Friday, March 28, 2008

Get Out the Soap, It’s Mouth Washing Time!

Foul language bothers me. I suppose swear words can have a purpose for conveying things like extreme frustration and anger, I don’t know. The problem I have is that some people will fill a sentence to where every other word is a swear word. It muddies up the communication, and isn’t communication the reason why words exist? I mean it’s more expedient to say “Mom took the car” than to grunt “Argh arrghh argh a-argh.”
Grunting can be fun sometimes but, anyways….

I was on a packed bus and a bunch of students came on. Two teenage boys stood on the bus next to where I was seated so it was difficult not to overhear their conversation. At first they were talking about band, a language I can understand because I was a band geek. [Was?] Then one of the boys wanted to relay an incident that had upset him. Boy A already had ill feelings towards a certain girl. Fast forwarding to the part of the conversation that annoyed me, Boy A said, ‘She slapped my f-in’ face!’

My sometimes overly logical mind processed that sentence and wondered if he really meant what he said. Was he saying that it was utterly wrong for the girl to have slapped him, and in the face? Or did he mean that the girl had slapped him, but in his messed up looking face? I would add something here but you get the point. In my mind, it would have made more sense if Boy A had instead said, ‘She f-ing slapped my face.’ The sentence would have made more sense, but I still do not like foul language in public. Foul language does very little, if anything at all, to raise the esteem of someone who uses it frequently and having fallen on the ears of others.
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Perhaps what confounds me more is that people will use foul language even on technological devices. I am very slowly getting used to using instant messaging; it’s a whole other thing about why it’s taken me so long to be the slightest bit comfortable with IM.

Being a person who uses swear words extremely rarely, it’s awkward for me to be in a conversation with some who uses swear words regularly, in person or over the computer. I don’t know how to respond. I don’t know how to turn the conversation to something that would have a lower probability of the other person saying something foul. My mind will start spinning. Over IM, I’m especially dazed and quiet. I’m wondering why anyone would take the time to swear. Typing swear words, even in quick-type, whatever you call things like ‘brb,’ is completely lost on me.
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All of the rants over foul language are besides the point that I’m a Christian. I thought I would try out using swear words back in my sophomore year of h.s., I think it was. Of course, I didn’t use any of it at home. It lasted barely a week. I would pretty much choke on the words. I might’ve used three swear words the whole time. Swearing just doesn’t sound right coming from my mouth. It’s contrary to who I am, that’s the easiest way I can say it. In a moment of sheer anger or frustration, like when I stub my toe, something might leak out, might, because I’m in the moment and not thinking. I am human. Foul language was just never a part of me from before I became a Christian.

Actually, if I stub my toe or something like that, I’d rather scream ‘AHHHH!’ than utter a swear word. Swearing does nothing for me.

That’s just me. Swearing in conversation, I try to ignore it as much as possible. As long as I can carry on the conversation with the person, it’s not so much of an issue. I do have friends who swear, but for the most part they don’t swear around me. I don’t know if they’re consciously aware of the fact that I don’t swear or that I’m a Christian or if they’re subconsciously picking up on it, I can’t speak for them as to how or why it happens that they don’t swear around me. I don’t even know that they swear more when I’m not around. I appreciate them very much for being respectful in that way. I have very good friends.

I can say that most people are aware of the fact that I absolutely do not tolerate someone swearing at me, calling me a b---or something like that, not even in jest. I see it as gross disrespect; it’s one of the main reasons why I don’t swear. I want to always be respectful and not disrespectful. Anyways, I always give a warning when someone’s about to cross that line.
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Rick found that out the hard way about crossing that line. It was our freshman year at WU. Everyone in the hall was studying. Rick and I were studying for the same class in Hess’s room, Hess was studying for a different class I think. Rick was ahead of me in the book. He wanted me to test him. I said that I wasn’t there yet. He told me again to ask him some questions. I said no, I wouldn’t know what to ask or know if he’s right. Then he said something. I gently but firmly told him not to swear at me.

Not ten minutes later and Rick is at it again, test him, test him, I said no. He muttered something, and I was UP. I let him have it decisively. Of course he got defensive, but I drove the point in. I don’t remember what he was saying but it wasn’t an apology. I had enough, walked out and went down to my room.

Some time later, Keoni comes down to my room. I was somewhat aware that everyone heard the yelling, how could they not. Keoni came to see if I was okay. I had cried some because I don’t like being angry, I try to remain calm; by then I had stopped crying. Keoni said that we had gotten everyone’s attention in the hall, that’s like 7 or 8 rooms with some of them doubles, plus friends who were studying there too. None of them had seen me angry before. Then he said that I had made Rick cry. I hafta admit, that made me feel a little better if only to mean that Rick had learned the lesson. I didn’t know I could make someone cry but for all I know Keoni could’ve been lying to me about it.
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Maybe Rick had learned the lesson, that year. Sophomore year goes by alright. We still hung out with the same people basically. Junior year, I lived off-campus with a couple friends. Jeep [nickname] was taking me and Ripple back to my apartment to pick up some materials. We were almost out the door when I turned back and saw Rick at his desk nearby holding his favorite digit in the air up high.

Let me explain here that yes, it was directed towards me. If people didn’t know about me, they definitely knew not to mess with Jeep. Rick wouldn’t give the finger to Ripple behind Ripple’s back because they’re friends, they’re on good terms. Even people who had not been in the hall to witness the first incident knew that I didn’t care for Rick and most likely vice versa.

And he thought I wouldn’t see it. I don’t know what I was looking back for, but I saw it. I walked back over, grabbed his finger, put it down. He was startled and scared. He got defensive, this time saying sorry, sorry, he didn’t mean it. Bold-faced lie. I ingrained the lesson into him as deep as I could this time. I said things like he knew not to do that to me, didn’t he understand that not swearing at me included the finger, is he that stupid, etc. Okay, not my brightest shining moment, I admit.

Jeep, Ripple and I walked out. We went to my apartment, picked up the stuff. Someone mentioned Rick, generally saying that they couldn’t understand how he would do that. Jeep and Ripple know me. Ripple had looked back when I was walking over to Rick, saw what Rick was doing, why I was going over, and his mouth dropped open ‘cause Ripple knew what was going to happen. It’s like a train wreck.

We got back to studio and it was pretty much quiet, some background music and soft, rather uneasy conversation because the tension was in the air. I visited at a friend’s station a little to ease me. Then I went to my station, got behind my desk, and next thing I know Rick is in my face. This time, he’s hopping mad, saying not to touch him, if I touch him again, he has a right to sue me. I shouted back that he’d better step away, that he’s an idiot, another not so bright moment. It went on for some time, it seemed like forever. Good thing for Rick that there was my desk between us and a ‘back door’ way out of my station. I went out the back and out the door.

I went behind the studio to cry the rest of the anger out. Cary and Jeep came out to see that I was alright; I don’t remember who else came out. They said that they didn’t know what to do back there in the studio, Cary had frozen half off, half on his seat, not knowing whether to stop Rick or to stop me. Jeep said she was gonna come over to protect Rick from me, she saw in my eyes that I wanted to hurt him, knowing that I could. He’s taller than me but skinny, I coulda taken him. Well, maybe not, it’s gonna remain an untested theory. They got me calmed down, we went back. Not a single incident like that ever happened between Rick and me from then on.

I hope that now, years later, Rick can forgive me. I really should have more patience and graciousness than that. I kinda wonder though, who told Rick that he’d be able to sue me? It was a rather big leap from cowering to self-righteous anger.
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I didn’t mean to go into the story that much. I said that I don’t tolerate someone swearing at me; one small exception: Ripple. I want to be honest. The reason why Ripple didn’t get chewed up is because, I suppose, we knew each other very well by our third year. We had cultivated a good friendship, I think I can say that for both of us, came by it very honestly. He would utter a swear word very softly under his breath, not directing it towards me in a personal, hurtful way, never the b--- word. Then he would give me a look to make sure I caught it. It was his ‘tell’ on me, saying that I was annoying him or that he wasn’t in the mood to be bothered and to be quiet, he’d had enough for the day. I had a tell on him also, to say the same thing, but I won’t say what it is. We never had to say another word, we knew. That’s a one-time deal; I will not let anyone else have that tell, it belongs to Ripple.

You get the picture. I’m not really going to tell someone not to swear. If I can get them to not swear, that would be good, but I’m not gonna go around randomly demanding it, it’s their choice. I think Mr. K really thinks I should help out with the youth at our church, I’m preparing to possibly do that. If I can influence a young person to keep their language clean then I’ll do that, because I believe it is right. I mean, can any peaceful arrangement take place if at least one swear word is spoken? I think Rick and I demonstrated the answer to that.

I’m not saying one HAS TO clean up one’s language around me. I’ve probably heard it all anyway. I’ve resigned myself to not understanding everything. Yes, swearing bothers me, but in the greater scheme of things, it’s small potatoes. But if anyone ever wants me to fight with them, try swearing right at me, test my new resolve to peaceable graciousness.

Do I have anything else to say on the matter? I think I’m done. Mahalo.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Wanted Child: It’s in the Genes

I was watching a rerun of Law & Order which had to do with a doctor’s office that was bombed because the doctor claimed to have found the “gay gene,” the genetic marker for homosexuality. The implications were that if there is a “gay gene,” that then expecting parents would start screening their children for this gene and decide whether or not to abort their baby, much like they screen for downs syndrome to make the same decision. Therefore, I felt led to write this entry.

Now, I don’t believe that there is a gay gene, but that’s not the focus of my writing today. Actually, I will say this, that if homosexuality is in the genetic coding, it remains wrong to have an abortion because your fetus has the gene. Aborting a life is wrong whether that life is prone to homosexuality or downs syndrome or any other thing one might deem an “imperfection” that one may find in the genes.

Think about it, if all of our future could be sought out in our DNA, would any of us have been born?

On the one hand, we could wipe out all the hardships of life. Is criminality –murder, thievery, rape- in the genes? Let’s abort those crimes by aborting the life with the crime gene making the person prone to committing heinous crimes. What about cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis? That’s a tough life to live, let’s abort that. On the other hand, where would it end? Where should the line be drawn?

In the L&O episode, it’s revealed to the gay suspect that his brother wants to abort his baby because it was screened and found to have the gay gene. The brother loves his brother the suspect, and supposedly would love a homosexual son, but the problem is that he’s watched his gay brother have such a painful and lonely life. He wouldn’t wish that kind of life on anyone.

So, hypothetically, if there is a gay gene and people would be willing to abort their baby because of it, something the baby had no control over because it is, or would be, who they are and have a tough life because of it, how far are people willing to go? What of the baby who has the obesity gene? A life of obesity still carries with it the hardships of loneliness, teasing, and oftentimes ostracism; should the baby who has no control over their future obesity be aborted? Is that the definition of humane practice?

How about your life? Were you born with no implications of complications, born with two arms, two legs, working eyes and ears, in all respects “normal?” How easy has your life been?

What about me? If I’m going to make it personal, let me make it personal. When I was younger, I had severe rash. I itched so bad. My skin certainly did not feel comfortable, did not look like the smooth soft skin of anyone around me. It was scaly, it was coarse. No lotion or ointment in the world could ease the itch or fix the look of it. I found no relief when I was young.

Would it have been considered loving and humane for my parents to have spared me those years of discomfort and ridicule by not allowing my life at all? I did suffer some ridicule, as I remember having been pointed to and asked, “Waddis dat? You get lizard skin!” Thankfully, the embarrassment didn’t go further than that and I continued to have good friends who didn’t care. I still carry the scars of the discolored skin and deep wrinkling in the areas where the rash had been, but it did clear up after many years. Every so often, it flares up but fades away quickly now.

I have acne, as many people do. I didn’t have it as bad as others I have known, but I would get a huge festering goop-filled zit every so often. I remember I had one right on the upper end of my cheek by my eye that I could not hide nor cover up; you would meet me and see IT. I was about 15. I went to visit the intermediate school to help with a band event. The daughter of the director saw IT, went to her friends and said loudly, “Look at that ZIT! Gross!” It was humiliating and I was sure, I mean, she had said it aloud but I was sure there were others who just thought it when they saw me. My skin has cleared up a lot but I still have small outbreaks now and then. Imagine my parents screening for acne and sparing their daughter’s humiliation and pain.


Some want what they want. They want a “normal” child, but what child is normal? What is normal? They want a child with great intelligence, so abort the fetus with downs syndrome. They want a healthy, easy to care for child, so abort the fetus with muscular dystrophy; we’ll just try again for a “normal” child. They want a son first, so abort the female fetus. Think about it, they can already tell the gender early through ultrasound and so what’s to stop a woman from choosing to abort her male fetus because she wants a female fetus, or a woman thinks she can only financially support one child and finds she’s pregnant with triplets. I’m not knocking ultrasound because it is useful to know things beforehand in preparation, and through organizations like Focus on the Family, women are choosing against aborting their baby because they can see the baby clearly through ultrasound.

And to get back to the L&O episode, every parent would hope for a good life for their child, a life with lots of friends, no teasing, no hurt feelings, no beatings. The implication is that if the gay gene could be screened for, since homosexuals continue to be largely unaccepted in society and so have the opposite of the "good life" that parents hope for their child, they would have the fetus with the gay gene aborted.

Now, I do not believe in someone being born a homosexual, but that person is human, is made in the image of God, is valuable. Homosexuality, as all the other things I’ve mentioned, may it be genetic or otherwise, is no reason for abortion. The Pro-Life position as I see it makes no exception as to orientation, gender, health, easy life, etc. Nor does it make exception for foresight into the evil bent of the coming child. It makes no exception to the right to life of a fetus whatsoever.

What's in all of our genes? Humanness, our right to life.
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A note to my homosexual friends: I hope I have not made any statement that has offended you. If I have, I apologize now for that is never my intent. Please contact me privately if I ever say something to offend and I will take the matter into consideration. I have tried to be clear as to my thoughts on the matter. It may be difficult in that in my faith I might not be able to fully understand you the way you might want me to, but it is certainly not difficult to love you and count you as friends.

Mahalo.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Heavy Lifting…Babies?

Last week was a bad week on the workout front. I went that Monday. That’s it. Then with Easter and Thursday practice, Good Friday service…. I know, not an excuse.

So I went this morning, Tuesday. Today was interesting because I met someone at the gym, a first. The gym’s got some new cardio machines. It used to be a row of treadmills, a row of ellipticals, a row of mixed stuff [treadmills, recline bikes, steps], and a row of stationary bikes. Now there’s a row of 4 bikes along the wall just outside of the locker rooms and like 6 rows of stuff. It was pretty empty today and a guy on one of the 4 bikes right there, he’s on the second one. I was going to use the fourth bike but there was an “out of order” sign. So I went to the third one.

I had passed him in order to get to the other bikes; he had looked at me and so I had glanced at him and smiled a little. Now I’m next to the guy. Before I can get my music in my ears, he starts talking to me. I will cause Darling to laugh because I’m gonna say here that I am socially awkward and I still maintain that it’s true. I didn’t know what to do then ‘cause I wanna start cycling and listen to my music but I don’t wanna be a snob. I’ve never had a stranger start a full conversation with me at the gym. I’m not even good with conversation with someone I know. He was nice so we talked. He showed no signs that I’d said something weird or that I’d scared him off.

I guess I’m over-aware of the weird things I say ‘cuz I think I scared off my former before. We went to lunch as friends and he’d seen a friend or something. After he talked to his friend, I said, “Can’t take you anywhere.” Um, that’s a common saying for a situation like that among my Apple-dumpling Gang, of whom my former had never met, and so he was sorta like, huh? Then I realized he had no idea what I was talking about and I have no idea what he thought I meant by it which was nothing. It's just something we say out of habit.

Anyways, the guy went to lift; I went to the elliptical. Then I did a little weights. I’m not a trainer and the most training I’ve had was from Shay. What I remember from Shay is that she would tell me to look at that guy and don’t do what he’s doing ‘cause it’s bad form, he’s hurting his back rather than working the muscles, etc. I see a ton of that at the gym every time. Where do these guys learn such bad form? And even though I’m still doing the same form that Shay told me was good form, I still kinda feel like a dork like I'm doing things the girly way…but I still do what Shay said was proper.

So I did triceps and I feel so WEAK! I’m only doing 30 lbs. which is okay, but I did 8, then 5, and finished with barely 3 reps. I dunno how much of it is that I’ve only been doing triceps stuff with easy free-weights at home and not consistently at that, or that it does make a huge difference when I have a partner to help me. Actually, when Shay was training me, 40 felt so much easier. And yes, Shay’s the one who would make me laugh while bench pressing- just plain cruel. Face it, Jenn, you’re just out of shape.
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Speaking Of…
Shay, we just had a baby shower for her and Tony the other weekend. I still have a tough time getting over the idea that Shay and Tony’s gonna be parents! That kid is gonna have too much fun for its own good, if that’s at all possible.

So here’s the picture of me with the proudly expecting parents. Um…yes, she’s got a big basketball of a stomach just below the cut of the picture; I didn’t take the picture!

Courtesy of L.Uehara












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Now it’s actually Wednesday. As you can tell, I started writing this yesterday. I try to set time aside to write whatever but I don’t always post it so there.

Since last week I had only gone to the gym on Monday, I’m trying to make up for it. I went again today. I biked then ran (4) 12-min miles and 4.75 miles total. It’s getting a little easier each time so I’m feeling good. I didn’t do any weights today.

Then I saw that guy again when I was walking out. He was on the bike and asked if I’d bike next to him awhile, but I was done for the day. Apparently he knows several people at the gym and talks to them which makes him more look like a good guy. It’s nice to have a friendly face though. I saw Kris at the gym a couple times last year, but he had said he was thinking of moving to NY or something, I wonder if he did, so I’m not expecting to run into him at the gym anymore. Then I used to see my former, which is okay but that was when I was working out at night so I’m not expecting to see him either unless I go at night. I only went once at night last month. I like going in the morning though; it’s usually not crowded and then I get it out of the way instead of trying to guilt myself into going later which I tend to talk or eat myself out of doing.

Anyways, I told the guy I had to get home to study and so now that I’m done with this, I’m posting this time and to the studying I go.

Mahalo!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Near Misses and the Problem of Pain

Just the other day, the news reported an incident at Pearlridge Shopping Center. Security guards were alerted to a man breaking into a car in the parking lot. Authorities arrived. The man had gotten into the car to steal it, started to run the car towards officers, dragged an officer, an officer shot at the car to try to stop it, and the perpetrator was killed during the gunfire.

Perhaps worse yet, the perpetrator’s wife is boohooing and pleading, because her husband was a good friend, husband, father, grandfather, greatgrandfather…yes, he’s been in trouble and on ice but he was turning his life around…blah blah blah. Well, lady, go ahead and mourn, okay. But he was obviously didn’t have his life turned around yet. They found drugs in his system, he was stealing a car and driving it into officers.

A few weeks ago, there was a random shooting at a Wendy’s in Florida. I was first told about this by Blank who is in FL and had been eating at that very Wendy’s only a few days before. Thank goodness that Blank was not there the day of the shooting and so is safe; we’ve grown accustomed to amusing each other.

I had a late class one semester that was scheduled until 9:30 but would often run till 10 p.m. One night, we got out past 10. I came home to find Mom on the couch and Dad at the kitchen sink. Dad was determinedly scrubbing the dishes. He didn’t pause to acknowledge me, just kept on going until everything was clean and went to his room. I thought he must be upset because I was supposed to do the dishes before I went to class.

Mom said Dad was worried about his daughter. The news that night reported the abduction and rape of a woman who had been taken while she was walking to her parked car. What’s more is that the woman was walking in the residential area across from the School of Architecture, where my class was. The woman had parked her car on one of the streets where my parents know I tend to park. It was dark, at night, and the woman was alone, no different than me on many such nights.

I’m sure most of us, if not all of us, have come across these sort of near misses in life. Some of us may have been hit directly. It certainly makes me think about what I would have done if I had been there, if I had been the one abducted, if I had been witness to a shooting. Certainly prompts me to pray for those who were there or will be in those moments in the future.
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Those are examples of the unexplainable evil deeds by man; we also wrestle with the unexplainable destruction by natural events like tsunamis and tornadoes and such but I want to address the evil deeds of man a little longer. When I say “man,” I use it in the universal sense and include myself in the meaning.

C.S. Lewis calls it the “Problem of Pain” and wrote a book about it. Some refer to it as the “Problem of Evil.” It’s one of the main hurdles that Christians have a tough time clearing. We don’t like to think about it because it’s hard to explain. It is something that I have a tough time answering for.

Here’s the problem: I believe in God who is all-powerful and all-good and if He is so, then why is there evil? Why do people hurt? Would not all-good God stop evil from happening since he is also all-powerful? Why would He allow us to suffer if He is good and loves us as He says he does? If it was in my power to do so, I wouldn’t let anyone I love to suffer. If man was subject to me, I wouldn’t allow man to do evil things to one another.

But that’s not what God does. Some people think that we become Christians so that we will be blessed and protected from a tough life, but God doesn’t even save those who believe in Him from pain. Oftentimes, He gives us more pain. He sure didn’t stop a young man back in December from killing two people at the YWAM training center in Colorado and He didn’t stop that same young man from moving on hours later in the day to kill more people at New Life Church also in CO. How can anyone justify a faith in God who would allow tragedy to happen to His own people? What difference does it make to believe?

I have said that I think on these things from time to time and that I don’t have all the answers yet. This is one of those where I definitely trust God more than my own understanding. I don’t know what the answer is. Others have faced the problem head on and have come away with some kind of answer and so here I will turn things over to a few whom I think have quite a good answer to the Problem of Pain and point out to where you can find their answers and look it up for yourself. If ever I say something you don’t trust, by all means I encourage you to look it up to see if what I said was true or to find something that refutes what I said. And let me know what you find because it just might be that you’ve found an answer to one of my questions.
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The director of YWAM Colorado recently tackled the issue and it was featured on the Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast. In his grief, Pastor Peter Warren works out the Problem of Pain while giving out details of what happened that day of the shooting. I think he works it out quite nicely for human understanding while leaving God’s sovereignty to God. I’m not going to give his points here because I’d prefer that you hear his speech for yourself. I think I’d do a rather poor job of recapping his speech anyways, it’s very good.

Also featured on FotF were two days of broadcast interviews with the family of the perpetrator, Matthew Murray, together with one of the families of the victims, Stephanie and Rachel Works of New Life Church. They talk about the power of forgiveness and they also touch on the sovereignty of God in this situation.

I would recommend all three broadcasts to anyone who has questions about why God allows tragedy to happen. Perhaps you’re dealing with something with pain on a more private level like cancer or diabetes. Maybe you’re having trouble forgiving someone who has wronged you. Maybe the Problem of Pain is the thing that’s stopping you from making a decision for Christ. Maybe you haven’t found an answer to the problem from anyone else. Maybe you think I’m out of my mind to be a Christian and serve God, believing that He only wants the best for us.

For whatever reason, I would suggest listening to the broadcasts. You may access the broadcast for free by way of the One Place link below. The broadcast titles are “Forgiveness in the Wake of Tragedy” and “A Visit with the Murray and Works Families” which has two parts. The broadcast links should be available until Wednesday, the 26th. After that, they can be requested from the FotF resource center also linked below. I’ve also included links to articles on the tragedies that took place at YWAM and New Life for those who were not aware of them before.

I would also suggest reading C.S. Lewis’ book The Problem of Pain. I read it years ago and plan to reread it shortly. One might also want to look into Dr. James Dobson’s book When God Doesn’t Make Sense and R.T. Kendall’s Total Forgiveness. They may be found in any bookstore or on Amazon.com.

Mahalo for reading in.

Resource Links:
Focus on the Family Archive on One Place
Focus on the Family Resource Page
Article on YWAM Incident
Article in Denver Post

Saturday, March 22, 2008

High Hopes Crashing Down…


It’s been kinda crazy so I haven’t been paying close attention to the volleyball as I usually do. I’m just realizing this as I’m listening to the second match between the #14 UH Warriors and the #12 USC Trojans. The Trojans won the first match last night, 30-22, 24-30, 30-26, 30-24. Looking at the box scores from last night…not pretty.

So I’m listening to the match on the radio because they’re at USC again tonight. Game 1 went to Hawai‘i, 30-28. Then they got slaughtered in games 2 and 3, scoring just 16 and 17 respectively. They’re fighting back here in game 4, trying to take it to a fifth game. I looked up the USC roster and if I remember correctly, they only graduated one senior last year who wasn’t really a starter; just by that, they should be a really strong team. They’ve got strong seniors and juniors this year with lots of experience: the lefty Schellenberg, steady-setter Killian, the fiery Figueroa, the quirky Matt Anderson. Pavlovich, Current and Vernon have had game time experience. They picked up a couple of top Hawai‘i prospects in McKibbin (Punahou) and Tri Bourne (Academy of the Pacific). Plus 22 others on the roster of whom I am sure there is some surprise talent.

[Hawai‘i has just amazingly taken game 4, 32-30, and is going into game 5, still playing to win!]

Then I looked at the national rankings. Hawai‘i is currently 14th, USC is 12th. I was expecting USC to be a little higher with the fire power they brought back this year. In the MPSF, we’re battling them for 8th place. Next I see that Northridge (CSUN), who is usually at the bottom of the MPSF and the national rankings, are tied for first with Penn State! What?!! And Loyola-Chicago (LUC) just dropped off the national rankings, what?! A few weekly polls ago, UH had dropped off the national also. So, with Penn State and BYU generally dominating the polls this year, a general powerhouse like UH and the quickly-building LUC dropping in and out of the polls, and the low-ranking for the past several seasons CSUN at the top nationally, um, it’s a crazy year, a very volatile competitive year. I have no idea who’s going to win the MPSF or the Nationals, it’s anyone’s game at the moment.

AND, looking at the rest of UH’s schedule, it’s very possible that UH might not make the MPSF. I am saying this as a very optimistic loyal UH fan. The top 6 make it automatically while 7 and 8 plays to enter the tournament. Even if they win tonight, they’ll be in 8th for the MPSF. Next, UH remains on the road to visit current #1 CSUN, then home for BYU who had been battling Penn State for first for most of this season, and finishing off on the road at Pepperdine at #5.

So, we still have a chance however slim it may be. A couple years ago, UCLA struggled most of the season to win it all, so…. I don’t know, it’s a little hard to be optimistic this year.

HAWAI‘I WINS, HAWAI‘I WINS, HAWAI‘I WINS!!! 17-15 in extra play. Unbelievable, great.

So the full sentence is… high hopes crashing down to float on the surface towards the edge of a very high waterfall.

I hope we survive the drop!
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And just a note: on the side, one of the link groups I've started to put up is for "Featured Entries." These are ones that I hope you would not miss reading so if it's there, please check out those entries. Well, it's my blog so I think every entry is meaningful, but, you know... Mahalo!

[Picture of Schkud by UH Athletics]

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Daddy Dearest

It is soon to be my dad’s birthday! Happy Birthday Dad!

I can’t say it enough that I have the best dad God could’ve given me to! We have, not a perfect, but a great relationship. I enjoy talking with my dad and a lot of times, I’ll go to him to work out a situation. I can’t imagine my dad having any enemies ‘cuz everyone seems to like my dad very much. Lately, we’ve added more subjects to our conversations like politics and football and general news.
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I wanna say this with all sensitivity to the fact that maybe most people do not have great dads. Maybe they have an okay dad but not the close relationship I enjoy with my dad, maybe they have an abusive dad, maybe they have absolutely no relationship with their dad. They might be some of you out there. I do not praise my dad because I want to rub it in that I have a good relationship with my dad because I don’t want to rub it in.

Katie’s [alias] a good friend of mine who has had a tumultuous relationship with her father. As I understand, he was verbally abusive and drank a lot. It got really bad one night and so Katie moved out of the house. She’s said hateful things about him and I just listened, not knowing anything else to do.

Well, it’s a normal thing for me to talk about what good thing my dad has done recently, but after Katie had moved out, she didn’t want to hear any of it and so our friendship became strained. I think she became bitter in her situation and/or that she thought I was rubbing it in. I didn’t know what to do. It’s not my nature to not talk about my dad and at the same time there was something in my stories about Dad that I wanted Katie to know, only I wasn’t sure what it was or how to say it.

Then I got it. I think it was when Apple graduated and her dad had come to celebrate with her. He lives on another island and so they don’t have much of a relationship at all, but I noticed that Apple didn’t seem bitter about her situation. So I started to ask her about her dad. Then I asked her why she wasn’t bitter.

I very carefully asked her how she feels when I talk about my dad, and she’s seen us together many times. She said that she likes hearing about him because it gave her hope. It shows her that there are good fathers in the world and lets her know that it’s a possibility that she’ll marry a good guy who will be a good father to her children someday.

Ah, my very wise friend! I realized that’s exactly what I was trying to say to Katie but I didn’t know how. And so now, I pray that the hope may pass on to you who reads this and needed to hear it; there are good fathers in the world. And maybe you’re not sure how to be a good father, or mother, and perhaps there is something in my stories that will give you an idea.
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Dad has always supported Brother and me in anything that we have done and continues to support us now into the future. Dad coached Brother’s basketball and soccer, drove to every band performance I took part in, and still brings home candy and roses to Mom for Valentine’s Day. Karate, hula, Boy Scouts, PSI (with Mom), Century Bike Ride, Ironman Triathlon set up, volleyball, Campus Life, Space Camp…and the list goes on with activities and ways that Dad has been the leader and supporter of his family.

It doesn’t stop with just his immediate family; Dad is there for anyone who calls on him. My dad is the second and last son among 8 children. He is also the second youngest with one sister after him. Still, especially after his brother’s health began to fail, Dad has filled in the role of “Big Brother” to his sisters for as long as I can remember. If they need to be protected, they trust my dad. If they need something, they know they can always ask my dad. Even when they don’t need anything at all, they enjoy stopping by for a visit and just talk with my dad.

Papa, his father, lived with us for some years and I remember Dad was always gentle with Papa. Later, Grandma, Mom’s mother, came to stay with us and Dad was gentle with her. One of my cousins, whom I’ll call Nina, came to live with us twice. Nina is somewhat one of the “black sheep” of the relatives, and yet when she needs something she comes to my father and he helps in what ways he can; he never turns her down.

Yet, I have the reassurance that no matter who Dad helps, his family always comes first. The first time Nina came to live with us, Dad set some ground rules for her. One of the rules was that her sister, who had been on and off of drugs, was never to visit. He had a young daughter to think of and protect. Well, the sister did come and Nina let her into the backyard, as far as I know they were just talking…and smoking. When Dad saw that, he sent Nina packing. Still, years later Nina was going through a divorce, had a very young daughter with her and no place to go. We took them both in.
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I could go on and on with stories about my dad but I’ll save them for another time. I’m gonna end with one of my favorite memories. Mom was watching me play in the playground while Dad was coaching a basketball practice. Dad was unsatisfied with the push-ups that the boys were doing so he calls me over. All the boys were standing around and watched me do push-ups while Dad told them things like, “See how she’s going all the way down and all the way back up again?” and “Notice how she keeps her back flat.” Mind you, I was maybe 6 at the time. I can still do push-ups pretty well actually.

On the surface, Dad was upset with his boys and telling them that if a girl can do push-ups properly, they had better do push-ups properly. No more noodle arms and sagging bellies. Beneath the surface, Dad was telling me several things. He was saying that I could be strong and fit like my brother if I wanted to, I could do what the boys do. He was showing me that doing things the right way is valuable. Most of all, Dad was telling me that he was proud of me, so proud that he wanted others to know it.

Mahalo to all good fathers and good men out there.

A Good Father Playing With His Daughter

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Helping A Friend Helping A Cause

This one is going to be quick. Couple weeks ago I received an email from a friend and have been meaning to post this to help her out. I believe donations can still be made. My grandfather died of cancer, one of the Aunties is a cancer survivor, and so I will be talking with Mom and the Aunties to see how much we can help Jamie out. Please consider donating with Jamie's team or giving to your local ACS chapter if you'd prefer and mahalo.

The following is what was sent to me:


Hey Everyone,

The Pre-Pharmacy Association at UH Manoa is participating in the Relay for Life Event and I was wondering if you would be interested in helping my club raise money for the American Cancer Society by making a donation. I believe this is a great cause because your donations will support research, education, advocacy, and service in the fight against cancer. Those of you who know of someone who has been affected by cancer probably know how much support cancer patients receive in their battle to overcome their cancer, which is why I feel so strongly about this event.

Thank You,
Jamie Hokutan

Click here to visit my personal page.
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RelayForLifeHighPlainsDivision?px=4493003&pg=personal&fr_id=6535&s_tafId=106445

Click here to view the team page for Pre-Pharmacy Association
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RelayForLifeHighPlainsDivision?team_id=207667&pg=team&fr_id=6535&s_tafId=106445

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Avoidance Exception

This is gonna sound cranky ‘cuz I’m just in a cranky mood today; I know, some of you are shocked that I could be cranky. Um, did that sound sarcastic enough?

Anyways, I think I mentioned somewhere that I’m not an avoider. I acknowledge people who acknowledge me. I don’t like false niceties really but in the end I don’t really care. I knew a lot of people who were nice to my face and talked trash about me behind my back, I’ve got friends that’ll confirm this. It’s annoying for a moment and a moment I can endure.

So on my end, it doesn’t bother me to ‘kill ‘em with kindness’ as they say. I mean, as a Christian, I’m called to love my neighbor as myself. If it is true that the other person doesn’t like me, then I’m entertaining them a little. You know, they probably think I’m an idiot for buying their bull [not actually buying it]. And actually, there are not many people for whom God needs to work in my heart to love; I can think of one person at the moment, in all my life, whom I would want to avoid.

If someone recognizes me and wants to avoid me, I’m okay with that also. What does it matter?

Ah, but ya’ gotta love the exceptions to the rule.
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The other day, Mom and I went to Petland. While Mom was looking at something for her dog, I walked down an aisle and passed this guy walking towards me. Petland employees wear a navy shirt that says ‘Petland’ in red embroidery. It looked like this guy worked there; he was wearing a button-front navy shirt that was open so I didn’t notice if it said ‘Petland’ or not. I gave a very small acknowledging smile; I just lifted one corner of my tight-lipped mouth.

Then Mom was looking at more stuff and I was growing tired and hungry. We were at the end of an aisle. Out of my peripheral vision, I see that guy walking down the aisle towards us kinda quick and then he turned down the main aisle behind us. I glanced up just as he walked behind us again, he stopped shortly to cool himself at the fan that was near us. He kinda grinned at me.

Now, I had thought the first time that he kinda looked like someone I knew but I do that all the time. I think someone looks familiar only to realize how I know the person I’m thinking of and that person is in CA or something and was actually taller than the person I’m looking at, you know? And people recognize me more readily than I recognize them. I’m one of those that in general, I need to listen to them a few seconds to realize who they are, usually when it’s been years since I’ve seen them.

I’m gonna call this guy ‘Rover’ ‘cuz I was in Petland and he was roving… around me, he was hovering more like it. Well, I thought he kinda looked like this guy I grad h.s. with but not quite, not enough for me to say, ‘Hey G, how have you been?’ By then, it’s nearing my lunch time and I’m getting cranky and getting more annoyed by Rover. He’s still walking around us.

And you remember that h.s. thing that your friend would do when your crush walks by? In h.s, my crush was in the same section [band] and we’d go eat dinner together, the whole section. My very good and best friend Nell would always work so hard to get my crush to sit next to me at every dinner. Something like that normally annoys me to pieces but I love Nell so she can pretty much do anything, it’s not easy to be mad or annoyed at Nell.

Well, that’s what another employee started to do sort of. Rover must’ve told his friend, hey I know that girl. Mom was taking a long time deciding. Friend came to help a female employee stock a nearby shelf or something. When Rover passed by, Friend was saying, ‘hey G, G, come here,’ confirming who I thought Rover might be. Rover never came over to Friend but hovered around Mom and I several times. I guess he wanted me to say something first and he was hovering to give me the opening, I don’t know.

In the end, I got out of that store without saying anything. I just don’t play games like that, they annoy me. I’m pretty sure now that Rover had recognized me from the start and if he had stopped me and said something, I would’ve been like, ‘Hey G, how are you?’ But he didn’t. He chose to be a coward and hover. That’s pretty much how he was in h.s. too.

What’s more is that we were friends in h.s, if you can call it that. I mostly tolerated him, let him hang around us. I’m not saying that I was cool or anything ‘cuz I totally believe I’m a dork but I have a tough time hanging out with people who act stupid on a constant basis, especially if they know it. Silly people are great, I love silliness, but it just confounds me when people work against their intelligence, you know what I mean? I tolerated a lot of people in h.s. ‘cuz basically, we were all stuck with each other, and my h.s. was notorious for stupid smart people. In h.s. Rover behaved immaturely and it’s sad that he’s still behaving immaturely after so many years.

So, I didn’t actively dodge Rover but I would’ve walked out if Mom hadn’t been with me.

Just now I’m thinking of how several friends in different circles tend to say the same things about me. One of the things is that I’m intimidating. It’s kind of… I mean, I don’t think that I’m intimidating. Who’s gonna be afraid of me? Well, maybe this incident with Rover illustrates a way that people might see me as intimidating. Yeah, I’m not very patient with certain things. *sigh* I think God might be teaching me to be more gracious to people--- pray for me! I guess if I had said something to Rover that would’ve been closer to loving my ‘neighbor.’
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They Don’t Want My Two Cents?!!

I’m including this ‘cuz it was the same day as Rover. I went to pay for my things at Petland that day. The total was like $10.02 and I had NO pennies. Is it weird to feel a sense of guilt for making a worker count out $0.98 in change? I called for Mom who usually has a bunch of coins…but not on that day. The cashier, who was very tall and kinda cute by the way, said no problem, he’s got pennies. God bless the cashier, I love it when cashiers do that, but I still try to pay for everything.

That wouldn’t be weird, only Mom and Cranky Me stopped for lunch. The bank was near so Mom told me what she wanted. Mom went to do some banking while I picked up the lunch. I get to the counter, gave the good lady our order, and it was rung up. Um…the total came up and again, I WAS SHORT TWO CENTS! I paid the whole thing and she didn’t offer the pennies which is totally fine. I just had to laugh and think, how is it possible to be short two cents in one day in consecutive stores? Was God telling me something there too?

Mom and I ran a few more errands at other places, but I don’t think I was short two cents. Makes me think of ‘Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!’ You know what movie that’s from right? Did I just date myself? I don’t care, I’m old.

Mahalo, and does anyone have pennies that they don’t want? Send ‘um to me, I might need ‘um someday!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Okay, I’m Hanging Up Now

Did you see the movie ‘Hanging Up’ with Diane Keaton and Meg Ryan? Ryan’s character has a difficult time getting the phone out of her hand. She feels compelled to answer every ring [often her father who is setting into dementia or Alzheimer’s] and can’t seem to hang up no matter who it is, often her father or one of her sisters. As a result, Ryan is a bad driver. She crashes into a doctor’s car in the parking lot.

Recently, NJ has passed a law making it illegal to use the cell phone while driving. I find it annoying and absurd that people need such a law. I use the phone, any phone, rather sparingly. I do use it in the car while driving, but I’m very mindful of it. I have at times not answered a call because I was on the freeway or such. When I have a passenger, I’ve asked them to go ahead and answer my phone. I do this partly because I don’t trust the driving awareness of those on the road with me and because I do not trust my own driving to that end.

When it comes to driving, many of us think we can do it all while driving…until the time that we couldn’t do it all and then it’s too late. Lately it seems like every week we see a local news story about a car crash and the guilty driver had been drinking or on their cell phone. No phone call I receive is going to be more important than my life nor your life nor any other life.

Last week, my brother had a late flight out to San Diego. He picked up Mom and me and we made our way to having dinner before dropping him off at the airport later. Brother was driving down a street, coming upon a residential road to our right. Picture a T; we were coming across the horizontal bar from left to right, approaching the halfway point. My brother braked hard; traveling from the bottom to the top of the vertical segment of the T, having come to the meeting point, a young lady made a left turn, crossing in front of us. She had not stopped at the turn, not even paused. She was on her oh-so-important phone call on her cell. She didn’t seem to notice that my brother had come within two feet, maybe less, of plowing right into her. She kept on her way.

On a Dr. Phil episode, the subject was teenagers who text-message while driving. Now, one young girl was addicted to tm-ing while driving and she talked about it like it was a game; she was an expert, a professional in tm-ing while driving. They brought on a teenage boy who had been tm-ing while driving, got into an accident and killed the person in the car he crashed into. He was trying to tell the girl to stop before she crashes because the guilt of being responsible for another person's death for an unimportant thing like texting is just...well, it's too much. The girl's reply...she thinks the boy just wasn't as good at texting as she is and that's why he crashed. ABSURD.
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I have announced my return to the choir. The director is very good about getting each of us a practice CD with our parts so that we may practice when we can. I wear the CD out; I NEED all the practice I can get! Maybe I shouldn’t have said that; now people are hesitating to come out and hear us sing. Believe me, I’m improving.

I don’t drive much these days [I'm a good driver I think, I just don't like driving], but when I do I make it a point to bring the practice CD along. I try to keep the windows up while I sing along to the CD. I’m sure I look amusing to those who happen to glance my way as I’m trying to open my small mouth as wide as I can to belt out the melody. It takes concentration. I am mindful of where I am driving and of the traffic around me all before I start the CD. My eyes are on the road, my hands are firmly on the steering wheel, my foot in place at the pedals, but it takes concentration to see the deep pothole or the person waiting about to cross the street in the crosswalk or the truck just ahead of me begin to brake.

If singing to a CD can take concentration from the road, so can using a hands-free cell phone system.
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If it’s legal to use the cell phone while driving wherever one happens to be, I hope one’s being responsible and careful that nothing distracts from the task of driving. Weigh the costs, think about it. And remember, just because something isn't illegal doesn't mean one should do it.

From my heart, mahalo.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Double the Losers!

Loser airs on Tuesday nights. I gave up the March 4th episode in favor of the Bethel College Choir (see previous entry). I had the episode taped and watched it later so I could write the commentary and then I didn’t write it so to make up for it, I’m gonna try to not go overlong.

March 4th episode, week 10 I think, last known move was Blue Mark’s sacrifice. Black acted like they were sad at his leaving ‘cuz Roger’s the biggest guy = biggest threat, not always true, as if they expected Blue to do what Black wanted, what a waste of time brooding about it.

It was the craziest Temptation I’ve ever seen! Usually players abstain from the temptation, but they all took part in this one. In a secluded room was a vending machine. One player at a time would go into the room and make an entry on the keypad, but the machine’s gonna drop something at random. If a snack dropped, one has to eat it = lots of calories to burn off later. If a pack of gum dropped, one wins the $ amount on the back. Also with the gum, one can make more entries and chew on a stick of gum instead of eating any snack that drops. One can make as many entries as one chooses except if a 1-lb. pass drops, then the turn is over. The 1-lb pass will be applied at the weigh in.

Roger’s ready to go first. He enters ‘B’ for Blue and ‘3’ for 3 members of Blue left. Gum dropped with $1000. 2nd entry dropped a pass. He’s done.

The rest of the results in order: Dan ate 1100 cal, won $9500 (the gum). Jay won 1-lb pass. Kelly ate 870 cal. Bernie won $2500 and pass. Brittany ate 440 cal and won pass. Maggie won a pass. Nobody told anyone else what they got.

Bernie had been Biggest Loser of the Week, he chose the game play envelope. He won immunity for anyone he chooses but himself.

Challenge: zipping across a deep canyon, reaching and releasing flags along the line, 14 flags per line. Blue won, they get to be fighter pilots for a day. All I wanna add is that I don’t think I’m acrophobic, as they say, I’m not afraid of heights, just the plummeting down to earth part. But I have a feeling I may have a fear of jumping off a cliff when there is no ocean down below [I’ve jumped off heights into the ocean many times] but I so would’ve gone for that challenge; I wanna go S. America just so I can take one of those canopy tours. I think it’d be fun to zip across canyons and stuff.

WI: starts with Ali announcing from this WI on, no more teams, weighing as individuals and up for elimination as individuals, no BL of the Week. Given that, Bernie gives immunity to Brittany. Black Brittany, 5 lbs, 3.35 %, doesn’t count ‘cuz of the immunity.

Kelly, 6 lbs, 2.83%. Jay, 7 +1-lb pass, 3.62%. Roger, 9 +1, 3.73%. Maggie, 6+1, 3.68%. Dan, needs more than 7 to stay above yellow line, 8, 3.65%. Bernie needed more than 7-1 (pass), weighed in 6+1, 3.48%. The two lowest are up for elimination, meaning Kelly and Bernie, both from Black. Black is devastated.

At the E-table: Maggie and Brittany vote for Kelly, no surprise. Jay and Dan vote for Bernie, no surprise. It’s up to Roger’s vote. He says that his vote reflects a promise made early on in the game, video clip of Roger and Trent talking to Kelly and Paul, and so Roger votes for Bernie. Bernie’s out. If Bernie hadn’t given immunity to Brittany, he’d have been safe from elimination. I like Bernie for protecting his partner. And it’s good to know that Roger’s a man of his word.
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March 11th episode: It’s a firecracker! The eliminated 14 are back, weighing in for the chance to rejoin the game, 1 male and 1 female to rejoin. Host Ali asks Pink Bette Sue what it would mean to her to rejoin the game. Bette Sue says it’s more important that her daughter, Pink Ali get the chance to rejoin ‘cuz she [Bette Sue] is okay without all the pain. I LIKE Bette Sue!

They weigh in order of their elimination, from week 1. The women go first. Green Jenni, 38 lbs (since the initial WI), 14.23%. Brown Mallory, 42, 19.35%. White Amanda, who looks really good, 46, 22.55%. Pink Ali, who I also like and also looks great, getting a lot of WOWs from all, 67, 28.63%. Pink Bette Sue, 49, 18.77%. Purple Jenn, 48, 18.90%. Last is Orange Jackie, who did A LOT of game play and others know it, needed more than 70 to beat Pink Ali in the lead, 64, 26.02%. Pink Ali is back!

The guys next, Green Lynn (Jenni’s father) is first, 64 lbs, 15.65%. Brown Curtis sets the bar high with 100 lbs, 26.25%! White Neill, 55, 17.35%. Grey Trent, a great 105 lbs, but not enough to take the lead from Curtis with 24.08%, but Trent had started as the heaviest guy on campus, over 400 lbs when he started. Yellow Paul, 70, 23.10%. Now we’re getting to the last two guys who had been eliminated in the last two weeks, Black Mark (initial team color) pulls out a good enough to take the lead 90 lbs and 31.58%. Blue Bernie (initial team color) needs more than 89 to rejoin the game, pulls an 88, 31.10%, very close. Black Mark is back!

Okay, I am happy with that!

Since Mark had the better %, he got to choose which trainer, of course he goes with Bob, Pink Ali gets Jillian. Pink Ali gets to choose between wearing pink or wearing black, the color of Jillian’s group. Ali wears pink as tribute to her couple teammate, her mom Bette Sue. I’m okay with that.

Bob’s eyes popped out when he found out Mark was back. Right away, Blue’s happy for many reasons, but mainly because Mark’s the chef of the group; the other guys said after Mark had left, they had salad that was just lettuce, that’s how bad they are with cooking. Mark doesn’t mind, he cooks for them.

Black girls are boo-hooing ‘cuz it’s like they lost Bernie twice and now they have Pink Ali who’s been gone for about 6 weeks, they like her but not as much as Bernie. Jillian’s happy to have Ali back. Next workout, she concentrates on Ali to see what she can do, the other 3 girls feel ignored, the ‘new toy/old toy’ syndrome.

Thing is, before she left, she didn’t do game play and stuff, Pink Ali just got along better with Mark, Jay and Roger. Dan’s okay with her so Pink Ali ate her first meal back with Blue and she says ‘hi’ to Blue when she sees them. This grinds on Black and Jillian absolutely. Plus, Ali is a major competitor now, major threat.

Challenge: stationary bikes hooked up to a row of 10 light bulbs each, 10 calories burned lights one bulb. Playing for a crucial extra vote at elimination, they bike to light up their row of bulbs, eliminating the last two from each round. Round 1, in order of 10 bulb-lighting: Mark, Dan, Jay, Roger, Maggie, Brittany; Ali and Kelly out. Round 2: Mark, Dan, Jay, Roger; Maggie and Brittany out, though Brittany tried to make an effort. Round 3: Mark, Dan; Jay and Roger out. Final Round, Dan wins it. Mark tired himself out with the first rounds, wanting to show there’s a reason he’s back and he can do it.

Brittany said she prefers competing with the boys ‘cuz she does well against the girls every time, the boys are more of a challenge. I like Brittany only in that respect ‘cuz I tend to have that kind of mindset for certain things. I like hanging with the guys, I can say more on that another time. And I like TRYING to keep up with my friend Shay ‘cuz she’s the strongest woman I know but I never win.
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Workouts, Pink Ali’s still not fitting with the girls. During a break, Jillian goes to talk to Maggie and Brittany in a room. Maggie confesses she’s been non-stop eating. Brittany cries. So much pressure, no control of the game, when it was 6 she felt like she had a chance to win it all and wanted it more than before. With 8, with Mark and Ali back especially, Brittany feels like it’s hopeless. Kelly comes in, she’s mostly fine with everything ‘cuz every week she feels like the weakest link and under the fire, she doesn’t say that, I’m superimposing that on her. I would really like Kelly if she would sound more confident in her capabilities and new strength, but she tends to sound wimpy still.

Jillian tries to build up their esteem, sort of the ‘you’re already winners ‘cuz you’ve come so far and lost the weight’ talk. Forget about winning the entire game, concentrate on what one can control which is this week, handle next week when next week comes. They go to workout.
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WI: very tense. Host Ali, making small talk as is her job, asks Brittany if she thinks there’s a clear-cut winner in this group, does anyone stand out. Brittany gives a lame answer, not really in the mood to say anything. Ali tries to take the conversation a little further when Jillian starts saying stuff like, ‘leave the girl the f--- alone, she’s had a tough week.’ Ali says she didn’t know Brittany had a tough week, what’s…? Jillian continues the ranting, saying it’s like Ali was asking the girl is she gonna win it when she knows it’s impossible and blah. Ali turns to talk to Bob instead.

Pink Ali is first, 7 lbs, 4.19%. Mark, 7, 3.59%. Dan, 4, 1.90%. Roger, 8, 3.09%. Jay, 5, 2.34%. Brittany needs >3 to be safe, gets 2, 1.15%. Kelly needs >3, gets 4, 1.94%. Maggie pulls a goose egg.

Maggie and Brittany of Black are up for elimination. Then BL cuts out; they’re gonna wait till next week to show the elimination.
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Maggie’s a poor loser, I haven’t found anything I like about Maggie so far, maybe only that she has lost weight and is healthier. Maggie’s been the poorest loser and the smuggest person when things go well. Case in point, when Dan pulled a low 4 lbs, Maggie had a smirk on her face, like Dan’s going down and she’s gonna be the one to do it. Then she pulls the zero, not so smug anymore. A poorest loser example came when she was overeating earlier in the week.

I’d rather see Maggie go ‘cuz I’m tired of watching her, but it’s okay if Brittany goes ‘cuz I don’t like her that much more than Maggie, I don’t really care either way. Brittany’s probably going ‘cuz she’s more of a competitor.

As for Jillian’s rant, she spent all week trying to build her team’s confidence again. She’s been riding Brittany and trying to get Brittany to believe in her strength for weeks. Jillian pretty much said at the WI that she doesn’t believe Brittany can win it. That is absolutely not the thing to say to her trainee. And Jillian should know how intense and pressured the game is, maybe Jillian needs a timeout. Frustration happens but it’s just the fact that she imparted that she doesn’t believe in her group, implied ‘cuz Brittany’s arguably the strongest of their team, before Pink Ali, and Jillian basically said that Brittany can’t win it.

I kinda think Kelly’s turning out to be the strongest competitor of Black before Pink Ali ‘cuz Kelly’s really been doing well the last few weeks. She was only under the line last week ‘cuz she didn’t have a 1-lb pass; I think if no one had a pass, Kelly would’ve been safe. I mean, 6 lbs for a woman is good.
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Okay, I went overlong but hey, I said it was a firecracker and it was… for Loser fans anyway. Mahalo for reading all the way for those who did!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Making A Joyful Noise...


Last Tuesday, our church hosted a choir visiting from Indiana. The Bethel College Choir, about 50 strong, filled our modest chapel with absolutely beautiful sounds overflowing! I have heard many choirs before, but they have to have been the best of all. At times, with all the technology and stuff we use at church, I forget how good the acoustics are in our chapel but BCC sure made excellent use of it!

They started out in two rows on either side of the pew aisles, singing back and forth over the audience. Then they got up on stage for the next number. Near the end of that song, suddenly the choir went into surround sound; unbeknownst to us, about 6 of the ladies had gathered in the back of the chapel. It was fantastic! All of the solos were wonderfully sung. During a break in the middle, we heard the testimony of one of the young ladies. They quickly passed the mic around to say where they were from and what their majors were, many of them double majors or with a minor. One guy was a double major in Spanish and Math; my kind of guy! Nah.

They sang:

1. This Is the Day

2. Dona Nobis Pacem (from ‘Mass of the Children’) with baritone and soprano solos by Jacob Kisor and Ruth Olson

3. Holy Is He [where the director had the audience join in on one of the verses]

4. Sanctus (from ‘Requiem’)

5. Hallelujah (from ‘Messiah’)

6. Ev’ry Time I Feel The Spirit [sung by the men of the choir] with solo Chuck Zook

Then some of the members came forward as part of their acappella group, about 10 of them, as the Bethel College Voices of Triumph. They presented a well-sung version of ‘The Battle of Jericho.’

8. How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

[Testimony]

9. He Has Forgiven Me, soloist Marcia Miller

10. Ain’t No Grave Can Hold My Body Down

Now, as if every song hadn’t been great enough, they topped it with that number 10. It’s a traditional spiritual which traditionally includes the signing of the chorus. Lauren Stellhorn signed the entire song with the chorus backing up with the singing and the chorus signing. It was absolutely uplifting!

They finished with ‘He Aloha Ko Iesu’ [Jesus Loves Me].

I am so glad that Mom and I went to hear them. They had a CD of the Voices of Triumph so we picked one up. We listened to it on the way home and it is good! It includes the song that they had sung that night, along with ‘Battle Hymn,’ ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing,’ and ‘In Dat Great Gittin’ Up Mornin’.’

Anyways, I kinda feel a little shame ‘cuz they sang so beautifully and I sing…not so much. Well, I don’t think God hears the imperfections in my voice so long as I’m singing His glory!

And to that, let me invite all those in town to the Kalihi Union Church Easter Sunday Celebration! See flyer below and then I’ll see you there! You don’t have to come to the early 6:30 a.m. service, though I’ll be at all the services. The choir also sings at the Good Friday service at 7:30 p.m., lots opportunities so please come on by!


[Click on any image for a larger view]

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In Love with Two Ladies

Sorry to disappoint, not a lesbian nor a threesome story.

When I began this journal, I wasn't sure how I wanted to organize it or how often I was gonna write. I had started lists of things I liked labeled 'The Goods.' Now I'm gonna do these as new things come to me that I really enjoy or as I feel like writing about old things I still really enjoy. This way I can keep up with it more and hopefully I can give each thing their due attention.

Here for the first single entry 'Good' is Two Ladies Kitchen:
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On girls’ day, the news featured a store on the Big Island known for their various quality mochi, especially on such a day. Two Ladies Kitchen in Hilo showed the many different mochi that they make, highlighting their strawberry mochi. Oh, yum! I am not a chocolate kind of girl but I love strawberries! Dad and I asked Mom ‘cause we knew about CafĂ© 100 and Big Island Candies, but we’ve never heard of Two Ladies. Mom confirmed, yes, they are good.

Well, my mostly perfect dad didn’t bring anything home for me for girls’ day. I hassled him about it a little, probably the kind of thing that led to my not getting anything for girls’ day. Nah, Dad and I have a good relationship, we joke like that a lot.

So girls’ day was on Monday,... that Wednesday, Dad came home from work and surprised Mom and me with…a DOZEN strawberry mochi from Two Ladies! His coworker went to Hilo for work and so Dad gave him some money to bring back the mochi. I have the best father in the world!

And the buggahs be huge! And oh-so-very-ono! I think I’ve found my new favorite dessert. They're about 2.5 inches around and 1.5 inches thick. Seriously, huge! The box was HEA-VY! I love it!

You’re allowed to drool now. Enjoy!
Just look at dat shtawberray buggah tryna bust out!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Wanted Child: The Conversations

Okay, here goes the second entry in the Wanted Child Series, as I’m calling the entries regarding my pro-life views. Ready? I’m not sure I am quite yet either, but here I go…

I’m going to start with summaries of the conversations that had ignited my thoughts and research on abortion issues. For this entry, all of the names will not be nicknames at all but completely aliases to protect the identities as much as possible of the people with whom I’ve spoken. I make no judgments on any woman who has had an abortion; it’s not my place and it won’t change the past, but I want to be a voice for the unborn of today and of the future. After all, I was once unborn myself and I think I am a great idea! Um…I’m sticking to that. This will give more background on the way that I have gone about thinking on the issues.
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Mandy’s Story
Mandy was a close friend of mine some years ago; we’ve since lost touch because our lives went in different directions with college and work and the like.

We were hanging out in her room one day. I don’t remember if there was something we were talking about that prompted her to tell me how she had told her family that she had had an abortion. I can’t think of what my reaction had been.

Mandy told me how her mother cried and how her father didn’t talk to her for a long time. She said that her brother slapped her and cried. I had a difficult time imagining her brother reacting that way because he’s really not a violent guy at all; I know this because he brought me into his family initially and that’s how I met Mandy.

I wish I had the presence of mind and the maturity then to tell Mandy, at the least, how much I cared about her; I still do. I still don’t know what the right reaction should have been or if there was one. I’m big on smiles and Mandy’s got a great smile, she’s brilliant, talented, funny, and the most loyal friend I know. It’s okay, it’s in the past, what does she want for today and tomorrow and is there a way that I can help her get there? As far as I can recall, that had been the first conversation I had with anyone regarding abortion and I was completely unprepared to say anything.

Mandy’s a few years younger than me. At the time that she told me this, I was in my early 20s already while Mandy was 17, I think. I think she would have been 15 or 16 when she had the abortion. I thought back to when I was 16, a virgin, not worrying about becoming pregnant or getting an STD or my parents finding out what I've been doing; all of those concerns were for someone else. I was worried about getting through history or being competitively annoyed that Stinky, who’s younger than me, got a better score on a national math test or something.

I can’t say with any certainty what I would’ve done if I had been 16 and pregnant. I’ve heard the way people talk about young ladies who have sex and worse yet if they get pregnant. I have relatives who have had children outside of marriage and I’ve seen people’s attitudes towards them, the good and the bad. And worse yet, to have my parents find out?

Finding out about Mandy brought the issues closer to home for me.
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Jackie’s Question
Jackie was a friend I met in one of the practicum offices within which I had spent some time. In the midst of all of the older and married family coworkers, Jackie and I stood out as the young single new kids [Jackie had a boyfriend, but I’m saying single as in unmarried]. We were instant friends.

We were coming back from a girls’ day out, Jackie was driving. Again I can’t recall what the conversation was prior to Jackie asking what I thought about the issue of abortion. I tend to just answer questions at hand; I didn’t ask where the question was coming from, figuring that she’d tell me if she wanted to as we talked.

I said that I was against abortion. I wasn’t exactly sure whether or not it should be a political debate then. I said that I knew someone who had an abortion and it pained her family, it pained my friend, I thought I had seen it in her face and heard it in her voice. Jackie said she knew someone also. I said I had never been pregnant and she said the same for her.

I said that I wasn’t going to go to a clinic and scream at people, but if someone came to me with the problem of a pregnancy with which she didn’t know what to do, I would gently try to sway her towards having the baby. I would be with her and hold her hand when she went to learn about what her options are. Even if she went ahead with the abortion after all of that, I would still be a friend however I can because I am no judge. I can’t stop caring for someone just because of something they do, I am no judge. That doesn’t mean that I won’t speak out for what I believe to be wrong, but I very much realize that it’s often difficult to do right.

Jackie seemed to agree with what I had been saying. Next came the words that haunted me. Jackie said that she’s against abortion also, except in the case for the woman who became pregnant from a rape. I suppose I agreed with Jackie about the raped woman, for I feel for that woman, but I wasn’t completely sure what is right in that woman’s case. I couldn’t let it go and it led to more research on that particular issue.
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Debbie’s Action
After all of that research, I came to my conclusions about the matter. Since no one in that time had come to seek my thoughts, and I had no personal use for my thoughts, I kept them to myself but God perfectly gives us what we need. In this case it meant that I not only had to own my decision regarding abortion but that I needed to be able to believe it to the point that I could argue on behalf of the pro-life position. To this, God put Debbie in my path.

About 3 months after the conversation with Jackie, I found myself in another practicum semester, this time near San Fran, and volunteering my weekends with Habitat for Humanity. During the Habitat work, I started to become friends with the good people there, one of them being Rocky. Well, to give a little context, because I got along so well with Rocky, she thought that I would get along well with her girlfriend also. Okay, I like a compliment whatever it is!

Later, Rocky invited me out with her and her friend who wasn’t her girlfriend, they would pick me up so I said sure. Debbie drove up with Rocky, I got in the car and we went back to Debbie’s place in the city. Rocky wanted to spend some time in the hot tub at Debbie’s apartment before it started to get too cold. We were in the hot tub, having a relaxing night. A couple walked by and the guy’s eyes lingered a little longer than his girlfriend liked, I think.

Debbie and I are getting to know each other, and I hadn’t said anything about my beliefs, when she brought up the fact that she’s had an abortion. I really don’t understand why people tell me these things. Anyways, maybe we had been talking politics, I don’t remember but I doubt it.

So Debbie, who’s much older than Rocky and I, starts to talk about how she had two children, I think it was, but that she was done after two. She said that her children were somewhat grown [teenagers or so] when she got pregnant again and had an abortion. At some point, I must’ve asked a question that let her know that I was a Christian or perhaps that I was pro-life because next thing I knew, I was in a debate…and I was unprepared.

Well, we got stuck on semantics a little because I had said that pro-choice is incorrectly labeled because it’s really pro-abortion. Debbie said no, pro-life is incorrect because it’s really anti-choice. Debbie went on with her views on life and I got the sense that I wasn’t meant to win this battle anyway. I let her talk on. Rocky was mostly quiet, asking a question or two somewhere.

Debbie said that I, meaning the pro-lifer, say that people who have abortions are going to be emotionally scarred afterwards, but she had no guilt at all. If she got pregnant again, she’d have another abortion, no regrets. She said that I had no right to tell any woman to keep the baby, that I wanted to keep women in the kitchen, taking care of their babies. I sat there thinking, hmmm, that’s interesting.

Debbie said all she had to say on the matter I suppose, or it was just getting late. I hadn’t taken anything said personally, how could I? Rocky took a quick dive into the pool. We changed back into dry clothes upstairs and headed out to grab a bite to eat. We went to a nearby vegetarian place. The three of us sat and ate with pleasant conversation. We even laughed about stuff. I had a good eggplant burger. Then they dropped me off back home.
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I’m gonna pause here for now and return to my thoughts that developed from Debbie’s words that haunted me another time. As I said before, I’m alright with disagreements and Debbie brought up some interesting thoughts. And when I say that something haunted me, I mean that it stuck in my mind so well that I needed to reconcile it somehow; with this subject, I needed to research it for answers. If you’ve followed along this far, I hope you’ll come back when I talk about the matter again.

Thank you for your time.

Monday, March 3, 2008

How Would I Look In A Fur Coat?

My brother came home from San Diego last week; he had gone over for work. We all went to pick him up from the airport, Mom, Dad and I. We find the baggage claim but there were two carousels. At first, only one carousel was unloading bags. When the second started moving, Brother said he had a green bag. I went over to the second carousel, looking for a green bag, while Dad and Brother watched the first one.

A lady came and stood next to me. She was wearing a fur coat. Apparently her bag had come down the chute about 5 feet away; it lands sideways. The lady immediately starts into this, ‘Ohmygod, there’s my bag. I can’t believe they did that to my bag! How could they do that to my bag? Ohmygod.’ Umm…it’s a Louis Vuitton duffle bag or travel bag, whatever. Umm…I’m thinking if it’s really an LV bag…one doesn’t put a real LV bag through checked luggage.

She doesn’t wait for the LV bag to come to us, she walks towards it to pick it up as soon as possible. Then I notice that she’s got a tear in the sleeve of her fur coat. Now I’m thinking, it’s probably not real fur nor a real LV. Her purse, by the way, was supposedly LV also.

She still waited for another bag; I’m wondering if it’s gonna be another LV duffle, this lady’s interesting. It turns out to be a regular looking suitcase which had landed above another suitcase. It came by, it was right in front of her when she recognizes it, I’m to her right so it starts passing me, and she says, ‘Ohmygod, that’s my bag!’ She starts to chase after it and almost lands on the carousel herself. I tried to get it but the guy got it instead. In the meantime, while the guy takes the bag off for her, the lady is going, ‘Oh, my knee, I can’t believe it, ow!’ She forgets her suitcase and stands there examining her knee.

The area’s pretty much cleared up of passengers except for the big group of tourists gathered into their tourist huddle on the side, my brother hasn’t found his bag yet. I walk around and check if someone unloaded it but left it on the side ‘cuz it wasn’t theirs. Dad and Brother walk around. Brother spots it; um, it was on the carousel I’d been watching. I didn’t see it because it was on it’s face, which is green, but the sides and the back were all black. Mighta helped if he’d mentioned that…

So…gotta love people watching in baggage claim. I thought bus people were interesting; I forgot about the airport. The LV lady has got to be the most interesting person I’ve ever seen at an airport.