IMR: 1999: April: 06 —  Tuesday, 9:01 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

I didn't know it was Spring Break until the Friday prior. And like last year, it only meant I had the singular pleasure of being able to work all day, every day.

During the so-called "break" I worked an average of 10 hours a day, which was great for my checkbook, but not so good for my brain. I bit off all my nails, got stress-related cold sores, and I was frequently conking out before 10 p.m., and an odd heart-flutter episode during a visit in Mililani over the weekend finally — finally — convinced me to listen to Jen and mom and make an appointment for my first physical in about six years.

(It's on Friday, and I walk funny just thinking about it.)

I quickly realized I missed school... but for the wrong reasons. What kind of student must I be when I look forward to classes because they're my best chance during the week of getting any rest?

And no, Kuhio Day wasn't a holiday at my office. Neither was Good Friday. The only relief those notable dates brought was lots of good parking stalls and the boss letting us go early. At 5:15 p.m.

Today came with a small, surprise adventure in the form of another audition for a local commercial.

I had been chatting with Sue, the mailing-list buddy and casting director who invited Jen and I to try out for that bank ad last year, for a class assignment. While I started work on a profile of her unusual business, she asked if I would be interested in coming in again.

On the bank job, the director had been considering me for a speaking role, but I was nixed by someone at the top. (Just as well, I suppose, as that specific ad was pulled from the campaign after only a few airings, apparently because of the character I almost portrayed.) As the same director was behind this week's project, I guess Sue figured, 'Why not?'

After reading the script, I immediately picked up on the same sense of humor behind the bank spots. I was quickly convinced I wouldn't be able to pull it off, but as before, I was more interested in the simple experience of bombing in front of a camera than actually getting an acting job.

I took an extra long lunch and went on over. As I expected, there was an array of confident, charismatic, well-groomed folks already there waiting their turn. As I filled out the forms, I could hear the current candidate going completely all-out in the studio. When the assistant put me against the wall and whipped out the Polaroid, I practically bolted.

But I wanted to see Sue. Her little grandson was one of the first nominees to the position of Katie's future husband, after all.

I was number six. Sue came out, smiled a big smile and led me in. And in addition to the camera, there were three professional-looking film-type people waiting.

Suffice it to say, I choked. Big time. I couldn't get the name of the company right. I even rolled my eyes and stuck out my tongue to spite myself in that nervous, instinctive way that film-type people no doubt find particularly annoying.

Ech. To think drama was my first major in college.

At least I got to try on a costume. Though now I'm a little worried about what Sue does with the videotapes from these sessions after all parts are cast...

Still, it was fun. One of those things that I would have otherwise never have the nerve to do if it weren't for neat people like Sue. I know I'm as photogenic as a sick possum, but I'm comfortable with that. And you never know... the bank job proved that sometimes, they're actually aiming for the sick possum look.

Easter was... properly Easter-like.

With Jen now a revived Catholic and Katie baptized, it was our first Holy Week as a two-thirds religious family and my first non-matrimonial encounter with the church. As it turned out, Jen was feeling a little under the weather and missed many of the standard Catholic events, but we were totally committed to making it to Easter Mass.

We got dressed up and got there early. I picked up the Easter pamphlet and read it cover to cover. We sung and crossed ourselves and listened as Father Marc delivered passionate address after passionate address. (Whatever I might say about his political views, that man can speak.)

We could've done better, of course. Katie was fussy and had to be taken outside for half the service. We had no money for the collection basket, and were forced to pretend we didn't see it when the old man shoved it in our face. I still hadn't memorized the Lord's Prayer, which unfortunately still gives me the heebie-jeebies. And I had no idea Catholic ceremony involved lots of 'dialogue' between the priest and the congregation. ("An also with you.")

But, speaking for myself, I was rather proud of our fledgling family unit's debut performance. In fact, I didn't make a single smart-ass comment the whole time.

Afterward, we went up to visit mom. Katie tore up the house, of course, and we laughed and relaxed and half-watched an awful made-for-TV movie on USA. We picked up and prepared a nice ham, real mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and fresh-from-the-oven biscuits. We had to force ourselves to make room for the pumpkin pie.

Because my cousin had suddenly scheduled a going-away party for herself that evening, and because grandmother decided she would go, and because Todd had his regular Magic game to attend, our big fancy Easter dinner was just for the four of us: Katie, Jen, mom and I. We stuffed ourselves and had enough leftovers to feed everyone for a week.

Then, while mom was feeling unusually generous, Jen and I snuck out and saw "The Matrix."

The reason Jen wanted to see it is libidinously obvious. I took a chance because friends and fellow geeks seemed to be unable to resist references to William Gibson. We showed up at Pearlridge five minutes before the movie started, sitting in the front-row of one of the new closet-sized theaters in the basement.

I am absolutely disgusted by how much I liked that movie. I mean, Keanu Reeves? Martial arts and machine guns? I went in with the lowest of expectations and walked out honestly worried that it had taken a huge chunk of the "good sci-fi" karma quota that rightfully belongs to "The Phantom Menace."

Keanu Reeves was his usual 'duh' self, but goddamn it if it didn't work in the role. The movie was oozing with slick special effects, but not to the point where it completely distracted. The techno/industrial soundtrack was properly cool-ified, but it was good and loud and used well. And while the big-gun content was a little high, the story was tight and appropriately braintwisting.

I guess the Gibson comparisons make sense, but they don't come anywhere near summarizing the material from which the Wachowski brothers undoubtedly were drawing. (It's a different "matrix," for one thing.) Major concept points from "Dark City," action a la "Terminator 2" and "True Lies," deep philosophical metaphors courtesy the bible, weaponry by John Woo and lighting by "Bladerunner."

But three-dimensional computer constructs? The sinister possibilities of sentient AI? Skinjacks and mirrorshades? Suffice it to say, 'cyberpunk' is now officially cool. Look for slim nose-clip sunglasses and wet-vinyl outfits at a high school near you.

Damn. And here I was hoping "Johnny Mnemonic" (and its awful execution) would keep folks turned off for a while.

The Barenaked Ladies are on Letterman. They finally noticed they've ridden "One Week" into the ground and are playing another of the tracks from their latest album.

I think corporate radio is still trying to figure out the best choice for the second single off "Stunt." I've heard "It's All Been Done" on KPOI and I think the song they're performing now is titled "Alcohol." To me, unfortunately, none of them have a good enough hook or pop-friendly sound to really catch on.

Oddly enough, I heard "The Old Apartment" on 101.9 a few weeks ago, which is off their last album. I was hoping it would stick, because that was always one of my favorite BNL songs. As far as I'm concerned, that or "Break Your Heart" could easily be the next "One Week," and show everyone the boys are more than the silly, jumping Canadians they're made out to be.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 6 April 1999 · Last Modified: 29 April 1999