- What’s the best non-animated movie musical you’ve seen in the past several years?
I realized several years ago that I was unlikely to be fond of any non-animated movie musical I didn’t already like. All the stuff I find bizarre and uninteresting about a movie musical is true of my faves (The Music Man, Little Shop of Horrors) but the old favorites are too much a part of my movie-lover identity. The same stuff in new (and new-to-me) films is just kind of unwatchable. But then there were La-La Land, which I liked, and The Greatest Showman, which I loved and which I purchased on Blu-Ray, and maybe there’s hope. I saw In the Heights Thursday night in a theater and enjoyed the heck out of it. So yeah. The Greatest Showman is my answer.
- How are you most likely to pass the time during a lengthy blackout?
I’m realizing we did this question some time not too long ago. Dang it. The answer used to be playing my guitar and singing songs, but these days it’s pen-and-paper crossword puzzles. I don’t like going to sleep at night with no power, but if the blackout is during daylight hours, I’ll most likely grab sleep in anticipation of being up all night. I have enough backup juice for my phone, Kindle, and other toys, but if I’m feeling restless I might drive around my neighborhood and charge things there, staying away from traffic lights and important streets to keep them clear for emergency vehicles.
- When were you last in a swimming pool?
It’s been a looooong time, like more than half my life ago. When I was a kid, I practically lived in pools during the summer. Our summer rec program took us to Waipahu pool every Tuesday and Thursday, all day. In intermediate and high school, my scoutmaster took the whole troop to Pearl City pool on meeting nights instead of having our regular meetings. He believed fervently that if you live on an island, you should be a good swimmer, so we spent a ton of time in the water, most of it unstructured. The guys in my patrol destroyed a summer camp record in the relay race, ‘though we finished with the second-best time: the other patrol in our troop destroyed the record by a few seconds more than we did. But in my post-college years, pools have been less available and less attractive. I’m mobile enough that a beach is as accessible as a pool, and I’d much rather swim in the ocean. So I think the last time I was in a pool was 29 years ago during a weeklong summer mission trip to Molokai. I wasn’t sure I wanted to get in the water, but the girls on our trip got in, and I wasn’t going to miss that.
- What do you remember fondly about the neighborhood where you grew up?
I grew up in Waipahu, a historic town playing a huge part in my state’s cultural history. It was the heart of the island’s sugar industry, which means it was the heart of immigration from Japan, Korea, China, the Philippines, and Portugal. By the time my family moved there (my second grade year), we were on third generations of most of these cultures, and my neighborhood was going through ethnic changes. By the time my family moved away (end of my tenth-grade year), it was more known for its first-gen Filipino population, and sections were booming in Vietnamese immigrants. This was all critical in developing my extremely liberal ideas about immigration in this state and in this country. Throw the doors wide open, I say.
- What language did you study in school, and what’s something you remember how to say?
I studied Japanese after school in fourth and fifth grades, then for three years in high school, and then for another few semesters in college. My mom is from Japan, so there’s a lot I still remember. たべましょう! Let’s eat! おてあらいに いっても いいですか? May I go to the bathroom?