UH Volleyball

I started watching some UH volleyball, both the men and wahine. I haven’t watched a game for a long, long time. Two guys stand out for me on the men’s side: Rado Parapunov, who seems like Uv, part 2, and Colton Cowell. Cowell is listed as 6′ 1″, but he looks like a libero when he’s standing by his teammates–but the guy is explosive, both in terms of jumping and hitting. He can crank. I feel like I’m watching Karch Kiraly out there.

Regarding the wahine–why aren’t they playing? I wanted to see the frosh setter from Texas. My understanding is that Robin Ah Mow, when she first saw the setter said, “She’s the one I want to see run the offense for the next four years,” or something to that effect. It seems like Ah Mow (and Ljungquist) are doing well as coaches, which is totally awesome to see.

Thought Experiment: If We Could Fulfill Everything on Our Technological Wish-List, Would Humanity Eliminate Most of Its Biggest Problems?

I’m currently reading a book on A.I. One questions that lingers in the back of my mind involves the reasons we would want to build A.I.–and more broadly, the reasons we strive for newer and better technology. Improving our lives–more specifically, improving our material existence–is the obvious answer–i.e., curing diseases, making tasks that requires physical and cognitive resources easier and more efficient, etc. Clearly, improving technology is very important way to improve the lives of human beings.

However, my sense is that many people act as if this is the most important way to improve the lives of individuals and society overall, and I think this position is flawed. For example, I tend to believe the source of humanity’s biggest problems are moral and even social in nature. Improvements on the former can improve the latter, which, in turn, would have the most dramatic impact on most of our social ills. At least, this is my current position.

To test whether humanity’s problem are rooted in material or more moral/spiritual matters, I want to offer the following thought experiment: Suppose we could fulfill all the ambitions of technophiles (excluding technology that would dramatically change human nature–e.g., genetic engineer humans that are more selfless and compassionate), what would those technologies be, and what impact would we expect on individual and societies? Would we expect a significant reduction or elimination of the biggest problems we face?

2021 NCAA Final Four (Men/Women)

Unfortunately, I’ve only been able to watch highlights. The highlights from the Arizona-UConn (women’s) game stood out to me. First, Aari MacDonald looked like Steph Curry, with some quick release and long-range shots. Second, the highlights don’t show Arizona’s defense, but I’m guessing it must have been good–or UConn was missing a lot of open shots or taking a lot of bad ones. I hope I can watch some of the remaining games.

The Plate Lunch Thread

Right now, if a visitor came to O’ahu, I’m not sure which plate lunch I would recommend. A part of me feels like plate lunches have gone down hill–or there really aren’t many outstanding places. Do you guys agree or disagree? HK’s and Grace’s were two of my favorites, but I think there’s only one Grace’s left. (The one in Pearl City seemed to go downhill a bit, too–and they eventually closed.) I also really liked Koi’s, but their brick and mortar closed.

Here’s another question: What entres or sides would you like to see in a plate lunch? The first entre that comes to mind for me is Indian butter chicken. A good butter chicken would be awesome in a plate lunch. I wouldn’t mind seeing other types of rice in plate lunches–like biryani, or other types of Indian or Middle-Eastern style rices. I’m not sure if locals would like this, as they’re more like rice pilaf. I also wanted to see a mushroom risotto as well, but I’ve heard risottos are too difficult to make or you can’t make them and have them sit on the side.

Building the Best Local-style Bento

A few weeks ago, I was thinking that if Zippy’s opened up restaurants on the mainland, particularly in college towns on the west coast, they could do well. This conversation lead to another idea: What if you just opened up a bento place, sort of like K’s Bentoya in Waipahu–where they only have two premaid bento options. But what if you tried to top the Zip Pac–that is make a bento that’s better. Is there a better bento than the Zip Pac? I’m not saying it’s the best, but it’s a good one. (The ubiquity of Zippy’s probably contributes to it’s popularity.) Anyway, what would you include in the best bento? To me, if you could make one or two great bentos, that’s all you’d need to make a killing. On the west coast, I think this could become popular with non-Asians/Hawai’i people as well.

(Note: This was originally part of a thread that discussed bentos and plate lunches, but I decided to create separate threads for each topic.)

Racism Against Asian-Americans

Has any been following the stories of violence and verbal attacks against Asian-Americans? Last night, I believe six Asian women (and two non-Asians) were shot and killed. I’m dismayed by these stories, hearing Asian-Americans express fear of going out and seeing these brutal attacks. Watching these things evokes an odd feeling, almost as if I’m watching a different country, as the reality here seems very different. Have you guys heard of similar stories happening in Hawai’i? By the way, I heard Trump last night on Fox News referred to the covid virus as the “China virus.” It’s still appalling that people who know better continue to support him. (I made myself watch the clip, just so that I can say I heard it myself.)

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Could Movies Featuring the Lower Classes and People of Color be Commercially Successful as Long as They had Strong Stories and Compelling Characters?

Near the end of Thom Anderson’s Los Angeles Plays Itself, neglect of the lower classes and/or people of color in Hollywood movies struck and dismayed me. And I should specify the neglect involves stories and characters that fall outside existing stereotypes–for example, there are Hollywood films that feature the lower class criminals. I would also add that films with the type of characters exist, but my sense is that many are not mainstream movies. Why aren’t there more mainstream films with non-stereotypical minority characters outside of the middle and upper classes tend not to buy the explanation that the audience would be too small. Would it be too hard to create good stories with these type of characters? I find that hard to believe.

To test this, I looked at the AFI top 100 films of all time. Of this list, The Grapes of Wrath seems to be the best fit–although perhaps they can be seen as a more middle class family that is going through hard times. Raging Bull and Rocky may qualify as well. However, what stands out to me is that violence seems to be a critical component. That is, a mainstream film can feature lower class characters, but they and their stories must generally involve action and/or violence.

Midnight Cowboy is there, but I’d argue the lower class character (if he is a part of the lower class) falls within accepted stereotypes–i.e., the poor are criminals or social deviants.

Can anyone think of good mainstream films that featured non-stereotypical characters, non-white characters, primarily from the lower classes?