IMR: 1999: December: 05 — Sunday, 10:09 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

There are lobsters wrestling on TV. God bless The Learning Channel.

[ Honolulu Parade of Lights ]Katie passed out early tonight, as she should have. We just spent the evening watching the Honolulu City Lights inaugural parade.

With the festivities scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., we headed over at 5 p.m. and parked at my office — fortunately located three blocks from the excitement. The traffic was already bad, hoardes motorists hunting for streetside stalls and police coning off lanes and redirecting traffic at every corner.

We'd planned on finding a bite to eat downtown, but after wandering up and down Fort and South King streets, we were apalled to discover that none of the two dozen eateries in the area were open. Sure, it was Saturday, but there were a few thousand more people than usual walking around.

Jen and I had to settle for my trusty box of TicTacs and a pair of 80-cent cans of Coke. Katie, fortunately, had a bag of Triscuits stored in her backpack.

The sun finished its descent, the sky turning deep blue, then purple, then black. We headed down South King toward City Hall. We ended up staking out a big patch of grass on the lawn of `Iolani Palace. Though the wrought iron fence blocked the view of the street a bit, it also kept Katie safe, and gave us all a vantage point a couple of feet above the heads of the crowd on the sidewalk.

[ Firetruck in Lights ]At 6:30 p.m. sharp, a few yards away, the official city Christmas tree was lit, the crowd went, "Ooooooh!" And the parade began.

As this was the "Parade of Lights," and not your average run-of-the-mill parade, interspersed between the many intermediate and high school marching bands was a wide assortment of city vehicles, all decked out in lights and cardboard cutouts and filled with cheering, smiling, waving civil servants.

Well, most of them were smiling. The Department of Road Maintenance folks were looking pretty sour.

Though I lost count crossing into the triple digits, suffice it to say the Allmighty Pikachu from the Pokemon Empire was the most common icon represented in the procession. Judging by the enthusiastic response from the kids below, the phenomenon is still far from losing steam.

One thing that grated on my nerves was the fact that the drivers of many of the large trucks and tractors in the parade felt that honking their horns (or rather, blasting them) was a reasonable alternative to calling out, "Merry Christmas." No doubt they had to keep the macho young boys on the curb engaged, but more than a few kids had to plug their ears, and a number of marching band performers clearly didn't appreciate being drowned out by the monstrosity on wheels behind them.

Surprisingly, the deafening blooooorg didn't faze Katie at all. The playfully chirping sirens of the ambulances, however, would get her howling.

Jen and I took turns with Katie on our shoulders, from which she waved and waved and waved until her arms nearly fell off. She also rocked to the music, be it Jingle Bells or Walking on the Sun (yes, from Smashmouth, as performed by Castle High School).

After the parade was over, Jen and I briefly descended into the solid mass of people flowing in every direction. We were hoping to squeeze in a tour of the special displays around the Capitol District. They don't change much from year to year, I know, but tradition is tradition.

Unfortunately, it was clear the half-million other revelers in the area had the same idea. So with our feet aching and our stomachs rumbling, we turned around and headed back to the car. There are plenty more nights to walk the wonderland.

It's a Small World, Exhibit 512C: Stacey Hayashi, webster extraordinaire and seemingly the social hub of all Mililani since the early 90s, knows Genevieve Ancog's fiancee.

That's right. Gen — my Ka Leo successor who was occasionally disparaged in these pages (but hasn't been mentioned since last March) —  is getting married next year.

Her intended is Derek Suzuki, a long-time friend of Stacey's and reportedly a well-known fixture in the UH band. I'm guessing that's where the two met, as Gen was in the saxaphone crew about when Derek was on the band staff.

"My mom put me in guitar lessons so I wouldn't fall for guys who play guitar ... fat chance," Gen wrote on her now abandoned website. "She shoulda put me in sax lessons instead, cuz while I have never gone out with a guy who plays guitar, I have gone out with a few sax players."

Clearly, it was meant to be. Best of luck to 'em.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 05 December 1999 · Last Modified: 06 December 1999