Brian's Ramblings

My thoughts in text, photo, and video form

Sunday, August 22, 2004

One and Clear

My final week of summer!! Arggghhhh.....where did it all go?! It seems only like yesterday that I had just learned I passed my statistics class and looked forward to enjoying my summer. Boy, time flies when you're having fun; time flies even faster when you grow older (as my friend, Doug, informed me this week).

What would I do for a finale of a wonderful, busy, and productive summer? Attend as many practice of the UH Football Warrior team, of course! What other options were really available?!

In all seriousness, I had an enjoyable week. Spent many hours in the hot, unforgiving sun. Enjoyed the company of friends I've come to know over the years, forged new relationships, and had fun.

Monday was the first day the team held 2-a-days, meaning they practiced once in the morning and again that afternoon. Very grueling on one's body, but an essential aspect in conditioning for a long season. I can't remember specific details, but all I know was it was HOT. I wore a long-sleeved shirt, to protect myself from the sun and the sunburn that would come my way without such protection.

I would enjoy lunch with the team up at the dorm cafeteria. Burgers, pizza, fries, soda pop in unlimited amounts. One could put on a lot of weight if s/he were to go overboard! I ate my fair sisters always tell me I'm not eating enough since I'm so skinny, "Are you anorexic?!" I do eat, I just burn off a lot of energy in a day. Sitting in my chair is NOT a passive activity. My body is constantly in motion. My left arm, my left leg, my head, and my right thumb (at times) all seem to be moving in some fashion at any moment. Am I in control of this? No, I'd much rather look like a boring statue than a bobble head doll, but a bobble head doll is what I'll be...I accept this. Hey, if Timmy Chang (UH QB Heisman Candidate) can have a bobble head doll, they must be cool! I'm just a living, breathing, thinking version of such a doll.

I can put food away just as well as the next guy. A burger, fries, a slice of pizza, and Mountain Dew would be my nourishment of choice. I suppose I could get "large" if I didn't have all of this involuntary movements. I'm happy with being slim, skinny, whatever you want to call it. I like to think of myself as being fit. This will induce chuckles from the family I'm sure!

Later in the day, I stopped by Dr. Skouge's (Jim's) office to request some assistance. His office was buzzing with activity! A group of students were in town from Miloli'i, visiting for an entire week to gain skills and knowledge in multimedia that they could take back to their home and possibly share with other youth. A very happening scene, indeed! I was glad I stopped by, and Jim was surprised to see me, but he was glad he could introduce me to his friends that I've come to know through editing videos and pictures.

On Tuesday, I stayed at home with my sister, Lynn. I slept in, which was really nice for a change. I woke up around 10:30 in the morning, Lynn helping me transfer into my chair. We planned to go to Blockbuster to rent a movie. After waking up and getting the cobwebs out of my head, we were ready to go. Unfortunately, we picked THE worst time to be outside. High noon, with the sun beaming mercilessly down.

"Lynn, should I put on sunscreen?" I asked.

"No, let's just go!" Lynn replies quickly.

"All righty," I hesitantly retort.

Off we head, down to Blockbuster, about a mile walk into Kailua town. Keep in mind, we're heading into the same territory that Lynn had reservations about my navigating through. But this time, I got my way and a risk taker I was going to be! We reach the infamous bridge, I decided to take a closer look at this marvelous structure with superior design. There was absolutely NO WAY my chair, 28" wide, was going to fit on this narrow pathway on the bridgeway! Oddly enough, there's a nice bike lane all the way down into the town. It ends abruptly at this bridge and continues on after the bridge...go figure! Here's a picture of the infamous bridgeway:
It might be difficult to tell how narrow this pathway is from this picture, but I did attempt to maneuver my chair on it. It's about 3" too narrow. If the sidewalk had just 4" more of width, I'd be able to use it safely!

Life is about making the most of what you have/don't have. "When you're thrown lemons, make lemonade!" Lynn and I came up with a plan that would have her watch the road for cars and as soon as she gave me the "all clear" alert, I would hurry and go onto the road across the bridge. Well, my chair moves at less than 5 miles per hour (on a good day, maybe it does hit 5mph), compare that to 35mph that cars can easily do...they can quickly come up on me from nowhere!

"Okay Brian, go for it!" Lynn yells out. Off I go, as fast as my little wheels can move me. Look what ends up happening:

There I am on the road in the traffic! Luckily, there was enough space on the right of traffic so I didn't get crushed (this time!). Hopefully someone with some power to make changes to Hawaii's roadways will read this and do some good....I'd certainly appreciate any attempts to resolve this dangerous situation. I don't venture into Kailua town a lot, I'm NOT saying that, but what I am saying is that I'd like the opportunity to travel into Kailua town if I choose to and do it in as safe a manner as possible (safe for myself AND for the cars on the roadway).

We reached Blockbuster safely, got into the comforts of an air conditioned building...that felt really good! A trip to Blockbuster, on the surface, would look to take nothing more than 5 go in, get what you want and off you go...well, it never happens like that. There's such a vast collection and variety of movies that you get caught up in the whole situation and suddenly feel a need to peruse all the shelves (at least the 'New Releases') and lose track of time very quickly. Today, I would let Lynn pick the movie, I really had no preference as to what we watched. Up and down the aisles we went, at one point we picked up Thirteen, but then put it back in favor of a comedy, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. All told, we spent about an hour and forty-five minutes in Blockbuster!

Then it was time to look for my lunch. I love hamburger steak. If given the option, I really think I could eat hamburger steak on a daily basis! Would this be a healthy diet? Not exactly. But heck, I won't be on this Earth forever, so why not enjoy what you enjoy if it is within reason. L&L Drive Inn was right next door, and I like their hamburger steak so that's where we headed. We get in, and immediately the lady at the counter asks for the order.

"Um, can you give us a minute," Lynn says. I decide on a hamburger steak and chili combo plate with all rice.

"Okay, I'll take a hamburger steak and..."

Before Lynn can finish the sentence, the lady is calling to the back "Hamburger steak!"

"chili," Lynn finishes.

"And chili!" the lady calls back to the kitchen.

"Oh and I'd like all rice," Lynn reports.

"All rice!" the lady calls out again to the back.

We'd watch another customer come in and order, and the same process would occur. There IS no second guessing once you order! My order was made, and off Lynn and I were to the comforts of home, my lunch and a DVD in hand.

Walking home was even hotter, or so it seemed. We would take about 20 minutes to get home. I inspected the skin on my arms when we reached home. Ah, I escaped any about that!?!

We started the movie, I began eating, things were going well! The movie seemed entertaining enough. I finish eating and plop my chair by the TV next to the fan. In about 10 minutes, I was out cold, asleep! There's something about having a filling meal and then felling very sleepy, enough so you actually nod off! My sister enjoyed the whole movie.

About 90 minutes later, I awoke and went into my room to wash my face in the restroom. I come out into the living room and go, "Lynn look! My arm is all burned!"

My right arm had turned as red and pink as a lobster cooking in a pot! "Lynn, did you push me outside when I was sleeping?!" Wow, this was a bad case of sunburn. NOT surpising though, I was overdue for a bad burn being that my summer was almost done! My parents arrive home, and I show my mom my arm and she's flabbergasted. "Why didn't you put sunscreen?!"

"I asked to put some on, right Lynn?!" was my reply.

The affected area began to have that lovely itchy but sore feeling. You gotta love bad sunburn! Tourists in Waikiki walk around as red as a beet, seeming to be happy they've achieved that color. I don't "get" that at all! Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer today. Definitely something not to take lightly at all.

The next day, Wednesday, I would attend football practice again. I was sure to wear long sleeves again. Wednesday was a hot, hot day. I made sure I kept drinking fluids to keep myself hydrated.

I was able to enjoy dinner at the dorm cafe with my friends. Wednesday was the first day that students could move into the dorms, so the area was abundant with people and action. There was a mini-concert going on, along with a little welcoming fair for the new students. One thing that comes with "move in" day is GIRLS. Lots and lots of them. Suffice it to say, the football team, after being in camp with one another for so long, was extremely happy to see the opposite sex. "You gotta keep your head on a swivel!" was a common utterance on this evening. I had dinner with Lamar, and he was hooting and hollering at girls. I kindly reminded him of an incident he had the previous week, one that left him with his ego in check. He was caught off guard by my comment, and prior to this he had been on me about "driving under the influence," as he claims I was driving erratically after practice. I may be silent, but when I do have something to say, I make it count! "Woah, B! That was low!" And then he got quiet...really quiet.

"Why are you so quiet all of a sudden?" I asked.

"Man, I'm thinking of a good one, don't worry I'll be back at ya!" was his reply.

After a while, we started laughing at the whole situation. Prior to this year, Lamar wasn't one to say much. He kept to himself. He stayed in Hawaii all summer this year to train, and I think he's finally gotten used to the whole situation. He finally feels comfortable being himself!

That's a neat process to watch; seeing players enter the program trying to feel their way through it, taking it all in, and then one day realizing, "Hey I'm in Hawaii! How great is this?!" Then, and only then, do they truly begin to enjoy themselves and excel on the field and in the classroom.

Lamar and I said our goodbyes; he wished me a safe trip home. I went on my way, first visiting Doug. He was busy doing photo editing using PhotoShop. He was nice enough to take some time to help me do what I needed to do, and I stayed at his office for a little bit, enjoying the Olympics on television and watching him use PhotoShop. He created an amazing piece while I was there, combining two different photos so that it looked like one. "Wow," I thought, "I really need to learn PhotoShop! It can do so much more than iPhoto." I'll hopefully have time over the course of the semester to get into PhotoShop and really learn it.

Thursday I spent cleaning my desk in my room at home. Lynn was nice enough to help me with this. Cleaning my desk is always a chore, to say the least. I'm one who likes to keep all my work from school, along with all of my textbooks. I keep thinking, "what if I need to refer to this in the future?! I better keep it." Have I made reference or used any of my materials collected from the past 8+ years? On a few occasions actually, but it'd be so much easier and neater if I only learned to throw away stuff!!!

On Friday, I knew that it would most likely be the last practices I'd attend for this edition of fall camp. It was another hot day. I made sure I protected myself from the sun, putting a towel around my neck. I also tried to drink as much water as I could.

At dinner, a funny thing happened. Basically, one of my friends, I'll let him remain anonymous, attempted to "impress" a girl. So, at dinner he starts talking to her, and then comes and rejoins me for dinner. During this time, another player (who'll I'll also have remain anonymous) comes and joins us. He plays QB, and QB's have more "star power" than anyone on the most instances. So, my friend waves this girl over to our table...introduces his dinner partners to her.."This is my friend, B. This is Joe Bob (a pseudo-name I've chosen)."

Joe Bob gets up to get more food, and this is when all heck breaks loose. This girl absolutely loses it! "Oh my god! That's Joe Bob! I've been waiting to meet him ever since last year! Oh my god, oh my god!"

My friend's reaction was priceless...he couldn't believe what was happening! "Are you serious?! Man, I play football, too!!!" I sat there just cracking up. His attempt to be gentlemanly backfired!

Joe Bob comes back, and my friend tells him what this girl had just said. Joe Bob just starts cracking up! We couldn't stop laughing for the entire time we were at dinner.

On the way back to the athletic complex, my friend asks me, "Man, what's wrong with me?!"

"You ain't Joe Bob!" was my reply. He started laughing again.

This fall camp was enjoyable. Each year it seems to be a platform for ME to build new relationships, and it allows people to see me as more than "the guy who always comes to practices."

Saturday - My bowling woes continue. Earlier in the week, during a meal, another friend, Jack, asked me how I was doing with bowling. I told him I was struggling big time, explaining that I would have a bad game and then I'd start thinking too much about that game and that would affect my proceeding games.

"One and clear, buddy! Just like us, if I throw an interception or a touchdown, I just need to clear my mind and focus on the next series!" I appreciated hearing those words, competitive people know how it feels like NOT to do good. It just eats at your insides, and you begin to try, too, hard to fix the situation.

In any case, I approached Saturday with a positive attitude. This was going to be a good day! Practice went well enough. First game, I stumble out of the blocks, barely breaking a score of a hundred. Terrible!

"One and clear," I told myself. Second game was just as abysmal...I was or am in a slump! That's it...that's gotta be it! By then, I was NOT a happy camper. I was ready to get out of that bowling alley, but I still had one more game to bowl.

I really can't get lower than this...first frame, I either had a split or missed a spare I should have converted...details are a bit fuzzy. But, after that frame I picked up some momentum. In bowling, momentum of a positive nature is so key if one is to experience ANY success! I was picking up spares when I needed to, I didn't leave myself with difficult second shots. I finally felt comfortable!

On the tenth frame, I blew it. I left an easy spare shot I really should have picked up. Grrrrrr. But, on a positive note I ended with a score of a 189! I was still bitter about my overall performance. I'm hard on myself in that regard. I expect myself to do good! If I don't, I suppose I become sour. I don't think it's being a poor sport...not smiling, I don't think anyone would or should smile if they perform poorly. It's not sulking either, it's my way of taking out my frustrations. I don't smile, don't laugh, I have a stern and serious disposition.

This will continue on for the better part of the afternoon, until I come home and cool down a bit. Next week WILL be a better week, I'm sure. The University of Hawaii's Mortar Board chapter is scheduled to volunteer at bowling next week. It should be WILL be fun.

My final hours of summer. Wow, I start school again tomorrow. I have an important meeting in the morning, we're meeting with a couple project sites via a teleconference. Not before I catch the first early morning practice of the season, on the grass fields of lower campus. Players will be bright eyed and bushy tailed by 7am, to hear the coaches bark out directions and instructions.

Randomness of the week:

I received an e-mail from a complete stranger after this person read about my recent appointment to DCAB's board in the monthly newsletter. It was neat to receive an e-mail like that, but it also reminded me that I need to be cognizant of how much information I put out for people to read about me. I also realized how much of an impact I can have on the community, I need to use my abilities to do as much good as I can. I did respond to this e-mail, thanking the reader for taking the time to write to me.

I also found out that this blog is being read by more people than I thought! One day, my dad comes home and shows me a printout that a spouse of one of his co-workers had printed out. It was my blog! I told my dad, "wow, even I can't find my own site if I do a Google!" It's neat, but yet another reminder that my writing can be read by ANYONE out there. I must be as honest and open as I can, but still protect myself by not revealing ALL. Besides, isn't there something to be said about the mystery of people, leading to heightened intrigue?!

My good friend, Ed, e-mailed me, asking if I went to the high school reunion. This is our 10-year mark, and no I didn't go. I guess I wasn't compelled to attend because everyone I hung out with during high school aren't living in Hawaii anymore. Sure, I knew many people, but those others were just acquaintances, nothing of substantial relationships. Instead of paying $50 to see people I hardly know, and who hardly know me for me, I'd prefer to hold off and wait until all of my friends have time to come back to Hawaii and have some get together with them.

A picture of what torments me these days:

Is it me, or is this blurry?! Ah, maybe its my eyesight playing tricks on me!

A videoclip of me bowling

Have a great Fall semester, everyone!!!


  • At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Brian that looks so dangerous!!! I hope you don't ever have to cross that bridge again!



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