The Rambling Writer Visits the Big Island, Hawaii, part 6: Painted Church Road

Join Thor and me as we enjoy the Big Island’s beautiful Painted Church and more highlights along the road.

NOTE: After way too many months without travel, Thor insisted on an R&R escape to Hawaii this April. He’d been keeping on eye on the very careful Covid-19 precautions in the islands, and the testing required before flying there. And now that we’re both fully vaccinated, we took the plunge – literally, for some snorkeling in the healing sea, as well as exploring the Big Island and Kauai. After this detour (series started April 24), I promise I’ll finish up my Virtual Italy Vacation series soon!

Back and forth from our favorite snorkeling spot at Honaunau Bay next to the Place of Refuge (see previous posts), we’d been noticing the sign for an almost-hidden turnoff to Painted Church Road. So after we finished a seaside picnic the second time, we headed up to check it out. Continue reading

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New Worlds: Next in Line

(This post is part of my Patreon-supported New Worlds series.)

Whether you’re a king or an ordinary citizen with some property, you can’t take it with you. When you die, your money and your goods and your land have to go to somebody. But who?

I’m sort of lumping two things together here, inheritance and succession, because they resemble each other pretty closely; after all, a title is in many respects just a special case of a thing to be inherited. The specialness of that case does matter — some kinds of inheritance can be divided, but a title isn’t one of them — but since many of the same assumptions underpin both topics, we’ll look at them together.

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Island Life: Stepping Back into the Social Whirl

Now that we’re fully vaccinated, we’ve been slowly easing our toes back into the stream of Socializing With Other People.

It’s been weird! And great! And weird!

Last Friday night, we had a couple over for dinner. They are some of our favorite friends here on the island, and we hadn’t seen them in person in…not quite a year and a half? Something like that? Far too long, at any rate.

We had a fabulous time–drinks and snacks on our deck under the wisteria; I barbecued a tri-tip and Mark harvested lettuce from our very own garden for a salad; our friends brought a scrumptious homemade pie–and they stayed late and we talked and talked and drank lots of wine (well, us ladies did; the men abstained for some reason)–

And, whew, I guess is what I’m trying to say. It was a lot of work! And I don’t mean barbecuing or even washing dishes for four people instead of two. It was…that thing where you’re using a muscle you haven’t used in a long, long time. Both literally and metaphorically: my cheeks hurt from so much laughing and smiling, and my throat was a little hoarse even the next morning, from saying so many words.

But also, just being with people. People we really, really like; people we’d been so very much looking forward to seeing that we made sure to book them for dinner the very next day after their two-weeks-past-second-shot date.

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Covid-Quar Blues: Your Most Memorable Meal

When you’ve stuck at home for over a year, memories of social interactions can take on wistful dimension, the “If only I’d known!”

In that spirit, a friend recently asked, What was your most memorable meal?

I had to think about that. Being nearly seventy, I can attest to plenty of remembered meals, for good reasons and not so good. I decided I’d rule out memorable in the train wreck sense, as none of those were funny. (Disastrous meals that turn out to be hilarious in retrospect can turn into fond memories.)

My childhood memories about glorious meals come straight from the intensely felt, uncomplicated hunger of the young. There are also meals shared with sweeties wherein the joy of emotional connection adds its grace note to what might have been a simple home-cooked meal as much as a gourmand’s delight at a fancy restaurant—in both cases, the details of the meals have faded, leaving memories of the people themselves.

In that sense, meals I’ve shared with other writers, often delicious meals, became that much more enjoyable because of the fast wit, the headlong literary explorations, the group commiserations over the grunt labor part of the writing life, the joy of talking shop without fear of boring others. When I think back over many of those, I can’t always recollect what we were eating at any specific meal, though I can recollect portions of conversations.

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BVC announces Ars Historica by Marie Brennan, Now in Print!

Ars Historica by Marie Brennan
Ars Historica
by Marie Brennan

The past is prologue . . .

Kit Marlowe. Guy Fawkes. Ada Lovelace. Kings and sailors and sainted nuns populate these seven stories of historical fantasy by award-winning author Marie Brennan. They span the ages from the second century B.C.E. to the nineteenth century C.E., from ancient Persia to the London of the Onyx Court. Discover the secret histories, hear the stories that have never been told — until now.

Buy Ars Historica at BVC Ebookstore

NOW IN PRINT!

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Consideration of Works Past: Hancock and the Superhero Trope

(Picture from here.)

A little context. Iron Man, the first entry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, came out in the USA in May. Hancock, Will Smith’s superhero movie, came out in July that same year. No one knew at that point what a juggernaut the MCU would become, nor that eventually the Disney behemoth would be behind it. Regardless, Iron Man was a beautifully produced, well directed, finely realized superhero film.

Hancock was not really a superhero film—at least not in the Iron Man mold. It was inevitable the two would be compared. Hancock was declared the lesser film. Problematic. A mess. Iron Man was praised as a terrific achievement.

Back in 2008, I wrote this entry regarding Hancock. I would have left it there but over the last couple of years with all of the fireworks over all of the different superhero movies (I’m looking at you, Justice League.)  a couple of reviewers brought out all of the old criticisms. So, I watched it again to see how it weathered.

I think Iron Man was terrific. But I think Hancock was brilliant. Continue reading

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Of Wild Horses and Guns: Part 2, About the Guns

I’ll get to the horses next week after relating my experience in buying a pair of binoculars in Hines, Oregon, just up the road from Burns. This is the “Guns” part of the story.

Among the other items I forgot to take on our recent trip to Eastern Oregon, were my binoculars, a fine pair of Leupolds, waterproof, 10×32 that accompanied my on my South African safaris. This is a lesson from deciding, when packing for a trip, that I don’t need to look at my lists.

This omission was especially weighty when one is on a mission to birdwatch.

The husband, an indulgent sweetie, told me I needed to go buy some. Burns might be the largest town east of Bend, but its townsfolk number in the 2000’s—of course the number of ranchers in the surrounding area is at least that. However, I immediately knew where I could find a pair of binoculars in this sparse area.

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A charming new Regency mystery series

Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen
I met Barb Monajem yonks ago, in The Cherries, Jenny Crusie’s fan club. I was Jen No Cherry (*long story) and Barb was Barbaric Cherry.

In due course Barb became an award-winning writer, with more than 20 books to her name. Her latest series is Regency mystery with a slow-burning romance on a long arc. I saw the cover for Lady Rosamund and the Horned God (OMG title envy!) and had to read it, but I wanted to start with the first volume, Lady Rosamund and the Poisoned Pen.

In two pages, I was hooked. Continue reading

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The Rambling Writer Visits the Big Island, Hawaii, part 5: Snorkeling at Honaunau Bay

Our getaway continues with our favorite snorkeling spot on the Big Island. Come visit our fishy friends!

NOTE: After way too many months without travel, Thor insisted on an R&R escape to Hawaii this April. He’d been keeping on eye on the very careful Covid-19 precautions in the islands, and the testing required before flying there. And now that we’re both fully vaccinated, we took the plunge – literally, for some snorkeling in the healing sea, as well as exploring the Big Island and Kauai. After this detour (series started April 24), I promise I’ll finish up my Virtual Italy Vacation series soon!

In the last couple posts, we toured the Place of Refuge historical park. Conveniently, right next to it is the best snorkeling we found on the Big Island, Honaunau Bay. These god-figure guardians stand along the former grounds of the ali’i aristocrats to remind us that we commoners are not allowed to use this calm canoe (or snorkeling) access to the bay: Continue reading

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New Worlds: Autocrats, Dictators, and Tyrants

(This post is part of my Patreon-supported New Worlds series.)

Because fantasy and science fiction often focus on grand conflicts — problems on a societal scale, affecting many people beyond the central characters — there’s a rather high occurrence of bad governments in the genre. And because there’s also a high occurrence of monarchies, that means we see a lot of terrible kings and queens.

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