zolac_no_miko: (Default)
[Part 1]
[Part 2

Soooooo I wrote Part 3 like three months ago and I'm just getting around to posting it now. /o\

This will be a fun, easy project, I said! It will get me back in the habit of blogging, I said!

Well, anyway, have some shenanigans. There will be more shenanigans, they just might take longer than I'd initially thought.

Part 3: Kamehameha Stirs Some Shit

So the placement of this next story in the timeline is pretty fuzzy, I can't find even an approximate date for it anywhere on the internets, but I'm going to tell it here because I heckin' feel like it. I can be reasonably sure it did actually happen, because I got this story directly from the mouth of one of the head dudes at Interpretation in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and these guys don't just hand out lies and hearsay. Or they don't anymore, anyway.

So at whatever the heck point in the late-1700s-probably this story takes place, Kamehameha is still chilling in the royal court of his uncle, King Kalani‘ōpu‘u. And Kalani‘ōpu‘u has commissioned a heiau (temple) to be built in the ahupua‘a of Punalu‘u in the moku (district) of Kaʻū. Now, there are lots of different kinds of heiau used for different purposes, but this particular heiau was to be a luakini heiau, a heiau where blood sacrifices of animals—and humans—took place. And as the heiau was completed, a human sacrifice was needed for the dedication ceremony.

Now, fortunately—well, fortunately for most people—an excellent candidate for human sacrifice was making himself known. Like, really, it's as if this guy erected a neon sign over himself saying "I'M A DICKHEAD, PLEASE GET RID OF ME." I don't know his name, but he was a lower-level chief in the moku of Puna who was generally being a jerk to common people in his care, taxing and hoarding more than his fair share of wealth (food, mostly). Incidentally, he was known for having really really long hair.

Kalani‘ōpu‘u decided he wants to be rid of this guy, and one of his kahuna (priests) steps forward and says he will be able to do it if the gods are with him. So the kahuna takes an army and goes after this guy, who very wisely has gone into hiding. They scour the moku of Kaʻū and Puna, generally also being murderous jerks, but this time ~Jerks with the Blessing of the King~, and eventually the common people who are JUST MINDING THEIR OWN BUSINESS, JEEZ, give him up to avoid more rampaging. Turns out he cut his hair to change his appearance and has been hiding out on some small offshore island. So the kahuna and his army capture the jerk guy and drag him back to Punalu‘unui Heiau where he's killed and prepared for sacrifice.

"But wait," you say, "where the hell is Kamehameha in this story?"

"RIGHT HECKIN' HERE," I say.

So it's the day of the dedication ceremony and the entire royal court is standing around, Kalani‘ōpu‘u and his sons and especially his oldest son/royal heir Kīwalaʻō, and his nephew Kamehameha, everybody all wearing their fancy feather capes. And the offering of bananas has been placed on the altar, and the offering of pig has been placed on the altar, and here comes the kahuna with the body of Jerk Guy from Puna, and he's headed for Kīwalaʻō, whose great honor it is to place the human sacrifice on the altar. And he's just handing it over to Kīwalaʻō when Kamehameha steps forward, takes the friggin body himself and puts it on the altar!!

And everyone's like 8OOOOOOOOOOOOO

And everyone's like, "OH SHIT DID YOU SEE WHAT HE DID RIGHT THERE, DAAAAAAANG!!"

...Not only is this REALLY FRICKIN' RUDE, I mean, that's basically a slap to Kīwalaʻō's face right there, but I would like to remind you that Kamehameha is both much lower in rank, in terms of proximity to the throne, as well as sacredness, but here he goes again, DOING THINGS HE DOESN'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO, stirring shit.

So this was probably not the start of beef between Kamehameha and Kalani‘ōpu‘u's sons, I mean, if he's pulling this kind of maneuver, presumably the beef already exists, but this was definitely an early, highly-public airing of said beef. Like, pretty strong indication to everyone that there's Drama happening all up in the royal court.

We'll get back to that in a couple installments. Next time we're going on a bit of a tangent to discuss an event that Kamehameha's a minor character in, but this event changed his whole flippin' world and helped make it possible for him to get where he eventually got, namely, the Kingiest King that ever Kinged in all of the islands. So. It's a pretty important tangent.

See you next time!
zolac_no_miko: (Default)
[Part 1]

Kamehameha Fun Fact #1: This has come up once already and I fully expect it to come up again because y'all are nerds, so. If you're in here gigglesnorting about Kamehameha because of Dragon Ball, I would like to inform you that it's not a weird funny coincidence, the move is literally named after our badass Hawaiian king. No seriously. It's in the wiki, look it up. Apparently the writer was trying to come up with a name for the Turtle School's signature attack, and his wife was like, "Name it after this dude, it'll be memorable, also lol turtle pun." ...THE MORE YOU KNOW. /sparkletext (But PLEASE don't pronounce his name like they say the move in the anime, "KA-me-HA-me-HA," his name is pronounced "Ka-ME-ha-ME-ha," THANK YOU.

Kamehameha Fun Fact #2: June 11 was Kamehameha Day! This is an official state holiday in Hawai‘i. We have hula and parades and ho‘olaule‘a (like... block parties?) and all the Kamehameha statues get draped in about a gazillion gigantic lei. State and county workers got Monday the 12th off (since the 11th was a Sunday this year), any schools that were actually open in June were closed as well. Also, lots of sales, because capitalism. ...Happy slightly-belated Kamehameha Day!

Part 2: The Naha Stone

So, at some point King Alapa‘inui allowed little Pai‘ea to rejoin court. I don't really understand what went on here. Maybe he gave up on being scared of murder baby? Maybe he felt super bad about trying to kill his niece's kid? Idk. Regardless, the young child Pai‘ea was delivered back to the royal court from his isolation in ‘Awini, and Alapa‘inui gave Pai‘ea to his favorite wife to raise—this was a thing in Hawai‘i among ali‘i (royals or chiefs), it's called hanai, you don't raise your kid yourself, your kid is given to some relative to take care of, probably something about forming and strengthening alliances which is pretty important when everyone is related to each other AND also trying to kill each other all of the time.

Case in point, at some point Pai‘ea's dad Keōua Nui was poisoned and died, and it's theorized by some that King Alapa‘inui totally had something to do with that. And then Alapa‘inui died of being old, and his oldest son Keawe‘ōpala was king for all of a year before Pai‘ea's half-uncle-slash-first-cousin-once-removed Kalani‘ōpu‘u defeated him in battle and he ran away and died so now Kalani‘ōpu‘u is king.

And while all this is going on Pai‘ea is growing up and being awesome at sports and the use of weaponry and other masculine pursuits, and traveling around the island getting trained how to be a chief. And as a young chief Pai‘ea—actually, let's start calling him Kamehameha, he's all growed up now, at least by old Hawaiian standards—Kamehameha is invited to the court of the new King Kalani‘ōpu‘u in the district of Kohala*.

*There are six districts of Hawai‘i Island: Kohala, Hāmākua, Hilo, Puna, Kaʻū, and Kona. Each of these was ruled by a high chief or chiefess, beneath the King who ruled the whole island. Each of the districts was divided up further into ahupua‘a, and these land divisions were ruled by lesser ali‘i.

Now we've already heard about the prophecies associated with Kamehameha's birth, and Kalani‘ōpu‘u and the high chiefs of his court have heard some rumors that this kid might be a Pretty Big Deal, and one of the chiefs suggests to Kalani‘ōpu‘u that they call together the kahuna (in this context... priests? seers? sorcerers?) to consult the gods and look into Kamehameha's future. So a bunch of kahuna are called to court, male and female, and the male kahuna make their observations and proclaim that Kamehameha will be a mighty warrior and no one will be able to stand against him and he will be like a mighty wind et cetera et cetera. And the women make their observations and come to the same conclusion, BUT the last of their number, a kahuna who was also a high chiefess, Kalaniwahine—whose name literally just means Heavenly/Royal Woman—or maybe YAAAAAAAASSS QUEEN—has a couple of extra things to say.

Kalaniwahine proclaims that there is one chief who can rival Kamehameha, the only one who is stronger, and whose warriors are stronger and more skilled than Kamehameha's warriors, who could potentially be the one to kill Kamehameha—and that this one is Kamehameha's kinsman—let's say "cousin" in the vague sense, they were definitely related but I couldn't tell you how other than EVERYONE IS RELATED—his cousin Keaweokahikona of Hilo. And she advises that Kamehameha should visit his cousin get to know him and hopefully they would become loyal friends and avoid any sort of violence or stabby death between the two of them in the future. And she also says that there is a great deed for Kamehameha to do in Hilo, and that he should go there right now dangit because this was the auspicious time for him to do these things. And so preparations were made for Kamehameha to visit his cousin in Hilo, as well as the famous Naha Stone in front of Pinao Heiau (heiau = temple).

So the Naha Stone is a Really Important Rock that was brought to Hilo from Wailua on Kaua‘i by canoe, which is pretty impressive considering that's over 300 miles and the rock is GIGANTIC and probably several tons. It was of great importance to ali‘i of the Naha class, the most sacred and sanctified class of ali‘i*; babies born into this royal class would be placed on the stone and kahuna would chant prayers to the gods, and if the baby remained silent the baby was a true Naha and would become a great warrior and leader. If, however, the baby interrupted the kahuna by crying, this child was unfit to be a Naha. It was also prophesied that only chiefs of the Naha class would be capable of moving this giant rock, and that anyone capable of moving it would be a great ruler, and anyone who managed to flip the buggah over would rule over the entire island chain.

*The degrees or classes of high ali‘i were determined by, essentially, your degree of inbreeding; among the royalty, inbreeding was GOOD because it kept your super sacred heavenly royal blood full of mana (spiritual power) from being watered down by lesser blood.

So when Kamehameha and Kalaniwahine and a bunch of other chiefs arrive in Hilo, Kamehameha is greeted by his "cousin's" mother—his "aunt" the high chiefess Ululani, the current ruler of Hilo—who welcomes him like a son and throws a big feast. She asks why he has come to Hilo, and he tells her he's come to form a bond of kinship and friendship with her and her son Keaweokahikona, or else surely someday be killed by him, and also that he's going to flip over the Naha Stone.

Now this is a Big Deal, I mean it would be a big deal for a Naha to flip the stone—Keaweokahikona is a Naha, he sort of shifted it a little and he's the only person ever known to even do that—but Kamehameha is not Naha blood, he's from the Ali‘iwohi class, which is like, fourth-tier sacredness. It should not be possible for him to do this thing. But they're willing to let him try, so the next morning Kamehameha and Kalaniwahine and Ululani and Keaweokahikona and Everybody heads on down to Pinao. And Kamehameha claps eyes on this Bigass Multi-ton Rock and panics a little, he's like, "THAT IS NOT A ROCK. THAT IS, IN FACT, A MOUNTAIN," but he figures what the heck, he's got nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying, if he fails that just proves what everyone's been saying, that only Naha can move the stone, but if he succeeds then one day he'll be King of Everything.

So he's getting ready to make his attempt, and High Chiefess Prophetess Kalaniwahine proclaims that if he moves the stone, all of the islands will be moved, and if he overturns the stone, then all the conflicts that divide the various districts of the islands will be dissolved, and he and all of his people will live in peace. And Kamehameha laid his hands on the stone and strained and struggled to lift it, he strained so hard that blood burst from his eyes and his fingertips (HARDCORE), and the earth shook as if by an earthquake, and he lifted the stone onto its side and FLIPPED IT OVER, and everyone assembled said, and I quote, "Holy shit!!!!!"*

*Approximate translation.

So then there's some more partying and feasting, and cousin Keaweokahikona is all, "Kamehameha, YOU ARE THE POINT OF MY SPEAR, I will teach you everything I know about warfare, let's be bros and visit each other all of the time and wear each other's malo.*"

*A malo is a loincloth, it's what passed for clothing among Hawaiian men, and for a little bit of context the body and clothing and belongings of ali‘i were kapu (taboo) to be touched or worn or used by anyone lest they steal that person's mana, so this was a big deal, an impressive sign of trust and loyalty and brotherhood. ...But also basically he's saying LET'S WEAR EACH OTHER'S UNDERWEAR which is pretty great, Hawaiian history is WILD.

Ululani remained close with Kamehameha and built him a house called "The House Without Rats," which I think tells you less about that house and more about every other house.

And indeed when Kamehameha made his first move to take over Hawai‘i Island on his way to conquering the entire chain (SPOILER ALERT), in his very first battle at Mokuʻōhai, Keaweokahikona betrayed his own father to fight with Kamehameha, and fought with him in his battles henceforth, and was unceasing in his love and loyalty until his death.

~ ~ ~

Stay tuned for the next installments, in which Kamehameha continues to gain stature within the royal court of Kalani‘ōpu‘u and also starts to stir some shit.

[Part 3]
zolac_no_miko: (Default)
Gather 'round, internet children. I have a story to tell you about this guy Kamehameha, and how he went from being a royal-but-not-SUPER-royal baby that almost got murdered to ruthlessly conquering every island* in the Hawaiian chain and establishing for the first time a united Kingdom of Hawai‘i.

*Technically every island except Kaua‘i, but we'll get there.

This is a pretty epic story with a heck of a lot going on so I'm going to tell it in installments, and I'm not going to tell all of it because whoooooaaa too much, and also it's the early bits that take place on my island that I know the best. Also, it's worth noting—this is history, yes, but some of it is pretty shaky history that took place before the concept of writing shit down was introduced and some of it is based on hearsay and some of it has been a wee bit mythologized and some of it comes in multiple versions that contradict each other. So I'm not going to write this like a history essay with citations to historical sources, I'm going to tell it like a story, and some of what I say might turn out not to be strictly accurate if you managed to find a time machine and go back to the 17- and 1800s and observe the events as they happened, but here's the thing—a lot of our stories in Hawai‘i are like this, the stories might not be true but they are True, if you know what I mean.

So that's what this is. A True Story.

Part 1: The Birth of Pai‘ea

The man who would one day be known as Kamehameha I or Kamehameha the Great was born in 1758. Or maybe 1736. Or maybe 1753. Ok nobody really knows, but nearly everyone agrees it was sometime between 1736 and 1761, most likely the earlier end of that range, if you want accuracy you have come to the wrong story my friend.

His full name is listed as Kalani Paiʻea Wohi o Kaleikini Kealiʻikui Kamehameha o ʻIolani i Kaiwikapu kauʻi Ka Liholiho Kūnuiākea, but he was known in his youth as Pai‘ea, the Hard-Shelled Crab, so we're going to go with that for now.

Pai‘ea's father was Keōua Kalanikupuapaʻīkalaninui Ahilapalapa, but he is not the only Keōua in this story, so we're going to call him Keōua Nui, or Great Keōua. Keōua Nui was the son of the second son of the former king of Hawai‘i, so he was pretty royal. (Sidenote—at this point in history Hawai‘i refers to the island of Hawai‘i only, not the entire chain as it does now, because Pai‘ea/Kamehameha is only a baby and hasn't done his conquering yet. So, until further notice, Hawai‘i = a single island, not an archipelago.)

Pai‘ea's mother was Kekuʻiapoiwa II, daughter of a whole heap of royal lineages, double cousin of her husband Keōua Nui. She was also the niece of Alapa‘inui, who's kinda important so let's talk about him next.

Alapa‘inui was the current king of Hawai‘i when Pai‘ea is born. He was the nephew of the former king. When his uncle the king died, there was civil war between his cousins, the king's two sons, Keʻeaumoku Nui (Keōua Nui's dad, Pai‘ea's grandad) and Kalaninuiamamao. When the fighting died down, Alapa‘inui emerged as the victor and just took shit over. He took his deceased cousins' sons, Keōua Nui and Kalani‘ōpu‘u (Kalaninuiamamao's son, Keōua Nui's cousin AND half-brother... they had the same mom... look there was a lot of inbreeding in Hawaiian noble lines, SHIT'S COMPLICATED, just roll with it) into his court.

So anyway, the story goes that a new, bright star appeared in the sky, and the kahuna (priests) observed the star and prophesied that a great leader was about to be born who would be a conqueror of chiefs and rule over all of the islands. Meanwhile, Kekuʻiapoiwa became pregnant, and started to have some of those pregnancy cravings for weird shit like pickles and ice cream. Only instead of pickles and ice cream, she had a craving for the eye of a man-eating tiger shark. Based on this omen, the kahuna prophesied that her child would be a rebel and a killer of chiefs.

Now, as you can imagine, Alapa‘inui—whose job description was High Chief/King of Hawai‘i, wasn't super thrilled to hear about this murderous chief-killing conqueror baby. That shit's just not good job security. So he put a guard on Kekuʻiapoiwa's house, ready to cut that chief-murdering off at the pass by murdering the baby first.

Kekuʻiapoiwa's not an idiot, though, she figures out the king's trying to kill her baby and she makes Other Plans. And on a turbulent, stormy night, the wind howling and the thunder booming and the rain sheeting down, Keku‘iapoiwa endured the pain of childbirth in complete silence so the guards wouldn't hear, and the moment little Pai‘ea was born, she passed him out of the back of the house to a loyal lesser chief, Nae‘ole, who ran off with the child into the stormy night. Managing to escape, like, the ENTIRE ARMY trying to chase him down, Nae‘ole carried baby Pai‘ea to the remote and difficult-to-access valley of ‘Awini, where he and his half-sister Kaha‘ōpūlani nursed and raised Pai‘ea in solitude and secrecy for the first several years of his life.

And this is how Pai‘ea got the name that he would later claim as his royal title: Kamehameha, The Lonely One.

Stay tuned next time for further adventures and a lot of court intrigue. Spoiler alert: Kamehameha did not stay in ‘Awini Valley for the rest of his life.

[Part 2]
zolac_no_miko: (Default)
WOW HI DREAMWIDTH/LIVEJOURNAL!

It's been approximately 50 years since I made an LJ post that wasn't a fic post. A lot of stuff has gone on. Still working very slowly on thesis, so that hasn't changed. Kinda over it at this point. An entire awesome job came and went, and a new awesome job has begun. I meant to post a lot of pics from previous job and just... didn't. Maybe I will.

And of course there's been all this kerfluffle about LJ. The way I see it, there's two ways to respond to the kerfluffle: a defiant Fuck You, LJ by leaving the site entirely, or a defiant Fuck You, LJ by refusing to leave until they goddamn make me. I have gone for option two. Even as what few LJ friends I have left jump ship one by one, my emotional attachment to the site keeps me tied to it.

I'm not an idiot, though. If it a) goes under, or b) my journal(s) get deleted due to lack of activity or nefarious content, I don't want to lose everything. So I've backed up my main journal, my old RP journals, even one of my RP communities (and I'll do the others at some point) to Dreamwidth. I'll be crossposting journal entries from Dreamwidth to Livejournal from now on. (I'd do it the other way around if there was an option, but there isn't... guess that's one argument in favor of DW.)

This is my first crosspost entry... hope it works. LJ friends who are also on DW/have mostly moved there, feel free to add/friend/follow/whatever-the-heck-they-call-it-here.

...So anyway... my new job is I'm an Interpretive Guide for a Hawai‘i Island ecotourism company called Hawai‘i Forest & Trail. It's super fun... I get to be outside in beautiful places, talk story with interesting people, share my love and enthusiasm and knowledge of the cultural and natural history of Hawai‘i Nei, and learn tons of stuff that I hadn't known before, which for me, a greedy glutton for knowledge, is the BEST PART. ...Also tips, tips are the other best part.

I've learned a lot of new stuff about Hawai‘i Island geology and history and the places where the two intersect, lotsa new detail meshing with broader stuff I vaguely knew growing up, and it's made me very excited and like... I feel like I have a Story to tell, a Story the internet would probably enjoy, so. I'm going to try to make more frequent DW/LJ posts and tell y'all the Story. Look for the first installment very soon. Assuming this crossposting thing works.

Peace out folks, and aloha to all.
zolac_no_miko: (after twenty months at sea)
Today I got paid $16/hour and free dinner to drive a bunch of NYU students around in a van. And like, see the Gemini North telescope control room, and go up to Mauna Kea summit, which are things I would do for free.

And it was just. Perfect. To slowly climb the switchbacks while the sunlight turns golden high on the cinder cones, with the whole earth and a sea of clouds dropping away beneath us and Mauna Loa growing larger and impossibly larger to the south, and the peak of Hualalai erupting into view, then Haleakalā—"Look, there's Maui!" "Whaaaaaaat, no way!"—and pulling over at the top with the swollen, luminous full moon rising just above the limb of the summit cone in the east, and the observatories gleaming like jewels in the glory of the sun to the west, and the kids gasping at the view and laughing at the way the thin air makes their heads spin, and the sky going red and indigo, and Venus, then Jupiter, then Regulus igniting above the horizon, and driving down in the dark with the full moon too bright to look at, casting shadows and illuminating objects in color vision, the sea of clouds glowing nearly as bright, the sky black and starry and the hulk of Mauna Loa even blacker, and the smudge of glowing orange cast by Kīlauea's lava against the clouds. And parking at 9000 feet with the moon too too bright but still with so much hanging above us in the sky, the Big Dipper and Polaris, Scorpius about to devour Saturn, and taking them to see the silverswords gleaming ghostly alien in the moonlight, tall flowering stalks standing silent shadowed sentinels. All the kids lying on their backs, shouting in astonishment as meteor after meteor slash across the sky, Timo asking, "Well, it's getting late, should we go?" And one girl yelling, "Noooooooo, I'm going to live here, I want to stay on this mountain forever!!"

Yeah, girl. I know exactly how you feel.
zolac_no_miko: (after twenty months at sea)
This weekend, we had an Adventure. It was not the adventure we had meticulously planned, but it was indeed so very, very adventurous.

By "we" I mean myself, Forrest, eight of our closest friends, and another group of...I think seven or so hooligans?

The adventure we planned was this: we wanted to kayak to either Honoke‘a or Honopue Valley, camp out for two nights, and enjoy ourselves fishing and lobster diving and hunting and surfing and exploring sea caves and standing in waterfalls and swimming and gathering coconuts/liliko‘i/‘ulu/bananas/mangoes/avocados/citrus/heart of palm and making big fires and drinking and stuffing ourselves with food. Our first group of ten would launch Friday morning; the second group would follow 24 hours later. We planned to launch from Keokea Beach Park, the closest sheltered launch site, and paddle down the coast, passing Pololu, Honokane Nui, and Honokane Iki Valleys to Honoke‘a or Honopue, which none of us had been in, as they are practically unreachable by land. We organized the distribution of kayaks, dry bags, water, food, fishing/diving/hunting gear, and communal supplies. We scouted the launch site and kayak route on Google Earth. Knowing that Hamakua is a famously treacherous coast, we scrutinized the wind and wave forecasts; we expected Friday to be the roughest day, but not too rough, with conditions calming down to a 5 knot wind and 1 foot swell on Saturday and Sunday as the area settled into a weak low pressure system. We decided Group One would leave Hilo at 3 a.m. on Friday, arriving at Keokea by 6 a.m. and launching in the pre-sunrise twilight to take advantage of the calmest part of the day; we'd have an easier time on the return trip, with calmer seas and the wind at our backs. If we arrived at Keokea and it was too rough to launch, Plan B was to drive to the Kona side of the island and kayak-camp to a beach on that coast, which would be much calmer.

This is the adventure we actually had: )
zolac_no_miko: (‘I‘iwi)
As already discussed, my long weekend at Hakalau sort of messed up the consecutive thing. I've decided to pick three things from the whole weekend and call that my Day 2.

THING ONE! Yesterday morning I had the most INCREDIBLE encounter with an ‘Io, or Hawaiian Hawk. These hawks are listed as endangered, but they're quite common on my island, and you see them flying above Hilo all the time. Hakalau, however, is the environment they evolved for, a dense forest full of their prey, Hawaiian forest birds. I see several hawks a day up there, on the hunt, quiet and intense as they glide swiftly between the trees. ...ANYWAY, I was setting up a mist net for our day of bird banding when out of the corner of my eye I saw a branch shake. I looked up to see what bird had landed, and in a low ‘ohi‘a branch about 35 feet above my head was a gorgeous light phase hawk! (‘Io come in a range of colors, categorized into "light phase," or a white chest and face, or "dark phase," mostly dark brown.) The hawk sat there for quite some time, alternately peering at me and into a tangle of ferns on the hillside, while I gaped up at it, wishing I had my camera on me. After a few minutes, it flew off, demonstrating its skill as a forest hunter by passing through a gap between two tree trunks that couldn't have been more than 6 inches wide.

THING TWO! This morning, for what I believe is the first time ever in my life, I laid eyes on the planet Mercury. I woke at 5:15 a.m. and at 6500 feet the pre-dawn sky was glorious, a dome of dark, dark blue still set with bright stars overhead, and a ring of brilliant, flaming scarlet at the horizon. The clouds were below us, and set just above them, in the middle of the fiery band of red, the small, pale face of a planet too small to be Venus. ...I wish my phone had been up to the challenge of photographing the scene, but the stars and planets were too small and unfortunately there was just no capturing that gorgeous red.

THING THREE! Just now, tiny baby gecko on my wall. :)
zolac_no_miko: (Pele says hello)
So, I need to be awake in *squint* five hours, but I wanted to tell y'all about my illicit volcano adventure I had on Friday night when [livejournal.com profile] look_alive was visiting.

So, in Halema'uma'u Crater within the summit caldera of Kilauea, our actively erupting volcano, there's an open vent with a lava lake in it that's been steaming away since 2008. Before 2008 you used to be able to drive down into the bottom of the caldera and drive right up to Halema'uma'u and walk to the edge and look in, but since the vent opened up the entire bottom of the caldera has been closed to the public because of Danger. You can stand on the edge of the caldera and see the steam coming out of the vent and at night it makes a gorgeous glow, but you can't actually see the lava lake.

So we decided we wanted to see the lava lake.

I've actually done this before, about six months ago, but I don't think I talked about it anywhere other than Twitter, and I'm not sure I posted any photos. That time, we crossed the caldera at night without flashlights (to avoid detection) on one of the old hiking trails, and let me tell you, even with a half moon it is a pain in the ass to follow a trail over black lava rock marked out by black lava rock cairns in the dark without flashlights. But we got there and back and I feel pretty badass about my navigation skills, actually.

This time we walked down the road, which is a MUCH SMARTER WAY TO GO.

Anyway, I can't... I can't properly describe to you what it's like. I've been getting up close and personal with molten lava my whole life, but where watching lava trickle into the ocean is fucking amazing, standing on the edge of a cliff and looking down the throat of the volcano into the molten lifeblood of the Earth is FUCKING AMAZING. It's this whole other level of astonishing. It's the closest thing to a religious experience I've ever had. It reduces you to idiotic babbling.

The lava lake was even more exciting than the last time I saw it, too. It was much closer to the edge of the vent, and much more active. Louder, a constant low rumble, and constantly bubbling, and at one end a spatter fountain kept flinging lava into the air and onto the surface of the lake with audible splashes.

Pictures don't do it justice, but here's one anyway. I took video also (still doesn't do it justice) but I haven't had time to upload and knowing me I NEVER WILL so here's one of [livejournal.com profile] look_alive's.

I'd like to thank Pele again for being gracious and hospitable and allowing us to admire her in all of her fiery magnificence and walk safely away again. Mahalo nui loa, seriously.

...Anyway, off to Hakalau again tomorrow. For the past three weeks, and for the foreseeable future, I'm spending three days a week up on the refuge harassing birds for science. I spend all day in the beautiful forest, and then drink a lot of beer and eat amazing food. I fucking love my life, you guys.
zolac_no_miko: (‘I‘iwi)
So I had an awesome time in Lupea. This place, I can't even express, to a person like me it's like Candyland. See, it's extremely remote, and on private property, only accessible by passing through several other large parcels of private property, so it's not really a place very many people get to see. And the more I travel in Hawaiian wilderness, the more I appreciate that there's no such thing as just rainforest or just mesic forest or just dryland forest, every corner of these islands has its own unique community with its own unique mix of species, so everywhere I go I'm seeing something new. And we travelled through some amazing stuff on the way to Lupea. A highlight was the old-growth rainforest of immensely tall, broad-trunked, ancient 'ohi'as, wrapped in lush tangles of 'ie'ie vines.

And then we get to Lupea, in the saddle between Hualalai and Mauna Loa, and it's this fabulous forest of old-growth koa-sandalwood-mamane-naio forest, some big 'ohi'as and kōleas on the 'a'a flows, and just–these sandalwoods, I can't even. They were tall, like, properly tall, 60-70 feet tall (?), and many broad enough I couldn't put my arms around them. And so many of them, thousands of trees.

...Some context. Back in the monarchy days, the Chinese found out about our 'iliahi sandalwoods and sparked a wildfire of logging. Hawaiians were cutting down every 'iliahi they could find and loading them on ships to China. Sandalwood very nearly went extinct in Hawai'i. Even today sandalwood is a rare and valuable wood, sandalwood oil is going for $1000-$1500 per kilo these days. Most Hawaiian sandalwood I've seen is really a glorified shrub, maybe 15 feet tall and 30 years old at best; I've really only seen two or three specimens in the whole state that could properly be called a tree. So Lupea? BLEW MY MIND.

Really beautiful area. In the mornings, when it's clear, the views of Hualalai, Mauna Loa, and Mauna Kea are magnificent. The forest is, again, exceptionally stunning, even though the ground has been completely denuded by feral sheep, so the forest is sorely lacking in understory species and young trees. There were, indeed, quite a lot of sheep, especially on the other side of the fence. There are also feral dogs, which was a bit scary; we heard them howling in the early morning. Another unpleasant sound was the sound of chainsaws from the property next door, continuing to cut down ancient hardwoods (Lupea, thankfully, belongs to Kamehameha Schools, which has sworn not to earn a cent from cutting live native trees).

I had some singular experiences up there. I've now tasted the sandalwood nut, and wow, I can see why the rats love them so much. Something between raw coconut and raw macadamia nut. And then there was that fallen sandalwood log that was blocking the road, so Andrew picked it up and took it back to camp. And the last evening was dry and clear, and he chainsawed the log into pieces and we set it on fire. Let me tell you, there is something opulently extravagant in the highest degree to burn sandalwood. We felt like we should be sitting on polar bear rugs, eating endangered species caviar and drinking the kind of vodka that has gold flakes in it, I mean, that was seriously some Donald Trump shit right there, propping our wet hiking boots up next to the hibachi full of burning sandalwood, wafting the perfumed smoke over us. Just, fantastic. That could happen nowhere else, not in these islands anyway.

...So yeah, it was a fun camping trip, even if I want to punch every last feral sheep in the face.

I have already embarked on my next adventure. I'm sitting at the gate in Los Angeles at ass o'clock in the morning, waiting for my flight to Baltimore, enroute (eventually) to Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Bulgaria. Got about 45 minutes yet until I board... time for more fanfic, I guess! :D

Catch y'all on the flipside!
zolac_no_miko: (all elephants (swim))
For those of you who like to look at STUNNING BEAUTY, have a link to a selection of photos from this year's National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.

Prepare for your face to fall off and your breath to come short. These photos are AMAZING. Especially the first one, which is, incidentally, taken by a childhood friend of mine. I used to watch Disney movies and build lean-tos in the woods with this girl. Now she's a professional photographer and DEAR GOD.

ETA: Dallas' jaw-dropping Lava Kiss photo has gone viral. This is so cool! IT'S LIKE I KNOW A FAMOUS PERSON.
zolac_no_miko: (some say his first name is The)
So a bunch of stuff happened in the last couple weeks. Had fun going to the Kamehameha Day Festival and seeing Prometheus. ...The movie was awesome, by the way... definitely very Ridley Scott, if you like Ridley Scott. Creepy Android!Michael Fassbender was, as I fully expected, my favorite. ...Now I feel like I need to marathon the Alien movies. (Tried to watch Blade Runner the other night... BORED ME TO TEARS.)

The last couple of weeks have been pretty nice at work... exploring Kahuku, mist-netting at ‘Ainahou... I like ‘Ainahou, I mean, it's pretty weedy and there's lower bird diversity and I'm pretty biased towards the rainforest (‘Ainahou's a lot drier than Nauhi), but... it's just a really nice place to hang out. It's sunny and warm and the birds come in at just the right pace... and I'm lounging in the grass under a blue sky, writing, and getting up occasionally to go for a walk under the trees and check nets, and play with birds for a few minutes before going back to lounging and writing and just... how awesome is my life?? Other people work in cubicles. (I told my mom this and she pointed out that other people get paid more than $20 a day. THANKS MOM. ...It's still the best job ever, so there. XP)

And then Friday before last Jackie and I were going to go to Na‘alehu to meet with her friend John from The Nature Conservancy and pore over maps and get his opinions on the best ways to access remote parts of the Ka‘u Forest Reserve, but he absolutely had to go into the field that day... so we went with him! We met up with him and this-younger-guy-whose-name-I-forget in Pahala and drove up to TNC's Kaiholena Preserve, which was AWESOME because I've never ever been up there before. It's way up in the Ninole Hills, which is this really awesome and interesting and (I think) kinda creepy area in Ka‘u, where a massive fault-slip and subsequent erosion created these hills that look completely out of place with the rest of the island's geology (most hills in Hawai‘i are cinder cones), and they're all green and mysterious with their heads in the clouds and I've always wanted to go up there. And the forest in Kaiholena is beautiful, really pristine and full of all my favorite plants, and we took a nice walk along the fence line marking out where the helicopter needed to drop fence-repair materials and I had a lot of trouble keeping up because I kept stopping to geek out at the botany. ^_^;; And we had lunch TNC's little pavilion at the bottom of the preserve with a gorgeous view down to the coast, and on the way down we took a side trip to one of the hills to see this plant called nuku ‘i‘iwi (‘i‘iwi bill) because I'd never seen it/heard of it before and Jackie thought I'd enjoy it, which is... really kind of sweet, actually. It's this really cool vine with beautiful flowers that, yes, do resemble ‘i‘iwi bills in color and shape, and as;hgkalhskfakjshdfls NEW PLANT. *geeks out some more* And all of the lower hills had, mixed in with the native plants, ti and kukui and one of the old Hawaiian varieties of bananas, the name of which I forget, but John told me it was one of the few varieties that women were allowed to eat, and also that it was one of the varieties of bananas that the Hawaiians brought with them in their very first voyage, which makes sense because we're so close to that very first settlement down there. Looking at those ti and kukui and bananas that were probably descendants of plants planted around the very oldest Hawaiian settlements gave me a kind of chicken-skin feeling. ...Anyway, IT WAS A COOL TRIP and it made me very happy. Fuck $20 a day, I CAN'T BELIEVE I GET PAID FOR THIS AT ALL.

On Saturdays I've been doing a bunch of chores for Mom, since her arm's in a cast and she can't do a lot. Father's Day Dad came up to Volcano, and we had a really excellent afternoon: lunch at Lava Rock Cafe, wine tasting at the Volcano Winery, a trip to Jaggar to watch the steam come out of Halema‘uma‘u, and a trip down to ‘Ainahou so I could show him my work site and the historic ranch buildings.

Last week has been more netting at ‘Ainahou mostly, although Thursday and Friday I was on-loan to Mark Kupono trying to catch ‘i‘iwi up Mauna Loa Strip Road. No ‘i‘iwi in the net, just ‘amakihi and ‘apapane and white-eyes, but one of the ‘apapane was this really pretty hatch year bird that was in between fledgling and adult plumage... mostly red with gray and tawny bits and a red racing stripe on the back of its head. SO CUTE. And it was just a really nice day up there, lounging on the rocks and reading. ...Boss Jackie is taking off for Bali for three weeks, so I expect to be doing a lot more of this, along with fun things like data entry and organizing the supply closet. :P

Another major thing is I moved into my boss Dennis' house Thursday before last. He and his family are on vacation for over a month, traveling on the Mainland and in Italy, and I'm house-sitting for them. (Thus the adventure with the can opener the other day.) It's... a bit of an adjustment for me, because they have two dogs and three cats and two bunnies and two turtles and some fish, and it's weird having dependents. And the dogs need to be walked every day, and they have to be walked really early in the morning when no one else is on the street because they get aggressive with other dogs and strange people, so this means I wake up at 6:00 even on the weekends, which is just... not like me at all, heh. But all of the animals are super sweet. It's pretty nice for my ego to come home and EVERYONE IS SO HAPPY TO SEE ME OMG. So I'm really enjoying it, even if there's dog hair EVERYWHERE and Belle is needy and loud and psychotic and has WAY TOO MUCH ENERGY and Splotch has a marked tendency to wake me up at 2:30 in the morning MEOWING LOUDLY FOR NO REASON AT ALL. Can't get too upset with them, THEY'RE ALL SO CUTE.

Oh and also I PIMPED MY RIDE. )
zolac_no_miko: (Pele says hello)
Well, here you go, guys, you've been waiting for this one long enough. I'll make another post at some point with a picspam of Everything Else I've been doing since, like, February, but here's the bird stuff at least.

First off, I should summarize the Nauhi Experience, since I've never really gone and done that. )

PICTURES )

Not that anyone would notice if I didn't tell you, but my ‘okina and kahakō are ALL OVER THE PLACE in this; can't be arsed to worry about it overly much, too exhausted. @_@
zolac_no_miko: (authentic Hawaiian coconut tree)
Been meaning to see this movie for a while; I'd heard a lot of good things. And yeah, I liked it a lot. It was... subtle. I liked that it was authentic Hawai‘i, without being in your face about it. The shirts, the paintings, the carved wooden bowls, the streets and trees and neighborhoods, the authentic locations, the quiet chirp of a gecko. I liked that we got to see glimpses of the neighbor islands. I loved the soundtrack of Hawaiian slack key standards: elegant, understated, beautiful. I recommend seeing it, if you haven't.

That it was a story about affluent white people got my hackles up a bit, because it offers such a distorted view of what Hawai‘i is like to most of the people who live here. I did really like that the movie addresses this head-on; I loved that speech he made to Cousin Hugh at the King family meeting.

I had sort of strangely-colored lenses on while watching, because my boss Jackie said that the fictional King family makes her think of the way I talk about my family (large kama‘aina haole family, several generations born in the Islands, owns property). So I couldn't help doing the compare-and-contrast thing. The Kings are a lot richer than the Gills, certainly, and they've been in the islands a lot longer... they're somewhere between my family and the Campbells, and a lot closer to the Campbells at that. Like, they're a less-Hawaiian, less-famous, less-royal, less-influential version of the Campbells. Or maybe they're a bit like a whiter version of the Parkers. (Heck, they're a hell of a lot whiter than the Gills, at least if you take my generation into account. XD) Because it's an older family, it's a much bigger family, and they don't seem quite as close.

It was other parts of the movie that I found myself identifying with, parts relating to Matt and his immediate family. Cut conceals minor movie spoilers but mostly me waxing emotional about family, those departed and those that don't yet and may never exist. )
zolac_no_miko: (authentic Hawaiian coconut tree)
Walp, I was hoping to make a status post/picspam for my life/job so far this spring before vanishing into the wilderness until June, but it's not looking like I'm going to have time for that, although I have started sorting through my pictures. But I think I can manage a quick post about my archaeology weekend!

My two days with the dig were a lot of fun! I learned a lot about/actively participated in the materials and methods of a proper archaeological dig. I mostly did a lot of digging, although on Saturday afternoon I helped Pat (Dr. Kirch) with his surveying, and I did a bit of dry sieving at the end. The surveying was interesting... it involves a glorified yardstick (telescoping, extends to... very very high above my head, enough that it catches wind and starts being very difficult to hold upright) and a fancy scope on a plane on a tripod. There's a level on the plane so you can set it up flat, and a built-in compass so you know which way you're pointed. My job was to wander around the site and hold the 'yardstick' still and vertical; by sighting the stick through the crosshairs of his scope, Pat can determine the distance and ground height relative to the scope. In this way he can determine the precise 3-D location of every single stone, and draw a detailed map of the site, including contour lines. It's a really cool tool, but they don't make them anymore; his is from the Forties.

The digging was tough; the soil up there is dense, hard-packed clay, in places almost as hard as rock. We only made it fifteen or twenty centimeters in Units 1 and 2 in a day and a half of digging (each Unit is a meter squared). We've already found some interesting stuff, though: a piece of seashell with a hole drilled through it, a chunk of coral (bear in mind, the site is at almost 2000 ft), and lots of little pieces of charcoal. At Unit 2, the unit I was digging, we've determined that the wall of the pā doesn't extend further down than what's visible on the surface; no sign of paving, either, at least not in that spot. On the one hand, vaguely disappointing; on the other hand, this means the charcoal we've already found can probably be used to date the pā! :DD

Our ranger, community liaison, cultural adviser, and friend, Thomas Anuheali‘i has been on-hand throughout the dig to keep an eye on the spiritual aspect of things, as well as to help with the digging. We are so lucky to have a friend and ally in Anu; he is so knowledgeable and does so much for us. Before we started digging on Friday, he and his wife Maka and his kumu (teacher and mentor) Auntie Kehau blessed the site, and then blessed us, with water from Pālehua and Mauna Kea. He blessed us again yesterday, and each day at pau hana (finished work), and provides shorter blessings every time anyone leaves or enters the site (i.e. to eat lunch up at the house). He chants occasionally during the dig, when he feels the need, although most of the time he's helping out with the hard labor. By his instruction, we were also under a sugar kapu during work hours: no man-made sugars from eight in the morning to pau hana; this is a Lent type thing, a sacrifice, and a way to keep our minds focused on the seriousness of the work.

I am really really happy that we have Anu to help us observe the culturally correct and respectful way of doing things. It feels... pono. It makes the dig not about taking data from the site, and more of a community partnership, a cultural conversation, an equivalent exchange of mana. And I'm happy and proud to be a part of a family that had no interest in doing things any other way.

...Anyway, pictures from the dig will have to wait until I come back in June, along with my old pictures and my new pictures from the Lower Hakalau Vigilante Bushwhack Expedition and the bog in the middle of nowhere that will be my home for ten days. By then the dig will be over; hopefully when I get back I'll have exciting (or at least interesting) news about the results from Uncle Tim!

Oh god how is it this late in the day already, okay, BUYING/PACKING ALL OF THE THINGS NOW. T_T
zolac_no_miko: (I love you :D)
Just watched H50 s02e17, "Kupale". THIS EPISODE MAKES ME HAVE ALL OF THE FEELS. I just. It had a little bit of everything I like to see in the show. To wit:

-Hawaiian history/culture.
-Hawaiian current events/politics.
-Environmental issues/Hawaiian native species.
-Steve and Danny expressing affection for each other.
-Steve and Danny bitchfighting (same thing).
-Steve and Danny living in each others' spaces.
-Easily applied Steve/Danny slash goggles.
-Danny being happy and adorable and awkward with his feels.
-TEEEEEEEAAAAAMMMM~!
-No seriously so much Five-0 Team Ohana oh my heart. (Including supporting cast! Like. All of them!)
-Steve pulling ridiculous terrifying Super SEAL stunts to catch suspects. (JESUS WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU MCGARRETT. ...NEVER CHANGE.)
-Steve driving Danny's car.
-Danny in a wet shirt WHAT I HAVE A PULSE.

Plus bonus APOLO OHNO AAHGLHSKFJASKFFSKGHSJDKFLS. Gdammit I thought he looked familiar. AND HOT. ...Since when is he doing acting? Maybe they're just running low on hapa celebrities so they just called his ass up. His very fine, Olympic speedskating, sexy ass. Unf. Although apparently he's also a Dancing with the Stars champion. APOLO OHNO DANCING YES THIS I WANT TO SEE.

TL,DR; ALSHGKA;SJGHKSLFJSGHSFSKDS. ILU H50 MY STUPID HAPPY FEEL-GOOD SHOW. T_T
zolac_no_miko: (Americana exotica)
-All of my secular prayers for the passengers of the Costa Concordia that have yet to be found.

-The biggest news in all of the Hawaiian newspapers recently is in regards to the intentional killings of three Hawaiian monk seals (an endangered species endemic to the Hawaiian chain) since November, and a suspected possible fourth. There's a $30,000 reward being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the killers. It's suspected that the killings were committed by fishermen, to whom the seals are often considered nuisances that compete with the humans for their catches. Tensions have increased recently, as the monk seal population in the main Hawaiian Islands has continued to grow, and NOAA has proposed expanding monk seal critical habitat from the Northwest Hawaiian Islands to almost the entirety of the shores and waters of the main Hawaiian chain.

...This is just killing me, guys, these sorts of conflicts between humans and wildlife are just horrible.

This face. I ask you.



;_;
zolac_no_miko: (authentic Hawaiian coconut tree)
Yesterday Alex and I went to Makalawena Beach, which is a gorgeous white sand beach in Kekaha Kai State Park on the Kona side, that can only be accessed by either a) walking a long way in the hot hot sun over sharp, rough ‘a‘a rock, or b) taking your life in your hands and a 4x4 vehicle that you don't like very much down the access "road". Alex has a Nissan XTerra and is the best kind of lunatic, so we went with option b. (No seriously, I can't even tell you how fucked up this 4x4 track is, I mean, I've driven in some pretty effing gnarly places for my various internships, but jesus, that road gave us a thrashing! :DD)

Anyway, skipping past all of the very excellent things about Makalawena and going straight to the WHALES, OMG SO MANY WHALES, HOLY SHIT WHALES~!!! It's humpback season in Hawai‘i, and I've been looking and looking and hadn't seen any until yesterday just before sunset, when HOLY SHIT SO MANY WHALES showed up. I can't even, I've lived in Hawai‘i my whole life and I've traveled to Alaska and I've had some pretty freaking excellent whale sightings, but in terms of the combination of sheer number of whales, proximity to the whales, and whale activity, this was THE BEST I'VE EVER SEEN. There had to have been a dozen of them, at least, maybe more, hard to tell, they're under the water and they move around, so. There were definitely one or two babies. The closest whales, a group of I think three, including a baby, was FOR SERIOUS ONLY A HUNDRED METERS OFF SHORE. We could have swum out to them easily if that wasn't a) illegal, and b) dangerous. There was a lot of spouting and we had a couple nice views of tails, and then there were the two whales further out that just WOULD NOT STOP BREACHING, they were having a freaking BREACHING PARTY, oh my god, just flinging themselves bodily out of the water OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

BEST. WHALES. EVER.

...Okay [livejournal.com profile] platoapproved, it's safe now.

So anyway, this beach. Not too crowded due to the effort it takes to get there, and it's beautiful and there are fun sea creatures and the waves are nice for bodyboarding or surfing, and there were moa (those Polynesian chickens) wandering around entertaining us by boldly stealing food from people's unwatched bags. And surrounding the beach there are a series of rare anchialine ponds and ʻŌpaeʻula Pond, a wetland area that's a National Natural Landmark and is one of the only remaining breeding and nesting areas for rare Hawaiian wetland birds such as the āeʻo (Hawaiian Stilt), the ʻalae keʻokeʻo (Hawaiian Coot), and the ʻaukuʻu (Black-crowned Night Heron). There were SO MANY STILTS, which was super exciting, you almost never see those, and I've never seen so many at once, oh my gaaaaaawd I really wished I'd brought binoculars, and oh my god this place is totally going on my list of Awesome Birding Places to take [livejournal.com profile] shichahn to when she finally comes to visit me.

Also, check out how cute this bird is, seriously. )

...And the vog wasn't bad and the sunset was FUCKING BEAUTIFUL and asghsla;hfklsahgkfs it was a Perfect. Freaking. Day. TT_TT

Also tomorrow is a holiday so tonight a bunch of us are driving up to Kawaihae for dinner at the Blue Dragon and SO MUCH DANCING to the very excellent Olliephonics, OMG YAY I AM EXCITE.
zolac_no_miko: (Pele says hello)
I hope you appreciate how long it took me to put this post together. Literally days. There are A LOT of pictures. I swear I was trying to be frugal in my selection.

...So, that backpacking trip I went on last week....



(Click on the pictures for larger versions. Also, turn your heads for sideways pictures. I really can't be arsed to fix that.)

Haleakalā is one of my very favorite places in the entire motherfucking world. )
zolac_no_miko: (Liberty/Justice)
Me again, back already, I know, but there was a thing in the paper about civil unions being legal in Hawai‘i starting January 1st. Yay! I've somehow completely failed at hearing about this before now, although to be fair I was still in Oregon when Abercrombie signed the bill. Also I never read the paper, ffff.

Anyway, it's not marriage (and seriously, wtf is taking us so long? I blame the high percentages of Catholics and Mormons in this state), and we've already got a lesbian couple suing the state because of it (and more power to them, somebody should), but I'm inclined to think that all progress is good progress, so I'm in a good mood about it.

My grandfather would be pleased. ^_^ (Or maybe he'd be grumpy that it's still not marriage, but this is more of a result than he got out of that other governor, so you and me, Grandpa, I guess we'll take what we can get.)

So anyway, yay progress! Hopefully we'll take that next step soon. COME ON HAWAI‘I, YOU CAN DO IT. I know you're a bit salty since the gays stole the rainbow, but this is the Aloha State, okay, let's not hold a grudge.
zolac_no_miko: (self-explanatory)
Okay so it's past my bedtime already and as usual I am underslept (there is really not enough time in a day to work eight hours and commute and do all of the things I want/need to do), but I'm going to do a drive-by post of THINGS, because if anything I am about to get busier. When the fuck am I going to do my Christmas shopping oh my gaaaaaaaaaaawd!! T_T

First off, Ted Maddry is here with his girlfriend Lea... he's here to teach a Blues workshop this weekend. Mom's on O‘ahu for work, so I picked them up from the airport and fed them and showed them the ropes. It was instantly clear that they are both fabulous people, as I have come to expect from the traveling Swing/Blues instructor crowd; I'm really looking forward to learning from Ted and to hanging out with them and showing them around the island for the next week. Ted bought us beer (Maui Brewing Company Coconut Porter oh my gaaaaaaawwwwd~!) and said some really complimentary things about my mother (that he's been hearing her name from everyone on the circuit as a workshop coordinator who is supremely excellent to work with, and having corresponded with her for this workshop he can now see why) that I hope he will repeat in her presence, because awww~.

So, yeah, I'mma be busy playing tour guide and Blues dancing and having fun, and then next week I'm going on a Waipi‘o-Waimanu backpacking trip with some people, which I am super excited about; with this trip and the Labor Day Mauna Loa summit adventure that's two out of three crossed off of my Big Island Backpacking Bucket List... now if I can only get Pele to cooperate so I can camp at Nāpau-! ...Oh man, and then I've got the Haleakala backpacking trip coming up in January... SO MUCH AWESOME HIKING YAY.

And now a list of Things To Flail About:

- For those of you who enjoy Red vs. Blue, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog, the sillier bits of Doctor Who, and/or THINGS THAT ARE AWESOME, I highly recommend The Visitor from the Future (Le Visiteur du Futur), a French science fiction/comedy web series (don't worry, it comes with subtitles). The show is, in general, much like its title character: adorable, frenetic, and slightly insane (oh my god I have such a crush on the Visitor and his crazyface, for serious, SO IN LOVE), and it's full of time-travel shenanigans and robots and zombies and silliness. So. WATCH IT.

Continued under the cut: rock and roll, naked Fassbender, jet packs, lava, SPACE, and that guy I like. And Batman eats a pony. )

THAT TOOK WAY LONGER THAN I MEANT IT TO, OH GOD I'M SO TIRED, okay bye now!

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