We're familiar with the concept of 'security through obscurity', meaning if you make something difficult to find it becomes less likely to ever be seen (like a needle in a haystack).
But there are additional forms of security that paper mail offers over telephone and email (and all other digital forms).
These include, 'security through inconvenience' and 'security through bureaucracy'.
The first is achieved by making the content as cumbersome as possible to discover. Think of a spook whose job it is to sift through all of your email messages, suddenly presented with a stack of paper correspondance. Even if the paper mail is written on postcards - open to the world to see - the mail could take an afternoon to sort through, while a lifetime of email can be scanned in a second.
The second is achieved by relying on the fact that most of our legal protections were established during an era when paper was the only form of recorded documentation. Warrants are needed to open mail, thanks to laws written long ago. This is apparently not true for email.
So, if you want to send a note to someone with a high likelihood that no one but the recipient reads it, write a letter, buy a stamp, and use your local post office.
I returned the following morning. I always do, or try to, after a night like last night. Sometimes I leave something behind.
Once I found my shirt hanging from a tree. I asked some local boys to throw rocks at it to knock it loose. They happily obliged.
Prince Kuhio Day:
It is one of only two holidays in the United States dedicated to royalty, the other being Hawai'i's King Kamehameha Day June 11.
It's a big deal too. It's a day off regardless of the day of the week. Most holidays get shifted to the nearest Monday or Friday in order to be more convenient for businesses. But people are out for PKD no matter when it falls.
Only three states existed as independent republics prior to joining the U.S.: Vermont, Texas, and Hawaii.
Unrelated to Hawaii, a unique work-related experience happened to me. I had to move 107 records from an Excel file into a database. It took a lot of massaging of the data to match the structure in the database.
But when I tried to import the data, it worked. Without error. The first time.
That never happens. Nothing like that ever works the first time. There is always a missing semi-colon or un-escaped apostrophe or something equally trivial that causes the import to stick.
It's possible, slightly, that I now have enough experience that I don't make the sorts of mistakes that result in errors for this kind of thing. But my guess is that I just got lucky.
I couldn't get a good photo as a I stood on the upper dune overlooking Hilo Bay. It was dusk and a skyscraper-sized cruise ship was turning around the end of the breaker wall while 8 or so outrigger canoes, with 6 paddlers in each one, raced laps closer to shore. Seeing the two types of boat sharing the same body of water struck me as an apt metaphor for this place. The out-of-towners, mostly white, in a position of affluent distance, relying on technology and a hired crew to move them from one side of the island to another, removed from the worst (but also some of the best) aspects of Hawaii and the Big Island. And the locals, mostly of mixed Asian descent, much closer to the Earth, working hard, using an ancient traditional method to go back and forth over the same short distance.
Leaf blowers are, unfortunately, very common here, especially around banks and government buildings. In this climate, tree-trimming, leaf and yard-waste removal is a year-round effort, but the blowers are unmuffled and really a nuisance. At only one non-residential building have I ever seen someone remove leaves with a rake and broom: at the Hilo Betsuin, one of the local Buddhist temples. I suppose this is in keeping with their stated focus on simplicity and respect for others. Amid the din of their neighbors' leaf-blowers, it was refreshing to see someone take the same amount of time with a broom to accomplish the same goal. I think I understand a little better the appeal that Buddhism has for some Americans - those who wish for a return to a quieter, simpler existence.
There's a guy living in a U-Haul truck by Bayfront Park. It's one of those $19.99/day rentals and he has all his stuff in there. Clean public bathrooms with showers are plentiful here, and I've seen him cooking dinner over a little grill. So although his place is small, he basically has a mobile oceanfront apartment for ~$600/month.
Leisure is an important part of life here - more than anywhere I've ever been - and I think that helps explain why this is also the only place I've been where so many men play with remote-control vehicles. It's very common to see a middle-aged guy in a park, controlling a car or an airplane. In any other state I think the guy would be seen as a loser or an eccentric at best. Here it's just something to do on a pleasant evening.
The poorer you are (to a point), the bigger your car (or truck). The richer you are, the smaller your car.
I want to live in a place that has an active "Maker" community, a place that does "circuit-bending" and other STEM-style activities to take the kids. Hilo has Hawaii Tech Works (http://easthawaii.org/program-areas/hawaiitechworks/) and the local Ace hardware used to have science demos every Sunday. But there just isn't enough population here and the weather is too good to sustain the kinds of clubs that conduct indoor activities.
In small towns with crummy weather you can have book clubs and quilting groups and cooking clubs etc. and you can have those things in big cities regardless of weather. But in towns under 100,000 or so that have good weather people are outside. They have fun and do stuff with other people while fishing, swimming, paddleboarding, etc.
I don't like crummy weather, but if I want to live in a smaller city and have a community of indoor-activity enthusiasts, it can only be in a place with crummy weather.
The people who move here prioritize weather.
We all have priorities. There are 20 or so facets of life that get prioritized consciously or not.
Some put work above friends, often indirectly. They may not intend it, but if they take a job one place and live in a home that is an hour and a half away, they aren't going to have time in the evening to spend with friends.
Some put family before job, meaning they have time together but not much money.
Some put religion before family, resulting in aloof relationships.
The people who move here prioritize weather.
The second priority is what distinguishes them as one group or another. Militant veganism is one secondary priority. Surfing and other water activity is another.
Some even prioritize career, ambition, and making money, although they seem like a small minority. It's that priority that seemed to define most New Yorkers, though. They certainly weren't there for the weather or water sports.
I like good weather. And in fact I can say truthfully that I hate bad weather. Yet avoiding cold weather isn't my top priority. I've met so many people here and in Florida and in southern California that hate cold weather. That's what defines them and that is the only thing they have in common with their neighbors.
I want to live in a place where what I have in common with my neighbors is a little deeper than a common dislike of snow.
Living here for (only!) 25 weeks has been like living in a metaphor. The phrases I use about our time here sound a lot like descriptions of mortality: e.g. "We don't have much time left so let's make the most of it"
What this has meant is that I've tried harder to do something interesting every day. It's not realistic to "live each day as if it were your last" because on your last day of life you wouldn't have to go to the bank or wash the dishes or think about how much dinner costs.
The lesson I've taken, that I hope to follow from now on, is to do something memorable each day.
It doesn't have to be unique, and most of the day can still be spent working, running errands, raising the kids, but as long as I go somewhere new or see something beautiful, or have a new or particularly good experience (i.e. novelty or pleasure) then I've lived in the spirit of carpe diem.
I don't remember a spoof ever being so much better than the original (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AJmKkU5POA) and unline Weird Al's parodies, the music in this isn't at all related to the original.
Some of the "BLR"s are the funniest stuff on YouTube (Like their Spiderman one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7jtpy0lfBU)
Driving a white minivan: boo!
Driving a white minivan to a volcano: yay!
I learned a fact about tsunamis. They stink horribly.
The water that goes into a wave comes primarily from the part of ocean just ahead of the crest; a trough appears because there is a wave behind it.
So a very large wave, such as a tsunami, takes an enormous amount of water just ahead of the crest.
People who have experienced tsunamis say they know when one is imminent because the water level at the shore starts droppping quickly, like a sped-up ebb tide.
A tsunami that is large enoughtakes so much water ahead of itself that the ocean floor is sometimes exposed - all the muck that has sat at the bottom of the ocean for decades or longer is suddenly exposed to the air and the stench can be smelled from a mile away.
A chicken has moved into the parking lot at our building. It has taken control over the bushes surrounding the pavement. A mynah bird has been pestering the chicken for a while, but the chicken always manages to chase it off.
A few people have come by to try and catch it and they have all failed in an entertaining way.
I think it may actually be a rooster. It looks like a chicken but it crowed today in a weak version of ER-er-ER-er-ERRRRRR.
Can chickens exhibit male behavior when no other males are around?
I remember my basic mai tai recipe (or what I call a mai tai) as "2-1-2" which is also the area code for Manhattan (at least before the proliferation of connected devices allowed the addition of "6-4-6").
2 parts sour mix or mai tai mix. (I like to use plain passionfruit juice, which is effectively concentrated fruit juice, but
sour mix is fine.) To make your own mix that doesn't taste of malic acid and fructose corn syrup, mix equal parts brown sugar, water and lime/lemon juice. A cup of turbinado sugar mixed with a cup of water makes simple syrup, and adding a cup of sour fruit juice (such as lime) makes a very good sour mix.
1 part dark rum. I tried the Maui dark rum and it was good, but maybe too dark. Even mixed in a sweet cocktail, I could taste the wood sap of the aging. So a conventional dark rum is probably better.
2 parts seltzer or ginger ale if the run is string-tasting and you need to sweeten it a bit.
Serve over lots of ice
We use coin-operated washing machines and go through a lot of quarters - sometimes a few dozen in a week. Most of the quarters I see are state quarters, with a different U.S. state represented on the back. And many others are the new ones that depict different national parks.
Most of the state quarters I see are for Hawaii (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2008_HI_Proof.png), which suggests to me that state quarters are released to banks in the relevant state, although I don't know that.
And most of the national park quarters (officially named, "America the Beautiful" quarters) I see are for the Volcanoes Park (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2012-ATB-Quarters-Unc-Hawaii.jpg).
Excluding those, however (as well as the plain old eagle obverse ones), I get a bit of a picture of where our fellow money-users have been. For example, almost all of the other America the Beautiful quarters I've seen show Denali park in Alaska. Many tourists are here after visiting Alaska, and I've met many Alaskans who spend the Winter in Hawaii. The only other one I've seen is Acadia park in Maine.
For state quarters, the most common one after Hawaii is Nevada. And that seems to be the most popular destination for Hawaiians looking for work on the mainland. After Nevada, the most common quarter has been Virginia, but that probably has less to do with my theory and more to do with how money moves - and is past the point of significance anyway.
There are also a surprising number of "drummer boy" quarters from 1976. I thought people collected those. Their presence could be a sign of how American history isn't as big of a deal here. Or maybe it's a sign of how old stuff tends to linger here.
I was reduced to crawling through the dirt. My legs and back were done. On the upside, being near the ground meant I could better see any movement among the leaves and trash. Movement meant something living, and that meant food.
I inched along toward a wooded area and my hope grew as I neared a rotting log. I struggled to flip it and saw dozens of larvae and some larger bugs scurrying around. I gleefully reached in and got a fistfull of rotting wood and grubs and picked out the larvae one by one with my lips, as though kissing them. I didn't chew - just let them slide down my throat.