Island Notes Podcast w/ Ryan and Laura

This is a conversation we had about living and about podcasting.


Aloha English: educational app for Android

Aloha English is a learning tool for memorizing knowledge about Hawai’i and our planet’s environment through playing a unique matching game. First you choose a topic that interests you. Then you study the phrases. When you are ready, you begin the match game by shuffling the 14 phrases. Using your memory and understanding of the subject matter, you choose a number and see if you can find its match. Aloha English can provide you with limitless topics as users can share topics in the cloud!

・ Aloha English is the perfect tool for studying English in a Hawaiian context!
・ Wide-ranging topics about people, the environment, arts, and science.
・ Play offline, in groups, or studying alone. No in-app purchases or ads.

Chomsky on Energy (and lemmings)

On this morning’s broadcast of the same radio program from which the previous post was excerpted, I had another opportunity to ask Noam Chomsky a question. Although I sort of take issue with his estimation that Ivan Illich’s observations concerning Energy and Equity take a back seat to the “suicide pact” of capitalism, or “lemmings walking off a cliff” as Chomsky puts it, he’s probably right in a certain empirical sense. (I wonder if he does parties?) Still, I think a thorough understanding of Illich’s observations of the sociological impacts of energy policy and use merit a wider audience, particularly among those obligated to further study these complex issues as stakeholders in our future (read: everyone).


Networks, Community, and Early Childhood Education

Today’s post borrows more of John Taylor Gatto’s ideas — in particular his summation of the profound difference between networks and community and how recognition of these differences is pretty important in the efforts at bettering our children’s education — or more broadly: in sensibly developing our community’s well-being.

The people who have come to staff schools are often fond of networking. Professional educators readily embrace the positive attributes of networks. Seemingly however, they are often unaware of the sapping of family and community vitality that such mechanization can induce.

Automations and routines can very well squelch human tendency; dehumanize by any other name.

And to the contrary, participation — as fully human — in complex human affairs — is what makes us fully human. Continue reading “Networks, Community, and Early Childhood Education”

Scatological Hope

A colleague from where I teach sent me an article written by one of his former colleagues. The article: Note to Educators: Hope Required When Growing Roses in Concrete by Jeffrey M. R. Duncan-Andrade, appears in the summer 2009 edition of the Harvard Educational Review.

It opens with this quote from Paulo Freire:

“The idea that hope alone will transform the world, and action undertaken in that kind of naïveté, is an excellent route to hopelessness, pessimism, and fatalism. But the attempt to do without hope, in the struggle to improve the world, as if that struggle could be reduced to calculated acts alone, or a purely scientific approach, is a frivolous illusion.”

The piece then goes on to identify what Duncan-Andrade terms, enemies of hopeand “false hope” namely: Hokey Hope, Mythical Hope, and Hope Deferred.

Eventually, the author identifies Critical Hope as the true hope that is crucial for the betterment of lives of urban youth — inner city young people inhabiting what he terms “socially toxic environments“.

A metaphorical vehicle for the thesis stems from a quote by Tupac Shakur whereby young people, transcending such obstacles, are like that of “roses that grow from concrete” — and a perfectly fine metaphor it is for lives overcoming the obstacles of concrete, analogized as, “one of the worst imaginable surfaces in which to grow, devoid of essential nutrients and frequently contaminated by pollutants.”

Nonetheless, a glaring omission from Duncan-Andrade’s analysis is educational technology’s mix in the concrete — concrete through which Duncan-Andrade suggests we encourage cracks through “the quality of our teaching, along with the resources and networks we connect our students to.” continued here

Mundane Rubbish

I drive some five miles to get to the Volcano highway — pretty much the same route, in and out. You become quite familiar with most aspects of the road — bumps here, houses there. Naturally on this recurring drive out of the subdivision you notice whatever might hold out the possibility for surprise — like the guy building his rock wall, or that new addition, hitchhikers, whatever. Alan Watts said that if our computers (and we didn’t even have computers in his day) had to be reduced down to one last key that we’d still want to push, it’d be the one labeled with the tantalizing word: surprise.

So you drive out to the highway, looking for some surprise… click here for a big surprise continuation!

How You Gonna Act?

No one is about to deny that our way of life, particularly from an economic standpoint is, at best, currently in a sort of holding pattern. At worst, many are in a real hurtbag — foreclosure, lost job — the spigot for money has slowed to a pathetic trickle — the water is murky — no one really knows the size and weight of the dominoes in play. (A little bit of that ancient and current literary genre: doom porn, but can not help.)

And yet, as a nation that has feasted on the planet’s wealth for the past sixty years or so (in addition to the prouder American tradition of actually producing wealth), we have a store of resources, both human and material, that is certainly in our favor. cont’d here

Vernacular Volcano Lanai Music

Homebred — Homespun — Homegrown — Homemade

The word vernacular refers to a way of being, doing, and making that is community and self-reliant, as opposed to formal exchange and/or from vertical distribution — produced and transported from elsewhere. It’s about reciprocity patterns as integral to all aspects of life.

Six Musicians

Tomas Belsky Six Musicians

Obviously, traditional native Hawaiian culture has much to instruct on such ways.

I bring up this word vernacular because it speaks to the activities of people that are not motivated by thoughts of exchange. Vernacular refers to autonomous, non-market related actions through which people satisfy everyday needs — beyond bureaucratic or corporate management. In this vernacular mode, satisfying of our needs in turn shapes these actions in a sort of feedback cycle that likewise elevates our satisfaction. Try that next time you plop down for your Super Big Gulp Slurpee™!

All right, all right.. What I started out to do is to note that yesterday I had the pleasure to once again go kani ka pila with my friend Wes Awana, on Wes and Nancy’s back lanai up in Volcano. We were fortunate to have Kahele Miura join us for our little jam. I say jam — we’ve been couching this in terms of rehearsal for a certain bi-cultural semi-enigmatic alternative-tourism-visionary and a gig he’s throwing our way. Me, I just always enjoy playing tunes with these guys. click here to listen

So Much More Than Mai Tais

I first learned of the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s (HTA) sponsoring of a group of eight mainland internet entrepreneurs, dubbed: So Much More Hawaii through local media impresario Damon Tucker’s blog. (Damon really wants to down some Mai Tais with these folks. “Hey everyone! I’ll twitter for the next round! Oops! my dang cell phone is stuck!”)

Apparently, the idea is for these folks to tour the islands whilst blogging away in their respective “vertical niche markets” : convention biz, blog talk-radio, travel; both family and solo, food, and so on.

Sounds like a great gig to me.

All kidding aside, the HTA sponsoring of these savvy social media marketers, to have a good time and broaden their bloggees’ online understanding of the “real Hawaii”, could be viewed in various ways. And yes, the Hawaii Tourism Authority is in the business of generating tax revenue and tourism money.

Well, that’s part of their objective anyway. The other goals of the HTA are what you might call of a social, cultural, and environmental nature. click here to read the rest of the story

Interview: Richard Ha of Hamakua Springs

This morning I drove down to the Kino’ole Farmers Market to pick up a box of fresh produce from Hamakua Springs Country Farms in Pepe‘ekeo. My caption was selected as one of the three winning captions in Hamakua Springs’ caption contest which appeared on their website, Ha Ha Ha!

Richard assures Darren that his best salad days are ahead of him.
Richard assures Darren that his best salad days are ahead of him..

In addition to awarding me a box of the finest of salad greens, cucumbers, green onions, and tomatoes; Richard Ha, president of Hamakua Springs Country Farms, graciously took the time to talk about Hamakua Springs and express his views on the Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP), food sustainability, genetically modified organisms (GMO), and bio-fuels:

Interview w/Richard Ha, 64kbps, 5 minutes

And to the other two contest winners: lettuce enjoy our Hamakua Springs veggies!

(dang, should’ve quit while I was ahead..)

Mahalo to Richard and the folks at Hamakua Springs Country Farms.

Biochar and the Rocket Stove

In contrast to yesterday’s discussion with Jay FitzGerald on issues of sustainability, the following portion of our visit more specifically details two techniques for sustainability that Jay practices on his Hawaiian homestead:

Biochar and the Rocket Stove, 14 minutes

[Note: These postings are 32kbps audio files. While not the highest fidelity, they should stream just fine on dial-up internet connections.]

(link to Jay’s informative rocket stove-post with pics, etc.)

Check out: Hawai’i Biochar Notes for a very extensive collection of information and links all about biochar.

audio interview: Jay Fitzgerald of Sensible Simplicity Forum

This morning I had the pleasure of meeting Jay Fitzgerald on his Puna homestead.  His recently created Sensible Simplicity Forum is for folks wanting to live in sustainable ways. Rather than the current green-spin of industries promoting  their hidden agendas in the name of sustainability, Jay’s forum takes advantage of “free” internet tools to foster discussions, share techniques, and coordinate resources to further the practices of truly sustainable living.

interview w/Jay Fitzgerald 32kbps 15 minutes

“Here’s… Jak(fruit) !”

xmasjakWoke up this morning to find this under the tree. Not sure if it means I been naughty or nice — it’s a fine line.

Actually, this is our good friend Jak. Can you say latex? Jak has a thing for latex.

The Jakfruit tree is a tremendous member of the fig family. It hardly sheds its leaves, is very handsome, and very edible — either in the sweet stage (flavored not unlike Juicy Fruit gum) or it can go into soup/curry as a vegetable in its less ripe state. Add to this, the seeds cook up to sort of a nice chestnut like gig. However, and speaking of gum, the Jakfruit contains latex like a mo…well, get plenty latex. So – the vivisection of Jak does put forth copious ooze of latex. They say you can cover your cutting board and knife and hands and face and all with vegetable oil…The fact of the matter is that you’ll probably still get gummy latex on …stuff. It’s really no worse than if you say…taped duct tape on your cutting board, knife, hands, and face – let it stay in the sun for about a week and then just pulled the tape off… and had that scummy stuck duct-crud on everything…

Anyway, the taste is…the bomb (also reminiscent of its hanging unexploded ordnance attitude). Fortunately, it can also be dried so you don’t have to eat 32 pounds of it in one sitting.

Jak… I think I’ll keep her. (Oh. But any of you within distance, drop a line – I gots plenty to share – the trees also grow just fine from seeds, contrary to the grafted-schmafted rap that one hears. This one is from a seed. The other not-fruiting-as-of-yet-one in the yard is a grafted one.)

Holiday Cock

holidaycockHere’s Mr. Pinhead, chief liberator of cat nuggets. At least his dumps are maybe helping out other yard residents like the ‘ulu (breadfruit tree) he’s standing under. Other than that, he’s just irritating mostly; crows over sunrise at 2 pm, among other annoyances. Still as I crack eggs shipped from Oahu, if not from the mainland, into my okonomiyaki mix, I’m unclear about who’s the bigger idiot. He does offer up his resplendence for a holiday picture..and his provocative name. I guess that’s something. Still, I wouldn’t mind if he went home, wherever that may be.