Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i
Despite making repeated declarations to the contrary all last week, we still ended up going to "Taste of Honolulu" on Saturday. (Damn that Jen and her puppy-dog eyes.) Despite the fact that the prices make movie theater food seem downright affordable, we still ate and ate until we were full. I'd rationalize and say it was our big, indulgent splurge for the summer, but that would make it our third such splurge.
Oh well. We might be stuck eating macaroni and cheese for a while, but it was fun. We got to nibble a dish or two from restaurants that otherwise require credit checks before you can even make a reservation.
Unlike last year, we didn't bump into a single person we knew. Either that or we were just oblivious to the faces around us, distracted as we were by the culinary range surrounding us. We just wandered in circles, ogling everyone's plates, inhaling the heavenly smells and frantically counting scrips for the next plate of steaming-hot happiness.
And unlike last year, Katie had a blast, spending the entire afternoon hanging out on my back in her sexy new carrier.
Jen got her "seafood martini" sashimi, poke, and seared ahi stacked in a martini glass and I got my disgusting heap o' chili cheese fries. (What can I say? I'm easily pleased.) We blew about $15 each, not counting the stupid admission fee, wolfing down more than a dozen of the fanciest pupus around.
The full range of our local eateries was represented, from Safeway and the odd party caterer to Nicholas Nicholas and a pricey wine garden. It was odd seeing a lot of restaurants that have become regular haunts for me Indigo, Big Island Steakhouse, Don Ho's Island Grill knowing that a year ago I didn't know much about local restaurants beyond Columbia Inn and Zippy's.
I swear, with all the different places I frequent with my coworkers, I'm often tempted to start reviewing them. Local dining guides are a dime a dozen these days, but I feel like I should give Ken Fong and Catch of the Day some kudos... and I would just love to give that crappy Scoozee's a piece of my mind.
I think Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris is catching on.
I think he's finally beginning to accept that no matter how many commercials he does with Jason Scott Lee, he will forever be the biggest dork in Hawai`i politics. In his latest television venture, it seems like he almost realizes how goofy he looks.
His current campaign is "Drive Akamai," or "Drive Smart," an anti-road rage public service campaign. The city's clever new idea? Giving out little squishy "stress balls" at local gas stations, supposedly giving you something cute and blue upon which to vent your anger the next time that asshole in the Mercedes cuts you off.
So here's the mayor, standing on a freeway overpass, gripping his ball and saying, "Drive akamai!"
I don't know why, but in the final analysis I don't think this campaign is a very good idea. Sounds to me we're just arming Hawaii's motorists with projectiles with which to pelt each other during car wars.
Working at the library isn't quite as dreary as it used to be, ever since the esteemed board hired a part-time manager to run the place most of the week, including Saturday when I'm down there sweeping and mopping.
His name's Ron, and he's a very easy going, very thoughful, and good-natured guy who seems almost out of place behind the circulation desk. He's the boss, certainly, and does bossly things, telling me what needs cleaning or shelving or dumping. But he also doesn't mind casual chats. He has the same kind of long-term, big-picture ideas I do about the library. And more importantly, he now gives me a few minutes each week to work a little on the little website I put together way back when.
Until he came in, I was looking forward to the day my time was up and I could tell the board goodbye for good. That two years ago I was throwing myself at them to simply volunteer, but they'd disappointed me so much I didn't want anything further to do with them.
But provided Ron isn't so progressive that he incurs the wrath of the Council of Elders, he's someone I'd be happy to help in the neverending campaign to make the place better.
The only recent head-shaking moment I can think of came two weeks ago when a mother brought her son down and, quite simply, disappeared for five hours, leaving the boy in our care. Half our energy was spent chasing him around, following him outside so he didn't jump in front of a bus, and telling him repeatedly that pulling stacks of books off shelves isn't our idea of fun.
Much as I love being a dad, the old me the cynical, cranky, sadistic me wanted so badly to come out when that kid was tearing up the place.
But I was good. I didn't tell him his mommy clearly didn't love him. I didn't tell him to see if he could cross the street on his hands and knees. And I didn't make a single rude remark when I had to go into the bathroom to stop him from flushing another roll of toilet paper, and found him with his pants around his knees, and he looked up and told me, matter-of-factly, "I can't wipe my butt."
I did say "the library is not a day care center" a few dozen times, including once when his mother finally came to retrieve him. Hopefully he repeated it a few times when he got home.
Things at my real job are blazing right along. Today I met with the guy who, if all goes well, will help facilitate the live and on-demand web broadcasting of audio and video from our conference next March. I finally cracked open my new programming books to start teaching myself VBScript and working with Active Server Pages. We made revisions to our promotional video in preparation for distribution to hundreds of local CEOs and government leaders. And we started hammering out the travel arrangements for the New Zealand meeting in September. Hard to believe it's now only two months away.
Of course, my job isn't all fun and games. This morning I coordinated a circus of plant placement, having just hired a service to "install and maintain" greenery in the office. And next up? Getting all the carpeting in our office cleaned for the first time since it opened.
But for a while at least, I won't care how many receptionists accidentally hang up on me when trying to put me on hold. My boss told me last week that I was getting a 30 percent raise, and said so many nice things I was waiting for Alan Funt to jump out from behind his desk.
Much as I'd love to close on that high note, though, there's something more important that needs to be addressed.
We placed an ad in the Sunday paper to fill our one vacant full-time spot, and the resumes are streaming in. Reading them, I expanded the economic theory I developed earlier this month. First, again, the state of Hawai`i isn't anti-business. Local businesses incompetent, disorganized, with no sense of customer service are anti-business. But secondly, high unemployment is not a factor of insufficient jobs, but an astonishing lack of qualified labor.
But I'm no armchair commentator. Oh no. I'm willing to offer real solutions. Thus, here are some tips for would-be job hunters, drawn only from the thick file of applications I've collected in the last three days: