IMR: 1998: August: 25 -- Tuesday, 10:31 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i
As I put off reading my journalism textbook and Jen turns in, the air conditioner is off and the windows are open for the first time in weeks. Jen said her throat was dry, and since the maddening heat of the summer seems to be waning, we've decided to give plain old atmosphere a try tonight.

Usually this apartment is sealed up tight, and the only sounds are the low grumble of the refrigerator and the curious clicking of the ceiling fan -- a constant companion that's only noticed when it stops.

So it feels a little strange to watch the curtains here over the desk billow in and out like wrinkled lungs, making bars and lines of light dance on the ceiling and across my keyboard. I think I hear a generator humming further up the valley. I smell rain.

The whoosh of tires on wet pavement, the sonic snow of the freeway, is the urban dweller's ocean. If you filter out the buzz of the odd moped and the chirp of a neighbor's skittish car alarm, you can pretend you're hearing waves crashing on a nearby shore.

We should open things up like this more often. At the very least, it should put a considerable dent in our electric bill.

[ View ]Today was my first full day at my new job downtown. The instant I walked in, I was stopped in my tracks by the view out the window. Aloha Tower -- still majestic despite being dwarfed by nearby structures five times as tall -- watching over the harbor, a sky-spanning rainbow bowing down at its feet.

And I was still savoring the thrill of having gotten into to the parking garage with the swipe of a highly-coveted key card.

I knew it was going to be a great day.

They gave me a desk with a Windows NT workstation and easy access to the restroom key. I set up my PowerBook, my Iomega Zip drive and my folder of messy notes from earlier meetings and got to work.

Time flew. It was lunch before I knew it. I called mom, who works barely three blocks away, and she met me at the food court downstairs and treated me to a miso butterfish bento and half her somen salad. I babbled on about work, about how I want to get her an iMac for Christmas, and how Katie will be seven months old tomorrow.

Mom said we should probably start planning for her first birthday party, and we quickly picked Saturday, January 30 as the date. Location will be the big question -- I suggested Ozawa Hall at the temple in Waipahu, and mom thought the new Paradise Park might be a good choice.

We've got four months. But if the last seven have been any indication, it'll be upon us before we know it.

Soon enough, I was back at work, and by the time I left I had completely webbed up four of the fifteen sections and had started in on the biggest, most complex one of all. I should have it done by Thursday, and the whole site -- same information as the present site but with a sexy new look -- ready to go next week.

Part of me knows I should pace myself in the name of job security, but I'm much more eager to see their reaction should I successfully redesign a site that took nearly two years to build in under a month.

Besides, dad just e-mailed me the name of another potential web design client. I may soon have to clear my calendar a bit.

I was supposed to meet dad today down at McKinley High School.

He was one of the coordinators for the Democratic Party fundraiser that took place there this afternoon, starring Vice President Al Gore. As usual, dad had extra tickets, and I never turn down free food, let alone the chance to play Spot the Politician.

But since this event involved the vice president, it also involved extensive security and road closures and Secret Service motorcades. After picking up Jen and swinging up into Manoa to get William, the combination of rush hour traffic and intensive security precautions had already jammed up nearly every street within five miles of our destination.

After sitting in the same spot -- sticking halfway into the intersection of Beretania and Ke`eaumoku -- for ten minutes, I tried to get around the chaos by heading toward Ala Moana Shopping Center and taking Kapi`olani instead. But it was plugged up too. Feeling clever, I pulled into the empty parking lot for the closed Blaisdell Box Office.

But as we unloaded the stroller, an old Filipino man who had apparently forgotten to bathe this year came up and told us that even though the box office had no need for the parking spaces, we could not use them for our own undoubtedly nefarious purposes.

"I give up," Jen said.

"Want to eat and hang out at Ala Moana?" I asked.

"Sounds like a plan," William said.

[ Honolulu Book Shops ]So we piled back into the car and zipped back to the mall. We dined in the food court, Katie smiling and reaching for everything in sight. We wandered a little bit, taking one last stroll through the empty shelves of Honolulu Book Shops, which tonight closed its doors forever.

Yet another distinctive, locally owned enterprise bites the dust.

Word is Waldenbooks -- the cookie-cutter mainland chain with a miniscule Hawaiiana section -- is vying to take its place. I can hardly contain my excitement. I'm so sure Borders and Barnes & Noble are just trembling in their boots.

I'm not foolish enough to think lightning would strike twice.

I just didn't know that what happened last Thursday was lightning.

Tickled that four people (counting myself) had shown up for the heavily-promoted real-life meeting of IsleTies authors, and receiving word that some hadn't come because they doubted anyone else was going to be there, I enthusiastically set a second attempt for yesterday afternoon.

When I walked into Sushi No Ka Oi at 5:35 p.m., I was the only one there.

And I mean I was the only one there. Despite moving three quarters of its menu to the $1-per-plate category, the restaurant was just as deserted as it was four months ago when I profiled it for Borg's magazine writing class.

I danced Katie to sleep to the rap music the staff was playing on the stereo, then sat and watched dinner go by for fifteen minutes. Then twenty-five minutes. Then forty minutes.

Some people had trickled in by this point, but none of them were there looking for a four-eyed dork with a baby. I grabbed some tako sushi and a spam musubi and ate, feeling pretty damn stupid sitting alone at a table set up for six.

But just when I thought I majorly sucked, someone walked in the door, walked right up to me, and asked, "Are you Ryan?"

It was Erick, aka Dreamwish, a favorite diarist of Panther's and the guy who has been tutoring me -- no doubt reluctantly -- on the use of PGP signatures and encryption for the last few weeks.

Even now I can't say exactly what I expected him to look like, but he didn't look at all like I expected. He looked... well, normal. A guy on the street, a guy who'd hold an elevator for you or say "good morning" as he passed you in a hallway. Certainly not someone who you'd think could rattle off volumes about public keys and trusted networks. Or, for that matter, someone who'd expose details about the best and worst times of his life on the internet.

Since it was just the two of us, I was at a bit of a loss as to how to properly socialize. With three people, you've met the minimum requirements for a "group," and though last Thursday's gathering was small, there were enough personalities around to keep things moderately lively. But here it was just me and a man who I'd never met, but a man who also shares some very personal things with the world, and... well, how do you handle that?

I kept wondering -- as we talked about school and work and nothing in particular -- if Erick was bored out of his skull and visualizing various ways one could kill with a strip of fried eel.

Katie alternated between charming and downright grumpy, as usual, and provided some distraction (if not entertainment). As 7 p.m. rolled around, she was way overdue for a nap and decided it was time to raise hell. We took it as a sign to head our seperate ways.

Though subdued, it was a pleasant evening, and thanks to Erick I haven't quite given up on my mission to get a good number of Hawaii's online exhibitionists together. But I think I'll wait till late October -- when Greg will be in town -- to try again.

Good news and bad news on the medical front.

The bad news is, Katie's most recent blood test confirms a trend of iron deficiency and low levels of other select nutrients that has been detected since she was born.

At worst it's mild anemia, a condition I had in intermediate school and one that's common in Jen's family as well as my own. Dr. Boyens called yesterday to refer us to a pediatric hematologist, who will determine whether treatment is neccessary. Otherwise, though, the vitamin supplements we just got should be enough.

The good news is, upon hearing that Jen had breast-fed Katie for six months despite returning to work full-time, the folks at Kapi`olani Medical Center called her up the other day and asked her to come down to participate in a workshop for parents who were having trouble or didn't think breastfeeding for half a year was a realistic goal.

So, in addition to a cute T-shirt for Katie and a cute certificate, Jen got to serve today as an inspiration for other island mothers. I'm so proud!

Oh yeah. Classes.

Journalism 365? Everything I've heard about Professor Kato has -- so far -- turned out to be true. We also got a "everything's fine, don't worry" letter on the Journalism-Communications merger from Dr. Brislin. The eerie feeling that the true outlook is not quite as rosy is pretty good incentive to graduate quickly.

Hawaiian 301? Holy hell am I lost.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 25 August 1998 · Last Modified: 29 August 1998