What food, normally eaten cooked, do you prefer uncooked?
Fresh Kahuku corn. Or really any corn grown locally. It’s so crisp and sweet, I don’t get why people feel the need to put it on a grill or boil it in water. Whenever I go to the north shore, I keep an eye out for vendors selling it out of the backs of pickup trucks — it’s aaaaaaalmost as exciting a part of a north shore cruise as a plate of steamed prawns. Oh, and don’t forget the raw egg on rice, on sukiyaki, or in bibimbap (I have to ask for them not to cook it; Koreans don’t seem to have as nice a relationship with eggs as Japanese people). Raw egg with shoyu, aji-no-moto, and kim chee is one of my favorite everyday breakfasts, ‘though I’ve mostly given it up because of the rice.
What food, normally eaten uncooked, do you prefer cooked?
I really like wilting mixed salad greens in some olive oil and then mixing them up with mashed potatoes and a little bit of wasabi oil.
What food, normally eaten cold, do you prefer hot?
This reminds me that there are places in this country where people drink hot Dr. Pepper, which at the same time fascinates me and grosses me out. Exactly the right combination for a late-night experiment someday. I’m going to cheat a little and say either tomato juice or vegetable juice. I use it as an ingredient in my slow-cooker stew, and although it’s perfectly fine cold, I do prefer it after a few hours soaking up the flavors of beef, thickened slightly with some tapioca starch.
What food, normally eaten hot, do you prefer cold?
Okay, I have two great answers for this, and if they gross you out I would just implore you try them. First, macaroni and cheese. I’m totally serious. Cook it however you normally cook it, then set it aside until it cools to room temp, then put it in the fridge and eat it the next day. It’s even better with ketchup. Second, Pizza Pockets. It’s been years since I’ve had them, but when I taught at a school that had no food service, I had to have some quick options for days when I just didn’t have it in me to make lunch. Pizza Pockets, baby — specifically the pizza variety of Hot Pockets. Take ’em out of the freezer in the morning, let ’em sit out all morning, or leave them in the fridge from the night before, and eat them without zapping in the microwave oven. It’s then basically a crusty cheese sandwich with marinara and pepperoni. What’s not to love about that? Thawed but cold is the way to go. Oh, and I know I’ve written about this before, but canned pork and beans. Always keep a can in the fridge, then eat right from the can, maybe with a drizzle of ketchup. Just like Boy Scouts days.
What are your favorite dinner meals to have for breakfast and breakfast meals to have for dinner?
Seriously, any leftovers from dinner the night before are great breakfasts, but I’ll agree with the popular answer and say cold pizza for breakfast. For dinner, it’s tough to beat corned beef hash, eggs sunny-side up, and rice. One of God’s perfect foods.
Man, I’m having all kinds of trouble sitting still enough to write anything. Forcing myself before I dive into the weekend to at least do one of these. The responses by other participants have been fun to read.
What kind of trouble are you getting yourself into?
Uuuuuugggggh. I still haven’t made those appointments I missed a few months ago. I really, really, really need to. Next week for sure. I actually need to get my BP checked, my eyes checked, and probably my left knee checked. The knee has been bugging me for about three weeks and although it feels better, I still feel it with almost every step. Also need to ask someone about my thinning hair. Eep.
What was your most recent car trouble?
I’ve been a bus rider for a few years now, because of my most recent car trouble. I’ve discussed this before, I’m quite sure. But I was distracted (I was not texting or speaking on my phone) (okay, but it might have been phone-related) and rear-ended the pickup truck driven by a famous local radio DJ from the 80s. He and his truck were fine, but my car was totaled. I made myself not drive for a couple of years as penance. I mean, I really could have killed someone. But I’m sloooooooowly getting caught up on a few things and am ready for some wheels. Hopefully before winter rolls around.
What’s a rhyming phrase (such as “work jerk” or “poo shoe”) to describe something causing you problems lately?
How about creepy sleepy? It’s terrible, I know. But this is what sleep deprivation does to me. I had a very encouraging week of sleep last week, but this past week has been freaking miserable. Last night was about as bad as it’s been.
What’s something that needs loosening or unsticking?
I have those windows that have weights hanging within the window frames, to make opening and closing them easy, like with a garage door. One of these windows is sticking, only when I try to shut it. There’s a weird resistance. I sometimes have to slam it down, which scares me because it’s a very old house and it would devastate me to slam that window shut and have it shatter.
What’s your favorite board game involving rolling dice?
I have to go with Risk, a game I love but never ever get to play. I really love Risk, and some of my best game-playing memories are centered on that game. I once bought my friend Ross a very old Risk set. Not the first edition, but pretty close. Picked it up on eBay. The old-looking world map and wooden pieces. Box totally intact. It was sweet. I don’t think we ever played with it.
I’ll do more of these later this weekend, I think. Just to get caught up or something.
When did you last punch someone? Alternate question: When did someone last punch you?
I wasn’t always the pacifist I claim to be today, so I have thrown a fair number of punches, some of them finding their mark. But it has been a very long time, since early high school, and it shames me to think about them now, so I’m answering the alternate question. A couple of months ago, I was walking to a bus stop rather late at night in my neighborhood. People familiar with the area (North King Street near Mokauea Street in Kalihi) will tell you the only surprising thing about this story is that things didn’t escalate, or maybe that this kind of thing doesn’t happen to me all the time. I walked past one bus stop on my way to a safer one at which to wait in the dark (the one across Farrington High School). A guy — thin, not very tall, slightly hunched over, early twenties — threw a punch at my face as I passed. His aim was horrible, and his fist glanced harmlessly off my cheekbone. I was startled. I drew a fist back (honestly, not to take a swing, but to give him something to think about as I considered where I might run) and I looked him in the eye. He was drunk. “What?!” he demanded, taking an aggressive stance as though he might swing again. I gave him an exaggeratedly puzzled look. “What are you doing?” I asked. He repeated his question. I said, “What the heck?” and continued walking to the next bus stop. I kept my eyes on him as I did, awkwardly looking back over my shoulder. He kept yelling one-word threats at me but didn’t come after me. At least not at first. He did make his slow, staggering way toward my bus stop and arrived just as my bus pulled up at the curb. I got on and he didn’t follow me.
How many of those frequent (whatever) stampcards/punchcards do you have, and which are you most likely to fill and redeem?
I’m not going to count duplicates and say it’s in the area of twenty local establishments, some of which aren’t even in business anymore, such as Koi Catering and Takeout (the food truck still exists but I’ve never seen it), Ice Forest, and Ice Fru. I need to do some cleaning up. The card I’m most likely to complete and redeem next is from Friend Cafe, my favorite boba cafe. I actually have a couple of completed cards but haven’t redeemed them so I could use them some day when I don’t have any money. I tend to save my completed stamp cards for rainy days, and then the cards either expire or the businesses close permanently.
When have you had a really good fruit punch?
I used to make a really popular fruit punch from a recipe I got from my mom. People would ask me, going back to high school days, to bring it to parties. I made it often enough that I didn’t need to look at the recipe anymore, and over the years whenever I’ve made it, I think I’ve mutated the amounts bit by bit until the last time I tried to make it and it was terrible. It used powdered strawberry Jell-O (cooked but not set), pineapple juice (to keep the Jell-O from setting), frozen strawberries, and ginger ale. I’ve also been at functions at some of the really nice hotels here, and the fruit punches at those things can be crazy good.
What are your thoughts on boxing?
I love it, but I swore off it shortly after I began teaching. I decided that watching boxing was getting in the way of my becoming the pacifist I wanted to be. My dad taught me how to fight, taught me beginning at a young age, and although I love him and respect him, I don’t want to be him, at least not where it comes to resolving conflict. I’m not saying watching boxing leads to violence. I am saying that watching boxing glorifies something I don’t want to glorify, as much as I love the sporting aspect. Amd yeah, I think it makes ME (not anyone else) more likely to seek non-peaceful ways out of stuff. I mean, I’ll watch pro wrestling, and I’ll watch movies about boxing. But I won’t watch real boxing. My resolve was first put to the test when Tyson fought Holyfield the first time. When I found out the next morning that Holyfield won, I felt a large pit open up in my stomach. “I missed it!” I said to myself, sadly. Then when they fought again, when Tyson bit Holyfield’s ear off, I said, “Oh thank goodness I don’t watch boxing anymore!” After each major fight ever since, I have one or the other response when I hear the results. I believe I’m better off — if not necessarily a better person — not watching.
When do you usually punch in and punch out?
Officially 8:30 in and 5:30 out, but I’ve gotten temporary permission to come in at 9:00 and leave at 6:00. I’m having major sleep issues that make the later start time much, much easier on me. My boss is wonderful and would let me make it permanent, would even let me go 9:30 to 6:30 if I asked for it, which would be even better for me, but I’m trying to work these sleep problems out, not to rely on a later start time. ‘Though to be honest, two days out of five, I’m in from 9:30 anyway and staying until past 7:00. I get more work done when everyone else leaves the building.
What did you last place into a file folder?
I’m not usually very good about keeping things filed, but I’m trying to keep my space at work tidy, so I take a little bit of time each week for filing. The most recent thing was a couple of receipts for money orders. I pay my rent via money order. I keep the stubs for a year or so, just in case.
What do you know how to fold a piece of paper into?
Origami cranes, of course, but I can also do boats, the fortune-telling flip-flop thing, that triangle that makes WHAP! sounds, and a mobius strip. Why did the chicken cross the mobius strip? To get to the same side!
What’s your laundry-folding procedure like?
Okay. For reasons I don’t want to get into, I take my laundry with me when I visit my folks on Sundays. I can usually cram the whole week’s worth into my gym bag, but it works better if I fold the laundry. So all week, my dirty laundry piles up in my living room. Then Saturday night, I stack my work pants in a neat pile, fold the pile and put it in the bag. I next stack all my dress shirts, fold them neatly, and put them in the bag. Then my shorts and jeans similarly, then all my t-shirts the same way. Stack, then fold as one. Then my boxers. My socks just get shoved on top, then my bed linens if I decide to wash them.When I get to my parents’ house, I take each pile out, unfold it, shake the individual items loose, and start the machine. Yes, I do not separate my items because I just don’t have enough laundry for that.
When it’s clean and dried, I put everything back the same way. Stack, then fold as one. When I get it home a couple of hours later, it comes out of the bag and then hung. I hang everything except my socks. Dresser drawers do not work for me; I’ve given up on them completely, at least for now. Instead everything is put on a hanger and hung on a rod in my living room. Socks go into a gift bag I keep next to my desk, since I sit at my desk to put my socks and shoes on each morning.
Yes. I live alone. Why do you ask?
When do you next expect to invite someone into your fold?
The next Camp NaNoWriMo is in July, and we Honolulu writers usually welcome at least one new person to the evening Skype sessions. That’s probably the next time I expect to welcome anyone new to any of my folds.
When have you slept on a foldaway bed?
When we were kids, we had a foldaway bed for our friends’ use whenever someone slept over. It was such a novelty that we loved being allowed to sleep on it when visiting relatives took our beds. That was a very long time ago. I’ve slept on many folding futons as an adult while visiting friends. When i lived in Hilo, my regular bed was a nice folding mattress I put on the floor of my closet so the rest of my bedroom could be for desk space. After two years of sleeping on it, it was pretty flat and no longer comfy. I have a folding futon in my living room that I never use anymore. The futon has worn thin enough that I can feel the slats of the pallet right through the mattress. I plan to get a new one in the next year or so. The last time I slept on it was maybe ten years ago. Maybe longer.
With which Looney Tunes character do you have the most in common?
You know what? I hate Tweety. But I think it’s Tweety. Every optimistic. Passive but safe. Naive. How do I even stand myself?
Who or what are your metaphorical Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote?
My metaphorical Road Runner is literary success, on which I still haven’t given up hope. Of course, I’m not pursuing it as doggedly or as single-mindedly as Mr. Coyote (Genius). My Wile E. Coyote is death, at least for now. Can’t catch me, Mister Death! Oh wait, I’m changing my first answer. My Road Runner is a good night’s sleep!
What’s up, doc?
Attended my friend Momi’s doctoral dissertation defense today. She did a great job, and I was really proud. I’m suuuper tired right now (slept great Friday and Saturday nights, but terribly Sunday and Monday nights) but seeing if I have enough in me to have dinner with her and her (new) husband while they’re still in town. I’m not thrilled about the husband part, but for the sake of this friendship whatever. And now that she’s not still working on this doctorate, she doesn’t need to come to Manoa from Hilo anymore, which means who knows when I’ll get to see her again? Ugh. I think I just talked myself into it.
When did you last hear some opera music?
Man, that’s a good question. It’s been quite a while. Maybe when I saw Renee Fleming with the Honolulu Symphony, which was more than ten years ago. That can’t be right, but maybe it is.
What’s a good life lesson you learned from Looney Tunes?
Watch where you point that thing, and I shoulda made that left toin at Albakoykee.
What’s one of your language-related (that is, something people say or write) pet peeves?
Because I listen to a lot of sports talk, I become sensitive to whatever the athletes and their pundits say. What miffs me lately is “at the end of the day…” which isn’t really bad. It’s just that they all say it now, all the time, sometimes multiple times in one conversation. Please just gouge my eyeballs out with a dull spoon instead.
What’s one of your dining-out-related pet peeves? You know, I’ve learned to be pretty easygoing when it comes to eating out. I’ll admit to a half-second of peevishness when at a fast food place I ask for my order to dine in and they pack it to go, but it’s fleeting, because I realize I’m not paying enough for my food and that kind of pickiness. If it’s fast food, I want it quick, predictable, and tasty (enough), so whatever.
Oh, I just thought of a good one. There are places around here that won’t serve an egg sunny-side up, ostensibly for health reasons. You know, we who enjoy a runny (or even raw) egg know what we’re getting into. If we order it anyway, just give it to us. At the campus where I work, you can’t get a sunny-side-up egg, but nine feet away in a chill case is ready-to-go poke. Cubes of raw fish are okay but a sunny-side-up egg isn’t? Who makes these rules?
What’s one of your technology-related pet peeves?
It honestly shouldn’t bother me, and maybe this goes under language rather than tech, but the mass media have a way of misusing tech terminology. They do it so often that their misunderstanding of the term becomes the commonplace usage. One (dated) example is the flash mob. A flash mob used to be a nearly spontaneous group behavior where “organizers” (such as this could be called organized) sent out text messages with simple instructions, such as “Walk into the Pali Highway Safeway at exactly 10:00 a.m. today and purchase exactly one orange. Pay for it at register 1. Pass it on!” You never knew how many people were going to show up or if there would be some rebel who’d show up and buy an apple instead, but there was a spontaneity combined with surrealism that was magical.
How “flash mob” became the name of a rehearsed performance in a public space (sometimes even promoted ahead of time! “Food truck rally with flash mob performance by Flash Mobb Kreww!”) is a mystery to me, but I know the mass media played a part in the devolution of the terminology. And this kind of thing happens all the time, with terms like “sexting,” “home page,” and even (many many many years ago) “blog.”
And if you’ve missed my saying it before, here it is again: Chalkdust is not a blog.
Am I a tech/language snob? Only if you consider my usual, insistent position snobby: if language changes because we’re using it creatively, the language becomes richer and more dynamic. If it changes because we’re too lazy to use it specifically or correctly, the language becomes dingy and dull.
What’s one of your television-watching pet peeves?
What’s something you do that you know peeves others?
I move pretty slowly through crosswalks. I’m old and often injured, and often am in the middle of a ten-mile walk. Cut me some slack, please.
What’s a food that tastes completely unlike anything else you can think of?
I suspect that one reason truffles are so dang expensive is that nothing tastes anything like them. There aren’t any cheaper taste-alikes, so if you want that flavor, you have to pay whatever they’re asking. I don’t even know if I really like them: all I taste is expensive, you know?
What’s a movie that’s completely unlike any movie you can think of? Bubba Ho-Tep, a movie I hate. Bruce Campbell is Elvis Presley living in a nursing home. I know people who are crazy about this movie, and they’re the kind of people who would normally make me want to reconsider my response, but that would mean watching this again and I simply can’t imagine myself doing so.
Who’s a musician or band you consider completely unoriginal but whom you still like?
Well, I’m a big fan of 80s hair metal, so that’s almost a whole genre of unoriginal bands. For me, the most emblematic of the talented no-talent bands is Poison, whom I really dig.
Who or what are two people or things you keep mixing up with one another?
For the longest time, despite having seen a bunch of each of their films, I couldn’t keep Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, and Bradley Cooper straight. Now I’ve sorta got Reynolds separated out, but I don’t think I can say with any confidence which of Gosling and Cooper I’m looking at if I haven’t looked at the credits first.
What’s something you’ll do this weekend that’s different from your normal weekend activity?
I might see a movie in a theater, something I think I’ve done once in the past three years or so. I’m annoyed that I haven’t made time to see more films this year, but I’ve been so danged busy. I’m even planning to put myself to bed before 10:30 this evening so I might be able to sleep in AND catch an early matinee.
From here. Questions inspired by The Greatest Showman which I recommend highly.
What physical trait are you (or have you been) self-conscious about?
It’s changed over the years. In recent years it’s this gap between my front teeth. It’s not quite the size of Dave Letterman’s old gap or Michael Strahan’s, but it’s noticeable. I try not to think about it, especially since Letterman and Strahan rocked theirs so well, but I can’t help feeling everyone is staring at it even when I know nobody is staring at it. Although now that my wonderfully long hair is thinning at a heartbreaking rate, I have a feeling my answer’s going to change soon.
When did you last do something risking injury?
We’ve been having a bit of a gecko problem at the office, and while I don’t have a problem with geckos, I do not need their poop on my computer mouse. The problem got pretty bad, so I came in one weekend with a plan for repelling (not killing) the little grey reptiles. I can coexist with them. I just don’t want them in certain areas above my desk. So I did a little bit of research and brought in some garlic, which I hung from the ceiling. I will not share how I got the garlic up there, since I’m sure it would be prohibited by my employer, but I could really have hurt myself had I not been so nimble.
Why do critics and the general movie-going public never seem to agree?
It’s because critics see thousands of movies. If you eat a thousand chicken parmesans all over the country, you get pretty good at telling the better from the worse, as Brian Windhorst will tell you. Critics see so many movies that they actually know more than the rest of us about what’s good and what’s not. They don’t know more than we do about what we’ll like, and that’s where people get all huffy when critics hate the movies they love, or love movies they don’t get. This is why the good critics tell you why they dislike or like a movie, and we decide for ourselves if those are the reasons we would also dislike or like a movie.
How do you feel about Hugh Jackman as an actor?
He’s good. I have always liked him as Wolverine, and I thought he was a good Jean Valjean. As P. T. Barnum, he plays a kind of Disneyfied version of the Greatest Showman, and while that disturbs me a bit, the product is too good not to be forgiving. I’m not sure he’s a very good singer, though.
Who is the best singer you’ve seen in live performance?
This would have to be Renee Fleming, whom I saw in performance with the Honolulu Symphony in March 2006. It was amazing. And I do not mind admitting that I was totally, completely in love, and if she had somehow asked me after the show to leave everything behind and come be her servant, I would have done it in a second.
Don’t worry. I do plan to put up something interesting (at least interesting to me) besides these Friday memes. Just finding my groove while still trying to address the malware on my other WordPress sites. It’s not just cleaning up the mess, but doing what I can to prevent this kind of thing later.
What did you most recently spray out of a can?
Shaving cream, and that was last Sunday, although I’m seeing a concert this evening so I’ll be cleaning myself up sometime before I go to town. I like shaving gels, actually, something I originally picked up because it’s what my dad mostly used when I was growing up. But I’ve tried various options over the years and keep coming back to the gels. My favorite was a medicated (not aloe, but something else) Edge that really made my skin feel good. It was discontinued by the time I got through the first can. Nowadays, I shave in three different places (home, my folks’ place, and the office) and I have a different gel in each place. So I’m kind of picky, but there’s a bit of range to my pickiness.
What’s your favorite food (or food product) that’s sprayed from a can?
I have to admit I really love (‘though almost never indulge in) that spray cheese you supposedly put on crackers. Still, what’s better than whipped cream?
When did you last spray-paint something?
I think it was five years ago when I was the publications advisor at the community college. We cleaned up and painted the old newspaper boxes around campus. Took a lot of ridiculous energy but they looked nice.
What’s something that’s not sprayed from a can but would be pretty cool if it were?
I really think we haven’t explored far enough the possibilities of better ways to use butter. Real butter. Spreading it on stuff that’s not hot can be a real pain, and while the butter stick incarnation is great for most cooking uses, it fares poorly as a condiment. What about softened or whipped butter out of a can like with spray cheese or whipped cream? As long as you didn’t have to add too much to it, and if you could maintain all the wonderful qualities that make butter butter, I’d be down to give it a try.
What’s conceptually the oddest thing sprayed from a can? I know everyone’s probably going to say fake hair from a can, and that’s certainly a worthy contender, but as an island boy for most of my life, I have to say spray can snow for Christmas trees. I especially don’t get it for people who live here. Other contenders: spray air (like for cleaning computer stuff) and spray noise.
I’ll get into details later. Still cleaning up the mess on other WordPress sites I take care of, but I now have this one cleaned up and ready to repopulate. Gonna spend a couple of days next week refamiliarizing myself with MySQL to see if I can find a quick(ish) way to import my old content or to scan for wherever the nasty stuff is. Yay.
What’s something you enjoy that contains garlic?
I used to make this thing called 29 clove garlic soup. It was thickened with bread, which was kind of neat, and it tasted garlicky not but super garlicky. It was an Emeril Lagasse recipe. I should dig that up and make it again.
What’s something you enjoy that contains ginger?
I’m half Japanese, so I care very deeply and passionately about ginger. Of the (too many) unitaskers I keep in my kitchen, one of my favorites is the ceramic ginger grater (which actually works nicely with garlic too, so maybe it’s a duotasker). Still, the ginger-containing thing I like best is something I’ve never made in my kitchen: gingerbread. Holy cow. Is there a better smell in the world than fresh-baked gingerbread?
What’s something you enjoy that contains cloves?
When I used to teach Romeo and Juliet to ninth-graders, we would end the unit with Renaissance Day, a day with recitations, dancing, games, and food. I would sometimes bring a mulled cider that I rather liked. Lots of cloves and cardamom.
What’s something you enjoy that contains cinnamon?
Cinnamon is good in everything, right? I found a pretty good recipe online for slow-cooker Cincinnati chili, and it’s delicious. One of my favorite things to make, really. I’ve tweaked it enough over the years that it might not pass for the real deal anymore, but I love it. Lots of cocoa and cinnamon.
What’s something you enjoy that contains celery?
So, I’ve hated celery for most of my life and still don’t like it much, but there are a few things I’ve learned to actually kind of like it in, if it’s chopped in pieces small enough. Something about the mayo in tuna salad makes chopped celery kind of okay now, so I’m going to say that, although I do use it in (and remove it from) most of the soups and stews I make, too. Celery flavor without the celery grossness.