IMR: 2000: February: 08 — Tuesday, 3:14 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawaii

[ Greg blesses us with his presence. ]Yay! Greg is in town!

He landed at 11 p.m. last night, and is still mired in jetlag (and recovering from one hell of a travel nightmare), but still managed to make it into town this evening to hang out and join us for dinner.

The last time he was in town, Katie was only nine months old. The Katie of today — talking, counting, running around, dumping things all over the floor — was clearly quite a shock.

As someone who doesn't ever want to have kids, and for that matter lacks any clear opportunity to do so, Greg did a great job of pretending to be interested in our many tales of childrearing. Fortunately, Jen and I were more than familiar with the way friends' quickly eyes glaze over at such talk, and spared him as much as we could.

Instead, Greg and I talked shop. (So Jen's eyes glazed over.) The web, SXSW (he's a finalist), Perl and other scripting options, Diarist.Net and Duran Duran Networks, JournalCon, and all things cyber, hyper and e.

Of course there was also much discussion of music (Greg's predictions about the industry have always been dead on), writing of the creative variety, and general gossip about friends, former associates, and random Hawaii diarists.

Looking for, paradoxically, the quintissential local experience and yet something new, we took him to the Zippy's in Kahala, which wasn't even a glint in an architect's eye when he left the islands a few years ago. Greg nabbed the breaded beef cutlet, Jen and I wolfed down Zip Mins (Zips Min?), and Katie got her usual keiki spaghetti plate.

Greg could only laugh and shake his head as Katie instigated near-disaster after near-disaster throughout the meal, tipping cups and grabbing condiments and trying to mark the table with crayons. All everyday stuff for us, and for any parent of a toddler, but seeing it through Greg's eyes for that moment, I had to laugh too.

"Sometimes even I wonder how we manage to live with a chaotic, curious force like her in our house twenty-four hours a day," I said, instinctively pulling a full glass of fruit punch out of her clumsy grip without even looking.

On the drive over and back, he treated us to some rock en Español, noting in particular Maná — move over "Latin Explosion" (i.e. Latin artists doing American pop), says our guru, here comes real Latin music.

He had to race home early to return the family car, but plans were made to hook up with Donica, Jason, Wayne, Mio, Martha, and other Ka Leo veterans this weekend.

And as he left, he gave Katie a belated (but unexpected and appreciated) birthday present: a stuffed Pochako doll.

"Pochaku, not Pikachu," I sighed in relief. "Thank god."

Random realization, tied somewhat to the aforementioned Latin Explosion:

The beautiful ocean-to-shoreline opening shots in Enrique Iglesias' new music video for "Rhythm Divine" is of Waikiki at dusk. See the sea wall? See the little church with the steep copper roof? It's one of the few times I've ever seen our cramped tourist mecca look remotely pleasant.

And it's use is odd, since the rest of the video (let alone the song) has nothing to do with Hawai`i. In fact, the setting looks a bit like San Francisco's Chinatown or even Hong Kong proper.

Seems like a long way to travel for a pretty aerial. Unless it's from some remarkable stock footage collection.

[ Sunset and Aloha Tower Marketplace, as viewed from the office. ]Everyone's working longer hours as our meeting approaches (37 days and counting). At least our boss appreciates a good sunset, and often calls us all over to the window for a momentary scenic respite.

I used to be the among the last to leave, usually checking out at 6:30 or 7:00 p.m., but now I get calls and e-mail from the office as late as 9 p.m. Tonight, in fact, I got buzzed on the road because a break in GTE's ADSL network far upstream had temporarily cut off our webservers and internet access.

And the only reason I leave "early" at all is because Jen and Katie rightfully expect me home for dinner. In the near future, I dread that it's going to get to the point where I go back to work as the family gets ready for bed.

So I really, really have to make it a point to relax when I can.

I have always considered myself a textbook Type A, high-strung stress junkie. A guy who burns through everything at 122 percent, supposedly thriving on chaos. It certainly worked for me during my newsroom days.

But on a 9-to-5 (or rather 6-to-7) weekday schedule, it's too much.

Today, and on at least a couple of other occasions in the last month, my body has suddenly and almost completely shut down. First a piercing headache, and then it hits me like a truck — I'm dizzy and weak, my eyes start to sting, and I feel like I'll pass out if I don't force myself to walk somewhere. Anywhere.

I'm sitting at my desk and I can't think about anything. It's like drowning in silent and invisible static.

I've suspected everything from dehydration (which is likely, since I never drink as much water as I should) to undiagnosed diabetes. But I think I just don't want to accept that I just might be getting overwhelmed by stress and anxiety.

It's only going to get worse. I've got to pace myself.

This week Charlene Barshefsky (U.S. Trade Representative) joined our already awesome slate of ambassadors and admirals and ministers and CEOs. And we're told that even at this late date, we're still on Clinton's radar, and if he (or any other invited head of state) comes the immensity of this project increases exponentially.

Locally, this meeting has always been sold as an opportunity for Honolulu and the state of Hawai`i to prove it can do serious international business. As talks with vendors and sponsors get down to the wire, I desperately hope that it can.

The latest additions to Katie's growing vocabulary are 'soda' and 'butt,' neither of which we are exactly proud.

This past weekend, mom — still delirious after working the concessions at the Pro Bowl — handed us some GMT tickets and pushed us out the door to see a movie.

Originally we wanted to catch "Being John Malkovich," which to our surprise was still playing at the Aikahi Twins theaters way the hell out in Kailua.

But, well, I didn't know where exactly the theaters were. I circled the wrong spot on the map, to which Jen faithfully navigated us, at which point we realized we were very lost. After bouncing between Kailua and Kaneohe, we finally found them... twenty minutes too late.

So we drove quickly back over the H-3 to Pearlridge, resolving to see the first available movie that didn't have Bette Midler in it.

Our choices were "Galaxy Quest" and Eye of the Beholder." I was in the mood for a space comedy, Jen was in the mood for Ewan McGregor. Jen won the coin toss.

And we both lost out big time.

I want to be clever and summarize "Eye of the Beholder" with the phrases 'el stinko' or 'el pieco del crapo,' but the reviewer for the Washington Post beat me to it.

The English language hasn't the color to express how bad this movie was. Not even German would capture its suckiness very well. I mean, this thing made "Eyes Wide Shut" look like "Citizen Kane." (Remember that review?) When the screen faded to black, several other people in the theater simultaneously joined my wife in exclaiming, "What the hell was that?"

Even more upsetting was that Jen and I walked out with the nagging feeling that maybe we just missed something, that maybe there was a profound revelation or underlying gimmick that went right over our heads. The optimist in me couldn't believe that so much money and attention could have been invested in a movie that incomprehensible.

The movie was making us feel dumb. For a split second, I wondered if domesticity and parenthood had finally sucked the last atom of knowing hipness out of us.

Of course, we hopped on the web as soon as we got home, and realized that we had it right the first time.

"Eye of the Beholder" will set the benchmark by which bad (but stylish) movies of this decade will be measured. I mean, maybe if someone twice Ewan McGregor's age played his role there might have been something there. But k.d. lang — though a great musician — was enough to sink this turd all by herself. ("My butt is on the line here... oh, okay, but just this once!")

Never mind the fact that you could have pushed Jupiter and most of its moons through the holes in continuity and logic.

"Merry fucking Christmas, daddy!"

You have got to be joking.

And to add insult to grievous emotional injury, Wayne coincidentally called later that day, and the first words out of his mouth were, "You absolutely have to see 'Galaxy Quest.' It was so funny!"

Oh man. The Oscar's better bring "Being John Malkovich" back into wide release.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 8 February 2000 · Last Modified: 17 February 2000