Saturday, December 22, 2007

Picture This

I don't know why I started this blog, then I thought it would help Chulo check in on me but he's got a lot on his plate, so I think I've been writing to myself. Kevin IM's with me and we were talking about stuff and I sent him the link to this journal.

Kevin says I need more pictures.

Here's the deal, I've been looking into copyrighting or digitally watermarking my images, or whatever it is I'm supposed to do with them. Every so often someone'll say that I take good pictures and I'll think, I wish. My brother's the real photographer in the family. Anyways, I don't mind if people like my pictures and wanna keep them, but if someone wantsta turn one of 'um into a postcard or something and make money with it...technically I'm still a starving arch student---I need to make money anyway I can! Not that I actually believe that'll happen, but you never know...

Anyways, since I always listen to what Kevin tells me, here are a few morsels to whet the appetite, um, eyes. Since it's Christmas time, let's start with Christmas Pasts (not necessarily those that'll make good postcards)...

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

First Things First

Here it goes, my first bus story already!

Let me start with how I select a seat on the bus. Travelling by myself, I'm careful about where and by whom I sit. If presented with a choice of sitting with a man or a woman, I'll sit next to the woman. I recall one specific incident when a man intentionally and uninvitingly felt my leg. I also try to sit near the front, after the seats for disabled and elderly riders. I feel safer and I can alert the driver of a bad situation on the bus, should one occur.

Other than that, I'll sit wherever a seat is open. A teenager wearing all black with a mohawk, a fresh-from-the-jobsite construction worker, a frowning old lady clutching her bag tighter because I might be a thief, I'll sit next to any of them. I've shared a bus with crying babies, workaholics, people who talk aloud to no one in particular about nothing in particular (conspiracies, Asians don't give money, grouchy mumblings about see-he-did-it-again-he's-just-like-those-others, that kinda non-particular), big people, small people, I-Pod listeners, gamers, texters, loud cellphone users, readers, sleepers, and many, many tourists. I've had the unfortunate experience of sitting behind a guy with a very questionable odor, or at least, I hoped it was him and not me.

They don't bother me. The person that rattles me is THE COUGHER. I'm not talking about the polite closed-mouthed cough into the sleeve cougher like those at a symphony concert or in a meeting. The bus-riding cougher puts his whole being into horking up phlegm from goodness knows where, wide open mouth, several times, throwing his mucus-inducing germs into the air-conditioned atmosphere.

On the first bus of my two-bus trip to campus last Thursday, I sat by a young, healthy-looking guy. After a few minutes, he's coughing. He gets off somewhere in Pearl City, so that's about 20 minutes of coughs. He had turned to the side and tried to bury his coughing, so after he got off, I stayed in the aisle seat. Usually, I would have moved over to the window seat and leave the aisle seat open for the next rider, but that just wasn't gonna happen. Luckily, the bus wasn't very full and many seats were open.

Like the two seats behind me. An older guy moved from somewhere in back to the window seat in the row behind me. Alright, he's not bothering me. And then he coughed. A few minutes later, he coughed again. He didn't get off the bus until somewhere in town. By now, that's an hour of breathing in air coughed by someone else. It was enough to make me start to feel a little under the weather myself. Maybe I should ask, will being allergic to someone else make one cough?

It was a rainy, windy sorta day, so the number of potential coughers in a bus goes up dramatically. I'm going with that.

From UH, I caught a ride with Brenda (Big D Committee) and Nick to visit Kapolei Middle. When the visit was over, I had them drop me off at the Kapolei SC, I went to the bead shop, then took the bus to the LCC stop. From there, I waited to transfer to the bus that'll take me home.

Already at the stop were four people: a guy on the backside by the rail [call him G1], a guy sitting on the rail to the right [G2], a guy sitting on the bench in front of G2 [G3], and a girl sitting about two feet from G3, all about college age (I'm assuming 'cuz we're at the LCC stop). The girl was wearing white slippers and white jeans, both of which were splattered with mud. I said it was a rainy day.

I was listening to music so I didn't hear everything, but I noticed that the girl was facing G3 and talking. G3 didn't seem to be listening to her though. He had earbuds in his ear and not really looking at her. G2 didn't seem to be paying attention to her either. G1 was looking down the road for the bus and completely not in a conversation with the girl.

She's talking and making sense, saying stuff about how hard her finals were and the classes she's taking next semester and stuff, but I couldn't figure out to whom she was speaking.

Then I see G3 take out his right earbud. He glances at her every so often, nods his head. He made some reply to something she said.

Apparently his phone rings; he takes out the other earbud and answers his phone. She seems to stop talking. Then she says something, he turns his head towards her, still on the phone, nods some more. They do that a few more times.

His bus arrives and he just stands up and goes. Another guy [G4] gets off from that bus and sits on the bench where G3 had been sitting. The bus leaves.

A minute later and she starts talking to G4. She's saying the same things she had said to G3, only this time G4 participates in the conversation with her.

I was at that stop for at least half an hour. My bus comes and it's pretty full so I sit in one of the elderly seats. The girl sits right next to me on the left. A couple guys that got on with us stand in the aisle. The bus starts rolling.

A stop later, the girl noticed that there was a seat on the other side between a guy and a pole, kind of a tight fit if one doesn't like touching a stranger on the bus. The girl asks the guy [G5] standing in the aisle to my right, "You like sit down? I'll go sit ovah d'ere." G5 declines. "You sure? You like sit down? I'm gonna sit ovah d'ere so someone can take this seat." G5 declines. "I'm gonna go ovah d'ere, you like sit down?"

She gets up and sits between the guy and the pole on the other side. G5 looks around him, sees that no lady or elderly is standing so he shrugs and sits next to me where the girl had been.

Initially, at that last stop, I was thinking, good thing she wasn't talking to me. I'm not very good at being social with strangers who talk just to talk. I'm awkward with small talk and get bored easily if the other person talks on without caring if I'm listening or not. I try to make conversation, but, I'm awkward.

I ended up thinking, wow, that girl is something good. She saw an open seat and moved to let a strong young man have her seat. That has got to be the first time I've seen that happen. God bless that young lady.

And no, G5 did not cough even once.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Bus In Time

This is the first of hopefully a new series I thought I'd begin about my adventures on TheBus. I know it doesn't sound very exciting but I already have a list of things I'd like to write about. Protocol, interesting characters and good bus drivers are all waiting for the spotlight.

With gas prices rising and parking availability falling, combined with my dislike of driving, I decided to take the bus this semester. Oh, and the deal on the U-Pass, the bus pass specially priced for university students, is unbeatable. It's already paid off for me and I've got one more month left to use it, with only one "class" to go to this semester.

I didn't come to this semester as a newbie bus rider. When I was younger and my grandma stayed with us, we rode the bus. In h.s., I got around on the bus whenever my parents couldn't give me a ride in the summer [picture days and MB practices, I never needed summerschool]. Initially, I went away for college and caught the bus between L.A. and Burbank a few times. Most recently, for my practicum semesters in OR and CA, I took the public transit everywhere [I love the transit in OR, it's so easy!]. I could write so much about riding the bus in OR and CA alone, but that'll be for some other time. So, I am not entirely new to the bus passenger role.

So concludes the introductory piece. The semester's already over. Finals are this week. Colt Brennan and Kari Gregory (I think) will be walking on Sunday. I'll be on the bus again next semester with stories lined up from this past semester in case I get stuck for a topic. Maybe this series will get me to write on this blog on a consistent basis; we'll see.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Run By Me

I know, I am inconsistent with how often I write an entry. With working on a thesis, I have an irregular schedule and thesis will always trump this blog. So here are a few things that's been on my mind:

Good Friends:
I got word back in September that my two good friends Shay and Tony are gonna be parents! Wow, I am so happy for them. They're gonna be amazing parents and this kid will be so lucky to be born to these two fine people. It's crazy to me because I have known both of them mostly separately for...more than a decade each, then they got married, and now they're having a baby. It's wonderful!

Good news! After some tough years and rough starts, the Big D [for Doctorate of Architecture, D. Arch.] has been resuscitated! I just had a committee meeting Thursday night and amazingly I was able to keep everyone on board. It was a good meeting, a lot of good comments and discussion, and so I've still got a lot of work to do. Overall, I feel less stressed and concerned, I'm excited about this project, that has never changed, so we'll see. I know a lot of you keep wondering when I'm gonna finish. Hopefully it'll be Spring. Don't worry, when it's done, EVERYONE WILL KNOW!!!

UH Wahine Volleyball:
Um, well, they beat Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA. Then they lost to Middle Tennessee in the second round, so... I don't know. I definitely thought they were going to the semis. I know, they don't have Kamana'o, but they were playing like a team by the second half of the season. They were really playing well and on fire. *sigh*

I can't wait for next season!

UH Warrior Volleyball:
Preseason has them at 8th. They usually start in the top 5, but last season, they graduated Beckwith at setter, Dante at middle, Hakala at right, and Kalima at libero/outside, key positions and star players. This season, Schkud is the only true senior leading a few juniors, a few freshmen, and a bunch of sophomores. Schkud has not been a starter, but the papers say he's settled in the right-side position nicely. I'm excited to see what he can do.

I tend to write about the Warrior VB a lot because I'm more familiar with it and their competition. Anyone up for going to a game with me?

UH Football:

Okay, now that that's done...

The Heisman will be announced Saturday 3:00 p.m. Hawaii time, so, hours from now. I know it sounds like Tebow's the favorite, but I do believe that it should be Colt. I watch shows like Around the Horn and stuff and they've mentioned things like leadership, how many games did the team lose, what conference they play in, etc.

The three other finalists have all lost a few games. UH is undefeated. Mariotti [ATH] thinks that Hawaii couldn't win in the SEC, but how does he know? He doesn't, there's no way of proving this team couldn't beat the SEC. Colt's got crazy numbers. The other finalists have good numbers too, but Colt's also got records, NCAA records! Not just Hawaii records, WAC records, NCAA records. I'm missing the reason I should be impressed with Tebow's rushing TDs, I don't know. Well, Colt got injured and missed a couple games. Actually, Colt got injured and missed one full game and a couple quarters in a couple games or so; Hawaii still won.

So they could say, well, Colt missed some play time and the team still won so they don't need Colt that much. I say, who does the team play for? Sure, Hawaii's got great players and they can win without Colt, but they play for Colt. I like Graunke, I look forward to seeing how he leads next year, but if Colt had gone NFL last year, this season would've been different, whether HI went undefeated or not. They play heart 'cause Colt came back.

And leadership, Colt's got that in spades. I've written in earlier entries about how respectful and humble he is, everyone in HI knows that, it's evident just by watching his interviews. He came back for this team. And when he did get injured, yes he played hard, but most importantly, when he had the concussion, I'm sure he said he could play, but he listened to doctors and coaches and did what was best for the team. He wasn't being the hero, he had confidence that his team could go on and they beat Nevada. He was a leader from the sidelines.

Obviously, I could go on. My last thoughts on the Heisman, I hope Colt gets it, but if he comes in fourth, it'll be an injustice. He should win it or be second. Let's see what happens.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Just for Fun

I love Christmas time!

Here's a little story: when I was younger, I hated taking pictures with Santa. I can remember wanting to go to see Santa, but I didn't want to sit on his knee and take a picture. My mom would sit me on one knee, my brother on the other knee. I'd start to cry as soon as my mom walked away. Everyone would try anything to get me to smile, which would make me cry even more. They gave me a lollipop before the picture to try to get me to stop crying. Finally they just tried to cover up my crying with the lollipop and took the picture anyway. I wish I had the picture right now, I'll hafta find it to show another time, but it's Santa smiling in the middle with big red cheeks, my brother to one side with a big dimpled smile, and me with sad eyes and a lollipop in front of my face. Of all the years that we went to take pictures with Santa, not one picture has me smiling.

Well, in the previous entry, I asked that everyone give donations to non-profit organizations this Christmas. So the following is a list of things that I would want but not NEED. It's just for fun. You'll see why I'm asking people to donate instead.

My wishlist: (in no particular order)

Sugarbowl trip
Adopt Megamouth [our current stray cat]
A Fossil watch
Trip to Hilo with my family
Season tickets to UH Volleyball
7th Heaven DVD [I have the third season]
A good bra
Time with a swim coach or a swim partner
Olympus Stylus 820 digital camera
Original painting by Roy G. Tabora
A globe
Whiter teeth
Elfquest graphic novels 6-8
A job that I love
A Russian tutor
Gift card/certificate to:
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Bella Beads
Showers of Blessings
Carlos Santana Pounce shoes in Anthracite
Newsies DVD and soundtrack CD
Walking shoes
$100 for a U-Pass for next semester
Clarinet lessons
A trip to see Chulo and Jenelle
Have my bike fixed and with a new comfy seat
A green thumb
A good memory
A UH Volleyball signed by Hakala, Beckwith, Mason, Kaufman, Lee, L. Duggins, Kamana'o, Sanders, Hittle, Zimet, Tony Ching, Carere, or Bender
A new refrigerator, energy star (actually this is a little need and want)
Chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies and krispies from Big Island Candies
Custard pie from Liliha
BarlowGirl CD
A headlamp
Wet Okole seat covers
A Local Motion totebag
A princess-cut sapphire pendant
A year supply of Arizona Green Tea

I told you, just donate to a non-profit, a church, a school, or a library. It's easier. [For other ideas on how to give back to your community]

Merii Kurisumasu!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

Mele Kalikimaka Everyone!

I hope you are safe and well wherever you may be! It has been a rough year, a good year, a year for which I am thankful.

For those of you who might be thinking about getting me a present this year and aren't sure what to get, because it has been a while since I've seen most of you, I am simply glad to be alive. I do not need much besides family and friends.

And those who were not going to get me a present, that's okay also, but please read on anyway.

I would only ask that people make a charitable contribution to a non-profit organization. It is the end of the year when most non-profits struggle to meet their needs for the upcoming months because many are busy thinking about what to get for their loved ones, which is great, but please remember also the non-profits. Any donation of any size would be appreciated, I am sure.

I am continuing with my graduate school, am looking for a job but do not have one as of today. With that, I am not able to contribute as much to my favorite non-profits as I normally do. If you feel so moved and are thinking of me, please donate to the following organizations:

Focus on the Family []
East Bay Habitat for Humanity []
Hawaiian Humane Society []
Hawaii Foodbank []
Lokahi Giving Project []
or []
Focus on the Family is an organization that has helped me through many tough times in the past several years. There is probably a Habitat for Humanity where you live, but I am personally attached to the East Bay affiliate because I volunteered with them back in 2004; they are a good and well-organized group. My family loves each and every pet that we've met through the Humane Society.

I chose Hawaii Foodbank because, as I am sure many of us have, I've been asked by homeless people for money and would like to help them but do have concerns for how they will use the money; I figure the Foodbank would be a safer and surer way to get food to the people who need it. Those in Hawaii are probably familiar with the Lokahi Giving Project; they get people the things that they need like toys for children who otherwise would not have presents to open on Christmas Day. Lokahi also takes donations of common goods such as soap, toothbrushes, toilet paper, etc.

Donations can also be made to my church, Kalihi Union Church, or to a school that I have attended would be good also. I wish I could say that I could match any donations made, but if you let me know of your donation, I will see what I can do.

Or, like I said, you might not think of me at all, or might not even know me personally, but please donate something this season, even if it's a dollar to the Salvation Army bucket (though I'm sure we all can do more than a dollar). There are many deserving organizations out there, so get creative!

Mahalo to those who have already given to their communities!