Monday--Friday, Nov. 14--18

It's all a blur. One of my more interesting distractions at work has been git, and I got to fool with it a bit more. I've been depending on a complicated set of shell and perl scripts to maintain my kernel patches, based on Andrew Morton's patch scripts, but I decided to try out the git-based patch-management tool stgit. Since both Trond and Chuck were using it, and Chuck has been doing a fair amount of development on it, I figured it'd be good to use the same thing. And I was curious.

It's a neat tool. I'm not convinced it really takes the right approach, but it looks more than sufficient for my purposes.

Friday night Sara and I met at Silvio's again. The movie, "Branded to Kill", was another one where I just watched the images and didn't try to understand who was doing what to whom. So I suppose I can hardly blame it for not making sense. But that's what I want it to do anyway.

Sunday, Nov. 26

We went to see a free WCBN-sponsored concert by Frank Pahl's toy band "Little Bang Theory" at the art museum. It was great. At the time I kept thinking it reminded me of Yann Tiersen's music, but when I went home and put on my one Yann Tiersen CD it seemed much less interesting than what I'd just heard.

Saturday, Nov. 12

After juggling we talked the jugglers into going to Silvio's again. I thought my food was OK but not that interesting. Sara got something she really liked--more of a pizza crust with salad on top than an actual pizza--so now she's a big fan.

We hung out there long enough that Silvio came out and gave us some desert and remarked on our having showed up twice in a row.

Afterwards we discovered that Dave was doing a show with his improv group that night in Ypsilanti. So we arranged to go.

The show was fairly well attended, and it was fun to see Dave on stage--he's good at it. I didn't find it terrifically funny, though. I guess I have a limited tolerance for these improv games even when they're done extremely well. They tend to degenerate into silly nonsequitors. I don't feel like anyone gets the chance to come up with really interesting stuff.

Friday, Nov. 11

Dean recommended a new organic pizza place opened by his friend, Silvio's. So today Sara and I met there before the Japanese movie. It was plain food, but good. The pizza crust was especially tasty. Peter and his daughter was there. He was exasperated with my talk on Thursday, but didn't have any specifics.

The movie, "Farewell to the Ark", was pretty surreal. I didn't worry about understanding it or following the plot, and just sat back and watched the succession of strange scenes. I enjoyed it that way.

Wednesday--Thursday, Nov. 9--10: School of Information

As part of CITI's move to the School of Information, we're all reapplying for our current titles. The stakes aren't particularly high, in theory--it's not as though we're competing with anyone for our jobs--but it annoys me anyway. I suppose it's good for me somehow.

So Thursday was my big day, with a talk at noon surrounded by a day of meetings with SI faculty.

I only got that date Thursday, and between jet lag and my desire not to work Saturday, that didn't leave me with much preparation time.

Marius and Niels were also in town, so I had dinner with them and other folks Wednesday night at the ABC, though I did skip the book group meeting on Tuesday. (It was for a book I'd read before--American Gods--but not one I was that interested in, and I wasn't going to have time to reread it anyway.)

I thought the talk went reasonably well, considering, but it was hard to tell what I was really supposed to be doing. I didn't feel like I made a particularly good impression, and I wasn't really thinking well on my feet throughout the day. But some of the faculty were interesting, so it was fun to talk to people.

The process of becoming something more like a "real" faculty member in the new department is going to be frightening, I think. We'll see.

Saturday, Nov. 5

It was my birthday, so I got breakfast out. I chose the Cloverleaf. It's cheap, underrated, and not too noisy, unlike some of the other local places.

We went to juggling, then to Cottage Inn afterwards. I just went for the company, and had a hot apple cider--no need for food so soon after a big breakfast.

My parents gave me a bathrobe when I went off to college, but I must have lost it at some point. I don't remember when. I'd been complaining about the loss recently, so Sara made up for it with a soft fleece bathrobe as a birthday present.

My parents renewed our New Yorker subscription. I've actually started reading the articles, not just the cartoons. It's nice for travel, as I can take a bunch of old New Yorkers with me (they always pile up) and discard them as I read.

Friday, Nov. 4: bananas

I kept notes and pictures for Hawaii, but my memory of ordinary days back in Ann Arbor is gone.

So instead I'll write about bananas. They had more than one variety of banana in the markets in Hawaii. The one I kept getting was the apple banana, which seemed a little smaller, firmer, and tastier. I liked it.

Thursday, Nov. 3: back at work

The plane arrived early in the morning. The shuttle that was supposed to be waiting for us didn't show up, so we eventually gave up and took a cab.

I thought it would only make my jetlag worse if I immediately went to sleep. I also didn't see how I was going to avoid sleeping if I stayed at work. So I went to work, where I deleted spam and did a few other odds and ends.

After work I went to the WBWC's annual membership meeting. It was at the ABC, and they showed "The End of Suburbia". Which I found unenlightening. It makes an argument I'm sympathetic to, but one that I've already heard, and didn't present any evidence to speak of. The room was packed, so I guess the way to get good meeting attendance is to hold it in a bar. (Or was it the movie?)

Wednesday, Nov. 2: Coffee, flying home

After another pleasant breakfast overlooking the coffee plantation, Hans showed us around. He was totally geeked about coffee, and seemed like he might talk all day about it to a willing audience, so Sara was reluctant to ask him all the questions she might have for fear that me and one other guest would be bored. But I found it all pretty fascinating. We got to pick a couple beans and bite into them. There's a small, mildly sweet, red fruit around the coffee beans. He was growing a wide variety of other stuff too.

We should have done some more sightseeing, but I was nervous about getting to the airport on time, so we tried and failed to find one thing, then spent some time driving up and down Alii and looking at a few things, and had a snack at a coffeeshop.

So we arrived at the airport much earlier than necessary, dropped off the car, went through security and the agricultural inspection, then found a place to sit.

The ride home was very long, but uneventful. With Sara to guide me we had less trouble finding the other terminal in LAX. She also insisted we stop by the international terminal, where we picked up some good Japanese take out.

We watched "The Perfect Man" on the way back, but I had to look up the movie on United's web site to remember that. It passed the time, but it was a very forgettable movie.

Tuesday, November 1

We'd been kind of pessimistic about the bed and breakfast based on the website pictures. But it turned out to be pretty neat. The hyperactive owner, Hans, insisted that we get up for breakfast at 7:30 so he could go off to a coffee-roasting seminar. We should have been irritated by his various admonitions the night before, but instead were bemused by them. Given my mild lingering jetlag I was happy enough to get up then anyway, though I'm usually a late riser.

As it turned out, it was a very pleasant setup--each room opened onto a porch and we ate our breakfast off a little table flanked by lawn chairs where we could sit and look out over Hans's coffee plantation and the coast beyond.

My goal for the day was to try some more snorkeling, so we set out for Kahaluu beach park, which the guidebooks and innkeepers were unanimous in recommending as an ideal beginning snorkeling park.

The Kailua-Kona coastal area seems to be one long string of resorts, hotels, restaurants and beaches along Alii drive. This beach was right off Alii, and featured concessions with snorkeling equipment. So we got outfitted and dived in. I'll never look at a beach the same way. I tend to assume it's all just water and sand under there, but it turns out the sea is full of fish. Who knew?

And the fish here were numerous, colorful, varied, and totally indifferent to swimmers. The coral and urchins were cool too.
I might have spent the day there, but I hardly ever swim, and found it tired me out quickly. The mask also became a little uncomfortable after a while. So after a couple sessions I decided I was ready to just sit on the beach. Sara failed to entice me back into the water despite her reports of watching a giant green sea tortoise swim underwater.

I wandered around the nearby tidepools, though, and saw some more fish, basking sea turtles, and lots of crabs.

We drove up Alii drive to lunch at a sushi place. It was yummy--Thai and Japanese food seem to be the way to go in Hawaii. Then we sat on another little beach for a while and watched kids playing with boogie boards in the surf.

One of the guidebooks suggested dinner at Huggo's, where you could supposedly watch Manta Rays at night. Huggo's looked expensive, so we tried their bar next door. It was perched attractively right over the water, and had spotlights over the water, but the tide looked too low for much sealife. We had a drink and some appetizers anyway, then went back across the street to a good Thai restaurant for dinner.


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