Brian's Ramblings

My thoughts in text, photo, and video form

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Midstream Adjusting

Week 2 of my semester was adventurous to say the least. There were unforeseen problems, but just as a former coach for the University of Hawaii, Coach McKnight, used to say, "You have to midstream adjust" if original plans don't go the way you envisioned. In other words, you have to be mentally strong and flexible when hurdles pop up in life and adjust to the situation at hand. Perhaps, it is here that true character is strengthened.

On Monday, I attended class...I do enjoy the professor. But, for some reason, I just couldn't get into the material that was being presented. No matter how hard I tried, I felt disenchanted by it all. I believe the main factor of my mindset on this day was due to the fact I had taken a course from the same professor last semester, and we covered the exact same things that were being presented on this day. The Community Counseling model would be the framework in which our course would be based upon. I think this model is good as it addresses processes to provide the best services in direct and indirect community, and direct client and indirect client interactions and intervention methods. With that said, having already heard the same explanation about 8 months ago, it was difficult for me to be enthusiastic about learning on this day. As a student, I try not to have "off days," and usually I don't; I usually am genuinely happy and eager to be in a classroom (not counting Statistics class, of course!).

After class, I headed back to work and saw Dr. Skouge for the first time this week. He excitedly relayed his newest idea and task for me to work on. I was excited about this new venture as well. We would split all of a series of past television show, that Jim was a part of, into sections. Each section would be able to stand on its own, so conceivably we would have approximately 36 video pieces after concluding this project.

On Tuesday, I had a teleconference for the project headed by Dr. David Leake. This was our third attempt at this, and we were hopeful that the last remaining project sites would join in on this call. Well, only one of the two joined in; apparently there was some mixup on dates on one project site's end. In any case, the conference went well. Ideas were shared and everyone was on the same page. It appears that the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Research Project is finally off the ground and proceeding full steam ahead! During the meeting, Jim brought up the idea of having me compose a letter of invitation to potential project participants...I just love how I get volunteered to do various tasks! Of course, I'm being sarcastic, but I really didn't mind having to write this letter.

Writing a letter to complete strangers was definitely something new to me, but its a good thing to have to go beyond your comfort zone, sometimes. By going being your comfort zone, you are almost forced to grow, and by doing so you're able to learn more about yourself and your abilities. After finishing the letter, I realized that it wasn't painful at all, and in fact it was actually a neat challenge to address people who have no idea who you are. You have just a few seconds to establish your credibility and keep their attention, so the writing needs to be concise but yet captivating. I did as good a job on writing this letter as I could; the true measure will be in the responses that the project receives.

After the teleconference, my sister, Lynn, and I had to hurry down to Blockbuster in Kailua town. The week prior, Lynn borrowed Sling Blade and thought it was due on Wednesday. But in fact, it was due Tuesday; luckily I asked her to check. Sling Blade, by the way, was an excellent movie I that made you think.

In any case, we made it down to Blockbuster with 15 minutes to spare. Luckily, on this day, the traffic going into the town wasn't too heavy so I made it without much risk to my life. We enjoyed the comforts of the video shop, browsed and settled on The Perfect Score, a film about the pressures placed on high school students to score high on the SAT. After that, we walked over to a little mini-mart of sorts, one that has a variety of shops and places to eat. On the way over, I nearly got crushed by a car! Just prior to crossing a parking lot, I stopped on the side of a parked car; luckily, I wasn't daydreaming, as I normally do, and didn't haphazardly roll into the parking lot. As I stopped and waited for Lynn to catch up, a minivan comes zipping right past me! That actually isn't an isolated incident. Cars in Kailua seem to be constantly going rather fast in parking lots, which really isn't safe.

Anyway, we made it safely to where we wanted to go. Lynn had lunch from Maui Taco and I had something from Ted's Bigger Burgers. Prior to going home, we stopped in Starbucks and Lynn got a drink. That was my first time in the Kailua Starbucks, and its a nice, quiet place, filled with the smell of fresh coffee. I can understand why people go there to study, read, write, etc.

Food and drinks in hand, Lynn and I made the trek back home. Again, traffic wasn't terribly heavy so crossing the infamous bridge wouldn't be too difficult on this day. This is Lynn watching the traffic, waiting to give me the "all clear" signal:

We made it home in about a half-hour. By this time, the sun was glaring down onto the pavement, and we wanted to be out of the heat as soon as possible, so we hurried as much as we could.

After the long excursion, I was ready to eat a good burger! We cut it in half, I take a bite, and I look at it..the burger is RED!! The cow's heartbeat literally could still be heard! I was thinking, "holy cow, after all that...all I want is a good burger!" Lynn is the brains between the two of us, so luckily she proposed cooking it on our stove. I went along with this idea, what did I have to lose really! So, of course, her idea worked hamburger got cooked, my stomach got filled and all was good in Brian's world again. We watched The Perfect Score together, and both enjoyed it! It was better than I thought it would be, which is always a nice discovery to make.

Marathon Wednesday...I would see Jim very briefly throughout this day. He was busy running from one meeting to the next. I knew what I tasks I needed to work on, and did so. We also needed to duplicate the week's CD for Jim's SpEd 480 class, so I took a trip to the CRC. I finished about 4 videos, each one being an hour. By the time 6pm rolled around, I was admittedly ready to call it a day. However, that would not be the case; I still had a class to attend!

Class on this Wednesday evening was anything but smooth; whatever could go wrong did...we have classmates on 3 outer islands joining us via closed circuit television. Setting this up took some time and effort. One connection would be fine, and another would go off. For about 30 minutes, we sat there, the professor scrambling to make things work, calling tech support, trying anything to get things right. Finally the decision was made to proceed with class, despite one outer island site no where to be found on our monitors; apparently the techies shut the connection off on that island. "You folks deserve a refund tonight," the professor commented. When class starts off as such, you know you're in for a long night! I was alert, eager to learn, and not really tired...but! 8pm rolled around, and boy, my eyes just become so very heavy. I was struggling to focus, struggling to stay awake! I know my eyes must have shut for a few seconds. Luckily, around 8:30 the professor asked if we wanted a break...everyone did, and went outside. I stayed in the classroom and tried to get refocused and re-energized. The classroom's atmosphere was terrible to say the least. Apparently, the class prior to ours was so cold, they kept the door to the outside opened, so by the time we got in the room, the condensation was just a mess! The floor was wet and icky; half the room was cold, half the room was sweating in humidity! The professor vowed to get the situation resolved by our next class; I sure hope it is!

I endured the entire class, by the time it ended at 9:20pm, I was more than ready to head on out of there! We have a group project to do, and as soon as that was announced, everyone secured a group, since everyone in my class are essentially co-workers to each other. Luckily, a classmate from the past two semesters asked if I wanted to be in her group. I was more than agreeable. We need to do a paper and group presentation on a specific disability; I proposed Cerebral Palsy, only because it is the one that is so close to home, I live it every second of every minute of every day! We'll decide on a topic as a group this coming week, though.

I arrived at home around 10:15pm. I had survived about 15 hours of being on campus! Was I tired? Sure. Was I hungry? Most definitely! I can't recall specifically what I had for dinner, but I do know that I ate it all and kept looking for more food to eat! I suppose I do need to re-examine my eating habits for Wednesdays, it would behoove me to grab a bite to eat during the afternoon hours.

On Thursday, I would relax and recover from my long, long day. Lynn and I watched Radio, a movie based on a true story about a man with a mental disability who has served as an inspiration to a high school football team for years on end. I've watched this movie many times, but still find it enjoyable. The great part about it is they include footage at the end of the film of the real individual upon which the movie was based on, and he's still just as supportive of that high school team as he was from day one.

Jim would have yet another full run of meetings to attend on Friday. Prior to his departure, he pitched me an idea of a video letter, as a way for me to introduce myself and show the other project sites where I work. I was excited about the idea, but I'll admit I wasn't exactly enthralled about having others be involved. For instance, Jim proposed having me go to the CRC (the College of Education's library) and asking someone at the front desk to give a little rundown of what the CRC was. I'm still not particularly comfortable with approaching complete'll something I'll get used to the more opportunities I place myself in to do so.

Steven, the new student worker at our office, had experimented with the new camera that Jim had gotten recently. On Wednesday afternoon, after finishing up his task of organizing the many wires and cables that ran wild in Jim's cabinets, Steven was given full rein to explore this new camera; a very high-quality one! I enjoy individuals who go about their business quietly and efficiently, getting a job done quickly but correctly...Steven is such a worker. He's a wonderful addition to Jim's office.

When Steven came in on Friday, he began to proceed with his task of organizing another cabinet in the office. I interrupted him and told him of Jim's idea. Steven was very enthusiastic and excited about the idea of going out and shooting footage. He had ideas of his own as well, so we sat there bouncing ideas off of one another. After about 15 minutes of brainstorming, Steven proclaimed, "Let's do this!" and off we went.

We shot all kinds of crossing the street, going up and down ramps, entering the name it, we probably shot it!

"Aloha, I'm Brian from the University of Hawaii. I'd like to show you where I work. Come along with me." I know, a bit corny, but hey we're still learning here! We don't get paid Hollywood bucks...yet!

Then we went to the CRC...there were two girls at the front desk. My DynaWrite asks, "Would any of you like to briefly explain what the CRC is? We're making a little video." This girl named Courtney agreed to do so, and did a wonderful job in doing so. Was that a terrible experience? Not at all!

After about 45 minutes of having fun going around with this camera, we got back to the office and I began editing the piece. It's still a work in progress, I'll probably finish it this week.

Oh! On Friday, I also met with Dr. Leake and Cherie, one of his GA's. That was a good meeting, it was nice to meet Cherie. We met briefly during a teleconference, but it's always nice to meet people face-to-face. That was another learning experience...Jim had meetings to attend, so he left me to my own resources for this meeting. I think I handled it fairly well, I made it move along at a good pace and covered all that needed to be covered. The plan is Cherie and I will meet every other Friday to touch bases, and see if we can be of support to one another.

Earlier in the week, I checked in with my friend Doug, to see if he would be available to attend the first UH Warrior football game of the season, since I had pitched the idea to him earlier in the summer. Unfortunately, he was bitten by a centipede and had missed some days at work so he had tasks to work on this weekend and wouldn't be able to attend the game. So, I did some pondering and thought....Sterling!!

Along with Sterling comes Jim, of course. What a duo they are...if one needs to pass 3+ hours prior to a game, you can't go wrong with these individuals.

"We need to be there at 2:30, but the game starts at 6pm," I reported to both of them.

"Now, what the heck are we to do from 2:30 to 6?!" Jim retorts, in a flabbergasted state.

"Eat, drink, and enjoy each other's company. Doesn't that sound fun?!" I reply.

"Okay, we're on!" So, the plans were a go! I was looking forward to Saturday from about Thursday on.

I arrived on campus at 1:45, the time Jim and Sterling were to pick me up. Things were off to a good start! Sterling and I managed to fit our chairs into the van, and Jim was the driver...we set off to pick up our friend, Brad. Brad had to run up to his apartment, to give his wife, Rosie, a camera she had requested from Jim. It was now about 2:15, and I'm thinking, "there's no way we're making it to the stadium by 2:30." Just go with the flow, Brian. Just go with it.

As we're rolling along, I'm noticing the temperature gauge on the dashboard starting to rise, higher and higher. I kept silent, hoping that it'd go down.

Jim notices this after a while and says, "Sterl, our temperature is getting up there, I think we might be overheating! Should we get on the freeway or not? It's your call, buddy!"

"Let's go for it. It should cool down as we go along the highway," Sterling replies.

Additional lights, warnings, and dings come on as we're rolling along. We were 1 intersection away from entering Aloha Stadium. Silence..."Beep, beep!" "Beep!" Cars began honking at us as we sat there stuck, stalled...The little minivan that could finally gave out. Luckily, a nice lady was nearby and asked if we needed help, and then proceeded to call the policemen who were about 25 yards away. The policemen would come to our aid, Brad jumped out to help them push the van into a gate, that was closed but became opened for us to enter, while Jim steered.

Jim was not about to let this incident hamper our afternoon of fun! He quickly unloaded Sterling and I from the van, and began to pass out drinks and pizza that we brought. We lucked out actually and were situated in a nice, shady area. We sat there eating and enjoying ourselves as best we could for about and hour. Jim attempted to start the van again after that, to no avail. Another hour passed, and the policeman informed us that busses would soon enter the lot so we should make arrangements to have the van moved. Sterling called AAA, and about 20 minutes later, the tow truck came. The tow truck looked oddly small, as you can see here:

The nice lady who helped us flag down the police officers, turned out to be in charge of the shuttle services for Roberts Hawaii, the company who provides shuttles on game days to and from the stadium. She said she would arrange to have an accessible shuttle for Sterling and gang after the game.

I made a decision not to break tradition, and stay after the game to see the players as they departed the stadium. I always see them after a game, win or lose. This is a small way in which I can show my support to them. Sometimes they're happy, sometimes they're quiet and wanting to leave as soon as possible. The original plan called for Sterling, Jim, and Brad to leave immediately after the game.

This proved to be a beneficial decision, as my parents stayed in town after the wedding they attended, and waited to pick me up, as opposed to going home. After the game, I informed my mom that we ended up without a car and I asked her to call Jim; I wanted confirmation that they all had made it onto the shuttle safely...they did. Jim asked if Brad and he could have a ride from Sterling's place to retrieve Jim's car...we were more than willing to do that.

The game itself was filled with highs and lows. At the end of the first overtime, Hawaii came up short. Losing any game doesn't feel good...losing the season opener leaves a rather bitter taste, after all of the excitement and anticipation leading up to the season. Little mistakes eventually caught up to the team in the end...missed tackles, dropping passes that are normally caught, etc...ALL of these aspects are correctable. Another positive is that the team fought hard till the very end, they busted their butts. I know they'll work hard to correct weaknesses and come back stronger next game out.

After this game, its safe to say the mood of the team was very somber and subdued. My friend, Lamar, felt like he let the team down. No words were needed, I could see it in his eyes that he was truly disappointed, and he could see that I was still supportive of him, regardless. We said our goodbyes for the night.

On Sunday, we would chat and I told him that he had to put this game behind him and look towards the future, keeping his head up and staying positive. Tasting defeat, make successes even sweeter. I KNOW he will grow from this set back and will bounce and have a wonderful season!

I attended a Mortar Board (MB) meeting on Sunday, as I'm a student advisor. I've been associated with MB for the past 4 years, so I try to pass on tidbits of helpful advice when needed. This year's membership seems to be on top of things so its been fun working with them.

This week is a short week, since Monday is Labor Day. The next UH football game will be September 18th, in Houston, Texas, when the Warrior play the Rice Owls.

Randomness for the week:

Brad, Sterling, & Jim talk to the tow truck
operator at Aloha Stadium.

Lynn makes the long journey home
from Kailua town.


I enjoy taking photographs of the sky and clouds. They provide an odd sense of calm and serenity to me. Clouds make beautiful patterns in the sky and the blue color of the sky is something I love!


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