IMR: 1999: October: 29 —  Friday, 10:23 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

[ Carnival ]Visited mom's tonight with essentially only one mission: get the pumpkin carved before Sunday.

We almost didn't have the pumpkin. Wednesday night, Jen had to call around to find a store in town that still had 'em in stock. The Pali Safeway reported having "about 30" still lined up outside, but by the time I got there an hour later, the staff was already grabbing up the rejects and dumping them into an old refrigerator box.

I had to dive between 'em to get my hands on one. Most were sad, mushy, horribly disfigured creatures that probably didn't even have a future as a pie. But I found one that both wasn't rotten and was almost a little bit round.

I picked it up, waddled into the store, and thumped it down at a register. The guy rolled it onto the scale, which dutifully reported, "E -- --." The only thing that told us was that it weighed more than 30 pounds, but of course they only charged me for that.

I drove home triumphant, wincing at every turn as the orange monster paced angrily in the trunk. Wumba wumba wumba wumba bwung!

For the next two days, Jen eyed it thoughtfully, remembering how much she enjoyed carving last year's pumpkin and looking forward to getting inside this latest patient, to wrap her fingers around some pumpkin brains.

Sure enough, she went at the thing with a vengence tonight. She pulled out enough guts to make five pies, if we knew how to make them. Katiewas intrigued, but — the darling Type-A neurotic in development that she is — recoiled and stomped frantically any time pumpkin parts got between her toes.

Last year, I drew the art — an abstract moon and stars scene — but this time Jen was confident enough to go it alone. She drew a properly menacing face, then carefully sawed it out... snapping two of those tiny pumpkin carving saws in the process.

It was good enough to scare Katie when we tested it with a mere flashlight inside, so that's good enough for us.

As soon as the lights came back on, Katie walked over and slapped it a few times. Translated, her gruff babbles translated to, "Yeah, who's scary now, pumpkin head?"

We're still not sure if we're going to be around Sunday night to see Jen's creation at work, however. Sure we could head out to the suburban utopia of Mililani and wander the streets, but there's also a kiddie Halloween shindig at Bishop Museum that comes highly recommended, as well as a "safe" trick-or-treat fest just down the street at Ala Moana Shopping Center.

Whatever we do, I know we'll have a blast, and we'll easily burn through a few rolls of film. We've been good, though. We've successfully resisted the constant temptation to slip Katie back into her Po costume again all week.

Of course, now that it's in the apartment rather than in the closet at mom's, that could change.

You know, I was mad when Live 98.5 stopped airing 'Mark & Brian' in the morning. Now the radio station is gone altogether.

The other night in the car, we got tired of Pearl Jam and that awful howling live version of Sarah McLachlan's 'Ice Cream,' and punched auto-tuner station two expecting some Led Zeppelin or Fleetwood Mac.

Instead we got Ho`okena doing a cover 'Stuck on You' by Lionel Richie. An unsuprisingly bad cover.

Followed by Bob Marley. Then Shaggy. Then Iz.

Then came the clearly automated station ID. "Less talk. More music. The all new Island Rhythm 98!"


Well, at least now the move by KPOI 97.5 a while back, adding classic rock to its modern alt rock format, makes sense. (The same company owns both stations, plus others.) But I wonder just how much reggae Honolulu will want, and how an "island rhythm" station will do in a market already saturated by "Pride of the Islands" FM 100 and KCCN FM 105.

I love Iz as much as the next guy, but the fact that you can now find him playing simultaneously on three stations is just wrong.

Figuring we wouldn't be able to nab it over the weekend, we rented Blair Witch Project on DVD on Tuesday night.

It was much better at home than it was in theaters. First, of course, you didn't have talkative strangers around you, a third of which hate the film and tsk-tsk the whole way through. More significantly, the home-video look was obviously a more natural fit with television screens.

At one point, Jen picked up and started flipping through one of Katie's baby photo albums.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm trying not to get scared," she sheepishly replied.

The second (or was it third) time through, of course, it was easy to latch onto things that didn't quite work. Between frights, there were a few MST3K-esque observations.

First, this viewing reaffirmed just how unlikable Heather Donahue is. Sure, she said she was acting, but maybe she wasn't. Or maybe I was just projecting memories of other intolerable bitches in my past.

Secondly, there are simply points where the carefully crafted realism cracks. The interview with the crazy woman where Donahue is so eager, she feeds the woman her lines in breathless succession. Or the later references back to the interview, as well as to other things introduced earlier in the film, that might as well come with a flashing subtitle that reads, "IMPORTANT PLOT POINT."

Finally, as "innovative" as it was to build the movie entirely out of the handheld camera stuff, the improvised reaction footage in the forest, I couldn't help but wonder how the original plan for The Blair Witch Project would have turned out.

Because I'm not sure what I like more. The movie, or The Curse of the Blair Witch, the fake documentary about the movie, which aired on The Sci-Fi Channel and now comes on the DVD as well. It used "outside" stuff that was originally going to be included, like fabricated newsreel footage and interviews with friends of the "lost students."

It might have been more polished, but it gave me a few good chills anyway.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 29 October 1999 · Last Modified: 30 October 1999