Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Computer Ghost Story

When you are Hawaiian-Chinese like me, you are very sensitive to the unseen in the environment. I was raised with stories of night marchers, mo'o, evil spirits waiting to get your fingernail clippings or hanging out with your laundry left on the clothesline after sunset. Perhaps the awareness is simply an understanding that there are forces in our lives that go beyond the concrete and tangible. This is healthy respect engendered to promote proper behavior and consideration.

But some things are just too weird. There are collections of occurrences that warn us that we are going down the wrong path. For example, after I finished my doctoral studies, I wanted to apply for a post-doctoral award so I spent a lot of time distilling my dissertation to meet the requirements of the award. When I checked my writeup, pieces were mysteriously missing and appeared in strange sequence. So I redid my writeup only to find out that the download was again all kapakahi (mixed up). I took my disc to the computing center to see if they could clean it up. They tried to do their best but suggested that I retype my writeup just in case. This is like the fifth or sixth time I am redoing this darn paper. I am no quitter and wanted to see the project through. The last straw occurred as the deadline neared. The neon sign of destiny had been turned on. One night, I was working late in the University of Southern Mississippi's library when a sudden thunder storm struck. Lightning hit the library, and the electricity was knocked out. We sat in the darkness for a few seconds. Everybody's computer came back on except for mine!! Whatever I had typed was lost. When I went to see the librarian the next day, she said that all the computers were operative except for the one I was working on. It was inoperative.

That was the last straw. In frustration, I went to my major professor for my dissertation committee and explained the string of events and told him that I was withdrawing because the lightning strike was a sign that I was barking up the wrong tree. Dr. Hamilton Williams was the best professor anyone could ask for and he agreed that perhaps I should not pursue it. He wished me well and told me that he would see me at the commencement exercise. Then he said that it would be his last commencement. I made light of his comments and reminded him about how he was so loved by his students and everyone was jockeying to see if he would serve on their committee.

Graduation came, with the post-doctoral award forgotten, we shared orchid leis with our friends. That was the last time I saw Dr. Hamilton who suddenly passed away a few weeks after graduation. Were the weird string of events a harbinger of things to come? Was the computer trying to tell me something? I don't know but am certain that our energies have a direct relationship to how well or how poorly technological hardware operations. There are signs in our lives. We need to be open to them to understand the path we should be taking. Don't let the neon sign of destiny might be too late for corrective action.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Even Old Farts Can Have Hot Adventures

Now that we are in our 60s, we are settling into a quiet country life filled with routines, simple pleasures, and a lot less rushing around. We have our evenings categorized by what TV shows we will watch.

Everything changed when we went to Honolulu last weekend. Right off the plane, we went to a fab clearance sale of Reyn Spooner clothing. There were thousands of shirts for sale running from $15, $25, and $40. Bargain-mania. After seeing so many shirts, had to start getting sassy and became more choosy about what we would buy. Christmas shopping is least for the kanes in our family.

We had several eating adventures in mind. First was to go to Mr. Mandoo on Pi'ikoi Street for their spicy mandoo which are like manapua which got lost in Korea. Spicy pockets of yummy washed down with iced coffee.

Second on our list was our favorite Korean restaurant. While we had diligently researched the best Korean restaurants, we ended walking to a restaurant right near to the Ala Moana Hotel. The restaurant is right next to the strip joint, Femme Nu Club. I don't know who was more or the young men waiting to get into the strip joint. Beyond this though, we know it is a good restaurant because we were the only Haole - Kanaka couple in the whole joint. Most of the customers were Honolulu Koreans. We had 12 kinds of side dishes, chupchae, pulkogi, fried mandoo (the authentic kind), and korean style miso soup. We nibbled until our pikos were turned inside out. Waddling back to the hotel helped to settle the food in our opus. Luckily we both enjoyed the food because the cloud of garlic settled in our hotel room.

In our research, we found a restaurant called The Counter in Kahala Mall. A customer can build his/her own burger starting with 1/3 pound patties. (There were bigger burgers available.) One could choose a beef, turkey, pork, or grilled chicken protein choice with 4 kinds of toppings, cheese of various types, sauce, and choice of bun. Don't choose a bun...the burger came and it was a tower of food. I had a 1/3 pound beef burger with mixed greens, grilled onions, tomato, mushrooms, with garlic aioli on a whole wheat bun. Could not wrap my mouth around the burger. Had to break it up into bite-able increments. Choose a burger in a bowl. Don't waste your opu space on bread. They also had sweet potato fries, french fries, and onion rings. The restaurant was packed with people. Considering the lines that kept queueing outside the restaurant, the service was pretty fast.

Of course, we had to go to Shirokiya for their breads and Hokkaido specialty foods, the Cookie Corner, Aloha Salads for mixed salads of all kids. The most amazing thing is that when we got home, I lost 3 pounds. Now how did that happen? Perhaps I lost weight spending far too much money on Christmas gifts, shoes, and jewelry. Ahh least it was a change of pace from our quiet pastoral life. Even old farts can have a hot adventure...of course it may be a lukewarm adventure by comparison to other folks. But it was good enough for us!!