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Visiting Hawaii - Part 2

After four days on Maui, we hopped a flight to Kaua'i for the second half of our Hawaiian vacation!

Arriving in Kaua'i
After leaving the fancy hotel and getting a Lyft to the airport, we arrived perfectly on time, took our three pineapples through security, and then... waited.  Our flight out of Kahului was two hours delayed.  Fortunately I had plenty of books to read!  The flight itself was short and uneventful, and we arrived in Lihue just in time to pick up the car, drive to Kapa'a, and get some dinner at Kaua'i Pasta, since most restaurants close at 9pm.  Then we found our Airbnb and got some sleep.

Day One
As usual, we were up relatively early, but for once didn't have to be somewhere right away.  We had a breakfast of fresh pineapple and then went to explore Kapa'a.  We visited some shops, picking up breakfast food for later, some papayas (they had three different kinds at the grocery store!), local chocolate (pretty bad), and kulolo, a Hawaiian dessert …
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Visiting Hawaii - Part 1

I've discovered that everyone in California has an opinion about vacationing in Hawaii. From my boss, who sent me photos of his favorite spot on Kaua'i; to friends of friends we see at parties, who recommended shave ice places on Maui; to good friends we've known for years, who have honeymooned there; and even to ex-Californians living in other states, we had no end of folks recommending places to see and providing suggestions. So after five years in California, we finally made the trip! I had been hoping to go for years, probably ever since my sixth grade science teacher covered the unit on volcanoes in such detail (he was from Hawaii). Thanks to the recent volcanic activity, though, we had to nix the Big Island and focus on other places, but thanks to our many friends who've been before, we didn't have to do too much research to figure out where to go. I was especially grateful for this, because most of what there is to do on Hawaii is outside, which is not my…

Voter's Guide - June 5, 2018 Election, Santa Clara County

If you're like me, you spend a lot of time figuring out who to vote for, because there is no single place to get all the voter information you need.  So, since I have already spent the last several hours deciding how to vote, I've compiled all the information I used here, so you can decide for yourself!  This is relevant to the Santa Clara County election here in California, so if you are looking for San Francisco-specific information, you can try SPUR or other sources.  Obvious disclaimer:  I am looking for progressive candidates who support strong liberal policies on the environment, housing, education, human rights, and the economy.  If you disagree with me, you may want to look elsewhere.

For each position or proposition, I'm going to list the position, my recommendation, link to my sources, and then note other viable candidates (if any).

State & National Offices

Governor:  Gavin Newsom
Former SF mayor Gavin Newsom has an almost overwhelming amount of policy object…

Exhibition Review: "Architectural Pavilions"

Back in October, during my two week "experiment" of living in San Francisco, I visited the Museum of Craft and Design, a great little museum in the Dogpatch, to check out their exhibit "Architectural Pavilions: Experiments and Artifacts."  Much of the work seemed familiar, either because I had read about or seen it before (DO|SU Studio's Bloom, IwamotoScott, SITU) or because it looked a lot like other work I've seen elsewhere, either in studio courses or around the web (Future Cities Lab, Jay Nelson, Warren Techentin).  Unfortunately the exhibit is over now, so it's no longer on view, but I encourage you to check out the museum regardless.

Pavilions are the playgrounds of architecture, where designers are liberated from the rules that make new materials and new shapes difficult to use (eg, waterproofing, permanence) and thus allow explorations that are sometimes otherwise impossible.  For me, though, I don't think it's enough to try out crazy s…

Book Review: The Power Broker

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert Caro is a 1974 Pulitzer Prize-winning nonfiction/biographical account of  Robert Moses' career in New York City.  Many others have written better reviews of the book, the writing of the book, and even re-evaluations of the book, so I won't try to re-invent the wheel (or tire).  What I do want to try here is to express my reaction to the book, and pull out some choice excerpts that relate most strongly to my own interests in urbanism and architecture.

I have a favorite saying: Never blame on malice what you can blame on ignorance.  I had always blamed poor city planning and transit problems in New York City on ignorance.  Now, I know better.  Planners at the time of Moses knew his policies would be failures -- but they had no power to stop him, so he went ahead anyway.  You might be able to claim that Moses' excuse was ignorance, but it was willful ignorance and a blanket refusal to allow his ideas to be ques…

Book Review: Selling Jerusalem

Selling Jerusalem: Relics, Replicas, Theme Parks by Professor Annabel Jane Wharton*

After reading Professor Wharton's most recent book, Architectural Agents (my review is here), I knew I needed to read her previous volume, Selling Jerusalem (from 2006).  And I'm pleased that I finally did!  The book covered a wide swath of topics I find interesting: Israel/Palestine, Early Christianity, architecture (of course), theme parks, and art history.  Professor Wharton weaves a dual narrative of how Jerusalem has been "consumed" in the West by means of its images (in the form of relics, reproductions, panoramas, etc) at the same time that that consumption has changed together with changing economic systems (from gifting and barter, to monetary exchange, to late capitalism and globalization).  The brief "Conclusion" chapter gives an excellent and succinct recapitulation of the book's arguments:  "This text argues that the forms by which Jerusalem has been ap…

Stuff I Made: Moar of It

Yes, friends, it's time once again for me to show off some stuff I made, having accumulated enough stuff to constitute a post.

I have been thinking about doing this for literally years.  Why didn't I do it sooner?  Who knows.  Here they are now:

These are super easy Harry Potter-inspired wands, via this tutorial.  Next up I need to make a wand holster, via this tutorial, to make it easier to carry the wand around!  (If you're super ambitious and want to make a wand that lights up, try this tutorial instead.)

To ensure you don't think that everything I make turns out well, I present to you, unfinished & abandoned Christmas ornaments of 2017:

The laser cutter melted the edges so they were sticky and gross; the engraving was impossible to read; I couldn't figure out the paint job.  Sorry folks.  You'll have to wait til next year for ornaments.  But I did manage to cut out a bunch of squares of cardboard that may yet become something, someday!

In case you didn…