Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Line Up

Here’s a bit of express bus culture. After work, people pool into the express bus waiting area at the Alapai Transit Center; this is where the express buses begin their duty to bring people home.

Those who arrive early hold their place in line with an object. The most popular object to lay down seems to be the pen. It’s impersonal, disposable, common, yet holds so much purpose and recognition as it lies on the asphalt in the elements of blazing heat from the sun or cold wetness from rain, etc.

The group waiting at a different gate has opted to hang things along the top of the fence instead of placing things on the ground.

I suppose people’s intent in ensuring an early boarding spot is that one can gain a coveted seat next to the window [to sleep against the window] or make sure they can get two seats, one for their friend at the next stop. Maybe some just like sitting in the same seat each time so they want to increase their opportunities to do so.

Some determine to hold their place in line by physically standing there themselves. Still others casually stand back, not lining up until the bus arrives at the point and is ready to take on passengers.

I tend to be in that last category. The other day, I got there rather early so I sat on a bench near the line. Others came after me and placed their items in front of me in line. I waited until the line reached the bench, and then put my backpack in line- might as well.

It also helps to know which line is for what bus.

Anyways, I just thought this phenomenon was interesting.
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It seems to me like most express bus riders are female. There are several Punahou students on the morning route.

That's all I thought I'd share. Mahalo.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Traveling with Passes for No Beans

I’ve been on a practicum for the last three weeks, which means being on a more regular schedule than I’ve been used to in a long, long, long time! But for some reason, I’ve been doing better with the schedule than I expected. I am a night owl who has been getting up with relative ease about 5 in the morning to drive/ride the Express in. About midday, I am lagging a little bit, dreaming about siesta, but not as much as I thought I would. I’ve also been getting to sleep early. So far….

Due to furloughs and President’s Day, I haven’t worked a full 5-day work week yet.

The practicum has me going between two office locations, one out in Aina Haina and the other in town, right across from the Capitol. The drive to Aina Haina is far but not too bad as it’s pretty much a straight shot mostly on the freeway with free ample parking on site. There is no parking at the downtown office so I have been taking the bus when I need to go to that one. The Express comes in about half hour intervals with a stop right at the end of my street, a four-minute walk.

I’ve explored downtown a little so far and found three nearby Starbucks, an ‘Umeke Market outlet, and a Jamba Juice. NO COFFEE BEAN & TEA LEAF; they should rectify this soon, as well as open a location in my neighborhood. I’ve settled for Starbucks’ Caramel Apple Spice twice already. It’s what kept me warm in just above freezing weather in the OR winter; it works just as well in the brisk breezy Hawaii. With ‘Umeke, at least I know where I can grab a healthy meal on days that I don’t bring a home lunch.

Oh, that’s another thing; I’ve started eating healthier in a roundabout way. I decided I would bring lunch from home for most days and made a trip out to the market. I figured making salad would be easier than cooking a meal and portioning it out. So I’ve been making salads for lunch. Someone complimented that my salad looked good.

And thank you for praying over a bus pass for me! Background: the U-Pass [discounted bus pass program for university system students] is now automatically included in tuition except for those enrolled in the Outreach College. O.C. students have to opt-in the program for $125. The practicum course I’m in is listed under the O.C. When I first went to validate my ID, this is what the girl at the window had told me.

I’ve been paying for bus passes out of my own savings but didn’t have enough this semester. Mom decided she would pay it this time. I went in last week to get the pass. The girl at the window checked my registration status and put the pass on my ID. While she did that, I took out the money, ready to pay. The girl looked at me, saw the money and said that it was included in the tuition. I asked if she was sure so she checked again and repeated that I was paid up.

So, I have a U-Pass! And Mom, who broke her phone was able to pay for a replacement. On the way home, I thought maybe I should have told the girl that I was an O.C. student just in case. I was confused at the window and didn’t think of it then. Maybe the SoA made some kind of inclusion deal? I don’t know. My friend said not to worry about it since I was ready and willing to pay; it would be the girl’s mistake. What do you think?

Thank God for the blessing! I am sure making use of it this semester.

What has God blessed you with recently?

[Photo: The approach of the express bus!]

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What Does It Matter?

This is the question I’ve been asking for many things lately. What difference does it make if I _____? Is this worth all the pain I’m experiencing? Nothing seems to be changing. I don't seem to be changing.

I’m watching others have the fun, others getting what they want, others seeming to have it easy. It’s difficult keeping my focus on what’s most important which is to be obedient to God, keep my focus on Him. Right now it doesn’t seem to make a difference. It’s like I’m just waiting around for God to help me recognize that I’m wrong.

I know I’m not alone in what I’m doing, but I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I’m on my own. Here I am, just feeling… DOWN… and I can’t think of anyone I can call or talk to. Who’s going to care? Who can tell me what I NEED to hear?

Maybe I care too much. I had believed that it was ridiculous. How does one care too much for another? Maybe I do. I’m not sure I know how to be any other way.

I feel like I worked hard and had to practice a lot of patience to find something I needed. I thought I had found it. Now it’s gone and I feel like it was a waste of time and effort.

So much is being expected of me. I guess I thought I’d be okay because I wouldn’t be going through this alone, that God brought others to lift me up in times like these, but where are they?

Why am I the one expected to understand?
Why am I the one expected to be the “bigger person?”
Why am I the one people think they can target and it’s alright?
Why am I the one expected to change?
Why am I the one expected to let go?
Why am I the one that’s expendable?

Why am I having such a difficult time with this?!!

I believe that God is all-powerful!
I believe that God is all-loving!
I believe that God is all I need!

And yet I’m asking what does it matter? This is the first time that I’m seriously questioning my faith. This is causing some guilt in me, like I can’t tell anyone this because they’re not going to understand. They’ll say that I shouldn’t be a leader. I’m just trying to figure some stuff out.

I have to believe that what I’m doing will matter at some point. I have to believe this is worth it even if all I reach is one person. I have to believe that God will redeem all this pain one day. I have to believe in others, to hope that the goodness God has built in them will manifest and pour out one day.

I know God makes a difference in my life.

But does it matter?

Why spur others on towards love and good deeds [Hebrews 10:24] when…….? What does it matter if that’s not what they want? What does it matter if they don’t care?

Things don’t seem to be matching up, like I’m contradictory. What is it that I’m missing? What am I not understanding?

Walk This Way

Let me set the scene first. The State Capitol is to my left, the State Library to the right. Across from the Library is Honolulu Hale. The building next to Honolulu Hale and across from the Capitol is where I am taking practicum.

At this spot is a traffic light and crosswalk, a rather wide crosswalk starting at least 5 feet from where the traffic is to stop to allow pedestrians to cross. The first three lanes to cross are heading to my right; the last lane is heading to my left.

Early one morning, the light turns red, the traffic in the first two lanes stop and the whitish-blue man light appears. I begin to cross ahead of a couple fellow crossers. I am about to cross the third lane when I see out of my left that a truck is approaching. Then I realize that the truck is NOT slowing down.

I stop. The truck screeches to a stop… a foot in front of me! In the crosswalk area.

The guy’s passenger window is open and right in front of me. I look at him. He looks back with a FREAKED OUT face.

It takes him a couple seconds to regain consciousness and move on so I can complete the crossing.
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Well, as it usually is, it happened so fast. From one second, crossing safely to the next facing a guy driving a truck. I rechecked; we had the light.

It’s not like this was the first time something like this happened. It’s just the first time I was so close to being hit. It is situations like these that cause me to be generally cautious about crossing streets.

At least the guy realized what could have happened. Sometimes people make like pedestrians are a plague to their right to drive [and I know, sometimes pedestrians make crosswalks wherever they like, even across a vehicular green light in heavy traffic- I’ve seen it].

Another good thing was that I was only half awake. Any more awake and I would have been walking faster. I also would have been more freaked out as the driver was.

Or I could also not be writing this to you now.

Thank God for protecting me and the driver from a dangerous situation! Please pray for pedestrian safety and driver alert-/awareness.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Another Offline Adventure with Level Up

Over the extended weekend, the Level Up Ministry set out on a mission: survive the Koko Crater Trail! 13 of us gathered in the parking lot of the park in Hawaii Kai and then headed out to the beginning of the trail.

The trail is following old railroad track up the west side of Koko Crater, and I mean UP. The first half is on about a 30˚ incline, across a short bridging section, and then grades into about a 60˚ incline, a total of about 1100 rail ties. Just at the 200th tie, people were crying out, “Why?!!” as in “why are we doing this?” and looking to blame someone.

While most of the group forged ahead, a few of us took the slow-and-steady approach. One of us maybe had too much to eat just before the hike and got sick about half way up. We stopped at just about the 700s and let the rest of the group continue to the top.

The conversations of passersby were about the same throughout. “How many steps is it?” “We should have come earlier [or later].” “We must be crazy. Why did we wanna do this?”
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In the end, 11 made it to the top, including the oldest in the group at age 35. I am proud of the group for persevering, and I think they’re paying for it now in the currency of hurting muscles. I would have liked to have made it and think I probably could have. All I’ll have to do is sucker someone new into going with me!

The original plan was for the beach after the hike, but the hike ate up everyone’s energy. Beach was cancelled.

Thank God for blessing the day with good weather and for keeping the group safe!



Friday, February 12, 2010

A Time Not To Help?

I need to say that I have great respect for bus drivers; my uncle was a bus driver much beloved by his passengers.
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I'm sure this bus driver meant well.

The covered bus stops along the highway through my town are about 20' from the corner.

The other night, the bus driver dropped me off between the corner and the bus stop. Nothing wrong with this, but it was DRIZZLING. And cold. And someone was picking me up from the bus stop after I got off, but they weren't there just yet so I got wet as I walked to the stop; my ride arrived about 30 seconds later.

As she stopped, it was dark outside. I was confused because it didn’t seem like we were at the stop but I thought maybe she passed the stop by mistake, so I got off. In that case, I would be walking in the drizzle to the stop and I would have been more okay with that. I guess I thought I would only be a few feet from the stop. Plus, I was tired; it had been a long day already.

So I wasn’t very happy to look down the highway and see that the bus stop was to my left and not my right.

It's not like I was her regular passenger that she would know I would- or in actuality, not- be walking to the corner and then somewhere home from there. How did she know that I didn’t have an umbrella? Because then I could have gotten off at the stop, taken out my umbrella and walked on without getting my head wet. It would have been a longer walk, yes, but a drier one.

It would have been best if she, not knowing me at all, did her job and dropped me off at the covered bus stop.
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That's all. I'm not upset anymore. It just wasn't pleasant on my end. The photo shows that it was wet and the stop is several feet away.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Life Without: The Hardcopy

Okay, I’m not that old, but I am quite old-fashioned about things. Like in keeping records, I prefer having the hardcopy. In architecture, I’m partial to drawing by hand.

But people can change/ learn/ adapt. The other weekend, I started to scan and file old documents. It’s a start.

I have a binder that kept a record of any Ebay transactions I’ve done. I kept a printout of the closed auction, including the item description and photos, the payment invoice, the payment receipt, any note that the seller sent with the item [like thank you’s and such]. I also kept notes [usually all on the closed auction sheet] on the shipping/ delivery timing, packaging quality, item quality, any communication with the seller, etc.

I am scanning all of that, coordinating the file number with the date of sale and then coordinating the document file with an excel sheet for quick reference.

I am quite impressed with myself for getting this far. I started with the Ebay things because I am going to need money while I can’t work full-time yet, so I am figuring out what items I can resell. It helps to have the description stuff that the previous seller used so that I don’t have to wrack my brain trying to do that all over again myself. I am also deciding what I can sell for the first time.

My prior reluctance was eased by the fact that my printer/ scanner will scan to pdf format so that it will be all on one file [rather than scanning several sheets and each being an individual file]. It also helps that I have finally figured out a good file naming system, or at least I think it’ll work well. I’ve had problems with how I should name files in the past.
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The other thing I did was do a whole reviewing/ filing/ tossing of other paperwork stuff I have lying around my room. I got rid of a lot of paper! I’m also impressed that I have almost [about 97%] complete records of all my bills and statements. It shows that I am getting better with being more organized.

So the next thing I plan to do is to shred the sensitive stuff and scan more of the rest. I am almost done scanning and digitally filing the Ebay records, then I plan to scan documents from my previous college.

Then most of the hardcopy I’ll keep for now is sensitive stuff and coursework from the current college. This would be about 2/3 of what I currently have.
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Some things were already started awhile ago, in terms of digitizing things in order to free the hardcopy. I’m thinking of closet cleanings I’ve been doing and other donated items. If I was definite that I have a photo of me wearing something, I was more likely to donate the clothing item. I plan to photograph and donate more items, like stuffed animals definitely [I was never much of a collector or displayer of dolls, they’re mostly lying around in plastic storage from when someone gave them to me].

Things that will be last to go on my list of getting rid of hardcopies are books and CDs. I like having them displayed and within reach. I’m getting better but still not quite comfortable buying music online. I like being able to pull out a CD quickly and see what is on it. I don’t mind having all the unpopular songs because some of those I enjoy more than the chart-toppers, sometimes. Books will probably always be an offline enjoyment for me.

What are your preferences for keeping records and other items?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Driving-itis?

I am sick of driving. I have now included in my futures planning a sub-categorical action item of “employ a part-time driver.” Stipulations shall state that this action item shall be put into effect if a) the action plan of working from home fails and b) I do not marry a driver.
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This “futures planning” is in regards to a recent update post and feedback-
>>>>>>>>>
Me: J____ is trying not to become a normal person!
Justin: likes this.
Marg: That would be so boring, right?!
Me: I had to pull normal people hours today. It is as brutal as I remember it, and a reminder of why I stopped that. I shall soon need to be able to pull superhuman hours.

I am now architecting a 3-phase plan by which in about 10 years I will be able to support me and my family of about 5 through several businesses. When I reach that level, I shall then marry and have kids.

Unless I happen to meet the man of my dreams before the 10 years are up; then I won't have to work (he is a millionaire) and my businesses will convert into hobbies for which I happen to get paid.

Bottom line: making my own hours doing what I want and getting paid adequate money for it; AND working where I will have the shortest commute (as in livingroom or kitchen or basement laboratory) thereby making the most of time.

That wasn't what you were asking, was it?
Yes Marg, it would be boring as well as an insult to the family name.

:D
<<<<<<<<<
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As I was driving through my neighborhood, I made a right turn which brought me face-to-face [in a way] with a driver coming from the opposite direction. I thought he had looked at me, another car passed in between us, and then I looked again. He was still looking at me… and smiling. And our cars drive apart.

So my mind goes to:
Do I know him?
He looks kinda familiar.
Most anyone will look kinda familiar to me.
Was it Spine?
No, it couldn’t have been.
But his mom does still live a few streets away.
I wonder where Spine is.
It’s possible that it was Spine, if he had filled out a little, darkened his hair and given it a different cut. And if he was into growing out and grooming his facial hair.
It probably wasn’t Spine.
So who was it?
Maybe it was a stranger.
Why would a stranger take a few seconds to look at me for a substantial second or two?
And why would a stranger do that and smile?
Shoots, I didn’t think about noticing what kinda car he was driving.
Ah, forget it. His face has already faded from my mind.


That is the thought process. At least it entertained my mind while I continued the final crawl back home.
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[I've been meaning to have more pics with these entries. At least I got this one pic-ed, and no, I was not driving when I took it!]

So, how was your day?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Much Ado About... A Little Something?

I’m in this strange place of… I’ve been thinking about what to do with this journal (still don’t like the sound of the word “blog”). A journal of a personal sort should be somewhat reflective. When I write in my private journal, I have no problem with this; I am very reflective. It is with this online journal (I’m gonna make up a word or name, call it “on-jor”), where I write with the expectation that someone else might read this though it feels like I’m writing to myself because I don’t know who my readers are or if there are any, that I am beginning to have a difficult time writing so much with “I,” so much of talking about myself. In general I’m not so comfortable revealing things about myself. I may often use “I” in conversations, but in a way of trying to relate to someone else; it’s not that I like the sound of my voice or that all I think about is me.

On the one hand, it’s a journal. It is meant to be self-reflective, as opposed to being self-centered. I do not wish to spread gossip about others, though I am not perfect in this. I didn’t start this on-jor as a dedication to any specific subject, as some have a blog for stamp collectors or mothers or the TV show Heroes, etc. However, I could write an entry about philatelists if I wanted to.
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I originally started this on-jor as a way of keeping in touch with my LD friends; well, mainly for Chulo. Then it was other LD friends with whom I would IM and they could catch up on their own time of what else I’ve been doing. One day I thought about how I seem to repeat the same stories often, so I should write them down; the on-jor was to be, in part, a depository for those stories. It has also collected some drips of my chaotic thought life; my thoughts run about 10 miles a minute.

I also thought this would be a good way for others to get to know me and for me to get to know them, meet people from different places whom just happened across my blog and read it. I figure someone might read something here and come to understand that they’re not alone in, for instance, dealing with depression or in preferring Jif over Skippy at all costs. Maybe Skippy diehards would like to discuss the subject further in the comments section.

Another thought was that I could use this on-jor to lift others up, give recognition to the good acts I witness. I enjoy saying praises about the good in people. I can get on the critical side also, not knowing how to say it in a loving way, but generally in being disappointed in seeing someone not live up to their potential. What others don’t realize is that I am most critical of myself.

And I just enjoy writing. I would like to become, among other things, an author of a published book. I would also like to become an editor or publisher or work at a publishing company; I think that would be exciting. Okay, a lot of things are exciting to me!

When people have writers’ block, as I often do, the advice is to “write what you know.” I… don’t know much about anything else but my self. How can I avoid writing so much about me?

At one time, I wanted to occasionally have feature posts by guest writers. I asked a friend to write something for this purpose, but it never came about.
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So here already is a full-page of writing about myself, about how I don’t want to write about myself. On occasion I’ve thought about ending this on-jor all together. Commenting has died. Maybe the final death of it will be calling it “on-jor.”

If you’re out there, any thoughts/ suggestions? Would you like to be a guest author with full credit? Should I just kill it?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Slow Kill

I have determined that the SoA is trying to kill me, or at least kill my want to do architecture. I was set to graduate this May, or so I thought.

I am having to do an internship-like thing this semester, which is cutting into my thesis work. I have to do so many hours for so many weeks. Also, this puts me at a full 12-credit semester, for which I have no money, so I am interning full time with no pay and I am brushing off the resume to go paying-job hunting.

At least the stuff I’m getting into at the DOE is interesting.

Now, here’s another back-breaker: I am interning with the DOE, which currently has no money to pay me and is also on furloughs. During a regular 5-day work week, I need to put in 35 hours a week. During a 4-day furloughed work week, I STILL NEED TO PUT IN 35 HOURS A WEEK. That is roughly 9 hours a day during furlough weeks, which wouldn’t be so bad, but in trying to find a nights & weekend job, it makes it even more difficult. Plus, I’d be taking the bus on most days, so going from the DOE office anywhere by bus, is not easy at all.

The earliest I can start my day at DOE is 7:30. A furlough week work day would have me finishing at 4:30 pm, if I don’t take a lunch break, then rush off to the pay-job.

So, please pray that I will be able to handle the furlough weeks and that I will find a good paying job. And I am still committed to working on my thesis through all this and definitely to continuing with the LU. The devil’s gonna hafta work harder than this to take me out! Umm…right??

Gahhhhh!! On top of all this, Mom...is not helping things. That is all I will say about that.

Oh, also, pray that I will find money for a bus pass, somehow. This would help big time!