Lockdown: Halt and Oats

I didn’t get my work done Friday. Major fail.

I think I got to sleep close to four-thirty. Woke up around nine-thirty, unable to get back to sleep. And treated the rest of the day like the holiday it was, like the holiday I didn’t deserve or plan. I sigh resignedly.

I thought I might just take my meds, do a crossword, and get back to bed for another couple of hours of sleep. My alarm was set for eleven-thirty, so I had time to get back on track. My meds go better with some food in me. I had a handful (or three) of the Philly Cheesesteak Lay’s chips. The crossword was a bit of a bear. I did it in forty-four minutes, compared to my Friday average of 21:52, but I worked it and worked it, and got a clean solve. I much prefer getting them done quickly, but sometimes the ones that take forever are more rewarding.

It took so long that I thought I might as well have a real breakfast, so I had a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats, mostly because I was keeping an eye on the half gallon of skim milk in my fridge.

The mail brought the final two episodes of Halt and Catch Fire‘s inaugural season. Now I had a real plan. Watch those two episodes, then reward myself with finishing the article, or something like that. I watched episode 9, and then took a short (like, not even an hour) nap, and then it was time to pick up the pie.

Brought it home. Had a slice, of course. Did some writing, but not work-related writing.

Oh, the mail also brought that review copy of the new Cathy Song book. I read ten pages, realized I was probably going to love it, then made myself put it down in favor of reading the news first. Then it was time for the broadcast news, and then I did the Saturday crossword. The New York Times puts the weekend puzzles up early, like just past noon our time. Weekdays they go up around 4:00 our time.

The Saturday puzzle was a bear too! I got it done in 22:36, a few minutes ahead of my 25:57 Saturday average.

I watched the season finale with dinner (leftover chili and hapa rice), which was something of a disappointment, acting more like a transition to whatever’s coming in the second season (DVDs are already in queue). I cracked my knuckles and got my materials ready for writing the story, but my back was a little sore, so I rested in my bed for a little while, and of course I drifted off.

So now it’s just past midnight Saturday morning and I’m going to just try again Sunday.

I got texts from Ali and Crush Girl. Ali and I got past the miscommunication the other day and talked about a couple of other things. I sent Crush Girl this photo of something a friend shared — it was related to something we’d texted about the day before. That generated a response and then a response from me. That was about it.

I didn’t listen to much music today, thanks to Halt and Catch Fire. Spun Rush’s Fly by Night twice, mostly while getting ready (and then driving) to pick up pie. Then some Ry Cooder, Jeff Healy, Dick Dale, and Siouxsie and the Banshees while I read the news and did some writing. The Siouxsie was especially and unexpectedly good for writing. A pleasant discovery.

There aren’t enough gothy people in my life. If I ever saw Crush Girl in black lipstick and black fingernails, I think I would just die.

I’m going to think about going to bed. Hit me up in comments if you’d like my contact info. You might need someone to connect with as these summer days turn into September, one of the most depressing months of the year.

Lockdown: The day seized me, or something

After that semi-decent sleep Wednesday night, I awoke Thursday ready to kill it. With Friday a holiday and my taking two days’ vacation after the long weekend, I wanted to get all the checkboxes ticked so I could not think about work for a few days.

Yeah, that didn’t happen, and I’ll be doing a little bit of work Friday and a little bit Saturday, but it’s fine.

I can’t even blame other emails or other stories this time. I just had no focus, ‘though I sat still at my desk for longer periods of time than usual. Just couldn’t get the fingers moving.

Before work I drove to Rainbows and picked up plates for breakfast and lunch. Boneless chicken for breakfast. Barbecue beef for lunch. I baked a fresh loaf of bread, too, which was dinner, along with a few slices of extra-sharp cheddar. I snacked on some Philly Cheeseteak Lays. They were very good.

Then I ordered an apple-caramel pie from Hawaiian Pie Company for pickup Friday afternoon. I’m not sure what’s going on with me lately. I said I was going to get veggies for takeout. I got pie.

I listened to a lot of music. Derek Trucks Band, mostly, with some Mastodon and the Police before and after. Goofed off on my phone. Watched the news. Did the crosswords. Stayed up far too late doing the Friday 5. Paid a couple of bills. Wandered off to bed around 3:30 in the morning, the latest I’ve been up for quite a stretch.

I got a text from Julia, who told me she has a phone interview with the nonprofit I reached out to on her behalf. I hope she nails it. Sharon and I texted about my picking something up from her sometime soon, but she’s about to get on a plane for that wedding. I shuddered as I wished her a good trip. She’s going to have fun being quarantined for two weeks when she gets back.

Sylvia sent me a funny video. Julie texted via the engineering group chat that there’s a slight chance she’s coming back to Hawaii for her husband’s next assignment. I texted a bunch of people a photo of my bread.

I should have slain the day but it kind of swallowed me up in unproductive mundanity. I think it’s okay, as long as I can get done the work I have to get done before the end of the official weekend.

Are you struggling to connect with people in these days of idiocy? If yes, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to send you some contact info. The days run together, but one thing that can give them some individuality is a few messages, photos, or silly conversations.

Friday 5: One-decade rewind

From here.

  1. What are some albums you really like from 2010?
    In 2010 I purchased BK3 by Bruce Kulick, Streets of Rock and Roll by Keel, Periphery by Periphery, Infestation by Ratt, The Seraphic Clockwork by Vanden Plas, Warp Riders by the Sword, Aqua by Angra, Angel of Babylon by Avantasia, Cherryholmes IV: Common Threads by Cherryholmes, Burning Like the Midnight Sun and de-plumed by the Choir, Clara McVille — Concert Edition by Clara McVille, Acoustic by Della Mae, In Your Eyes by Echoterra, Tug of War by Enchant, The Big Black and the Blue by First Aid Kit, American Slang by the Gaslight Anthem, No Better than This by John Mellencamp, Aligned Archetype by Kellee Maize, Stairwells by Kina Grannis, Live Love in London by King’s X, Spring by Larkin Poe, Omni by Minus the Bear, High Violet by the National, Taken by Rhonda Vincent, Magic for Everybody by Sam Phillips, The Secret Sisters by the Secret Sisters, Volume 2 by She & Him, and Excavations of the Minds by Sky Architect. I’ve since purchased several more from the same year, but since this is a look back at 2010 specifically, I’ll only pick from among these. The clear choice is Omni by Minus the Bear, with Burning Like the Midnight Sun by the Choir second, American Slang by the Gaslight Anthem third, and Cherryholmes IV by Cherryholmes fourth. Man, good memories.
  2. What are some songs you remember fondly from 2010?
    Among popular songs, I see “Like a G6” by Far East Movement was that year. Pretty great song. Also “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas. I purchased both of these as singles. Also “You Belong with Me” by Taylor Swift. Great songs, all of them, but the two best are “Fireflies” by Owl City first and “Fuck You” by Cee-Lo Green second. Great songs.
  3. What’s your favorite movie released in 2010?
    I’m pretty sure I was at the movies more than once a week during 2010. I saw in theaters Leap Year (Amy Adams), Youth in Revolt (Michael Cera), When in Rome (Kristen Bell), Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Valentine’s Day (cast of hundreds), Cop Out (Bruce Willis), She’s Out of My League (Jay Baruchel), Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Hot Tub Time Machine (John Cusack), The Last Song (Miley Cyrus), Clash of the Titans, Death at a Funeral (Martin Lawrence), Kick-Ass, Iron Man 2 (Robert Downey Jr.), Just Wright (Queen Latifah), Letters to Juliet (Amanda Seyfried), Princess Kaiulani (Q’orinaka Kilcher), Get Him to the Greek (Russell Brand), The A-Team (Liam Neeson), The Karate Kid (Jackie Chan), Toy Story 3, Grown Ups (Adam Sandler), The Last Airbender, Despicable Me, Inception (Leonardo DiCaprio), Ramona and Beezus (Selena Gomez), Dinner for Schmucks (Steve Carell), Get Low (Robert Duvall), Flipped, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Anna Kendrick), Lottery Ticket (Bow Wow), Easy A (Emma Stone), Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (Hugo Weaving), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Michael Douglas), Secretariat (Diane Lane), Hereafter (Matt Damon), Morning Glory (Rachel McAdams), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, Tangled, The King’s Speech (Colin Firth), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Fighter (Mark Wahlberg), How Do You Know? (Reese Witherspoon), True Grit (Jeff Bridges), Gulliver’s Travels (Jack Black), and Blue Valentine (Michelle Williams). I might have seen the last few in 2011, since they were released in December, but I’m not going to draw that line since I can’t remember. There are more bad films here than great (Valentine’s Day couldn’t end quickly enough). I’m going with Blue Valentine first, Scott Pilgrim second, and Harry Potter third.
  4. Which television programs debuting in 2010 did you rather enjoy?
    Not much to choose from here. I definitely watched Hot in Cleveland and Hawaii Five-0. The former was bad but it starred Valerie Bertinelli so I kept watching it. The latter was decent but I lost interest after a few episodes.
  5. Which events in 2010 bring back good memories?
    It was a good football season. I incorrectly predicted the Steelers would beat the Packers in the Super Bowl, but I liked the Packers better, so I was pleased by the result. I’ve mixed feelings about this because Aaron Rodgers is better at putting the football exactly where he wants than any QB I’ve ever seen, and the stupid Packers haven’t done a good job of putting good players around him, and it’s still the only Super Bowl Rodgers has won. They are wasting an amazing talent.

Lockdown: Chili fatigue

Wednesday was pretty mellow. Woke up ahead of my alarm and took my time getting to work, but still got started earlier than has been my wont in these lockdown days. Got my brain and typing fingers warmed up on some little tasks and emails, then called my supervisor to discuss a new arrangement.

My job breaks down mostly into three very different kinds of writing. I write feature stories about scholarship recipients, alumni, donors, and corporate giving. That’s the difficult but fun part. I also write acknowledgment letters from different UH people, thanking donors for their gifts. I’m supposed to rewrite these things every six months or so. It’s also difficult, because finding new ways to say thank you is tough, and I have to make certain university VIPs happy, since their signatures go on these things.

Since last summer, I’m also writing gift proposals for targeted donors. We’re talking about a three-page request to Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So for $200,000 to endow a scholarship in the College of Blank for students who blank-blank. It’s not difficult, but it’s challenging in a a different way, mostly in working with different people with different priorities. In pre-writing conversation, one person will tell me, “Here’s the one thing you must include…” and then in the first round of edits, this one thing will be the first thing someone else crosses out. I once had the dean of a college add a sentence to the very beginning of my introduction that was nearly verbatim the last sentence in my introduction, leaving the original sentence unmarked. I didn’t know if I was being asked to move the sentence or to be intentionally redundant.

I resolved it by adding “Again…” to the closing sentence, to indicate intentional redundancy.

Anyway, the phone call was to discuss bringing the other writer in our organization into the process, as sort of my tutor. She’s our grant writer, and she writes proposals all the time with researchers doing most of the actual writing. Her recipients are corporations, though, while mine are individual donors, which is one way our jobs are distinguished. We work well together, and we respect each other’s work, so my supervisor and I agree this arrangement could really be helpful. I look forward to it.

I spent the rest of my workday working on the story causing me problems. Didn’t finish but hoped to get it done Thursday. Friday is a holiday (Statehood Day), and I’m taking vacation on Monday and Tuesday. I had another phone call with the development officer involved with this story. It was our first time talking since we all got sent home, so it was nice to catch and share our thoughts about Bloody Wednesday. She said she felt as I did: that I was the one in our department most likely to be let go. I appreciated that she saw it my way.

Breakfast was instant ramen with kale and choy sum, the last of the fresh veggies in my fridge. I’m not planning to hit the grocery store until near the end of the weekend, but I may have to adjust. Or eat some canned things. Or get veggie-laden takeout. Ooh, good idea.

Lunch was the rest of the bread, with honey-macadamia peanut butter. Dinner was chili and hapa rice. It’s going on ten days old and I had around three more servings of it, so I tossed it all in a pan and simmered it for a bit, to discourage any nasties from putting down roots. I’ve got to admit I’m already tired of the idea of chili, although I enjoyed it while I actually consumed it. Might need to make a smaller pot next time, or switch things up even more than I planned. Maybe some curry next time, or a radically different kind of stew.

Shortly before bed, I popped open a can of that hard seltzer I picked up as my something different the weekend before last. It’s a local brand, Ola, made with local organic ginger. I like flavored (and even unflavored) seltzers a lot, but I’m not yet sold on hard seltzer. I assumed they were all spiked with some kind of malt liquor, but this is spiked with alcohol fermented from organic sugar. So rum? I don’t know what makes a rum besides sugar.

I poured it over ice, and it was okay. At just under five percent alcohol by volume, it gave me a pleasant, low-grade, almost-buzz.

Jennifer sent me another screen shot of the baby otter. Very cute. That may have been my only text Wednesday. Weird. I didn’t notice less activity there. There were some IMs in the company Skype but I don’t remember them. They might have been work-related.

I crashed just after midnight and slept decently, around seven hours, the second half correctly strapped into Darth Vader.

Lockdown: Casting about for meaning

I’m having a little bit of trouble with this story that was due Friday and delayed by those edits to other pieces. There’s just so much background, and most of it is a bit of a slog — technical writing that I usually don’t have a problem with but for some reason is a bit laborious to get through. I told the development officer I’m working with on the story I’d reach out Wednesday to go over what she has in mind for the story, and I really want to have the background read beforehand. A little bit of self-imposed pressure to keep me moving.

So most of my day was taking care of other stories. I need a term for this. Something to brainstorm while I’m avoiding doing all that reading.

Breakfast was some of my fresh bread with this local honey-macadamia peanut butter. I bought it as a gift for a relative and remembered too late that he hates peanuts. Normally it would be a little pricey for me, but what else am I going to do with it since I can’t gift it to its intended recipient?

It may be the best peanut butter I’ve ever had, except maybe the peanut butter I make myself in my food processor. It has a wonderfullly smooth texture, and there’s somehow no palm oil in it. Gotta investigate. Also, I’m wondering now why I have never customized my homemade peanut butter.

The night I bought it for my relative, I also bought a second jar, this one Kona coffee flavored. I’m such a doofus. This relative doesn’t drink coffee either.

I’ve heard a few podcasters talk about these gourmet peanut butters they love, and I’ve gone as far as to look at the websites and see what’s available on Amazon, but until just now I never considered I could make my own. I may have a new purpose in lockdown.

Lunch was the same thing, except I had it in two smaller courses. The first was bread and a can of Vienna sausage. Reminds me of poor college days, when I often had it with cheap supermarket white bread. The second was more peanut butter, with some local macadamia honey. Hello.

It was somehow not enough to keep me going, so a few hours later I had a cold can of pork and beans with another can of Vienna sausage. Sinful. Which makes this Big Mac combo I’m having now at the laundry my second dinner.

For the second week in a row, the TV is off in the laundry and it’s quiet and wonderful. There’s one other guy folding his dried clothes, but he’s just about done.

I’m coming around to the idea that the late-night walks are a memory, and if I’m going to get meaningful exercise, it’s going to have to be in the ocean, where my knee is less a factor. This means an entire shifting of hours, since apparently one must get to Kewalo soon after the parking lot opens at four. We’ll find out, as I’m going to head down there this morning and probably won’t get there until maybe quarter to five.

I’ll miss the wee hours, but maybe not as much as I would have guessed. This week several times I’ve gone to bed before nine, and it’s been pretty good. It just requires more planning than I like to do for such things. Maybe that’s better for me anyway since putting myself to bed is supposed to be a deliberate thing.

I didn’t think I was tired when I retired at 7:30 Tuesday evening, but I popped 15 mg of melatonin (which I’m beginning to think doesn’t do anything except placebo me to la-la land) and was asleep before 8:00.

Jennifer texted me a photo of the sleeping baby otter. Very cute. I expected it somehow to be on a rock in a pool, but it looked like it was in a crib or something. Sharon and I traded a few texts about the Democratic National Convention, which I watched more of on Day 2 than on Day 1. Crush Girl texted me some stuff about her weekend and her work situation. Ali texted me a question I did my best to answer, but admitted it was out of my realm of expertise. This led to some difficult miscommunication that was probably on me, since for her it was nearly eight in the morning and for me it was nearly two. Yeah, I got up about twenty minutes ahead of my laundry alarm.

Which still gave me nearly five and half hours of good sleep, interrupted once but continued quickly. I’m still feeling a little bit off, though, like maybe I’m coming down with something.

I never finished my personal Ozzy Osbourne retrospective and I really want to, but I’ve been in a Mastodon mood these past few days, so I’m also doing a Mastodon retrospective, beginning with their first album and working my way to now. It’s good music to work to, and it brings back some really good concert memories.

I’m hesitant to write about this, but one function of a journal is using language to sort things out — bring order to chaos, in a way. I had two New Year’s resolutions related to reading and creativity this year. The first was establishing a Honolulu Silent Book Club, which I launched in March. We met once, and the island was shut down immediately after. This is now necessarily on hold.

The other was a new podcast, because the world doesn’t have enough podcasts. I won’t publicly share what it’s about until I launch it, but my intention was to do ten complete shows, with all the production and editing, as practice. Never intending to publish them. I know it’s going to take several episodes for me to find my groove, and to settle on certain details (music, organization, that kind of thing). I want my first episode to be as good as my eleventh, so I’m going to do ten practice ones as if they’re not practice.

I’m also going to have to shift my strategy for now. I have a good idea, but social distancing makes it impossible to do what I have in mind. This means I’m going to have to recruit some friends for Zoom-Skype-Face Time-whatever, something I was hoping to avoid.

The thing is, this pandemic has put too many things on hold. I welcome it in a lot of ways, not least of which is taking other things out of do-it-later status, like slaying the Monster and finally checking out Halt and Catch Fire. But you make resolutions for self-improvement. One shouldn’t put those things on hold if one can avoid it. If this means making adjustments to original plans, and apparently it does, I guess I should get on with it. It’s almost September, dammit.

My goal for the long weekend ahead (Hawaii celebrates its admission to the union Friday) is to pick a few candidates for theme music. I’d like maybe eight good songs to test out, then to whittle down to two. It’s kind of a tedious task since I’m determined to do this legitimately, paying a service for rights to use the songs, which means going through offerings by musicians I’ve never heard of to find songs I’ve yet to hear.

If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll outline the first (practice) episode and recruit a friend to play with me for half an hour or so. I bought a few toys this past winter specifically for producing this podcast. It would be nice to get them out of the toybox.

I also need to finish setting up the website. I’ve been sitting on the domain for two years.

You should consider being a guest on my new podcast. You can be anonymous, and you can even make stuff up. It’ll be something of an interview/conversation format. Or you could just reach out if you’d like to trade a few messages now and then, to give you some connectivity in the time of lockdown. Just leave a comment and I’ll send you my contact info.

Lockdown: Aca-scuse me?

I sat down to write this about forty-five minutes ago and am only getting started now. I blame Anna Kendrick videos on YouTube. I’m giving myself until I finish writing to decide what I’m going to do about those littered-about chopped-off limbs of the Monster, since early tomorrow morning is my hard, weekly deadline.

The best thing about Monday was the surprise release of a new single from the Barden Bellas, a cover of Beyonce’s “Love on Top.” It’s a fundraiser for UNICEF.

It’s so cute I can’t stand it. Disappointed Esther Dean isn’t included, but it’s nice to see the others, especially Kelley Jakle who’s great in this. I’m also disappointed Hailee Steinfeld doesn’t get a solo. I’ve already seen this thing around fifteen times and purchased the single.

I couldn’t find my writing flow at work today. Spent too much time putting some edits on finished drafts and responding to emails and this story I meant to have done Friday is still not even first-drafted.

I didn’t get to bed early enough Sunday night to get up for the beach. When the alarm went off, I knew it just wasn’t going to happen. Sunday night was a milder repeat of Saturday night: I woke up a couple of hours into my sleep with my knee crying out. I had those weird shivers again, but not as severe. And, um, I turned my fan down and felt okay. The fan shouldn’t be a factor because it’s fricking warm in the evenings lately, so even with it on at full blast it shouldn’t cause my shivering.

Walking to the bathroom was as difficult as on Saturday night. Then I went right to sleep and did fine. Woke up again not feeling a lot of pain until I got out of bed. Its sorer after I’ve been stationary for a while, I’ve discovered. But there’s no swelling. I know I need to see a doctor but it’s just not safe, so the best thing I think I can do is wait until things calm down and do my best not to injure it further.

I made bread. And it’s wonderful. When I was between jobs, I made bread a lot. You get a long of mileage out of a few bucks when you make your own bread, especially when flour is on sale. Bread flour, however, doesn’t go on sale much, and it’s a few bucks more per sack than all-purpose flour, especially when all-purpose flour is on sale. We’re talking a $6 for one and $3 for the other difference. So I got into the habit of using all-purpose, which doesn’t give as good a rise but does the job.

I’m now gainfully employed, though, so the price difference is negligible, yet I’ve not gone back to bread flour. Frugal habits die hard sometimes. But I made this loaf with bread flour, and finally gave my dad’s favorite recipe a try, which uses milk and an egg. And yum. It’s fluffier but still has good integrity, and the texture is smoother somehow. I got a much nicer crust than usual, too.

I tried to watch the Democratic National Convention live but I just couldn’t. I’m here for the speeches, but the boosting the party stuff isn’t for me — literally, it’s not for me since it’s not my party. All the video montages and stuff made it feel, as S. E. Cupp tweeted, like a telethon. I had to bail before the speeches even began. When I put the TV on to watch the news, I caught the last half of Michelle Obama’s speech and it was quite good. I heard the thing in its entirely via the Rachel Maddow podcast. Rachel didn’t do a regular show this evening.

It embarrasses me to report this, but I had Taco Bell for breakfast again. The same order as a few mornings ago. I had a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats for lunch, and then a few slices of fresh bread with some extra-sharp cheddar for dinner. I didn’t do any snacking.

I also couldn’t go for a walk, dang it.

A funny photo came down my IG stream first thing this morning, so I shared it with several people via text. Mostly got laughs back. Crush Girl and I texted a little about the new Barden Bellas video. Jennifer sent me a story about the baby otter she’s been watching on live webcam lately. Very cute.

I’m skipping the Monster for the second week in a row. I did a few chores today and I have one more to deal with, but while I was typing this I caught a rat in my live trap. I’ll have to get up early tomorrow — not beach early, but early — to let it go, and I just don’t have it in me to do both. Still trying to make a good night’s sleep my priority. I’m disappointed in myself but I’m going to cut me some slack.

I feel like Monday was all kinds of good opportunity not seized. I’m okay with it, but I can’t have two days in a row like this or I’ll start to wilt.

Whatever you’re doing to get through the lameness of the season, I hope you’re getting enough connection with people who care about you, even if it’s silly photos and otter articles. If you aren’t, leave me a comment and I’ll send you my contact info.

Lockdown: Knee deep in the hoopla

It’s Sunday evening. 9:30. I’m supposed to be feeling the Sunday evening blahs, that tension and apprehension I’ve mentioned in this space that’s stuck with me even all these years out of the classroom. But I’m totally chill. Since I killed it on Friday, I’ve been able not to think about work all weekend, a weekend during which I’ve done pretty much nothing but has still been far too short, and I’m actually eager to get back to it Monday morning.

It’s very, very strange.

I slept kind of miserably. Woke up in the middle of the night without having put Darth Vader on my face, and I was in pain. My left knee was killing me. I moved it to straighten it out or something (I can’t remember) and it was so sore it took like a minute, and I was so reluctant to move it again I just lie there stiff, on my back, aching like crazy. I was on the verge of tears, but what scared me was I was shivering cold even though it was warm as heck last night. I kept shuddering, and my teeth chattered some. What the heck?

Eventually, an eternity later or maybe just a few minutes later, I fell back asleep, and when I woke up some time later (I never checked the clock when I woke up the first time because I was too distracted by pain) I wasn’t in nearly as much discomfort. Until I tried to walk to the bathroom.

Holy heck. It wasn’t the kind of pain I may have imagined earlier, but it was something of a struggle to get to the little boys’ room and back.

I crashed again and slept fitfully, like I was ill or something, and at some weird point I felt it break, like a fever. You know that moment when you’re sleeping off a fever and you drift into and out of consciousness and then you kind of wake up and you’re all sweaty but cool, instead of sweaty and hot? And somehow rested? That’s exactly what I felt.

I woke up and although the stupid knee was still sore all day and I’m limping, as the day went by it got more and more normal. Or something close to normal, which is a dull ache all the time and a slight limp. Great.

So that was scary.

I got out of bed around 10:00 and read the news. I had the last slice of POG pie for breakfast, did the Sunday NYT crossword in just shy of 18 minutes, and then got lost in a whole bunch of different reading online. I read about stereo system components and deejaying gear, mostly, despite not planning to get into either. Just interesting stuff to read about.

I made a bowl of instant ramen for a late lunch, with a mountain of kale, choy sum, and bean sprouts, and two eggs, which I ate during the TV news. Then I watched the eighth episode of Halt and Catch Fire and it was fantastic. Rewatched the last five minutes. Great television.

I took care of a few little chores and got things ready to make some bread Monday. I was tempted to go to the supermarket, but I reminded myself I bought enough stuff last time to avoid having to go back for two weeks.

Dinner was a can of cold pork and beans, straight from the can. And some Vienna sausage this time, also from the can. It’s like Boy Scout camping in my living room.

I had dinner while watching Noelle for like the fifteenth time. It just ended and I’m a little bit of a teary mess. Again.

There was quite a bit of texting. JB gave me a progress report on War and Peace. Ali texted me early to ask me if something she’d read about introverts was true, so I gave her my perspective, and then she sent me a link to the story I wrote about that donor, the story that might get picked up by one of the local news broadcasts. She said it was a cute story, so I thanked her. That was nice — my coworkers and former coworkers seldom mention the stories I write unless the stories are directly related to their work.

I got a phone call from Julia, and although I never answer phone calls, I picked this one up because she’d left me a message Friday. She was one of our Bloody Wednesday victims, so I thought maybe something was up. We chatted for a bit; she asked for a little bit of advice on some positions she was applying for. It turns out one of them is with a nonprofit where I’ve interviewed one director, and another director is married to Cindy, my former manager at the engineering firm, one of the three women in the group chat I’m always mentioning.

So I texted Cindy to tell her nice things about Julia. Then emailed the one director and messaged Cindy’s husband via Linkedin, to spread some of the Julia love around.

Emailed Ryan a few times to work out some stuff we have going on. I tried to find someone to do a review of Cathy Song’s new book, for Hawaii Stories, but there were no reliable takers, so I’m doing it myself. I kind of envision my HS role as something of an advisor for less experienced writers, and I really wanted someone else to give the review a try. I reviewed her poetry collection School Figures for our campus paper in Hilo (a pretty double-page spread) and it was a big deal to me. I wanted someone else to get the big deal. Alas.

There was no way I was going to walk with my knee blowing itself up. I’m going to try to hit the beach Monday morning.

Hit me up if you would like someone to connect with in these dark days. I’ll send you some contact info.

Lockdown: Bury my heart and wounded knee

Yay for Saturday.

I didn’t sleep terrifically Friday night, but I did put myself to bed early, so I got plenty of rest even if it wasn’t the best rest. Got up around five and did the Saturday NYT crossword — it was challenging even for a Saturday. Took me thirty-four minutes, more than eleven minutes longer than my Saturday average, but it was a clean solve. Just reeeally tough.

I went back to bed for two and a half hours more, this time hooked up properly to Darth Vader, so that was nice. When I got up I craved Rainbows for breakfast. Boneless chicken with gravy. I must have been hungry because I ate the whole thing, which I almost never do in one meal.

I read the news, did some online window shopping, and watched three episodes of Halt and Catch Fire. Wow. Took a little bit of a nap. Heavenly. Watched the news. So annoying. For lunch I had chili Tater Tots. Not my finest moment, but nothing’s been my finest moment lately.

At around nine, I walked to the School Street bus stop nearest my house and left a bag of about fifteen bottles tied to the trash can. My knee complained most of the way. It’s been really bugging me lately, even without going for walks. But I was out and about, so I kept walking, unsure of how far I wanted to go. I got to Kalakaua Middle School and just did laps of the long, narrow parking lot. It was quiet and safe, and only one other walker passed through while I listened to podcasts and enjoyed the fresh air.

I normally hate walking laps anywhere. For some reason this felt right. I may try it again if I can even walk Sunday. The walk back was rough — I kind of limped most of the way. Not dramatic limping, but definitely not striding in a normal way.

I was pretty hungry when I got back to Kam Shopping Center, so I had a cheeseburger, McChicken sandwich, and Diet Coke for an impromptu dinner. I needed a breather, too, for my knee, although I was worried that if I stopped moving it might lock up or something. It didn’t, but the walk up the hill was unpleasant. I just took three ibuprofens in hopes the knee won’t keep me up all night with its discordant singing.

It was 13,000 steps for the first time in quite a while. I have to say I’m pleased. I’ve been putting on weight like I’m preparing to hibernate, although I can’t imagine why.

I only texted with two people Saturday — Ali and Crush Girl. Ali and I talked about the Honolulu Museum of Art for some reason. It popped into her head and she wanted to know what I thought about it. This led to some nice conversation about art and museums. Crush Girl and I talked about some social media topics. Also a nice conversation, this one while I did my laps of the parking lot.

I didn’t do any real chores and I didn’t read, so I’m going to make it a point to hit those Sunday. I have one more episode of Halt and Catch Fire on this Netflix disc. And some veggies that want to be consumed before the weekend’s up.

It’s only 1:30 in the morning but I’m pretty dang tired. Going to hit it and see if I can have some good sleep and be out of bed before the crack of noon.

Hit me up in the comments if you need some connection. The news gets worse every day and if you’re like me, so does your impatience with the world. Maybe some conversation will help.

Lockdown: Yo quiero

“If you’re super unproductive the first four days of the week but kill it on Friday, you can go into the weekend feeling like you deserve a promotion.” I wrote this on one of the social media platforms late Friday and this could really be my whole journal entry.

I had deadlines on two things Friday, but these deadlines on stories (unlike on proposals) are flexible depending on what pops up. Everything is urgent; there are just different levels of urgency, remember? I struggled to put the finishing polish on one story but did get it in near the end of my supervisor’s workday, so that was nice.

The other story is going to have to wait until Monday, but fairly late in the day, we got the okay to run a story I finished last week that ran into some problems. It wasn’t in presentable condition, though, so I had to prettify that one. Two stories submitted Friday for one of our major (annual) publications is a big deal when I’ve struggled all summer to finish stories.

So I’m feeling pretty good even though I really have no right.

I slept restlessly Thursday night, but felt pretty okay Friday anyway. I watched the news and did a few small chores. I was too tired to watch some Halt and Catch Fire. Made myself do the getting-ready-for-bed stuff and called it a day at about 9:30 in the evening. No walk.

Before I started work, I ran to the service station mini mart on the corner. It has one of those water dispensing machines but not from the company I prefer, so I only got four gallons. I’d woken up with this strange craving for Taco Bell for breakfast. I guess Taco Bell’s had a breakfast menu for a couple of years, but I’ve never tried it, and I was going to make it happen Friday.

Which is not to say I’ve never had Taco Bell for breakfast. Many times in my adulthood have I left a couple of tacos still in their wrappers on the kitchen counter overnight (or, in more responsible moments, in the fridge) and scarfed them first thing in the morning. Gross but still great, somehow. I know this sounds like hangover behavior but it wasn’t.

So I drove the couple of blocks to Taco Bell and overdid it, of course. A steak grilled breakfast burrito, a sausage breakfast Crunchwrap, and two Cinnabites. All I have to say is holy moly. What a great breakfast. It’s going to take some willpower not to hit that a few more times in the next week or two; I’m serious.

To atone for all that culinary sin, I had a slice of POG pie for lunch. Then a bowl of chili and hapa rice for dinner.

Not a banner day, yet also a day to remember because of that breakfast.

I have to make better choices for my carnal pleasures, for sure. Maybe if I limit myself to such things only on days after I’ve had a good swim.

Sylvia sent me a photo of these two-ingredient bagels she made. She made them without the hole this time, and they look like yummy, soft English muffins. Might have to give these a try. Crush Girl and I traded a few texts related to her work. I got an text from Dustin about a mutual friend who could be a good story for one of our publications — which is funny because I had just finished conversing with her about pitching her story. Ali sent me a photo of an ice cream stand she was making a late ice cream run at, which was awesome to see. I had a nice FB messenger conversation with that friend about pitching her story. She’s having a rough pandemic but she got some encouraging news Friday, so that was encouraging.

Looking forward to a good weekend. I’ll watch some stuff on the TV for sure, but also plan to listen to some good music and lose myself in a book. And there’s one slice of that pie left!

It’s easy to feel disconnected and distant if you’re locking down the way I mostly am. So if you need a few texts to get anchor you or something, leave a comment and I’ll send you my contact info.

Lockdown: Writer’s malaise

After the laundry early Thursday morning, I tried to hit the beach. The mayor closed all the parks, but in-the-water activities are still allowed, just like in March. So you have to find somewhere to put your vehicle, and you’re allowed to walk through the park on your way to the ocean.

When I got to the parking lot at Kewalo at 5:30, it was full. Crazy. I considered parking in that lot behind the Ilikai and walking to Fort DeRussy as I’ve done, but it’s a little bit of a walk, and you encounter a lot of walkers on the way, who don’t always steer clear of you. I’m too freaked about these rising numbers.

I’ll try early another morning.

I didn’t work very well, despite having enough sleep. Mostly did a lot of thinking about the stories I was supposed to have done by Friday. It’s part of the work. Sometimes it just happens this way and I’m silly to try to fight it, but I had high hopes for Thursday and I was annoyed that I couldn’t make the words coalesce. My focus was for crap.

I sorta packed it in early, knowing it was a losing battle. Did a few quick chores, had dinner, and dozed off. Woke up around 1:30 still tired, so I finished the half-done thing I was working on and got back to bed around 2:30. Without finishing Digging for Fire.

Breakfast was a slice of POG pie. A thin slice. For lunch, I made a little stir-fry of kale, choy sum, brean sprouts, and canned green beans. It was terrible. I thought at first it was the green beans giving the entire dish a metallic taste, but I think it was the choy sum. Also, mixing the canned greens with fresh greens was a bad idea. I put them over some lazy fried rice and that wasn’t much of an improvement. Geez.

I did the best I could but I didn’t have it in me to finish the meal. Put half of it away for leftovers and ate another (not quite as thin) slice of pie for lunch instead.

Dinner was chili and hapa rice. Yum.

The engineering group text with Julie, Cindy, and Suzanne was kind of heated Thursday. We had a bit of a contention about when to call out racism when we see it among our friends. Heavy stuff but good thoughts. There was some silliness too, sprinkled among the race talk. Good friends.

Sharon and I traded texts about some time off she’s taking for her sister’s wedding. She’s flying. Ugh. I wish she wouldn’t.

Ali and I traded a few funny photos and that turned kind of rough when I made a crude (but I swear altogether appropriate) comment about one of them. Ah well.

Crush Girl and I texted about the ridiculous COVID-19 numbers we’re getting. It was most disheartening.

Skipped the walk because whatever. Ha.

Kind of a lame day saved by some good conversation via texts. There’s more where that came from if you’re in need. Just hit me up in the comments.