Post your profile/interviews (based on the model of the Ian Parker interview with Zell Kravinsky) on this page. Format them as we did on the "This I Believe" page: put a horizontal line between yours and the one above it, and sign off with your first name at the bottom. I'll start by posting the Ian Parker segment:



Interview with Zell Kravinsky, from "The Gift"

Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, is a mixed-income community of about four thousand people which tries to maintain a small-town character within the sprawl of housing developments and shopping malls just north of Philadelphia. I made my first visit to Kravinsky in November, parking in front of a wooden-shingled house with a broken photocopier on the front porch and a tangle of bicycles, tricycles, and wagons. A handwritten sign by the door, a marker of spousal frustration, read, "Put Your Keys Away Before You Forget."

Kravinsky came to the door several minutes after I rang the bell. He is slight, and looked both boyish and wan, with pale, almost translucent skin. He wore sneakers, a blue plaid shirt, and tan trousers with an elasticized waist. He seemed distracted, and I realized later that the timing of my visit was awkward: he knew that his wife would not want a reporter in the house, but she had gone out, and two of his four young children were home, so he could not immediately go out to lunch with me. He invited me into a house crowded with stuff, including a treadmill in the middle of the living room. He cleared away enough books and toys for me to sit down on a sofa. His daughter, who is nine, came into the room to say hello, but when Emily Kravinsky came home, a moment later, she walked straight past us into the kitchen, taking the girl with her. Kravinsky followed. He came back after a few minutes and picked up his coat, and as we left the house he said, "She wants us out of here."

We drove to a restaurant in a nearby mini-mall. He ordered a mushroom sandwich and a cup of warm water that he didn't touch. "I used to feel that I had to be good, truly good in my heart and spirit, in order to do good," he said, in a soft voice. "But it's the other way around: if you do good, you become better. With each thing I've given away, I've been more certain of the need to give more away. And at the end of it maybe I will be good. But what are they going to say-that I'm depressed? I am, but this isn't suicidal. I'm depressed because I haven't done enough."

Within a few minutes, Kravinsky had talked of Aristotle, Nietzsche, and the Talmud, and, in less approving terms, of the actor Billy Crudup, who had just left his pregnant girlfriend for another woman. ("How do you like that!") Kravinsky's mostly elevated range of reference, along with a rhetorical formality and a confessional tone, sometimes gave the impression that he was reading from his collected letters. "What I aspire to is ethical ecstasy," he said. "Ex stasis: standing out of myself, where I'd lose my punishing ego. It's tremendously burdensome to me." Once achieved, "the significant locus would be in the sphere of others."

His cell phone rang, and a mental switch was flicked: "You have to do a ten-thirty-one and put fresh money in on terms that are just as leveraged . . . going eight per cent over debt. . . . I think we should do it. It's nice to start with a blue chip."

These contrasting discourses have one clear point of contact. In our conversations, Kravinsky showed an almost rhapsodic appreciation of ratios. In short, ratios are dependable and life is not. "No number is significant in itself: its only significance is in relation to other numbers," he said. "I try to rely on relationships between numbers, because those relationships are constant-unlike Billy Crudup and the woman he impregnated. Even if the other relationships in our lives are going to hell in a handbasket, numbers continue to cooperate with one another."


- Ian Parker




A Close Encounter (An Interview With Mr. Kado)

In all different ways, The Crest is a very balanced community. The community consists of old people young couples and children and of course dogs. The community lies on a dead end street with the houses in the shape of a small horseshoe. Walking across the street to my friends dad house, on a cool winter day, I walked up to the garage where his new 07 Cadillac Escalade was parked. His Cadillac Escalade had brand new 24-inch chrome rims, chromed out door handles, along with every part that could be chromed, chromed. Also in the garage, a 14-inch flat screen T.V. mounted to the wall and a complete stereo system that accompanied the T.V. A miniature Corvette was parked on the right hand side of the garage all personalized for his daughter.

Immediately after I knocked on the door, Mr. Kado opened the door. Short in stature, he stood there with his shoulders held high. He had monstrous calves, and was wearing black cargos and a collared shirt. His hair was a dark brown to black color and his overall appearance was quite large. When I asked him if I could ask him a few questions he stepped outside and we headed towards the front of the garage. He pulled out two dark green, plastic, party chairs and we sat down. While we were sitting down I started to look at his rims, and I guess he saw me so he started to talk about them.

“Brah, those guys were two grand a piece.” I looked at him in pure shock at the price of them thinking that the rims enough would have been good enough. After a short pause, he continued on about all the other pimped-out stuff. “Inside da car I get all leather seats, I planning on getting like six or seven LCD screens, you know with the screens you have to have good sound yeah, so I gonna get some type of quality subs and speakers.” After all that, I thought how much more expensive can this car be. “O brah, check dis out.” He pulled out a little car remote from his pocket. He pushed a button; all of a sudden, the trunk of the car started to open, and then with the push of another button, the front door opened and then another and the car started up. I smiled in amazement.

I thought I was in the future. With every detail of the car that he described to me, I just sat there in shock as I learned so much about this car like one that many dream they will be able to own. He kept going on and on about the accessories of the car until I asked him how the ride was on the car.

“Brah, one day me and my boys were cruising on the island, when we decided to get on the freeway. We merged onto the farthest right lane right behind a large cargo truck, which had loose wooden planks on the very top. I thought to myself, brah, those things gonna fall off right in to my brand-new car. I talked to my boys about it and they all agreed, and right when they agreed, the wooden plank came flying off. I had to swerve left to avoid the plank that barely missed our car. If I hadn’t swerved, the plank would have came crashing through the window and hit my boy Fiji that was in the front. I pulled on the side of the truck and had Fiji yell at the guy to pull over. He didn’t listen at first, so I had my other Polynesian boys in the back yell, so he finally pulled over. Brah, I swear it was so close the wrecking my car. I would have been pissed if it hit my car. That thing could have hurt someone, you know what I mean? Other than that, cuz, the ride is pretty mean, rolling down the street with all eyes looking at you. You know what I mean, eh?“

As he finished up, I started to get up and leave. Before I got out of the garage, he yelled out to me, “If you like, you can use this car for your prom.” With this final remark, I left with not only a good story but a car for my prom. If it’s still around by then.

- Tyler



Profile – Interview with Cody

Everyone has their own dream of what they want to be when they grow up. The dominant part of my interview with Cody was about his passion, love, and dream. As a small child growing up in Nu’uanu, Cody was inspired to play basketball.

Basketball is one of those sports that require amazing athleticism. Not many people have this athletic ability to be a great basketball player. Cody said to me, "I have been playing basketballsince I was 5 years old and it is what I love to do. Its fun for me and I enjoy it a lot." I then proceeded and asked if he played for Punahou. Cody did not reply. You could tell that he was uncomfortable talking about his basketball dream in front of his friends because they knew he was no star or even on the Punahou team. I did not know this. We left after I started asking him what he would like to do with his love of basketball.

Cody is now 15 years old and a sophomore at Punahou. Although he is not the greatest basketball player you will meet, you will have respect for his humility and attentiveness. Cody told me, "I only play basketball for fun now and not for competition. Its just not the kind of basketball for me." Cody is getting solid grades in all of his classes and looks to further his education. When asked what his one goal in life would be, he replied that it was just to be happy. I do not think there could have been a better answer to that question.

The greatest thing about Cody’s basketball carrier is the fact that he really only plays for fun. It’s great to see someone who isn’t so competitive with sports like everyone else who does play for Punahou. We forget that sports are supposed to be fun.

As the end of my interview with Cody was near, the only thing Cody could talk about was his love of basketball. If basketball does not work out for him, his second choice for a job would be to work at ESPN. Cody is following his dream and so should we all.

-Kai



An Interview with my Brother

My house holds a family of seven people, all living together under one roof. I made a first visit to my brother's room, within the outer edges of the housing. It was a nice white cozy room from far away, with clear windows looking out over an ocean of deep blue. As I approached from the inner living room I notice that as I got close to the windowsills, I could see small mountains of gray dust, collecting there, as if it hidden been cleaned for some time now. The rug on which I stepped had a sticky, salty feel to it, and was no longer the same clean white color that it had once been. There were books and pencils littering the floor, with pencil marks running across the white walls. The bed in the corner was not made with the pillows on the floor around it.

My brother was sitting now in a chair next to an over crowded desk, over flowing with papers and books. He wore some wrinkled clothes and was engrossed in a book about as thick as a dictionary. I came up to him now and waited for him to get to a good stopping point in his novel.

My brother was someone who studied way too much and did very well in school. As I interviewed him, I asked him why his room/study was such a mess. He told me that he didn’t have time to clean it, and even if he did, he would be too lazy to do anything.

At that moment my mother came in looking quite angry and started scolding my brother, "Robbie why is your cell phone broken, we just got you it last week!"

"It broke in my bag mom."

"I specifically told you to put it in its case did I not, now you have to buy a new one."

It seemed to me that sometimes my brother who is extremely bright is lacking a bit in the common sense department. But I guess that he spends a little too much time up in his head, reading and all, and doesn’t think well in the outside world.

- Ruddy


ProFlie- With My PoPo

Poola Street in Honolulu, Hawaii is a residential neighborhood where everyone is very caring for their gardens that resolve around a road island, one that always blows peach colored flowers into their gardens and porches. This is where my Popo (in case you are wondering, that is another name for grandmother on my mother’s side in Chinese), lives. Mostly every holiday she invites my whole family over to her house to celebrate, she starts cooks up a storm well in advance so that everything will be in order on the day of the party, and she never makes a mistake.My Popo makes sure she does not make a mistake because every time she picks up the phone, she sees a list that she made for herself hanging up on a cabinet.

I arrived early for the Chinese New Year’s party. I knocked. No one answered. “Popo are you home?” I heard a clanging of pots, which made me immediately think that my Popo would certainly need some help soon. Then, my popo waddled to the door with one silver pot that looked like it could carry enough water to water an acre of land and a foil tray of what looked like someone had dumped a bunch of seaweed from the ocean into. She is a woman of a small stature who I noticed recently permed her short, white hair so that she would more presentable when it was time for family to arrive. I saw her straining to open the door, “Thank goodness you came early. I need you to help me to prepare the pudding and Chinese chicken salad,” she said with a huff. If I were in my Popo’s shoes I would huff too because she is under lots of pressure. My popo has five children and my mom is the second to the youngest in the family, and I am only the middle child of three in my family. She has got a lot to prepare for.

I entered the door and everything from there to the refrigerator was the same, but when I reached the kitchen, it looked like my popo could use some help. There were pots and pans sprawled on the floor as if it looked like she was looking for a specific pan. On the side table she laid out some dishes, which looked like she was going to serve to food out onto. And there were trays wrapped with foil being heated in the black-handled oven. I knew I had to get ready to work because my family would be arriving in one hour. “Okay what do you want me to do?” “You can try to figure out how to make this salad,” she said as she shoved a plastic container into my hands. “And you can work on the table,” then she turned around to her steaming ingredients on the stove.

My family started to arrive and all the food was served onto the dishes. There were a handful of common foods cooked in an Asian style because of Chinese New Year like duck, chicken, noodles, tempura (I know, this is Japanese), and pork. One of the most exotic food was jai. “Popo, what is the history behind jai? Cuz, you always make it and I never understood why we ate it,” I asked. “It is eaten on Chinese New Year because it is a tradition. Jai is known as monk’s food and has no meat in it. Its many ingredients such as bamboo shoots, dried bean curd, chestnuts, oranges, tofu, and seaweed represent many different virtues such as wealth, health, and good fortune. We eat it because it is good for us and hopefully is will bring us good things. And that is why we give you guys lai cee. The red envelope with money inside is supposed to bring you children luck throughout the year. And the orange that I give you is supposed to represent wealth. I don’t want you to open the lai cee to later because it is also to test your patience.”

Everyone seemed to be enjoying the food, especially the duck and tempura. But right then, my popo switched to the American culture mode, “Who wants dessert? There is chocolate pistachio cake with a choice of mint-chocolate chip or mocha ice cream.” For a moment there, she made me wonder if all this traditional stuff made a difference. “Popo, do you believe in this stuff?”I asked. “I think that it must mean something if a culture has been celebrating it for over 1,000 years,” (Well, that makes some sense).

- Chloe



Broken Conversation (A talk with my dad)

The day we decided to go to the beach wasn't a very good one. It was late in the afternoon and it was rather windy. Most of the people had gone by the time we got there, so there were only a couple of families there with their big tents, containers of food, and various inflated toys all over the place. The waves violently crashed on the rocks causing a rippled effect back to the shore.

We shuffled over to one side of the beach, kicking sand out of our way trying to avoid the hard rocks. I carried the folded chairs to a clear spot and started to set up. My dad had brought his fishing gear and was trying to find a suitable place to put his various containers for various things. He had a beat up tank shirt with board shorts he had once bought at a craft sale. After he had strung his fishing line through the holes on his pole, he sat next to me to get his hooks ready. The winds were blowing the clouds overhead quickly, so it went from cold to warm and back to cold again often.

"Darn it," my dad started, "I forgot the box with the bigger hooks."

"Shucks," I replied with faked sarcasm. The ocean was crashing loudly on the rocks offshore and the wind whipped my hair into my face. He was diligently tying knots in his line to attach it to his hook and weight. "So how does this fishing thing work?" I asked trying to strike up a conversation. He continued tying his knots but he replied saying, "Well first you get a stick and you put a string on it, then at the end you put a hook and a weight to help bring it to the bottom of the ocean. Then to attract the little fishies, you have to put bait on the hook." Obviously, sarcasm ran in the family. I was the one who wanted to go to the beach, so I denied the cold weather and leaned back in my chair closing my eyes. Our conversation jumped from subject to subject as our topics ranged from fishing to what was for dinner ("Fish that grandma bought and is frying.") I guess she had little faith that he would catch something, and quite frankly so did I. When asked if he thought he would catch anything he said, "Probably not. I'm just practicing."

-Lauren



A Day In The Garden

Manoa Valley is a beautiful, quiet neighborhood made up of people from all different cultures. Located away from tall apartment buildings, the streets are lined with luxurious houses; some with a 19th Century style, while others include the latest technology. While most of the houses are occupied by retirees hoping to relax, young couples and children also make up this wonderful community. One day, I decided to make a trip down to my neighbor, Mr. Chan’s, house.

Mr. Chan lived in an elegant two-story house painted white on all sides, with a brown tiled roof which looked as though it was in need of a repair soon. At the very top was a small brick chimney which had long been out of use and was clearly only there because the owner was too lazy to get it removed. Between two rows of freshly planted garden flowers, ready to bloom in the coming spring, was a small dirt path leading to Mr. Chan’s front porch. Walking down that path and up a few maroon colored stairs, I arrived at his front porch. This was decorated with comfy cushion chairs, inviting all visitors to take a seat and rest on its soft material. As I felt something soft rub against my leg, I looked down to see Mr. Chan’s black Bombay cat.

“Hey Jinxy.” I squatted down and took the furry little animal into my arms and started to scratch his favorite spot, behind his ears. Just like all the other times, Jinxy purred softly to show his enjoyment. Standing up with Jinxy still in my hands, and continuously petting him, I went to ring the door bell.

A few seconds after I rang the bell, I heard Mr. Chan’s voice from the back yard where his garden was located. Putting down Jinxy, I went into the back yard to see Mr. Chan sitting on a small stool pruning his gardenias. Mr. Chan was an old retired insurance salesman who was in his late 80’s. Three years ago, his wife passed away and every since then, he has been spending a lot of his time and energy tending to his garden. It was filled with gardenias and numerous breeds of orchids. As always he was wearing his old, tattered gardening clothes, which usually consisted of a University of Hawaii t-shirt and beige long pants, with his favorite University of Hawaii baseball cap. When he saw me, he immediately broke into a smile and welcomed me.

“Hello Fanny, what brings you here today?” He asked with curiosity in his voice.

“Oh nothing much, just wanted to come and see how your gardenias are doing this year. Any hope for me to get some to put in my room?” I said it like a joke, but there was a little bit of seriousness behind the question. What can I say? I really like gardenias.

“Of course,” he laughed “you just come back in a two or three weeks and I guarantee that I will have a bunch of flowers ready for you to take home with you.”

“Okay, I’ll be sure to come back then.” Then, remembering that I had an English assignment due, I started to ask Mr. Chan questions about his passion for gardening. “So Mr. Chan, why do you enjoy gardening so much? I mean out of all the things in the world, why pick this?”

His lips curled into a little mischievous smile and he answered, “Ah, this question. You have no idea how many times I have asked myself this. I guess it’s the fact that gardening allows me to escape for a little while. While I’m out here working on the flowers, it’s just me and the flowers. Everything else just disappears for a moment. Nothing but the flower’s subtle sweet scents and the soft clicks of my scissors exist. I know it sounds really dramatic, but I’m completely serious. Does that answer your question?”

“Yes, yes it does. You know, I’ve always wanted to have a garden. Do you think you could teach me a few tips for the future?”

“Of course, I would love to. Let’s start with pruning gardenias. Now the things that most people don’t understand…”

And with that, we spent the entire afternoon talking about flowering tips and ways to yield the healthiest plants each year.

- Fanny




Interview with My Neighbor Stevo

Makaa St. is located in Hawaii Kai in Honolulu. It is a quiet and peaceful neighborhood with people living there from all different backgrounds. It lies in a dead end with new town houses and stores going up around it. I walked across the street to my long time neighbor’s house to have a chat. I walk up to the house and I see his array of elegant and expensive cars such as an X5 BMW and a Lamborghini parked in the driveway with his refrigerator and collection of beer tucked away in his garage.

As I came up to the door, little Genius greeted me with his usual annoying bark while his owner Steve Weeks or Stevo came seconds after his dog. Stevo looked like he always does with his protruding belly covered up by his old white beat up shirt, shorts and a beer in hand. He had his great big smile on his face as he welcomed me. He said, “It’s great to see you, we can sit outside and talk.” We sat on his table inside his garage with all of his beer collection where he even brews some himself. He offered me a sprite while he drained another beer down.

After a while we began talking about everything from basketball to his cars as he slid in jokes here and there with his sick humor. Stevo disappointedly said, “I want another car but since I bought the last truck Debbie is still pretty mad at me and won’t let me get another.” In my conversation with Stevo he showed his down to earth side and willingness to help anybody out. He is like a big kid who loves to drink and buy nice cars. Lastly he said, “Megan I’ll see you later come by anytime and we can race our skateboards down the street.”

~Megan

Interview CPB

Interviewer: Megan I see that you have fourteen journal entries. What do you think about your entries overall?

Me: Well, I am really proud of them and I really like looking back at them and it partly shows who I am.

Interviewer: What are some of your favorite entries?

Me: I really like the carnival, surfing, Las Vegas and name entries. I like the name entry because I learned some things about my name such as it is derived from Margaret and that is my Mom’s name. I also like the other entries because thy have pictures and I can look back at them and remember what happened.

Interviewer: Why did you choose to write about Wrigley Field?

Me: I choose to write about Wrigley Field because I go there almost every year, and I live it there. Also, the Cubs are my favorite baseball team and I have some great memories there.

Interviewer: I noticed that you made collages of surfing and basketball. Do you play both sports or watch them?

Me: Yes, I love playing basketball and I surf. Also, watching the NBA is one of my favorite things to do and once in a while I will watch surfing.

Interviewer: On your first quotes page you quoted John Wooden and Mike K. Why did you choose these two men and can you explain what type of an influence they had on you?

Me: I choose these two men because they are some of the best collage coaches in history. I think that they have a great influence on their players on and off the court. I have read books from both of these coaches and I try to learn how to be a better person and basketball player from them.

Interviewer: I really like your entry on your name. Where did you get the idea to do research on your name?

Me: I have a framed definition in Greek of my name in my room, so I wanted to know more about my name so I decided to do an entry on it.

Interviewer: It looked like you had a good time at carnival. What are some of the things that you did there?

Me: It was pretty fun; I hung out with my friends, went on a couple of rides, played games, listened to bands and ate a lot of food.

Interviewer: On your second page of quotes I noticed that you had quotes from all different people. Where did you find all of these quotes?

Me: I found all of these quotes in my planner as well as my first entry quote.

Interviewer: I’ve seen that you made an entry with some goals written down. Have you always written your goals down for yourself?

Me: Well, I’ve always had goals but I haven’t started writing them down until recently. I started writing them down after I took a sports psych class earlier this year.

Interviewer: Wow, it looked like you had an exciting trip to Las Vegas. What were some of the things you did and saw there?

Me: I did have a wonderful time, and I saw many hotels such as the Wynn. Caesar’s, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, MGM, Treasure Island, California and many more. At these hotels I got to see things such as wildlife such as the rare white tigers, many sharks and even piranhas. Also, I shopped a lot, watched the NBA All Star game, went to a play called Mama Mia and went to Jam Session.

Interviewer: That sounds really interesting. Can you explain to me what Jam Session is?

Me: Jam Session is a place where you can do many fun activities such as shoot hoops, play five on five, receive free stuff, meet NBA players and buy basketball souvenirs such as basketball cards which I love.

Interviewer: Did you happen to see any NBA players?

Me: Actually I did, I saw Tracy McGrady, Deron Williams, Maurice Williams, Jordan Farmar, Kyle Lowry and Mark Jackson.

Interviewer: Thank you for letting me interview you and for helping me understand your common place book better.

Me: You’re welcome it was my pleasure.



Interview with Malcolm

I was sitting in the Punahou quad with Malcolm when we struck up a conversation. I began asking him questions about things that he enjoyed doing and how his life was going. He talked about how everything in his life was going fine, all his friends were good, and there was no shortage on things he liked to do on the weekends. He said that he liked going to the beach, swimming, and surfing. I could relate to Malcolm because I enjoy doing all of these things myself. "So, what else do you like doing?" I asked.

"I really like paddling," he said, "It's a good work out and it's fun."

I'm on the paddling team with Malcolm so I could relate to his love for paddling as well. We began talking about how the season was ending soon and how cool our coach was. "How was Coach Kapono this season?" I asked.

"Kapono is super cool."

"Yup, Kapono's the man." I said.

Then we talked about the ocean for a while and with that our conversation was over and we both left to go to class.

-Nainoa



Interview with my Auntie Nellie

Sitting comfortably in the Castle Hall Art room in the late afternoon, I asked “Auntie” Nellie about how she had started teaching. Marilyn “Nellie” McLaughlin is a long time friend of my family. She was my tutor when I was in first grade, but I haven’t seen her much in recent months.

She looked up, as if she were looking for the answer on the ceiling, and calmly said, “When I was a junior in high school, the superintendent of the Sunday school said ‘Marilyn, I would like you to teach seventh and eighth grade.” Nellie said she was shocked at his remark at first, however the superintendent wanted her to try it. She found that she was very good at teaching and enjoyed it. Her mother had been a well-respected teacher before her. Even though her mother had been forced to resign, when she married, she always spoke highly of her teaching experiences.

Nellie came to Hawaii in 1965 after being divorced from her first husband. When she first arrived, she and her daughter stayed with a friend as she applied to a number of different island public schools.

“They said they didn’t want me. They said they had extra teachers coming in from the mainland.” She then went to apply at Kamehameha and finally Punahou. “I really liked Punahou but when I came to apply they said that, ‘No there wasn’t anything.’”

At this point, Nellie was very upset because she needed a job badly. She went to see President John Fox whose policy was to leave his office door open. She knocked on the door and told him that she wanted to be a Punahou English teacher. She detailed her teaching experience and he said she sounded like a good teacher. With a few words of encouragement from President Fox she returned to her friends apartment. About forty-five minutes later, she got a got a call from President John Fox saying that a teacher was going on sabbatical and asking Nellie if she could substitute.

She then got the chance to teach along side the famous surfer Fred Van Dyke. “He would call to find out how the surf was and if the surf was pretty good he would take off,” she reminisced, “but it was a wonderful group. My classroom was down in the K and L units behind where Case Middle School now is. They were just temporary buildings from after the war, but it was temporary buildings that they had.” She explained that she continued to teach middle school English at Punahou for the next 31 years. Most of those years were from a classroom in Bishop Hall.

I asked her how she knew she was good at teaching English. She laughed and said, “You know I can’t really say. I really enjoy kids. And I think that’s just the basis that you just have to get a kick out of them.” Even though she liked teaching, she said, “I retired because I really don’t like the meetings. And also I never- - my dining room table was never free of papers to be corrected...” She misses her teaching job, “The thing I miss is reading kid’s papers… Their thinking is so interesting to me.”

Even though I have known ”Auntie” Nellie for as long as I can remember, there is much that I am just finding out about her life. I hope that we will continue our talk soon. She is beginning radiation treatments tomorrow as a followed up to her breast cancer surgery. Luckily her cancer was found early.

- Dee



A Psychological Car Ride

I walked up to my mom’s grayish Toyota Sienna mini van after school, expecting a “How was school?” and preparing an elaborate, “Uh…it was fine” response. But today, she paused for a couple seconds and staring me up and down, not even starting the car yet. She finally opened her mouth and asked me, “What’s wrong?”

I was a bit shocked, not because this was unordinary, but because I usually got away with hiding my upset feelings from my mom. I stared through the window to my right, looking at the other cars and people passing by us. My mom’s face wrinkled as she started up the car and looked forward, waiting for a response. I continued to stare for a few more seconds and decided what the heck.
“I’m just not having the best day today.” I began to tell her.

“And why is that?” My mother said, raising her eyebrows.

“It’s just boyfriend troubles mom. He just has to be right a lot…I guess…I don’t know how else to put it.” I continued, now staring at the front windshield, waiting for the traffic light to turn green. And that’s when my mom took a deep breath.

“Marissa, guys are like that by nature. It’s the male ego. They don’t want to be wrong compared to a girl or worse than a girl. They’re competitive.” She began, making half hand gestures but trying to keep her hands on the wheel at the same time. I cut her off at one point and told her how I can’t stand a relationship that is not equal to both partners. I said that I couldn’t be in a relationship where one person is dominated the other. And I was definitely not going to compete to be right or better with a boyfriend. I continued to blabber on and on for a good ten minutes. And my mom kept her focus on the road, but I could tell that she was thinking a lot about what I was saying.

We came to a red light and I finally ran out of something to say. My mom then turned to me and said, “You do realize that this is how your father is?” I glanced at her a half confused, half understanding of what she was saying.

“Missy, all I’m going to say to you is that you and I both know what it feels like to always be wrong, even if we’re genuinely not. And most guys are going to be competitive and want to be right; it’s really hard to find a guy that is that understanding of our feelings…unless they’re gay.”

We both chuckled at that (she was kidding of course) but it lightened the mood a little bit. We were both quiet for the rest of the ride home until we pulled up into the driveway.

“Well kiddo, sometimes you just have to let men be men. I guess this just goes to show you, women can deal with a lot more crap than guys can. WE’RE TOUGH…TITA!!" I do say that although I really don't know if I would be able to put up with guys like how my mom would want me to. But I can say that I definitely had a boost of the "tita inside".

- Marissa



Contact at Last (An interview with my dad)


The world beholds an uncountable number of surprises for us all. The reality is that we as people will never be able to completely be in command of what goes on in our lives. Things will come and they will go as we go off through out our lives. As our lives move on at incredible pace, we have a tendency to not remember what had gone absent in our lives. The ties with those things are vanished and are likely to be disappeared forever. However some do remain in our lives.

On a cold January afternoon my phone rang and vibrated on the surface of my desk. The display screen showed a name I never expected to see. The name flashed on and off with the vibrations of the phone. It was my dad. Ever since my childhood my parents have been divorced and the lines of contact were cut. We rarely ever talked about my father in the house. I knew very little about my own blood father. Anyway, after a short conversation on the phone with my long lost dad, I ended up having a breakfast with him that weekend. Coincidently it was right before my birthday too. He had never done anything around the holidays and then all of the sudden he wants to have breakfast.

On the morning of the breakfast, just as I woke up, my phone rang at exactly 8:00. Fifteen minutes later, he showed up in the parking lot. I admit on my way down the elevator, I thought he was going to be driving a fancy Mercedes car and have a suit on. As I walked out the front door of the apartment building, I found out that I was totally wrong. Instead of a Mercedes he was standing by a white jeep. He was wearing a pair of sweats and a white shirt! I was astonished. I wasn’t even close when I guessed what he looked like.

As the morning went on we were continuously talking. He seemed to be very interested in what I had been doing with my life. We ended up driving down to Waikiki where we stopped at Eggs and Things. It was a small breakfast restaurant with the line overflowing out the door. We checked with the hostess to see how long the wait was. She said it was around 30 minutes. Personally, I normally don’t like to wait that long in a line. However, this gave us a chance to talk some more. I found out about things going on with my grandparents who I also hadn’t seen in years.

“How have they been?” I asked

“They’ve been good. Pretty much nothing has changed with them,” replied my dad

“That’s good,” I said

“Yeah. They’ve been doing pretty good, but Tutu is starting to lose her short term memory,” he added.

I was shocked once again. I began to wonder how much time had really passed since the whole family was together. Had it really been ten years? I wondered how much we’ve changed since then. It never really dawned on me how much time had passed since the divorce. We continued to fill each other in on parts of our lives. It was more casual talk than anything else. When we finished our breakfast and got back into the car, he drove me back to my building. Just as I opened the door of the car to get out, he handed me an envelope with my name on it. He simply smiled and said, “Happy Birthday Eric. We should do this again some other time.”

It was funny. The Person I never truly knew in my life had finally reached out to make contact at last. For years of being separated by the divorce, we now reached a new beginning.

- Eric



Simplicity

Kalihi Valley, Oahu, holds an urban community of about twenty-five thousand people, majority of whom are new immigrants in the State of Hawaii, and contains the State’s two largest public housing projects. My grandmother, Francis Ebesu, is among the immense multi-cultural environment living on Laelae Way, a few roads and several rusted Chevrolets down from Likelike Highway. She is often lonely when my grandpa goes out to golf with his gang. So today, my mom and I get out of the house for a change to take a quick visit. Mom changes gears as her RAV4 makes its way downhill over the pot-holed-filled street. I feel the loose gravel and little rocks under me as I sit in the backseat, holding my place as my body starts to fall forward. We make a bumpy turn into my grandma’s street and I cringe. I always imagined the car would slide sideways to the bottom of the road, into the wooden house about fifty feet down, if we didn’t all lean and shift our weight into the road we were turning into.

Pulling into the driveway, I can see the layers of oil spots from my aunty’s truck, settling into the cement of the one-car garage. Just looking at the square-shaped tin roof lying above the garage makes me want to pierce the overcast sky for rain. I crave for the sharp rickety-rackety sound of heavy drops. Walking up to the front door, past the little brick temple, filled with dead leaves of the mountain-apple tree in the front yard, my eyes follow the paintwork covering the several decades-old house. Each step of the way is covered in a mahogany-red and outlined with a pale mustard-yellow and a few adhesive strips that are still apparent after years of little cousins rubbing their light-up shoes on them. I rarely go barefoot, when I can feel the stripes scratching against my soft soles, the tiny raised bumps from the cool concrete poking the arch of my foot. I grab onto the small loose doorknob attached to a brown wooden screen door. The bottom part of the screen has big pukas from the scratching of my grandma’s high-maintenance dogs running around, keeping her company each week. There are three pairs of dusty slippers placed neatly near the corners of the porch covered in small cobwebs. I place my sandals a few steps below and I quietly walk in.

My grandma is seventy-three years old and deep down, she still as hip as a woman in a floral dress, walking through Waikiki. She’s as strict as a typical full Japanese elder can be. I walk through the dull house. She doesn’t smoke anymore so the smell of nicotine and black gunk isn’t lingering through the trade winds circulating around the carpeted rooms. My grandpa’s chair sits in front of the Sony TV and crossword puzzles from the newspaper is stacked into a pile on the coffee table. All of the furniture in the living room except the TV has been in their exact same places all my life. Despite her heart conditions from a long history with cigarettes and alcohol, my grandma enjoys going to Las Vegas three times a year: in the spring, summer, and winter. I spot the dozens of Bicycle card decks, which come in the classic red and blue colors. The red decks are for my grandpa. I shall never touch them, Grandma says, and the blue decks are the ones I shall play with, putting them back as I found them.

Born and raised into a Japanese lifestyle, she can cook for me any day. She can cook the hardest dishes that my own mother may not be to cook. It’s not only Japanese dishes, but Filipino dishes, Chinese dishes, and Hawaiian dishes. Nishime, pinakbet, chow mien, takuan, pot roast… I remember I went over to her house just to learn how to steam laulau . I don’t recall any of the steps to make it but I remember it being the tastiest laulau I’ve ever eaten.

I make my way through the kitchen, feeling the bumpy, glossy linoleum against my toes. I walk up two steps that lead into what we call the “back room”. Her small TV is blasting with twinkling tunes of a Korean drama on KBFD. She looks at me with her wrinkly, big eyes. “Oh! Wow, I didn’t know you guys were coming so soon!” She gathers the remote from her thin, size XXL shirt. She doesn’t wear pants or shorts too often because it aggravates her stomach. I quickly greet her, hugging her softly. If I hug her with any more power from my biceps, I feel like I’m going to break her into pieces. Her pink, fleece socks from her last trip to Vegas keep her feet warm. She slides through the room and down to the kitchen.

“Here, mom. This is your sweater Zach was wearing the other night. He forgot to give it back to you… We washed it and everything. Thank you… I don’t know why that hardhead didn’t have his own jacket that night.” My mom passes Grandma’s black knit sweater. Grandma reaches for it and puts it over her shoulders. It suits her pajama ensemble well. I smile.

“So how was Vegas, Grandma?” I plop myself down in Grandpa’s usual chair at the dinner table. I’m careful not to crack the linoleum since a few rather large areas are covered in layers of masking tape. I’m scared to jump up and down and fall through the floor, landing on the dirt ground of the musty tool shed underneath the house. I also have to be sure I don’t drag my chair… or else I’ll either rip the masking tape or I’ll get yelled at by Grandma.

“It was good… I mean, as always, you know, but my body—is just a little sore. I’m not sure why, though…” She begins to touch her back area. Great , I think as I see her arm go up and down in a certain spot on her lower back. She crosses her legs on the seat and brings her large shirt over her knees, explaining about how she once again lost money in Nevada. I notice that her black and white hair is a bit flat. I don’t think she has her dentures in today. “But I’m happy with every trip to Vegas. It’s what keeps me living. Gosh, what would I do without it…”

I feel like interrupting her. I want to bring up her health conditions, how she needs to keep her life simple, and bring her traveling frequency down a notch. What if she gets a heart attack? She said she was feeling pains again in her legs. Maybe it’s just to freak my mom and my aunties out. I close my palms and put it together in front of me. “Did you bring your cane?” Mom asks.

“I did. But I just don’t have time to walk around with it.” She shakes her head and grabs the notepad in front of her, her hand hovering through the objects on the counter.

“But, ma, your health and all—I guess you better enjoy it while Dr. Tan allows it, huh?” My mom, naturally on the rascal side, bursts the conversation. I quickly glance at my Grandma who pauses for a millisecond, “agh”ing the idea, and thinking up something to say next. They both crack up and giggle, piling up more jokes. Apparently, their jokes are so hilarious that my grandma is holding her chest. I can just feel her lungs being sucked in with every laugh. Laughter is the best medicine, I say. We both know Grandma could care less about her health. All she likes to do is slam that knob down to get her little wheels spinning, hearing the nickels and quarters slide down from their little shoots. She gambles for the fun of it. “Besides, I may as well use some of my money while I can, huh?” I laugh. She notices my confused face.

“I believe in old—ah—sayings, Tiana Marie.” She uses that name only when she’s serious or if she’s yelling at me for having bad manners. Her eyelids flex and all of a sudden there are stiff bags under them. She’s thinking. “I believe in old sayings like—um—you believe nothing that you hear, and only half of what you see. I base my life on these things. And in life, you can fool some of the people some of the time. Things like that… All of those philosophies of my life. I follow these old sayings and I found it to be very true—”

“Who taught it to you?” I interrupt.

“—Like fooling some of the people some of the time…” I lean back into my chair and she starts to shake her pointer finger up and down. “Never all the people all the time. There are people like that, and they think they can fool, you know, by saying whatever they want. I always was poor, but I feel rich ‘cus I don’t owe anybody anything. You know, things like that. Simple life things… And I could live—I could live under a barn and I could still be happy.”

She emphasizes the word “barn”, bringing her thin arms upwards, waving it around above her head. I flatten my face and shake my head. This house is not a barn, Grandma.

“Heh, what am I saying, I am living in a barn.” She giggles. “Simple, simple is the best—to me. I live a simple life. I love it. I will never ever envy people with money or—or have nice cars and clothes. But you see the thing about always living life simple and being okay with that is—ah—you have no ambition. That’s the downside. And I always felt, well, “Why am I going to be ambitious if I’m going to live a simple life?” It has got to be one or the other, and I chose basically laziness and its not because I’m afraid of failure because I tried a lot of things and I failed a lot of things and I—but—all in the life of simplicity, you know… And really, I believe in different strokes for different folks. You like to be educated or read, or read for knowledge, education—I say, “That’s great”. I don’t knock it.”

- Tiana



Immersed In An Interview

My neighborhood in Kaneohe, Haiku Plantations, is a guarded community where many people are well-off financially. There are towering trees and other floral arrangements as you enter, followed by long winding roads leading to huge houses. I arrived at my house on a Wednesday evening eager to interview my father for this assignment.

I walked in on him watching TV on his recently purchased 60 inch high-definition television. I could tell by his lazy slouch that he was absorbed by what he was viewing, so I went to kitchen to heat myself some leftovers on the stove. I left it to heat and went back to interview my father. As I thought about what to ask my dad, I noticed that he was getting slimmer. His blue t-shirt didn’t reveal his chubby stomach anymore, but his face still showed the unchanging balding hair, thick glasses, and double chin. After an awkward silence, I finally decided to ask him why he became a doctor because he never really told me why, and I was interested in his adolescent life.

“Son, I never actually wanted to become a doctor, I wanted to be a teacher,” my father said, in a serious voice. “But your grandfather gave me a long talk about how growing up in the Philippines raising a family was a difficult task. He said that being a doctor would make it easier for me to be successful and happy. So I took pre-med and med school in the Philippines and did my internship in the U.S.”

“Wow, so you wanted to be a teach—“

"Shhh,” American Idol is back on," my dad interrupted.”

I groaned. American Idol is one of those shows you either despise or enjoy. Personally, I agree with half of America that American Idol happens to be a great show to watch, but right now I was more interested in asking my dad more questions. I ended up watching the show. This contestant was up named AJ Tabaldo, and I thought he looked like a decent singer.

“That kid’s Filipino, I didn’t think there were any left in the competition,” my dad stated. My dad always ambitiously tries to separate the Filipino people from the rest of the group. It's normal to feel bias towards your ethnicities, but I still thought it was weird for him to say that. The ironic part was that I could tell the guy was Filipino too, he was considerably short, had dark brown skin, but the real reason I knew was that he looked exactly like my cousin. After he finished singing and was belittled by Simon Cowell, my dad said unexpectedly, “What’s that smell?”

I stood up from the couch and sniffed the air, it smelled like smoke, and then I realized that I had left my dinner heating on the stove.

“Crap!” I exclaimed. I was so engrossed with American Idol and interviewing my dad that I forgot to turn off the stove. I sprinted to the kitchen and frantically tried to save my dinner and put out some flames. Fortunately, I didn’t burn the house down, but I did ruin my dinner and a good pan.

After the accustomed lectures and assorted punishments I receive after I commit a wrongdoing, I realized that my conversation with my dad had a common notion. My interview about my dad’s intention to be a doctor and the talk about the singer on American Idol both had the idea about Filipino life and heritage. I am the first generation in the United States. I am continually aware of the sacrifices my parents made for me and grandparents made for them. And I hope that being proud of my ethnicity and not forgetting about my influential culture will give me some leeway over the harsh sufferings I will go through over the next couple of weeks.

- Charles



Interview with Justin Chun

Waiting for my subject to arrive, I observed the surrounding room. White walls, blue carpet and gray desks. Chairs and sofas were positiones around each of the desks. Nondescript, but it was a good working enviroment.

The door opened, and Justin, my friend and subject, burst in, breathing hard from his run here and sweating. He stopped to turn around and close his bag, that was falling apart. He was smiling wide as he bombed down into the couch space into me. Smiling wider, he proclaimed, "Well, I think I just bombed another math test."

I began my interview with my distracted subject.

"I first though of making a band about a year ago, but we only really started practicing summer 2006." He was rummaging through his bag for some homework to finish. He told me that he was behind in Japanese, english, and chemistry. "I'm the vocalist, and the members are Eddie Kim (guitar), Charles Sonido (keyboard), and Kent Kobayashi (bass)."

While he continued talking with our friends, I jotted down a few notes. Justin began to laugh hesterically at a joke. "No, Jim Carrey should definitely try to broaden his acting...I'm going to see The Number 23! " And he began laughing again as he finished speaking. He jotted down some unreadable Japanese in his little blue book.

He turned back to me as I asked some more questions. "Well, I started a band because I wanted to express my self through music...Its fun to write music...." His attention continually switched between me and his Japanese homework. I laughed, and asked him how many different things could he do at once.

"You'd be surprised! When we're practicing band music (which is...not so often), I'm eating, doing homework, and singing at the same time. The best way to get things done is to do them at the same time." He finished scribbling kanji down in his book, shoved it back into his back, and reached for another book, this time The Poisonwood Bible.

"The best part of being in a band is the music writing. It's a real challenge, coming up with new songs. There are other bands in our grade, like Los Guapos, but they basically do cover songs. They only have one or two originals. Us, almost everysong we have is original!" His eys got wide, as he made his point.

I thanked him for his time, and started doing my homework, while he continued to do three homework assignments at once.

Justin laughed out loud and said, "Yes! Done with japanese and English. Now just every other class to go!"

- Fasi

Interview With Annie

In the laid back town of Kailua, Hawaii lies Kailua Beach. Annie, a close friend of mine, lives across the street from the beach park on a very narrow dead end lane. Both sides of the small lane are lined with modest houses. At the end of the road is fence with a small opening that leads to the back playground of Lanikai Elementary School, where Annie attended kindergarten through sixth grade.

While I stood in front of her house, I felt a slight breeze that rustled the leaves of the large tree that shaded her entire front yard. Her house was a typical Kailua house. I saw three surfboards leaning against the dark red wooden fence that separated her house from her neighbor’s house. Two teal glass floats in nets made of knotted rope hung from the roof. On the patio, an orange cat slept peacefully on a white plastic chair next to a sign that read "At The Beach".

Without bothering to knock, I opened their front door which is always unlocked. "Annie?" I said as I stood in the doorway.
"Yeah, come in. I’m in my room," she yelled back.

I closed the front door and walked across the wooden floor to her room.

"Hi!" she exclaimed as I entered her room. She had a big smile and wide twinkling eyes which revealed how green her eyes really were. She was listening to 93.1 on a small radio.

I sat down on her bed. As she sat down on the opposite side, the corner of her bed fell about a foot and she let out a shriek of surprise.

"Shoooots! That has been broken for a few months, but I keep forgetting about it," she said as she got up from the sunken bed. She temporarily fixed the bed by lifting it back into place.

We walked from her room to the kitchen. As we left her room and entered the kitchen, I noticed that the music hadn’t stopped. I looked around and saw, on the counter next to the bulletin board, another radio that was playing 93.1. When I questioned her about it she replied, "Well, it’s my favorite radio station and it just seems so much easier to leave them both on. That way, when I walk around my house I don’t have to be constantly turning radios on and off."

We made fruit smoothies with way too much honey and as we drank them she talked about her sister, Katie. "I barely see her anymore," she complained, "she’s too busy right now with all of her basketball junk. I won’t even see her tonight because she’s going to some game."

"Tonight’s game is the Varsity boys state championship" I said, surprised that she didn’t think it was a big deal.
"Yeah I know, but she’s still my sister," she answered.

We went outside and walked down her street. She started to talk about her neighborhood.

"It’s great," she said. "We’re pretty tight- my neighbors and me. When we were younger we used to play and play. And trick or treating with them is the best."

We crossed the street and walked through the beach park. When we got the beach, we looked over the dark blue ocean. We saw people kayaking in large red and yellow touristy kayaks, and she made a joke about clueless tourists. It was windy at the beach and although her hair was blowing everywhere, she didn’t seem to mind. We sat on the beach and admiringly watched the many wind surfers and kite surfers.

She sighed contently and said "I live in the most beautiful place in the world."

-Stephanie



A Thing That Deals with Jeremy (A Recap of Dinner)

3417 Nuuanu Pali Drive is the residence of a middle class family of five. The two girls, oldest and youngest go to Punahou School. The only son, who is in between the two girls in age, goes to Mid-Pacific Institute. My parents live upstairs and my sister’s room is next to theirs. My brother and I get the rooms downstairs. The night sounds were quiet as I entered from the downstairs entrance after a good diving practice. My hair was damp as I threw my bags down in front of my bedroom door and walked to Jeremy’s bedroom down the hallway.
His bedroom light was on and light poured out into the half dark hallway. On the door were two pieces of paper taped in the middle of his door at eye level. One was an item checklist for an upcoming class trip to Washington DC. The other was typed list of parental ‘encouragement’ of what to do to be a responsible student. Jeremy wasn’t in his room. His bag was open and thrown carelessly on the floor next to his futon mattress. His dirty ten-year-old white blanket was in a lump next to his green pillow. His bed, against the wall, was bare and nearly clean because of lack of use. There was a general walkway in which I had walk over random trinkets and pieces of used Kleenex through his room to see if he was playing his strange game of hide-and-seek-under-his-bed-when-Chelaine-comes-home-from-diving-practice.
I shut off the light as I walked out of his bedroom and went upstairs. I looked into the kitchen on the immediate left of the stairway to see if Jeremy was there. Mom was in there looking at the food and helping Victoria with her Cracker Jack Box. I turned to the immediate right and saw a bright yellow shirt sitting in the computer room chair.
“Jeremy,” I said quietly, entering the room.
Jeremy turned around from the chair as he straightened his back. He is darker than me, the average skin tone for a thirteen-year-old Filipino boy. His chest is barely distinguished from his large yellow shirt with a general fox face outline. His legs look shorter than they should in his big maroon basketball pants. His face looked tired and as if he was trying to figure out who just said his name and how he should address that person.
“Oh,” Jeremy said calmly after figuring out that it was only me. “Hi. ‘Sup? How was diving practice?” He poked my stomach when I stood behind him.
“I did most of my dives,” I replied as I hit his shoulder in response to his poking. “But I flopped on my reverses. Whacha doin’?” I didn’t realize until later that he was just grounded from his cell phone for talking back to my parents and fooling around instead of doing homework. “Trying to do research for English,” he replied. “Oh, okay. I’m gonna go eat.”
He came and joined me for dinner when Dad rang his retirement bell commanding everyone to come to the dinner table. He looked better and sort of relieved that he could take a break from his homework. He took his usual seat next to me wherever I sat. This time, it was on my right side definitely away from Mom and Dad’s arm length.
The family began its usual talking about what happened that day. Mom went first, then Dad. Us kids weren’t really saying anything. But we were talking amongst ourselves, trying to keep out of Mom and Dad’s conversation. “Chel. Chel,” Jeremy whispered loud enough for Victoria to hear. “Look!” He made his two hands as if he were dancing in a disco like John Travolta, moving his body to an internal beat. Then after he did that twice, he stuck his middle fingers out instead of the peace sign. Victoria and I laughed. Jeremy was always figuring out stupid things to do to lighten the mood. He did some other things like imitating Mom and Dad in their conversation when they weren’t looking. Finally, Mom and Dad turned their attention to us as they asked us, “What happened today?” “Me?” Jeremy, Victoria, and I asked at the same time. “Yes, you. All of you,” Mom said. Dad didn’t generally partake to this conversation and left the kitchen. I found him later watching the high school State basketball game preliminaries between Punahou and Moanaloa in his room.
“Nothing much,” Jeremy said. “Me neither,” I said.
Victoria began with her long almost orderly recap of her day with her friends. Once she got started, she hardly finished her food. Jeremy finished his dinner quickly as he gave a brief and vague recap of his day. “The crepes was a hit,” he began talking about his French class. “Monsieur Rolando had about twelve of them! Ian said that they were good. Buck said that too.”
“Who’s ‘Buck’?” Mom asked, even though that she heard that name from Jeremy a million times. I used that name too. “Andrew. Andrew Buck. Don’t you remember him?” “No.” “Well, he’s that sort of fat haole boy. We hung out a lot during sixth grade. Chel even remembers him! If she knows, then you should know.”
“Well, I don’t, so keep going. And don’t make me ask you to ‘stretch the rubber band’,” Mom said, using her cliché phrase.
So Jeremy talked about his day trying to no put too much detail into his description. After living with Jeremy for most of my life, it seemed that he didn’t like talking to grown ups. The only people he would talk to openly were his friends and I, teasing us and getting teased in return. Everything was supposed to have a sort of humorous touch to it.
He finished with his quick recap and answers to questions that seemed dumb and to have obvious answers to him. (“Yes Mom! I did my Edline! I even got papers as proof and Chel as an eyewitness right before dinner! You even saw me!”) To avoid anymore-uncomfortable scrutiny, he distracted Mom with me. “So Chel. How was your day?” Jeremy snickered his little brother laugh I could never be mad with. “I was so proud of myself today in math. I—”
“Chel. Chel!” Jeremy interrupted me. He made this weird face crinkling his nose and sticking out his upper teeth, making him look like a demented weasel. At the same time, he straightened his slouch and put his two hands next to his mouth with his middle fingers sticking out. “I’m a walrus!” he remarked stupidly in a dorky cartoon voice. Of course, Victoria and I laughed. Worried about Mom’s reaction, I looked at her.
Her face was unresponsive as my laughter softened slightly. All she did was stare at Jeremy as if he was something from space. Jeremy continued laughing and did it again facing mom this time. Victoria and my laughter renewed helplessly as my mom said, “Oh boy. You’re so stupid.”
I tried to finish my run through my day at school, but Jeremy kept interrupting me with other idiotic things. When I finally finished, Jeremy got up and put my dishes away. He began to wash his dishes and started to leave the kitchen. Then Mom said, “Jeremy, come and put my dishes away.” Sort of slouching, Jeremy did as he was told. Jeremy made to leave the kitchen again but then mom said, “Put away the milk.”
This happened again several times. By the second time Jeremy started to complain. “Mom!” he remarked half laughing. “Can I leave the kitchen now?” “No. Put away the leftovers.” Victoria and I were laughing our heads off. When Jeremy finally got to the stairs, he said, “Finally! I’m out of the kitchen!”
“Jeremy!” Mom called. “Now what? Dang it, I’m trying to leave!” “Do you want to stay, Jeremy?” “No." "’Cuz if you want, I’ve got plenty of work you can do.” “No, I don’t want to stay. I just told you. I was trying to leave the kitchen! And—shut up Chel and Vicki.” Mom turned her head towards Victoria as Jeremy started snickering, failing to hide his smile. “It’s not funny,” she said. When she looked away, Jeremy made a 'what?-like-beef?' sort of face that only made us laugh harder.
When we finally left the kitchen, Mom was still unresponsive as she wiped the table and went to her room. I was still teasing Jeremy as we went to bed.

-Chelaine

An Interview Between Me and I

I: Hello! Thank you for spending some time with me.

ME: My pleasure.

I: So, what exactly is a commonplace book?

ME: A commonplace book is a journal or notebook that I keep some of my feelings and beliefs in. I started it after my English teacher, Mr. Schauble, told us about it, and thought it would be a great thing to have. He keeps an online one, which is pretty cool. I would keep an online one, but my internet at home is erratic and sometimes doesn't work.

I: Online Journal? Whats that?

ME: it's a website that he keeps active, thats accessible publicly.

I: Cool. What kinds of things do you have in your commonplace book?

ME: I write essays, short stories, and random things. An essay I just finished is about homework and how I think teachers give too much homework, and that having too much homework can be unhealthy. (Points to a collage of images depicting different kinds of Dragons) Here is a page that I wrote about how much I love dragons. Dragons are very, very cool, and I find that a lot of my stories contain them.

I: Do you ever put anything very personal to you in your commonplace book, like stuff about girlfriends...?

ME: (Laughs) So far I haven't had a girlfriend. But no, I never write anything too personal or revealing.

I: Why not? Isn't that the purpose of the commonplace book?

ME: Yes, but I don't anway. I'm concerned that if I put something to revealing that someone will find it, and use it against me. It's happened before, and its not a pleasant experience.

I: Whats this? (I point to a glued in page, titled, The Quintessential Sandwich).

ME: This is a continuation of a writing assignment. The assignment was to find an item that is quintessential, or something that is the definition of quality. In essence, the item has to be the best there is. I did the best sandwich, cause everyone loves sandwiches, right? But its turned out the paper i wrote was too long, so I printed out the two page one and put it in my book. Then I shortened it and that's what I turned into Mr. Schauble.

I: Are there any guidelines to having a commonplace book?

ME: No! It can be anything you want itto be. You can put whatever you want in it. You can make it a sketchbook, a poem book, etc. I try to keep it strictly writing, because I have a separate sketchbook that I keep. Actually, the sketchbook is just another part of my commonplace book, now that I think about it.

I: May I see your sketchbook?

ME: Sure.

(I rummage through my backpack and pull out my sketchbook.)

Some of these drawings are other drawings that I completed some other place and glued in. Like the cover. I drew that one night and though it was so good that i didn't want to throw it away or lose it. I held on to it, and when my teacher said to come up with a picture fr a cover of my sketchbook, I just used that.

I: Interesting. So how are the two connected?

ME: You can think of it as the same book. I just keep all the drawings in one place and all the writing in another. If I tried to keep them together, I think it would just get too messy and confusing.

I: Thank you. Is there anything else you would like to share about you commonplace book?

ME: Yes. I think that everyone should have somethign that acts like a commonplace book, whether it is big or small. Its great to have and it's a great tool to help collect your thoughts. Everyone should keept one, even though they may update it every once in a while.

~Fasi