Lockdown: Tuesday, Wednesday: crappy days

So. I fell asleep around 10:00 Tuesday night after putting myself to bed at 8:30. I considered it a small triumph. And I slept really well until the alarm went off at 2:15. I mean, deeply. Restfully. Uninterruptedly. It was bliss. I was sad to be awakened.

But I dragged myself up, stopped at the supermarket to fill my drinking water, and get a Big Mac combo from McD’s. Except the McD’s was closed. Ugh. I stopped at the 7-Eleven instead, which I was going to have to do sometime soon anyway to get a money order for the rent. Still, convenience store sandwiches are not nearly as lovely at 3:00 in the morning when you’re doing laundry as a Big Mac and some fries.

I forgot to bring my MiFi device with me, too. The first time I’ve done that since lockdown began, so I spent my time in the laundry reading an ebook on my laptop. It didn’t suck.

Unwilling to brave the ocean since I usually give it a couple of days to restore itself, I came right home after, and went to bed, remembering how wonderfully I slept last week when I did the same thing. It was not a repeat performance, but I slept okay.

Good thing, too, because work kind of killed me. I focused on getting this annual report done, this project I’ve been working on for more than a month (actually, in some ways, since May and June), whose original deadline was September 30. Yeah, it’s been bad. I worked until about midnight (on that and other tasks) and still had two things to do. So i went to bed, setting the alarm to give me three hours of sleep so I could get up early and finish things.

Yeah, it was a long, kind of crappy day, but I was glad to be productive. I did take a few breaks — I had to, so it wasn’t the worst day. It just wasn’t very nice.

Breakfast at the laundry was an egg salad sandwich and a tuna sandwich from 7-Eleven. I had it with a bottle of water. I had some hot dogs with ketchup, mustard, and sauerkraut for lunch. For dinner, I made the first of my planned (and shopped-for) meals, a baked ahi dish from the HBA family cookbook. It was okay, but I would much rather have just done a quick pan-fry with some lemon, butter, and capers. The point, however, was to make something new, and I did and I’m glad I took the time.

I texted my sister to pass along a message from my folks, then texted my niece too. Jennifer sent me another link I still haven’t checked, but I will as soon as I finish writing this and then finish some work. Vicky asked me if I knew anyone who might want to sit in on a Zoom info meeting for her MLM. I texted Ali to let her know that her former boss is leaving the company next month. Crush Girl and I traded a bunch of conversation related to her job.

My soundtrack Wednesday was mostly Van Halen’s final studio album, A Different Kind of Truth (2012). It’s not good but it doesn’t suck. Will spin it a few more times when I have time to focus. I also spun a few new albums from bands I’d never heard of before: Infera Bruo (black metal), Cryptic Shift (black metal), and Pallbearer (doom metal).

Oh! And I got my Prime Day order in the mail. Some new wireless headphones, which I’ll write about later. Of course I broke them in with a spin of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Heavenly. Delightful.

Don’t forget to reach out if you need someone to connect with. These are the pandemic days of our lives. Don’t spend them lost, disconnected, or alone. Every day you’re not contributing to the health crisis is a day you’re doing something good. But you don’t have to do it alone. Unless you’re Jennifer and I keep forgetting to look at your links!

Lockdown: Roger Dodger and Rays of light

It’s going to be a few days before I brave the ocean again, assuming we don’t get more rain like we had, so I didn’t worry too much about getting up early Tuesday. Slept terribly again, then got right to work. I still didn’t have the kind of day I like, but it was almost okay, productivity-wise. I posted a donor student impact story, only my second post on the website. It was stressful, but I thought I did okie dokie.

Strangely, some of the best work came while I had the World Series on the TV. I don’t like the Dodgers and I do like the Rays. But the teams are successful for very similar reasons, because Dodgers team president Andrew Friedman changed the way baseball is played — when he was with the Rays.

Friedman is not a jock. Well, he played baseball at Tulane on a scholarship, but that was where his athletic career ended. He was a Wall Street analyst before joining the Rays, applying his understanding of markets and valuation to the world of baseball, and as I said: it changed everything.

Whichever teams wins the World Series, it will be because of Andrew Friedman. Cool story. The Dodgers have been screwed in recent years, the best team in baseball a few times but loser in the playoffs because of cheaters. That’s not sports-fan hyperbole; the Astros admitted they cheated, and some of the Red Sox, who beat the Dodgers in the World Series later, were involved in the Astros’ cheating.

So it will be a good story, no matter which team wins. I almost always root for the AL team, but I will be pretty happy if the other team wins, too.

After work, I did a couple of quick chores and got ready for the laundry. Got to bed around 8:30 but couldn’t fall asleep until 10:00.

Breakfast and lunch were leftover angel hair, and dinner was a slice of peach-pear pie. Boy, that leftover pasta was delicious.

Texted kind of a lot with Crush Girl, mostly about my work. She was a good ear. Ali sent me a selfie showing her still wearing Hawaii jewelry and clothing, which she says she’s planning to wear throughout the New England winter. There were a few other texts here and there about little things, just reminders, I think, that we all existed.

I exist. You exist. If it doesn’t always feel that way in the context of this idiotic pandemic, I encourage you to reach out. Just leave a comment and I’ll send you my contact info. I don’t always return texts very quickly, but I eventually get back to everyone. I think!

Lockdown: And if we meet, we shall not ‘scape a brawl

Not really in the mood but if I don’t do this now I’ll be too far behind later.

I’m struggling. Not seriously, and not a lot, but a little bit here and there and there. I recognize my lack of energy and motivation, and I know myself well enough not to let things go, or little annoyances turn into big problems like the Monster and the Beast.

I was supposed to go to the supermarket sometime this past weekend but just didn’t feel up to it. I put it off to Monday night, but Monday night I wasn’t down for it either. Tried to think of ways not to go: I could go Tuesday morning, I could just skip the supermarket entirely and go next weekend, I could stop at the Safeway at Manoa Marketplace when I was done with my laundry, except I was also trying to think of good reasons not to do the laundry this week. Like I tried to think of them last week.

What I saw was the downward spiral, and I know what’s at the bottom, so Monday night I put my list together and went to the supermarket half an hour before closing and got it done. For two weeks’ worth of groceries, this live-alone bachelor paid $146, and when I looked at the receipt, I said a little prayer of thanks. I remember very recently trying to keep my weekly grocery trips to $25. It was still a pain dragging my stuff into the house and playing 3D Tetris with the contents of my little fridge, but while my mood wasn’t any better, my mindset was.

I’m blessed whether I’m putting fresh ahi in my fridge or packages of instant ramen on my shelf. But I am far, far less stressed about these things, and I’m healthy, and my parents are doing okay, so the least I can do is whatever I have to do.

I woke up Monday morning, not as early as normal for a beach day, but I know that parking opens up a little after seven, as the early-goers (usually me) leave for work. After telling myself a bunch of different ways I wasn’t going to go, I went. Got there at about 8:00, got my second-favorite parking stall, and jumped into the ocean.

And jumped right back out. The water was super gross. Leaves. Seed pods. Twigs. Feathers. Roots. Yeah, it was a lot of runoff. I knew it had rained, but I had no idea it had rained like this. I actually swam through that yuckiness out to the buoy, where some mornings like this the water is a lot nicer, but it was just as gross out there.

So I took a really good beach shower, picked up breakfast at the Taco Bell drive-through, and got back to my desk in plenty of time for work.

Work Monday continued to be a slow plod, putting me further behind than I already was. Not good, but I ended in a good place and shut it down feeling hopeful for Tuesday.

For lunch, I unwrapped a small wedge of Point Reyes Bay Blue cheese and had it with some crackers. Delicious — it’s my new favorite blue. For dinner, I made some angel hair and threw half the wedge in with some jarred sauce, garlic flakes, red pepper flakes, and vodka. No brown sugar this time; I didn’t want to mute the savoriness of the cheese. It was gooooooooood.

I gave myself a little bit of credit for making myself get groceries and didn’t do any decluttering, which makes it the first week since I started that I pretty much didn’t throw anything out. Disappointing, but I’m going to forgive myself.

I traded brief texts with Penny to ask if she voted (I sent her a funny David Sedaris quote I came across about undecided voters). The writing partner and I caught up a little. Had a little CBD conversation with Julie, Suzanne, and Cindy. I don’t think Julie’s going through the sleeplessness Cindy, Suzanne, and I are, but it was nice to commune with people similarly struggling. That was about it.

Okay now I’m a little behind on getting ready for bed, so I’m out. Leave a comment if you need some connectivity in these mad, mad pandemic days. “For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.” Romeo and Juliet. Don’t go through this stuff alone.

Lockdown: Medium tedium

(sing it with me) I slept terribly Saturday night and got up Sunday around 7:30 just to get it over with. The terrible sleep, I mean. The Raiders had a bye week, so I wasn’t super interested in the early Sunday games, although I had them on as I went through the morning routine and they were pretty good.

Still trying to work something out that allows me to spend a few hours in the office on the weekends while avoiding coworkers and still seeing the games I want on Sundays, I went to the office in the morning. I figured I could skip the early games and get home in time for most of the late morning games and the late afternoon game.

Picked up brunch at Grace’s. Chicken katsu and mochiko chicken. Worked pretty efficiently, although the work itself was a slog. I’m posting some stories I finished to the company website, but I wanted to take advantage of the office wifi while I was there, managing the images for all three stories at once and then uploading them in advance of posting and editing the stories.

It took a while, editing each photo and then individually uploading each photo with alt text and whatever else I had to add. Tedious.

I also updated software on the work laptop and worked on updating my binders. More tedium, but it felt good to put them back on my shelf with stuff updated and in order.

The goal was to be out of the office at noon, but I didn’t get out until two. Five hours, but they were productive, comfy, and relaxed, which they wouldn’t have been with coworkers in the building. If I make this my routine (when the Raiders aren’t on in the early morning) and cut it back to three hours, I’ll be pretty dang happy.

I got home in time for the late game, the 49ers and Rams. I have to admit my heart wasn’t really in it despite my fantasy football interests on both sides. Jimmy Garoppolo looked sharp in the first half, though, in a way that goes beyond what I believe every NFL quarterback is capable of on a good day. He looked a bit sloppier in the second half, but his team won.

Dinner was the rest of the four-bean salad. I did a few chores, read the news, worked the Monday NYT crossword early (in 4:14) and turned in before 9:00. It was an easy puzzle; I was disappointed I didn’t break 4:00.

I took a break from Van Halen and listened to new albums by Calyces (plural form of Calyx!), Lord Almighty, and Version Eight. Calyces and Version Eight were especially intriguing. I really like the dark progressive metal sound of Calyces, but the songs aren’t very memorable. Still a band to keep an eye on. Version Eight appears to be a one-man operation. Very positive, up-mood, djenty, metal-leaning progressive rock.

New Bruce Springsteen Friday, and new Fates Warning the Friday after that. What a good year for music, at least with the release calendar. I’m pretty sure that takes care of major releases until the end of the year, which will hopefully give me a chance to catch up on my list before 2021, if it ever gets here.

Ali and I did a lot of texting about someone she told me about a couple of years ago. Crush Girl and I traded a few texts about some eating spots. Sundays are always light for texting.

Leave a comment if you’re going through pandemic days without enough connectivity. Let’s work something out so you’re not dealing with this crap alone.

Lockdown: Easy like Saturday morning

My plan for Saturday was just to take it easy. A mix of getting stuff done and doing nothing, all at my own pace. I mostly succeeded. I even took a short nap with Darth Vader, interrupted only because I didn’t want to miss the evening news, which is stupid because there’s never really any news Saturday anyway, and I keep forgetting that KITV has been preempting the ABC national news because of college football. It delivers an abbreviated national news on its own, then goes into local news, and that’s just not what I have in mind. I want my David Muir. Oh wait. Tom Llamas on weekends.

I listened to both baseball games: the Astros eliminating the Yankees and the Dodgers forcing a game 7 against the Braves. Did the Sunday crossword early (21 minutes). Listened to music. Watched Pitch Perfect 2 one and a half times, skipping scenes I’m not especially fond of. It was a good day off.

I picked up a peach-pear pie from Hawaiian Pie Co., this time on the recommendation of my coworker Matthew, whom I saw in the bakery parking lot last weekend. It’s a good pie, but it doesn’t break my top three at this bakery.

So breakfast and lunch were a slice of pie and a footlong turkey sandwich from Subway. For dinner I finished off the pumpkin-kabocha pie. I also finished off the flaming hot dill pickle Lay’s chips.

I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a metal blog. Just a place to put all my reviews where others might find them interesting. There’s a blog I really like, and it occasionally auditions new talent, but I’ve been thinking that I don’t really want to write reviews in the format they use. I want to be freer to play around. Concise reviews mixed in with lengthier track-by-track examinations, maybe, and the occasional rumination on the genre and its subgenres. I don’t know.

I sometimes have difficulty just sitting down to write this every day, which I’m committed to until some kind of normalcy returns. Maybe I’ll wait.

Not much texting. Ali responded to my long eHarmony story and sent me some cat photos.

I haven’t seen my Kindle in a month or so. I’m beginning to grow concerned.

Leave a comment if you’re not getting enough connectivity. The world sucks these days and some of us are losing sleep. But reach out anyway. I’ll do what I can, I suppose!

Lockdown: OM-aca-G

I didn’t sleep well Thursday night despite putting myself to bed early. Woke up in the wee hours and couldn’t get back to sleep. It was a struggle.

Work was difficult too. For pretty much the same reasons as Thursday and Wednesday. Ugh. It was sort of rescued by a last-minute proposal, put together by other people, that I edited late in the work day. That seemed to go well.

Unfortunately, the late project meant I couldn’t join Jocelyn on her trivia team because they got started at 7:00 California time. The team shared answers on a Google Doc, though, and I joined in on the doc. The questions were super tough, but Jocelyn put together a very smart team. I was useless on most of the questions, and the ones I knew answers to were also known by others.

Except the one about BlackPink, which I was pretty sure of and nobody else had come up with. That turned out to be correct, so yay. I contributed. There were 40 teams and 400 participants, and we came in fourth. Quite respectable.

For breakfast and lunch, I picked up a loco moco at Rainbows down the hill, and a side of chili tots. Half for breakfast and half for lunch. After the trivia thing, I made a four-bean salad for dinner. It’s such an easy thing to put together and so delicious (I love beans, if I haven’t made that clear), but I seldom make it because it doesn’t really get good until it’s been in the fridge overnight.

But it was fine right after I assembled it. I meant to make it five beans. The container I was putting it in wasn’t large enough, so black beans sat this one out.

I watched Pitch Perfect 2 again, while I ate dinner. Then did a little bit of writing, read the news, worked on the Saturday NYT crossword (15 minutes and change), made token progress on a couple of chores, and went to bed around midnight.

Yeah. It’s not been a great week. My sleep is affecting my work, which is making it impossible (or unwise) to get to the beach in the mornings, which is probably affecting my sleep. I blame all this on 2020. Or something.

I texted my coworker Laura because it was her last day. She sent a nice aloha email, so I let her know I thought she nailed it. She leaves the island Monday and it’s a major bummer. I also texted the Suzanne-Cindy-Julie group text to ask them how they are sleeping lately. Two of of them shared some difficulty, both taking meds to put them to sleep when it gets bad. One of them has some heavy-duty non-addictive prescription stuff. I have to say it made me feel better just knowing I’m not the only one.

I sent Ali a copy of Laura’s email; I knew she’d want to see it. It led to an interesting converation about online dating, and I told her the story of George and eHarmony. It’s a great story. I texted Crush Girl to talk a little about the silly online game we both play. It led to a short conversation about Melona bars.

I also called my parents to make sure we’re all doing okay. It sounds like they are. I always feel sad when we get off the phone, though. I miss them more than I might have predicted.

This weekend is hopefully for resetting. We’ll see. I’m not super optimistic but I’m optimistic enough because what use is pessimism? And if you want some of this sunshine and need to connect with someone, you know what to do. Just leave a comment.

Why can’t I sleep in peace tonight underneath the satellite sky?

Lockdown: Wow, laulau

clockwise from top left: rice, kalua pork, pipikaula, sweet potato, laulau. not pictured — lomi salmon, in a separate container

Thursday was rough. Not as rough as Wednesday, but still pretty rough, in a mellow way. Mostly I just didn’t finish things I wanted to finish, but I wasn’t desperate or super sleep-deprived either. Just somewhat sleep-deprived.

Honestly, it was rather slow-paced, but that was deceptive. I didn’t have a deadline breathing hot fire down the back of my shirt because the deadline had already passed. I submitted my stuff, it came back to me with fix suggestions, and the fixes took long. Probably longer than they should have.

I did a few chores, watched Pitch Perfect 2, and went to bed early, hoping either to sleep well enough to go to the beach or simply to sleep well enough.

I was dying for Hawaiian food, of which I’ve had none since the lockdown began, so I drove to Young’s in my ‘hood, who has one of the two best laulaus on the island (Yama’s has much better meat, but Young’s is much leafier, so take your pick) and picked up an enormous pork laulau combination plate. It’s a lot of heavy food. So it was breakfast and lunch, and for dinner I just had a few chips and a couple of clementines.

Ali and I did a ton of texting about her schoolwork, my writing struggles, and life in the pandemic. I sent Crush Girl a link to an article about some local places to get lobster rolls. It led to a very short conversation about which we’ve tried. I texted Jennifer to tell her I haven’t looked at all the links she’s sent me recently but I WILL DO IT SOON. Sylvia and I texted some more about her adjustmet to her new position.

In Pitch Perfect 2, Emily meets Benji and Jesse on her first day at Barden. She runs into Benji again after the weekend, right after being accepted into the Bellas at the hood party, at the Treblemakers’ house, and she remembers him. “Benji, right?” she asks. But she was introduced to Benji by Jesse as Benjamin, so she’s just assuming his nickname. I hate when people do this.

As long as you don’t do this to me, you’re welcome to connect with me if you’re in need of connection. Seriously, don’t be alone in this mess. Leave a comment and I’ll send you contact info.

Lockdown: Chiseling

Oooookay Wednesday. I went to bed early (with Darth Vader) but woke up only three hours later. Lately this is bad news. I wake up, stumble to the bathroom, tumble back into bed, and sometimes get right back to sleep. Sometimes, though, I can’t shut off my brain.

This was one of those times. I really tried, but after a while I just gave up. Read the news on my phone while listening to a podcast. Got up a little earlier than usual to refill my drinking water and do the laundry.

Normally, I go to the laundry looking forward to the alone time in some space not my home. There’s also the satisfaction of taking care of a pain-in-the-neck chore in a nice, responsible way. But early Wednesday morning I was just so, so tired. I knew I wasn’t going to the beach after, and I knew I’d do better just to fill my water containers and go back home to bed.

But then I’d either have to do my laundry Thursday morning or Friday morning, or wait until next week. Although I have a built-in time cushion and can go a week without doing laundry, not to mention those two other mornings this week, in any of those cases I would then be doing my laundry because I had to. I preferred to do it because it’s when I choose to do it. I sucked it up, hit the McD’s drive-through, and enjoyed the drive to Manoa. Tired.

It was crazy there this week. Although I was by myself, most of the machines were in operation. Yeah, most. I’ve never seen it like that in the wee hours. So yeah, as my clothes went through their cycles, other laundry-doers cycled in and out, and when I left there were four of us in there, one of whom wasn’t giving me enough space. It was a little stressful.

Hey, I got it done. I drove straight home and went back to bed and got three solid hours of Darth-Vader-enabled sleep. They were bliss. The three best hours of sleep I’ve had in a thousand years, I think.

Work was a dragon. I tried to finish something and it basically took until past midnight. For about nine paragraphs of writing. I had a good idea, finally, but putting into action and then modifying it, while supremely fascinating, was laborious. Honestly, I can’t describe what I did here, and if you read what I wrote you wouldn’t see it, but there’s some pretty high-level process going on, in a way I was worried I didn’t have anymore.

It looks a little simple, but as you know readability isn’t easy to produce. And I built it up to readability with something a bit more complicated. I’m — feeling a sense of accomplishment, even though my boss sent it back for a little more work.

Of course that’s accompanied by a crapload of self-loathing because I sat in front of the keys for way too long. I had to put Pitch Perfect 2 into the Blu-Ray player. And watched it twice while I worked.

Okay that’s a lie. I didn’t put it in there. It lives there.

Breakfast was a Big Mac combo. At the laundry. Lunch was leftover hapa rice and leftover chicken-kabocha soup. Man it was good. Still have one more meal’s worth left. I was too involved in my work to have dinner, and ate far too many spicy dill pickle Lay’s chips instead. Great. And when I was still up at 1:30, I went back to the McD’s drive-through for a local deluxe breakfast platter. And I didn’t get to sleep until around 5:00 Thursday morning.

Yay, me!

I have absolutely no opinion on the quality of my Wednesday, but geez I’m glad it’s over.

I texted Sylvia a bunch in the evening, to see how she was doing in her new position. Texted my sister to see how she’s doing. She says pretty well. Penny texted me when she found out about a new appointment of a mutual friend who’s a judge to a new position. Jennifer sent me more otter stuff but I haven’t looked at it yet. Ryan texted me to continue an email conversation we had. Someone sent Hawaii Stories a little peeved-off letter. It’s a good letter.

Okie dokie. Time to get something else done. Hit me up in comments if you want some connection in these pathetic pandemic days. Don’t go through this alone.

Lockdown: Not ready for Prime time

Tuesday at work was pretty much like Monday. Got up early because I slept poorly, opened up a Diet Pepsi and did the thing. It was about as productive, too. I just wasn’t feeling it. It being any of the writing mojo or the writing itself.

I usually know when what comes out of my metaphorical pen is good. I don’t always, at least not right off. But when it’s flowing, I can tell whether the writing’s good or just okay. I wasn’t feeling anything about this, though.

My department had the first of its twice-weekly Zoom meetings, and most of it didn’t involve me directly, which is fine. There was a little bit of talk about this big proposal that’s coming up. I’m not going to be working directly with the CEO as planned. Instead, my supervisor is going to meet with him in person a couple of times this week and channel (read: translate) the ideas to me so I can put the proposal together. This is a pretty good idea for a few reasons. She’s more in tune with him because she communicates with him on a near-daily basis. Also it gets her directly involved in one of my proposals so she can see what it’s like from my end. I’m expecting this to be quality work.

I took a little side trip from the attempted writing to finish edits on that letter I got edit suggestions on. It turned out pretty good. My coworker added to what I wrote, which is generally a bad sign for overall quality — not with this coworker, but with coworkers in general. This time I think we made each other’s work better. It felt pretty good.

When the work day was over I got things ready for my weekly trip to the laundry and refilling my drinking water. It went quickly. I had enough time to goof around a little, playing stupid iPhone games and getting a little further into the Washington Post than on most days.

Breakfast was a slice of pumpkin pie (you know, to balance out the Diet Coke). Lunch was leftover hapa rice with corned beef hash and a couple of eggs. I skipped dinner because that was so filling. I had a couple of Nutter Butters for a snack in the evening.

I exchanged a lengthy coversation via the office Skype with the coworker I ran into at the bakery Saturday. We shared our experiences and favorites. He’s been going a lot longer than I have — I didn’t get my first pie there until sometime after the the lockdown began. He’s been going for years. That led to more talk about places we like to eat. I mentioned that I try to stick to Kalihi, while he’s been getting his meals all over. It was a good talk, especially since for some reason, although he and I have been friendly since my very first day, he hasn’t seemed to want to talk much. Guys connecting over food talk.

I texted Suzanne to ask what she’s getting for Prime Day and she said she browsed like crazy and wasn’t excited about anything she saw. I said I felt the same, but hadn’t gotten into the deep dive I usually do. I figure I have another day. I’ve bookmarked a couple of higher-priced items I don’t really need but really want, but I also think it would be great to take care of a chunk of my Chistmas list if I can.

Ali and I texted a little bit about the low Prime Day prices on Kindle Paperwhites. Tempting. If my niece and nephew were readers, I’d love to hook them up with new Paperwhites. Crush Girl and I kinda continued the conversation we started Monday. There wasn’t much left to say. I checked up on Sylvia, the coworker who’s begun a new position this week. Sharon texted me to let me know a link in our company’s IG bio isn’t working.

There was a lot more FB messaging than usual. I shared a link on FB to some job listings at our foundation, and it led to two conversations. One with Ruth, a schoolmate I’ve known since I was a junior and she was a seventh-grader. She was asking on behalf of a friend. Another with someone I’ve only known since the early days of Twitter (so, around 2007) who’s been in the field doing one of the listed jobs for some time. She’s with another nonprofit now, which is why I don’t share her name. No sense outing her even on accident.

My soundtrack for the day was Van Halen’s Balance (1995), the band’s tenth studio album and the first one I purchased. It was released in January, a few weeks after my birthday. I was eager to buy myself a couple of birthday gifts at the Sam Goody’s in the Prince Kuhio Plaza. Spent a good hour or so browsing, and settled on Balance and Steve Howe’s Not Necessarily Acoustic (1994). The guy behind the register was a fellow English major at school, a guy I was friendly with but never liked being in class with. He was part of a group of students who some of us called the Disciples, big fans of one particular English professor. She had her admirers and she kind of reveled in it.

I won’t say much more because the guy later married one of my best friends among the English majors and I don’t want to insult either one of them, if somehow they should stumble upon this someday.

Anyway, it was too late to sneak out; we’d seen each other and I had two CDs in my hand. So I placed my purchases on the counter, and of course he commented. He scoffed at “fake Van Halen” (this was the fourth album with Sammy Hagar on lead vocals) but approved of Steve Howe. And before I could get annoyed, he gave me his employee discount on the CDs. Suddenly I didn’t find him quite as annoying.

It turned out to be Van Halen’s second-least memorable album (the first is coming up in a few days in my retrospective), and I never listened to it very much except for a couple of tracks. Listening to it now is different. It’s a good album. Solid, and slightly different-sounding from the album before (For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge). I really enjoyed getting to know it again, hearing many of the songs for what felt like the first time. I think I’m going to put it on repeat Wednesday too. No photo for this journal because the album cover’s kind of disturbing.

So thank you, husband of my friend and pretty nice guy. I still have the CD you sold me on discount in a long-gone shopping mall music store, and I enjoy it more today than I did 25 years ago.

Pandemic days continue, and so does my offer to connect with you if you’re in need of some connection. Leave a comment and I’ll send you contact info.

Lockdown: Finishing moves

Stayed up a little too late Sunday night because I knew I didn’t have to get up early Monday. The monthly jellyfish influx is going down until Tuesday(ish) so I can’t get into the ocean until Wednesday.

Work was okay, but a bit slow. I focused on one large task that I just had all kinds of trouble putting dents in. I admit I’m a little stalled by a couple of recent failures, stuff that got sent back to me asking me (not in these words) not to overwrite this stuff. I get it; I totally do. However, I don’t think I’m being paid to write this stuff the way it’s always been written, so I’m a little indecisive about how to do this.

I’ll be all right; I’m just in a little bit of a jam here.

At the Pearl City police station, where I took my road test the first time at age 18, the examiner usually asks the driver’s license candidate to turn left to exit the parking lot. That’s a left turn on Waimano Home Road, which can be pretty tough. However, there is a dedicated lane right there so people entering the parking lot slightly uphill from the parking lot’s exit can turn in without slowing traffic.

The law says when you turn onto a street like this, you’re supposed to pull into the nearest lane and drive in it for 100 feet before you change lanes. If you follow this law, you pull into the dedicated left-turn lane and before you’ve driven 100 feet, you’re forced to turn left into the police station.

I actually knew this before I got behind the wheel, but when the examiner directed me to turn left, I took a looooong minute to think about the situation. Break the law, risk failing my road test, and do what I was clearly being asked? Or obey the law and turn immediately back into the lot, which would be stupid and not what the examiner wanted but still right somehow?

The examiner, seeing my way was clear, encouraged me to go. I didn’t go immediately. He sighed and aggressively circled something on his clipboard. I was already down on points. I still passed, of course, but what a terrible position to put new drivers in, forcing them to understand spirit of the law vs. letter of the law as the rules of the road before the driver’s ever soloing and learning this stuff for himself.

So that’s what I’m feeling like with this project. Give them what they always got and get the okay, even knowing it’s not as good as it could be? Or push back a little and possibly demonstrate that I’m not up to the task they’ve set me. Ugh.

Result: I didn’t finish anything Monday. Great.

Oh, I finished some leftovers. It was my leftovers: eat ’em or toss ’em day. So breakfast was a few pices of garlic chicken from Sugoi and a slice of pumpkin pie (not officially a leftover but I had to obey my hunger). Lunch and dinner were the rest of the shoyu chicken with hapa rice. I may also have had a second slice of pumpkin pie because I have no restricters on my impulses these days.

I guess I finished something else: I did a major decluttering task, on appearances not that major, especially based on how it did not fill my trash bin the night I rolled it to the curb. I tidied up my working desk, something I haven’t done thoroughly in ten years or more. I’m not kidding. It’s large enough that I’ve always been able to shove stuff to the back and just clean up the area I needed for my laptop, a glass of water, and my food.

But I swept everything into a small tub, toted it to the carport, and went through it all. The reason I’m guessing it’s been ten years is that’s around the dates of some of the old grocery and 7-Eleven receipts I tossed out. I even moved my Mac 3G tower, a hand-me-down from an old friend, to the storage area in my laundry room. I wiped the table and carefully rebuilt my work space. It looks great. It looks like a serious work space. I’m enormously pleased.

I got a text from my college friend Desi (also a fellow HBA grad but years after me), who told me our mutual friend in Hilo is back from Arizona (?) because her mother died. Great. I was grateful to be told, though. Of course. But jeez.

Sharon and I texted a bunch about the questionnaire we had to submit for work. It led to far too much talk about work for nine in the evening, so I made us stop talking about work and asked her to tell me something else, which turned out to be how she’s looking at YouTube videos demoing some of her favorite CD-ROM games from her “childhood.” Yeah. My friends are so young that when they were kids, they were playing CD-ROM games.

I got into a weird texting conversation with Crush Girl about the Honolulu Club closing for good. I always thought I might join that club someday. You know, when I got rich from being a writer for a nonprofit.

Okay. I’m going to bed early so I’m wrapping this up when I really kinda want to write about Van Halen some more. For a change, I got my teeth brushed and chores done before seven. Trying to put myself to bed mindfully.

If you want to connect via text or DM or whatever, leave me a comment. Don’t go through this pandemic insanity by yourself, because you don’t have to.