IMR: 1998: June: 27 -- Saturday, 11:23 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i
Full day.

We headed off first thing in the morning to make a long-overdue appearance at a "Cyber `Ohana" picnic at Kapi`olani Park. Especially since I'd bumped into Susan at Cayetano's shindig on Tuesday, I figured the ACH gang should probably meet Katie before she left for college.

We stopped at Ala Moana to pick up a box of manapua, then drove up and down the makai edge of the park looking for everyone. Eventually, we just parked and started walking along the sidewalk.

Soon enough, Helen spotted us. She, Michael Wise and a third gentleman were the only ones there, even though the picnic was scheduled to begin about an hour before Jen and I even arrived.

Then the third gentleman left.

We showed off Katie a little, but the wind was gusting and we ended up hiding her in the stroller with the hood up most of the time. I chatted with Helen and Michael, both far more seasoned geeks than I, about ASDL, PC service contracts, the Macworld Expo, CSPEC-L and Linda Lingle.

Except for the Lingle parts, Jen was bored stiff.

As noon rolled around, it was still just the four (and a half) of us. Katie started grumbling. After taking a group picture, Jen and I headed off to where the absent Susan had probably been all morning: "The Taste of Honolulu."

"The Taste of Honolulu" is a fancy-food festival where all the trendy restaurants set up booths side by side with supermarkets and bars and serve up their signature dishes. You go there to sample food from all the places in town you probably otherwise could never afford to go.

It was held on the municipal grounds near City Hall, and the whole area was plugged with people and cars. We were on our third and final lap around the Capitol District when we nabbed a spot across the Laniakea YMCA.

After paying the $2 admission, I was disappointed to discover the event wasn't the finger-food free sample fest I expected it to be. You had to buy scrips, like at a carnival, and trade them for dishes of varying size and trendiness. Still, I always wanted to go to this thing, so we stayed and sized up what would be the day's lunch.

[ Rose ]We hadn't been loitering for five minutes when Jen pointed out that the live band, which was loud enough to put Katie on edge from the opposite end of the grounds, was playing a very familiar set.

As soon as the opening bars of yet another Melissa Etheridge song echoed across the field, we were sure of it. "High Tide" was on stage.

"High Tide" just happens to be one of the best, most infectious you-go-girl bands in the islands. Not that they're up against much, but still. I'm definitely biased, having once worked with Rose, the group's fiercely talented lead singer. But the fact that I've seen them at a number of big events lately tells me I'm not the only one who thinks they rock.

I remember some years ago, when Rose was a Ka Leo copy editor, the whole gang went out for some karaoke. We knew she was in a band, I think, but back then her group wasn't the Campus Center regulars they are now. I swear, when she picked up that microphone... no one wanted to go after she did.

Then, long after she left the paper, we'd catch her performing across the courtyard every so often. Then "High Tide" got a regular gig (I forget where, but they were occasionally plugged on the radio), and started turning up all over the island. Now I guess they're pretty well known.

They still have the same great taste in covers, from Steely Dan to Alanis Morisette. Rose's voice still makes me ashamed to be a man. In fact, I think the only change since their college band days is that they've switched from plain tank-tops and jeans to some decidedly band grrl fashion.

Rose was nearly upstaged by the keyboardist's rubber pants.

The heat didn't get much better, even when the breeze picked up. We ended up joining a crowd of folks squatting under a tree, with me holding Katie while Jen went off to collect various food samples.

After one such trip, Jen spotted Christy and Micheal standing behind me. Jen made no secret of wanting to be anywhere else but near the latter. I, on the other hand, was just a little bewildered. I hadn't seen either of them for a while, and had honestly forgotten exactly on which terms we'd last been.

Christy and I are still friendly, strange considering my constant ribbing about her employer's substandard product. But even though the last direct correspondence I had with Mike in January was quite amicable, the relentless gossiping that unfolded amongst his many "fans" since then could have soured that.

Whatever. I decided I didn't have the energy or inclination to be snippy, so I just smiled and chatted as best I could with a crying baby on my shouler. Mike and Christy, although techincally not (to steal Del's phrase) eachother's `opihi, seemed happy enough sharing some dim sum and smiling at Katie.

"She's adorable," Mike said in that damn disarming boyish manner of his.

"Thanks," I said.

And that was that. Perhaps not quite friendly, I guess, but it was at least a rather pleasant shibai session. Considerably less bothersome than a festering grudge.

While there, we also bumped into Michelle and Veronica. Odd. We couldn't have found Susan if we tried, but standing in one place we sure saw a lot of familiar faces.

Jen and I nibbled on some tasty chicken salad, some lobster nugget things, and Gordon Biersch's famous garlic fries. Having exhausted our scrips fairly quickly, we were soon on our way home. It was just too hot. Next time, methinks, we'll go at sunset.

We cooled off and rested up at home, then headed out to dad's for a belated Father's Day cookout.

We arrived a little late, so fortunately I didn't have to play Backyard American Guy like last time. Things were already underway, and Jen hungrily dove into the smoked tako and fresh poke. As usual, Gayle performed her usual magic, marinating some huge hunks of steak and revisiting her tasty scallop and mochi rice.

This week, dad's honored guests were friends from Japan. Not as fluent as the Singaporeans were in English, the couple mostly chatted with grandma, and enjoyed looking over dad's albums of a recent visit to our family's ancestral sites (a pictoral I should probably take in someday).

As usual, Jen and I stuffed ourselves silly.

Surprisingly, Todd and Eathan (and their respective squeezes, Heidi and Nikki) were both there. After dinner, Gayle brought out a Father's Day cake, which we three sons presented with hugs.

As it got close to Katie's bedtime -- not nailed down yet, but somewhere between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. -- Jen and I headed home. Again, we took home a bag of leftovers. We also got the most adorable pair of embroidered outfits for Katie, a gift from Gayle that had been sitting in dad's office for weeks.

On the way out, both Gayle and I noticed that Eathan had apparently taken the "Ben Cayetano for Governor" bumper sticker off his car. She offered to give me one for mine.

Now, the smart thing to do would have been to just say "No thanks," which I did. The stupid thing to do would be to add that I wanted to get a Linda Lingle bumper sticker instead, which I also did.


Speaking of Cayetano, I was telling Helen and Michael about the fundraiser on Tuesday, and that we saw Bob Fishman there.

"Oops," Michael laughed.

Only then I realized why that was a big deal. As I mentioned, Bob Fishman, before being appointed CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, was the city's Managing Director. That means he was mayor Jeremy Harris' second in command.

Fishman had left Harris quite abruptly a couple of months ago, just as talk of a Harris gubernatorial bid was at its peak. Although Harris quietly decided not to take the chance, at the time the media considered him a major contender.

Anyway, judging from his hobnobbing at NBC the other night, not only did Fishman bail out just when Harris was considering a run, but he apparently backs his former boss' opponent.

Politics -- there's nothing else like it. Thank god.

My boys!

The other day, for some ungodly reason, Jen and I were listening to "The Edge" on the radio while out to pick up lunch. We caught the tail end of a goofy, catchy song that immediately reminded us of one of my all-time favorite bands.

"That was 'One Week' from the new album from the 'Barenaked Ladies,'" chirped the deejay. "In stores July 7."

I started hooting like a madman.

I love BNL. One of many (don't laugh!) Canadian groups that would probably make my top-ten 'desert island' picks. But unlike, say, "They Might Be Giants" and "Crashtest Dummies," I can confidently say their stuff has gotten better, not worse, over the years.

Sure, some people will only want to hear "If I Had $1,000,000," and can only see BNL as a bunch of geeky post-adolescents, but they've grown to be so much more, and much, much better.

Their albums are like a chronology of a life. "Gordon" represents the kooky, early days of high school, when love and food and Yoko Ono are funny. "Maybe You Should Drive" feels like the grumblings of disenchanted college kids, after a few broken hearts and depressing career fairs. "Born on a Pirate Ship" brings us to graduate school, where some kooky stuff resurfaces but in an older, somewhat creepier way.

I'm not sure where the forthcoming album, "Stunt," will bring us. But judging from the "One Week" single (references to wasabi, The X Files, Kurosawa and Sailor Moon in one song? What more do you need?), it'll be great. I can't wait.

In fact, I discovered that "The Edge" is playing "One Week" fairly often, forcing me to endure lots of mainstream alternative just to hear it again.

I hope it becomes a hit, but at the same time I hope it doesn't. Ah, the Catch-22 of the loyal fan.

Well the job (jobs, actually) at the press are officially posted, so now I can send in my resume and do a bit of groveling.

Yup. I've decided. I'm applying. What's the worst that could happen? They say no?

And if they say yes, I get more pay, plus those great state benefits, plus a full tuition waiver, plus a rather overt expectation from my employers that I eventually graduate. Now that's what I call motivation.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 27 June 1998 · Last Modified: 30 June 1998