Lockdown: Kimchi whiz

Boy did I get to sleep late Friday night. I think it was creeping up on four in the morning. Which of course meant Saturday I got out of bed at about nine. Forced myself up, really, to run some quick errands, knowing I could get a nice long nap later.

Stuck a DVD in the mail for Netflix. Stopped at Palama Market to get kimchi, but ugh. I did not like their selection, which was pretty much limited to their house brand, which has far too many ingredients, including stuff I suspect is a preservative. Kimchi with preservatives just goes against my concept of and appreciation for kimchi, expecially when there are house brands elsewhere in town with just a few ingredients and no preservatives.

I was on that end of Kalihi for a reason. This was the day I was finally going to get tofu right from the Aloha Tofu factory, which is also in Kalihi, very near where King Street intersects Dillingham Boulevard. I read an article about it about six months into the lockdown, and it’s supposedly fresher and less expensive there. It was a piece of cake: I just parked my car in front of the lot, walked to this walk-up counter on the side of the building, and ordered two cartons of soft tofu and one of firm tofu. Aaaaand since there was nobody in line after me, I asked a few tofu questions of the guy who served me, which I’ll share later.

Then it was off to Young’s for my every-other-Saturday Hawaiian food, and then to H-Mart for their house kimchi, which is still not my favorite but at least the ingredients are sensible, and there are no preservatives.

Brought it all home and pigged out on Hawaiian food until nature tooks its usual course and I crashed for several blissful hours.

I got up in the late afternoon and worked a couple of chores, including doing the bleach rinse on my water jugs. It’s not hard work but it’s tedious and it takes longer than it should. I had a podcast in my ears as I labored, which helped a lot, and then it was done, and I drove to Mapunapuna to fill everything.

Driving to Mapunapuna, which is maybe between three and four miles from home, when I could drive just down the street or over one neighborhood to do the same thing seems really silly, especially now that I’m mostly over that burger spot. I may have to reevaluate this silly exercise. Now that I’m doing laundry right in my hood, it seems silly to erase the one good benefit by going a lot farther to do a different thing.

If I’m going down there anyway, like to pick up prescriptions or get some blood drawn, that’s a different story. But Saturday night I just drove down there for water.

I hit the McD’s drive-through on my way home, mostly because I wasn’t really ready to go home yet, and once I got the thought of spicy McNuggets in my brain, I had to have them in my mouth and then in my belly.

And then, for absolutely no reason at all, I stayed up until past four-thirty in the morning. I wasn’t even doing anything. Just not going to bed, even though I could easily have fallen asleep hours earlier. I think I just enjoyed being up during those hours. My heart longs to be a vampire again.

I’m a hopeless night owl.

There was some fun happy new year talk in the Suzanne-Cindy group text (no Julie because we were talking about local places to get Chinese New Year food). Jennifer commented on the Ronnie Chieng video I sent and I responded. That was it for texts.

I wasn’t much in the mood for music most of the day, so I caught up on a few podcasts and even revisited a few older ones I’ve kept in my phone. Reply All is doing this outstanding short series about race issues at Bon Appetit, especially in the test kitchen. Fascinating and honestly, I’m so privileged because a lot of the time, I hear the situation and I don’t hear the established racism. My response is to dismiss it and say, “Not everything is racism!” But I’m trying to rethink a lot of things. If many people say something is racist, perhaps I need to get myself out of my shoes and see it a different way.

I still don’t usually agree, but I’m listening. And the podcasts (two episodes so far; I don’t know how long it’s supposed to go) have been very well done.

I listen to two podcasts twice before I take them off my phone: The Tony Kornheiser Show, because I often miss jokes, and also because I just enjoy the show when it’s normal. It hasn’t been normal because Kornheiser is 71 so he’s not doing the show with his usual cast of cohosts until everyone’s got shots in their arms. Also Reply All, which is just so brilliant and funny I listen twice to make sure I learn stuff I’m supposed to learn.

It’s late Sunday night as I write this and I’m not staying up until four tonight, so beat it. But leave a comment if you need someone to connect with. This offer won’t be around forever, so get in while the getting’s good.

🙂

Lockdown: The sun comes up today

I slept a little better Thursday night heading into Friday morning, but still not enough. Argh.

I also didn’t work very productively, I’m sorry to say. Friday used to be my most productive day, when we were working in the office. I did pretty well with emails but the words just wouldn’t flow on these three student profiles I’m working on. I may have to give them a little bit of attention over the long weekend.

The impeachment proceedings were on again. Although the outcome was pretty much determined already, I think it was important for me to go through it and deal with it (I’m writing this just past midnight Saturday night) and then get over it. Now that it’s over, I’m hoping I may be able to sleep tonight underneath the satellite sky once again, perhaps for the first time in more than four years.

I’m taking deep breaths, trying to sit up straight in my uncomfortable dining room chair that’s become my work chair, listening to music with wide open ears undistracted by the news of the day. I think I’m going to add some conscious mediation to my routine, although I’m trying to figure out where I’d make the time. Going to take a look at some websites for some advice — it’s been a long time since I seriously thought about it ritually. I’ve already found myself centering on certain verses of scripture that have (mostly) helped, and I’ve done a version of it whenever I’ve been in the ocean since Lent in 2019.

One of the House impeachment managers quoted what’s been my verse these past four-plus years. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. I’ve tried, in the face of very unpeaceful times spurred by a very unpeaceful goverment leader, to bring small amounts of peace to others. I thought it might give me more peace too, but it’s mostly only made me angry, like helping that young Chinese woman find her dance classes in a rough part of Chinatown one night, or going way out of my way to help a drunk Micronesian man get his phone from the woman who found it, none of us having wheels and all of us riding buses.

Incidents like these should have soothed my soul, but they made me face the northeast and yell obscenities in the direction of the White House. I’m not speaking metaphorically.

I know there is peace to be had, and I know where it comes from. I just haven’t been able to connect with it much, except for those moments in meditation-like states in the Pacific Ocean. Maybe I can find it now.

After work, I did some quick chores and took a long, unsettled nap. It kind of helped, but not really.

I watched a documentary on DVD. I can’t write what it was, because it’s rather distasteful and I’d rather not cop to my interest. A legit documentary, though, produced by one of Hollywood’s esteemed producers (at least one Best Picture Oscar, with several nominations), about one of those topics you’d be embarrassed to explore. Heck, I live alone and no longer worry about judgment on such things (mostly), but I still peered through my blinds a few times to see if anyone were outside, seeing what I was watching.

Ha. I’m totally serious.

Anyway it was a good documentary, really well done. If you see me in person and want to know about it, I won’t hesitate to tell you. I just don’t want to put it up in a public space where it can be misunderstood out of context.

Two weekends ago, I spent $21 on an apple-caramel pie from Hawaiian Pie Company. My favorite of their offerings. Friday night, I still had eaten only one slice out of it. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I guess I like a little bit of sugar in my day somewhere, most days. I think the clementines and dried apricots have taken care of me, though.

I cut a slice out Friday night for dessert, and it was gross. Kind of gummy and mealy. I don’t know if I imagined it or it really didn’t hold up well for two weeks in a cold fridge, but I tossed it. Need room in my refrigerator, and I didn’t want to eat the pie just to eat it.

It’s too bad, too, because I’ve finally earned enough frequent customer points to get a free pie. And now I don’t really want one.

Fridays, I like to get breakfast out. It’s not a conscious thing, or a habit or ritual. I just wake up Friday mornings and think how nice it would be to have breakfast out. I mean via takeout, although in regular times I feel the same way as I head to the office. When I was riding the bus to campus, I would get up early, stop Friday mornings somewhere along the way, and sit down to breakfast prepared by someone else, sometimes going out of my way to Waikiki (for example).

So for breakfast I drove to Rainbow’s and brought home a boneless chicken plate. Breakfast-slash-lunch. For dinner I made kimchi stew, rather a lot of it. Clementines and dried apricots for a snack.

It was the first day of the Lunar New Year, so of course there were a lot of happy new year messages. Among others, I heard from Jennifer and Maria. I texted Crush Girl to say happy new year.

I’m really getting into the new Transatlantic album. Might have to do a serious headphones-and-lyrics-sheet listen sometime this weekend, ‘though it’s a long album and I don’t know if I have the attention span. I was a little disappointed in Neal Morse’s last solo album — I just didn’t find it very memorable, which can happen with musicians a prolific as Morse. I wonder if it was because he hadn’t played with this specific group pf musicians in many years. Whatever it is, he and the other guys (Pete Trawavas! Mike Portnoy! Roine Stolt!) appear to have put together a winner here, and I really appreciate the variety of lead vocals i this band. Even Portnoy has lead vocals on one song. Nice.

The sun comes up today
Let the whole world fade away

There will absolutely be some beach time this weekend if it doesn’t rain much. And I’m itching to do some writing that’s been on my list for a while.

Leave a comment if you need someone to connect with. Don’t be disconnected. I know the temptation; believe me. The reason I recap my texts and phone calls every day is to monitor myself against my self-destructive tendencies. Namely, the tendency to withdraw into myself and my cave. It’s fine once in a while for a day or two, but pandemic days make it too easy to do it for too long. Don’t go there. Smash my comments and I’ll get to you.

Lockdown: Vader, alligator

My sleep Wednesday night was especially bad, which is a disappointment, because I got my replacement stuff for Darth Vader, and everything felt more comfy. I know because I tried it out during my lunch nap Wednesday. I had to set everything up at mid-day, knowing if I waited until bedtime, I would be too lazy to do it.

Wednesday night I was all set up and ready to go, but wanted to read some news on my phone before turning in. Aaaaaand I fell asleep like that, with Darth Vader on the mattress next to me. Great.

I woke up a couple of hours before my alarm, put everything on correctly (again noting how slightly more comfy things felt) and slept well for two hours.

I really hate myself sometimes.

I took a little while Thursday at my desk to find my work mojo, but once I got into my groove, I was kind of cruising. Submitted a first draft of my UH Hilo story right before my one-on-one with my supervisor, during which we discussed how that story looks. Then we had our departmental Zoom call, with just three of us, to work on some strategic planning responses.

My supervisor liked the draft, so before I sent the draft to the development officer working with the donors, I had to give her a call. It had been on my list for a few weeks to call her. We got caught up in some awkwardness a couple of months ago, and I wanted to make sure we were cool. She assured me we were, and I was relieved.

Yes, I had the impeachment proceedings on the TV as I worked. There was some disturbing stuff. I mean, the entire thing is disturbing, but I thought Thursday’s stuff was especially so. I wonder if the Republicans would be speaking differently if Congress members had been taken hostage, tied to chairs and terrorized. Or if there had been a shootout when aggressors got too close to the Vice President. Would they be so reluctant to vote for conviction? Because if they would, they’re saying the only difference is that the aggressors were ultimately unsuccessful. This is flawed thinking, because the issue at trial is whether 45 incited the riot. Whether the rioters killed just one police officer or took Senators hostage is irrelevant: did the outgoing officeholder stir them to action?

And even if he didn’t, his words and actions, while completely in character, were so unsightly and disgusting, I can’t believe he still has esteemed members of Congress backing him up. It’s so wrong.

I spent my evening after work reading the news, working some puzzles, listening to podcasts, and spinning a few records I can’t remember. I did some journaling, worked some easy chores, and considered options for the weekend.

I had anot her phone call from Reid for advice on his son’s homework. Anto texted me some photos from the calendar I gave him as a Christmas gift, which led to a brief conversation.

Later, I sent him a photo of my own calendar, which was related. His calendar is Middle Earth trivia. My movie trivia calendar asked me to identify the most recent sequel to win a Best Picture Oscar. “Easy,” I said through my still-half-asleep haze as I arrived at my desk Thursday morning. “The Return of the King.” I flipped the page to check my answer, and my calendar said I was wrong! It said the correct answer is The Silence of the Lambs, which was like fifteen years earlier. I was so irritated.

Don’t tell anyone, but I also wouldn’t have remembered that The Silence of the Lambs was a sequel. *blush*

Thursday I also texted Crush Girl, asking if she was okay. She’s been especially quiet lately. It led to a very short conversation, but at least part of it was about books, so that made me happy.

Okay, I was naughty for breakfast-slash-lunch. I made a rather large pot of angel hair pasta with jarred red sauce (with red pepper flakes, brown sugar, gin, dried minced garlic, and some cheddar cheese) and ate the whole thing over the span of a few hours. Don’t tell my doctor.

For dinner I made kimchi stew. In between there were some dried apricots, ‘though I forgot to have clementines, so my potassium intake wasn’t quite what I’ve been shooting for. And right before I got ready for bed (again, far too late into the evening) I got extreme munchies so I made one and a half microwave quesadillas. The only reason I didn’t have two quesadillas is I ran out of cheese.

Don’t panic. It’s on the shopping list. I can make it to Sunday night on just a wedge of past-dated blue cheese if I must.

That’s it. Get out of here. And don’t forget to leave a comment if you need someone to connect with. Long weekend ahead and that virus is still out there doing its thing. Don’t be alone.

Lockdown: Spinning in a new locale

The laundry chronicles

Tuesday night I got to bed at about 10:30 with my alarm set for 2:45 Wednesday morning. This was the day to check out Kapalama Laundrette, and since it’s so close to the crib, I let myself sleep half an hour longer.

Except I woke up at around 2:00 and couldn’t get back to sleep. I jumped up, got things ready for the laundry, taking my sweet time, and by the time the alarm went off, I was ready to go.

Stopped at the McD’s drive-through a block away from the laundry. That’s convenient.

This laundry wasn’t going to have the debit card system loaded by a credit card from a touch-screen display, I was pretty sure (based on Yelp reviews), I stopped at a credit union (no-fee) ATM right behind the building. That’s convenient.

There’s a Zippy’s right in that strip mall, so when life gets back to normal (if ever), that will be convenient, although I suppose by then I’ll be doing my laundry at my parents’ house again.

There was one other vehicle in the parking lot when I pulled up. A van belonging to one of the restaurants. It appeared I was the only human on the premises. Nice.

The laundry is long and narrow with coin-op washers on the right in two sizes (triple and quadruple capacity) and dryers on the left (same?). The faux hardwood paneling has been worn through from years of foot traffic so it looks like some diseased tree losing its bark, in these kind of lava lamp non-patterns. It looks gross. There are folding counters right at the entrance, where there are also vending machines for detergent and fabric softener. Three industrial metal folding tables fill the aisle down the middle, each with its own trash can. There were also trash cans near the entrance.

The facility looked decently maintained, although not obsessively maintained, but it was a freaking mess at this hour. Abandoned zippered plastic bags (I recognize them as vehicles for quarters; one even had a crumpled quarters wrapper inside) took space atop washers, as well as the usual assortment of odd socks, abandoned towels, and even a pillow.

Here’s something I don’t get, and only became aware of when this lockdown began nearly a year ago. Apparently, it’s become a thing to dump your used dryer sheets onto the floor of a laundry. It was a problem at Manoa, and it’s three times as bad at Kapalama. After a few months of tolerating it in Manoa, I made a little ritual of picking it all up (carefully, usually with a napkin in my hand to separate me from the discarded sheets) and tossing it. At Manoa it usually meant ten to fifteen sheets. At Kapalama, it was easily thirty to forty, and I’m not exaggerating. They were all kind of gathered in the front area near the vending machine, sort of in a line hugging the baseboards, like the way there’s always a curvy line of tiny shells and seaweed at the beach to mark the high tide line when the tide goes out. Only ever so slightly less beautiful.

Disgusting.

I claimed the table furthest from the entrance, near the change machine (thankfully operable; you can bet they keep that in good working order) and loaded two machines. When I got it going, I went back to the car to get my book and Big Mac combo. I wasn’t sure if there was a no food policy, so I planned to eat on the trunk of my car if necessary, but I couldn’t find a sign indicating such a policy’s existence. There was also no apparent no reading policy, thank goodness.

Before I tore in, I kind of swept all the dryer sheets into a small mountain with my foot, then threw it all away. There were a few scattered about the rest of the facility, so I gathered them, too, as well as the zippered bags and orphaned clothing I knew nobody was coming back for. Left the towels and pillow.

It was quite a bit nicer now.

A few people mentioned the mildew in the glass front-opening doors of the washers, and it was right there, a rather unsightly and unsettling reality I knew I was going to live with and not think about too much. At least the dryers looked clean and should kill any mildew spores or however mildew reproduces. Is it even a living creature?

My Big Mac and fries breakfast was delicious. I’ve made it a habit to order an extra Diet Coke with extra ice (it’s just a buck) even though I seldom finish both drinks. It’s better to have too much than not enough.

As I ate, I finished On the Horizon, which finished quite a bit better than it started. A security guard walked past the door a few times. I waved each time. He didn’t return the gesture, but it’s cool.

About midway through my drying, two Micronesian women came in wearing masks (I put mine on too) to clean up. They were friendly but not too friendly, getting to work in their efficiently habituated way, both dealing with the trash first, checking all the machines, then one wiping down the washers and the other emptying lint traps on the dryers. By the time I was folding, one had already swept the floor while the other mopped. If either noticed the floors were unusually clean, neither said anything.

As I packed up to go, a guy backed his truck into the stall next to mine, and the women clearly recognized him. Maybe to empty the machines, or do some maintenance? I’m stereotyping because he was a guy and they were women, I know, but also his truck had a very utilitarian look while they’d arrived in a late-model, very clean four-door sedan of some make I couldn’t identify with a casual glance.

If I find myself between jobs again (not out of the question, ever), I might look into doing laundry maintenance. The hours would suit me, not to mention the quiet solitude. The laundry nearest my house had signs up last summer looking for a person to do nightly maintenance at that laundry and a couple of others.

Summary. In the positive column: five-minute drive from home, one block from a McD’s, good ATM right behind the building, well-lighted, untidy but not dirty (ignoring the mildew in the washers). no other patrons at three in the morning, and across the street from a 7-Eleven, if I should forget something essential. In the negative column: not as safe a neighborhood, suuuuuper untidy, much smaller, mildewy windows on the washers, and pricey!

Oh yeah. Forgot to mention that it’s five bucks a wash, compared to $4.30 at Manoa, which is fine. But drying? Twenty-five cents for three minutes, compared to twenty-five cents for eight minutes at Manoa. Dang it! What the heck?

I got home at about five, put my newly washed linens on the bed, and got another three hours of sleep before work. I slept pretty well.

Uninterrupted writing time (but not necessarily uninterrupted writing)

Staggered to my desk Wednesday morning with my schedule pretty clear. My weekly one-on-one was pushed back to Thursday afternoon. I don’t know if it was because I told my supervisor I needed a bunch of uninterrupted writing time, or because a meeting popped up for her (it did but I don’t know if that’s why we rescheduled to the next day). It was welcome.

Didn’t finish anything but made decent progress. Also had the impeachment proceedings on the TV as I worked.

Another dead hiker

There was a story on the evening news about the body of a hiker found near the Makaha Pillboxes trail. When they gave the victim’s name, I recognzed her as a local chef I interviwed for a short alumni profile a few years ago. I’d spoken with her on the phone and traded emails, and our photographer went to her restaurant to take some cool photos.

No cause of death given, but it sounds like she fell. She was thirty. Young, and energetic and quirky. I texted Kapio and Sharon, two of our alumni people, to let them know. Then sent them the photos we hadn’t published, in case they wanted to share on social media. I let our photographer know, and my supervisor, and our development officer at Kapiolani CC, which was a mistake because after I sent the link to the story, I realized the chef was a graduate of Leeward CC. Anyway, the DO remembered the woman anyway, so we chatted a little about that.

Connection and consumption breakdown

That was most of my texting Wednesday. Not the best thing to converse about. Penny texted to ask some questions about purchasing MS Office. Reid called and then texted to get some help with his son’s English homework.

Breakfast was the Big Mac combo. Delicious, even if the fries tasted a little old. I had a morning snack of clementines and dried apricots. For lunch, I made kimchi fried rice, with some leftover hapa rice, Portuguese sausage, eggs, onions, kimchi, and shoyu. It was pretty good, even though I’m not the best fried rice cook, and brown rice doesn’t really contribute well to this dish. Dinner was kimchi stew. It all felt routine but comfy and pleasurable.

Anthony Fauci says by the end of July, it’s possible everyone who wants to get vaccinated will be vaccinated. Encouraging news. But it’s many months ’til then, and if you’re still going through this stuff with nobody to connect with, you probably shouldn’t. Leave a comment and I’ll send you some contact info.

Lockdown: Edible (and nonedible) rangements

I’m having difficulty lately remembering the duration and quality of my sleep, which is a little weird. I’m kind of obsessed with it, as it is the defining problem in my life for a long time. I mean from my perspective. From others’, it’s a range of faults beginning with arrogance, continuing through naivete, and ending with vanity.

I couldn’t think of W, X, Y, or Z faults, but ask R, Mochi Girl, Crush Girl, or any of my former employers and I’m sure they’d be glad to complete the alphabet and perhaps take a second lap.

So I’m sure I slept Monday night, eventually, and I’m reasonably sure it wasn’t very good and I’m fairly certain it wasn’t enough, but that’s just based on recent history. Saturday night, the night I spent nine hours in bed to get seven hours of good sleep, was surely the fluke.

I worked on my UH Hilo story (not the one that was slaying me a couple of weeks ago; a new one I’m not having too much difficulty with), corresponded with a donor about sharing his story with our readers, proofed our print magazine (which I may be assembling and laying out this summer, depending), put together the shorter version of that other UH Hilo story, and pretty much got stuff done. Except writing the UH Hilo story, which I hoped to finish my first draft of.

I had coverage of the impeachment trial on my TV, muted during commentary but unmuted during presentation.

I took an early lunch break to pick up prescription refills at Kaiser in Mapunapuna. I meant to bring all my water jugs for refilling at 99 Ranch, but I’d forgotten to give them the bleach rinse I think they’re due for, so I only took four jugs, unrinsed. I’ll prep the rest of them before the weekend and hopefully get them all refilled then.

While I was down there, I had breakfast-slash-lunch of shoyu chicken from Flamingo. It’s directly across the food court from that burger place, and I kept glancing over my shoulder to see if the people there could see I took my appetite elsewhere.

Ate the chicken on the trunk of my car. Flamingo’s food ranges (again with the ranges) from not good to not bad, but it’s difficult to mess up shoyu chicken, and these were some meaty thighs. It was a nice, simple, filling meal.

After work, I took a nap and scrolled through news on my phone.

For dinner, I took that hebi steak to the grill pan. It was pretty fishy-smelling, ‘though it had a few days left on the shelf date. I used salt, pepper, and just a light dash of the Mitchell Street seasoning. I like the seasoning; I’m just trying to find its sweet spot.

Cooked it on medium to get it cooked all the way through; I didn’t really want to mess with it the way it smelled. Ate it with some fresh hapa rice, and it was decent. Next time I get a fish like that, I’m going to bread it and deep fry it, or maybe try it in the kimchi stew.

I tried to get to bed early, since I planned to do the laundry early Wednesday, but I took too long winding down and didn’t get to sleep until about 10. Argh.

I listened mostly to the new Foo Fighters album on repeat through the day. It’s really growing on me.

Cindy texted the Cindy-Suzanne-Julie group text about this book she just finished, which led to a little discussion about some Asian American lit we’ve been reading. Julie, being in Rhode Island, was probably in bed, but she joined in later. I think that’s it for texts Tuesday.

Other food I ate: dried apricots, two pieces of ohagi, and a couple of handfuls of wasabi peas. Forgot to have clementines, so I didn’t take in as much potassium as has been my goal.

La la la la la reach out la la la if you la la la la la need someone to connect with la la la in these la la la la dark twisted demented lalalalalalala laaaaaaa pandemic days.

Lockdown: Out there, fighting foo

Sunday night I got like four hours of okay sleep and a couple hours of terrible sleep. I have got to put myself to bed much earlier, especially Sunday nights, which continue to be a problem for me and have been for decades. Which reminds me: resolutions, next post.

I wasn’t very productive at work, and I don’t think it was the sleep deprivation. My attention was just all over the place, and although I put together a decent outline for this story I’m working on about thirteenth year programs on the Big Island, it took most of the day. A terribly inefficient output.

During my late lunch break, I made a chicken-kabocha-carrot soup in the Instant Pot, mostly following the recipe I used for the broccoli-Brussels-sprouts soup and the acorn-squash-potato soup. I used less ginger, added some chicken breasts, and bumped the cooking time under pressure up to 15 minutes from 10. I mostly increased the time under pressure because of the chicken, but also because of the ginger, which has really been bugging me in these soups.

It was a good move. Even when bits of ginger evaded the immersion blender, they tasted much better (less rough and raw) in my spoon. I was enormously pleased. These soups are purees, but I removed the chicken (of course) and half the kabocha before blending, then chopped up the chicken in large bites and put it back. This is a good soup!

After work, I took a hard nap for about ninety minutes, then got up and finally replied to all the happy birthday messages on FB. More than a hundred and ten of them. I wrote sort of the same thing but I didn’t copy-paste, and I tried to make each thank-you its own thing. Social media is about engagement, and you can’t carbon-copy true engagement.

It took a while — long enough to hear the new Foo Fighters album all the way through twice. It’s not a very long album, which I appreciate. Makes repeated listens much more meaningful.

I did some chores, got ready for bed, and switched to Kiss music while I posted a new Social Distancing Top Five. Then stayed up far too late scrolling through news on my phone before going to bed. Fell asleep listening to my fall-asleep podcasts.

Breakfast was dried apricots and clementines again. Lunch was soup. I was going to skip dinner, but then I was up so late I got hungry and made a couple of very quick microwave quesadillas.

I had some work texts from my coworker Julie, then some otter video from Jennifer. I texted the other Jennifer to let her know there’s a new Social Distancing Top Five, not knowing she’s no fan of Kiss. That was it, but it was enough because of all the FBing. A lot of people responded to my responses, which was nice. I felt loved.

When Foo Fighters were on SNL late last fall, they debuted a couple of songs from the new album, including “Shame Shame,” which I found more than slightly unimpressive. In the context of the album, it’s a lot better, especially since it’s not characteristic of the entire album. I was worried they’d done some weird style shift, moving into funkier, slightly less melodic and definitely less rocking territory. The rest of the album does play around a little with styles, but it’s still definitely a Foo Fighters album, so “Shame Shame” is actually not bad.

If you weren’t paying attention, you might not have seen that two Oakland Raiders are going to the Hall of Fame. Tom Flores, who played QB for the Raiders and then was an excellent head coach, has finally been elected as a coach. He was the first Hispanic American to be an NFL head coach, so it’s a big deal. Also Charles Woodson, a cornerback with an incredibly long career, mostly for the Raiders and Packers, was elected in his first year of eligibility. Good day for the Silver and Black.

Going to bed early(ish). Reach out if you need someone to connect with.

Lockdown: Grocery anatomy

I accidentally got seven hours of good sleep Saturday night, with a couple of interruptions around three and nine in the morning. It took me nine hours (or so) in bed to get seven hours of sleep, which I wasn’t even trying to get, but it felt good and I’ll take it.

I meant to get up early to call my mom and dad, but despite it being the late morning, I called around eleven and it was fine. I’d spoken to my mom Wednesday anyway and she’d relayed most of what we talked about to my dad (I silently prayed a thank-you to God), so my dad and I chatted about the game and my mom and I chatted about her scheduled second shot Monday.

I had the Super hoopla on the TV, muted for couple of hours before the game in case anyone interesting showed up (I was hoping for Marcus Allen). The only time I unmuted was when I saw Joan Jett on stage with some much younger woman I couldn’t identify until I unmuted, at which point it was obvious: Miley Cyrus. She did okay with “Bad Reputation” and some other song I only caught the end of. Miley seems to like getting close to her duet partner and interacting closely, which doesn’t seem to be Joan’s thing, so it seemed a little awkward. I know Miley’s going through a hard rock stage right now, and I’m here for it, but she miiiiight want to work on her rock star stage persona. Maybe. I guess most of the time she’ll be on her own so maybe it’ll work.

The game itself was fine, especially the first half, which I thought was well contested. I munched an assortment of snacks throughout: some of my Are You Kidding Me Cake, some wasabi peas, and some Lay’s Game Day Chili chips. I even ate a couple of florets of broccoli when I went to the fridge to get a Diet Pepsi.

Near the end of the game I was hungry for some real food, so I opened a can of chili and ate it with some leftover hapa rice.

By game’s end, I was already doing chores and packing up for the office.

I didn’t have much to do there. Just updated software on two computers and my phone (I’m there anyway; might as well take advantage of the much faster wifi) and worked on some ideas for the thing I proposed at our meeting Thursday. Outlined my contributions to the staff newsletter. For the film review, I’m going to do Palm Springs, and for the writing tips, I’m messing around with “me” vs. “myself.” A nice, easy lesson since the last one I wrote was a little grammar-geeky.

I was in at six and out at nine, which I consider pretty good. Got home to relax a little, then did my quick grocery run.

Boy do I need to learn how to do a quick grocery run. I meant it only as a booster, to supplement the stuff I have left from my last trip, stuff I don’t have room for two weeks’ worth of, like clementines and some fresh meat. I thought thirty or thirty-five bucks would do it.

I also brought home tofu (the tofu in my fridge is past the date but I might still be able to use it but I’m not sure), two heads of broccoli, three carrots, a small block of extra-sharp cheddar, two six-packs of Diet Pepsi, some chopped pork (for Korean stew), some chicken (for kabocha soup), and a little hebi steak (that’s spearfish) because they were out of ahi. I can’t remember if there was anything else, but it added up to $77. Ugh.

I guess on the other hand, maybe I’ve got enough food to go two more weeks without a trip to the store? Or maybe it’s enough just to dash in for some clementines (I basically only have five days’ worth) next weekend? I don’t know. But now I’ve spent more than two hundred bucks on groceries in ten days. Kind of ridiculous.

Then, of course, I went through the McD’s drive-through on my way home and got a 10-piece spicy McNuggets meal and had it for a late dinner before I did the three-dimensional Tetris in my fridge. Which I am getting pretty good at.

There’s this band I mentioned last week called Angelus Apatrida. They’re a little-known thrash band from Spain and I’d never heard of them before their new self-titled album came out. At first I thought it was competent but unmemorable, but it’s’ really grown on me. As one reviewer pointed out, they do sound a lot like Testament, but I hear a lot of metalcore too, as they remind me a bit of Shadows Fall. And their thrashiness is fast and messy, more like Slayer than Metallica, ‘though the lead guitarist has clearly been influenced by Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, with lots of wah-wah and more feel than technique. And all the songs don’t sound the same. I like it.

I might say something like, “You should check it out,” but who am I kidding?

I didn’t do any texting (typical Sunday), but there was some IG DMing. I’ve got a few friends with some health things going on. Ugh.

Feeling good about this coming week. Football season’s over, which means I have more time on weekends. Weather seems to be clearing, which means I should be able to get some beach time. Not caught up on work, but I’m getting there. Mondays are a drag, but this week they’re not feeling like so much of a drag. Bring it.

Don’t forget you can reach out if you need someone to connect with. I got texts, DMs, IMs, and if you want to do Clubhouse I have five invitations. But don’t chat me up there. I’m not quite in the chatting mode when I’m eavesdropping there. You may find some great people to chat with, though. The people I’ve participated passively with all seem super nice.

Lockdown: Ask me no questions; sell me no fries

what it looked like when i got there

I rather liked what I did with my Saturday last week, the Saturday after two weeks of frustration and late nights and not enough sleep and not enough production. I really just vegged and slept and got over it, and it’s what I needed.

It looked like this Saturday was headed the same way. I meant to get up early and call my parents, but for reasons I won’t get into, it’s better if I call before late morning. And I didn’t quite get out of bed before mid-morning.

I have to be in Mapunapuna for a little while this coming week, so I figured I’ll refill my drinking water then, but I needed to make sure I had enough to get me there. With nothing on my schedule (now that I was putting off calling my folks), I headed down there with four gallon-jugs and an appetite.

Yes. I had burgers on my mind. I’d looked forward to another shot at King’s Burgers and I was in a burgers kind of mood.

I filled my water and slipped into the food court at 99 Ranch. There weren’t that many people, even at 12:30. It’s an industrial area with a bit of commercial creeping in, so it really exists for the weekdays and the lunch crowd. Saturdays are for retirees (for some reason) and and gymnasts’ families. There’s a gymnastics school in there.

I ordered a teri Swiss burger and bacon cheese fries. The fries last time, just simple crinkle cuts surely out of the freezer, were delightful, and I figured if the burger was a disappointment, I’d be okay with just the fries.

Moved my car to a shady spot on the outer fringe of the parking lot and set up shop on the hood of my vehicle.

The fries were pretty good but they weren’t crinkle cuts! Steak fries. A good second choice, but not the same. The burger was pretty terrible. I mean it didn’t suck, but it just didn’t have much flavor and it was wet as heck. Not teri sauce wet, which you expect, but some other kind of wet.

I finished it all, of course, and was suuuuper full, but dang. What do you do when you try a place once and it’s preeeeetty good and then try it again and it’s terrible? Which is the anomoly, and do you give it another chance?

I asked the always-knowledgeable-about-these-things Jocelyn what she thought, and said hard pass.

Seriously, if the fries had just been crinkle cuts I’d be down to try it again. As it is, I think I’m done with the burgers, anyway. They have grilled steaks on the menu and I guess I’ll try those too before I give up.

I really wanted the burger thing to work out. Darn!

I got home, did some writing, read the news, did the crossword (rather quickly, thank you very much) worked on some Amazon window-shopping, and took a long, comfy nap. Boy was that a good idea. I was rested as heck when I woke up.

It was a lovely day, and there were a couple of hours before sundown, and so at five-thirty I put on some board shorts and hit the beach.

There’d been reports of jellyfish on the windward side, which is slightly unusual. By my calculation (which may have been in error), jellyfish weren’t due on the south shore until Sunday or Monday. Anyway, I didn’t even think about them when I grabbed a B+ parking space on the Kewalo end. There were some people in the shallows but nobody really out deep except the stand-up paddleboarders and a couple of kayakers. The beach was well-populated but not freak-out crowded.

So I went. The water was slightly gross, about the limit of my tolerance for monkey pods, palm fronds, and other vegetation clearly washed down by the recent rains. Another day of no rain and I’m fairly sure it would have been nice, but I didn’t have another day. Jellyfish.

The water was super cold, but the day itself had been pretty cool, so it made sense. After overnight lows around sixty, it was probably close to ice at sunrise.

I went hard for a good while. My first time in the water in two weeks might have been a cruise, yet I felt my body yearning to be strained. It felt good. Swam a distance I call four buoys, when lately I’ve only gone two and a half or three, and as I came back midway through I watched the sun sink into the ocean. It was lovely.

what it looked like shortly before i left

As usual after a good swim, I craved a sandwich. There were some options still open in Kakaako, so I cruised through. If I’d found a parking spot within two trips around the block, I was headed for Earl (of Sandwich). Alas, despite the area being far less busy than I expected, there were no primo parking spots to be had, so I headed back to Kalihi.

Picked up a roast pork plate (despite still really wanting a sandwich) at Pancakes and Waffles because I was running out of options and there was no waiting.

Brought it home and loved every bite as I wrote. I also listened in on a good-night conversation in Clubhouse. The chatter was good background music. I opted not to join in despite repeated invitations from Jocelyn. I hate talking on the phone. Why would I want to talk on the phone with a bunch of strangers? This Clubhouse thing may not be for me, but I admit I liked being there.

Took a very short nap, did some chores, ate some ohagi (picked up while I waited on my crappy burger), and listened to podcasts.

So it was a decent Saturday, and I didn’t feel like I pissed it away, which was a good feeling. Got to bed around 2:00.

Sylvia and I traded some texts about my search for a sandwich. I got a text from the medical supplies company from which I ordered replacement stuff for Darth Vader Friday. Jennifer sent me an article about this cool-looking jigsaw puzzle, which I’ve bookmarked for whenever it’s safe to get back into the office. Crush Girl texted me a response to my happy weekend text from Friday.

It’s Sunday evening as I write this, about a quarter past ten in the evening. I’m going to do a quick run to the supermarket, a booster run, not a full-on run. Shouldn’t take long and I won’t bring home much. I guess this catches me up, so I can post my resolutions in the next post.

Reach out if you need someone to connect with. Pandemic continues so don’t be alone.

Lockdown: Palm springs eternal

It’s Sunday afternoon as I write about Friday. A minute to halftime in the Super Bowl. I hate halftime shows but you kind of have to watch them because everyone talks about them the next day at the . . . office.

I got like four and a half hours of decent sleep Thursday night, then jumped into my work Friday with a fervor I wasn’t expecting. I think I wasted far too much time these past couple of weeks trying to be productive. I emailed people who’ve been waiting for me to email them. I called people who’ve been waiting for me to call. I followed up on edit suggestions and communicated with donors sending photos. I pretty much did everything except actually write. I suppose that can wait until Monday.

I didn’t quite finish work until close to 7:30, after which I just took it easy all night. I was in the mood to do absolutely nothing, so that’s what I did and it was nice.

Friday was my sister’s birthday, so I sent her a little happy birthday text. She said she was having dinner and sent me a photo of the layout. Details left out because I don’t know how public she is with stuff.

Gwen texted me a photo of this really cool gift she got me. We have to work out some way for us to meet up. I texted Crush Girl a happy weekend message, which she responded to the next day. She doesn’t often initiate conversation or respond to a message in a conversation-continuing way, and that’s cool. I like the interaction (rather a lot) when I can get it, but I don’t want to be a nuisance.

The Weeknd’s halftime performance is fine, and he’s a talented singer, but I find his songs so uninteresting and unmemorable.

There are a lot of new albums out this weekend, speaking of weekends and music. I spun the new Transatlantic album all evening Thursday and all day Friday. There’s new stuff by Foo Fighters, Cult of Luna, and Korplikaani too.

After work, I watched Palm Springs on Hulu. It was one of the five films nominated for a Best Picture Golden Globe in the musical-or-comedy category and I hadn’t heard of it (as I hadn’t heard of almost everything nominated).

It’s goooooood. Watch it! Andy Samberg, J.K. Simmons, and a bunch of people I don’t recognize in a Groundhog Day-like film that gets a leeeeeetle dark and nihilistic but emerges in light. I laughed aloud a few times, sometimes at dark moments. I appreciate where it goes, and I’ll see it again this week. One of the main characters lives utterly in the moment, determined that nothing matters except the next moment. Another loathes herself self-destructively. It’s a great combination.

I kind of skipped breakfast. Had some dried apricots and some clementines and decided it was enough. I had canned chili for lunch with leftover hapa rice. For dinner, I blanched a huge head of broccoli, then ate it with some angel hair pasta I sauced with olive oil, butter, garlic powder, dried garlic flakes, and lemon juice. It was quite good.

I have to remind myself that there are a million ways to enjoy pasta. I fall into these grooves because I just love it so much. Or maybe I’m better off not remembering, because it’s so bad for me! I may make it for dinner Sunday night. I still have plenty of lemon juice.

February is my second-least-favorite month, so thank goodness it’s the shortest.

Leave a comment if you want someone to connect with. Don’t do this alone.

Lockdown: Lost Thursday

Okay, now it’s Saturday evening as I write about Thursday. Which I don’t think I even remember.

Before I got started at work, there was a knock on my door. It was a police officer, and for once I wasn’t the one in trouble. My house is across the street from faculty housing for a rather rich private school. The housing is maintained by the school, and Thursday morning a grounds crew was doing yardwork. One of the vans backed into my car, parked on the street, and did damage to the rear bumper. Broke a tail light.

So I had to deal with that. I was going to take it to a body shop for a couple of very minor repairs soon anyway. Once I get the okay from the school’s insurance company, I’ll take it to their approved body shop, I guess, and get the other work taken care of at the same time. Serendipity, baby!

I don’t remember what I did at work, except I spent half an hour preparing for a planning meeting we had on Zoom. The meeting went half an hour longer than usual, but I think the conversations were good. I proposed two ideas: one was pretty much shot down and one was embraced enthusiastically. That seems like a pretty good success rate.

I don’t remember what I did after work, and I don’t think I took a nap, although I probably did because I was really tired.

It’s quite possible I had cake for breakfast, then clementines and dried apricots for a morning snack. I had an ahi filet in my fridge so I pan-fried that with Mitchell Street seasoning and fresh lemon juice for lunch with some fresh hapa rice. It tasted fine, but you could tell it was past its prime. I need to remember to prepare fresh fish first when I come home from grocery shopping. The carnitas probably could have waited.

I was feeling lazy for dinner so I drove to Waiakamilo Drive-In, where I have not eaten for a few years, and picked up a garlic chicken plate. It was pretty good; one of the better things on their menu. I often get a small pan of it for potlucks and it’s always a hit. Something a little different, something you don’t see in the potluck line very often.

I did a few chores and was up too late. I think I went to bed close to two.

There was a little bit of texting with the writing partner. There were some IG DMs but I don’t remember what they were and I’m not going to look them up.

I’m missing something and it annoys me that I can’t remember what it was. I was doing something that kept me kind of engaged most of the late evening. I went to bed feeling pretty good. Ah well. Whatever!

Leave a comment if you want someone to connect with. Pandemic isolation, if anyone out there is still going through it, is rough on your own. Don’t do it.