Sunshine is the Best Disinfectant

“Sunshine is the best disinfectant” ~Justice Louis Brandeis

On March 16 of this year, Governor David Ige issued a Supplementary Proclamation to the previously issued Emergency Proclamation in response to the COVID-19 crisis. There’s been some to-do about Governor Ige’s decision to suspend Hawaii’s Sunshine Law in the wake of the Coronavirus emergency.

This proclamation, among other things, suspends Chapter 92 HRS and Chapter 92F HRS. Chapter 92 deals with public agency meetings and records and is generally referred to as “Hawaii’s Sunshine Law”. 92F deals with the Uniform Information Practices Act commonly referred to as UIPA or the open records law.

The suspension of these two laws has generally gone with little or no push-back from the public. Though some have raised concerns.

Continue reading Open Government & COVID-19

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A Ha's Take On Me

Though I guess I am technically a child of the ’80s, I didn’t hit my teen years until the early ’90s and it wouldn’t be until later in that decade when I would find an appreciation for 80’s music.

Everyone may have their own ideas about which songs, artists best define the music of the decade. And I would have to wonder about anyone who doesn’t have A Ha’s “Take On Me” on their list. The song, along with their famous, era-defining music video would certainly have to be counted among the art defining the ’80s.

As I get older and we move further and further from that turbulent decade, I find more and more appreciation for the music that came out of the ’80s. “Take On Me” is no exception.

I had intended to share my own lip-sync of this song, but it seems the copyright holder has blocked the content outright. So in lieu of that, I hope you enjoy the original.

I may try to upload “my” video to my website directly, but that will take more time than I’m willing to commit right now. Sorry.

If you were really hoping to see me, here’s the first one I did all the way back in October of 2016.

I’ll have to do more of these so I have a catalog just in case this keeps happening…. In the meantime, enjoy it. And happy Music Monday!

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Me hatted and sunburned

In September 2004, I returned to Ohio for the first (and I think last) time since I graduated college in 2001. Having moved to Hawaii in 2002, this was the first time I saw a lot of these folks since leaving the continent.

The above picture was taken on the last night of the trip. Was I really ever that young?

I was there to attend the wedding of my friend Doug. “Snoop,” as he was known to us, a college friend and fraternity brother. Yes, I was in a fraternity. Don’t judge me.

Sadly, I don’t really have any “good” pictures from the actual wedding. The camera I had at the time was a piece of shit. I chose this one to share. The look on Snoop’s face as he tries the cake, with his new wife looking on, cracks me up.

The wedding was an opportunity to take some time to visit with other Ohio-based friends from my college days. Not everyone I had the pleasure to catch up with are in the included pictures.

My closest friend from my college days, Hal, had a friend who lived relatively close by and owned a boat. So we, along with some other friends spent the day before (I think) on some lake enjoying a lovely September day of sun and swimming. And, of course, good company.

Here’s me with some of my “crew” from our Oxford days. Left to right: Erin, Melodie, Melissa, and me. It was good to see them and we had a good time catching up.

Sadly, I don’t really keep in touch with any of these girls. But we had some good times back in the day.

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Self-Isolate

It’s been roughly two week since I’ve become even more of a home-body than normal.

While I remain confident that not only do I not have the Coronavirus, I have not interacted with anyone who does. Still, out of a combination of shared self-sacrifice and alternative-lacking, I have spent nearly 24-hours a day in my home for almost every day of the past two weeks.

As an introvert, you might think this time has been like a dream come true for me. Lovely long days spent alone with my thoughts, my work, and small apartment. It is not.

A friend shared on Facebook this article (https://introvertdear.com/news/introvert-but-quarantine-sucks/). Being single and childless, I can’t completely relate, but it does nonetheless hold some “truths” for me.

Being an Introvert Doesn’t Mean Solitude is Preferred

Last year, after a couple of different experiences, I wrote about what it really means to be an introvert. I used to think being an introvert meant we prefer solitude to other people, but that’s not true. Rather, it means that social interactions can be taxing both physically and emotionally. Solitude is necessary for our balance and for “recharging”. That’s definitely true in my case.

This experience has reconfirmed that fact for me. Not being able to go out (except for necessities), not being able to interact with friends and colleagues in the real world. Not being able to visit the Capitol, etc. All these are taking their tole on me.

In fact, I’ve understood for years that being cooped up in my house is a recipe for downward spirals. Under other circumstances, even without any of those things, spending an afternoon in a coffee shop was a welcome respite from the concrete cave that is my apartment.

Years of therapy have taught me this lesson well. So much so, that I’m able to often correct my trajectory so as not to completely lose it. In this way, I feel lucky. I imagine there are lots of people who will experience depression during this period of isolation, not recognize it for what it is, and won’t know how to deal with it.

Introvert or No, This is Hard

In addition to being an introvert, I’m also prone to depressive episodes that can last any where from a few hours to weeks at a time.

More than anything else, what keeps me on an even keel (under normal circumstances) is my work. So long as I feel productive, those depressive episodes are shorter and less frequent.

2020 was supposed to be an action-packed year. A legislative session pushing for advances on progressive issues, a flurry of local candidate campaigns, a presidential campaign, and county, state, and national Democratic Conventions. The Coronavirus has upended all of it and I’m struggling to fill my days. My professional work has all but come to a grinding halt.

Sure, there no end to all the reading I can and should be doing. And of course there’s writing and photography and walking I could undertake to keep myself busy. The trouble is I work best under deadlines. With no end in sight to this way of life, I struggle to get myself motivated to do much of anything.

What’s more, I tend to work and think better when there is some level of background noise and activity around me.

In college as now, quiet work spaces are not for me. Libraries, as much as I love browsing bookshelves, have always been a terrible place for me to get a lick of work done. Some of my best writing and thinking has taken place in bustling coffee shops blanketed with hi-fi headphones and a well-chosen playlist.

A Routine Built on Externalities

Yet another quirk of my brain is the need for at least some structure and routine. For me, entropy is a very real issue. Within a margin, deviation from a routine is jarring to me. It causes stress and can trigger depressive episodes.

So many of my friends are true “self-starters” who are able to find productive things to occupy themselves and their time. This, sadly, is a skill I’ve never been terribly good at developing. I can do it in fits and starts, but it’s always been short-lived.

Maybe I should see this global crisis as an opportunity to improve myself in this area. I am trying, but entropy, the relative quiet, and solitude makes it difficult.

To Do’s

While I’ve learned not to commit to something I’m not fully prepared to do, I leave here both for posterity and motivation a list of tasks and activities, at least some of which I hope to undertake as this global health crisis and necessary isolation persists:

  • Do more photography
  • Do more writing
  • Restart video blogging
  • Learn the ukulele
  • Take walks
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"Politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards."

This is a subject I’ve been wrestling with for some time. Years, in fact. I started writing this post several weeks ago and repeatedly had to set it aside and come back to it as I tried to find the right words and the right conclusion….

The 2020 Hawaii Legislative Session is well under away. Given what is expected to be an utter train wreck for some of the most pressing issues facing the people of Hawaii, I thought now might be a good time to broach the issue.

Collaboration is Central to the Legislative Process

As a bill goes through the tedious and groaning process of drafting, public hearings, and debate, it is often important for parties on all sides to share in the pain of compromise to reach agreement before it becomes law.

This collaboration and give-and-take on important issues facing Hawaii and its residents is part of the democratic process. I am often disappointed and frustrated by this process. Over years of doing this work, I’ve learned to temper that frustration in pursuit of progress. That progress may be slow, small, and not nearly enough for my taste, but progress is progress.

Though its a lesson I have to relearn on a seemingly yearly basis, I always go back to the very first time one of my mentors drove the point home for me. Continue reading Urgency or Incrementalism? Bold or Patient?

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