IMR: 1999: November: 17 — Wednesday, 10:00 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

It's great to know your wife so well that you can pick the perfect little gift to commemorate two years of wedded bliss.

Knowing her too well, unfortunately, means that after you drive all the way out to Kahala Mall to get said gift, get it gift wrapped, and bring it home with a teddy bear and a basket of roses, you discover that she saw it at the mall not four hours earlier and bought it for herself.

The gift was "Law & Order: The Unofficial Companion," a book by Kevin Courrier and Susan Green that dissects the nine-year-old television series she watches religiously. She's been lusting after it — specifically the 1999 updated edition — for weeks. And now she's got two.

Two years. Not long at all, and really, sometimes it seems to have passed so fast, I think making it to 20 will be a breeze.

Of course, reality returns eventually. I'm can be such an anal-retentive, cynical, obsessive, self-centered, egotistical and judgemental dork, I have no doubt that one day in my presence can sometimes feel like an eternity. There have honestly been times when I can't stand being around myself.

Two years. But that's only since we went to the courthouse and signed the papers. Much as it annoys Jen, I have a hard time seeing our marriage as the definitive starting point it is for most people. It was important and special, but it was also very modest, very simple, in many ways just a legal proclamation of a bond that had thoroughly proven itself over the previous four years.

So I already know I'm going to forget our wedding anniversary eventually, if Jen doesn't remind me. The day that's burned in my mind — the one I always want to celebrate with gusto — is the day we officially became a couple. The day of our first kiss, and our first one thousand kisses. The day we entered the wonderful world of cohabitation. April 1, 1994.

April Fool's Day. How could anyone forget that?

Well. Two years or six, they've been amazing.

Brislin's class yesterday was pretty cool. Donalyn Dela Cruz, fellow Ka Leo survivor and now the weekend news producer at KHON/FOX Channel 2, was the guest speaker.

She gave entertaining and compelling first-hand accounts of ethical dilemmas faced on a day-to-day basis. Her centerpiece was a segment on one of the earlier funerals for one of the men killed in the Xerox shootings.

In addition to shots of people filing into and out of the church, and file footage of police lines and body bags, were three encounters grieving relatives. The first two had wonderful, if not typical things to say, but the last — when approached by the ever-subtle Norman Lee — stops for a moment, breaks down crying, and says, "I can't talk."

Donalyn's call was to leave it in. The regular management, upon returning Monday morning, decided to cut it from future airings.

She presented her case well, but — perhaps ideally, in a class devoted to tackling ethical issues — opinions seemed split as to which was the right decision.

Much as I didn't want to annoy an old colleague, I couldn't help but try and poke at a few holes in her reasoning. Does simply stopping when a reporter approaches constitute agreeing to appear on camera, or did they just air this man's official refusal? If the sheer emotion he displayed was the primary reason for using the clip, is that "good journalism" or "good television"?

That conflict between principles and profits was a major theme in her talk, an especially sensitive topic now that it's sweeps season for local stations. There were interns from the other stations in the class, so they had a few good laughs mocking each other's ratings gimmicks. Robert Kekaula moonlighting at odd jobs on KHNL, cute puppies and kittens on KITV.

I'm glad she loves what she does, and I'm glad to see she takes it seriously. On the other hand, her talk again reinforced my aversion to broadcast media in general.

A piece of good news was waiting for me in the journalism department office. Sharon told me that my package of stories on the homeless, which had to be submitted as part of the class, had actually placed in the Carol Burnett Writing Competition. I'll have to wait until the Christmas Party on Dec. 9 to find out whether I came in first, second, or third, but its incredible just knowing that the five judges ranked it in the top three overall.

It was an unexpected acclamation, and a somewhat bittersweet one.

I had just learned from Kory that Albert "The Panther" Vanderburg — whose guidance had been invaluable throughout the semester — was in the hospital. He'd apparently suffered a heart attack last week, and is now in the ICU battling a number of problems. It's still doubtful whether he's ready to have visitors.

I'm worried. But I do expect him to be back to his singular, colorful self in no time. The man's handle is no fluke, he has got nine lives... or more. He's also going to get probably the most eclectic mix of visitors that hospital ward has ever seen.

That bruise in the center of my forehead isn't gone yet. And it isn't really a bruise, either.

Blaming it on my collision with the concrete beam last week was just the easiest explanation. And also the least embarassing. The truth is, it's really more of a hickey, and what's more I'm the one that put it there.

Yep. The day after I nearly cracked my skull, everything was fine. The whole family was just relaxing on the bed and playing with some of Katie's toys. One of the toys had a suction cup. And as it turned out, the only nearby surface big, flat, and shiny enough for it to stick was my forehead.

So the suction cup spent a lot of quality time there.

The hickey has turned out to be surprisingly durable. So alarmingly, it's getting harder and harder to stick with the head-injury defense. In addition to being suspiciously round, the mark is looking less and less like a bruise and is certainly lasting longer than your average black-and-blue.

What a tangled web indeed. I hope I won't end up walking into another beam.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 17 November 1999 · Last Modified: 29 November 1999