the way back to Friday night...

I just finished posting two big-ticket items on eBay: Otis's wedding ring and my sidecar rig. She has no further need for the former, and I obviously haven't been using the latter, so we are trying to convert them into some ready cash. Wish us luck!

This morning, we scootered down to the Pike Place Market for the Magic Nuptials: it was the real deal. There were a slug of people from the Clark College crowd there as well as a bunch of the street performers from the market. Scotty and company erected a sort-of maypole / circus tent apparatus and the ceremony was held right in the middle of the cobblestone street; they even recruited a kid from the crowd to be ring-bearer. (Oh, yeah, there was a crowd - a bunch of locals and tourists who couldn't believe there was a real, live wedding happening right on the street.) It was actually a moving and honest ceremony as well as being funny: both Scotty and Becky were obviously sincere and in love.

Links to unedited quick pix: the couple with a busker before the ceremony; setting up; good shot of Becky; Scotty saying his words; Becky saying hers.

We got in late last night after the play in Portland. We hit a backup near Centralia and it literally took us an hour to go two miles. I did not get upset, though, because I had expected what we would indeed find when we finally made it to cause of the tie-up: one car flipped over on its top in a ditch, the other facing the wrong way on the freeway and similarly crunched, gurneys and paramedics about, and so forth. Those people had a bigger crimp in their evening than we did.

The Portland trip was a real kamikaze run: down just in time for a late lunch, a quick tour of the new building at Clark, and then over to Portland for some Shakespeare. A bit of pad thai afterwards and we were back on the road. Thirteen hours gone, seven hours on the road. We'll have to stay a little longer next time.

That's about it - we're back on the beam. Busy week coming up, and my Hilo trip starts in less than seven days. maybe we'll have to have a good luck drink with everyone on Friday night!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Blogs in the night

So, as I write this, Johnbai et alia are likely still out having a good time, and I and Otis are not there. The thing is, we didn't get back from Whidbey Island until about eight or so, and stopped by the apartment to clean up (sand, salt, sweat, & sunscreen), and that turned out to be a mistake. Energy levels dropped precipitously; Otis actually fell asleep about 8:45 and is still out right now.

We went out to Whidbey at about lunchtime, on the scooter. (It's cool to always be able to get on the next boat: scooters, like bikes, get cuts.) I had found this great-looking place on the net, Double Bluff Beach, and it was even cooler than it looked. A nice semi-circular sandy beach on Useless Bay, with a little parking lot cum sanitaire at one end and big bluffs at the other. We got there at low tide, and you could walk out in the water 75 yards and it would still only be up to your knees; just perfect for me! Even when the tide had come it, it was only hip deep for a long way. (We wonder if the shallowness is why this bay is useless.) So, we did the splashing / sunning / reading / sleeping thing all afternoon.

Before we left for the beach, we tried to get a ride in, but had a disaster instead. We drove down to the B-G dinosaur in Fremont and planned to ride out for an hour and then turn around and return. When we were in the U district, it was "Don't Cross" at one of the street crossings; I was in the lead and slowed, planning to stop next to a signpost. Otis was behind me but to my right, and she thought that the signpost was hers. We both tried to stop in the same place, knocked each other over, and the whole signpost as well, and we all fell in a heap. Kee-rash.

So, we collected ourselves, and there was much hyperventilating (Otis) and cussing (me), and we tried to move on, but Otis's wheel was out of line, so I had to mess with that, and we got it together, and moved on, and I realized my pannier was gone. With all my tools and stuff. And my wallet. And my phone. And my keys. And Otis's purse. And her phone. I think that maybe the title to my car wasn't in there, but you get the picture. Frantic and fruitless searching up the trail and back ensued, followed by a hopeful call to Otis's phone. The bag had indeed been picked up by a friendly person and was sitting in the office of the Dean of Social Work. After a brief tour of campus, we found the right place and retrieved the stuff. After that, we didn't much feel like riding, and had used up much of our two hours anyway.

We did go out to Bainbridge Island yesterday afternoon. It turned out to be a short trip, since we missed a ferry (even using cuts!) and didn't hit Winslow until almost 5:30. We got some teriyaki takeout and had dinner in Fay Bainbridge State Park; it's beautiful, but at high tide (as it was) there is no beach at all, so we didn't stay very long. We did take some pictures; here's one:

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Afternoon pause

So, slide down the sidebar and you'll see a link to that Superhero Radio that I have been talking about. Give it a listen. For those comix-minded among you, the link to Absorbascon (in a post below) is worth perusing.

Thanks to everyone who was supportive after my snarky response to my not-so-reduced LDL levels. Yes, yes, I'll give it a bit more time and not throw in the naturopathic towel just yet. I stopped by the JFS BBQ today and saw JR (for just a sec) and Johnbai (smokin') and Di, who is going to put me on to an ND with a specific regimen for LDL. Onward and upward! (Or, er, downward!)

Off on the scooter soon to have a sunshiney time on B.I. Y'all have a great day!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


I got the letter from GH today. My LDL number, which is supposed to be 100, dropped from 143 to...


Well, whoop-de-frickin'-do. (Google: 256 hits, .27 seconds)

So, this means that I don't know what this means. On the one hand, I can't dance around and tell the medical establishment what they can do with their liver-eatin' pills, one by one, and that I took care of the problem all by my lonesome. On the other hand, the number did go down; maybe it will go down more if I keep doing what I have been doing.


In unrelated news, we'll not be heading down to the Oregon coast for the weekend: no rooms at the price we are willing to pay. So, tomorrow will be dinner on Bainbridge Island and a visit to Fay Bainbridge State Park; Friday will be a day outing somewhere as yet undetermined; and Saturday will be an I-5 shuffle: down to Portland for the play and back. maybe there will be time for a movie in there somewhere, or a late night run to the saloon district of ballard to find the guy with the veggie dogs again.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The blogz are back in town

Wow! What a great day - summer was back and things were good. My Cascadia class watched Princess Bride today - it still holds up. I did a lot of teacher-work and taught tonight at AUS - a rollicking good class. Yowza, yowza.

And the blog cup runneth over. Johnbai checks in after a week's absence with another tripblog. Wheylona has reached foreign shores (even more foreign than California) and joins the East-Atlantic corps of our blogging community. Speaking of which, Neds leaves off ranting to show more purty pictures. And Jonbrit adds a shiny new flash clock to his political musings and personal updates. What a swell group!

I have been particpating a bit more in some other blogworlds. There are a few comix-related blogs that I have grown used to reading. One in particular, Absorbascon, focuses solely on Silver Age DC comics - that is, comics from the Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman house from the late fifties through the sixties. This happens to be just the group of comics that turned me on to comics, and to reading in general, and to science, and which formed the basis of the ethical principles that are still important to me today. A great site, and it's the home if Superhero radio, too!

Will Shetterly is an author who wrote one alternate history comic that I really liked, but he's not a "comics guy." He has a classy blog called It's All One Thing.

Alas is a cool co-blogging venture with with a decided leftist/feminist/GBLT twist. I would love to take a whack at a co-blogging deal.

LDL News: I have not heard anything from Group Health. This is probably good news: their practice is to call immediately if things are not good, and to contact by mail if things are fine. I think this means that things are fine; I will post numbers when I get them.

Monday, August 01, 2005

What's the opposite of he who hesitates is lost?

I was going to go out on a bike ride to Antioch this morning, but it was cloudy and cool, so I took my scooter instead, planning to bike later. It turns out that was the best decision to have made: the sun has come out and it looks great, so in a few minutes, when Otis goes to her study group, I will be off to run some errands on the bike. As Hannibal would say to the A-Team, "I love it when a plan comes together."

I have been teacher-man today, reviewing papers and such. I also got a call from a teacher at Antioch who seems to want me to team-teach a class
with her for the AUS graduate program in the fall. It's a communication design class, and looks to be based on rhetorical approaches, so it is a pretty good match. I don't want to say no to anything, and my annual budget for 2005-2006 is still unbalanced, but I have a pretty full plate for fall already. I'll have to scope out exactly what she wants.

Otis and I will be heading out for the weekend on Thursday. We hope to do the Oregon coast, and stop in Portland for a show that Lizzie is in, and make it back in time for (drumroll please)

Scotty's Wedding on Sunday!

That's right, our pal Scotty Magic is getting married to a purportedly (by him) lovely woman named Becky. The ceremony will take place in the Pike Place Market at 11:00 am on Sunday, August 7, 2005, and all the buskers and street performers will be in attendance.

See you there!