IMR: 2000: October: 31 — Tuesday, 10:30 p.m. HST
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

Katie is thrilled again to be transformed into Magenta.
Katie and Mama before heading out to trick-or-treat.
As the evening winds down, Katie tries a new look.
Another Halloween has quietly come and gone. The touch-and-go weather we've been having mostly spared trick-or-treaters tonight. Of course we spent the evening in Mililani with mom and grandma, and this year the percentage of rude, uncostumed roaming teenagers was refreshingly low.

Katie enjoyed seeing all the characters stop by to pick up their candy, but in typically fickle two-year-old fashion, she decided this time that she didn't want to spend the evening walking the neighborhood and collecting candy herself. Jen and I took her halfway around the block, but after finding her reluctant to walk up to our neighbors' doors (and even more reluctant to acknowledge them in any way), we called it quits after five houses.

She was more than happy to merely relax at grandma's, dig around in the bowl of candy we'd set up to give away (half of it now on the counter in our kitchen), and prance around in various parts of her Magenta costume.

Oh well. I'd say she could probably wear the same costume next year, but we said the same thing last time with her Po outfit. More often than not, practical planning is often tossed out the window in the face of overwhelming cuteness.

For now, I'm just thanking the gods that she's not yet developed the typical toddler sweet tooth. For now, at least, she'll happily take Cheereos or even a baby carrot over a Snickers bar...

So I did the absentee voting thing this week, by mail. In my case it's out of neccessity, as I'll be a little too far away from a polling place come Tuesday, but I can see why folks elect to do it out of habit. It's more convenient, of course, and it's also conceivably easier to mull over the issues in the comfort of your own home.

It feels a little like getting your taxes in before April... something I haven't done in recent memory.

Who got my vote? For president, Al Gore. Seriously, I like a lot of what Ralph Nader has to say (third party, shmird party, living half a day behind the East Coast could be said to make any national vote in Hawai`i a "wasted vote"), but given my current line of work I just can't endorse someone with limited foreign policy plans and a slightly creepy protectionist outlook. Of course I'd take a yellow dog before George 'D-Dubya-I' Bush any day.

For the Board of Education? Anyone except Carol Gabbard (i.e. former tire baron Lex Brodie). Even if she and her husband weren't hateful bigots, a woman who chooses to keep her spawn out of the public education system surely has no place in its administration.

For OHA? Well, I would've been able to vote even without Rice v. Cayetano, so I didn't feel any guilt marking the ballot. I went with much of the Hawaiian slate, plus the notable addition of Mililani Trask, who — if anything — keeps things interesting. If the Akaka Bill (granting Native Hawaiians federal recognition similar to those afforded Native Americans) passes the U.S. Senate, I sure as heck don't want OHA run by a bunch of really good friends.

And, of course, "Yes" on the constitutional amendment for UH autonomy. There's only a marginal chance it'll help give the university greater self governance, but I maintain the bill is vital to preserve present hard-won powers, and can certainly not make things worse for my poor school than they are now.

No doubt about it, we're heading into a roller-coaster week in this modest household.

Katie is working her way through the inaugural "acclimation" period at her new school, and is doing surprisingly well (to Jen's mild chagrin). Since she barely noticed Jen's absence yesterday and today, she's on an accellerated schedule, and will likely be spending the whole day there — lunch, nap and all — by Thursday.

Jen, meanwhile, is nervously gearing up for her new job, pulling out her dress clothes and make-up and somewhat dreading the three days of training that begin Friday. Not an hour goes by where she rubs her temples and growls, "What the hell are we doing?"

Finally, there's me, so overwhelmed at work in preparation for our Singapore meeting next week that I've barely had time to freak out about everything else, let alone about having to get onto another airplane.

(Although the crash of a Singapore Airlines plane last night in Taiwan certainly caught my attention.)

Tomorrow begins the twice-annual ritual of coming home for dinner, then returning to work to toil late into the night. Actually this traditional crunch is starting later than usual, meaning either we're more organized than usual or we're blissfully ignorant of some huge forgotten obligation that we'd usually have Lacene around to remind us about.

Only Sharon and I are leaving on Monday, dispatched the earliest to make sure our office there is set up and running before the rest of the team arrives Wednesday and Thursday (we lose a day traveling there, crossing the International Date Line). And I'm a little nervous.

This'll be the smallest team we've had in years to pull off this annual executive gathering. But on top of it all, I'm suddenly one of the old-timers, a veteran, one of the few people who've done one of these meetings before. Coworkers will look to me for wisdom, and I still haven't been able to shake my impression of myself as the "kid" of the office.

But on the plus side, the people we've worked with there have been first rate, and even though I'll probably set foot outside the hotel once or twice, I'm really looking forward to seeing Singapore first hand. I've heard a lot about it, including from my dad, and can't wait to get right into a social system very much unlike any other in the developed world. Are more limited freedoms really worth greater safety and order? Is the great prosperity merely economic or cultural as well?

I'm going with a hungry and open mind. And absolutely, positively, no gum.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 29 October 2000 · Last Modified: 31 October 2000