Lockdown: All we need is just a little patience

I’m mostly doing this for the sake of completion now, but that’s not a small consideration. It’s late Saturday night (past 2:00 a.m.) and I’m sure the details are going to be hazy if not completely erroneous. It’s okay. These next few entries will probably lack the expounding my usual lockdown journals have. This is also okay.

Tuesday, March 16 was mostly uneventful. It was a normal day at work, and by normal I mean I was behind on stuff and stressed out from trying to finish the cancer center story, which you know I didn’t submit until Friday. This tells you what kind of week I had, really. Stressed about it Tuesday. Submitted Friday. Ugh!

It was not normal in one way. My supervisor was off for the second day in a row. I forgot that it was spring break, so a lot of the parents in our company took at least a couple of days off. This took some of the stress off, but honestly I wasn’t productive enough not to feel any at all. Bleah.

“Why are we here? Because we’re here. Roll the bones.”

Uncle Bezos delivered another Rush Blu-Ray this weekend and I’ve got it playing as I write this. It’s their concert video from the R40 tour in 2015 and it is killer. I think a lot of the footage was in the Cinema Strangiato theater film I saw two years ago but this is also okay. What a performance.

I also worked on a couple of proposals, already in progress. I keep thinking I’m done with them, and they keep coming back for more work. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong here, like if this is just the process at work or if I’m not communicating what I need from people in order to make them happy, but there seems to be some kind of disconnect.

I admit too that I’m finding my patience tested, and I haaaaate admitting I’m running out of patience. It’s a virtue in any life. In a teacher’s life it’s one of the things separating the right from the wrong, and I generally have it in abundance. This is not to say I’m virtuous; rather, it’s to say I chose the right profession when I chose the classroom. My job today doesn’t require nearly as much patience, so I should really never run out of it.

“All this machinery making modern music can still be open-hearted, not so coldly charted; it’s really just a question of your honesty.”

Oh. I also spent some of my day coordinating our office book discussion group’s first reading selection. That was actually kind of fun. Over the weekend, I emailed everyone (there are five of us) with a little survey: Is there a genre you won’t read? For our first book, would you prefer to read fiction or non-fiction? For our first book, if you had to choose, would you rather read a classic or something current? What are some books you fairly recently enjoyed? Will you most likely read a physical book or an e-book?

The responses were fun to read. It got me pretty amped to facilitate this group. So Tuesday I compiled the responses and asked participants to submit one or two titles of books they’d be interested in reading: fiction, published in 2020 or 2021, no fantasy or horror or erotica or psycho.

I texted the other Jennifer to say I was listening to Guns n’ Roses’s Chinese Democracy, and album I was surprised to learn has aged well. It was late so she didn’t get back. I texted a few friends (Jennifer, Sharon, Crush Girl) to ask if they got their stimulus checks yet. I was the only one who had. Mine went in late Monday.

My late breakfast was a boneless chicken plate from Rainbow. The leftovers were lunch. I thought I’d skip dinner because I wasn’t very hungry, but then I stayed up too late and had to eat a couple of quesadillas. The lazy, microwave oven kind. They were delicious.

I was so tired I actually turned in at a decent hour. Still stayed up too long playing Mario Kart 8. Honestly I felt like I deserved it.

Leave a comment if you need someone to connect with. Pandemic daze is not done. I know I’m still living in it!

Lockdown: Kulolo fail

I can’t lie. Sometimes when the supervisor is on vacation, the typing fingers they pay to put stories together behave like they’re on vacation too. Even when my brain commands them to focus.

Monday the 15th was a little different, though. I realllly wanted to have some work to show, since I feel like I’m behind on everything. I really tried, too, but some of it just wouldn’t come. I had enough non-creative work to keep me busy, and I did well on that stuff. It just wasn’t the stuff I’ve been mired in.

Such a crazy way to make a living, I tell you. And I can’t complain because it’s what I always wanted.

I even started with brain food. Two heads of broccoli, blanched for breakfast. It was yummy, but I was a bit peckish all day beginning the late morning. The broccoli just didn’t do it for me for some reason. So for lunch I had a bowl of angelhair pasta with some canned sauce.

I couldn’t force the work, so I didn’t drag it out. I clocked out (figuratively) and went to bed at the end of my scheduled work day, rather than stay at my desk and try to make something something come out.

I got up late. Like nine-thirty. And tried to make kulolo with my leftover ingredients and it came out terrible. Didn’t set as firmly, didn’t taste as good. Dang it. I kind of tried to wing it, but clearly I don’t quite have the concept down. I thought I might share it with some friends in the office, too. There was no way. This just wasn’t worthy of sharing. I’d have to try again, perhaps over the weekend.

I had lazy quesadillas for dinner. Mostly because I wanted to get the stupid kulolo going. It takes two hours in the Instant Pot.

Jennifer texted me photos of her birria lunch from that taco truck I went to on my birthday. And a link to some new orphan otter photos. Very cute.

That failed kulolo experiment got me to bed ridiculously late considering my recent sleep deprivation. It was terribly irresponsible. And it would lead to a very draining week. Because I am a doofus.

If you need to connect with someone, perhaps this doofus is the person you need. Leave a comment if you’re pandemicking alone. Don’t do that. Get my contact info.

Not a lockdown entry

My last lockdown journal was for Sunday, and here it is late Friday night. Wow. That’s a lot of remembering I’m sure I will fail at. But not tonight.

Just don’t feel like chronicling. I had a sleep-deprived work week in which I did not get enough done, but I finished strong Friday, as used to be my wont but hasn’t been lately. So I’m heading into the weekend feeling good. The last thing I submitted, that cancer center story that’s been bugging me for weeks, was enthusiastically accepted by the first two people I needed to satisfy, so this is good.

I could spend the whole weekend not thinking about work at all, but I’ll probably do a few easy, low-stress things just to keep them off my Monday list. I have a couple of mentally straining things to focus on next week, some of them with deadlines.

My brain is pea soup. My body is the fat trimmed from a slice of prime rib. My mood is rainbow shave ice. My eyes are a glass of iced tea when you’ve stirred too much sugar into it and you can see the grains swirling around before they settle.

It’s the NCAA men’s basketball tourney, and I’m (ssssh don’t tell my employers) running an office pool. Suuuuper low stakes. But it brings people together and gives them something to talk about at a time when, especially this year, we can all really use it.

I suuuuuuck at picking brackets. My final four was busted before lunch. Oral Roberts beat Ohio State in a major upset (a 15 seed beating a 2 seed) and I had Ohio State going to the Final Four. And you know what? I only regret that I picked them to go that far because I will NEVER pick Oral Roberts to beat ANYone unless it’s Liberty.

Liberty is also in the tourney and I of course picked against them. Because screw you, Jerry Falwell, and your charlatan offspring. And the crap university you founded. And the ground upon which it sits. But not the people who work and study there. I know some lovely people who went there.

A million years ago when I shared those screen shots of my crossword puzzle obsession, I lamented the blue square on a Monday last March. I remembered later why it was blue. The yellow squares are correct solves completed within a day after the puzzle posts. I nailed that puzzle but I forgot to do it before Tuesday evening, so it’s blue. Still annoying, but not as maddening as if I couldn’t do the puzzle.

I offer this explanation in case some lovely female reader out there crossed me off her list for having a blue square on a Monday. Lovely female reader, there are many completely valid reasons for crossing me off the list, but please don’t let it be for that.

I’ve been meaning to issue a rant about the uselessness of laws but my thesis is long and I never have that kind of energy anymore, so I may offer it in smaller bites.

Here’s bite number one. Most of us have known 55 miles per hour as the default speed limit on major American highways for our whole lives. There are a few places where in the last couple of decades the limit’s gone up to 65 or even 75. Here on Oahu, there are no roads where you can legally drive faster than 55, and because our major highways are so curvy in town, the limit is actually 45 in some places and 50 in most.

I haven’t checked my sources (okay, my source is a young adult novel read in eighth grade; it’s either Slaughter by Auto or Under the Influence by W. E. Butterworth, a pen name for the writer better known as W. E. B. Griffin, also a pen name), but if they are to be believed (and the author isn’t known for making this stuff up; he writes detective procedural novels), the speed limit on most American highways was 65 mph for a long time. It was lowered in the late 70s to 55.

You know why? It had nothing to do with safety. Engineers decide speed limits for safety based on roads themselves. That’s why the limit on the freeway through Honolulu is 45 or 50. The engineers set that.

The limit was lowered nationwide because we were in the middle of a gasoline shortage. Car engines didn’t burn fuel as efficiently then at higher rates of speed. This is less true today, as engines are designed to run better and more efficiently at whatever speed, but it was absolutely true then (less absolutely if you drove a manual transmission).

The government lowered the speed limit in order to get us burning less fuel. Given the circumstances, it’s totally understandable. Rough times call for rough governmental measures. This is not a rant about masks or the president’s COVID relief bill, although if you want to apply it there, I’m cool with it.

Obeying the speed limits is kind of an arbitrary thing for most of us anyway. The truth is, most people drive as quickly as they feel safe. The limit may be 25 on Nuuanu Avenue, but if the road is covered in steel plates, as it has been for like a year, very few people will drive 25. And if you live here, you know how slowly people drive to work on weekdays when it rains.

I live in a neighborhood with lots of multi-generational homes, which means lots of cars parked on the street (instead of in carports). And since it’s an old neighborhood, the streets are narrow and there are no sidewalks. Very few people drive 25 through my area because it feels very unsafe. And it is!

That stretch of freeway between Waipahu and Makakilo, though, is long and straight, and the limit may be 55, but if you drive 55 there, everyone is passing you. Unless it’s at night, in which case you have mixed observations. There are no freeway lights there, or at least there weren’t when I grew up in Waipahu.

This is all to illustrate one point in my thesis: we are generally a people who respects laws, but in many cases, such as when we’re on the road, our behavior and attitudes are goverened by something else.

Okay it’s a few minutes past eleven and I’ve got the typing itch out of my fingers, so it’s time to eat some dried apricots and kiiiiinda think about what I want Saturday to look like. Then it’s early to bed because pea soup.

Lockdown: Pi are round

I got up Sunday morning with only like three and a half hours of sleep because it was Pi Day. Hawaiian Pie Company does this annual mystery pie sale on March 14. You order the pie ahead of time and you don’t know what’s in the box until you open it. I ordered one for me and one for the office, and my pickup time was ten in the morning.

So while I was out, of course I grabbed breakfast from the Taco Bell drive-through. I also hit the ATM to get the rent and the a 7-Eleven to get a money order.

I read the news, did a crossword, and ate. Then it was back to bed for a few hours.

I went to the office to get some work done, stopping for gas on the way. I realized as soon as I got there that I didn’t have the stupid pie.

I was hungry, so I picked up a plate lunch from Grace’s on my way to the office. Figured I had to go home and come back anyway, so it didn’t matter when I did it. I ate as I updated software and edited a photo for a coworker (Photoshop works better when I’m in the office). I did a few other silly tasks I won’t get into.

Software took a long time to update, so after I ate was a good time to get the pie. I peeked. Chocolate chess pie. I’m glad mine wasn’t that — it looks too chocolatey for me. Mine was (I think) an apple pie. I haven’t cut into it yet.

Although I was mildly disappointed by how much time I spent at the office on a Sunday, I was pleased I got stuff done.

Came home and stayed up far too late. I don’t even remember what I did except I think it was usual late Sunday stuff.

Crush Girl and I texted a little. She didn’t recognize my photo as kulolo. So we talked about it a little. She later sent me a photo of what she was cooking. I think hers was better than mine.

Not much of a Sunday, really, except I think I got decent relaxation and was fairly productive. Still didn’t do any of the reading I really want to get to. Weekends are too short!

Don’t let go. The end (or at least an end) is in sight. And if you’re floating through it untethered, hit the comments. I’ll send you contact info and you can reach out in texts or whatever. I also have a few Clubhouse invites if you want one. iPhone people only, for now.

Lockdown: Grated, sweetened, and steamed

It’s very late Sunday night and I can’t get my brian to settle down, so I’m going to flick my fingers at the keyboard and see if anything meaningful comes out. And if it doesn’t, hopefully just the activity and exercise will be enough to put everything at ease.

I only got a few hours of sleep Friday night, but I was determined to call the folks, whom I hadn’t spoken to since the day I left their house after sitting their dog. Something like two weeks. It had been on my list; I just didn’t get to do it because I’d been getting out of bed so late.

So I gave them a call and told them I’d received my first shot. We didn’t chat long. Just reestablished contact, you know? It won’t be too long before I’m going over regularly again. I think we can all feel it.

Caved in to carnal desires and got breakfast-slash-lunch at Young’s, which makes it the second time in a week I ate a huge mess of Hawaiian food. It was delicious.

Worked some crosswords while I ate, and read the news. I might have done some journaling. And of course I took a nice, long nap. It was rather heavenly.

The big project for Saturday was kulolo. I had a simple recipe from the IP group on FB. I had the ingredients. It’s basically grated taro, brown sugar, and coconut milk. I had a can of coconut oil cooking spray, which was a genius idea by the guy who developed the recipe (as I later told him) and that’s pretty much the dish. Combined the first three ingredients, sprayed a couple of aluminum foil mini loaf pans with the fourth, and stuck it in the Instant Pot for two hours.

It came out quite good. It’s a little sweet for me, so I’ll adjust the recipe, but it looks, tastes, and smells the way it’s supposed to, and I’m more than slightly pleased. I’m pretty sure I’ve found the potluck contribution I’ve been seeking. I envision bringing it in muffin cups in cubes or thick slabs.

While it was steaming under pressure, I played a stupid number of games of Tsum Tsum. I was close to the end of a timed event I really wanted to complete. It didn’t take as long as it should have, because I scored a lucky jackpot of coins (more than 71K after one game), which pushed me over the edge to my goal. Yay.

I’d brought home some kulolo from Young’s so I could do a side-by-side taste test, and you know, I like mine better. It has more of a caramelly flavor.

I have enough of the mixture to make another three or four mini pans, which I will do Monday. Not sure how long that stuff keeps in the fridge. It’ll be too much to consume by myself, so I’ll be passing it along. Perhaps to some friends at work.

Didn’t do too much texting Saturday. Sylvia to ask if she knew why the pau hana was canceled Friday. She didn’t. Stacia to respond to those silly signs in the Buzzfeed piece she sent me. Jennifer texted me some photos of gin and whisky in the Sake Shop. I’m still working on getting through everything in my cabinet, so I’m not in the market for any new bottles, but it’s nice to see what’s out there because I’m pretty much done with getting liquor from supermarkets.

I texted Crush Girl a photo of my kulolo. It was late, though, so I knew I wouldn’t hear back from her until later.

I might be a zombie Monday, because it’s creeping up on three o’clock Sunday night and I haven’t brushed my teeth yet. Ugh.

Hit me up in comments if you need someone to connect with. I’m serious. Don’t be a naked mole rat. I understand the temptation to burrow oneself into a cave. I’ve done it myself a few times in recent months. Just don’t.

Lockdown: Yours ’til Niagara Falls

Desk to desk to desk to desk

That Thursday late-night flurry of productivity meant I got very little sleep, most of it not very good. The Darth Vader machine has a tank of water it heats up so the air it forces into me isn’t dry. You can adjust the level of humidity, and most of the time you get it how you like it and just leave it.

I should probably do some research, because I don’t know what causes, once in a while, the moisture to recondense in the air tube itself (oh; I guess it’s just cooler air at night. Duh?). When this happens, the moisture is forced in tiny amounts along the tube, and when there’s enough of it, it collects in the mask and drips on my face. Unpleasant.

I’ve looked on some forums, and some of the veteran Darth Vader wearers have a slang word for this occurrence. Washed out? Something like that. So I got Niagaraed Thursday night and, not even aware I was doing it, I took the mask off and fell back asleep.

Which means I wasn’t in the best shape Friday morning. I felt good enough about the work late Thursday that I kind of rode that, though, and my mood was pretty good.

These stories I write have to be approved before we publish, and not just by my supervisor (our communications director). In the case of the college of engineering story, approval comes also from the development officer responsible for the college, a coworker. She gets approval from the dean, the college’s communications person, and the donor.

This is an overall positive. As a representative of my organization, I have certain priorities in how I put the story together. As a writer, I have others: good, clear writing, yes, but also how the one story reads as part of our larger body of published work. Nobody has ever told me not to let our stories sound alike, mostly since nobody reads all our work so they probably wouldn’t notice, but it’s important to me we don’t slide into ruts.

The donors have their own priorities. The dean has his. The dean’s communications person has hers. Oh, and our webmaster has his, too.

It comes back to me with everyone’s notes, and I get to reconcile the edits while also keeping the quality of the writing where I want it. Because honestly, mostly everyone else (my supervisor not included) cares more about what I write than how I write it. So I get to correct gender-non-specific language and match pronouns I didn’t use with their correct antecedents. Also: lower-case everyone’s overly ambitious capitalization.

This took up my morning hours, but we got the story posted. I wrote the social media copy. Our e-communications guy shared my copy on our social media platforms and emailed the links to our immediate contacts. The immediate contacts forwarded the links to their contacts.

And this is a considerable part of how I earn those breakfast burritos.

I can’t remember what I worked on in the afternoon but it was equally engrossing. The workday passed rather quickly, even when they canceled our planned virtual office pau hana without explanation. Darn it. I shopped for ingredients Thursday night for one item on the schedule, a make-along St. Patrick’s Day cocktails activity. Already had all the alcohol, but I needed fresh mint, club soda, and coconut water.

We haven’t even hit the JetWay yet

I was tempted to watch Ted Lasso again in my downtime after work. I totally could have, too. However, reluctant to become tired of it, I instead re-watched the first two episodes of Forever, that great series with Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph on Prime. I recommended it to a friend recently and I had it on my mind.

Took a long nap after that, then ate shredded pork tacos for dinner. I made all that pork shoulder in the Instant Pot with several dishes in mind, yet I pretty much just used it for tacos and for eating right out of the food storage container. I also needed a few gallons of drinking water, so I drove to the Foodland and took care of that. Since I was there, I got a small chocolate shake from the McD’s drive-through.

Despite all the rain and the late hour, that parking lot was hopping Friday night. You can totally feel people getting antsy. Restrictions on this island our loosening, and people are throwing themselves into long-forbidden activity, and it’s affecting the whole vibe of this town. Perhaps a bit too eagerly.

I get it. I feel it too. The flight attendant has asked everyone to remain seated until the plane comes to a complete stop at the JetWay, but the aisles are already full of people eager to get off and beat everyone to baggage claim, even though they’re still going to have to wait the same amount of time as the rest of us when they do.

I’m more than a little nervous about this.


Sharon texted me late to ask if I knew why the pau hana was canceled. It led to some other unrelated work conversation. Faye texted to ask if this guy Derek is my classmate. He is. We were good friends. JB and the writing partner got back to me with updates on their parents’ vaccinations too.

Crush Girl and I texted sporadically through the day. She was good company as I struggled to stay focused on very little sleep.

My moods have been all over, but I’m grateful for so many things. Steady employment doing something I enjoy. Good coworkers, some of whom have become good friends. My family making it this far without getting infected, and my parents getting their shots. Friends all over sharing what’s going on in their lives. Some of it’s not so good, but I’m grateful for their sharing.

If there’s a dearth of this kind of connectivity in your pandemic experience, hit the comments and I’ll send you some contact info.

Lockdown: Sleep relief

Late Saturday night, writing about, um, Thursday? Yeah, Thursday.

I got something like six and a half hours of good sleep Wednesday night, and my body and brain felt it. I really really really really really really really need to remember this. My relationship with sleep is so troubled and tenuous that I often (very often!) kind of just give up on it. I mean, it’s always on my mind because how could anything causing me so much stress and trouble my whole life not be ever on the brain?

Still, going to bed at a decent hour often means getting the same amount of decent sleep as going to bed at an ungodly hour, and if this is the case, why worry about when I go to bed? I mean, that’s the silly, stupid, unhealthy reasoning. It’s wrong. And it’s bad.

The roast beef and turkey sandwich I had for breakfast-slash-lunch was so good and so satisfying I did it again Thursday, except I ordered the house special: the Machete. It’s a ridiculously large sandwich with a lot of meat and other stuff, and it’s delicious. I need something sorta in between the “meaner” sandwiches and the “meanest” sandwich.

In the morning, I worked on the student profiles I’m behind on. In the afternoon, I worked on this article about a large donation to the college of engineering. It wasn’t coming along well and the deadline snuck up on me, but I got it in.

The other Jennifer texted me to say her hair’s falling out again. Ugh. I try not to think about her illness because it makes me so sad, but I don’t think not thinking about it is being the friend I want to be. So I said, “Well that sucks.” And she said, “Guess I gotta dig the Barbie wig out.” And I said, “You should get a Mia Wallace wig.”

Pulp Fiction and Quentin Tarantino generally are two topics we have the longest history with, going back to the year everyone in our newsroom saw Pulp Fiction in theaters. We all saw it over the summer and when the new school year began we were all in agreement it was one of the greatest things ever.

Except I actually texted “You should get a Mia Wallace wig” to a female coworker. Oops.

The coworker was confused. Duh. I re-sent the text to Jennifer and followed it with, “(I accidentally texted that to a coworker. She was very confused.)”

I got the cry-laughing emoji back. Very rewarding.

The day she went in for her double mastectomy, several years ago, I texted her in the early morning: I would be thinking of her all day, and all day I would only be listening to the music of the Hooters.

It comes from the same place, only I don’t think she was as amused that time.

I texted Desi to ask if her parents have been vaccinated yet. It led to some talk about some of our favorite books growing up. She’s always down for book talk. It’s a trait I don’t appreciate as much as I should.

I asked the writing partner the same thing.

Cathy and I texted a little about where we want to travel when we’re allowed to. She wants to see Mrs. Wong in Tennessee, of course. I was thinking of heading the other way: somewhere in the Pacific with white sand, clear water, and strong wifi, with dingy bars whose floors are covered with tracked-in sand in the afternoons.

Stacia texted me a Buzzfeed article with some funny signs. Yeah, I’m still the funny sign guy even though since I haven’t been anywhere for a year, I haven’t seen any signs to share. I didn’t think I’d find them very funny, since I was sure I’d seen them before, but no. These were new, and most of them were the kinds of signs, outside establishments, requiring someone to place letters advertising the weekly specials (for example), and they did make me laugh. Mostly because many of the signs were either intentionally silly (“Nobody ever reads this side lol”) or mischievously vandalized by people switching letters around (“Get your shongles shit today”).

I can’t decide which I like better. I wish I were responsible for a sign like this so I could stretch my creativity and exercise my wit, such as it exists. I also wish I were brave enough to vandalize other people’s signs.

Crush Girl and I texted a lot Thursday. Good stuff, too. Silly stuff, and not-so-silly.

I think for dinner I had shredded pork tacos, then a couple of late quesadillas. Because around 11:30 in the evening I was full of mossy brain energy and thought it was a good time to get some work done.

I can’t lie: it was great. All the synapses were firing in sync, and I did some good work. I submitted two proposals to development officers and prepped the engineering article for posting even though it hadn’t yet been approved. I think I finally shut the laptop at like 2:30.

It was a good three hours, I tell you. It doesn’t feel like work when it feels that good. I can feel the self-expression even in something that has nothing to do with me. The expression is in the quality of work. I feel like my signature was all over this stuff even without my actual name.

Teaching used to be this way. Pretty much every period of every day. It’s why I did it for so long even though it was slowly killing me, physically.

“It’s sad and it’s sweet, and I knew it complete when I wore a younger man’s clothes.”

So despite everything I wrote at the top of this page, I went to bed far too late. I’m an idiotic doofus.

Hit the comments if you need some connection with an idiotic doofus in the pandemic insanity. I’m here if you need someone. Srsly.

Lockdown: One must put up barriers to keep oneself intact

It’s 3:30 in the morning late Thursday night so this may have to be short.

I don’t remember anything about my sleep Tuesday night. I remember I got up Wednesday and had three hot dogs with mustard, ketchup, and sauerkraut for breakfast. Hebrew Nationals, reduced fat. I’m sure I could tell the difference if I had them alongside the regular beef franks, but as it was I couldn’t tell.

Got some of the easier work taken care of, then had my one-on-one with the boss. You could tell she was being patient with me but the patience was running out.

It rained like crazy for a second day in a row. Power went out in the Kapahulu area. I put nearly five pounds of pork shoulder in the Instant Pot and it was a race against the power outage.

You know what? I’m too tired to do this. Going to bed and continuing this later. To remind me:

  • rain
  • pork / tacos
  • early(ish) to bed
  • book review
  • kindle

It’s nine in the evening Friday night and I have no interest in writing anything I meant to write. I kind of just want to go quickly through the day’s non-events and send this to the cloud. I’m tired. It’s the weekend.

We’ve had ridiculous rain. It poured a few hours ago for about an hour but it’s quiet now. Wednesday was crazy. Parts of the island were really messed up, and it’s worse on Maui and Kauai.

That review of On the Horizon took much too long, but I let books pile up read and unreviewed a lot last year and the year before (films, too) so I’m trying to make myself review everything before I go to the next book. In this case, it caused me not to read my next book for almost a whole month. There are problems with this system.

Last night I finally peeled the cellophane off my Blu-Ray of Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, which I saw a couple of months ago via Netflix DVD. I wanted my own copy because it’s so terrific.

I don’t know if I can say this about more than two or three artists, but I actually love this band. I don’t mean I love their playing or their music. I mean the band. The feelings that swell up in me when I watch this thing are pretty much love. And it is such a well-made documentary.

Prying it out of this stack of CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, and paperbcks on my desk (it’s not a huge stack; it’s just varied), I found my missing Kindle. So now I’ve finally reviewed that book and found my Kindle. A lot of reading is in store this weekend, especially if this weather continues, which it’s expected to do. 98% chance of rain today. 99% Saturday. 86% Sunday. Bring it.

Breakfast Wednesday was a couple of hot dogs with ketchup, mustard, and sauerkraut. My very late lunch was chunks of pressure-cooked pork shoulder, mostly popped into my mouth as I tore it into shreds after it cooked. My very late dinner was a couple of pork tacos with red cabbage and extra-sharp cheddar.

Crush Girl and I texted very briefly in the evening, about the weather. I got several texts from coworkers for something non-work-related. Something fun. Jennifer texted me an update of the new orphaned baby otter. They anmed her (the otter, not Jennifer) Quatse. Sylvia and I texted about getting our shots. I told her what it was like for me, and she went for hers. Cathy responded to my Tuesday text to talk about her parents’ vaccinations. Cathy got her first. The other Jennifer recommended a book she’s reading and I bought it immediately.

I turned in early, like before 2:00. The weather encouraged it.

Leave a comment if you need someone to connect with. Texting, DMs, IMs, that kind of thing. I’ll send you my details.

Lockdown: Going the ôfstân

Tuesday was a little rough. Woke up after not enough sleep. Spent almost the whole night without Darth Vader. Just fell asleep unintentionally listening to a podcast, woke up unrested an hour or so before the alarm, and got that last hour with the mask.

I felt disorganized and not quite overwhelmed, but like I was about to lose control of my workflow. Things kept coming in and I felt like even when I turn things around quickly, they’re never quite good enough, so this feeling of deflation just took over and I found it difficult to try very hard. It’s stupid.

Called the supervisor to let her know what I was dealing with. She helped me talk myself through it, and I spent most of the rest of the day going through the past week’s emails to make sure I wasn’t missing anything, and to organize my running to-do list. It helped, but I still didn’t really get much done.

Picked up a late breakfast from Machete’s, a sandwich shop on Dillingham. Roast beef and turkey on wheat. It was delicious and exactly what I wanted. Before my not-very-productive workday was through, I drove to Young’s to get the Hawaiian plate I have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on occasional Saturdays. I was ravenous, and it was a late lunch and late dinner.

Actually did a little bit of work, then some journaling. Made a late run to the grocery store. My one new thing this time was about three pounds of cut, peeled taro root. I’ve cooked taro before, when I was splitting a CSA box with Mochi Girl, but this was my first time bringing some home from the supermarket.

Kulolo is the plan. I’ve decided lomi salmon is too labor intensive to be my go-to potluck contribution. Kulolo is a lovely desert most people don’t get very often, and I’ve never seen it at a potluck. I think it could work.

I was lethargic as heck all day and I don’t know if it’s the sleep deprivation, some of that tummy anxiety I’ve been feeling, or the shot. Spent a lot of time vegging in bed.

I wrote a few very late emails for work. I am a little stressed about not having produced much this week.

I texted Cathy to ask if her parents were vaccinated. Yay. Both have been fully taken care of, and Cathy has had her first shot. Texted the other Jennifer to see how she’s doing. Crush Girl and I texted sporadically through the day about early meetings, my favorite lei shop, and rain.

I’ve avoided writing about this because I’m not sure how I feel. In a moment of boredom about six weeks ago, I ordered a Nintendo Switch Lite from Amazon. There were some problems, so I sent it back and ordered a regular Nintendo Switch. I haven’t had a current-gen gaming platform since my Sega Dreamcast in fall 1999.

I’ve had it a little more than a week, and it hasn’t taken over my life. Picked up a few games, one of them on the recommendation of my one friend who works at Facebook, but so far I’ve only really played Mario Kart 8. I must say it’s pretty dang fun. My crappy wifi can’t handle online play, so I think this is one reason I won’t get zombied by it. I imagine the real fun is playing against others online.

What’s a better way to waste idle time: scrolling through Twitter, IG, and the Washington Post, or Racing Baby Luigi around a theme park on a toy scooter?

It’s raining like crazy this week, and people are suffering enormous damage to property from some insane flooding. I’m pretty much only being rained upon, thank God, but I feel terrible for people in the flooded areas.

Get those animals out of the muddy muddy, childen of the Lord.

Ôfstân is the new album from a Dutch band called Kjeld, which appears to be a common surname. It’s black metal, and the reviewers seems to love it. So far it just sounds like black metal to me: good for the background while working, but not especially interesting or compelling. However: Ôfstân appears to be Frisian for “Distance,” which is a cool name for a metal album. Also, I need to find out if the band sings in Frisian, because that’s pretty interesting by itself. Honestly, they could be singing English and right now I wouldn’t be able to tell. Black metal vocals are nearly as impenetable as Italian opera.

Anyway, I have it on now and I’m not really impressed. It’s not bad, but I can’t find any reason to like it yet.

Hit me up in comments if you want someone to connect with. I got bandwidth if I’m not drifting Baby Luigi around an S turn.

Review: On the Horizon

On the Horizon by Lois Lowry

It turns out Tae Keller, 2021 recipient of the Newbery Medal, is not the first Hawaii writer to win the award. Lois Lowry, who won the medal twice, was born in my home state in 1937 and lived here for a couple of years. As a pre-teen, she moved with her family shortly after World War II to Japan.

Lowry mentions these connections in an author’s note at the back of On the Horizon, a collection of poetry set mostly in 1941 Hawaii and 1945 Japan, telling the stories of people touched by both sides of the war in the Pacific: the beginning and end, the United States and Japan.

Writing poetry for children is supremely difficult. Make it too artsy and it never connects with its audience. Make it too explainable and it loses poetry’s ineffable magic. I’ve seen very few collections that hit the sweet spot consistently, and On the Horizon doesn’t quite do it either.

It’s a really good attempt, though, as Lowry employs a few traditional forms of verse without being teachy or preachy. She sticks mostly to rhyme, but doesn’t settle into a ricky-ticky rhythm that would work against the sobriety of her subject. She’s writing about the deaths of young men in war, after all.

She does use a lilting, melodious voice when writing about her young self, and young readers will likely grab quickly onto these poems:

I wonder, now that time’s gone by
about that day: the sea, the sky . . .
the day I frolicked in the foam,
when Honolulu was my home.

But I appreciate other moments, as when Lowry personifies the ships (a centuries-old tradition) and plays with words a little:

Their places
(the places of the gray metal women)
were called berths.

Arizona was at berth F-7.
On either side, her nurturing sisters:
and Tennessee.

The sisters, wounded, survived.
Arizona, her massive body sheared,
slipped down. She disappeared.

Lowry makes it work, grouping poetry in three sections. “On the Horizon” contains poems set in Hawaii. “Another Horizon” contains poems set in Japan. A third section, “Beyond Horizons,” connects the first with the second in ways I won’t spoil, but the poetry in this last part is the reason to read this book, offering a collective thesis and theme. It’s rather devastating and lovely.

It’s also a keeper. Young readers will find second and third readings rewarding, especially if the grownups around them resist the temptation to unpack it all for them. Here’s hoping they do!

Three of five stars: I like it.