IMR: People: Micheal

[ Micheal ]  
Lee, Micheal Patrick
Aliases: Poo-boy, Kangaryu, Ryutaro Murai, Dragon

Micheal (yes, his name is spelled that way) joined the Ka Leo staff in the fall of 1996. He would've been on staff the semester before if I hadn't ignored his e-mail. He was one of several people who always seemed to be hovering around crack copy editor Christy. Eventually we got annoyed at his constant loitering and put him to work.

He was initially known for his study of pre-medicine, coming into the office in his Straub scrubs, but that turned out to be only the obsession of the moment. Dreams of becoming a doctor quickly waned, and journalism quickly gained favor. He wrote very long movie reviews, and dabbled in occasional news writing.

Then, in June 1997, his mother bought him a Nikon F-5 camera. He will be the first to tell you, that particular model of camera — listing at the time for around $3,000 — was (and probably still is) the shit of shits.

From that day forward, there were only three words in Micheal's vocabulary: photojournalism, photojournalism and photojournalism. His world revolved around that camera. His website was a shrine to it. Not a single photograph would pass before him that he didn't immediately critique and deconstruct.

Later that year, Micheal and William applied to succeed me as Editor-in-Chief. Neither got the job.

While it was he, William and I that first dreamed up University aVenue, he was the last of the eventually six proto-partners to commit to the project. Despite being passed over for EIC, he carried the foolish hope that he'd at least land a photo job -- if not Photo Editor -- with "The New Ka Leo."

Of course, anyone even remotely connected to our bunch was automatically excluded from being hired. When his former photo colleagues at Ka Leo were kind enough to pack all his stuff in a box, he jumped aboard with both feet.

By the end of the summer, finances, geography and... weak ethics had torn through the group, leaving only the original three standing in the end.

Micheal handled the photography for the 'Venue, and was the informal manager of our freelancers. He also oversaw our out-and-about distribution efforts -- activities that earned our group some good press in the fall.

In January, despite three hard-hitting issues and countless kudos, Micheal announced that he was going back to Ka Leo ("the lousy excuse for a school paper," said he) to work as a copy editor under Christy.

Fur flew, and the motion was made later that month to dissolve the 'Venue partnership. Micheal rejoined the Ka Leo staff, and later that semester made an unsuccessful bid for Editor-in-Chief.

He and Christy eventually broke up, and for a time he enjoyed life as a pizza delivery boy. He later left school, and disappeared for several months.

He eventually resurfaced in Seattle, having landed a job as a "ramp service agent" for Alaska Airlines. Soon thereafter, his "lifelong passion" du jour became aviation, his vocabulary suddenly littered with airline and pilot jargon. His new career ambition, according to the new airplane-laden website he set up in 2000, was to become a pilot.

In April 2000, he began addressing his online ramblings to a new "sweetheart," or girlfriend. The development coincided with a brief rendezvous in Las Vegas with Mary, a former colleague of ours. She's married, of course, but upon her return to Honolulu, she announced plans to change that.

Eventually the paperwork and headaches had passed, and she moved to Seattle to be with him at the end of that year. In 2005, they married.

Every chapter is an gripping adventure with Micheal, no doubt about it.

Notable Quotes:

"Dane, you are such a moron!"
   -- Said to his future boss, Spring 1997

"Javinar is abusing his power."
   -- Honolulu Weekly, November 1997

"Let's just say I cheated on her, though I didn't. What I did was not even close to that severe. But let's just say." Then: "I think Mike and I have the same problem. We're too nice to women. To guys like us, our girlfriend is everything. Our lives. The reason we get up every morning."
   -- CFE, March 9, 1998

"Besides, what do I have to offer a girl other than good sex (or so I've been told) and a whole bunch of problems."
   -- CFE, March 11, 1998

"Journalists suck."    -- II Air, April 28, 2000


Micheal changes obsessions more often than some people change shirts, although the depth to which he commits himself to each while its in favor is impressive. If he decides his life's purpose is to make ice cream, you better believe he'd soon be able to talk circles around Ben & Jerry. Past declared obsessions include: medicine ("to impress a girl, pre-med is a pretty impressive major"), Japanese culture and pop music, journalism, Korean culture, photojournalism and photography, cars, and now, aviation.


Born 6 August 1976. Graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1994. Briefly attended UH-Manoa, majoring in journalism. Later relocated to Washington State, and is presently working for Alaska Airlines.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 4 December 1997 · Last Modified: 29 April 2005