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Fender bender

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This latest hiatus is due to a number of big projects at work. I hope to post the last of my Cleveland pictures soon.

Anyway, one area called “Cleveland Heights” had dozens of these tremendously clever wrought iron sculptures along the side of the road.

One of my favorites depicts some post-front-end-collision violence.

wrought iron sculpture

Free

This sculpture, which dominates Cleveland’s Willard Park, speaks for itself, no?

giant Free Stamp

That’s hot

Before we checked our cameras, I was able to take a few pictures inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

giant hot dog

Phish rode in on this hot dog to kick off a couple of performances in 1993. Giant fries and a super-sized soda are exhibited in the gallery below.

I really wish I was able to photograph the giant head sculptures from Pink Floyd’s Division Bell. I had always thought they were paintings or cleverly photographed miniatures, not massive 30-foot-high, Easter-Island-rivaling behemoths.

Cleveland...uh...rocks

I guess I am spoiled by the City having more restaurants than city blocks (true statistic). To contrast, on Wednesday we spent hours driving, then walking around downtown Cleveland looking for someplace to eat. We finally found a Buffalo wings place. Yum.

Last night we had a private party at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum after closing. The food was amazing (I am soooooo off track with my weight loss). They had a live band, and we had the museum to ourselves.

We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but so I took what I could outside.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum

If you didn’t already know or couldn’t guess, I.M. Pei designed this one. Yup, the same guy that architected the Louvre pyramid, Hong Kong’s Bank of China building, and the triangular Spelman Hall at Princeton (I lived there for a year). Pei sure does love his triangles.

Diamond Head

I can’t believe that it has been a month since I returned from O‘ahu. I was hoping to post the last of my photos a couple of weeks ago, but was distracted by…other things. Well, before I drag out the 21st-century equivalent of the slide projector, I thought I’d have some fun.

First, we are going to start with a satellite view of Diamond Head Crater thanks to Google Earth. If you haven’t played with Google Earth yet, download it! It is Windows-only for now, unfortunately, but it is an order of magnitude cooler than Google Maps.

Google Earth view of Diamond Head Crater

Next is the “dot kmz” file that should open up in Google Earth and zoom right in to Diamond Head Crater. (You may have to right click to save, then open it manually.) For the Mac users out there, here is the Google Maps link to the same location.

For the slide show, I am trying a new Flash-enabled image viewer called SimpleViewer. If you’d want to create a similar slide show, and your host has PHP support; I highly recommend that you add the SimpleViewerAdmin installation option listed on that page. These two pieces together make this one of the slickest, easiest to manage web photo gallery apps I have ever used. The admin option allows simple management of multiple galleries.

I did find one easily correctible bug. The Flash plug-in sniffer does not account for version 8 of the Flash plug-in. I found this replacement for the Flash sniffer; I just replaced the old version of flash_detect.js, and all was copacetic.

So without further ado, here is the Flash slideshow of Diamond Head State Monument. The thumbnail navigation order for the photos is top to bottom, then left to right.

‘Okinas and such

Those of you who have perused my Hawai‘i posts may have noticed a few diacritical marks here and there, specifically the ‘okinas (glottal stops) and kahakōs (macrons). If you happen to be using an OS earlier than Windows XP or Mac OS 10.2, you may not see the kahakōs; e.g. instead of a letter “o” with a horizontal line above it, you may see a hollow rectangle because the fonts in some older operating systems don’t support the Hawai‘ian language.

Also, unfortunately, unlike the Mac OS, Windows XP doesn’t really support ‘okinas in its base fonts. So I have instead had to simulate them in my posts, using the left single quote. Ideally, for an ‘okina you would use the character entity reference ʻ (which should render as an upside-down curly apostrophe). In some fonts, ‘ renders the same, but not in Verdana, this site’s primary font, but…it’s close enough (e.g. Hawaiʻi versus Hawai‘i).

So why the bother? Don’t normal people just spell Hawai‘i, O‘ahu, and Waikīkī as Hawaii, Oahu, and Waikiki?

Well, as any of my long-time readers or long-time acquaintances may have realized, I’m far from normal. :-)

Actually, though, language fascinates me sometimes, and being the cunning linguist that I am, I couldn’t resist learning a bit more about this one, especially since extinction threatens Hawai‘ian; its speakers only number in the thousands. Also, attempts to preserve usage of the proper spellings has been a source of some debate in Hawai‘i’s state legislature in the past few years.

Here’s a few random bits I picked up—there are only 8 consonants (h, k, l, m, n, p, w, and the ‘okina) and 5 vowels (a, e, i, o, u), and the kahakō stresses and elongates a vowel. This makes for only 162 possible syllables in Hawai‘ian. (No wonder all the street names sounded the same.) It was a spoken-only language until 19th century missionaries needed a way to transcribe the Bible into Hawai‘ian, so they used Latin characters.

Here’s a Wikipedia entry and a convenient list of character entity references.

Flower power

Just sorting through the last of my Hawai‘i pics…

pink flower
orange flower
yellow flower

Lū‘au

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The word lū‘au brings to mind some pretty exotic, primal imagery—beautiful, tanned, raven-haired hula girls in raffia grass skirts; muscled, bare-chested fire jugglers, wearing crowns of woven palm leaves; a succulent, imu-roasted pig suspended on bamboo poles; roaring tongues of fire reaching up to the night sky, casting flickering shadows over giant, hand-carved tiki masks.

We, of course, had excited expectations when we learned that our conference hosts, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, were holding a gala lū‘au on the second night of the conference, esp. since lū‘au tickets were an extra $35 a person.

All of the attendees piled into busses, and when we arrived, we could see the peaks of Diamond Head in the distance, and we could hear the sound of beating drums from some indeterminate location as we wound our way through a gorgeous cactus garden.

When we emerged we saw everyone queued up and milling about a paved concrete courtyard. Okay, we figured, they must be preparing the lū‘au for us in some hidden grotto or something. About forty-five minutes later, one of the conference organizers welcomed everyone and invited us to file inside for the buffet line.

Hunh? Inside? Buffet? Hunh?

Yes, our “lū‘au” ended up being a buffet-style dinner inside an air-conditioned community college cafeteria. Granted, the food was delicious, with a number of authentic Hawaiian dishes. However, the surreal blandness of the non-lū‘au became really apparent when they brought out a troupe of geriatric hula dancers.

We enjoyed the performance for what it was, after all, septuagenarian hula dancers need to find gigs where they can, and they seemed talented, even though their song selection had a strong Don Ho easy listening flavor.

The “no one is going to believe this at home” moment really came, though, when they returned from a costume change for their closing number, wearing red, white, and blue sarongs. Then they performed a hula to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.” Yes, that one.

Alas, I was too stunned to take any pictures.

We really didn’t want to be wet blankets because we realized what a tremendous opportunity this conference was, but we couldn’t help chuckling to ourselves, “Worst…lū‘au…ever.”

Feel the power!

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Just a few more Hawai‘i-related posts before I’m all tapped out. This next one skews toward the bizarre.

Japanese tourism is huge on O‘ahu, as are businesses that are more than happy to reach into their yen-stuffed wallets. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find a storefront or advertisement that was not written in both English and Japanese.

One thing that usually made us chuckle as we hiked down to the Waikīkī Beach area was the preponderance of automatic rifle gun clubs and placard-wearing solicitors handing out flyers for the gun clubs.

Waikiki gun club

The gun club in the photo above was our favorite, mostly because of the “convincingly” Photoshopped blonde-haired, blue-eyed Asian on the sign near the entrance. (Plus it was a few doors down from a ramen bar that served the yummiest noodles I have ever slurped.)

One evening, for about ten minutes, I stopped to watch a few of the gun club solicitors. They consistently ignored every single non-Asian tourist who walked past them.

I just had to have a flyer as a souvenir. As soon as I approached one of them, the others swarmed. “You don’t want that one. We give you more rounds!” Alas, we all resisted the urge to “feel the power.”

The Big Kahuna

This statue of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku greets visitors to Waikīkī beach. He is known as the father of modern surfing and was the first athlete from Hawai‘i to win an Olympic gold medal (swimming).

Duke Paoa Kahanamoku statue

It was cool how this statue always seemed to be adorned with fresh leis.

(You may have caught a glimpse of this statue during the closing credits of Disney’s Lilo and Stitch.)

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