IMR: 1998: October: 01 -- Thursday, 10:49 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i
When it comes to reporting on my life, I'm turning out to be a pathetically unreliable source.

Those two campus jobs I said gave up? They sucked me back in not a week later. Probably out of desperation (in not wanting to train another SECEO prodigy), and only for a handful of hours a week at each, but still...

Actually, my staying on at CBA is only "provisional," meaning the position is still listed as open, but since most of the office is at a conference in Vienna, it'll be a while before interviews can be scheduled. I don't mind. I'm in the building by 6:45 a.m., and I've got nothing else to do until my 8:30 class.

Besides, I'm going to need time to wean myself from laser printer access and gonzo-fast net connections.

At the press, though... wow. They had a big meeting and decided that they could make arrangements for me to work at home, provided (of course) all time and work is carefully logged. Then they held another meeting to set up a press-wide workflow that would essentially preprocess most of the stuff I'd be putting online. And then they sent me on my way with a new, US Robotics 56k/x2 modem.

"Hurry and graduate so I can use it," my boss said. She wouldn't let me leave until I promised I'd still bring Katie by to visit once in a while.

And no sooner had I plugged in the modem (I love the funky "fshhhh-boing!" of a genuine x2 connection!) did the folks downtown invite me to increase my hours to "about 32 a week."

The change comes with a small raise. More importantly, though, I'll be signed up for a wicked, tricked-out health insurance package. A family plan, no less. An IRA and a pre-tax "cafeteria plan" were also offered, but — overwhelmed as I was — I took a pass on them for now.

"Oh, and by the way," they said. "We'd like you to attend at least part of our October midterm meeting in Los Angeles. You should do an official presentation on the site and our intranet and multimedia plans."

Then, while I was sorting all that out, I was told I "made callback" on the commercial tryout Jen and I had gone to. For reasons unknown, the producer and director apparently liked me, even with the fledgeling goat I'd been growing on a whim ("It hides my lack of a neck," I told Jen). I went back a week later for another audition, and was the only one there without an agent or union.

Jen was royally miffed that I made it and not her. She was even more miffed when I was actually picked for a "principle" (speaking role) in the ad.

But, though flattering, it was apparently not to be. The actual high muckymucks at the bank decided they didn't want a Japanese fellow in my role. Even more remarkable, though, was the fact that the once-dejected Jen was ultimately asked to play an extra. And that the director and producer are still hoping the big boss will change his mind about me.

"I don't live my life for 'good,'" I often say, "just 'interesting.'" I do love it, though, when I get a bit of both.

October's lining up to be a busy month.

There's going to be an 'open house' on Saturday at the Hawai`i Convention Center. I've always wanted to get a look inside, and apparently mom's interested too, so we're probably going to make a family outing of it.

There's also a Native American powwow at Thomas Square this weekend, which we're planning to attend. Now that Jen and her mom have made ancestry research the year's major project, anything we can do to put her in touch with her 'indigenous' side is a good thing.

Next week, an informal send-off dinner for Veronica (I'm still unclear on where or why she's going). Kim's organizing it and I know William is coming, but everything else — as is the norm among my friends — remains up in the air.

I'm also supposed to meet with Josh again. He wants to do another Amnesty International newsletter, and perhaps get a web site going too. (The meeting's been postponed twice so far, though, so I'm not holding my breath.)

There's the L.A. trip (woohoo!), can't forget that. And soon after that, Greg will be in town, and of course a big gathering's being planned for him too.

What an awful time to lose the rechargable batteries for the digital camera.

Today was my first day on my new, almost-full-time schedule downtown. I spent nearly all of it fiddling with the innards of a comatose Dell Pentium 90, plugging in a CD-ROM drive and an Ethernet card, and — after four full formats and six attempts at running Windows 98 — installing Windows 95.

My title might be 'webmaster,' but I've learned a good portion of my work involves tech support.

Not that I mind. In fact, the six or so weeks I've worked there have been among the most educational periods in my 'adult' life.

Five years ago I stumbled into a newsroom and learned everything by the seat of my pants. That's how I'm learning downtown, too, and I love it.

See, there's no official computer specialist in the office, but like most outfits, one person is the all-purpose "computer guy." He's always swamped, required to do his regular job and come running whenever a workstation drops off the network or someone's mail won't merge. Since he's my supervisor, and since I — a Mac loyalist — at least know what a .DLL file is, I've been taking up some of the computer work.

Now, on top of Photoshop filters and HTML code, my head dances with NT Administrator functions and PCI slots and config.sys syntax rules.

Much to Jen's dismay, I'm still at that 'wow' stage of learning something new, and I can't stop tossing off weird acronyms and terms just to enjoy the way they feel rolling off my tongue. To the folks in the office, I'm my boss' sidekick — someone someone who can speak the language. (One intern really likes the phrase "scuzzy port.")

Three months ago, the thought of opening up a PC intimidated me. Even installing RAM in my Mac made me a little nervous. Now I can crack open the most ridiculously designed minitower, dig an old CD-ROM drive and a control card (mismatched, even) out of a junk box, shuffle some slots, tweak the boot files, find and download a driver from the net, and have the thing working inside of an hour.

It's scary. I don't think I'll ever give up the Mac (for graphic design, they still can't be beat). But the blanket distaste I once held for Wintel machines is already gone.

Some machines, some configurations still annoy me. But now that I'm spending hours tweaking things just so, making a PC work the way it should (or better), I can see how some PC fanatics manage to be productive. I've got one workstation set up so meticulously — all the right software, all the right settings, a carefully planned directory tree — I'm nearly as defensive about others using it as I am about my PowerBook.

For crying out loud, I even use Bill's disturbingly well integrated Microsoft Internet Explorer once in a while. My Netscape-hugging fanatic side is so ashamed!

I got a call from Wayne today.

"I'm leaving the country on Friday," he said, failing to specify whether he meant tomorrow or next week. "If I don't see you before then... um... I'll write you an e-mail or something."

He landed a job in Taipei some months ago, and had even taken some Chinese classes over the summer in preparation for it. Of course, I learned all of this through the grapevine rather than from him directly, as we've an awful history of keeping in touch.

In high school, he and I were inseperable. Heckyl and Jeckyl, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, we were — as one classmate put it — like a couple of magpies with bad attitudes. Our English teacher thought it was simply hilarious to refer to us as "gay lovers" in class. He was the first person I called the first (and last) time I got dumped. And I was this close to being a partner in his shortlived private dungeon business.

Without a doubt, Wayne is among the most interesting people I know. From nightclubs to cigars, I lived life vicariously through him while I was dragged prematurely along the "high road" to adulthood responsibility.

But after I left for Hilo, I guess our paths diverged too far. Ever since then, even though I still expect him to speak at my funeral (he missed my wedding reception), we rarely saw eachother and barely said much more then "hey" when we did.

Now he's headed overseas, no doubt to start a new, even more interesting life. I probably won't be able to see him off, but I wish him the best.

I'm definitely going to have to write regularly. E-mail probably won't get any more entertaining than it will be from a guy like him in a strange land like that.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 1 October 1998 · Last Modified: 4 October 1998