Archive for June, 2012

Online Cupid

June 29th, 2012

My poor male friend - let's call him Dane, not his real name. He is on a MISSION to get a girlfriend.

For some reason, he's exhausted his network of friends from work and his extracurricular hobbies, and on 1/1/12, signed up for an online dating site. I didn't realize how single minded he is (no pun intended!), because he has gone on nearly 30 first dates this year.

When we meet, my usual question is, "How's your latest dates?" and he will go into this litany of crazy/disappointing/rude/ or simply no-chemistry circumstances. I have encouraged him to pen a book.

The last time we met, he had his computer, so I asked to see the womens' profiles. "I don't want to click their photo. If I go into their profile, they can see that I'm looking at them again," he worried.

"I really doubt they're monitoring every little movement," I countered. What do I know about online dating? Nothing. Maybe they are sitting at home with their screen up waiting for a {ping} to tell them someone's looking at them.

I once did a story in the early 2000's about online dating, and for work, I logged onto a site as myself. But after I got the info and interviews I needed, I removed my profile right away. I was already married.

So Dane let me look at the women he's been talking to. We did a little gossiping about that, then I asked him to see the wider website. I wanted to see what kind of men are on the site.

No real reason; I'm supercalifragistically happy with my husband. I am just a nosy person.

We went to the home page and he let me plug in search parameters (age, location, etc). There was a search tool I was not familiar with, which is essentially is a compatibility meter. You can request to be matched up by how compatible you are, as determined by a quiz you take when signing up.

Why one wouldn't automatically select the compatible-meter is beyond me. Is someone searching for mates within 50 miles of their hometown, in the correct age bracket, but incompatible with them?

What is that person thinking? "I like drama! I want to fight with my partner!" or "I want a sucky first date that doesn't evolve into a second date!"

Keeping in mind that I'm still logged in as Dane, I hit the compatible button and I got matched with a bunch of men who would be right for Dane, should he choose to get curious.

Dane, a sensitive person, fretted more that people looking at his profile would now see that he's instigated a search for single men.

I scrolled down the thumbnails. "I want to see what they say in their profile," I said.

He fretted more. "Don't. Now people can see that I'm actually looking at selected men. How will I get any women this way?"

"I'm sure it'll be fine," I laughed. In reality, I don't know how these sites work. Can you erase your search history on your own profile? Who can track your movements?

After a little while, he walked away from the counter to distract himself at the kitchen sink. "OK, you can click on it now," he acquiesced. "I just don't want to see it."

I think that's a cross between "If I don't see it, it's not really happening!" and the thing I do when I get blood drawn, which is look in the opposite direction because I just don't want to think about it. That's also what my dog does when I clip her nails.

I started looking into a few mens' profiles and making gossipy comments to Dane, across the room.

This nice guy has given me permission to look at women and look at men, under his login. He then thinks to say, with some alarm, "You better not message them!" (Of course I wouldn't do that.)

So if you are a straight male, ages 40-50, living in Honolulu, with a photo posted to your profile, and you noticed another guy checking you out last week, sorry. That was really just me poking around.

And if my movements were recorded and posted online to his profile, then I probably just wrecked his love life for the foreseeable future. Oops?

Mint chocolate chip ice cream

June 27th, 2012

This is an ode to my favorite ice cream, mint chocolate chip. I love coffee, green tea, dulce de leche too - actually I hardly ever turn down any flavor. I like ice cream.

When I eat at fancy restaurants that hire their own pastry chef, I still like to order ice cream for dessert. So simple.

mint chip2

But mint chocolate chip: there's something wonderful about the light mint flavor, the chocolate, and most importantly, the color.

I've had this conversation many times over the years with other mint chocolate chip aficinados, so I'll ask it here to the wider group: does the color matter to you? It really is just coloring (right?) so why does my brain say it has to be that certain light green color to be perfect?

When I was five (or so), my earliest memory of eating ice cream was when my beloved grandfather bought me a sugar cone of mint chip from the Baskin Robbins store at Kamehameha Shopping Center. I remember dropping the scoop on the ground and feeling devastated. I hadn't even taken a lick! I remember the clerk kindly replacing it for free, and I was so incredibly happy.

Maybe it's my favorite flavor because I associate it with such a nice memory. In fact, I think the best mint flavor and texture is from Baskin Robbins. I love the lightness of their chocolate flecks, and the touch of mint that isn't too overpowering to the senses.

I always try a new brand of mint chip when I see it in the grocery store. I do not like the white ones. I actually think the white ice creams have too strong of a mint flavor. I also don't like when the chocolate flakes are too thick. Some brands make their ice cream too dark green.

I found one personality test online about what your flavor preferences say about you. For Mint Chocolate Chip: "If you indulge in Mint Chocolate Chip, you tend to be ambitious and confident yet skeptical about life. You prepare for the future, needing a plan to feel secure. While your stubbornness is a business asset, it can add challenges to your relationships. Even so, your loyalty, honesty and dependability create lasting friendships and close family ties."

Here's another test: "Mint chocolate chip: You are a survivalist! You are a rationalist who is more likely to keep a full stock of tinned foods before an inevitable heavy snow storm. This means you prepare and plan ahead for the future, feeling secure only after coming up with a solid realistic plan. You are mostly truthful, trusting, loyal and dependable which gives you a long lasting and ever-binding bond with your friends and family. On the other hand, you are a bit stubborn in relationships though you enjoy close family ties. Ideal partner: You are most compatible with other mint chocolate chip lovers!"

A so-so reading, but silly fun. I can tell you that Claus doesn't care for mint chip, but we're still very compatible!

So - if you like mint chocolate chip, do you agree with my ice cream analysis? And if you don't like mint chip, what is your favorite flavor?

Cheering squad

June 25th, 2012

I was wholly unprepared for the big deal that is preschool graduation. How big a deal could it be, for four year olds?

Apparently, a big deal. There were families we saw walking in with balloon bouquets, big congratulation signs (can the kids even read that?), choke lei (money, seed, nut, candy, ribbon, fabric flower, or real flower), and gift bags for the graduate and their close friends.

It should go without saying that there were more cameras than children.

Naturally, this is a bigger deal for the adults than for the kids. Put differently: I asked Olivia what does it mean to graduate. "I dunno," she replied.

My parents and I each came with one paltry gift bag, one lei, and only three cameras for the five adults in our party. I thought that was a pretty strong showing, but I was wrong.

People came in herds. The big families took up large sections. I know, because we came only minutes before the call time, and there were rows and rows of seats saved for blocks of relatives. The strategy: one person arrives first and reserves the whole row for the rest of the team.

I would think I saw an empty few seats, but upon closer view, it was being saved. All the lei and signs were serving a double purpose by acting as placeholder. Our group had to split up.

Each graduate came marching down the aisle when his or her name was called. I noticed right away that there was humongous cheering as the name was called. It's a little like when the football player goes running through the tunnel to enter the field and the fans go crazy.

I knew Olivia was the sixth child up. "Guys," I nudged Claus and Jul, "You have to yell loudly when they call her name." They are both pretty silent, so I made them acknowledge the request and agree.

I live with two quiet Europeans, but for that moment, they did me proud. They hoot-hooted when Olivia came down the walkway. I was consumed with photography, but I think I saw one of them pump his arm.

Since we had to divide up, my parents were on the other end of the room. Probably sleeping. They're at the age where they fall asleep if they're still for more than ten minutes.

Even if they were awake, only my dad would comply with my request to cheer. I'm sure they were having a dream in which there was all this wacky screaming and hollering that was out of place.

I also kept waving madly from the side trying to catch Olivia's attention to make sure she knew we were all there for her. She was extremely mopey and actually cried for a long time because I couldn't attend her May Day recital. Claus went, but that wasn't good enough.

After the ceremony, the families met the graduates on the playground for photos and hugs. Unfortunately, it was now 7:45 p.m. so we had to go home and to sleep rather than enjoy a celebratory ice cream or snack. Bedtime is 8 p.m.

There will be no next time in my immediate family, because Claus has decided we're one-and-done with the babymaking. But for her kindergarten graduation, gymnastics graduation, swim team graduation, or whatever the heck else silly ceremony there exists in today's society for the smallest of milestones, I will remember the following:

-Bring extra friends to act as a cheering section (the opposite of the Chinese tradition of hiring extra wailers for a funeral)
-Bring airhorn and rattles if not
-Bring five extra lei so it looks like she's super popular
-Go really early to reserve seats
-Make congratulatory billboards

What was your preschool graduation experience?

Hawaiian middle names

June 22nd, 2012

Olivia's preschool held a graduation ceremony very similar to the "real" thing that one associates with high schools and colleges- except much shorter, like the people being honored.

I could totally tell by looking at the program, with all the kids' full names listed, who was local and who wasn't. Sometimes the name is bigger than the child.

Ridiculously long local names featuring many vowels:

Name - Middle Name, Sometimes English or Sometimes Asian - Very Long 30 Characters Hawaiian Name - Last Name, Usually Ethnic

Kinda looks like this (which I obviously made up):

Mary Yick Lung Uamaukeeaokaainaikapono Souza

Shane Chun Wah Kam Kealaokalanianaole Abad

Mainland transplant names were standard stuff like:

John Jack Doe

Jane Mary Smith

This is totally normal to me, having spent six years of my life at Kamehameha Schools, the world's largest and best-known Native Hawaiian school. Even today, I get the alumni newsletter and in the classmate update section, if you don't have a long Hawaiian name, that's unusual. You could compose a standard-length hula chant by stringing together the people's names.

I have a Chinese and a Hawaiian middle name. My Hawaiian name is, at eight characters, relatively short.

We did the same for Olivia. As everyone living in Hawaii knows, the intent is to honor one's ancestry by taking names from each culture.

I actually did not set out to give her a long Hawaiian name, but the one we liked best (that incorporated a part of mine, handed down) is 13 characters + okina.

Seven syllables broken up by a glottal stop! She is SO set for Kamehameha! Now all she has to do is get in.


June 20th, 2012

Laugh of the day:

Olivia asked me, "How do you spell m & m's?"

June 2012 036

I smiled and asked her to think about it. "m-n-m?" she ventured.

Not bad... could be 'Eminem,' I suppose!'

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