January 31, 2014
A syllabus on how to realign your chakras.
It’s become an annual tradition for Dan and me, with conveniently placed 1/10 and 1/11 birthdays respectively, to fling ourselves into the balmy tendrils of the Hawaiian islands. The first year we went for 5 days, and kicked ourselves for not carving out more time from our schedules. The second year: 10 days. This year: two weeks. And we’ve already planned to spend at least three weeks and possibly a full month, on one of Hawaii’s islands next January. What can I say: we’re both self-employed and had the dumb luck to be born at a time when business is still digesting from the bloat of holiday scurrying. Our physical absence is less noticeable this time of year, and I can keep up with most of my work remotely, as you’ll see below. Put another way: no one really needs us around, and damn if we’re not gonna take full advantage of that.
Among the many benefits of living in a gorgeous place on the planet to begin with, is that in order to get to this:
we must pass by this:
Mighty Mount Rainier!
Once we arrive, we always look forward to being greeted by this:
While watching the local evening news the first night, when much of the U.S. was crippled by the sub-zero degrees of the dreaded Polar Vortex, we realized that our idea of cold temperatures is somewhat different than that of Hawaiians:
We were particularly amused by the icy-font lettering used to stress JUST HOW COLD IT REALLY WAS!! BRRR! Shouldn’t she be wearing long-sleeved flannel?
Everything is relative.
We managed to endured the frozen tundra-like 80-degree temps of the Big Island.
So, in between this:
there was usually this:
Which, regrettably, sometimes led to this:
Almost as colorful and entertaining were these creatures:
Among my very favorite cartoony pals: the female spotted boxfish.
The snowflake eel, aptly named for those chilly 80 degree days.
Note how both the male and female of the species employ tropical coloring highlights for aquatic camouflage. Darwin was on to something.
But truly: for as much as there was of this:
there was actually a great deal of this:
[WARNING: GEEK POST!]:
Once one has figured out how to do one’s work on a remote, bridge-less island in the middle of nowhere (aka, San Juan Island), it matters not from which island in the whole damn world one might work. So long as The Smiling, Kind and Merciful God of The Internet shines down upon me, I can earn my living.
Fellow hedonist geek composers of the world, take note: here’s how it’s done, baby:
1. MacBook Air running Sibelius 7
2. Data colostomy bag (aka, 2 terabyte USB external drive)
3. iPhone running a wireless MIDI polyphonic controller that inputs notes (no need to pack a large keyboard)
4. Mini USB hub because there aren’t enough on the laptop:
Port 1: camera cable
Port 2: mini usb trackball mouse
Port 3: iPhone cable
5. Bose noise-canceling headphones (damn, those crashing waves are loud)
7. Camera (not shown, since in hand)
8. Glass of decent red
9. Aforementioned crashing waves in a balmy environment (shown here: Keauhou, Hawaii).
Each day, I accomplished three or four hours of real work, in contact with clients all over the world, as enormous green sea turtles loped their way onto the shore in front of my toes, sternly suggesting I reconsider my enharmonic choices.
I remained supervised at all times,
but the boss was really cute so I didn’t mind.
Two weeks was not enough. Our island winters are very mild– mostly mid-40’s– but it felt great to bask in that chilly 80 degree weather and swim in water that wouldn’t plunge us into hypothermia in eight minutes. The consolation for leaving Hawaii of course, was that we were returning to another version of paradise. Once again we gazed at the beauty of Mount Rainier from the other side of the plane, as the tendrils of our own native archipelago called us home.
Here’s to next time!