I find myself back here…

…writing, again, when maybe what I want to do right now, is make art. Or, at least, it might be a good use of sunlight. (I have been trying to get up earlier, to actually make use of the light. The thing is, I don’t always spontaneously wake early enough to get a full day’s worth — and I may not be ready to do art, right after waking.)

A recent overhaul of the bookcases in my bedroom have gotten me to really look at the books and topics I’ve collected. Noted, that there are other bookcases outside of the bedroom, like the ones in the study, which I searched through today for homework fodder. That’s not to mention the books in the downstairs library: most of which, belong to others. Of those that have been mine, the downstairs library stores the ones which have been variously saved from being passed on. (We’ve had to get rid of a lot of books.)

While I sorted through the bedroom cache, I recovered two framed mandalas which I had made during the Art program. I knew I had one, which was visible; the (more developed) other had been hidden behind a bunch of books. I didn’t see it until I emptied the shelf to clean it.

Finding these mandalas caused me to recall the method of their construction (paper-folding leading to mathematically precise vertices which can be used as anchor points for various designs)…and the fact that I can very well continue the series. Origami Design Secrets: Mathematical Methods for an Ancient Art (Second Edition), by Robert J. Lang (2011), explains — in Math, and with numerous color illustrations — how origami functions. I have yet to substantively read it; I picked it up because I thought it explained how to create various base modules. Now that I look through it more deeply, I question that impression…but I have a feeling Lang may give enough information for one to branch out on one’s own.

Before the pandemic, I checked out a book which explained how to create origami using a pentagonal base (which they also showed how to cut). Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the book, and I know said library does not archive records of what I’ve checked out. Folding a pentagonal sheet of paper instead of a square or rectangle, probably falls into the “innovative” or nontraditional category, however.

Now that I think of it, it may have been a book on folding paper flowers. To the best of my memory, the author may have had a Chinese surname…

I think the problem of retrieving this, is going to bother me. I may have saved some information about it, somewhere…the main problem is whether it came from within the County system (which is a smaller set of titles to search) or from somewhere else. I initially checked out Lang’s book through a system which searches federated California and Nevada libraries (including Academic [or College/University], libraries); it’s possible the flower book also came from there — in which case, well.


When working from a square base, it’s very easy to fall into the habit of making everything conform to a square format: that is, you start dealing with four “gates” as are typical of Buddhist mandalas, as versus designs that are based on circles and circular geometry. The latter are easier to build by using a compass. They’re also more commonly found, which makes sense when they’re seen; there’s just something comforting about roundness and divisions of 6.

How to tackle the combination of the two, is something I haven’t yet developed, though I can see that Lang does enter into the topic of radial symmetry at some point (see Chapter 9, “Circle Packing”). But again: I haven’t yet read this book: it’s 758 pages long. If, at some point, I seriously want to develop the mathematical angle of mandala design, it will be a good source. I trust that anyone else who wants to tail me on this, will have a substantially large-enough set of inspirations that our paths probably won’t cross (at least, not too much).

I’ve also found a number of books which I did not entirely recall that I had, which now I want to read! One of these is Beyond Ethnicity: New Politics of Race in Hawai’i, edited by Camilla Fojas, Rudy P. Guevarra Jr., and Nitasha Tamar Sharma (2018). I think maybe this book was a bit charged for me, before — before, that is, I began to read an essay which pretty much exactly described a situation I witnessed during a family visit.

I found this book at Nā Mea Hawai’i in Honolulu (Ward Center)…not sure which year, though obviously enough for me, it had to be between 2018 and 2019. (No, they aren’t compensating me; yes, I did pay for the books.) At the time, they had a couple of shelves of books by the entryway. On the same trip, I found Nation Within: The History of the American Occupation of Hawai’i, by Tom Coffman (2016), which stands out for its contemporary relevance.

You notice that I mention having family in Hawai’i. I myself have not particularly wanted to go out there to join them. There are a number of reasons for this: one, the fact that the US is illegally occupying the islands. Hawai’i never agreed to become a State, and the Native Hawaiian people (though possibly not the tourists) know this.

Another is that people (tourists) tend to stereotypically see Hawai’i as, “paradise,” when it isn’t necessarily so, for the locals. A high cost of living combined with a service/tourist economy means that many people have to work two or three jobs — and/or live with other people — in order to survive. On top of this, the public school system is known for not being awesome, so people may find themselves stuck in low-end jobs upon graduation (or before, as the case could easily be).

Then, there is the fact that basically every living thing that has been transplanted there, has tended to explosive growth, which impacts the native ecology. The fact that humans might also be considered among those transplants…I’m not fully comfortable with, especially when going over there in the first place is predicated on false beliefs about the islands, and/or the people who live there.

In essence, the entire situation is problematic…though I don’t have any great ideas right now about how it could be, over the long term, better. I have a feeling that if the US vacates, some other power is going to rush in; the islands are too strategically located for it to be otherwise. The answer that came to me the other night was to declare the US a Commonwealth and have legitimate independent governance of Hawai’i…which is going to be difficult, due to preexisting political corruption.


I could go on, but I’ve probably been here, long enough.


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