To have a giant’s strength

I came across this passage at the very end of Hawaii’s Story by Liliʻuolkalani (scanned copy on Google Books). It’s from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, Act 2, Scene 2:

ISABELLA

So you must be the first that gives this sentence,
And he, that suffer’s. O, it is excellent
To have a giant’s strength; but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.

[…]
Could great men thunder
As Jove himself does, Jove would ne’er be quiet,
For every pelting, petty officer
Would use his heaven for thunder;
Nothing but thunder! Merciful Heaven,
Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt
Split’st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak
Than the soft myrtle: but man, proud man,
Drest in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he’s most assured,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.

Preparing for Hawaii

(Go ahead and get in the mood: Hawaiian Radio on Pandora)

In January I’m taking a trip to Hawaii with Chen and her parents. We’ll only be there for eight days, and we’ll spend most of our time on Maui and Hawaii. I’ve never been there, never paid much attention to it.

So: I’m learning about Hawaii.

Eight days isn’t long enough to understand anything about a place, sure. My challenge is to spend the next two months learning about Hawaii—Hawaii Hawaii—so that I’m prepared when I get there to see and taste and hear things that I might have missed otherwise. Food, music, books, sights. My ideal of how to take a trip is super pretentious—so what? I’ll go to the sites that everyone goes to—those are also fun. But I really enjoy the kind of preparation of getting to know about a place. It’s like preparing for an athletic event. The payoff is both in the work and in the performance. I think there’s something wrong with me.

There are a few angles I’m taking on this. One is the Hawaiian language. Another is studying maps. And finding books. And music. And small companies that only exist in Hawaii that I’ll never see again after I leave.

I’m taking notes: /travel/hawaii. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment or send me an email.

Here are some ideas I’ve collected so far:

Books

I’m biased towards: books I can get from the library; out-of-copyright books I can get via Google Books; used books I can get for less than $1 on Amazon.

I’ve already picked up the ones below. I’ll make notes about others on /travel/hawaii#books

Language

/language/hawaiian

Aloha. Mahalo. That’s all I’ve got so far.

Hawaiian Public Radio (@wearehpr) posts a Hawaiian word of the day on Twitter (#HWOTD).

My recurring nightmare

I’m 35—10 years since finishing my masters degree at Illinois. I’ll still have this dream every month or two that it’s finals week, and there’s a final in a class that I’ve forgotten to attend and forgotten to drop by the deadline. The dream never resolves. Take the exam and fail? Withdraw from the class? How does it end? Thanks College of Engineering for triggering tonight’s hellride.

Three things: 2016-W31

1. Now reading

Started: Discrete Mathematics with Applications by Susanna Epp. Nerd alert. After ten years in the Industry, I’m trying to recast myself as a software-knowledgeable person. And since code isn’t that hard really, I’m trying to learn some of the math that goes into it. All things I coulda shoulda picked up in college.

Started: The Places in Between by Rory Stewart–audiobook, read by the author.

2. Three Chinese words

  • 记得 – jìde – to remember
  • – chāo – to make a copy
  • 不管 – bùguǎn – no matter what, regardless of

Picked up while trying to follow 今晚80后脱口秀 (2016-07-28).

3. Agent-Based Modeling

The Santa Fe Institute’s online Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling course started. Not sure if I’m going to follow through on this one, but I’ve signed up for now.

The Fourteenth Book

“What hope can there be for mankind,” I thought, “when there are such men as Felix Hoenikker to give such playthings as ice-nine to such short-sighted children as almost all men and women are?”

And I remembered The Fourteenth Book of Bokonon, which I had read in its entirety the night before. The Fourteenth Book is entitled, “What Can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the Experience of the Past Million Years?”

It doesn’t take long to read The Fourteenth Book. It consists of one word and a period.

This is it:

“Nothing.”

—Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle (1963)