IMR: 1998: September: 19 -- Saturday, 10:15 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i
Remember all that stuff I said on Wednesday about getting a job? Forget it. Life apparently has even more interesting things in store for me, and while I'm more excited than ever, the details are now very hazy and I only know it doesn't involve working with the wonderful Ruth, or Lotus Notes.

Among the things that are still definite are my resignations from both my campus jobs. They took it well, but expressed enough shock and disappointment to soothe my ego.

Repeating thoughts that came up two months ago, when I wasn't even sure I'd be a student this semester, my bosses again proposed various scenarios under which I could work during my "free time" at home. But, opting to go with the graceful exit, I told them there was no such beast, and have started assembling detailed "procedure manuals" for my eventual replacements.

It's turning out to be an interesting week indeed.

On top of the dizzying developments in my employment status, Jen and I have both been invited by a friend in the "biz" to audition for a couple of local television commercials tomorrow. I'm not stupid enough to think I'll get the job (frankly, roadkill is more photogenic), but just trying out will be an intriguing experience.

I think Jen has a good chance, actually. She's trying out to portray someone who's pregnant, and she's recently had a lot of great experience in that specialized role. I'm just worried I'm going to faint when she turns around wearing the prosthetic belly.

Also, when we went up to visit mom and grandma in Mililani today, Jen was talking about how her back hurt because our bed was too old (we'd taken to throwing a foam futon on top of it to level out the deep pit in the middle). Grandma mentioned that her bed was too lumpy. The next thing we knew, we were picking out mattresses at HomeWorld. Sometime on Tuesday, a brand new BeautyRest (aka "the do-not-disturb bowling ball mattress") will be arriving at our apartment.

And, last but not least, Katie is really, really on the brink of crawling. She can get up on all fours and rock back and forth, like a race car revving its engine at the starting line. In fact, when she's sufficiently excited, she can move backwards (albeit by simple sliding) at... well, nearly nine inches per minute.

The primary elections were held today. As I type, Dan Cooke is reading off the latest numbers, representing 99 percent of the precincts.

With the Democratic ticket for governor already set with Cayetano and Hirono, the big news is on the Republican side. Not surprisingly, Linda Lingle has apparently won, with 65 percent of the vote versus Frank Fasi's 33.7 percent. What's interesting, though, is the battle for Lieutenant Governor. Lingle's team wants Mike Liu (38 percent) as her running mate, but right now it looks like it's going to be Stan Koki (43 percent).

I've always wondered what would happen if two non-allies ended up as running mates. Of course I don't think Lingle and Koki are going to squabble with eachother, but it must throw off the party's karma a little bit.

Jen and I voted, of course, and we did so despite the state Office of Election's efforts to stop us.

Having recently moved, we called the voter hotline to ask which precinct we should vote in. They said to go to our old precinct in Waikiki, vote there, and fill out a change of address form so we can vote in our current precinct come November.

So we drove over to Jefferson Elementary, found our names in the book, explained what was up, gave them our new address, and got our ballots. Since Katie was fussing, we decided to take turns voting, and I went first.

I came out, fed my fancy new ballot to the fancy new machine, and then it was Jen's turn. But while she was in the little booth, the precinct supervisor came up and said that what the hotline operator told us was wrong. We should actually be voting in our new district.

I told them I voted already, and they said they'd just void my ballot. When Jen came out with hers, they explained everything again. Then they asked for Jen's ballot to void it. Raised as I was to respect the utmost secrecy that should be accorded those pieces of paper, imagine my shock when the precinct supervisor proceeded to pull it out of its "privacy sleeve," plop it on a table in front of four other staff members, and copied off the ballot number (which is always visible, even in the sleeve) while everyone gazed on.

They had us fill out a change of address form, took the originals, and gave us the address to our new polling place. Surprise surprise, it was a church directly across the street from our apartment.

As we headed out the door, I overheard one of the supervisor's assistants say, "I don't think we can void a ballot after it's in the machine..."

I hope they can. Otherwise, all the candidates I picked got a bonus vote each.

I voted Republican. Not that I'm a Republican, good lord no, but just by looking all the races over it was clear things were more interesting on their ballot.

For governor, I chose Fasi. Yes, really. I figured that way, I could satisfy the small part of me that still feels loyal to him (despite his constant trips over the deep end), and also satisfy that pesky urge to help my dad. If Fasi won, he would get one last thrill before being completely and utterly trounced in the General Election. If he lost (and he did), no surprise, the Big Battle is the one everyone expected to see since June.

Frankly, I don't know why Cayetano's camp didn't just come right out and say, "A vote for Fasi today is a vote for Cayetano tomorrow." As it is, by plain math, Lingle will beat Cayetano in November if people vote the same way they did today.

I also voted for Quentin Kawananakoa. Yes, I am aware he withdrew a couple of weeks ago. I just didn't want Gene Ward to have an easy win (though he won). I'm considering it my token jab at local Republicans, who again generally aren't my favorite people.

There were few other races I was really up to speed on, and in those I didn't know at all, I ended up voting for the women candidates. I didn't know any of the nine names up for the Republican race for the U.S. Senate, for example, so I picked Crystal Young. Turns out she's in the lead, and I can't help but wonder if other voters used the same criteria that I did.

Two small races that did catch my eye were the Board of Education, sixth district, and House of Representatives, 21st district. Both because of candidates with a UH connection, but only one I was happy to see.

Good news in both contests, thankfully. Winston Sakurai, who was head of ASUH when I was Ka Leo editor, will keep his seat on the BOE. And Raymond DeFlavis, everyone's favorite former Ka Leo columnist (cough cough), was soundly trounced by incumbent Rep. Galen Fox. (In fact, the mysterious candidate "BLANK VOTES" beat him by quite a margin too.)

I've been telling Jen and mom that I'm going to run for city council in 2002. Of course I'm joking... mostly. Even if I did, the plan would be that I wouldn't campaign, raise funds, or do anything besides filing the paperwork to get my name on the ballot. Depending on who the incumbent is, I might still get a hundred votes out of the "anyone but him" factor.

I'm silly, I know. I guess I'm just tired of seeing so many races with people running unopposed. It shouldn't be that easy to have the right to speak for several thousand of your neighbors.

[ Nieman Marcus ]Yesterday, we grabbed William and headed to Ala Moana to check out Nieman Marcus, along with a few billion other curious Honolulu residents. I figured the sooner I saw the place, the longer I can go without ever going back.

And I won't be back any time soon.

When I walked in the door, my one-sentence review was, "It's like Liberty House with trendy art."

By the time we walked out, it was, "Thank god for Liberty House."

Let's run down a few prices collected during our whirlwind tour of all three floors of Hawaii's newest upscale retailer. Box of chocolates, $45. Pair of white cotton briefs, $50. Gaudy orange glass tumbler, $60. Extra tight, extra loud spandex shorts, $75. Plain white bra, $115. Pea green women's sweater, $750. Men's dress jacket, $1,750. Leather jacket, $2,400.

It was amazing. All their clothes hung on hangars just like the clothes at Liberty House, much of it just as frilly (and some of it downright gaudy), but they sported tiny little price tags that calmly stated four digit figures.

I overheard one guy in the candy section say, "If I ever bought some of this stuff, I'd put it in my fridge and just take it out and look at it once in a while."

There's a restaurant, but they were letting people in only with prior reservations. And there was a "mermaid bar," but the staff was so well dressed most folks were too scared to go in. The bathrooms were nice with big stalls but it's not like there was ice in the urinals or anything.

We left pretty promptly. William and I debated the viability of such a store in Hawaii right now, what with the Asian economic crisis squeezing many of the big-spending Japanese tourists. Jen said she gave it five years, tops.

When Nieman Marcus announced that it was coming, most folks expected it to be the death blow for Liberty House. Now that I've seen it, I think it could possibily be a good thing for the struggling local retailer.

I mean, until now, Liberty House was considered "upscale" by most of Hawaii's nearly-middle-class residents. Heck, when I was little, we'd poke fun at the rich kids by saying they shopped there. You'd go in and say, "Who'd pay $500 for a dress?"

Now, the bar has been raised. The price tags at Nieman Marcus make those at Liberty House look downright reasonable. After discovering they want $1,300 for a navy blue dinner jacket, you won't mind shelling out $300 at the far end of the mall.

What really struck me about the store was how absolutely unimpressive it was. I saw nothing so amazing so as to justify the oohing and aahing I'd heard around town, or the stuff in the snobbily worded brochures they were handing out at the door. With their four full-page ads in Friday's paper, you'd think they'd built a second Taj Mahal.

It's a department store. And it kind of smells funny too.

Next on the local shopping horizon, Nordstroms.


We finally went down on Tuesday to get Jen a new state I.D. card. Since her driver's license expired over a year ago, her old identification card was all she had, but it bore her maiden name, and as time dragged on, people looked at it more and more suspiciously.

I think the state office that issues these cards beats the Department of Motor Vehicles hands down when it comes to inefficiency. But we gritted our teeth and survived the convoluted procedure and 90 minutes after we walked in Jen handed over a small laminated square in exchange for one that was identical save for a few extra letters.

What made the whole ordeal worthwhile was the picture they got of Jen.

Jen had been carrying Katie for some time before she was called to sit in front of the camera. Katie was teething. So in the picture, preserved for posterity (until September 15, 2004), is a big dark spot on Jen's shoulder, where a fair amount of drool had apparently soaked in.

We laughed so hard walking down the stairs, they probably heard us over at `Iolani Palace.

Katie's going to be five years old the next time Jen has to get that card replaced. Why do I get the feeling we'll be back in that grungy office before we know it?


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 19 September 1998 · Last Modified: 1 October 1998