IMR: 1999: June: 16 —  Wednesday, 9:43 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

I admit, I went out of my way to catch the premiere of "The Real World Hawai`i" on MTV.

Frankly, I was more impressed that "The Real World" was coming to Hawai`i than I was about that wet silicon gagfest "Baywatch." I mean, people joke enough about the MTV vehicle to make it clear it's doesn't quite live up to its name. But between David Hasslehoff and a random twentysomething, which do you think will make the lesser mess of depicting the genuine Hawai`i?

More to the point, I can't take another show that resorts to using beach bunnies in hula skirts, sultry Oriental antagonists with heavy lisps, and grunting, shaggy "natives" as cheap plot points. Watching a pair of kids take a cab ride over the H-1 airport viaduct might not bring tourists in droves, but on the other hand, maybe people will stop being so surprised when they find out we have freeways here. Or cars for that matter.

Besides, what kind of people would you rather have crowding Kuhio Beach? Baywatch fans, or MTV junkies?

[ Copyright Dennis Oda/Honolulu Star-Bulletin ]Of course, as they introduced the cast — seven unrelated Gen-Xers carefully screened through Hollywood's affirmative-action quota system — I practically fell of my chair when they came to Ruthie.

I knew her. Campbell grad. She worked for me, briefly, as a writer for the Features Desk when I was editor of Ka Leo. In fact, I think Kim even took credit for turning her on to journalism (she apparently majored in it at Rutgers). She was a regular presence in the newsroom... Even Jen recognized her, though it took both of us a while to place her.

She was both the token local (a first for the show) and the token Asian/Pacific Islander. She's also bisexual, from a broken home, and an alcoholic. I have to say, she gave this eighth season of "The Real World" one of its more unforgettable openers.

The first day in town, she went skinnydipping, then lounged around their hyperexpensive Kahala mansion — located at 3169 Diamond Head Road — topless. And on the second, she drank too much at a nightclub, passed out, got tossed out, and was eventually thrown into an ambulance and taken to the hospital.

More than a few "Real World" addicts are already taking wagers on whether she makes it through the season. The Star-Bulletin hinted in a blurb on Monday that one of the kids had to leave the show temporarily, and the list of candidates is pretty short. (They also did a longer article yesterday).

[ Donica and Martha ]Saturday's picnic was short but sweet.

We learned rather quickly that the phrase "meet at Magic Island" is woefully inadequate directions for a five acre park, especially when there's a surf meet going on and people are almost coming to blows over parking. We were literally on our second-to-the-last orbit around the lot before spotting them.

Indeed, we got a space only because Stephen Guzman — former ad manager and all-around great guy — had shown up three hours early and had to leave. He met Katie for the first time, and also revealed for the first time that he too was a father. Of a seven-year-old girl. All that time and he had this secret life!

Donica and Martha were there, as was Donica's long-time beau Jason and two of Martha's friends visiting from Canada (whose names I've forgotten). And... well, that was it, actually. Kim and Mio were invited, but the former was packing for her move to California, and the latter was in hiding with her boyfriend.

Still, it was great to see familiar faces again.

Though Greg won't believe me, we did not spend more than two minutes talking about Ka Leo. Instead, we just caught up on everything else, meanwhile watching Katie stuff her face with rice and toddle hither and yon.

When things did turn to "shop talk," it was about the real deal. Mostly, Doni (Star-Bulletin) and Martha (KHNL) traded "worst goof-up" stories. Keith Kaneshiro, "Pubic Defender"? School "Superindent" (in a headline no less)? And I had no idea some reporters was so accident prone.

Unfortunately we had to leave early, as dad had moved his Father's Day get-together up to start at the same time as the picnic. Of course we vowed not to let so many months pass before we met again.

As usual, the gathering at dad's was quiet, slow, relaxing. The weather was perfect, and dad and Gayle did their usual culinary magic. With all the sun at Magic Island, Jen got a wicked headache, but dad had no problem keeping Katie entertained.

[ Grandpa love. ][ Waterbaby. ]In fact, before I even knew what was going on, he had Katie out in the pool. She was having the time of her life, nonchalantly swinging into the deep end, trusting grandpa to keep her safe. She even threw the ball for Toffie, who — despite being four times her size — was gentler than a newborn kitten.

We hadn't visited for more than three months, and they'd never seen Katie walk. She made the wait worthwhile.

When we retired to the backyard, she spotted second step-cousin (or something) Taylor jumping through the sprinker and had to get a piece of the action. She wobbled over, getting drenched, mesmerized by the beams of water.

Dad bonded with her quite a bit. And she would take a second dip in the pool before the day was through. It was the most sun she'd ever gotten, but thanks to a few pounds of 45 SPF sunscreen, her burn-prone fair skin survived with only a faint tan.

Grandma was there, and was tickled to see her great-granddaughter. I made a mental note to make sure Katie visited her personally once in a while, and prayed that I'd actually follow through.

The last couple of days at work have been rather educational for me.

Two projects, specifically. One, we're trying to find a plant rental service to give the office a warmer look. Secondly, we're trying to work out a deal with WorldPoint to deploy their software more completely on our website.

The lesson from both would have to be titled, "How not to conduct business." Or maybe, "The real reason the local economy sucks."

Honestly. In a time where you'd think businesses would be falling over themselves to provide the best service, rethinking their strategies and working extra hard, I grow more and more discouraged as I encounter one after another doing things that could only be described as trying desperately to fail.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 16 June 1999 · Last Modified: 12 May 2000