Sunday, April 28, 2013

Trifecta, Kauai, and Freedom(tm) book review

South winds today, but my respiratory system seems to be handling it OK. The VOG also seems to screw with my nervous system. Woke up this morning, Kathy greeted me with a cup of Kona coffee; yes after five years respite we are drinking coffee again; now days the doctors say it is very good for you like dark chocolate. Time to take a shower and go to church.

"No can", (Honolulu style pidgin for could not do it). For the second time this year I just could not function. Back to sleep, woke up from time to time and then back to sleep. Finally, had brain and body function about 12:30. Whatever.

We decided to move from our ocean view bedroom to the bubble, (we have a filtered air bedroom with a murphy bed adjoining the office we call the bubble). I carried the pillows over, shut all the windows and started the bubble. Kathy crashed; the VOG is hard on her.

I had about 40 pages to go to finish Daniel Suarez's Freedom(tm) so I sat down and started reading. I can't read in bed anymore, not sure why. I have fond memories from when I worked for the government of taking a day of paid leave and doing almost nothing but reading in bed. Got hungry, went for the works, steak and egg and potatoes, not the most healthy meal to be sure, but tasty and kind of special to me.

When I was training to be a helicopter search and rescue guy, one of the schools is called SERE school, you can Google it. Not going to go into the details, but it is a profound experience and when it was all over and they bussed us back, we went to the chow hall and they fed us steak and eggs; guess I will always remember that.

Got back from brunch, finished the book.

Freedom(tm) has a much better ending in terms of writing craftsmanship than Daemon, though the author still left room for a follow up book. I do not tend to read fiction, there is just so much to keep up with in the IT field. But this was recommended by Wesley McGrew and I have developed a profound respect for his thinking.  It is the same gripping action filled story with lots of dead bodies and awesome technical toys, but he really fleshes out his alternate reality. When I reached the end something bothered me.  This was similar to something, what was it? Then it hit me, Foundation by Isaac Asimov.

On a whim, I punched in Isaac Asimov in my Google toolbar. I have got to say I love Google's initial presentation format for famous people. I picked one link at random to click on, a YouTube video from 1989; jeepers that guy had vision.

The bubble does a decent job of protecting us from sulphur dioxide, but for reasons that would take too much time to explain, it means a windowless environment. A computer screen and no windows can make one feel fenced in. There isn't only one VOG, the form of air pollution depends on the mix of gases, the temperature at which they form and so forth. Today's VOG impacts my nervous system more than my breathing so I decided to go for a walk. But hey, if I am going for a walk, why not go for a swim too? I peeked out the oceanside of the house and the ocean looked a lot friendlier than yesterday so I switched to boardshorts and put a bottle of hotel shampoo and my keys in my pocket, brought along a t-shirt, but decided to get my ten minutes of sun walking.

Walking along the bike path I saw a familiar face walking his dog, Dileep Bal, former president of the American Cancer Society, Chief Health Officer for Kauai, in demand speaker, ( he flies more than I do, he is at 3.6 million, .4 more and he is global services for life). He is also one of my favorite people to talk to, the breadth of his knowledge and sense of humanity reminds me of Mike Poor. Whether I got in the ocean now or later didn't matter, so I walked with him and his dog Kona and we chatted.

I told him about the books Daemon and Freedom(tm); I could see I didn't make a sale. We talked about retirement, he already has retirement from California and is vested in Kauai. Hope this does not sound like prejudice, but I have learned when speaking to someone born in India, you have to at least touch on money, but then we got to meaning. He said, I wonder what I will leave behind. Now this is a Harvard educated man, with Harvard educated children who served as the president of the American Cancer Society. Hmmmm. On the flight to Kauai I did a re-read of the Essential Drucker, (highly recommended), and what always strikes me is the concept of the second half of life.

Dileep does not suffer from VOG effects though his wife does, so he does not understand why we want to live in Seattle part of the time. And he really does not understand why we have a house in Richmond ( not sure I understand that either). As we were approaching the bridge to the Lihi boat ramp harbor, Dileep said something that got my attention, "with three houses you are placing a trifecta but without the return if you win". So true, it made sense at the time.

I bid Dileep adieu, I strongly prefer swimming on the Kapaa side of the harbor. I don't usually swim in Kauai waters without fins, but it is much calmer than yesterday so I jumped in; felt great. The current in this section goes from North to South along East shore. However, when it gets to the rocks protecting the harbor, there is only one direction for the water to go; out to sea. Usually the current can only move you if you are floating, today it was a bit stronger. I let it take me out about sixty yards and then practiced using the waves to get back in. That current can be moderately strong, though nothing like the rip at the Na Pali rocks side of Kee. It is the only risk spot in front of Pono Kai Resort that I have ever experienced in the 13 years I have been swimming there daily ( when on island) after all, it is a lagoon. But they had to cut a path through the reef so the small boats can use the harbor and the water has to go somewhere.

Six days left of our "Hawaiian vacation". It has been great. I do hope there is a nice day next week and we can go to Hanalei, but truthfully, now I find my brain focusing on the closeout. We will not be back till after SANS CDI in December.

When I was walking with Dileep, he asked me why I blog. The superficial reason is easy, it is very common for people over 50 years of age to start having retrieval problems. One day it might be nice to go back through some of my life experiences. Another reason, Mason Brown has taught be a lot and it is interesting to listen to him problem solve. He does it out loud, I do it writing. And then there is my duty as an academic. I read once that an academic must do three things:

  • Gather knowledge, usually by research
  • Chronicle current events for the future to understand the past
  • Mentor others

Whatever form the second half of life takes for me, I hope I can do those three things.

Kathy has gotten up, let me see if I can feed her :)

No comments:

Post a Comment