Friday 5: Then You Begin to Make it Better Better Better Better Better Better Yeah

The days seems to be flying by, not only collectively but individually too. I don’t understand. I’m wondering if it has anything to do with my serious effort to get 8 hours of sleep each night even if it takes me 12 hours of bed time. That was only once, but it is usually 9 or 10 hours in bed to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

Weirdly, I wake up from these sleeps rested for sure (honestly, I didn’t know sleep could be so deep on a night-to-night basis), but suuuuuper reluctant to get out of bed. I wake up fine. It takes a suuuuuper effort to get my body up, though. Like it’s almost painful. When I was a constantly sleep-deprived teacher, getting out of bed was easy because it was almost always in some kind of near panic.

Having a job where I’m expected in at around a certain time is certainly a completely different way of living a life. Man, when you’re a teacher, you really have to be in a certain space with a certain amount of preparedness at a certain time. It makes (or it made, for me anyway) for a life not unlike a series of hundred yard dashes.

Honestly, I don’t know how I lived my life that way for so long. And how can I ever go back?

It wasn’t nearly as bad near the end of my tenure as at the beginning, for sure. V and I lived in the same neighborhood and would ride in together. We’d start the week coming in at 6:30 or so, but since even that never seemed to be early enough, as the week progressed we’d be in earlier and earlier, in ten or fifteen minute increments. It was madness, I tell you.

It’s true that I’m a gifted winger, something other teachers have acknowledged, but winging it was seldom the plan. I prepared like a madman, as my classroom partners will testify. It’s also true that I was a very inefficient planner, taking three hours to prep something that should have taken ninety minutes, but whatever, you know? When it was time to go, I was ready to go.

Anyway. It’s not like that now. Sure, I’m still at the office until 6 or 6:30, like in my teaching days, but that’s when I get in at 9. Nine! Or sometimes 9:30!

I was all set to groove to the new Steve Hackett album dropping last Friday, but I discovered over the weekend that Presto Ballet snuck a new album out the week before Christmas without my hearing about it, so that’s been my jam all week. It’s not nearly as good a the band’s first album, but it’s still pretty dang excellent. So Steve’s on hold while I still enjoy Presto Ballet and last week’s new Evergrey album.

I saw Jonah Hill’s Mid90s last night. I’m really interested in Hill as a writer-director. I suspect he could be great. This film is not great, and it wasn’t reviewed super well, but Hill has serious promise. This is a thoughtful film, and Hill is going for somethng he doesn’t quite get to, and it’s okay. I love that he tried. Full review later. Looking forward to watching it with Hill’s commentary this evening. The guy shot it in a 4:3 aspect ratio for some reason and I wanna know what it is.

Friday 5 from here.

1. What’s something you hated as a teen but love today?

Tomato. I used to peel it off every burger. When McDonald’s featured its McDLT in my senior year (a delicious lettuce-tomato-mayo burger), I would peel off the tomatoes and put them on this rail behind the senior lockers. I collected them there. The line of dessicated tomato reached about 10 before the custodians must have cleaned them all up. Now, if it’s a good tomato, I can just about never get enough. Grape tomatoes especially.

2. What’s something you recently dreaded that turned out not too bad?

I had lunch with a couple of really good friends last week and I was not looking forward to it. I can’t explain it; it’s just how it usually is. I agree to go, and as the appointed time gets nearer I’m full of regret for even considering it. Then I go and it’s fine. This time it wasn’t great but it was fine. And the food, at a ramen place I was really eager to try, was fine as well.

3. How do you feel about February as it compares to January?

Behind October, February is my least-favorite month. January is my favorite month, although as I have said this year January was a bit of a bear. I just really never cared for it. January feels like an extension of the holidays to me, since my birthday is in it and I get gifts, and since most of my life has been ruled by an academic calendar and January is fresh and new in a school year. February’s a huge letdown, especially since football season also ends and baseball season hasn’t begun yet. Bleah.

4. Who among people you know is really making the world a better place?

I have a friend who’s involved in some really deep homeless ministry. As I have written in this space, I have a real burden for the homeless, and not only does this friend have a similar burden, but she puts it into motion and gets into it with them. I would totally join her (she invites me nearly every weekend) but I don’t want to meet all her friends who are into it with her. I’m sure I won’t want to get to know them. Which is stupid, I know, but most of my social life makes no sense that way. The city has really been making homelessness as close to illegal as possible, ever-tightening the noose around areas where homeless people are allowed to be, and it’s leading to major problems. The Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center thinks it’s going to have to shut down since the area around it is one place where our homeless residents have taken up residence. They have to go somewhere, though, and my heart breaks for them.

5. In what way is today better than yesterday?

I was in the foulest of moods yesterday. I still managed to be productive at work, but after work all I wanted to do was go to bed. Mid90s turned out to be a better option, and I felt a lot better after seeing it, but dang. I was so freaking grouchy I wanted to do something self-destructive, like eat a whole cheesecake. Today I’m still annoyed about what pissed me off yesterday, but it’s not that bad. I feel good overall, and had a decently productive day despite some forces working against it. It helps that I had a good night’s rest!

Friday 5: Teal This Record

This week was as rough as last week, but I somehow managed to be pretty productive at the office and at least non-destructive away from it. Progress!

The office move is now happening. There’s even a date and schedule for when we’re supposed to have our stuff packed and everything. They’ve distributed our parking assignments and the seating chart (I’m between two of my favorite coworkers and don’t know how they’ll ever get any work done) and new direct phone numbers. We’re supposed to have our allotted three bankers boxes packed on our desks when we get out of here one Friday and then just show up for work at the new place the next work day, when our spaces will be waiting for us.

My office wall art. Haven’t decided if I’m bringing it to the new cube with me or if I’m bringing it home. Yes, I live alone. Why do you ask?

I’ve packed up a lot of stuff, but I still have my Christmas lights up and my wall art. Guess I’ll be coming in Saturday to strip it all down.

The new Weezer covers album is good. Reviews are lukewarm and I totally get it, but I’m down with the song selection (mostly songs from the 80s). As I’ve written elsewhere, I like a cover by a band I like of songs I also like. I’ve had it on almost non-stop repeat since the album dropped Thursday. And surprise! This week’s Friday 5 is inspired by the first five songs from the album.

1. Where in Africa would you like to visit?

Casablanca for sure, even though I don’t know anything about it. I have some friends who did missions in Morocco for close to twenty years and for some reason I’ve never asked them about Casablanca.

2. If you ruled the world, what would you forbid people to talk about in the company of strangers?

This might be too vague, so I’d put my experts to work putting it in more reasonable words, but I don’t like hearing gossip in general, and try to go away when it’s about people I know. When it’s about people I don’t know, I somehow like it even less. I get it. Talking about other people is interesting for some reason. However, geez. Spare us if we’re in a public space. Keep your poisonous storytelling to within your circle and keep it away from me and others who don’t care. New law!

3. In what way do you tolerate (or enjoy) being used?

I’ll tell you what. Being used is really kind of a matter of perspective. In a relationship, if someone is merely using me for whatever, and if I’m getting from the relationship what I want, who’s to say which of us is using the other? Are you using me for nice company while you get over whoever just dumped you? Fine. It might not end well for me, but I know what I’m getting myself into when I’m just the rebound relationship. So my answer is really this. If what I’m giving is a regular expression of my feelings for you — whatever the feelings are — use me any way you want. If I have the money to give, take it. If you just want my body (ha!), here it is. If you need to talk late at night about some jerk you think you love when I’m really the one you should be with, well, I’ve survived it more than once and I can take it. If I’m unwilling to give it, I won’t give it. In many cases I’m using you, too. I like that late-night phone time. I like having the money to give you. I can’t really speak to the body thing yet, but here I am, ladies, if you’d like to try me.

4. When did you recently have an a-ha moment?

This is going to sound idiotic. I have a bunch of chores I’ve fallen way far behind on. Nothing too gross, like not the dishes (I don’t let dishes stack up). Just stuff that needs doing but hasn’t been done. Over the New Year weekend, when pretty much everything was closed, I figured out that if I make myself stay put, I can get past the stir-craziness and what’s on the other side is an unexpected energy to get that stuff done. Was this a short-lived New Year’s resolve, or do I finally just say to myself that here I am with nowhere to go, so I might as well do the work? It felt like an important lesson. I’m hoping to try it out again on Presidents Day weekend.

5. What’s something you know about turtles?

I’m not allowed to have pets in my rented house, but I have gotten away with an aquarium. For a while, I considered getting a turtle for a separate aquarium, so I asked my friend about her turtle. She says they’re fun pets to own, but they stink up their tanks really bad. If you don’t wash them and whatever is in their tank every week, it gets nasty.

Friday 5: Movement

Brain’s been a little out of it lately. I do okay at work, but the place where the writing comes from feels tired when I get out of the office.

I’m still working on new year’s resolutions. Getting fresh wheels in September put a huge dent in my walking, and at first it wasn’t too difficult to make up for it on weekends and late evenings. Near the end of the year it was. I’ve been trying to make a good night’s sleep a much higher priority than I have for most of my life. With all my sleep issues, that’s just not an easy thing. Now I’m finding myself with less time for the walking I think I need to do. And please don’t even ask me when I last went for a swim. Ugh.

I have to make this all work. I’m rather sure it’s doable. Maybe the resolutions should be based on that.

Friday 5 from here.

  1. What’s a song that recently moved you?
    The new WordPress doesn’t handle bulleted lists the way I like. This is going to take some getting used to or some code manipulation. I can’t even seem to get it into HTML view. So, a weird thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Someone at work sent me a link to a pop song on YouTube, and the ad ahead of the video was for a Miley Cyrus song, and it sounded really good. Then I heard the song in public places twice and Shazamed it both times (I didn’t recognize it the second time but it was the same song). It’s actually Mark Ronson (the guy who did “Uptown Funk” with Bruno Mars) featuring Miley Cyrus, and it’s good. It sounds like it was right off the Hell or High Water soundtrack, with that kind of evil, outlaw sound. Like a Highwaymen song. It’s my best song of 2019 so far, even though I guess it was released at the end of 2018. There’s a kind of irritating disco beat underneath it, but there is also an acoustic mix of it on Spotify, the version I’ve been listening to all week. Here it is as they performed it on SNL. I can’t watch SNL nowadays because the stuff that’s supposed to be funny isn’t funny anymore. Ugh again.

2. What’s a song that recently moved you — right out the door?
Okay. It’s not a specific song. I went to a little restaurant in my ‘hood. It was blasting one of the local pop radio stations, and I just couldn’t take it. I ordered my food to eat there, but before they called my number I asked them instead to pack it to go. It was loud. It was insipid. I don’t hate pop music, contrary to popular belief, but most of it is unlistenable. Another reason that Miley Cyrus song impresses me.

3. What kinds of dance performances interest you?
Dance just isn’t my thing. I don’t dance, and most contemporary dancing today just baffles me. Folk dances of just about every type (including those from my own Japanese heritage) (and including hula, which I can’t just tell people without considering my audience) bore me. However, I’ll say the dancing in some classic movie musicals does move me. I’m thinking of Singin’ in the Rain and maybe that’s it. Oh, I paid to see Stomp many years ago and that was fun, but I didn’t see it again when it returned once or twice.

4. What’s a good song with the word move (or some form of it) in the title?
The ones that leap to mind are “You Gotta Move” (especially the recording by the Lost Dogs), “I Feel the Earth Move” by Carole King, “She Moved Through the Fair” sung by Megon McDonough on the first Four Bitchin’ Babes album, and “Moving in Stereo” by the Cars from The Cars (1978). However, the very first song I thought of is the best. “Moving Right Along” sung by Kermit and Fozzie in The Muppet Movie. “We did what?” “Just forget it!”

5. How do you feel about prunes?
Canned prunes were in the regular fruit rotation at my public elementary school cafeteria, and they were so gross-looking I never even tried them. I had to drink prune juice on occasion when I was a kid and hate dit, but about fifteen years ago, I gave it another try and it was decent. I’d willingly drink it again if I didn’t have to buy a whole quart. Of course, now I know that you can’t judge a food based on what it looked like in the school cafeteria, so I’m open to giving prunes another shot. Maybe even out of a can.

Friday 5: Off Kilter

The flight from Honolulu to JFK was nine and a half hours long.  I am very susceptible to motion sickness (have been my whole life), but after years of bus riding I thought maybe I could handle a plane ride, which is far less jolty than a typical bus ride, so I didn’t take any motion sickness medication, ‘though I kept some on my person just in case.

An hour in, the plane hit some turbulence and although I didn’t have any queasiness, I wimped out and just took the pills.  Better safe than spewing.  There were no incidents.  The medication makes me really dopey, though, which is why I’m trying not to need it.

I had an aisle seat (by request) and immediately told the hipster sitting next to me that he should feel free to get up as often as he wanted, and I would never consider it an inconvenience.  I feel for the window seat people, being all blocked in with nowhere to go.

I was all kinds of prepared with stuff to keep me entertained, but my heart wasn’t into it.  Once all the blessed distractions were through (snack service, beverage service, meal service, another beverage service, each right after the other), I mostly slept the unrestful sleep of the doped-up flier, which for me means about an hour at a time with thirty-minute wakeful breaks during which I stretched, strolled to the restroom, and imagined what everyone in Honolulu was up to.

I read a little and did the crossword puzzle in the in-flight magazine.  There’s a guy who constructs a Hawaii-themed crossword puzzle for the one major Hawaii-based carrier.  He’s been doing it for years and his puzzles aren’t very good.  This one was especially lazy.  His theme answers were pretty great but the fill was awful.  I swear he had two forms of the same word in this grid, a huge no-no in the crossword universe.

I’m midway through ten books, but the two that get my focus lately are Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Bookshop (yes; I’m still reading it) and Roxanne Elden’s Adequate Yearly Progress.  The latter is written by a former high-school teacher about high-school teachers.  I read a review in the Washington Post (by the Post’s education writer) and was sucked in by the excerpt.  This writer knows teachers, and really nails the heartbreaking absurdity of the job.  I’ve highlighted passages where she describes stuff that just about any teacher will recognize immediately as true.  It’s a lot of passages so far.

I was so dopey that it was hard to focus on the Fitzgerald book, but the Elden novel has short chapters and is a bit easier to read, so I mostly stuck to that.

We landed without incident at JFK, which I found to be pleasant, quiet, fascinating, and not at all what I expected.  I was eager to get the rest of the way to Boston and catch a few Zs.

From here.

 

  1. What actor or actress would you like to see in a film genre he or she has never attempted?
    Did anyone know Kristen Bell could sing before she was in Frozen?  I didn’t.  What an amazing surprise.  It makes me wonder who else out there can sing but hasn’t done it in a movie yet.  I think of the moment Ewan McGregor hit his first notes in Moulin Rouge (a movie I didn’t care much for) and how shocked I was.  I want a moment like that, but of course I can’t think of an actor to name since how do I know who can sing among actors who haven’t sung yet?  So I need to shift gears with this answer and say I would love (love!) to see Jack Black in a straight spy movie.  I think it would be so great to see him as James Bond, actually.  I think he’d be terrific.  People are speaking about Bond as if the ink is already dry on Idris Elba as the next Bond, but somebody please consider Jack Black.  I like the idea of Emily Blunt as Bond as well, and lately I’m hearing some public momentum for Henry Golding (from Crazy Rich Asians and A Simple Favor) as a possible Bond.  He would look great in the part but I think he’d be kind of dull.
  2. When did you recently see something beautiful in an unexpected place?
    I was wandering around in Boston a few blocks south of Fenway Park, and saw the building the Boston Symphony performs in.  Yeah, it has its own buildings and its own performance space.  When I become a billionaire from writing for a non-profit someday, I’m going to build something similar for the Honolulu Symphony because wow.  Behind an administrative building I saw this mural featuring the likeness of Seiji Ozawa.  It’s kind of cartoonish, but you know.  It’s Seiji Ozawa.  How many orchestra conductors in other cities could be put up on a wall like this where some shmoe from Honolulu might see it and recognize him or her?  I’m sure I have a better answer but I can’t think of one right now.
  3. In what way is someone you really admire flawed?
    The easy way to answer this question for just about anyone, I think, is to talk about parents.  We admire our parents but they’re among the people we know best, so of course we’re aware of their flaws.  I think I’ll stick to shallow waters and talk about Tony Kornheiser for a moment.  His daily podcast is my favorite regular media consumption.  He and his cohosts make me laugh regularly the way nobody else does.  He’s smart and witty and capable, like good newswriters always are, of zeroing in on the real story within the story.  However, he has a way of constructing a narrative (or, more often, a sub-narrative) that’s not exactly accurate, and he never budges from it despite evidence to the contrary, and he’ll go to them like favorite guitar licks in an improv band.  It’s maddening, and it’s judgmental in a way I find disappointing.
  4. In what situation did you recently find yourself utterly out of your element?
    I’m planning to go into detail about this later, as I get my thoughts about my recent trip down into words.  The short version: in our breakout groups, our instructors gave us an assignment and I didn’t understand what it was.  Write ____, they said, and I didn’t know what ____ was!  It was kind of magical and frightening and terrific all at once.  We had two and a half hours to write it, so I went to my room, took a half hour nap, then hit Google to see what the heck I was supposed to do.  Everyone around me seemed to get right to work as soon as the assignment was given.  It was humbling!
  5. What implement do you use in a manner unintended by its designer?
    My version of making my bed each morning is to put my pillows, flat sheet, and blanket in a couple of Rubbermaid tubs, then laying a shower curtain liner over the fitted sheet in case any critters want to play on my bed while I’m out of the house.  I’ve had a recurring problem with rats and I cannot stand the thought that they might be doing things on my sheets when I’m out.  So yeah.  Shower curtain liner is my new bed spread.

Friday 5: The Game’s Afoot

The employer sent me to a national development writers workshop. You know “development” is edu-speak for “fundraising,” which isn’t exactly what I do, but I work for a fundraising non-profit, and lately they’re asking for more fundraising-related writing. Mostly I write features: this person established this scholarship and look at all the cool things people have done with it! Or this student received this scholarship and look at all the cool things she’s done with it! Also a lot of alumni profiles. It’s fun work, and I enjoy the challenge of telling compelling stories.

This could be a photo of any professional conference, but it’s a photo of the one I attended last week. That’s my computer stuff in the lower right, and two seats over is the one other person from Hawaii, a stewardship director at USF. She’s from Maui but has been living on the continent since college, I’m guessing. She was rather amused when I told her about my adventures in the snow the next night. Hawaii people just find each other, I guess.

Occasionally I get to do stories that lean corporate. This large company is supporting this research with this cool result in mind. A skill I didn’t know I have emerged last year. I can look at a rather sciencey grant proposal and find in the 100+ pages the interesting story. A few emails for quotes and I’ve got a nice feature.

There are other kinds of writing in my field. Special proposals to potential donors, for example, making the case for naming this auditorium after a loved one. Or less specifically targeted pieces for broader pools of potential donors, for donating toward this new building’s construction. Or even broader appeals for annual donations to specific programs such as the law school or the college of language and literature.

I don’t do most of these other kinds of writing, not as a matter of policy, but just because I haven’t been asked. So this workshop was a chance to learn how to do it. There were people like me, writers learning how to be development writers, but most of the people I spoke to were development people learning how to write better.

We had stuff to learn from each other. A fundraiser doesn’t think like a writer, and a writer doesn’t think like a fundraiser, so there’s usually built-in conflict when we have to work together. I learned a lot last week in Boston about how to do what I do more effectively for these people doing important work.

Still processing, but more later.

Friday 5: The Game’s Afoot

  1. Where’s a nice place to take a walk?
    Around here, the Ala Wai Canal isn’t the most picturesque, but it’s a nice long, fairly quiet walk along the edge of Waikiki uninterrupted by traffic lights.  I enjoyed a walk down Newbury Streetin Boston last week, one of those long narrow parks down the middle of a busy street.  There were a lot of cross streets so you had to be careful, but the park itself was nice.
  2. What do your everyday shoes look like nowadays?
    I’m a guy, so I pretty much keep it simple.  I have a pair of shoes that works at the office but also walking down the street, these all-black Sketchers.  They’ve got laces but they’re slip-ons, and they look sorta professional but also kind of sporty.
  3. What separates a good pedicure from a bad one?
    I’ve never had a pedicure, but I’m told by a few guys that they’re nice.  I’m super self-conscious about my feet and have made an effort to be less so.  I need to find a guy-friendly nail salon who’ll be gentle.  I’m super ticklish.
  4. When did you last go for a hike?
    I took some students on the Manoa Falls hike a few years ago for a photography project.  It’s a hike so gentle I’ve once taken kindergartners on it and they handled it with (muddy) ease.  Most of my hiking has been of the urban variety, begininng when I was really into geocaching ten years ago or so.  I haven’t seriously hiked much since the year before I moved to Hilo, but I’m sorta getting the itch again.
  5. What’s a good song with the word “walk” in its title?
    I have more than 50 songs in my iTunes on this computer with “walk” or some form of this word in the title, including the wonderful “I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash and “Walk On” by U2, but my favorite is Bruce Cockburn’s “One Day I Walk,” which is covered on YouTube by an impressive number of musicians.  The Lovell Sisters (whom I loved!) have performed it live, and Anne Murray has covered it on a recording.One day, I shall be home…

Friday 5: Not Shaken

It’s been a difficult week, and I am not comfortable sharing the worst of it in a public space like this, but although I was enormously inconvenienced and somewhat stressed, nobody got hurt and nothing important was lost, so I consider myself pretty blessed.  Even in my worst weeks, my life is pretty great.

Saturday when I was out for a long walk, something flew into my eye and stayed there.  It was miserable.  I took myself home and after several attempts to wash it out, just went to bed hoping my eye would discharge the foreign matter while I slept.  It didn’t.

So Sunday morning I took myself to the ER, something I never do.  The last time was more than fifteen years ago when I snapped a ligament in my calf at work and really had no choice.  The doctor said he couldn’t see anything in my eye but I did have an abrasion.  He speculated that something flew into my eye, abraded it, and bounced out, and said it should be fine in a day or two, which turned out to be true.

Until then, I was constantly aware of this discomfort in my eye, and found myself tearing up uncontrollably at times.  It was miserable.

Came home from work early Tuesday because I was feeling physically crappy in the midst of dealing with the other ickiness (the stuff I’m not detailing).  Then my planned vacation day Wednesday (to deal with practical fixes for this ickiness) turned into a stay-in-bed-all-day day because I was still ill.  Finally felt mostly better Wednesday night and never got to finish the business I meant to take care of, so I took a half day of vacation Thursday and still didn’t get it done.

It’s been like that.

I did have a fairly productive half-day at work Thursday, though, so the trend is upward.  I’m hoping to settle matters Friday evening so I can enjoy the weekend, which will include a Halloween party at a HS classmate’s house and hanging out with the folks.

Also have to start preparing for my trip, which is exciting.  I’ve decided not to share details about it until I get back, but I promise I will.

From here.

  1. When are you the straw that stirs the drink?
    I am not nearly the drink-stirrer I once was, especially since I work in a new place and am a low person on the totem pole.  However, I have used my voice to speak up on behalf of our nursing moms.  I’ve been with the foundation for nearly two years, and the space we use for a nursing room could be a lot more hospitable.  I really think we aren’t making this high-enough a priority.
  2. Who has delivered the most stirring rendition of your country’s national anthem?
    There’s a video going around this week of Willie K singing a completely rearranged “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the UH Manoa vs. Nevada football game last weekend, and it’s quite terrific, but my favorite all time is still Huey Lewis and the News, who’ve been singing it at baseball games since the mid-Eighties.  I first saw it to open the All-Star game in San Francisco and couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  It sounded the way I think it should sound at a ballgame.  The one I’m embedding here is from a few years later, 1987, and while it’s not the best of their performances of this song, this video’s got the best audio.
  3. Who or what is stirring in your vicinity?
    The occasional car passing on the street outside.  Nothing else I’m aware of.  My neighbors on both sides and across the street all retire early.  So it’s just me, just the way I like it!
  4. What do you like and dislike in a stir-fry?
    Bean sprouts, broccoli, and tofu are my favorite ingredients, but I also like snow peas and baby bok choi if I can get them.  Celery and carrots are big turn-offs in a stir-fry.  I also prefer a light hoisin sauce over a thick teriyaki sauce, but probably the best is just some olive oil and butter, or maybe some chile oil.
  5. How do you deal with feeling stir-crazy?
    I used to go for long walks, but now I get in Jessica and go for a drive, sometimes just around the neighborhood or all the way to the office and back.  A few times, I’ve driven somewhere, parked the car, and gone for long walks in more interesting places.  I have always loved driving, but now in my second month of car ownership after four years of car non-ownership, I love it even more.  Plus the car is air-conditioned and the crib is not, a huge plus in what has been a very humid season.

Friday 5: Social Capital

Awkwafina hosted SNL and honestly, it feels more like a blip than a trend.  Sure, for those of us who were already fans and paying attention, it has certainly been the Summer of Awkwafina.  She released a new album (reviewed by me here) then showed up in Ocean’s 8 and (of course) Crazy Rich Asians, in which some people say she was a scene-stealer.

I was going to say she’s probably too edgy (musically) for SNL but it had Childish Gambino last season in a highly touted musical guest appearance, so maybe not.

If they’re serious about getting Asian actors, musicians, and comedians, they really don’t have to look too far.  I mean, why not George Takei, John Cho, or Randall Park for male actors?  Or Ming-Na Wen, Ally Maki, or Sandra Oh for female actors?  I think Kimiko Glenn would be great for SNL but she’s probably not mainstream enough yet.  Oh!  What about Jameela Jamil from The Good Place?  I bet she’d be great and she’s on a successful, highly lauded show on network TV.

Obvious musical choices are Kina Grannis (whose audience is right in SNL’s target demo) and M.I.A.

Asian musical guests (after a very quick look):

  • Black Eyed Peas (Filipino; 2004, 2009, 2011)
  • Smashing Pumpkins (Japanese; 1993, 1995, 1998)
  • Metallica (Filipino; 1997)
  • Norah Jones (Indian; 2002, 2004)
  • the Shins (Japanese, 2007, 2012)
  • the Yeah Yeah Yeas (Korean; 2009)
  • Bruno Mars (Filipino; 2010, 2014)
  • Nicki Minaj (Indian; 2007, 2014, 2018)

That’s better but come on.

From here.  Certain words highlighted in case Philosophy Mom drops in.  🙂

  1. Who or what keeps hanging around?
    This incredibly annoying sore knee.  I’m pretty certain now that I have to have it looked at, and if they have to immobilize it or do surgery and THEN immobilize it, I’m going to be sad because my new car is a stick.  Argh!
  2. When was something most recently injected into you?
    The flu shot last year.  It was my first in several years but I was at the clinic anyway for something else so I figured I might as well.
  3. What were you most memorably the chair person of?
    You know, it feels great not to have been in charge of anything for a long time.  I was on the planning committee for our HS class reunion last summer and was put in charge of our Family Feud game, but that’s hardly being the chair.  I think I have to go back to my first teaching gig when I was kind of in charge of the technology committee but not really.
  4. When did you last gamble on a decision, and what was at stake?
    I make risky decisions all the time.  I guess for serious, big decisions the most recent was accepting a layoff in place of someone in my department who was going to be laid off.  I didn’t have anything lined up, so I lived on my freelancing gigs, which meant I lost a lot of weight that year.  The stakes were not especially high, since I don’t have a family or a mortgage; yet we were talking about a livelihood with insurance.  That decision led to my being where I am now, which I am enormously happy with, and my team member is still at the firm I left, so it paid off.
  5. Where will you be heading this weekend?
    Def Leppard Friday night.  Out for a long walk Saturday.  Dinner with the folks Sunday.  Pretty mellow weekend in store, except for that concert.

 

Friday 5: Again or Not Again

Plans are set for my November writers conference.  Oh crap!  It’s in November!  That’s NaNoWriMo!  Fridge.  Now I’m going to have to work at double the pace early in the month so I don’t have to stress about it during my trip.

I’ve really been focusing on getting enough sleep on work days.  I often fail miserably, but I’m succeeding more than I used to, and it’s made a huge difference.  Yes, it means sometimes rolling in an hour or two after I usually intend to be there, but my boss has been very understanding, and I always stay late if I roll in late.

I feel like I’ve been a child about putting myself to bed responsibly.  I’m annoyed with myself.  I know a lot of this isn’t my fault: I’ve had sleep issues my entire life, and the issues I have now are searious and a threat to my health, but I’m not doing enough to resolve the issues.  There are things beyond my control, and there are things within my control.  I need to take care of the things within my control.

A coworker this afternoon introduced me to the strangely satisfying concept of soap cutting.  There are people on Instagram who just make short videos of them cutting into bars of soap with a knife.  Mesmerizing, and I’m saying this in a completely non-facetious way.  I don’t understand it but I think I’m hooked.  I mention this now because I suspect these things might make it easier for me to relax into sleephood at night.  That’s my intention anyway.

I’ve seen three films this year so far that I’ve rated in the 90s.  Eighth GradeThe Bookshop.  Puzzle.  I call that a good year.

Friday 5 from here.

  1. What is the story behind one of your scars?
    I have a scar on my right wrist.  I sliced it open with my own ice skate one day in tenth or eleventh grade, when I was still dating Lisa.  We were playing tag on the ice, and I had this killer move where I would let someone get really close to me in pursuit, and then I’d duck down, stopping almost completely while the pursuant skated right past me.  In this game, I put my right hand down on the ice to help me with braking, and my skate slid backward and right over the wrist.  Ouch.  To this day the feeling in my skin right around there is not what it was.  I think I severed things that never reattached.
  2. What’s an example of your being pretty much like everyone else?
    I really hate getting-to-know-you games.  If we all hate them so much, why do organizers of certain things still plan them?  I was chatting with a coworker who went to a conference late this past summer and she said they made them do a spaghetti-noodle-marshmallow game.  Nobody likes these!
  3. What’s an example of your being pretty much unlike everyone else?
    I prefer cold macaroni and cheese to hot macaroni and cheese.  With ketchup.
  4. Of websites you look at daily (or almost daily), which have you been paying attention to longest?
    This has to be Hawaii Threads, a local forum run by a good friend.  It’s pretty dead nowadays, but I still check it once or twice a day.
  5. What’s something you wish a smartphone was capable of?
    Underwater photography.  I think of this every time I’m in the water at the beach.  I can think of few things prettier in my near-daily life than the ocean as the sun peeks over the Waikiki condos.  I’m thinking of finding a waterproof Funsaver just to try and capture some semblance of the prettiness.  We also haven’t really reached the digital-audio-file-to-text transcription technology everyone really wants.

Friday 5: A Garbage Heap of Questions

Gearing up for another NaNoWriMo, I purchased a very short book on writing the cozy mystery.  I used kind of a how-to book for my 15 flash fictions in 31 days project in July and it went really, really well, so I’m looking for similar guidance for NaNoWriMo.

I’m thinking of revisiting a failed concept for a few NaNos ago, a cozy mystery set in an elementary school with a tweener as the sleuth.  It gives me something of a new concept in a new (to me) genre, and it has the bonus of being a good audience for a complete novel at 50,000 words.

I’m wolfing down a quarter-pounder with cheese (deluxe) meal at the McD’s on the corner, coming down off the post-concert high from New Order.  It was a most excellent show, and Kathy and I had a great time from rather good seats.

I just saw a Domino’s delivery car go through the McD’s drive-through.

I’m 59% of the way through The Bookshop, the Penelope Fitzgerald novel from which the film is adapted.  It’s rather good.  Such a completely different voice and style from Kevin Kwan’s in Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend, both of which I enjoyed.

I want to be a writer whose fans enjoy his voice.  I enjoy my voice, although I have to admit I’m getting tired of it, and I’ve been playing around with some variations to see if they fit.

In John Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday, the sequel to Cannery Row, the author refers to himself in the prologue, describing a conversation between him and one of the characters.  I might be remembering some of this incorrectly, but the gist is that the writer agrees to keep his flowery prose limited to a few chapters, and agrees further to title the chapters “Hooptedoodle” so the reader who avoids flowery prose can just skip ahead.

When Steinbeck wants to be showy, he can really be showy.  It’s some lovely writing.  But it’s all Steinbeck’s voice, the regular chapters, the intercalary chapters, and the hooptedoodle chapters.  I want to be this consistent.

No problem, right?  I mean Steinbeck did it.

Sweet Thursday is not one of his stronger novels, but it’s one of my favorite.  I think it’s my third favorite behind The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men.  For some reason I like it better than Cannery Row, ‘though it’s not nearly as good.

Friday 5 from here.

  1. What should be the collective name for accountants?
    A reconciliation of accountants.
  2. What should be the collective name for cafe baristas?
    How about a misspelling of baristas?
  3. What should be the collective name for tattoo artists?
    Two other respondents suggested a sleeve of tattoo artists, which I totally love, but since I refuse to copy, how about a permanence of tattoo artists?
  4. What should be the collective name for people who vape?
    A cumulonimbus of vapers.
  5. What should be the collective name for people in your profession or hobby?
    A futility of writers.  A paragraph of writers.  An epitaph of writers.  Ooh yeah, let’s go with that one.

Friday 5: Over Under Sideways Down

Jessica being towed six days after I bought her.

From here.

  1. What are you so over?
    Besides the hill, which I don’t think answers the intended question, I’m so over being a bus commuter, and thanks to Jessica (the name of my new car), I don’t have to think about it anymore.  I’ve gone though periods in my adult life when I’ve been a bus rider, and for the most part I don’t mind it much, but this last time it was four years, and I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I’ve been trying to ramp up my side work, and the three hours of commuting were hampering my hustle ability.
  2. What’s something you’ve got under wraps?
    Not totally under wraps, but it looks like my company is sending me on a trip to a writers conference.  Details later, I promise, but it’s almost as far away from home as you can go and still be in this country, and I’m pretty excited.  I was always mildly annoyed that when I was teaching, other teachers were asked to travel to conferences on the schools’ dimes, and I got sent to stuff on weekends at local schools.  Those were pretty great, but man did that seem somewhat unjust.  So yeah, this will be my first trip for work on which I wasn’t accompanying a hundred seventeen-year-olds.
  3. What does it take to get you sideways, and what’s your preferred method?
    I’ve never been sloshed, mostly because alcohol makes me morose.  After a couple of beers I decide I’m sad enough and don’t need any more.  As a result, I’m a horrible lightweight.  At my goodbye get-together when I left my last school, I had a beer and then a mind eraser, and I had to walk around the park a few times before driving home.  I wasn’t drunk but I was pretty woozy.  I’d say my preferred method is frozen strawberry margaritas, but usually I just have a couple of brews.
  4. What’s coming down the pike?
    New Order concert this Friday, and Def Leppard concert two weeks later!  I’m seeing Def Leppard alone (I go to most of my concerts alone), but I’m seeing New Order with one of my HS classmates, a friend for a million years whose BF doesn’t want to see New Order.  I think of all my female classmates, nobody makes me laugh as much as this one, so it’s going to be fun.
  5. What’s the last thing you read directions for?
    Is a recipe directions?  If so, I read directions a couple of hours ago when I wondered how difficult it is to make cabbage tsukemono.  If not, I had to read directions Friday for filling out some paperwork for this work trip.