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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Hawaiian Reading: Aloha, Mr. Lucky

January 3013 Rodney and I visited Oahu, Hawai’i and I loved it! We are now planning a second trip to Hawai’i next spring. To prepare for this trip I am reading books that are related to Hawai’i in some way. In my Hawaiian reading I am hoping to find interesting places to visit, learn a bit about Hawai’i and, of course, have an enjoyable read. To that end I am going to rate each book on those three criteria: Interesting Places, Learning and Enjoyment.

I must say it is harder to find non-tourism related Hawaiian books than I expected. I have library cards at three different public library systems and I was only able to find a handful of books about or based in Hawai’i. In the end the first one that I could get ahold of to read was “Aloha, Mr. Lucky” by Corson Hirschfeld.

The first few pages of this book are hard going. There are characters popping up left and right, there is a bit too much subterfuge and not enough clarity, and a few scenes that are just plain ooky. Once you are past those pages though it all starts to make sense and you are rewarded with a fast paced mystery. How did it stack up against my Hawaiian Reading Criteria? Well, let’s find out.

Interesting Places

This book did explore some interesting places, while many are part of the author’s imagination, many can be visited.  Some of the places Mr. Hirschfeld uses in the book are: The Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout, Mauna Loa and the volcanos of the Big Island of Hawai’i and a place he calls Pali Uli also on the Big Island of Hawai’i. (I believe that his Pali Uli is a fictional place and not related to the Pali Uli Gardens on Maui or The Pali Uli Plan on Second Life.)

We did not visit the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout when we were last in Hawai’i. I am quite excited to add that to our list for next spring. We do not plan to go to the Big Island, but I did enjoy learning a bit about volcanoes in this book. While the Pali Uli in this book appears to be fictional I did get a feeling of the diverse wildlife and plants to be found on Hawai’i from his description of it.

Learning

I did learn about Hawai’i. The author explored a bit of politics, culture and legend. While I am sure that much of what he wrote is farfetched, I can see a nugget of truth here and there. It certainly opened up some ideas of where to explore for more information. He wrote about the Sons of Pele, which seems to be a fictional group, but it makes me want to read some books from a Native Hawaiian perspective.  He also went very deep into the legends and lore surrounding Pele. I now want to read more about those legends to see where he was fudging the truth and where he was not.

Enjoyment

Hmmm… enjoyment. Yes, in the end I did enjoy this book. I do not normally read this kind of mystery. I usually read cozy mysteries that do not have quite as much violence. Once it got going I was pulled along by the action and I felt it had a mostly satisfying conclusion. If it were not about Hawai’i though I am not sure I would have made it through the book.

In the end I gave this a Goodreads rating of three stars. Since Mr. Hirschfeld’s other books are not set in Hawai’i, and since that was my biggest draw to this book, I will not be reading them. Though, maybe in the future, if I come upon them at the right time I might read them. I am certainly not going to go out of my way to find them though.


Aloha!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Summer Biking: Week 3

Look a happy little turtle!
I have a new resolve to bike as much as I can without driving myself crazy. I am still hoping to see 1500 miles, but I am taking the pressure off myself. I will do what I can do as long as I am enjoying it. I might even start taking a day off here and there!

This week I took pictures of gas stations. I was surprised when I realized how many Holiday stations are nearby. There is at least one more I could have ridden to on a week with more time to ride. So below you see three different Holiday stations, two Marathons, a Super America, a BP and a Go For It Gas




Here is something else that I found interesting:

Remember this from April 26th?
And how on May 5th that area looked like this? 

Well now it looks like this.


Miles This Week:  37.87
Total Miles June:  98.41
Total Miles 2013: 566.01
Total Miles/Points for National Bike Challenge:  404.92/1342
Miles Needed for 1500 Mile Goal:  933.99
Days in a row of biking: 77

Days in a row of yoga: 77

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Summer Biking: Week 2

Oh what a pitiful riding week I have had. I expected my rides to be shorter since I was working, but the cool wet weather has not helped at all either. I only succeeded in 31.1 miles this week. Oh well, there is always next week. I did break 500 miles this week though! Yay me!!

Since I did not ride very far on Monday, I was a bit limited on subjects to take pictures of this week. All I came across that seemed interesting was a For Sale sign. I though I might see something else on Tuesday, but I did not. So I decided to go with For Sale signs. In the end I sort of like how the collage turned out. Sadly, some of the pictures are very blurry and I was not able to pull all of the data off them. Thus I was not able to link to their websites.  I will be a bit more careful taking pictures next week



Bridge Realty - This is the realator for the Hmong Church I had a picture of last week. 
Vandeveer Realty – I find it odd that this guy has a Wikipedia entry.
 – Larry & Mary Lauer
– Duane & Larysa Matzek
Real Estate Properties – MnHomeSpot.com
ReMaxx Results – Jerry Clifford
Grace Realty – This one needs a much better web presence.  Though, I would use them before the creepy guy with a Wikipedia entry.
– Wm (Bill) Haroldson

Side note:  mapping is not working the way I had intended. If I can get it to work I will update this post with a map.

Miles This Week:  31.1
Total Miles June:  60.54
Total Miles 2013: 528.14
Total Miles/Points for National Bike Challenge: 367.05/1164
Miles Needed for 1500 Mile Goal:  971.86
Days in a row of biking: 70

Days in a row of yoga: 70

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer Biking: Week 1 - And the biking continues.

National Bike Month may be over, but I am still riding my bike. The National Bike Challenge is still going strong and I still need to meet my goal of 1500 miles by October 31. Instead of logging miles on the blog everyday, however, I am only going to post an update of my rides on Sundays. I will only update a single day’s ride if something extremely interesting happens.

I will continue to take photos of interesting sights, but I am also going to have a theme each week. This Sunday, since it only covers two days, I chose religious buildings as a theme. I knew that even in just two days I could manage to pass several. I say “religious buildings” instead of “churches” because I have two Buddhist buildings and a Chapel to include and they do not technically fall under the “church” category.


From left to right starting at the upper left we have: 

Chùa Thièn Àn – This appears to be a Vietnamese Buddhist Youth Organization
Minnesota Meditation Center – They do not have a website for this location. Here is a link to the main body.
Hmong Alliance Church – They do not seem to have a website for this location. Here is a link for the main church body.  This might be because their building at this location is for sale. I was quite sad to see this, because this church is quite close to us and has always been a very good neighbor.

I haven't decided what I will take pictures of next week. I suspect there will be several more weeks of churches to come, though probably not for next week. It might be slides, tennis courts, funky mail boxes or gas stations. We will just have to see.

6-1 is in red and 6-2 is in black. 29.22 miles. 

Miles This Week:  29.44
Total Miles June:  29.44
Total Miles 2013: 497.04
Total Miles/Points for National Bike Challenge: 335.95/993
Miles Needed for 1500 Mile Goal:  1002.96
Days in a row of biking: 63

Days in a row of yoga: 63

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Summer of Juice!



Today was the first day of The Summer of Juice!  No, I am not going to only consume juice for the next three months, but I am going to focus on juice, smoothies and raw veggies for many of my meals and snacks.  All of the biking that I have been doing has been building muscles and helping me to lose a few inches, but I have not been losing any weight.  I am hoping that by emphasizing fresh produce I will both be healthier and drop a pound or two. Of course, summer is also the perfect time for smoothies, juice and salads!  

I have all the appliances that one might want for the task too.  For my smoothie making we have a NutriBullet. (Okay, it is not a VitaMix, but it makes really good smoothies considering it is less than 1/4th the cost of a VitaMix.) For juice making we have an Omega 8400, which is a fabulous juicer.  

Today I had two smoothies (or what the NutriBullet people would call “Nutri-Blasts” - I will be calling them smoothies). The first had chard, strawberries, yogurt, banana, chia seeds and coconut water. It was quite tasty. My second smoothie had dino kale, mixed berries, raw cashews, goji berries, chia seeds, kava and water. It was not quite as tasty as my morning smoothie.

I have been using the NutriBullet since December and today I learned something new while making that less successful smoothie. I did not blend it enough at first and one frozen strawberry was still whole.  So I put the blade back on and re-blended it.  The longer time in the NutriBullet made all of the components perfectly smooth.  In the past I have had many a smoothie with bits of nuts still in them, now I know that I need to let the NutriBullet run longer until everything looks smooth not just mixed.

Any way, I am not going to chronicle my smoothies every day, but this gives an idea of what I will be making. When I make special smoothies, or if I make an interesting juice, I will post them.  Mmm…  I think tomorrow I will be making Watermelon Juice! 

Friday, May 31, 2013

National Bike Month: Day 31

3.2 Miles

And so ends National Bike Month. 306.51 miles is not too shabby! I had hoped to have several more miles banked towards my 1500 mile goal, but what can you do?

Today will be the last day I use the Strava app to map my ride. I think that my cell phone is not up-to-date enough to run it properly. I may look for a standalone GPS device. I think it would get a better lock on the GPS signal and save my cell battery to boot.

Well National Bike Month might be over, but I do have some ideas for nest month and beyond. Stay tuned for updates!

Miles Today: 3.2
Total Miles 2013: 467.6
Total Miles National Bike Month: 306.51
Total Miles for National Bike Challenge: 306.51
Days in a row: 61

Thursday, May 30, 2013

National Bike Month: Day 30

4.4 Miles
Yay! I made it to my 300 mile goal! Now tomorrow I can just take a leisurely ride. Today's ride was really quite wet. I had thought that I would ride to Walgreen's to get a card for Rodney (it is our anniversary tomorrow), but it started to rain on my way. So I changed course and rode to Jensen's. The rain stopped by the time I got there, so when I came out I thought I would take the long way home. Well, that was a mistake. It was pouring rain by the time I got home! Oh well, I got my miles in so I am happy...if a little wet!

Miles Today: 4.4
Total Miles 2013: 464.4
Total Miles National Bike Month: 303.31
Total Miles for National Bike Challenge: 303.31
Days in a row: 60