Friday 5: Bad Mood Food

I’ve had a long, busy day, and I’m unwinding in the boba cafe, which closes in thirty minutes, so I’m going to try to write this in 20, leaving me time to pack up and visit the lavatory.

From here.

  1. What are you most likely to reach for when you stress-eat?
    Ice cream is my depression food. Chips are my stress food, at least lately. And I’ve downed a ton of them at work this past week and a half. It’s not good. It’s helping me cope, but I can’t keep relying on it — I’m trying to drop weight, not add chips. But grrrrrrrrrrrr this group project at work is taking a toll on me. By the end of Friday I felt wrung, like a chamois. It’s affecting the rest of my life, too. I lost sleep Monday night because I was so annoyed about a scheduled 90-minute meeting I thought could be an email. The meeting turned out not to suck, and we got good work done, but I still don’t think it was necessary. Now WHERE THE HECK DID I PUT THOSE DORITOS?
  2. When were you last disappointed by a meal?
    The frickin’ Popeye’s chicken sandwich was supposed to be available last week. The stupid Popeye’s app even TOLD me to go get it. Turns out the app for some reason doesn’t even work in my region (beyond sending me notifications) and the Popeye’s in my ‘hood had signs up all over the restaurant saying the chicken sandwich was coming soon. So I ordered chicken fingers and they were on the downside of okay. So annoying; I should have ordered chicken but I was trying to write while I ate, and I didn’t want to grease up my fingers, so I could type. Blasted chicken sandwich and crappy chicken fingers. Two disappointments in one meal!
  3. What food are you sad you can’t get anymore?
    They added a thin layer of caramel to the Whatchamacalllit bar in the summer after my junior year. It was a perfect candy bar before that. It’s still good but it’s not nearly as good as it used to be. KC Drive-In shut down 20 years or so ago, so the legendary chocolate ono-ono shake is but a memory. I wrote it about it in my NaNo project, so I’m feeling the nostagia now.
  4. For what food will you make an exception to a personal rule?
    I don’t like to get food on my hands, so eat a lot of finger foods with a knife and fork, but I make an exception for wings. Wings are among my favorite foods, and you can’t eat them with a knife and fork.
  5. What’s something you really like but would never order while dining out because you have it at home all the time?
    There are fewer items on this list than there used to be, because I’m so busy and I typically dine alone. I’m a sucker for corned beef hash when it’s made in-house, and I used to have the canned version all the time at home, but I’m trying not to have processed meats at home. So I’ll order corned beef hash even in joints where I know it’s out of a can, once in a while when I want to indulge. With a sunny-side-up egg and some rice, it’s one of my favorite breakfasts.

Yay. Got it done in 15 minutes.

Friday 5: Food Mood

From here.

  1. What’s the best striped food?
    Someone else said salmon, and I really wish I’d thought of that. My first thought was Fudge Stripes cookies, which aren’t really that great. Then I was chatting with Sylvia the other night. She wants to make Japanese-style potato salad (mmmmm…) and asked if I thought Kewpie mayo was a must. I said the only thing Kewpie mayo is a must for is okonomiyaki. Bing. There’s my answer.
  2. What’s the best spotted food?
    Crush Girl has a blouse that reminds me of a certain fruit I’m fond of, so of course that’s the food I want to name here. Really, though, how could it be anything other than vanilla bean ice cream? Great. Now I’m craving ice cream.
  3. What’s the best layered food?
    Why are layered foods so amazing? Tiramisu, ice cream cake, seven-layer dip, loco moco. Mm. The winner is clearly lasagna, though.
  4. What’s the best swirly food?
    Helloooooooo Cinnabon.
  5. What’s the best black-and-white food?
    I’m going comfort food here: nori tsukudani and rice. I only just learned the word tsukudani now. I had to look it up because in our house we just referred to it by one of the brand names we liked (Gohandesuyo!). When we were kids, my sister and I always called it “mushy nori.” My mom, the first time she heard us saying it (when I was like 6 and my sister was 4), told us not to call it that. Because mushi means bug. Hahaha. And if you look at nori tsukudani closely, you couldn’t swear that it wasn’t made of blended bugs. So of course that’s what we always called it when my mom wasn’t around. In college, it was a frequent breakfast, and my roomie Captain Daveman was grossed out by it. Wouldn’t even try it. Kept calling it “that black stuff.” But it is freaking delicious. That stuff is straight-up umami paste, and it will always give me feelings of being taken care of, which I suppose is really what comfort food is, right? The stuff in the photo up there isn’t as black as the stuff I usually have, but better photos were from personal blogs and I didn’t want to steal from them. This one’s from an online retailer and therefore fair game.

Scraping

Friday 5 from here.

  1. What does your favorite mug look like?
    I have two I consider favorites. I have a very large Eeyore mug I prefer most of the time. It holds two cups of coffee, for starters, and two cups of coffee are better than one cup of coffee. Eeyore is my spirit animal, and one of my friends in high school even used it as a nickname for me (I called her Roo, which if you knew her you’d know was close to perfect). This is the mug I bring with me to coffee hours or staff meetings (I try not to use disposable coffee cups at these things), so by now everyone at work knows it’s my mug. My other favorite is a white UH Hilo mug using a font and logo the school doesn’t use anymore. I bought one for me and two for my parents the week of my graduation. I don’t think they still have the ones I gave them (which is too bad — if they were going to give them away, I’d gladly have taken them off their hands). Go Vulcans.
  2. With a typical dinner out, how many glasses of water do you drink?
    I drink a lot of water. Easily six to eight glasses on a good night, if the waiters are attentive, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in some places it goes to ten. I just really like clearing the palate frequently so I can enjoy my meal appropriately. Plus I just like water, and the colder the better.
  3. What’s something for which you recently used a paper cup, other than to hold a beverage?
    Because I don’t like to use disposable cups, I try to get at least two or three uses out of each one I come into contact with, not counting whatever I get in fast food joints. Recently, I’ve used paper cups as my change jar, a pen holder, and a measuring cup for one of my go-to meals on evenings after longs days: microwaved pasta.
  4. How confidently do you pour a drink into a tumbler with your non-dominant hand?
    Something very few people know about me is that I’m trying to train my left hand to do everyday tasks in case I ever lose the use of my right hand. Have you ever tried to take your keys out of your pocket, select the right key, insert the key into your front door, and let yourself in with your non-dominant hand? I couldn’t believe how such a seemingly simple task could feel so complicated the first time I tried it. I do it with aplomb now; in fact I do it most days leaving the house or coming home, since I usually have my gym bag in my right hand. Pouring drinks into cups (or from one bottle of water to another, to consolidate half-drunk bottles) with my left hand has been a recent, targeted skill. I’d say I do it pretty confidently, ‘though not with the second-nature, no-need-to-concentrate ability with which I unlock a door.
  5. What’s going to be your holy grail for this weekend?
    I’d like to complete minimal amounts of work in pursuit of my holy grail: plenty of good sleep and time to read. Last weekend’s hoped-for good weather did come, but I only made it to the beach Saturday while I was hoping for two good days in the water. This week I’d like to get those two mornings, too.

Rereading what I wrote last week, I know I wasn’t being honest with myself when I said the bruises I still have were only because of the introspection. It was mostly that for sure, but it’s dumb to pretend I’m not also still aching a bit from the rejection, even while totally convinced I deserved rejection and pretty much no other response. It sucks to be rejected, and it causes injury. Nobody really thinks otherwise, not even me.

Crush Girl has inspired a lot of aching this week. I’ve been in a terrible mood everywhere I go, almost all the time, for the past few weeks, and fleeting moments with her have been respites from the crappy feelings. It makes me grateful in a twisted way for the friendzoning. Better this than no relationship at all, but the echoes of her absence do load me up with melancholy from time to time, this week particularly.


I’m in the middle of two weeks of deliberate frugality. It’s not extreme, as it has been a few times in recent months, but it’s still not exactly pleasant. Right after payday I took care of my obligations, and seeing how little I had left, I stocked my pantry and filled my gas tank, leaving me a little bit of cash for the occasional boba and possibly some fast food once or twice. So it’s not hellacious; it’s just pretty restrictive.

I’m typing this in my neighborhood boba spot. I like this place a lot for its super-fast wifi and good tea. The fruit teas are amazing here. I just wish they had a few no-caffeine options, as I’ve been getting here close to closing. Oh, that’s another thing I like about the spot: it’s open until 10 on weeknights. Down the road a few blocks is a really popular spot in a rather unlikely, mostly industrial place near the community college. We’re talking line from the counter to the door popular. I haven’t checked it out yet despite raves from friends mostly because it closes at 9.

I think this is going to be my NaNoWriMo HQ for November. I can get two solid hours here each night if I don’t waste time either getting out of the office or settling down to get busy. Still no idea what the plan is for a NaNo project, but I’ve got a few ideas floating around up here.

Sometimes I question my participation in this thing every year. I’ve already proven to myself that I can crank out the words, and that sometimes they’re pretty good. And as much as I value the community — I’ve made some really good friends during NaNo — it’s been difficult being one of the veterans with an ever-refreshed cast of newcomers. I like the new people fine; I just miss some of the old friends who no longer do this.

There is also, of course, a difference between knowing I can crank out 50K words in 30 days and actually doing it, and with my writing partner suuuuuuuper busy with real-life stuff, I haven’t had the motivation to work on stuff. Plus, of course, there’s the way the writing part of my brain is so tired after a long day of actually doing it for a living for someone else.

Teaching is emotionally and physically exhausting. It wasn’t nearly as mentally exhausting as writing is. I’m not sure why, but it’s absolutely true in my case. I’ve pretty much never been one of those get-home-and-veg-in-front-of-the-TV guys, since when I was teaching I could seldom afford myself the luxury. I can see it now, though. My brain when I get home from work at this job just wants to go into cruise control.

More about NaNo later.

Phase doubt

I think I can say I’m over Crush Girl, which is not to claim I’ve no feelings anymore. I would still like to get to be friends with her outside the one context in which we’re acquainted, and I still ache once or twice a day, but the hollowness doesn’t linger. Although I’m still not sleeping at night (except for last night which was wonderful), it’s for specific reasons that have nothing to do with her.

The bruises, which I still carry, had a lot to do with the self-examination I had to give myself. I came up wanting, big time, and there’s stuff I need to work on for sure. I lived. I still loathe myself, but that’s pretty much a constant state lately so whatever.


second-best album of the year so far

The new Opeth album is a thing of beauty. While it’s definitely not for everyone (some metalheads have tired of this phase of Opeth’s artistic arc), a lot of people who love music and think they know what metal sounds like would hear something they didn’t think existed. I don’t know if I can rate it fairly just yet, because the band released a regular version (with lyrics sung in Swedish) and an English version because if you want to be seriously profitable in metal you need to sing in English, a fact that annoys me but works in my favor, so I’m not complaining. I’ve only listened to the English version so far. Once I get a nice sense of the lyrical intentions, I’ll switch to Swedish and see if I hear something different.

I’ve tried my best to keep track of everything new I listen to this year, so my best-of list doesn’t have to wait until April or someday as it always does. I don’t have the list with me here, so I’ll wing this. My ten best metal albums of the year so far are probably

  1. Dream Theater, Distance over Time
  2. Opeth, In Cauda Venenum
  3. Soen, Lotus
  4. Fallujah, Undying Light
  5. Tool, Fear Inoculum
  6. Soilwork, Verkligheten
  7. Devin Townsend, Empath
  8. Evergrey, The Atlantic
  9. Children of Bodom, Hexed
  10. Avantasia, Moonglow

I kind of had to reach for the last three, not that they aren’t good. They’re just clearly not as good as the top four. One of my favorites, Vanden Plas, is releasing a new album the first of November, and I’m maybe keeping that number 5 spot warm for it.


Okie dokie. Friday 5 while I have this lovely Oreo McFlurry before heading to bed.

  1. What were you recently sure of, but are now having doubts about?
    I need to preface this (just in case) by saying I love where I work and I love my job, and I think anyone in the office who pays attention wouldn’t question either assertion. Still, I am having a heck of a trying couple of weeks at work, where two coworkers I’m very fond of had their positions terminated and several others have moved on. Six since September 13; sixteen since early July. It’s depressing the heck out of me, so I think it’s understandable that I’m beginning to doubt I’ll feel very much joy at work in the near future, if ever again. It’s fine. Loving the work and loving the people is enough without the joy. Still, that’s pretty dang sad.
  2. What’s something you’d like to see this weekend but probably won’t?
    Clear skies, pleasant tradewinds, a calm sea, and cool evening temperatures. My work-related depression has given me serious sleep problems, which means I’ve been unable to get up early enough to hit the beach in the mornings, and if you read this space with any regularity, you know how miserable that is. I just need two mornings in the next three to be swimmer-friendly and I think it’ll be a good weekend, however many or few points the Raiders beat the Packers by.
  3. When were your doubts pleasantly verified?
    This is going way back, but it popped into my head today while thinking about a friend who recently got engaged. I kinda doubt it’s going to work out that way, but of course I can’t say that to anyone, because what a jerk I am for even thinking of it. When R was engaged to Gregg, she packed up her stuff and moved to San Francisco to be with him while they figured out how it was going to happen. I was as sad as I’ve ever been in my life but I was pretty doubtful they would actually get married. They didn’t. Similarly, my friend Traci quit her teaching position and was all set to go to seminary, but I quietly told a couple of friends I just didn’t see it happening. I may have told Traci herself. Then she met Artoo and got engaged and seminary was off. I think in both cases, my not believing in my very close friends was some kind of failing, even though I was proven to be right. I’m telling you, you don’t want to tell me you’re about to make big plans for your future because I’m very likely not to believe it’s going down. What a jerk.
  4. When were your doubts pleasantly disproven?
    Almost every time I have to do something social with my closer friends. I’m super doubtful I’m going to have a good time, and I usually try up to the last minute to think of some excuse not to participate, but then I do and it turns out fun. Most recently I went to a Japanese whisky tasting with Jennifer, and darn it if it wasn’t really fun and super educational. I didn’t buy anything, but I got some good gift ideas for my dad and sister.
  5. What’s something you have absolutely no doubts about?
    I have lamented this aloud to my closest friends (and nearby strangers) for more than ten years: one of the things I miss most about being young is being totally sure I’m right about stuff. I was wrong most of the time, in retrospect, but I was sure I was right, and I miss that certainty. Now I’m fifty, and I am certain about nothing. I have doubts about everything. I’m probably right more often than I was in my youth, but the feeling of being that sure? I don’t think I’ll ever feel that again.

And down the road, I see the fog roll in.

I saw a creature, naked, bestial

My favorite boba spot is closing in the middle of this week. I haven’t been coming here as much since we moved offices, even though the new office is actually closer. The spot is along the bus line home from the old office, and four blocks (or so) out of my way driving home from the new office.

However, they claim they’re reopening in the Liliha area, which is pretty much the neighborhood just over from mine — I drive through it every day on my to and from work. One thing that’s kept me from this spot most nights is that I’d rather have boba close to home after work, so this could be a nice development, assuming there’s parking. Get out of the office, drive home for dinner, then hop back a little way to get boba.

I asked the cutie working the register if she knows where the new spot is going to be, explaining that I live in the area. She said she wasn’t sure, and that if I keep an eye on their social media that’s where they’d announce it. I asked her if they didn’t know, or if they knew but just weren’t telling people. She laughed and said they weren’t telling people. Of course.

If they’re being honest and actually mean Liliha (and not, say, Nuuanu), I can think of a few places it could go, and one of them is right across the street from Grace’s house, which would also be kind of cool. I hope it’s open as late as this location (until 11 on weeknights and 12 on weekends) but knowing the area, it almost surely won’t be.

I’ve found that the best thing about the massive proliferation of boba spots in this town is that when you identify the best unique thing each spot offers, you think of each differently for different moods or occasions, and they don’t blur into each other. The spot I favor makes this ginger black milk tea that’s amazing. A couple of other spots in town make it but those places don’t even come close to this one.

For a time a couple of years ago, they were always out of it when I asked. We’re talking six or eight months. Disappointed, I once accused them of not intending to bring it back.

The cutie behind the counter (a different cutie) explained to me that they get their ginger from China and it takes a long time to get here!

The boba girls all knew it was my drink. One day when I came in and ordered something else, the boba girl said, “You know we have the ginger again?”

It was worth waiting for, I tell you. Here’s hoping the new spot will also be worth waiting for. I’m trying not to hold my breath, but I will be keeping an eye on the social media.


The concert scene really slowed down after the early spring. Suddenly, though, a whole bunch of bands I’d like to see have been announced. Black Flag is coming up in a few days, Hanson was last weekend, the Raconteurs (!) are playing the Republik next month, and Jason Isbell is playing the concert hall in January. I’m not as liquid nowadays as I was, so I’m actually having to be choosy, and right now I can’t make up my mind.

I already have tickets (plural) to see Patton Oswalt the weekend of my birthday. I bought the tickets when I still thought Crush Girl and I could be a thing, before the friendzoning, figuring if that never worked out it wouldn’t be difficult to find someone to come along. It’s a standup comedian — I could easily just bring a guy friend if I ran out of girl friends to ask.

One of my friends has been texting me to ask if I’m going to Black Flag — she only wants to go if someone she knows is going too. While I was trying to decide, they announced the Raconteurs so of course she’s going to that, probably with her husband, so now my participation isn’t needed.

I’m almost certainly not going to the Raconteurs because tickets are a little steeper than I’m willing to pay for that show. I saw Jack White when he did a show here a few years ago (the same friend was also at that show, on the other side of the arena) and it was pretty good. I just have to be pickier, and I’m leaning toward Jason Isbell.


Wednesday night I saw the Metallica movie, an edited film of the band’s performance with the San Francisco Symphony in September. It was really good, although a little self-indulgent, a vibe I didn’t pick up from the CD recording of the original show with the symphony twenty years ago. I’m happy to look the other way on the self-indulgence. The band is still, all these years later, the biggest-selling live band in America, so they deserve some indulgence.

I enjoyed it so much I came off the fence on the Slayer movie next month. Slayer’s supposedly calling it a day after the current tour, so what the heck; I might as well.


This past summer, something at work really, really got me angry and I didn’t tell anyone about it, but a friend in the office says everyone knew I was pissed, even if they didn’t know what I was pissed about. They couldn’t have, because it was all happening in email between me and a few people in my department.

I don’t know why, but I always thought I was good about keeping my feelings to myself when I was determined to. But this coworker said no, when I’m mad it “oozes out” of me, a description I really liked. I’m picturing what I must have looked like during my four-hour CPR training that day if everyone else in the room (including the instructor, according to my friend) could see anger oozing out of me. I’d like to have seen it.

I mention this because I’ve been really down about something at work this week, something everyone knows about. Although I’ve heard from a few people that they didn’t think it was handled well, nobody seems to be as personally upset as I am, which puzzles me a little. I swear I must be oozing out of every pore.

So I stayed in bed all morning and didn’t drag myself to the office until somewhere around 2. We’ve had terrible rain this week, which means I can’t go swimming unless I want to soak up all that runoff. Yick.

That threw off my Saturday morning game, but sleeping in was really what I needed. I didn’t get anything on my list done at the office today. I did spend a few hours thinking about this thing I’m upset about, and about possible ways of (a) dealing with it now and (b) defending myself against this kind of being upset the next time it happens.

Yeah. I actually had a little cry about it, because it seemed the solution is just to stick to my job, and stop directing my energies at trying to encourage camaraderie and goodwill. I don’t want to be specific about what I do toward trying to help others feel as good about working here as I feel about it, because honestly it’s embarrassing and if I spelled it out, you’d think what I really need is a girlfriend or a dog or something, on whom I could direct all this energy and time.

Or a classroom full of teenagers, if I’m being honest.

But as I made a specific action plan for reining in my energies so I could just do my freaking job, I realized that although I could do it, I would be even unhappier than I am now. I’d rather try and fail, and have my ideals smooshed down, than not try. The trying makes me happy. The failure is just an accepted part of the mission.

I am going to cut back on a few things, though, because one must, every so often. I’ve been doing some fill-in work at the reception desk, and I’ve already asked that they call me only when they’ve gone through the list first, at least until sometime next month. And we’re doing our annual Halloween thing at the end of the month. I’m going to sit this one out.

My bitter heart needs some downtime.


In the Desert
by Stephen Crane

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;

“But I like it
“Because it is bitter,
“And because it is my heart.”


You and me, naked, bestial creature.


Okay here’s the Friday 5.

  1. What’s something (besides an electronic device) for which you spent extra money on a protective case?
    When I wrote this question I was thinking about this cool case I bought for my wireless mechanical keyboard. Someone online recommended this hard case meant to carry around a small Akai electronic keyboard, but it’s the perfect (perfect!) size for this computer keyboard too, and it only cost thirteen bucks. I can’t tell you how pleased I am with it. Alas, it doesn’t answer the question because it houses something electronic, which means I have to go way back to maybe last fall, when I bought a plastic pencil case for all the pens I use for my bullet journal. I’ve put the BuJo on hold for now, but I still carry that pencil box around with me, and I still take it out of my bag and put it on my desk when I come in to work every morning.
  2. What product’s packaging do you find excessive or inadequate?
    In general, I think Amazon’s packaging gets out of hand quite often. Specifically, I’m thinking of these individual snack packs of roasted peanuts I have delivered to the office every two weeks. The packs of peanuts come 24 to a box, and on Amazon you buy them in sets of two boxes. The two boxes come in one box, and that box is packed into an Amazon box, along with those inflatable plastic packing bubbles (not bubble-wrap, but that other stuff). It’s incredibly wasteful.
  3. What are your preferences for food storage containers?
    Okay, I really like those Corningware microwavable things with the rubber lids, but those are expensive(ish) and far too often they sit somewhere unwashed for so long they get gross. I’ve lost some good food containers this way. So for the past few years (since I got out of the classroom, come to think of it), I pack food in disposable Gladware and Ziploc containers. At work, I spoon stuff into a microwaveable bowl (I don’t like microwaving stuff in plastic) and while it’s heating up, I wash the containers in the sink. I can’t tell you how much happier this has made me. On the rare occasion where I don’t get to wash stuff before I bring it home, I usually take care of it at home, but if I forget to and it gets gross, it’s not as heartbreaking to toss it.
  4. This coming week, what would you like to be shielded from?
    It’s been warm and muggy as heck. I’d like to be shielded from humidity, please.
  5. What’s something interesting you’re keeping in a plastic storage box in your home?
    I have a million plastic storage boxes in my house, since the day I committed to never storing things in cardboard boxes. Maybe the most unexpected thing is a small plastic box with my cross-stitching stuff in it. 🙂

Enough with the Coughs (and a Friday 5)

I’ve been sick in bed for the past three days. I’m rather sure it’s just a cold, but “just a cold” hardly exists anymore in my old age. Day one was just an overall tiredness and lack of energy, followed by sniffling and coughing. Day two was deep coughing and chest congestion plus a ragged-sounding voice. Day three (today) was less congestion and less coughing. My stomach aches from the coughing.

I’ve just been keeping up with the work lately, so the three days away from my desk are going to hurt. I didn’t have any hard deadlines, but where I wasn’t in a hurry on most things before, I’m in a hurry now. Being ill sucks.

bates and anna

I could probably have gone in today, but I think the coughing would have disturbed people, not just for the noise but for the suspicion I might be contagious, which I think I probably was. I feel pretty sure I’m not contagious now, since I’m not feeling yucky anymore. I’m even at a boba cafe typing this now, something I wouldn’t have done (out of consideration for others) yesterday.

I think two others in my department were out sick today, so something might be biting us all right in the productivity. I hope the others didn’t get it from me, and I’m wondering where I picked it up.

Æon

I finished season one of Downton Abbey. What a finish. And yeah, Mary is no longer in my list of favorites. Now it’s just Anna, Bates, and maybe Sybil.

Years of observing R and her little sister taught me not to judge women based on the way they interact with their sisters. I swear R was a different person when her sister was around. Sometimes their interactions were downright infantile, something neither of them would ever be called by people who didn’t know them in the context of family.

Mary’s silly contests with her younger sister Edith go beyond mere communication, though. They were just suuuuuper mean, and I don’t like it. Meanwhile, Anna and Bates are good and noble, far nobler than the nobles they wait upon.

I’m concurrently going through Aeon Flux (the animated series, not the Charlize Theron film, although I’ve got that queued up next). I have nothing to say about it now, but I think I will when I’m done, if for no other reason than to remind myself of what I saw, so that years from now I’m not tempted to see it again because I’ve forgotten everything.

a better read than you might think

I’m reading this great book called A History of Heavy Metal by Andrew O’Neil. The author is apparently a stand-up comic, and the history is apparently part of a popular stage routine. I’ve decided not to look up any of the performances of it so they don’t influence my reading.

It’s very funny. And quite literate, and while not exactly scholarly, it’s well researched. I know a lot about the history of this form of music, but he’s filling in a lot of holes in my knowledge, and I’m taking some really good notes for listening later. The casual fan might find it interesting, but anyone less interested in the music than that probably won’t. Which is too bad, because it’s a fascinating history full of great music.

I expect he’ll go into it more later (I’m about a third of the way through), but in the intro, he touches on the long hair and the denim-and-leather attire favored by heavy metal performers and fans. It has a lot to do with identity, not with the music but with others who like the music. O’Neil explains that there’s something about the outsider status of the music and the people who love it that draws them to the hair and clothing.

Someone at work asked me about the long hair recently, and the best I could come up with was, “I just like the way I feel when my hair is long.” I can’t explain it. I know I look ridiculous, especially at my advanced age. I look a lot better with short hair. I might even look better shiny bald (I’ve been there a few times in my life and have photos to prove it). But nothing I’ve done with my hair (and I’ve done a lot of things) makes me feel better than the way I feel when it’s long.

That outsider identity thing? I think that nails it. I need to think about this, very deliberately, since my hair is thinning and my hairline is receding at an alarming rate.

It’s just hair, and I’ll be completely fine with or without it, but dang it. There are few things in life that make me feel good about myself, and this stupid hair is one, as ridiculous as it sounds, and as ridiculous as it makes me look.

Frick.


I wasn’t planning on doing the Friday 5 this evening, but I have 15 minutes before this boba spot closes so maybe I’ll attempt to get it done in this small window.

  1. When did you last make an adjustment to your daily getting-ready routine?
    Okay, this is going to sound psycho, but a few weeks ago, every day of the working week, I left the house and about a block from home, turned around to check my front door. Every day! I don’t know what’s happened to my sense of getting things done with details taken care of, but it’s driving me insane. So now, unintentionally, almost every morning, I load up the car, turn the ignition, then turn it off and hop out to check the door. I can’t seem to get over it most days, although once in a while, I do walk back to the door before getting into my car. That second check has become compulsive, though. Ugh!
  2. When did you last try a new personal hygiene product?
    I switched to some variety of Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner recently, and I really like what they do to my hair. I should probably take a photo so I know what to look for next time. For ten years or so, I’ve almost always gone with a two-in-one of various brands, but lately they’ve left my scalp feeling weird.
  3. What food or drink item have you most recently added to your regular consumption?
    I recently went back to oatmeal as my regular breakfast, only now I’m doing overnight oats in the fridge. They taste best with some kind of milk, or some kind of milk alternative, so I’ve brought back almond milk as a pantry staple. I’d rather have oat milk, and I may switch to that soon. Costco has almond milk at a really good price, though, and that may be the determining factor.
  4. What’s a brand-named product you recently abandoned your loyalty to?
    I don’t know if this counts, but because of budget constraints, I recently switched from bottles of Diet Pepsi, picked up at the 7-Eleven near the office on my way to work, to the fountain Diet Pepsi, which is cheaper. Although it doesn’t taste as good, it’s good enough, and I can suck on ice cubes throughout the morning when I’ve consumed the Double Gulp (that’s half a gallon of soda, with no ice, but I put a LOT of ice in it).
  5. What item in your wardrobe have you recently moved out of the regular rotation?
    When Ryan died, I bought a pair of Jams beach shorts to wear to a memorial gathering for some of his friends — it was separate from the services and ceremonies his family organized. Ryan was known for wearing loud shorts whenever he wasn’t at work. A whole bunch of us bought Jams for the occasion (when I went to the Jams store to buy mine, the store clerk asked if it was for Ryan’s memorial). Since the memorial, I’ve only worn them around the house, but now they’re worn out beyond even that. I’m toying with the idea of buying a new pair.

Bye Bye Love

I’m not going to pretend I was the biggest fan of the Cars, or that I was into them from the beginning. Like anyone else who grew up when I did, they were a steady presence in my life, not a band I sought but neither a band I’d change the station on. I couldn’t really change the station anyway, because we had one real rock station in town, and through most of middle and high school that’s all I wanted to listen to.

By the time Heartbeat City came out at the end of my ninth-grade year (I’m tellling you, 1984 is the greatest music year ever), I was well-versed in the FM radio Cars canon. I didn’t care for “You Might Think,” the lead single from Heartbeat City, but I dug the next song, “Magic” (“Uh-oh it’s magic when I’m with you…”), and then I reeeeeeally disliked “Drive.” I still think it’s the worst song they ever recorded.

But then DC, my best female friend in school most of those years, bought Heartbeat City for me on cassette for my birthday, more than six months after its release, and I still have that thing. Listened to the heck out of it, almost always fast-forwarding over “Drive” but loving the album, in no small part because it was a gift from DC, whose life I was out of for a very long time while she raised two daughters, but who is an empty-nester and therefore more available for hanging out. As recently as last year, she called me her best guy friend.

She doesn’t even remember giving me the album, which is fine with me (she also gave me my first Rush album without even knowing anything about Rush; she just knew I liked them and didn’t have any of their albums, so she got me Moving Pictures).

When Captain Daveman, my roomie in Hilo, got married to Tasha (whom I knew before I knew Dave) and I was in the wedding party, he asked me what song they should use as the recessional. This was the day of the rehearsal, so we were short on time and were limited to something in his collection or something we could get at a record store in Hilo. Apparently Tasha was letting him choose the escape song, as long as she was okay with his choice.

My first response was the very obscure “Your Love is Like a Tire Iron” by Ted Nugent, but I was pretty sure we wouldn’t be able to chase that one down (yeah, that’s why we didn’t go with it), but then I said, “You know, if it were my wedding and I were given this choice, I would really, really want some rock and roll in the ceremony somewhere.”

Dave agreed with the sentiment, and my next suggestion, the Cars’ “Good Times Roll,” was met with strong consideration.

I wasn’t just suggesting it because of its theme. The song’s intro is just so good, so full of anticipation for a great, great song. If you know the song, that intro really gets you up. And it’s so celebratory.

It was ultimately rejected in favor of another of my suggestions, “Linus and Lucy” as played by the Vince Guaraldi trio. Dave and I were big Peanuts fans, and that worked okay too, but I filed “Good Times Roll” away as an idea for my own wedding someday. Little did I know I’d be 50 and still keeping that idea alive.

Then about ten years ago, I bought that first Cars album (digitally). What a great album. I couldn’t believe it. Six of nine tracks were part of that rock-radio canon. How cool is it to buy an album and already really really know two thirds of it? The remaining three tracks are pretty great too.

And so I’ll say what everyone has already said in their eulogies. Nobody sounded like Ric Ocasek or the Cars. They had a flair for melody without sounding like a pop group. They shimmered, squeaked, wailed, warbled, and created their own thing. I think it’s impossible to categorize them, though you’d have to mention new wave as part of the mix, but they were such a rock band.

Ric Ocasek’s death, for people of a certain age, is the death of a steady part of our childhoods, a piece of the soundtrack of our first dates, first breakups, and most lasting friendships. I’m so grateful that my memories of the Cars are anchored mostly by my friendships with DC and Captain Daveman, and not some crush or girlfriend. Although that would have been pretty cool too.

My top 10 Cars songs in order.

  1. You’re All I’ve Got Tonight
  2. My Best Friend’s Girl
  3. Good Times Roll
  4. Candy-O
  5. Dangerous Type
  6. Bye Bye Love
  7. Hello Again
  8. Magic
  9. Sad Song
  10. Blue Tip

I did a stupid thing the other day. Crush Girl and I were talking about this friend of mine, and I sent her to a link of this friend’s blog. Then (honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking), I messaged her: “Oh look. He mentions me halfway down the page.”

Dude hasn’t updated his blog since 2011, and halfway down the page, he mentions me as the keeper of the Friday 5, linking it with the old URL. The occasion was Ryan’s death earlier in the week, something I still haven’t written about here.

It was a stupid thing to do because although that’s a dead link, if she wanted to she could easily track down the existing Friday 5, which of course links here, where I’ve done all this writing about her. I’m a little nervous about it, honestly.

Although really, just Googling me would bring her right here as well, in which case this is all moot.

I don’t think I’ve written anything here I’m ashamed of, although perhaps the intensity of my disappointment and depression is not the best message for someone I’m trying to get to know in the friendzone.

I decided while I typed this that I’m not going to worry about it. There are lines within which I write this stuff anyway, and I’d be an idiot to write anything I really didn’t want people to look at. I just hope it doesn’t negatively affect our growing friendship.

We’re sliding into a casual comfort, a wee bit of that real-world friendship I’ve wanted. Maybe Jocelyn is right, and friendzoning makes actual friendship easier.

I admit it still aches, especially on days when she looks especially nice. Yet in exchange for that aching, I get to interact with her about some good stuff. Nothing especially intimate or personal, but more than smalltalk for sure, and I’m grateful for that too. I’m just focusing on trying to be a good friend, something I can certainly improve on. But more about that later.


Speaking of the Friday 5, here we go. This week, it’s Telltale Tales

  1. What’s a story you really like from your country’s (or ethnicity’s) folklore?
    For the United States half of me, I’ve always been especially fond of the stories of Paul Bunyan, influenced mostly by the Disney cartoon(s) about him. I became aware some time later in my childhood of Joe Magarac, the mythical steelworker, and I’ll put him just a notch below Paul Bunyan.

    For the Japanese half of me, it’s pretty tough to beat Urashima Taro. CliffsNotes version: The young Taro, something of a loner in his fishing village, rescues a sea turtle from abuse by other boys. The turtle asks him to climb on his back; he’d like to reward Taro for saving him. He takes Taro beneath the sea to the Dragon Palace, where he meets the princess. They spend a few days laughing, playing, and exploring. She asks him to stay. He’s worried about his mother and grandmother who depend on him. Sadly, he says he’s got to go back. The princess gives him a box in whose lid is carved the kanji for the four seasons. She tells him not to open it; it’s just to remind him of her. When he gets back home, nothing looks the same, and he can’t find his mother or grandmother, and nobody knows him. He figures out he’s been gone for more than a hundred years. In an act of — actually I don’t know why he does it — he opens the box, which I guess contains all those seasons he missed, because he instantly turns into a very very old man. The stories of my people are very sad.
  2. What movie version of a fairy tale do you especially like?
    What’s a better fairy-tale inspired movie than Tangled? That film is beautiful. Beauty and the Beast is a far better film but I don’t think that’s a fairy tale, is it?
  3. Some fables tell the story of how something came to be (for example, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears). What’s a fable you especially like in this vein?
    A story every child in Hawaii is familiar with: the story of the Naupaka, which grows near the ocean and up in the mountains, and bears a strange-looking half flower. If you put halves of the ocean flowers together, they don’t look right, and neither do two halves of the mountain flowers. To get the right look, you have to take an ocean flower and match it with a mountain flower. Separated lovers. There are a few versions of the story out there.
  4. Some fables have a moral attached to the end (for example, The Boy Who Cried Wolf). What fable in this vein is especially applicable to your life?
    I was going to share the story of the rabbit in the moon (in Japan, they see a rabbit, not a man), but someone beat me to it. So instead, I offer the Fox and the Grapes, from which we get our “sour grapes” expression. I think it’s a terrible moral, but have I considered it in my trying to recover from Crush Girl’s friendzoning me? I certainly have. It won’t stick, though! She’s too nice. I’ve sorta done the reverse lately: convinced myself that I’m pretty horrible boyfriend material in my current state. It didn’t take much convincing, and it mostly works. Better not to get her involved with the likes of me.
  5. If you got together with your high-school friends, what’s a story they might retell about you?
    At our twenty-year reunion (a million years ago), several female classmates told stories about how I was the first guy who spoke to them when they were new. Because of course I was. You can believe there were no guys telling that story. One classmate, Elise, says that on her first day, I walked up to her with my Walkman headphones on, but the phones weren’t plugged into my Walkman. They were plugged into an apple. Apple the fruit, not the (still to be invented) iPod. I remember doing that. I don’t remember the next part she told, that I approached the new girl, took off my headphones, and asked her if she wanted to listen. Haha. What a terrible, incurable flirt. If she had said yes, I’m sure we’d have been married and divorced by now.

    Elise was super cute though. I regret nothing.

Friday 5: dd/mm/yyyy

I’m a week late with this one but of course I couldn’t let it go without giving it a shot. Even knowing the likelihood someone will click to watch any of these videos is extremely slim. If this online journal were audience-driven and not communicator-driven, pretty much none of the content over 15 years would exist.

What’s a good song with a time of day in its title?

I’m going with “2 Minutes to Midnight,” one of my top 5 Iron Maiden songs.

What’s a good song with a day of the week in its title?

Let’s list a few great ones first:

  • “Monday Morning” by Fleetwood Mac
  • “I Don’t Like Mondays” by the Boomtown Rats
  • “Blue Monday” by New Order
  • “Tuesday” by Five for Fighting
  • “Tuesday’s Child” by Steven Curtis Chapman
  • “Friday I’m in Love” by the Cure
  • “Friday” by Rebecca Black
  • “Saturday Night’s All Right for Fighting” by Elton John
  • “Lookin’ for the Heart of Saturday Night” by Tom Waits (but covered better by Shawn Colvin)
  • “I Scream Sunday” by One Bad Pig

But the best is probably “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2. This video is from the incredible Live Aid performance.

What’s a good song with a month in its title?

“September Morn” by Neil Diamond is a good one (I mean that with no irony), but how about “December” by Collective Soul? And no, you’ll not get a “November Rain” by Guns n’ Roses out of me, although I don’t dislike the song as I once did. They played it when I saw them last January and it was pretty dang good.

What’s a good song with a year in its title?

Tempted to go with “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams since that’s the year I was born, but “1974” by Amy Grant is one of her three best songs.

What’s a good song with the word “time” in its title?

Like everyone else, I have a million songs in my iTunes library whose titles contain this word. My favorite group all through intermediate and high school was Styx, and of course I still have a super-soft spot for them in my heart. My favorite album of theirs, Paradise Theater, has two hit songs with the word in their titles: “The Best of Times” and “Too Much Time on My Hands.” “The Best of Times” is the song that got me hooked on them, that turned me eventually away from top 40 to rock, where I pretty much stayed (exclusively!) until I got to college and opened my mind up a little more. If you’re old enough and lived in Hawaii, it didn’t get me from KIKI to 98 Rock, but it opened the door.

Friday 5: From the Top

  1. What’s a food or drink whose bottom is better than its top?
    Nestle Quik, something I have a total weakness for but haven’t had in ages because of this blood sugar issue I have. But I have an unopened Costco-sized jar of the stuff and I believe the time may be nearing when I give up something else to allow the occasional glass of Quik.
  2. What’s at the top of your weekend agenda?
    I’m writing this late Sunday night (for posting late Monday, I think), so this is in the past tense. The main thing for me was getting enough necessary stuff done so I could watch football all day Sunday. It’s not what happened. I got the important stuff done Saturday, sure, but Sunday I turned on the TV for the games and spent most of the day in bed in the other room. Just wasn’t up for being up.
  3. When did you last wear a non-hat covering for your head?
    During my trip to Boston, I unzipped the hood in my green jacket, mostly to keep dry. It was very cold while I was there, but the cold didn’t bother me much.
  4. What tunes did you spin this week?
    Oh, hah. I kinda answered this question in yesterday’s post. Taylor Swift’s Lover, Tool’s Fear Inoculum, Sonata Arctica’s Talviyö, Elvenking’s Reader of the Runes — Divination, and apparently (according to Last.fm), a little bit of Rush’s Signals, and Dio’s The Last in Line, which counter to expectations, was good cruising-to-the-beach music.
  5. When were you last on the roof of a building?
    If the top floor of a parking structure counts, sometime last month. The view from our parking structure at work is pretty great, since it’s the tallest building within half a mile or so. I tried to get up on the actual roof of the actual office building, but the door looks rigged to set off all kinds of alarms, so I backed away. The most recent actual roof of a building might have been a year or so ago. One of the classroom buildings at UH Manoa, where I used to work, has a lanai that goes to the roof. It’s blocked off by a gate but I hopped it just to look around.

Shallow (also Friday 5: Smallifying)

It occurred to me yesterday morning while I was floating on my back in the Pacific Ocean, trying to soak up some of the peace its name promises, that if I’m as shallow as I suspect, maybe it won’t be so hard to get over Crush Girl.

I think about some of the shallow people I know, the guys who have a type. They pretty much roll from one relationship to another with seemingly little damage. This one likes Filipino girls; that one likes redheads. If you’re shallow and you know your type, perhaps you just bounce into the next person who satisfies the type.

Seriously. I know who I am, and an elite college gets me hot. Or at least warm. R went to Stanford. Mochi Girl went to Cornell. One of my former colleagues (a really good friend) went to William and Mary, and before I knew anything else about her, my interest was piqued. Man, I’ve always wanted to go out with a William and Mary girl. It was clear very early on that we were going to be great friends and that was it. I was totally fine with that, but for a few moments, I mean come on. William and Mary.

It makes sense, really. Some of my best friends went to upper-tier schools. Grace went to Wellesley. Karen went to Bryn Mawr. Mina Kimes went to Yale (okay, she’s not a friend but she’s responded to my comments on IG so it’s a start). And let’s not forget all the beautiful, brilliant women I know who went to UH Hilo. If so many of my good friends went to school like this, why wouldn’t I be attracted in more-than-a-friend ways to women who also attended them?

Mochi Girl was a botany major, but maybe that’s why that one didn’t go anywhere.

Do the dating apps let me filter for certain universities and certain majors? Hook me up with a Princeton English major, please. Or a Penn art history major. Or a Harvard education major. Does Harvard even have a college of ed? I have no idea, but I’d love to find out.

Shallow, I know, but maybe my shallowness is the key to swimming my way out of this misery, up to the surface where perhaps I belong. Those depths, I tell you, are fraught with currents of melancholy.


I had my annual performance review at work today, a formality I dislike with intensity, but one I understand is an important part of my job and my supervisor’s job. It went well; it was possibly my best one with this employer. I think I’m trending upward.

I could really use a hefty raise, though. I mean something that by itself would cover my rent. Honestly, if I were paying no rent I think I’d consider myself well off — okay, well enough off– with what I make right now. The employer has been good about boosting my pay each year I’ve been here, including the one year when I was only there six months before this annual review thing. I don’t think the raises have quite kept up with inflation, so I’m still getting poorer, but I appreciate the effort.

Man. I’d still like something more liberating. One of my colleagues (someone more than twenty years younger than me in a different department) asked me what I make. It’s taboo in America to talk about such things, but this person’s a friend, so I considered answering it the way a friend would answer it.

Before I responded, the person asked, “Do you make 50?”

“I make way less than 50,” I said.

“Do you make 45?”

“Shoot. If you consider 45 way less than 50, I make way, way less than 50.”

She was appalled, which gives me an idea of what she makes.

It’s okay. I don’t do it for the money. I make enough to scrape by; I love my work; I love the people I work with. There are so many worse scenarios. And thank God I don’t have anyone to support. Yes, what a blessing it is that nobody has deemed me fit to start a family with!

Anyway. I won’t find out about a raise until probably a month or two from now, based on past experience. It’s a good thing I love me some Princeton girls who can support us both. If they can find me.


Friday 5. From here.

  1. What mini version of a popular snack food is better than its original?
    I don’t think they make Butterfinger BBs anymore, but when they did that would be my answer. I loved those things. Ah, that link says they were discontinued in 2006. Those mini Nutter Butters are pretty dang irresistable. Also, I’d like to say that the optimal size for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups is not the original or the mini, but the snack size (or whatever it’s called). The perfect ratio of chocolate to filling. Those minis were such a good idea, but there’s too much chocolate for the amount of filling you get.
  2. What mini version of a popular snack food is not as good as its original?
    Just today I was in a convenience store and I picked up these Rice Krispies snacks in little bite-sized bits. These were frosted. There were chocolate and vanilla creme; I went with vanilla creme. And blech. The icing was just like the white icing on those frosted animal crackers, only frosted animal crackers are yummy and these were gross.
  3. What food, not yet miniaturized as far as you know, might make a great hors d’oeuvre for parties?
    It’s been my goal for years to get a deep fryer and make mini chimichangas. Think of it. I use a cookie cutter to cut rounds out of tortillas, about three inches across. Smear some burrito filling on them, add a slice of cheese, roll, and fry. Then serve on toothpicks with little cups of salsa for dipping. I need to get on this, maybe before the next office potluck.
  4. What snack food might be better in a giant size?
    How about blueberry Newtons? Like, brownie sized, so you can put a scoop of French vanilla ice cream on top.
  5. What five mini-scoops of ice cream flavors would go really well together?
    Okay, ready? Coffee. Cookies and cream. French vanilla. Chocolate. Chocolate chip cookie dough. POW.