Monthly Archives: December 2010

Na Pali

Today on Kauai – we took the rental car, a red Mustang convertible, for a final spin, down the coast to the beach an Poipu, before returning it around noon. The cruise ship left port at 2p.m., as we were eating lunch, spinning again in the harbor before heading out into the ocean. The ship went north and then west to pass along the rugged northwest coast of Kauai, the Na Pali Coast, where the rugged hills plunge from 4000 feet down into the surf, cut by narrow valleys famed for their use in Hollywood films — here, the Hawaii ambassador spoke to the assembled passengers on deck over the loudspeaker, is the valley used in the Jurassic Park films; here is where Harrison Ford and Anne Heche landed in Six Days Seven Nights. Along the way, I posted Lois Tilton’s latest column; and this evening as I type, when it’s already New Year’s Day 2011 in New York City, I’ve just posted the initial January ads on the site. Tomorrow we disembark and fly home, and my post for tomorrow (the January issue TOC) is dependent on wifi access in the Honolulu airport.


Today, the north shore of Kaua’i (which I’ve realized does not precisely rhyme with Hawai’i). We drove to the end of the road — I think it’s charming, in some sense, that except for the Big Island, one cannot drive all the way around any of Oahu, Maui, or Kauai — past which are the film locations for various Hollywood pictures. The cruise ship will navigate along the north shore of the island, after our departure from Nawiliwili Bay here near Lihui tomorrow afternoon at 2p.m., to give first one side of the ship, then the other side, an offshore view of that famous landscape. We would have seen more of it today, had the cloud layer not been so low. Since Kauai’s north shore gets lots of precipitation, I suspect the days when its spectacular landscape is clearly visible are relatively few.

This evening, a lu’au, on an industrial scale — larger than the one we attended a few years ago in Lahaina, on Maui. Perhaps 700 people in a huge warehouse sized open-air structure. The show followed the buffet food, with nothing to begin that explained why we might be eating sweet potatoes and pork — or macaroni salad. The show itself was impressive, with dancing and fire baton-twirling, though the story it told, about a young couple separated by the expansionist ambitions of a tribal elder, but who are eventually reunited on the newly discovered and settled islands of Hawai’i, was as much Hollywood as history.

It’s a story actually as representative of the expansionist urge of the human race as any, including the central future history of science fiction, the expansion into space. Except that their voyages into an unknown sea were probably more daring and dangerous than the 20th century’s carefully calculated, risk-averse missions into space and back.


A late highlight of yesterday was the visibility of the Kilauea lava flow from the ship, at night, as the cruise ship headed from Hilo around the south end of the island toward Kona. Though the lava isn’t currently flowing into the sea, the lava field is still clearly visible from a distance of several miles, at night, where it looked like nothing so much as the southern California wildfires, burning in constellations of hotspots over the hillsides from afar.

Today we took a submarine tour of the depths of Kailua Bay at Kona, on the west shore of the Big Island of Hawaii. Which is to say, down to just past 100 feet, to see the coral beds, assorted small fish, and a couple odd shipwrecks. It was interesting enough, not spectacular, though according to the ride operators the experience earned us admission into some sort of 100 plus club.

Not much else here today; we didn’t buy an excursion or even rent a car. We strolled the shops, bought t-shirts and gifts for folks back home. Tomorrow is an island I’ve never visited before.


If this is Tuesday, we must be in Hilo, on the east side of the Big Island of Hawaii, along apparently with President Obama, judging from the Air Force One-appearing 747 sitting at the Hilo International Airport today.

Again, I avoided the pricey cruise-arranged excursions and rented my own car. We drove south to Volcano National Park, where the Kilauea Caldera is now mostly blocked off due to poor air conditions from the continual venting of volcanic gases. You can still drive from there down to the coast, as Charles Brown and I did in 2000 when I was first here, traveling over the desolate landscape made of up lava flows from just the past 20 or 30 years.

If tomorrow’s Wednesday, we’ll be in Kona.


This is my third visit to Maui, and each time I’ve been here, I’ve driven up to the top of Haleakala and had dinner at Mama’s Fish House.

On this trip I’ve caught a bit of a cold and so I’m ‘relaxing’ in my cabin (and updating the site) while the boys are out snorkling. Digital edition rates are forthcoming.

Today is overcast even in the morning, here at the port in Kahului. Most passengers are off ship on various excursions. Tonight we sail for the big island, Hilo.


Drove a bit Saturday morning around the southeast end of Oahu, through the high-end district east of Waikiki and then along the rugged coast, where there was more surf along a couple beaches there than there’d been a couple days before at Waimea. The boys watched the Lakers game from a Waikiki bar. We regrouped at 3, dropped off the rental car, and boarded our Norwegian Cruise ship at Pier 2. At 7 pm the ship eased away from the pier, did a slow 180 twirl, and then moved out into the ocean, heading south and then eastward…

This morning, docked in Kahului.

No Magazine/Website Monitor Listing this week, by the way.


We dined for Christmas Eve on the 30th floor restaurant of the Ilikai Hotel, Sarento’s, with an impressive view of the harbor below (not such a direct view of Waikiki Beach itself). As usual with such places, the view was more impressive than the food, though the food was OK.

This morning we’re checking out of our condo (where we’re required to do all the bedlinen laundry before we leave) then poking about for a few hours until it’s time to board our cruise. We’re doing a 7-day cruise among the islands, from here at Oahu, to Maui, the Big Island, Kauai, and then back to Oahu on 1/1/11.

Waimea, Oahu

Today was relaxing on the beach or in the room, then setting off on a day trip to the north side of Oahu, the surfing towns of Hale’iwa and Waimea. There was a torrential downpour along the way, for about 15 minutes. The surf was not impressive; swimmers and a couple surfers were out there, but it was not a prime day. Then, dinner at the Ihilani, where baby tigerhead sharks swim in the garden pools. Tomorrow, Pearl Harbor, maybe, if we can get the boys up in time.


I am in Hawaii this morning, on Oahu, first day of a 10-day vacation with my partner and his two sons. I expect to keep up daily posts on the site (beginning with an update to the Awards Index, actually finished a couple days ago) and email, though inevitably some of the less-urgent emails are bound to accumulate in the inbox over the that period of time.

I was in Honolulu a bit over 10 years ago, for that year’s Westercon, hosted at a nice Sheraton right on Waikiki beach. I was even looking forward to re-visiting the fabulous 30th-floor restaurant in that hotel, but just learned this morning, while planning out today’s itinerary, that the restaurant no longer exists, in the process of being turned into a lounge. Oh well. Other places and experiences await.


I spent a while this evening backing up and upgrading a couple of the Locus blogs that are hosted by WordPress, which has been alerting me of the need to upgrade to their latest version for a few weeks now.

What struck me as I followed the recommended steps for doing this, was how detailed and complex the instructions were. There were half a dozen detailed options for backing up the WordPress database, all involving apps I had never heard of. Well, not entirely — I did recognize one, and managed to find in the dashboard of the administrator login provided by our hosting service that corresponded to one of their suggested options (i.e. ‘phpMyAdmin’).

Yes yes, I know that there are many many web admins and gurus who understand these details and options backwards and forwards, and compared to them I am a neophyte, or dilettante, about such matters… even though, in the context of Locus editors, I’m supposedly the web/internet authority.

But my thoughts about this is are in a broader context — taking a wider perspective.

50 or 60 years ago, where did all this energy to create complex systems go?

What were the folks who build elaborate internet protocols nowadays doing 50 or 60 years ago?

Building hot rods? Radio kits? What?

Were there equivalent complex systems those decades ago? Or has the expansion of technology enabled easily built complex system unlike anything possible in past eras?