IMR: 1998: April: 02 -- Thursday, 1:41 p.m.
Crawford Hall, Univ. of Hawai`i, Hawai`i
It was four years ago yesterday that Jen and I finally gave in to the proclaimations of our friends and became a couple. We're still nowhere near our Silver Anniversary, sure, but it's obviously no fleeting tryst, either.

We spent that blessed day in 1994 frolicking in the surf at Hapuna Beach on the Kona shore of the Big Island. I was 19, Jen was 22, and the world was a playground.

And now we're married, parents of a beautiful daughter. Chronologically we're only four years older, but emotionally we've aged decades. We're different people.

Not that we're less happy. It's just a very different happy. A rich, deep, sturdy and hopeful happy, instead of just a young, blissfully naieve happy. Jen sometimes laments the loss of those simpler days, but I would never go back.

Not even a year ago would I have expected to be where I am today. But I can't imagine being anywhere else. I know, in that profound way that can never be quanitified, I was fated to have this life. And I am more humbled and thankful than I could ever express.

It's been a whirlwind, sometimes rough journey, but a neccessary one.

To me, Saturday's reception will be a confirmation of that journey. While we may sometimes feel everything has changed, some things -- the love of family and the ties between friends -- will always be there.

It's been an interesting week.

Of course, planning for the reception continues. The guest list ballooned to over 60, so Jen and I -- having already made 50 favors -- have to pick up additional material and make a few more. Today, to prevent unsuspecting members of my family from being subjected to our often bizarre friends, I worked out the seating arrangements. And I have yet to write my speech, as does William (as I only formally asked him today).

After meeting with Capt. Donald Dawson on Tuesday, I did some basic work on the Campus Security website yesterday. After seeing how attached the volunteer officer was to his work, though, I smartly refrained from turning the whole thing inside out.

In exchange for my help, I got lunch at McDonald's and a couple of referrals to other people looking for website designers. I really ought to just make it a home business already.

Dad visited the apartment for the first time a couple of nights ago, bringing with him a wind-up baby swing (donated by a coworker) and more diapers. We just sat and talked for over an hour, about computers primarily, and he got a few glimpses of his granddaughter between teething fits and feedings. It was nice to have him over.

And the phone was ringing off the hook last night.

Greg called to wish us a happy anniversary (he remembered!), William shared some good news (look out, GSO), Donica wanted to pass on some gossip, Josh was curious about my progress on the Amnesty International Newsletter, and cousin Jennifer needed some details of the weekend's shindig.

Katie, meanwhile, was teething.

In short, Jen and I found it a challenge to enjoy our anniversary pizza and the night's video rental: "Temptress Moon."

When Katie finally passed out at 10 p.m., we quickly followed suit. Just as well. I was struggling through some Hawaiian translations, and wasn't able to follow the movie's plot at all.

Got my Hawaiian midterm back today. Surprise! I got a 92, an "A" thanks to eight extra credit points. It's good to know that even though it's increasingly hard to make it to class every morning, I'm still keeping up.

I'm not looking forward to Borg's class, though. I've had absolutely no success in the magazine profile due tomorrow, in part because it required getting material -- circulation demographics, writer's guidelines, etc. -- mailed to us from assorted mainland offices... and of course I didn't even remember the assignment until I missed class on Wednesday.

As an aside, what the hell is up with Ka Leo?

In all fairness to Gen, there has been some improvement from last semester to this one. There have actually been some genuine news stories on the front page, although timeliness and subject-verb-object headlines are still a problem. And there are some truly talented columnists on the editorial desk.

Heck, althought it'd probably be a surprise to her, Gen is among my favorites for next year's editor. The potential Greg once saw is still there, somewhere.

But damn. The first issue after Spring Break sported a full, front-page ad for Coca-Cola, linking to a feature story painting the soft-drink company in a purely positive light. This on a Pepsi-only campus, where the vital touch of the opposing view can't be that hard to find.

And the very next day, a generally ill-advised April Fool's edition that sadly fell miserably between low- and high-brow humor.

April Fool's issues, when done, are insanely difficult to pull off well. We considered one my first year as editor, but felt the risk that we'd only hurt the paper's historically weak integrity was too great.

Now that I've seen one, and the general reaction among my colleagues, I'm glad we didn't do it.

The tragedy here is, it's clear they worked very hard on putting the thing together. Fake ads, fake crossword, fake comics... If only half as much effort went into gathering legitimate news, the paper might be worth reading.

Hell, Dawson lamented that he's received calls from reporters maybe twice all year. Quite a shift from having his mug on the front page every week. At least now he can walk around campus without people recognizing him.

See, an all-out redesign -- which my staff fought for but never got -- can only carry you so far. If you put warm-and-fuzzy profiles of the UH Rainbow Dancers and features about coffee houses on the front page, and don't cover the on-campus arrest of a tenured professor accused of trading child porn (he was officially fired yesterday, by the way)... people won't take you seriously.

And of all people, I know Ka Leo is rarely taken seriously as it is.

So now circulation is way down, stands still full at the end of the day. And since the number of copies printed can't be changed without an act of the Board of Publications, and since the Board is often slow to acknowledge reality, lord knows how many thousands of papers are going to the recycle bin every day.

"When you guys were down there, you sometimes did as much harm as good, but at least it was interesting," someone said to me on Tuesday. "Everyone would go down to get a copy of the paper just to see what you'd do next."

"Now it's just bizarre," he said. "I don't know what's going on any more."

Ah well.

I know, sometimes, to hear Greg, William, Kim and the rest of us talk, you'd think we were sore war veterans, wounded survivors who now have nothing but contempt for the institution. But that's not true.

For me, at least, those were among the best days of my life, invaluable to my journalism skills and future career. I would never, ever go back, but it was once practically a second home. And I guess that's why I won't easily give up being interested in what's going on now.

Bless Jen for her patience. Finally, after two years, she got me back from the black hole that was Building 31-D, and still -- when a bunch of us veterans get together -- we talk of nothing else.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 2 April 1998 · Last Modified: 7 April 1998 ·