thursday. the last day of the convention and my last full day in the city of brotherly love.

frustration from two days prior continued to linger and physical and mental fatigue was beginning to set in, but i was up, again, in time to be at breakfast at 7am. that morning’s breakfast was going to be a special one; it had been arranged to have senator bernie sanders himself come and speak to the delegations staying at the hilton valley forge hotel.

thoroughly excited, i made sure i was downstairs in the conference room in plenty of time and to make sure i had my choice of seats.

in addition, and prior to, bernie’s speech, we welcomed former maryland governor martin o’malley. his speech was good, but honestly, i was so excited to see the senator up close and personal, i didn’t pay much attention. instead, i kept glancing back at the entrance to the room, waiting for the senator’s arrival.

unfortunately, because some bernie supporters were so unhappy with his loss and previous endorsement of hillary clinton, the senator was being harassed. there had been protests at his hotel (i didn’t even know where he was staying). so bernie was a little on guard and his secret service detail was definitely on guard. so, instead of a grand entrance from the back of the room, he was quietly rushed in through the kitchen entrance at the side of the room.

his appearance was sudden and though there was certainly applause and a rush to welcome him and maybe shake his hand, security moved him promptly to the stage with little fanfare and he began his address to us.

i tried to get some pictures of a couple of our young and bright bernie delegates presenting him with lei and gifts from hawaii. unfortunately, in the hustle and crowd, it proved difficult. i did, however get this great picture of a crying asami after presenting the senator with a lei:

his speech was good, but not a deviation from anything i’d heard from him over the last couple days. it was just thrilling to have him there, knowing what his campaign meant to so many people, including myself.

then, when he concluded his was whisked away back through the kitchen as quickly as he had entered.

though there were more events at the convention center, not to mention clinton’s acceptance speech that evening. i, however, decided bernie’s visit to our hotel would be a fitting end to my official convention experience. i wasn’t really keen on hearing hillary speak, nor bear witness to the celebration (and smugness from some) of clinton’s supporters. instead, i gave away my credentials to one of the party faithful form hawaii who had come to philly to staff the delegation; she was a clinton supporter and had no doubt she’d enjoy being there to see hillary accept the nomination much more than i would have.

so, a gray and rainy day spent packing, relaxing, editing photos, and writing marked the end of my convention delegate experience. in some ways, it had been the longest few days of my life. in others, it was over as hurriedly as it had begun. i was sorry to see it come it an end without any real climax, but so it goes.

early the next morning, i boarded a shuttle to the airport happy to begin my vacation spending quality time with friends and family in the midwest.

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the previous day had been a rough one and though we had to be up early again for breakfast, wednesday morning began with a slow start.

from my perspective, the most important parts of the convention had already taken place and, admittedly, my enthusiasm was beginning to wane. there wasn’t much, as best as we could tell, a whole lot going on at the arena of note prior to the primetime speakers, so a lot of us spent much of the day doing progressive, non-convention-related stuff: attending trainings, forums, protests, etc.

for my part, myself and a friend decided to attend some forums in the city being put on by progressive democrats of america. if memory serves, which is always questionable, the forum was on progressive budget alternatives. it’s a topic both my friend and i have been interested in for some time and had, in previous years, attempted to publicize here in hawaii (to little effect). however, for reasons also escaping my recollection, we never made it to the forum despite having paid for it. i think we were distracted and preoccupied talking to fellow progressives and just lost track of time.

still, the day still had promise as there was scheduled a democratic socialists of america (DSA) event at the same location. i was pretty excited about it…. in the meantime, we grabbed a bite to eat at a nearby deli and had lots of good conversations with various progressive activists and democratic socialists. a great way to spend a morning!

shortly after signing in for the DSA event and finding a couple of seats, we received a text message from the bernie campaign about a candidate and campaign training that had just been added to the day’s schedule and was going to start within the hour. after a bit of deliberation, my friend and i agreed it made sense to try and hoof it across town to be at the training with our fellow bernie supporters and progressive activists. and so, with some disappointment, we left before the DSA event got started and made our way back to the vicinity of the convention center.

…only we got a bit turned around. or, as my friend would certainly point out, i got us turned around. and i didn’t realize my mistake right away, rather more like after 20 minutes in the opposite direction. so we did our best to hurry back in the right direction, trying to find our way to a bus or subway stop that would get us to our destination. we did eventually make it, but we were quite late (and very hot and dehydrated). and then the training itself turned out, at least for me, to be not very useful. so it goes.

after the training was over, we walked over to reading market for some coffee and food as we mapped out our plan for the rest of the afternoon. while there, we bumped into some other hawaii bernie delegates and ended up just hanging around the market until it was time for us to make our way to the wells fargo center for primetime.

we had been warned that because the president was going to be in attendance, security was going to be much tighter and after a certain time we might not be admitted at all. and as had become typical of the DNC, none of those rumors turned out to be true….

despite president obama’s arguable failures in any number of areas of domestic policy and his utter warmongering foreign policy, it’s hard not to listen to him speak and… like him. he’s a hell of an orator.

i found myself, at more than one point during his speech, thinking how much i liked him and was so disappointed “this guy” hadn’t turned up to run the country.

while obama’s speech was the most memorable, i have to say vice president biden and clinton’s VP nominee, tim kane, did pretty well too.

the president finished his speech to a standing ovation and cheers. and while there was still one more day of the convention remaining, i didn’t know at the time that wouldn’t be back the following day.

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this is getting posted much later than i had intended. and i had wanted to post something everyday while i was here, but clearly that boat has sailed….

i arrived in philadelphia on thursday evening. after collecting my bag, i found my ride to the valley forge doubletree, checked in, and then made my way across the street to pick up some dinner.

i woke up friday morning, had breakfast in the hotel restaurant, then prepared to head out for a day of sight seeing. my efforts were initially stymied when i couldn’t figure out the philadelphia public transit (SEPTA) app on my phone. first, i attempted to board the wrong bus, only to be very politely corrected by the bus driver. then, frustrated, i decided to walk to the closest train station, which is a little over a mile away. though google maps said the route was walkable, i quickly learned that while technically true, doing so would have meant braving highway-like traffic.

finally, i boarded the correct bus, having wasted more than an hour walking back and forth in the hot and humid weather. 45 minutes and some terrible traffic later, i was in “center city,” downtown philadelphia.

my first stop was at the city hall; a huge building with some, in my opinion, very nice architectural design. i took some pictures, refilled my water bottle and moved on to a nearby train station at which i could purchase a couple of all-day transit passes. then i moved on to my top priority for the day: independence hall.

i’ve never thought of myself as a history buff, but i was so thrilled to have the opportunity to see the place, step inside it, and experience the sort of closeness to history. to be in the very same room, the very same building where shining historic american figures (i still tend toward zinn’s version of the founding fathers) was remarkable. though the tour guide we had from the parks service wasn’t great, he still shared a lot of very interesting information.

next it was on to the liberty bell. admittedly, i was less interested in the bell, but given it’s iconic status in american history, i felt it was important to see in person. i got one or two decent pictures of the bell, but i found far more interesting the rest of the exhibit about the bell and its history.

after that, i moved on to benjamin franklin’s grave and then the philadelphia history museum. i enjoyed both, but independence hall was the highlight of the day.

then, as i was walking to find a pint, i bumped into another bernie delegate from hawaii and the bernie delegates he was walking around with. so, instead of beer, i made my way with them to the “love” sculpture. i was vaguely aware of the image, but hadn’t know it was in philly. so i hung out with them on the way to the sculpture too some shots of all of them.

by then, it was getting on in the afternoon. so i parted ways with the small bernie contingent and made my way back to the hotel.

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so, in an attempt to breathe some life back into this site, as well as lay some foundation for sharing older and future pictures i’ve taken and get some more use out of my flickr account, i installed the photonic plugin. below is my first attempt at fiddling with the settings….

i’m not sure yet what i think. i’m not sure i want galleries embedded in my posts as opposed to having a link to the galleries, but i’m still debating.

let me know what you think, keeping in mind much of the customizable settings have been touched yet. oh, and enjoy a handful b&w photos i’ve taken over the years.

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with the birth of 2016 fast approaching, i’m still struggling to nail down my “yearly theme,” my goals for the new year. i’ve got a list of ideas, though with little details on how to achieve them. under pressure to wake up on january 1st with a plan and vision i’ve attempted answer the questions remaining from part one, hoping at the end, i will be much closer to putting pen to paper and putting my “theme”  in writing.

~ what do i want to leave behind from this year?

it’s been a whirl-wind year. with dramatic changes at my work-place and an exciting and energizing election season heating up, though there may have been a fair amount of complaining on my part, i’m not sure how much of it was in my control, save one area.

those of you who know me, or have frequented this blog know that i’ve struggled off and on with depression for a fair chunk of my life. earlier this year, i fell into a funk out of which, on my own, i was unable to climb. i’ve been meeting with my therapist regularly since. though i’m back in an even, and even positive, frame of mind, i continue to see him as a motivation to work on things we’ve agreed are important.

though my temperament is such that i believe i will always be at risk of depressive funks, what i’d like to leave behind from this is year a nagging sense that my life lacks direction, accomplishments, or goals. the arc of my life has been fairly a typical, i think. it’s certainly outside the range of “normal” for the majority of my friends and while i look at this as a positive thing, i sometimes focus on the things they have that i don’t which causes feelings of loneliness and failure.

the goal of the “yearly theme” project, at is very core, is an attempt to leave these feelings behind once-and-for-all and be happy with what i have and successful in the goals i set for myself.

~ what went incredibly well?

honestly? i’m not sure anything went “incredibly” well. when weighing the “good” and “bad” in my life over this year, i can say that the scale easily tips toward the good. i made progress improving my finances, developed or strengthened relationships with some members of the democratic party of hawaii (which could prove valuable in the coming year), and proved my worth in a new position in my office.

as a matter of fact, if i look back at (what i can remember of) this year, it seems to have been a foundation-setting year. there was nothing particularly remarkable about this year, other than i could say it has put me in position to have a really good 2016.

~ what do i want more of in the year ahead?

more focus. i feel like i do a lot, constantly busy, but as i’ve been contemplating this new undertaking over the last few weeks, i’ve really begun to realize that while i’m involved in a lot of different things, there’s not a whole lot of focus in my life. enjoyable hobbies like writing, video blogging, and (restarting my) photography are consistently put off in exchange for “work” for one of the various organizations for which i volunteer; that has to change.

more joy. i’m not an unhappy person per se, but it can be a bit lonely and my free time is spent mostly laying on my couch. i’m often reminded, usually by friends and family that don’t live here, that i take completely for granted the fact that i live in this very special place. so, in the new year, i want more nature time: beaches, ocean, hiking, or just walking around my neighborhood. making a point to enjoy what hawaii has to offer is a good first step in the right direction.

there are still three or four more questions to go, but to keep this post from becoming completely unreadable, i’ll continue on in part three. stay tuned.

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