A Time Capsule Package

In the back of a plastic crate, forgotten for a decade or three, a little cardboard pack holds a few battery holders. A humble package, not containing anything particularly special, yet this is a time capsule from another age, another me from decades ago.

Skin pack holding a set of battery holders from another era.
A set of battery holders in retro packaging

This little package brings back memories… I remember when shelf after shelf of components were packaged this way. The look, the smell, the facination with the fantastic array of parts on display in those little packs, each inspriation for a project or solution. The young teenage me wandering those shelves wondering what I could do with those components.

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Magnitude 6.2

Well? That was the strongest shake we have had in a while. Magnitude 6.2 well offshore of the south end of the island.

The whole house rattled for a while, then a few sharp bangs, then it rumbled on for a while longer. Nothing knocked off shelves, just a steady rattle of plates and photos on the wall. The 3D printer took no notice, happily plotting along.

The cats did take notice, Electra disappearing under the bed, not to re-appear for a while. Ras was all perky-eared and vigilant.

For this quake I guessed not only the distance correctly, but the magnitude to within 0.3, (guessed 6.5, USGS revised 6.2). We have plenty of experience with big island shakes at this point. I felt both the S and P waves arrive, that gave me distance. What surprised me is the depth, 21 miles down, that is below the crust, into the mantle.

Magnitude 6.1 Down South
USGS plot of a magnitude 6.1 earthquake off the south end of the island with aftershocks, Oct. 10, 2021

Getting a Vaccination

After navigating the phone menu system and a few minutes on hold the phone rings and a nurse practitioner picks up…

Nurse: “What can I help you with today Mr. Cooper?”
Me: “I need to schedule a vaccination.”
Nurse: ” You can do that by going to our website and clicking on the COVID link at the top of the page.” …and she continues with an obviously well rehearsed answer with information on getting a COVID vaccination.
Me: “Stop! Not COVID… Tetanus!”
A long pause…
Nurse: “Let me find you an appointment time, do you prefer the Kona clinic?”

A tetanus vaccine syringe after the dose has been delivered
A tetanus vaccine syringe after the dose has been delivered

A Month for Disaster

There is a meme running around that relates all too well at the moment…

Smoke Over Waikoloa
Smoke from an approaching wildfire stains the skies over Waikoloa

Worst month ever!
What do you mean this is only the 1st?

Anonymous social media meme

This month is only four days old and we are quite ready to agree with whomever coined that meme.

Sunday, August first started out peaceful enough. I was looking forward to a relaxing day with a few chores about the house. The only nagging worry was keeping tabs on the large brushfire raging towards Waimea, though it was many miles away. As the winds picked up this worry also intensified, to where I had to the local emergency radio feed streaming on the computer speakers.

When the fragmentary radio chatter from the fire units indicated that the fire had jumped Highway 130 I knew what was coming next… An evacuation of Waikoloa Village.

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The Last Loaf of Love’s

It was not happy news when we learned that Love’s bakery would be shutting down earlier this year. After 170 years of baking bread this Hawaiian business would shut off the ovens for the last time. The COVID pandemic pushing yet another business into closing. Much of their business was supplying bread to the resorts and hotels, business that disappeared with the tourists.

Love’s whole wheat has been a staple in our house for many years, the basic bread we always have on-hand for toast and sandwiches. When the last week of production was upon us I bought several loaves, placing all but one in the freezer. Now a couple months later the last loaf is on the counter and I am making a PBJ sandwich for lunch.

Franz Bakery has picked up the Loves brand, shipping bread from their NW bakeries to fill shelves in island groceries. We have tried it, just not the same, not as fresh.

Love's Bread
The last loaf of Love’s whole wheat bread

Fourth of July

It is a subdued Fourth of July around the island. Most large scale gatherings are still cancelled such as the annual 4th of July Rodeo at Parker Ranch. There will be some official fireworks in Hilo and Kona, but Deb and I are not planning to attend.

It remains to be seen how many illegal fireworks there are in the neighborhood, something I have usually considered a local measure of economic optimism. Given the oddness of the year I suspect that will not be a good proxy this year. Nothing is predictable this year.

There have been rumors of shortages in supply as well, maybe the reason for some loud bangs in the neighborhood over the last week… Improvised fireworks or more illegal imports?

A good evening to reflect on history, where we have been, and where we might be headed. Celebration will remain quiet and introspective, in this household at least.

Fireworks over Palm Trees
A fireworks display over the coconut palms of the Fairmont Orchid resort

A Personal Moment

Lives are often measured by the great events that take place during our short spans of existence. Wars, revolutions, social movements, mark both the great saga of human history as well as our personal stories.

Syringes loaded with SARS-CoV-1 vaccine await use at a vaccination clinic
Syringes loaded with SARS-CoV-2 vaccine await use at a vaccination clinic

The COVID pandemic will certainly be such an event. An event with worldwide impact, so many changes, so many lost.

While the start of the pandemic was slow, the events unfolding over weeks and months, I can mark it’s end as today. At least in a personal sense. Today I received my second dose of the Moderna vaccine, a moment I will likely remember, a moment that forever marks my personal journey.

Receiving the second dose of SARS-CoV-1 vaccine
Receiving the second dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine

This pandemic is not done, with me or the world at large. The pandemic will still have impacts, and the deaths continue, years from now when I look back this moment is where I will likely consider it done, at least in a personal sense.

For much the last year Deb and I have lived quietly, marking time, staying home. Re-discovering the small joys in life… Cooking, gardening, spending time under the stars with a telescope.

Time to move on with life. The timing seems even more appropriate in that I start a new job on Monday. I can plan for events more than a few weeks away, even consider some travel further than the shores of this small island.

It may not be over, but in my life, in my mind, it is over.

Big White

Got her.

Feral Pig
Another feral pig hauled out of the back yard.

This pig was one of the two I am trying to catch, all that remains of the original eight in the group. One big white pig and one young black, they have evaded my trap for over a month, sometimes stopping by, but hesitating to step into the wire cage.

A bit of a surprise… Contrary to my assumption big white was female.

While she had been quite shy of going into the trap, a bait tray loaded with banana peels, pineapple scraps, and sweet potato peelings had proven irresistible. The trap slammed shut just after 4am. Lightly dozing I heard the plywood door drop and knew immediately that I had caught another pig. Oddly this pig was silent, no squealing to wake the neighbors.

This time I had help loading the pig, my parents are visiting for the holiday. Trapping and handling a feral pig is another story to tell when they get back home.

There is only one pig left of this pack, a mid-sized black that is the last of the litter mates. He was hanging around when we removed the older female this morning, is still hanging out in the area. Got the trap right back into position and baited in case.

Another Night, Another Pig…

Two in a row!

After going almost two weeks without catching anything I get two pigs in two nights. As usual the pigs came in to check on my compost pile. The sliced up apple proved too much a temptation and into the trap he went.

I have been been using apples from the sales rack our local village market. There is a shelf at the back where spoiled produce is placed at cut rate prices. A bag of bruised apples for a dollar makes good pig bait.

As you can see there is another pig outside the trap in the video below. Actually I think there are three more remaining in the neighborhood after this one. One big white spotted and two more smaller black pigs. The trap will be reset and ready tonight!

Pig Problems

I have had it with the pigs, stealing my ripe tomatoes crosses the line!

A feral pig trapped and ready for removal
Mama pig… Big, mean, and seriously not happy about being trapped.

The pigs have been around for months, but the damage had previously been minor. A mother and a litter of piglets caught on camera.

As the piglets grew in size so has the damage. Thus I find myself in the pig trapping business and learning the art of baiting pigs. It is not easy, pigs are wary critters.

The trap comes from a local guy who works for the village association, the result of a few emails to put us in touch. He stopped by a morning later with a very nicely made pig trap. Every few mornings I send him a text with an update, and occasionally a pic of the latest catch.

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