We left Mill Valley yesterday in order to stay at a motel nearer the airport. Driving to the airport, dropping off bags, and returning the car took about 4 hours, so I think leaving the evening before was the right idea.
Marin County was very appealing, with lots of natural beauty, an ideal climate, and great food - although I was surprised at how much I stood out by wearing jeans. The Mill Valley uniform is athletic gear, and almost everyone there seems to have signed on. The men wear the kinds of clothes you would wear for mountain biking, and the women wear yoga pants, including the women who probably shouldn't do so. Although I shouldn't make fun, I may have been the fattest man there and I'm not really all that fat.
I got impatient figuring out how to get back to the hotel from the rental car place and I checked the GPS to see how far it was. I had the GPS unit because I needed it to find the rental dropoff area, and then was just carrying it around in my hand with the cable dangling after I left the car. The device said it was 1.8 miles to the hotel and I figured I could walk it fastre than it would take to wait for the AirTrain, take the AirTrain, find the right place to wait for shuttle, wait for the shuttle, and take the shuttle.
I don't know if that's true but I walked anyway. I need to have a brisk walk every day, and I didn't mind passing over and through aiport access roads and other pedestrian-unfriendly areas.
The walk was fine but I ended up spraining the tendon that connects my big toe to the rest of my left foot. It's the same injury I had on my right foot before we had that week in Rehoboth Beach and I blame my sneakers for being about a quarter size too loose - they don't support my toes when walking briskly. It's an odd injury in that the swelling and pain don't begin until an hour or more after the injury, so I keep straining the foot long after the damage has begun.
The injury made loading and unloaing the taxi difficult, and being on a plane with a car seat and toddler and all the related gear was more chalenging as well.
The flight was OK. People seem pretty friendly and relaxed about our energetic little guy, who doesn't complain much but does get quite bored sitting in an airplane for hours at a time.
We seem to be the most bothered by his antics, especially kicking the seat in front of him, and that's probably the right way.
The airport at Kona was not warm and inviting like I had expected it to be, it was hot and desolate. If we had traveled there directly from Hurrican Sandy territory, it would have seemed wonderful, but we were there after a lovely trip to Muir Woods and the contrast was not in favor of Hawaii.
We went to the Costco in Kona, which felt like about the least appropriate thing to do as a first thing in Hawaii, but we wanted to stock up on essentials. I always feel embarassed carrying around a 24-pack of toilet paper. I also got a Costco brand (Kirkland) bottle of aged tequila for a good price. I was too intrigued to pass it by.
We had to get a membership and I now have another photo ID in my wallet.
We thought about a nice meal somewhere but we were all exhausted and toddlers have a way of being open with their emotions so we just drove to Hilo. It's striking how much the climate and terrain changes as you travel east from Kona. By Waimea the hills were green and lush and got more so as we headed toward the windward side.
The air was 88 in Kona, 68 in Waimea, and 78 in Hilo. The low tonight is 68. The trade winds are blowing, which makes the air pleasant.
Hilo is supposed to be the rainiest American city, with 150 inches or more of rain each year. It was sunny when we arrived and this evening's shower lasted only ten minutes or so. I don't know yet whether it will be too wet here for us. I don't miss the humidity of the Mid-Atlantic area, but I don't care for the arid climate of Kona either.
Our hotel was probably very nice in the 1980s. Hotel rooms are generally pretty toddler-proof, and we gave this one a very thorough testing.
My young son recently discovered the Moon and is fascinated by it, repeatedly talking about it and looking for it and pointing at it when he sees it. I'm envious of the wonder he must feel for the mysterious light in the night sky, although I still find it mysterious and marvelous.
When I was a boy scout we were taught how to navigate by the stars, how to find Polaris, the North Star, by imagining a line from the front of the Big Dipper.
Polaris is almost directly "above" the Earth's axis of rotation, and appears to barely move in relation to the Earth. So if you can find Polaris you have a fixed point to navigate from. Even if you don't know where your destination is in terms of cardinal directions, having a fixed point allows you to walk without going in circles.
But if the night is even a little cloudy, you probably won't be able to see Polaris and will be stuck.
Navigating by the Moon is the only practical option in this case. I don't recall ever being taught how to navigate by the Moon, but it's not very difficult.
The basic concept is that the visible part of the Moon, the light part, is facing the Sun, so by seeing how much of the Moon is illuminated and where it is in the night sky you can tell where the Sun is, which will tell you where East or West is and even roughly what time it is.
• Crescent Moon This is the easiest time to guess the time and your general direction. The thinner the crescent, the closer the Moon is to the Sun (from our perspective on Earth). So if you see a thin crescent near the horizon, you are either facing East and the Sun is about to rise or you are facing West and the Sun has just set.
Even if the crescent is not near the horizon, the light part of the Moon always points toward the Sun. The way I'll explain it to my son when he's older is to imagine that the crescent is a bow and an arrow points at the Sun.
The crescent Moon always directs you toward the recently-set or soon-to-rise Sun, which tells you where East or West is.
• Half Moon The Half Moon is always 6 hours before or after the Sun. It is at it's peak at sunset and sunrise.
• Gibbous Moon It can be harder to identify the position of the Moon as it fills out, but the idea of the Moon as a bow still holds. The difference is that a crescent Moon is very near the Sun while a gibbous Moon is more on the opposite side of the sky.
• Full Moon - The Full Moon is completely illuminated by the Sun, which means that the Earth is between the Moon and the Sun, which means that the Moon's position is around 12 hours offset from the Sun's. If you see the Full Moon on the horizon then you are either facing East and the Sun just set in the West (if the Sun hasn't set yet then you should already know where West is) or you are facing West and the Sun is about to rise in the East.
If you see the Full Moon and it's not near the horizon, you may be able to tell North and South from the pattern of craters.
The darker craters are in the northern part of the Moon's face and the lighter areas are in the south.
If you can't make out the details of the Moon's face, you should still be able to tell which half of the sky the Moon is in. Unless you're near the equator, the Moon will be in the southern half of the sky. This is especially true in Winter (the reverse being true in the Earth's southern hemisphere.)
• No/New Moon - Well, in this case you're stuck, but this is only couple days each month
Paul Williams, who wrote the music for The Muppet Movie, among many other songs, is still alive as we now know because of a new movie about him titled, Paul Williams Still Alive.
When it was released, The Muppet Movie was very popular among us elementary school-age kids; it was not quite as culturally significant as say, Star Wars, but we knew all the words to the songs and it was common to hear someone spontaneously start humming, "Moving Right Along" or "I Hope That Something Better Comes Along."
The signature song was, Rainbow Connection - a song that remains (both lyrically and melodically) one of the Great Tunes in my opinion.
In the first line, Kermit asks, "Why are there so many songs about rainbows?"
I don't know whether there really are that many songs about rainbows (I can only think of a couple) but there does seem to be an innate fascination with them.
It struck me recently that rainbows are one of the very few things that can be seen but never touched. No matter how close we get to a rainbow, it, like the horizon, keeps moving farther away. We will never touch the Sun, or stars, or many other things - but we could, theoretically, even though we would be atomized in the process.
It is that quality of being visible but untouchable that makes them fascinating. They are also unpredictable, which heightens the allure, but it is their property of being unreachable that makes them special.
The ancient Norse called rainbows bifröst the bridge to heaven. And from little I can tell from otehr cultures, rainbows have almost always been seen as positive signs.
Imagine you live in the days before any technology and you experience thunderstorms, earthquakes,volcanoes, floods, droughts, and then one day for no reason you see a completely symmetrical arc of colors. After so many punishments from the gods, you get an image that, if it's a sign it must be a sign of something good.
Non-violent signs such as eclipses and comets were usually seen as signs of impending war. I imagine rainbows were interpreted differently, although in the old days, everything was a sign of impending war.
Rainbows are perfect in a way that few other things are. They are perfectly round, in a way that only the Moon and Sun are - almost every other thing in Nature is assymmetrical. But it is very rare to see more than half of the complete circle. And the rainbow is more perfect than we can even perceive. The bands of colors that we see are from the inadequacies of our eyes to perceive the even gradation of frequencies.
As we head to the Rainbow State, I hope to see many.
I was a few hours north of Kansas City in a small riverfront town called Dedham. There was a bar there that had once been called "Bootlegger's" until some young idealists stole the first three and final five letters so that the sign looked like: "...tle......" and people started calling it the T.L.E. Over the years those letters stopped shining and by then people didn't call the bar anything at all.
A lesson I learned today:
If you have some code that just isn't right, or writing about programming and the math doesn't work out, look for a number that ends in ...616, ...632, or ...664. It's likely that someone was writing x^16, x^32, or x^64 and didn't hit shift hard enough to make the carat appear.
In my case, the number was 2632, which really should have been 2^32, or 4294967296 - 6 orders of magnitude different.
I used to fantasize about riding the rails a lot when I was younger.
In this article, a British author recounts his adventures riding the rails with tramps and hoboes.
The piece begins a little too preciously, too "writer-y", but turns into a compelling read.
"The temperature dips with the sun, and I stuff my clothes with newspaper, remembering Doc’s dictum: “Tramps, bums and hobos all use The Wall Street Journal for insulation, but the hobo reads it first.” The night clears and the stars come out like nobody’s watching. I am lulled by the symphonic racket of a thousand train parts in seeming revolt against one another. Peace in pandemonium."
The game blog, Hyperbole Games has an interview/monologue with game designer Chevee Dodd who recently had his game Scallywags published by Gamewright
The post is not polished, but it is a detailed overview of the path this person took to go from having a few ideas to being a published designer. The accounts of working with publishers will resonate with anyone who has worked in music or book publishing.
A rewarding interview with one of the writers of the 'Alien' prequel, 'Prometheus', Jon Spaihts:
His bit about the central predicament defining the protagonist is obvious, yet insightful.
And he goes on about making narratives compeling:
"There are three motives of story that matter: having something that you hope for, having something that you fear, or having a burning question that you need answered. Any one of them is sufficient. If you can have more than one of them running at one time, or all three—you can be afraid of one thing and fearful of another and desperate to understand some mystery that's been dangled in front of you, then you are maximally engaged, all three motors running."