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1/26/2015 The "joys" of home ownership

Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of great things about owning a home. My own yard, more privacy, the ability to customize things... But there are also disadvantages. Having to fix anything that's broken, for example (like all the trouble I had with that water filter a few months back). And paying property tax. I mean sure, it's nowhere near what rent costs...but seeing as I have both a mortgage and overly high monthly HOA fees, it's an expense I could live without. Oh well... High taxes are one of the costs of living in Hawaii. Along with high electric bills, high gas prices, high insurance costs, high grocery costs... Well, at least books and games cost the same here as on the mainland. And hey, maybe I'll get a big tax rebate this year (with how much of my salary is getting deducted for taxes each month, I certainly hope so).


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1/23/2015 Another weekend

Wow, this week has gone by quickly. I haven't done anything particularly worth talking about since Sunday. Been focusing on work, chores, and projected related stuff mostly. Plus, Connie caught a cold so there's that. Anyway, I would talk about something but I've got an early meeting this morning (immediately followed by multiple other meetings) so I need to get to sleep and prepare.

See you Monday!


1/21/2015 Hiking and the Circus

Well, I got that travelogue ready to so it is.

January 18th (Sunday): Manoa Cliff and the Shanghai Circus
Connie and I had tickets to see the Shanghai Circus with my parents in the evening, but we decided to head into Honolulu early and do a little hiking.
We took the Manoa Cliff trail, which is right across from the Moilili bamboo hike I've done a few times before. Ida (a friend of mine from Japan, who is here on vacation) joined us as well. Here's everyone (except me) a little ways up the trail. While most of the hike is along a cliff about halfway up a mountain, the foliage is thick enough that you often can't really tell. There's some regular trees, bamboo, and a lot of strawberry guava trees. It's kinda between seasons for the guavas, but we managed to find a few ripe ones, which was cool because they taste great and you can't buy strawberry guavas in stores (I do, however, plan to get a tree for my yard). It's was a nice hike, and not very strenuous, though there's no real end to it (it's part of a big connected set of trails) and, while the forests are pretty, they really limit the viewpoints. Though, if you want a view, there are some really nice ones you can drive to nearby.
Later that evening, it was off to the circus. The Shanghai Circus isn't the classic circus with tents, elephants, and all that (if it was, they probably wouldn't come to Hawaii). Instead, it's a series of acts on stage, a bit like Cirque du Soliel. They don't have Cirque's presentation (the music, costumes, narrative, etc.), but they do have a group of very talented young Chinese acrobats. The acts included diabolos, hula hoops, contortion, slack rope, bike riding, and plate spinning, to name a few. They were all good (a couple even measured up to Cirque in terms of pure skill), despite the occasional mistake.
Sorry for all the Cirque comparisons, by the way. But to me they're really what every other circus or acrobatic performance has to measure up to. Anyway... The Shanghai Circus isn't on the level of Cirque du Soliel, but it's still a really good show and the tickets are a whole lot cheaper. So, if it's in your area, I'd recommend going.


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