Hawaii 2011 (Day Eight)

The final day on the North Shore started a bit more calmly. The 30-foot swells had been replaced by a more summerly gentleness. We even recognized our snorkeling spot.

Of course, by this point, the rich restaurant meals had started to get to me. This morning, Starbucks oatmeal seemed to be the perfect antidote to too many lipids. Of course, the fact that there is a Starbucks in the middle of a chicken-infested semi-rural stretch made me question why Fargo can't seem to keep their Starbucks. Perhaps we need more chickens.

As you may have guessed by now, we tend to veer off of our "plan" (really, it was just a google doc that we used to snarkily collaborate with LK in creating a stroll through a Magnum P.I. episode). This day was no different. When we saw humpback whales in the distance (during our healthy breakfast), we hatched a plan that can only be described as "unsound." At 9 a.m., we were going to squeeze in a whale-watching adventure before circumnavigating the island to return to Honolulu for dinner. Fortunately, a quick trip on the internets, and we found a whale-watching catamaran that would take us, if we could pack our gear and drive to the dock in a languid 25 minutes. As you may have guessed, we made it.

Of course, being married to the love-child of MacGyver and Xena meant that we sat in the netting on the front of this particular craft. Unsurprisingly, the size of the waves (now only 15-20 feet) combined with the netting did not help to keep us dry. Fortunately, we wore our rashies.

Despite the fact that our crew members were interesting and very professional....

...they DID seem a little like extras from the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

Our voyage did not disappoint. Despite the fact that it took us a while to catch up to the whales, catch up we did.

This mother/calf pair were only two of many we saw. The rockiness of the ride, and the desire to actually SEE the whales did not result in the taking of fantastic shots. Still, it was magical to see humpback whales slapping flukes and pectoral fins.

Naturally, the brine and the waves made us think of sushi. Yes, it was fresh.

Yes, it was delicious.

The rolls? Yes.

The pork? O.K., so I DID have a few bites of this. Yup. What you might not have guessed is that they served it with potato salad. I. Kid. You. Not.

Green tea ice cream. What's not to like about the perfect end to the nearly-perfect day?


Logic Boxes

In order to more fully experience the argument/line of reasoning/essay Geoffrey Sirc makes in his chapter "Box Logic," we all created a version of the Cornell Box. I added in the caveat that some sort of writing must also be incorporated. Here is what we came up with in the hour we allotted to this particular task.

Stash Hempeck

Creation = life. Life = experience. Experience = nostalgia. Nostalgia = creation.

Chris Lindgren

Invisible Code
i := us[them] - sense; prnt := wrt + i; dig := prnt + i;

loop: prnt := prnt - i;
while us[them] < dig repeat; loop: dig := dig - i;
while us[them] > i;
if us[them] = i then dig[i];

Heather Steinmann

My box presented itself like a found poem, with a city street already printed inside. The poem "The City," by C.P. Cavafy reflected on the encapsulated nature of the subject; the world. The toy ball armed with the means to burn the city down just fit; in the poem and in the box.

Alyson Guthrie

My box entitled "Idealism" is a representation of the idealistic views I often find myself believing in and hoping for. The dreamlike sky, the image of a child, a peace rock, along with different quotations and lyrics evoke these views.

Steven Hammer

My box is titled, "Once a toy, always a toy," and it is an old memory game by Tiger Electronics that I've opened and circuit bent, creating an experimental sound machine. While the sounds aren't universally pleasing or understood as music, both the process of bending and the performance of the sounds exemplify finding the art in the ordinary. The materiality is exposed and nude, and the bender is invited to redirect energy and reconstruct the instrument. The most valuable lesson in the practice of bending is the element of chance, or if you will, the absence of dominant constructions of sound classification (notes and scales, logical and linear). And so on...

Doc Mara

My box, "California Dreaming," offers a chance to examine constructed nostalgia. A picture of a past celebration combines with festive, floral, tropical, and exoticized signifiers. Post-It notes covered with lines of Shakesepare's most celebrated marriage sonnet juxtapose the mundane with the popular imagination of enduring social bonds. The box which contains all of these objects is clementine box from Morocco, and it's final passenger sits in anticipation of its eventual demise.


Hawaii 2011 (Day Seven)

There are some things about Hawaii that are just a little bit different than other places. Breakfast seems a particularly interesting intersection of urbane, mundane, and funky. On the second day on the North Shore, we decided to get away from our tea-house/waffle palace preferences. Instead, we decided to try something a little different with our Starbucks coffee (how different can we get, really?). A bowl of acai sorbet with bananas, granola, honey, and frozen blueberries/raspberries/blackberrie was maybe one of the best things we bought on this side of the island.

A little less successful was the Shark’s Cove Grill veggie scrambler. Great concept, but a Velveeta execution.

One of the pleasures of the morning was getting to sit across the street from Three Tables and Shark's Cove, watching them being absolutely pummeled by huge swells, and realizing that we avoided getting crushed by these waves by a mere few hours. Thank you again, LK, for letting us know these monsters were on their way.

Of course, these waves were really only a fancy invitation for the surfers to wax their boards and get out in the water. Despite the pull of our singularly-important morning hike at Ka'ena Point, the surfers hitting the large waves in Waimea Bay were too much to resist. There was a huge crowd at the beach, and it was just amazing to watch these surfers drop in on these huge waves in groups of 3, 4, and even 5 people.

By the time we got to to paking lot for the Ka'ena Point hike, the sun was getting pretty high in the sky. What I thought would be an easy hour-long hike turned out to take more like three hours.

I wanted to turn back petty often, but the azure color of the waves (and even the foam) against the backdrop of the lava rocks, the beach, and the succulent plants was just too mesmerizing to us. We pushed on.

At moments, when we peered over the edge of the rocks, it seemed like it would be pure bliss to just jump in. It was only in our imaginations did this plunge into the turquoise bath actually take place.

Although these waves were huge--we could feel them hitting the beach through the vibrations conducted through the sand--pictures don't usually do justice to their scale.

When we got to Ka'ena point, we thought our only reward was seeing predator traps (to protect the albatross nests), and to see the Coast Guard practicing their high-wind maneuvers.

Upon a little closer inspection, however, we realized that we happened upon two rare Hawaiian monk seals.

It took a few seconds to see these sleeping beauties. We would have kept even more distance had we been able to more clearly distinguish them from their background.

After our brush with these wonderful creatures (and our decision to invite sun stroke), we took a leisurely drive back down the Kamehameha highway to find Giovanni's famous shrimp truck.

Regardless of your dinner choice, your lunch requires a flotilla of napkins and/or wet wipes (personally, I'm a big fan of wet wipes).

We stuck with the garlic shrimp, and did not regret the decision thankyouverymuch.

A day at the shore wouldn't be complete without a sunset on the patio. Good night sun. Good night dolphin statues.

Of course, a few tropical drinks complete the picture. Good night Piña Colada. Good night Blue Hawaiian.