- In December I grew a
just because I've been putting in long hours on my current work-for-hire
project and didn't leave the house for a week, and then when I finally did
have occasion to shave and get dressed and stuff I got curious about what
it'd look like if I just let the scruff grow (Photoshop was unconvincing)
and I wanted to freak Elizabeth out at the airport. She made me get rid of
it posthaste, which was fine because it was kind of annoying, particularly
where eating was concerned. The problem was that while I looked kind of
weird to myself while I had the beard, after I shaved it, my face looked
wrong — apparently I had broken my ability to recognize
myself either way. Weeks later I have mostly grown reaccustomed to my
face when it's completely clean-shaven, but a day's worth of stubble now
looks grotesque to me: it's like an uncanny valley between bearded
(For those who looked at the picture: yes, that is all that grew after
I quit shaving for five weeks. I'm not very testosteroney.)
- Elizabeth flew in for her 30th birthday, for which I gave her the
marvelous gift of waking her up at five in the morning, marching her to the
BART station in the cold, proceeding to the airport and then sticking her in
a middle seat in coach for five hours. But at the end of it we were in
Hawaii, so I guess it sort of balances out. In the air I couldn't help but
notice an extra button on the armrest:
|left: summon flight attendant
||right: KILL FLIGHT ATTENDANT
My Hawaii travelogue is currently on my Pictures
page, but here are a few extra notes from the trip:
- The Hawaiian crow is extinct in the wild, and I was astonished to see
that its niche — intelligent generalist bird well adapted to
human habitat — has been filled in Hawaii by, of all things,
which I had never seen outside of a cage! They're frickin' everywhere,
man! I also saw a
which is actually a tanager and is from southeastern South America. (I
didn't bother to photograph the zebra doves, which were also new to me
but are also pretty dull.)
- It turns out that Hawaii is a very dangerous place. For one thing,
it's apparently quite
which is particularly troublesome if you're on top of a
one while someone above you is slipping. And if you think the land is
dangerous, let's not even talk about the
and you've got problems. Don't go out
and you've got other problems. Go out exactly far enough and... you've
- When I was planning this trip I ran across a post from someone who was
considering a similar trip but was worried about the language barrier.
People replied that, ha ha, Hawaii is one of the 50 states, everyone
speaks English, did you really think that all the signs would be in
Hawaiian or something, etc., but I did find that there are a few Hawaiian
words that you see and hear everywhere and that are therefore helpful to
know. Some examples:
- Listening to Hawaiian radio, two questions occurred to me:
- What's with all the reggae? Wrong islands, mon!
- Did all the Valley Girls migrate to Honolulu en masse and get jobs as
DJs? I knew Hawaii was in its own time zone but I didn't realize that time
zone was "1982".
- At a scenic viewpoint on the Pali Highway I saw several people taking
photographs of their parking spot numbers. Because, y'know, how else are
you going to remember "5".
- I've noticed a sudden upswing in the extent to which the ads I'm
getting link to sites I've visited. This is annoying because the fact
that I visited those sites of my own accord ought to suggest that I don't
need the hard sell. I look at those ads and think, "Uh, I already
booked tickets on your airline! I already made reservations at
your restaurant!" The ads make me less inclined to reward these companies
with repeat business.
- After getting back from Hawaii I had to turn right around and go to
L.A. for work. I have to say, L.A. is a great food city — I'd
wager that there's more great food there within a given distance than there
is here in the East Bay. The catch: change "distance" to "travel time" and
the East Bay wins big. I'm always astounded by just how phenomenally bad
L.A. traffic is. There was a bakery I wanted to try that was less than
seven miles from my hotel — getting there and back took an hour
and a half!
- At one point the hotel called in a panic because the cleaning staff had
found no luggage in my room — had I checked out in a huff for
some reason? No... I just... hadn't brought any luggage. I was only
staying for a week.
- A few years ago I had a sort of action movie dream in which I was
helping to stop some sort of calamity. Well, maybe "helping" isn't the
word, because really I was just kind of stand around while this scientist
and his daughter did all the work. The key was to somehow utilize the
Ouroboros principle to
get the disaster to turn against itself.
Anyway, so this month I had the exact same dream again! Moment by moment,
scene by scene, right up to the point that I was in the
with the scientist and his daughter, and we were standing around trying to
figure out what to do. Except that this time I remembered the previous
dream. "What about Ouroboros?" I proposed. The scientist looked at me
with awe. "That's brilliant!" he cried. "Let's get to work!" The
daughter seemed really impressed too. I thought I might have a chance of
getting lucky with her but I woke up first.
- On the way back from Berkeley Bowl I found myself driving behind a
car with the license plate CTH♥LHU.
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