IMR: 1997: December: 02 -- Tuesday, 2:27 p.m.
Crawford Hall, Univ. of Hawai`i-Manoa, Hawai`i
Keever made my day today.

Sure, I got a 97 on the final, and a 97 on my welfare article. But that was just the icing on the cake.

See, all semester, there's been a peanut gallery of the most obnoxious variety in the class. Led by Gen, the jolly editor of the new Ka Leo, a gaggle of five or six kids incessantly talk, joke around and goof off while Keever's lecturing.

While I agree with Micheal that public affairs reporting is sometimes so tedious it hurts, it's an important area of reporting and -- more importantly -- someone as seasoned and esteemed as Keever deserves much more respect than to be outright ignored by students busily passing notes and making faces.

I'm not exactly the best student either, I know. I take notes like these in class, for example. But at least I don't indulge in grade-school play in an upper-division college course.

During the mid-class break, it's essentially recess for this gang, scurrying up and down the halls of Crawford laughing and yelling. The other week I was particularly annoyed to hear them discussing "South Park," with the absolute worst Cartman impressions I have ever heard (and I've heard many).

I can't even begin to list every juvenile transgression, but trust me... anyone with any degree of sense or courtesy would be appalled. The other day she led a Schoolhouse Rock sing-a-long. What's more, others actually joined in.

Once when Keever stepped out to grab something from her office -- expecting her students to be busy reading -- a three-ring circus erupted. I got so infuriated, I wrote a note to Keever begging her never to leave the class unattended. It opened, "For the love of god," and got more passionate from there.

For the most part, though, she's oblivious to the chatter. Meanwhile Micheal and I grit our teeth and straining to resist the urge to strangle the whole lot.

Today, though... man. We were no more than one minute into the class -- I hadn't even begun to be annoyed by the class jesters -- when Keever thrust her bony finger over everyone's heads and pointed right at Gen.

"What's the problem back there?"

For the rest of the class, many obviously of the opinion that Keever's about as hard-nosed as a lint ball, it was quite a shock.

Getting nothing but a blank stare, she continued, "Why don't you pay attention... this is important stuff. You're going to have to listen and get this down, especially if you want to get out early."

As it later turned out, Gen had asked Keever if she could leave halfway through class. She eventually did.

For the rest of the class, though, it was dead silent. Thankfully, without their ringleader's bouncy inspiration, the rest of the peanut gallery behaved as well.

It's too bad there's only one class left. I could get used to actually learning, rather than chanting, "Must... control... fist of death."

Monday, 10:13 p.m.
Our Apartment, Waikiki, Hawai`i
I got Microsoft Word 97 installed on Jen's computer. For what she uses it for, I doubt it will be much more useful to her than MS Works was, but it's the principle of the thing. If she has to muddle with Microsoft, she's going to muddle with only the best stuff.

Microsoft must think its customers are the most dimwitted souls on earth. I had to spend ten minutes turning off every "idiot-proof" feature this newest of Word versions sports.

From an animated paper clip that pops up at certain commands to ask if you need help to squiggly red lines that appear under every word it doesn't recognize as you type, it's like playing with a $1,000 coloring book.

(She's just discovered the joys of the RealPlayer. Specifically, NetRadio's "Country Music News" program. God help us.)

Yesterday's lamaze class -- focusing on childbirth procedures and pain medication options -- was a bit heavier than the last, and with cesarean sections on the agenda for next week, I think it's going to get progressively more serious through the six-week term.

Before we went in, Jen and I were discussing how scary the thought of such intense pain would be. She's afraid, and I'm terrified of seeing her suffer in any way.

I mentioned that they could probably just drug her unconscious, cut her open, pull the baby out and sew her back up, allowing her a good nap and the pleasure of waking up to a wrapped, cleaned-up baby. She said, jokingly, that it didn't sound half bad.

Still, I guess I underestimated Jen's desire to avoid meds (also the ideal for me, but we're trying to stay realistic).

In class, we did a little exercise. The men were sent outside, and the women were told to stand along a line representing their expectation of needing pain medication when the time came. One end was ten, gung-ho, natural all the way; the other was one, drugged silly.

Then they sat down, and the men were let back in with the same instructions. After we guessed our partners' pain thresholds, the women were told to stand in their original positions.

Everyone else was fairly close. At least on the same side of the midpoint. Everyone except Jen and I.

She had stood at six. I was standing at four. The class had a good chuckle.

We also watched several birth videos. These were more realistic than the first set -- we saw more of the waiting, the fear, the pain, the moments of desperation when the mother just wants to give up.

It was frightening, but in a way more compelling. Several people in the class, including me, cried with the parents on screen when their babies were finally born.

Finally the breathing exercises. Last week the two patters were both generally slow, designed more for relaxation in the earlier phases of labor. This week, we started the patterns everyone knows from TV and movies. Fast paced, spaced pushing...

One, the "Hee hee hoo" pattern, was familiar to everyone, thanks to a local GTE networks commercial that's been airing lately.

You know, for the last two weeks, I thought this week was the last week of school. That next week is finals week. That's why, I thought, we rushed the 'Venue to come out by Friday.

So I was stressing. A six-page EDEA paper is due at the last class meeting, which I thought was this Thursday. A real estate records article was similarly due in Keever's class. In Hawaiian, we only today started writing a skit that I thought we'd have to have down by the end of the week.

Wrong. All wrong. The EDEA paper is due on Dec. 11, the last day of classes. Keever's article is due on Dec. 9. The Hawaiian skit is to be performed that day as well.

Ah, blissful reprieve.

(Now Jen's listening to a Cheap Trick concert while reading Micheal's Ramblings page. I'm so proud!)

I raced all over and, unbelievably, turned in that APT application today, a whole day before the deadline. As I wrote to William, "You may now call off the assassins."

(Note to myself: Strobel was wrong! There are four s's!)

I wasn't sure if I was actually going to get up the nerve to do it. Knowing I'll have to feed a family soon, though, gives me moments of superhuman resolve.

I revised my resume, wrote a horribly conceited cover letter, ordered a rush transcript and hand delivered it to my intended place of employment -- the Office of the Chancellor for Community Colleges, under Joyce Tsunoda.

The office is in a converted house on Dole Street, several lots down from Kaimana Cafe (formerly Pizza Hut). Quaint. At least it's not a portable on stilts.

The woman at the front desk was very friendly, and I think recognized me from somewhere but couldn't place where. "This goes to the Human Resources Office upstairs," she said, "Good luck!"

I wish I knew whether or not I even had a chance. The requirements and desired qualifications in the job description fit me almost to a T, except for that pesky "graduation from an accredited four-year college or university."

All my hope rests on one, catch-all disclaimer line. "Or any equivalent combination of education and/or experience."

Public Information Officer II. It's got a ring to it. I like the Roman numeral touch myself.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 3 December 1997 · Last Modified: 4 December 1997