IMR: People: Greg

[ Greg ]  
Bueno, Gregory Empleo
Aliases: The Rat, Crux, NemesisVex

The first time I met Greg -- although he remembers it better than I do -- was in September 1993. I was a lowly Associate News Editor at Ka Leo and he was a music reviewer who was roped into doing a news story about UH music students picketing in support of a strike by the Honolulu Symphony.

A huge chunk of life passed between then and the next time he and I were again face to face, which was in May 1995 after I was hired as Ka Leo Editor-in-Chief.

He applied for Features Editor, and got the job.

That was the summer of the "Stereo Wars." He and I would race eachother to choose what music would play on the stereo I'd brought into the office. He has unbelievably eclectic taste in music -- from Clannad to John Zorn, from Duran Duran to the Spice Girls -- and whenever we tried to out-exotic eachother, he always won.

He quickly established himself as the most sassy, blunt, and frequently cranky members of my executive staff. He ran a tight ship, which alternately inspired and intimidated his writers. Fortunately, Kim, his associate editor, kept things cool.

The features desk was, hands down, the most efficiently run section of the paper.

In December of that year, Greg asked to talk in private. We went outside to the picnic tables fronting Campus Center. He came out to me, and said he planned to tell his family. I gave him the key to my apartment in case he needed a place to crash, since I was going to spend the break in Florida visiting Jen's family.

Though I imagine it could have gone better, he wasn't forced to use the safe haven. Not that he didn't spend some time there, blocks from the nightlife in Waikiki.

That March, he and several other coworkers and friends went on an unforgettable trip to Moloka`i. It was during this trip that he kissed his first guy: Nate (who was already Jaimee's boyfriend at the time).

He came out to the entire campus in an editorial column in April. It caused some stir in the office -- mostly people saying they had always suspected -- but the university didn't seem to notice. Ironically, months later a controversial column had many calling Ka Leo a hive of gay bashers.

In May, with the end of the academic year and my reappointment as Editor-in-Chief for the upcoming academic year, Greg applied for Managing Editor, the second-in-command post at Ka Leo. Since Donica, my "number two" at the time, was leaving for a summer internship, he got the job.

Greg quickly infused the newspaper's administration with his ruthless efficiency. Everything was meticulously tracked and filed, and his sharp, prodding style balanced my diplomacy and laissez faire leadership. He worked well with R.G., our editorial adviser, and they scheduled staff workshops and assembled writers' guides and other guiding documents.

In the mean time, Greg and I honed our HTML skills together.

When Donica came back, I faced one of the toughest calls of my life. Whether to give Donica her job back (as was the plan), or to keep Greg, who was unbelievably productive but somewhat unpopular for his aggressive manner.

After endless consultation and a sleepless night, I took Greg to dinner at Anna Millers to break the bad news. I told him that I'd create a third administrative position -- alternately called Senior Editor and Projects Editor -- but he wasn't entirely appleased. He knew he'd done a good job.

As fate would have it, one month later, Donica got a job at the Star-Bulletin. She resigned as Managing Editor, and Greg easily slipped back into the role.

That year at Ka Leo was rough. During the fall, copy editors were scarce, leaving Greg and I to personally review nearly every piece of copy. Meanwhile, the paper's overseeing board seemed deaf to our extensive efforts to get the office air conditioned, or establish a website.

The spring of 1997 was even rougher, with our Editorial Desk courting with libel and interoffice politics at a boiling point (due in part to the pending selection of my successor). Greg and I spent many an evening pondering the ridiculousness of it all.

When the end of the semester came, he and I were among several beleagured souls who were happy to hang up their Ka Leo hats for good.

While he was in on the early push to start University aVenue, he left the islands when he got a job doing web design for Austin360, a city site in Austin. He has since changed jobs a couple of times, each time advancing his technical skills by leaps and bounds. While I still putter along in basic web design, today Greg is a guru in everything from SQL to ASP to PHP to XML (and who knows how many other acronyms).

Greg is also a musician, composer and writer, a fact that is evident to anyone who has followed his online projects through their many generations. In addition to his evolving music zine (at — for now), he also (occassionally) keeps an online journal, and has since 1996.


Greg has inherited from his father an uncanny, if not disturbing, ability to hypnotize chickens. Any other black magic with which he's endowed likely eminates from his "special" toe.


Born 25 April 1972 in Honolulu, Hawai`i. Graduated from Damien Memorial High School in 1990. Attended UH-Manoa, 1991-1996, save for Hunter College of the City University of New York, 1992-1993. Left Hawaii to work for Cox Interactive Media's Austin 360 studio, a position he held for over two years. Currently saving the world at yet another internet startup, and rediscovering his artistic side.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 21 December 1997 · Last Modified: 20 December 2000