IMR: 1998: April: 15 -- Wednesday, 4:22 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i
Don't have much time to chat tonight. Paper due in Chapin's class tomorrow.

It isn't unusual for me to leave a major paper -- or any other project that's worth 30 percent of my grade -- until the night before. Like I told a worried Jen this morning, I'm a journalist. My colon acts up if I don't pull something out of my ass every so often.

The thing is, I really respect Chapin as an instructor and as a historian, and thus I have that rare impulse to do a better-than-decent job.

Procrastination and perfectionism are a bad, bad mix.

The subject? Alternative newspapers in Hawai`i, focusing on student efforts. No big surprise there, but it took a fair bit of research. Tempting as it was, I wasn't about to just interview William and Mamo at ASUH and limit it to alternative rags of today. So I had to make a nuisance of myself up at the Hawaiian Pacific Collection in Hamilton yesterday afternoon.

Rare archives are a funny thing. To get material, you have to submit a written request at the desk, then wait a few minutes while someone disappear down a dark, dark cave, push the right hieroglyphs on the wall and pull out the sacred documents while chanting an ancient librarian's mantra. Or something. Each requested document generally means fifteen minutes of staring at old wall maps, while assorted student help scurry back and forth and curse under their breath.

And of course you can't take them home. No, you have to pump a week's worth of lunch money into the photocopiers and try to get broadsheet newpapers to fit legibly on a sheet of letter paper.

Hassles aside, it was great to go through archives of old alternative and activist newspapers. One monthly had a front-page bikini girl. Another ran articles entitled "Fuck ROTC" and "Bishop Estate Exposed" (sound familiar?). Lots of gratuitous nudity (female, of course), a photo of the hollow skull of a Vietnam casualty, pieces on the joys of pot smoking and proper yoga technique...

Those were the days. I guess.

I was tickled to find that "University aVenue," our shortlived independent campus newspaper, was already indexed and part of the library's archives. It's got a call number and everything. A small, but now indelible, footnote in history.

What they didn't have was the "Weekly Bong," a protest rag that came out during the Grant Crowell fiasco in 1991. The only copies I've ever seen were hoarded by Greg, but it was something else. Maybe I'll mention it in my paper and drive Chapin nuts with the fact that it's too rare, even for Hamilton's rare archives.

I'm going to be up until 4 a.m., aren't I?

Took Jen to the emergency room yesterday.

We stopped by Tower to drop off some paperwork, and she tripped going up the steps. Having had broken toes before -- once due to a fat kid in a dance class -- she was convinced she had broken another.

After trying to grin and bear it all afternoon, she called her doc who suggested a trip to the hospital.

So while they took her in back to perform the standard array of hospital things, I walked a very hungry Katie around and around the tiny waiting room for over an hour. When I finally got to take her to Jen to eat, she was so upset she wouldn't eat for another 30 minutes.

Suffice it to say, it's been a hellish month for headaches.

Turns out Jen just got a bad sprain, or at worst, a chipped bone. That's not to say it hurts any less, though. And she has to wear a funky looking clog-thing while it heals.

What else, what else... before guilt gets the best of me and I actually start working on the Big Paper.

Church on Easter was nice. William (who in fact was not raised Catholic, but just happens to know way too much about world religions in general) came, and concurred with Jen that I'd be going to hell. What can I say, the pews make me go into MST3K mode.

Jen's decided that Katie's going to be baptised someday. Not that we're battling for her soul or anything, but I must start us going to Buddhist temple too. Make my dad proud.

The car is great. Jen says it rides like a limo, though compared to a little Escort, anything with a body thicker than aluminum foil feels good. I'm just waiting for the honeymoon to wear off, but the only problem I've found so far is that the power antenna gets stuck.

I really really like it, and I realized the other day it's for several reasons besides being practical. First, as I said the other day, it's another sign of our new beginning. But second, the Maxima is the first car I actually picked myself. The Nova, the Olds and the Escort, though all exceptional cars, were picked for me. (They were also free, so I'm not complaining.)

Finally, although I don't know why it popped into my mind just now, Jen and I really like Alanis Morissette's new song despite ourselves. It's got a Ani Difranco sound to it.

"Unforgiven," off the "City of Angels" soundtrack, is in high rotation on Star 101.9 (and sounds really good in a car with four speakers). Jen likes the incorporation of piano, strings and guitar, and that it builds up to a crashing, Beatle-esque finale.

But the reason it sticks in my head, I think, is because it makes prominent use of accidentals -- notes off-key by a single interval, or failing to close an octave -- a rudimentary technique that's sadly rare in modern music.

Of course, it's hard to sing without knowing the lyrics, and Alanis doesn't help us much with her dramatic stylings. And with no lyrics available on the soundtrack's liner notes, debate on USENET rages as to the exact words.

I asked Greg -- who figured out the words to the badly-enunciated "Kissing You" long before the score was available -- to help, but he's never heard "Unforgiven." No surprise, I guess, as his taste in music out ecclectics (yes, I made it a verb, dammit) that of anyone I know.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 15 April 1998 · Last Modified: 15 April 1998