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.

Lockdown: The force which through the green fuse drives the flower

I slept pretty miserably Saturday night, but I was so tired that I did sleep. Just woke up Sunday morning feeling terrible. Because once again, for like the fifth night in a row (probably more) I crashed without Darth Vader.

When I sleep well, I wake up actually refreshed from sleep, something I didn’t even know I was missing before my diagnosis. Now I notice it all the time when I have it, and I notice its absence when I don’t. I wake up feeling like I spent all night working at sleep. Tired from sleeping. My nose feels buzzy, like I’ve been getting fizz-bubbles up there from drinking champagne.

It’s such a difference, sleeping with Darth Vader. Darth Vader is trying to save my life and I’m shunning its efforts. Ridiculous and absurd, not to mention immature as heck.

I struggled out of bed and put on the Raiders-Chiefs game, which as you know by now the Raiders won. They did stuff to Kansas City nobody’s done since before last season. It was impressive.

Spent most of the day doing small tasks, reading stuff online, napping, and watching football.

I had a slice of pumpkin pie for breakfast, then some leftover chicken kabocha soup for lunch. It was good. And like most soups, better the second day.

Even though it was a competitive game, I wasn’t that interested in the Vikings-Seahawks late game, so I took care (in advance) of some evening chores and headed for the office. Stopped for a footlong turkey sandwich on the way.

I didn’t have that much to do, so I wasn’t there late. I think it was just a nice change of scenery. And I do like spending time in my cube, even if I’m doing small busy-work tasks.

I texted Ali a few times. She wanted to see a photo of my soup. And we did more Kindle talk. JB texted to celebrate the Raiders’ victory. Penny asked one more opinion about a new laptop and then she ordered it. Nice.

I watched Pitch Perfect 2 again before bed. Some of it is terribly stupid, but the film as a whole makes me feel good. Makes me smile, even.

Sometimes you need some connection with a living human to get through weird times. These are weird times and I’m a living human, so if you need some of that, leave a comment and we’ll work something out. Don’t go through this disconnected or alone.

Lockdown: Before I mistrusted the night

It was a rather lovely morning.

I got up really early Saturday and did get out the door and into the ocean. I was so early I picked up breakfast in the McD’s drive-through, set my beach chair up beneath a couple of short palm trees on the beach, and enjoyed the fresh air, starlight, plashing of the waves, and salty breakfast sandwiches while grooving to podcasts. It was pleasant.

I didn’t swim very hard, but the ocean was moving, so I got a good workout anyway. In fact my arms were pretty dead for most of the day. I took a nice nap when I got home, then drove to Hawaiian Pie Company to pick up a pumpkin pie. Saw a coworker in the parking lot there (they bring your order to your car when you message them you’re there) who said he comes every week and he’s working his way through the menu. I said I’m doing the same thing.

It wasn’t entirely true; I don’t go every week. But I am working my way through the menu, one pie at a time.

I picked up lunch at Sugoi. I regretted it, too, as I nearly always do when I eat there. It’s just not as good as the hype, although it’s fine. I got the garlic chicken, which is always pretty good if too battery and not meaty enough. I ordered the mixed plate so I could try the tonkatsu too, because I’m a sucker for tonkatsu whenever I see it on the menu. It sucked. It wasn’t so-so or unmemorable; it really sucked. I think I’m done with this place.

What was disappointing was that I basically tossed a coin and went to Sugoi because there was more parking on its end of the building. I really wanted Hawaiian food from Young’s. Live and learn.

At least there was plenty of brown rice with my order. I didn’t have to make any to go with dinner, which was a chicken kabocha soup in the Instant Pot. It was delicious, if not very challenging. Except for slicing the chicken and kabocha, and chopping the garlic and onion, everything else came out of a can. Vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, fresh rosemary (not from a can, but you know).

I didn’t even try the pumpkin pie Saturday — too much other food.

I did a little bit of writing, read the news, worked two crosswords, and watched Pitch Perfect 2. It’s really not a good movie but it’s well-done for not a good movie, and has a couple of nice, clever touches. I’ll probably watch it a few more times before I move to the third film.

I texted Crush Girl a couple of times just to see how she was doing. Ali was up late writing a paper, so we distracted each other for a while. Good communication. When we click, we communicate really well; it’s the main reason she was my favorite coworker and my first friend at the office. We don’t always click, though. Then it’s bad.

I continue to sleep poorly. Another Mark Heard song has been going through my head in lulls between Van Halen spins, and all through my swim Saturday morning.

Why do I lie awake at night, think back just as far as I can,
To the sound of my father’s laugh
Outdoors, the thought of Sputnik in free-flight?
Before I could fashion my poverty,
Before I mistrusted the night, I must’ve known something
I must’ve known something — those were the times I live for tonight

Why? Why? Why?
I say, Why? Mama, why?
Why can’t I sleep in peace tonight underneath the satellite sky?
Why? Why? Why?
I say, Why? Mama, why?
Why can’t I sleep in peace tonight underneath the satellite sky?

Valerie once noted this song sounds a lot like Jimmy Buffett’s “Volcano,” which makes a lot of sense. They could be sibling songs. “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know where I’m-a gonna go when the volcano blows.”

I’m going to put up with this, not crying uncle and just letting the sleep deprivation become the default, but not beating myself about it too much. Three weeks and change before election day. And we’ll see what happens after that.

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

Lockdown: Master of all I survey

I went to bed too late and slept too poorly to hit the beach Friday. I’d kinda resigned myself to it when I retired, but left the door open. Aaaaaaaand no.

Fairly productive at work, ‘though not with my usual Friday zeal. Trade a lot of emails, did the background on a new donor story, had a phone call with a development officer about the story, then one with my supervisor about some stickiness surrounding a collaboration I thought I was participating in.

There’s an anonymous survey at work for a rather large organizational undertaking, and we’re supposed to respond to it by Tuesday. So there was some back-and-forth with some coworkers about what our responses are likely to be. I haven’t done mine yet, but some of them have done theirs. I don’t have many complaints, ‘though I’ll admit I have a few more than I had in my first year. I also have as many praises as I’ve had since my first year, so hopefully it balances out.

After Bloody Wednesday, I assume many of us have at least one more complaint than we had a year ago.

I got off to a later start than usual, and took a slightly longer lunch (read: nap) break than usual, so I didn’t clock out until around 6:30. I did a little bit of Friday vegging, then took care of a few chores and got ready for bed. I was pretty determined to be in bed early and hit the beach very early Saturday, to beat what I was sure would be a morning crowd.

For brunch I had some corned beef hash with some fried eggs and hapa rice. I was going to skip dinner, since I had a few Nutter Butters and more than a few Frank’s Red Hot potato chips through the day, but by nine I was pretty dang hungry. I had a few hot dogs with ketchup (again, leftover condiment packets) and sauerkraut.

I was in bed by 9:30 and asleep by 10:00.

Besides the work-related texting, there wasn’t much else. Jennifer sent me some links I’ve yet to look at but they look interesting. Suzanne sent the group text a Melania-related text. Ali and I traded “happy weekends” and a word or two about her grad classes. Crush Girl and I also traded “happy weekends.” Seems like people are especially relieved the weekend’s here. I know the feeling.

Don’t forget to reach out in comments if you’re looking for someone to connect with. The days get darker. The election draws nigh. Garbage draws flies. Or something like that.

Lockdown: Screw your courage to the sticking place

I slept poorly Wednesday night. I had a feeling I would. I was up too late anyway, after cleaning up the spilled chili and insisting on still dining before bed. So the beach was out Thursday morning.

Thursday at work was pretty much the same as Wednesday. Finalizing drafts, gathering photos, emailing people. None of it was very stressful, and then I got a call from a development officer about a one-page concept document, something to send a donor to give them info about something we have in mind for the generous gift we’re going to ask for in a bit.

I was going to get my info late, and the turnaround was going to be quick, so I was working late. People kept thanking me rather profusely, like I don’t do this kind of thing a lot already. I was even encouraged to take a nap or chill before receiving the material. It made me wonder if I’ve been grouchy about my work lately. But this task didn’t seem especially difficult, and I was confident I could put something together.

Then around six, I was asked to stand by. We’ll put something formal together sometime in the coming week, and I’ll work directly with the CEO. We’re making a rather big ask, so this is a big deal.

Off the hook for the evening, I asked Sylvia if there was still time to join her trivia team for an event hosted by the public radio station. Nearly everything in me didn’t want to do this thing, a virtual trivia event on Zoom, on a team of people I wouldn’t know (except Sylvia), but I think I was looking for something to break the montony of recent days. If I hated it, I could always disconnect and blame my bad wifi.

Our team was about six people. Everyone was nice. Some were more Zoom-outgoing than others. I was among the quiet people. But you know I love trivia, and nobody (except Jocelyn, which I’ll get to in a second) has ever invited me to be on a trivia team. Yeah, I’ve never participated in these trivia events around town.

All participants met together on Zoom for the questions, then the moderator sent teams to their own breakout rooms, where we were free to discuss openly. The first was a geography question, an easy one we all knew. But the second was a sports question: On June 20-something, what professional team sports league was the first in the country to return to play. I let the conversation go for a bit until I was certain my teammates didn’t really have a clue about the correct answer. Which I was pretty sure I did: the women’s professional soccer league. I wasn’t absolutely sure it was right, but neither was it a guess.

We had a couple more questions in the round, one about Meerkat Manor, which Sylvia got right, and something else. Anyway, we did well.

The second round was a list of ten Shakespearean quotes. All we had to do was idenfity the plays from which the quotes came. I could tell the others were out of their comfort zone with this one — one of them called to a roommate to ask how familiar she was with “these books by Shakespeare.”

Anyway. I knew half of them for sure and had good guesses about the others. Luckily, the roommate did know a few I didn’t. And when Sylvia was sure one of the quotes was from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and I was pretty sure it was Hamlet, I didn’t say anything. It turned out to be Hamlet. Ah well. We were still in first place after two rounds.

I got us one more answer, in round three, that nobody else knew. The only animated feature film nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Beauty and the Beast. There was conversation about it, and I had enough doubt to agree that a few other answers were possible, but we submitted my answer on the strength of my conviction, and it paid off.

I was useless in the final round, which was identifying from their photos ten world leaders. The ones I knew (Merkel, Duterte, Erdogan, Xi) were easy, so the group got them without me.

We won. The prize was some HPR swag I declined because I’m decluttering. But it was pretty fun, I have to say, and I was happy to be useful to my team.

Shakespeare, movies, sports. That covers my areas, I think. Oh, there were some music questions too, but they were both pop-related and I didn’t have a clue. A Black Eyed Peas song (I like them but got into them later than the period in question) and a Snoop Dogg answer.

Anyway. Jocelyn invited me the day before to be on her trivia team for the LA chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association and I said I was unlikely to accept. Just too much socializing with people I don’t know, on a platform (Zoom) I dislike. But after I had fun Thursday evening, I told her I’d reconsider.

Breakfast was from the Taco Bell drive-through. I know. I’m a bozo. I skipped lunch because I ate too many Frank’s Red Hot Lay’s potato chips for a snack. Then leftover shoyu chicken and fresh hapa rice for dinner.

I didn’t do much texting. Some work-related stuff with Karla. All the back-and-forth with Sylvia about the trivia. That was about it.

I listend to Van Halen’s Diver Down on repeat most of the day. I didn’t plan to listen to anything multiple times as I went through the VH discography, but this fifth album of theirs was the first I heard all the way through, early in high school, and it’s the one that really hooked me, even though many silly people think it’s not a very good album.

Listen: when a good band has a breakout album, the one before it is very often their best. It’s the bridge between whatever cool stuff they were doing when they conceived and whatever mass-appeal stuff they incorporated in finding their mainstream success. Van Halen’s sixth album, 1984, has all the songs everyone knows. “Jump,” “Panama,” and “Hot for Teacher.” For a long time it was my least favorite of their albums. Anyway, dial it back one album and you have Diver Down, which is nowhere near as good as Van Halen I or Van Halen II, but it’s a lot better than 1984. Accessible, humorous, cute, and still pretty rocking.

Reach out in comments if you want someone to connect with. I’m here for it. No Zooming.

Lockdown: Nobelity

I was a little body-tired after the laundry Wednesday morning to go to the beach, but I didn’t decide until the very last second, when I would turn left down Pensacola to head for the ocean or right up Auwaiolimu to head home. I turned right.

Got home and had an early morning nap. It was nice. And possibly as good for me as a swim might have been.

Worked on stories. I was productive. Got okays from a donor on the final draft of a story. Communicated with a recipient about getting a photo from her for the same story. Got corrections on the other story (professor and former journalist) from my supervisor. Submitted a letter to someone else for an okay (I didn’t get it). It was a lot of loose-ends-tying and it felt good to tick through them.

I still felt sleep-deprived, so I planned not to hit the beach again Thursday. I kind of wish I’d at least pretended to myself that the beach was still the intention, because once my brain knew it didn’t need to be up early, it took this as liberty to stay up. Until 2:00. Great.

I don’t even know what i did. Yeah, I played Tsum Tsum. A lot. But not that many hours a lot.

Oh I forgot: someone I interviewed for a story last year won the Nobel Prize. Pretty awesome. Her father was my college advisor, and my American lit professor. A great advisor, a beloved professor, and someone I learned a lot of non-English things from. When I interviewed his daughter, I got to tell her this stuff, with specific stories about what a dear man he was to me and to the other English majors. I was bummed that she didn’t win it last year; in fact, we held publication of her story until we got the news that the prize went to someone else, because how cool would it have been to put “Nobel laureate” in the headline?

So that was a bit of good news among all the bad news of the week.

Crush Girl texted me to talk about the lunch she was having. That was fun. We talked about other things, including how stoked I was to have interviewed the winner of a Nobel prize. Ali texted me and I caught her up on some of the work stuff, including the news that someone has finally been assigned to be my parking buddy. Some of us lower-thans in the company have tandem parking, which means someone parks against the wall and someone parks in front. The company tried to schedule it so partners arrive and leave at around the same time, for convenience’s sake. My contention was (and is) that it’s equally peaceful to pick your own partner, someone you don’t mind getting up for.

That was Ali until she left. Now it’s Sylvia, who’s moving to our main office now that she’s switching positions next week. I think Ali was pleased to know her space is being inherited by Sylvia. A worthy heir.

Julie texted me to say she saw some lobster-flavored potato chips in Rhode Island and they made her think of me. That was nice. And Penny texted to ask advice about purchasing a laptop. She’s narrowed it down to a couple of good choices. One of them is a newer (but less muscular) version of the computer I’m typing this on now. Same memory, same processing speed, same screen size, and same storage, though.

For breakfast I had a Big Mac combo at the laundry. I made a fresh pot of hapa rice for lunch, but instead of heating something up from the fridge, I opened a can of Vienna sausage and just poured it over the steaming hot rice. Camp food. For a late dinner I had more hapa rice and canned chili.

Oh I also forgot to say that I stopped at the strip mall on my way home from the laundry, at just past five in the morning. The supermarket was still out of mochiko, but the drugstore had a few boxes. I grabbed two and some food coloring. Mochi is going to happen.

I got to bed late because I freaking spilled my chili on my kitchen counter and floor. Took quite a while to get it clean to my satisfaction, so I was up late again. Thought about just giving up on food since I wasn’t really that hungry, but I did have my heart set on canned chili, and there was still some rice. So I made it again and it was great.

Leave me a comment if you’d like someone to connect with in the miry days of pandemic. I’ll send you photos of my mochi and you can send me photos of whatever’s going into your mouth. I mean that in a nonsexual way, of course. No, really. I’ll send you my contact info and you can have someone to communicate with so you don’t have to go through any of this alone.