IMR: 1997: December: 05 -- Friday, 12:04 p.m.
Hamilton Library, Univ. of Hawai`i-Manoa, Hawai`i
I wonder where Micheal is?

I've been wondering that a lot lately, now that he let his pager service lapse. All I can do is leave messages on his rickety answering machine at home, fire off some nasty e-mail, then sit at our regular meeting spot in the Asia Collection and hope he shows up.

Predistribution of 'Venue issue three is today. We hit Marriott locations, waiting rooms, lobbies and VIP offices. Monday morning is the distribution option we're famous for -- handing them out by the Law Library as bleary-eyed students trudge onto campus at 7 a.m.

Oop. He just walked up. Time to go.

Friday, 9:13 p.m.
Our Apartment, Waikiki, Hawai`i

Where was I?

Well, by now I hope the 'Venue is being read here and there by people otherwise choking down their $5.10 plates of chicken katsu. I'd go on to say "we'll hear something any minute now," but the frankly, we never hear anything.

Sure we get lots of kudos from people we walk up to, and certainly people in the journalism department pore every word and gives us a few comments...

But the average student? Unless we printed a nude picture of their mother on the cover, they wouldn't lift a finger.

Still, though, I'm happy with number three. I've got two stories in it, and for once they're not pulled-from-my-ass copy. One, perhaps the best story on the Porteus issue the campus has seen to date (despite dozens of articles in that other paper), and two, a photo story on Jenny Duhaylonsod, welfare mother.

One thing is certain. Our undeserved reputation as the "radical Commie rag" will probably fade with this issue. If anything, the welfare article will make us the "bleeding heart liberal rag."

Ah. Micheal just called. The first 1,000 copies are now available at assorted Marriott outlets. He didn't make it down to the Bureau of Conveyances for Keever's last assignment after all... but there's always Monday.

Wintel machines have their charms.

While it's not "Kaleidoscope," I've installed some Windows 95 "themes" on Jen's computer. "South Park" themes, to be exact. Various sound samples to go with certain system functions, and nifty animated cursors of Cartman chugging "Bulk 2000" and Kenny rotating in the microwave.

Every time an error window pops up, it says, "Yeah, whatever, you fat bitch." Which is generally my response to any useless OS message... the Macintosh "this computer may not have been shut down correctly" window in particular.

("I know you weren't shut down correctly, dammit... you crashed!")

Right now, Jen's playing Acrophobia, a web-networked word game with live chat. I must confess, I got addicted to it myself this afternoon.

I also borrowed Micheal's collection of X Japan MIDI files. Listening to those songs, despite the fact that I still don't know the words, really took me back to earlier this year. I remember those very melodies echoing through the dark Ka Leo building at 2 a.m...

Jen rented "The Pillow Book" Wednesday night. Vivian Wu and Ewan McGregor. I, frankly, was stunned.

See, when "The Pillow Book" was playing at Varsity earlier this year to wide local acclaim, I suggested we go see it. William was equally eager. However, Jen's immediate and permanent answer to the idea was, "No fucking way."

While doing so (I hope) mostly in jest, Jen is nonetheless very consistent in gonging any movie that contains any Asian female lead. Red Corner was nixed the instant we saw the first commercial, as it made it clear there was a Chinese model involved. Another film at Varsity starring Gong Li was also quickly vetoed.

I confess, I have an extensive history of Asian fetishism. (Yes, I was an a.b.p.e.o junkie.) What can I say? Genetics has to play a part.

But I also happen to particularly enjoy Eastern cinema. European too. Frankly, I make a little extra effort to see any film that's not American made. I spend a lot of my movie money at Varsity.

But my motives in wanting to see anything of Japanese or Chinese origin are always suspect.

Even a "safe" movie choice like "The Wedding Banquet" -- the story of two gay male lovers -- filled Jen with paranoia that I'd dump her for a six-foot-tall, multi-lingual Chinese opera singer.

Anyway, despite the bare-shouldered Wu on the cover, she rented "The Pillow Book." An impulse choice, waved in her face as she left Tower. We popped it in, settled on the couch and hit play.

There was a naked Asian woman inside of five minutes. There was, in fact, a naked Asian woman for a good portion of the film. Frankly, the first half would've made William spontaneously combust.

Here's the thing, though. I didn't really care.

Sure, she was pretty, and the photography and settings were such that it was clear this woman's sensuality was central to the film. But was I thinking she was a babe? No. I was being sucked into the story.

"The Pillow Book" is, despite the worn cliche, a visual feast. The cinematography was so rich I didn't want to blink. And the use of -- for lack of a classier term -- picture-in-picture scenes was awesome. (At one point I thought, "You know, the arrangement of the windows are reminiscent of a classy website...")

And the story was so layered and packed with (occasionally overdone) symbolism, my brain was still spinning when we went to bed. I loved it.

The thing is, Jen and I often have diametrically-opposed opinions of movies.

Halfway through "The Pillow Book," I was already overwhelmed. I turned to Jen, who had been silent the whole time. I was sure she was equally impressed.

"Now aren't you sorry you didn't let us see this in the theater?"

"No!" she said, spitting.

Yet again, I was stunned. "What?"

"So far, it looks like it's just an excuse for her to be naked all the time."

"Hmm," I said.

I kept my mouth shut for the rest of the movie.

To be fair, Jen eventually got into it too. And, as a special bonus, the latter half of the film was essentially an excercise in male full-frontal nudity, in all shapes and sizes.

"Oooh," Jen said at one point. "Ewan's dingie!"


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 5 December 1997 · Last Modified: 6 December 1997