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Hell, I'm tired right now. But at least I'm home in Austin, for the moment.
The biggest thing on the radar right now is A-kon. That's next week, which means I'll be cramming like hell to try and finish Sechs for it. Obviously I under-estimated how much work it would be to re-make this costume in a month. That's a tall order for a cosplay tortoise such as myself. (I don't believe in russian cosplay!) My Eelai won't be appearing at A-kon, which is sad but it helps to take a bit of pressure off of this deadline. If I finish Sechs, great, if not, well, there's always AX or D*C. Besides, I'll still have Finn to wear around for fun and if all else fails I can dust off a reliable costume like Slade or Wybie. We'll just have to see how this next week goes.
I managed to secure hotel lodging for A-kon with some old cosplay acquaintances. Either I'm way out of the loop nowadays or I just waited too long to start making concrete plans. It seems like everyone's all over the place this year.
My brother will be there too. He's got a Warhammer tournament or something. Not something that really interests me, but we'll probably get together for dinner and a teaspoon of alcohol for him.
In summary, my A-kon plans are all a-jumble but I don't mind. If cosplay and the room situation falls through, I don't care. I'm only going so I can see my friends again and have fun drinking times with them. That's the sort of stuff that can't be planned.

But in the meantime, I gotta get to work!
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Yup, just six weeks left till Japan! Why does that make me panicky? I dunno, but it does (a little bit)! The other night I had a dream I was on my Japan trip. It was exciting, but the only word I could speak was "buta" (pig). Understandably, that got me into a lot of trouble and the dream ended with all Tokyo demanding my head on a pike. Perhaps that dream belies my dissatisfaction with my language learning progress? Yeah, not learning as quickly as I'd like to. I guess primate brains really do lose their plasticity around 30. It takes much more force to rearrange those wrinkles in the brain (or something). But at least I'm listening to new music! My brain hasn't completely shut it's doors to new concepts! That's when you know you're old; when all new music is shit and Lynnrd Skynnrd is the only real music.
Anywho, yeah. I don't know why I'm a little nervous. Hotels, flights, train tickets, etc are all taken care of. The only part of my trip that hasn't been planned to anal perfection is the last day (I dunno what I want to do with it yet). So really, I have nothing to worry about. Maybe I've just mistaken excitement for nervousness.

In other news, I spent Sunday in Austin. Cameron came to visit to come see Super Happy Fun Monkey Bash at the Drafthouse. I'd almost called the thing off, seeing as it was Super Bowl sunday. I didn't know if downtown would be insane or what. We killed the afternoon by going to the gun range and getting our testosterone's on. Boom boom! It was kinda expensive. Yeah, it would be cheaper to buy a gun than to keep renting them like this. But which to get? Then we went back to my place to fart around till the movie. I started watching the game simply for the commercials but next thing I know, we're making a beer&hot-wings run. Once I'd had a few beers, I was really interested and involved in the football game. Funny how that works, huh?
Super Happy Fun Monkey Bash was fun. Having seen a few installments I'm sad to say they phoned in this year's compilation. I was expecting a lot more from something called the "Best of" Super Happy Fun Monkey Bash. But Cameron was a SHFMB virgin, so he had a ball. I tried to warn him about the reverse-bestiality but there's no way someone can prepare for that.
I thought I'd have Monday night to myself, but Katherine (Cameron's wife) was in town for work. Double-weird! What are these people doing in my town? Usually it's the other way around. She has a weird hang-up about not going out to eat by herself so she called me up and we went to dinner. It was a bit odd; I don't think the two of us have ever actually hung out without my brother present. But I set the boundaries very soon and clearly. This was not a date, so she shouldn't get her hopes up. She had a burger craving; I drove around and chose the Frisco at random. I'd never been there before but had always been curious about it. Man, that place was one old-school diner. And not in a oh-wouldn't-it-be-kitschy-to-make-an-old-fashioned-looking-diner-restaurant way, but in an actual this-diner-has-not-changed-since-the-1930s kind of way. The food was merely mediocre, I enjoyed the ambiance much moreso.
Oh, and her hotel had live-in swans in the lobby's fountain. Poor guys.
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Ooo, it’s been a totally unplanned (but fun) weekend so far. It all started once upon a time . . . *cue twinkly SFX and wavy blur*
I needed to go back to Wichita Falls to do some reconnaissance for work. Overall it meant I’d be doing 12 hours of driving and 2 hours of hiking. That would’ve added up to one very long workday so I planned instead to drive partway there on Thursday, spend the night at my brother’s in Carrollton, and then knock out the rest of the job Friday so I could get back to Austin at a decent hour. Easy peasy, right?
It didn’t quite work out that way. On the drive up, I started seeing snow about Hillsboro and thought, "Is this what everyone is complaining about? This is nothing! There isn’t even enough ice to make a dirt raspa. These people are babies!" Then I hit the Dallas city limits and boom! Ice on the highway. My windshield soon got covered with mud and slush and of course I had no washer fluid to clear it away with. So I was driving blind, on ice, through the Dallas MixMaster. That was not fun. But I called upon all my training from Canada and amazing driving reflexes from my pizza delivery days and my knowledge of physics, biology, and engineering and I triumphed.
By the time I got to Cameron’s place I’d decided I wasn’t doing any more driving. I’d gotten in, but I wouldn’t be getting out. He and his wife had been home-bound for four days and in pajamas for nearly as long. (At least the cold kept the smell down.) I hadn’t brought any supplies with me so the big question was what to do for food?
Somehow or another we managed to make plans to go get dinner with Cat & Kevin. They were even worse off than us. Their apartment gate was literally frozen solid so they could only eat within walking distance of their apartment. At least we could drive, albeit very slowly. I wasn’t too sure how this would turn out, I’ve never mixed my family with cosplay friends before. But it turns out that nerds are nerds are nerds, just in different flavors. LOLcats was the perfect universally understood ice-breaker. I felt it was a fun dinner.
Overnight we got about 4 inches of new snow. It was pretty, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to try driving in it. Work would have to wait till the thaw. Katherine was actually "work" working from home so Cameron and I went outside to play around for awhile and buried her car in snow. Then we got bored enough to risk a drive to the supermarket for booze and steak. It was fun to watch people slipping and falling on their asses in the parking lot. Back at the apartment, we set up a little man camp on the balcony, set the beers in the snow, barbecued our meat, and had some quality bro time.
After steak and beers I exercised some poor judgment. I decided I’d accept Stephanie’s invitation to meet for drinks. Slightly tipsy + driving at night + on ice + in a COMPANY vehicle + with bad tires = not very smart. I fishtailed once and that sobered me up INSTANTLY. But even with my recovered stats, it was still a suck-ass drive. 80 minutes to drive 30 miles. Ridiculous. But I would not admit defeat!
Our mutual cosplay friends didn’t show, just a few of Stephanie’s law school buds. There was me, Steph, Lorraine/Lauren?, Amy, and Amy’s cleavage. I only mention the fifth guest because the groundhog had seen his shadow, meaning that there would be six more weeks of turtlenecks. So this unexpected, but welcome glimpse of bosom was telling me, "Yes Cody, Spring WILL come. Keep the faith!" "Okay boobs, I’ll stay strong." MMmmm, boobs . . .
The girls were cool. I learned a lot about Law, mostly that 1) I could never hack it in the law profession, and 2) I need to watch more Law & Order marathons if I’m going to go drinking with them again. Nah, we talked about all sorts of crap. Stephanie had kept her cosplay past a secret from them so when they asked how we knew each other, I had to make up some story about our days at the Austin soup kitchen. I thought it was a good story.
I was surprised that one of them actually knew what a civil engineer was. In my 6 years of being one, I’ve NEVER met a non-engineer who knew that. Furthermore, she was quite familiar with the client I was working for this very weekend. I was like, “Shit, you know my job better than me. Who are you?” Cool gals, we had fun. Next thing I knew it was one a.m. and time to depart. It was definitely worth the hassle of the being an ice-road trucker.
I slept in this morning, giving the sun plenty of time to melt the snow and clear the roads. I went up to the job site and slopped around in the meltwater mud for a couple hours then turned around and headed back to Austin. As I drove south, the snow disappeared from the landscape bit by bit until there wasn’t a speck of white to be seen. As if the snow and ice had just been an unpleasant dream. That was fine by me. I’d had my fill of the stuff.

It lives!

Jan. 25th, 2011 04:18 pm
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Call off the search party, cancel the candlelight vigil; I'm alive and well. Two weeks pass without a single post from me and it's understandable that my adoring fans would be worried.
Not much has happened since my last post. In good news: my Wichita Falls job has been postponed indefinitely, meaning that I get to stay in town for the next few weeks. While I'll miss the extra $1000/month that comes with an out-of-town job, living at HOME is priceless in it's own way.
As soon as I got back home that itch returned. You know the one. Then [livejournal.com profile] kinomotou told me that Golden D'or was having a sale. Well that settled it. I'd be going to Dallas this weekend. I went to all the stores in the fabric district and was disappointed that I only found one fabric that was merely "pretty close" to what I needed. The whole point of going to Dallas is to get the PERFECT fabric. But once I found out it was only $1/yard, it was instantly promoted to "perfect" status. Hell, you can't even get muslin for that cheap. Honestly, I was expecting to run into some cosplayers at Golden D'or, with those kinda prices. Later, I met [livejournal.com profile] catspaws and [livejournal.com profile] bonpantaloons at Babe's, the place where I'm destined to eat myself to death one day. We had a long lunch and I got a small taste of all the krazee drama and shenanigans that go on behind the scenes of conventions. Often I lament that I'm so out-of-the-loop, but in this case it seems that Ignorance is truly bliss.
After lunch I stopped by the outlet malls and picked up a few essential items for my Japan trip. Then I headed over to my brother's place. Katherine's niece and nephew were there. That meant booze-times were out of the picture, but playing with them was equally fun. Them kids really bring out my hyper 8-year-old. We went to dinner at some Brazilian steakhouse in Addison. The kind of place where if you have to ask how much it costs, you shouldn't be eating there. (I did not know this until after I offered to pick up the tab. Ouch. >_<) The place was swank. I parked one restaurant over to avoid the valet and I'm sure I didn't meet their dress code, but I had a tyke on each arm so I think that earned me some leniency.
The gauchos, or "meat fairies" as I call them, brought meat after meat after orgasmic meat to our table, skewered on their swords. I lost count after seven different types. Each one was delicious but the sirloin was my favorite. I cursed myself for visiting the salad bar before the meat arrived. What a fool I was! After the meal I was too meat-drunk to wince at the bill. My brain said it was a waste of money but my mouth and stomach overruled him.
We dropped off the little people at their dad's place after dinner. While I was trying in vain to pry Faye off my leg Cameron was introducing me to her dad. He interrupted, "Oh I remember him from your wedding. Mr. Catbus." That nickname distracted me for a moment, allowing Faye a chance to clamp down harder. I was 99% certain that I'd never spoken to him about my cosplay hobby, but how else could he know about the Catbus? For an ego-inflating second I thought, "Maybe I'm just such a famous cosplayer that even the general public knows about me?" Then he explained how he'd seen the photo I'd taken of his daughter's drawing of Catbus some months back. Oh. That burst my bubble. Ha ha.

Talk about Japan trip )
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cut for rambling )

I've spent today cleaning my house, clearing out the mess left behind by Christmas and cosplay. And getting ready to head out to West Texas tomorrow. I'd like to stay in town. I seem to be so much more productive when I'm here at home. But oh well. I had a great week of fun so I don't mind so much. I think the next weekend I'm back in town I'll head up to Dallas to get fabric for my next cosplay and also to enlist my brother's help in exploding the small mountain of fireworks in my living room.

I'm too lazy to upload all my photos just yet, but here's one from New Year's Eve. There was a lot of pink there, apparently.

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Saturday’s big event was Stephanie's birthday party. I bought booze and stopped by Goodwill to throw together a costume for this "rock-star" themed party. While I was there, I saw this hat. Not appropriate for the birthday theme, but the crazy colors kept pulling at my eyes and a pipsqueak of inspiration said, Hey Cody, you should design your Renaissance costume around this. . . . Okay! So I picked it up as well.
Angelyn and Dice were hosting the party at their house. We watched Family Guy while waiting for everybody to arrive. I was kinda disappointed that us costumed folks were in the minority, but whatever. I changed and started drinking that god-awful bourbon I’d unintentionally purchased. Slowly, people began to arrive. Cat brought cute cupcakes. According to some people they were like (and I quote), “There’s an orgy in my mouth and everyone’s coming!” That was a helluva claim to make, so I had to try the cupcakes for myself. Not bad, but not an orgy either. The fashionista Stephanie showed up super-fashionably late (of course) in her bedazzled Beyoncé costume, and that’s when the party finally got started for real.
It was a fun group to hang out with. I don’t play too often with the Dallas people, so I was pleased to discover that I knew most of them from D*C, or Louisianime, or as Austin traitors. I really need to work on my conversation skills, I find. Hoots and hollers and clumsy quips don’t really count as intelligent conversation.
A&D were swell enough to let me spend the night there too. It wasn’t like I was incapacitated or anything, I just hadn’t properly planned to crash at my brother’s place.

Sunday I went over to my brother’s apartment. I was surprised to find my sister there as well. Apparently they’d also had a late night so we were all in a state of low energy. We went out for lunch and did some shopping. I picked up a pattern for my Renn Faire costume, that was about it. I was disappointed to find out that not just Golden D’or, but the ENTIRE FABRIC DISTRICT is closed on Sundays. Ugh, that was half my reason for coming up this weekend. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to make do with what I can find at Jo-Ann’s.

Normally this is the part where I share the fun photos of the event. I used to think I was fair and considerate about what photos I shared; it’s not like I’m trying to embarrass anyone. But I seem to get more complaints than thanks. A typical response goes like, "Cody, your pictures got me in trouble. I don’t want my parents/boyfriend/girlfriend/church/boss knowing that I drink/smoke/eat junk food/like men/am not British/etc." So the strongly censored, freshly scrubbed album will not include any of the following:

Alcohol consumption,
Use of tobacco products,
Impaired judgment,
Lewd gestures,
Dancing,
Cleavage (boobs OR butt),
Cellulite,
Costumes, or
Illegal activity

This was the only photo left. Enjoy living a Mormon lie!
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A thunderstorm in Minneapolis delayed me and my plane. We sat on the tarmac for an extra hour and a half until the lightning died down enough for us to dis-embark. As a result I made it to the Canadian North terminal a bare 10 minutes before my flight was scheduled to leave. But the stewardesses, pilots, and plane were already gone. Apparently they'd left early. So I back-tracked to the Calgary airport and tried to get a rental car and room at my regular hotel. When I called my boss to tell him I wouldn't be getting in today and I'd be over-nighting in Calgary, he wished me luck in finding a room. I wasn't aware that this week is "Stampede Week" here in Calgary. It's some super-big Western/rodeo thing that heralds the beginning of summer for Canadians. I managed to find a room, at double the normal rate. I couldn't get a car though, because I had no driver's license. A friendly Afghani girl showed up with the hotel shuttle to give me a ride. Aside from having to walk to the nearest mall to get a few essentials, I didn't mind this inconvenient disturbance to my schedule. This unexpected delay in civilization was pleasant. I did some shopping, ate real food for my last supper, enjoyed my last bath for the next few weeks, and finished reading my book.
I caught an early flight this morning, with one snafu. I'd brought up some tools and cosplay materials, so that I could get some cosplay stuff done while I'm up here. It seems that KOSP has implemented more traveling restrictions; no tools are permitted on site. I wouldn't be allowed on the plane. It didn't matter that the tools were in my CHECKED luggage. I had no idea where the nearest post office was, so mailing the tools back home wasn't possible either. All I could do was throw them away. Those security officers are just lucky I didn't bring up my Dremel like I'd planned. I would've cut them if they had tried to take my baby away.

Unrelated smiley P.S. )
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So where did I leave off last time? Oh yeah, wallet crap. So I spent most of Monday waiting in line at the Driver's License office and then at the bank canceling my card. I was pleasantly surprised when they gave me a replacement debit card right then and there. Once that one little piece of plastic was in my hands a lot of stress and anxiety left me. I could start repairing my plans and schedule with this tool. I never got around to cleaning up the pre-con mess like I'd planned; instead I went to go see Toy Story 3 and Despicable Me. Cried during the first one, and was mildly disappointed with the second. Steve Carrell was as funny as he always is, but I think the story could've been filled out better.
Tuesday I closed up the house and headed to Lewisville to hang out with my brother. But not before stopping in West for kolaches. (Thanks for giving me a new vice, Cat.) Once there, my bro had the brilliant idea to go down to the gun range and rent some guns and shoot em. Hell yeah! He'd been there a few times already. I haven't gone shooting in years, so this would be fun.
When we got there I was agog when I saw the wall of guns to choose from. Everything from pink (yes, pink) purse pistols to M-16s and AK-47s. Wow. On the rare occasions when my Texan-itis flares up and I consider buying a gun, I think about getting a Glock. So that's what I chose. And I'm not really sure why I did, but I chose the smallest, chunkiest, (cutest?) Glock they had. I don't know why it appealed to me; either because it was so compact and dense . . . or because it was cute. But regardless, it shot 9mm rounds, just like all the other Glocks. It's not a toy gun. If anything, I like to think that gun said about me, "This guy is not trying to compensate for anything. He's secure with his barrel length." Cameron picked a bigger, heavier, traditional Beretta. His recent practice and longer barrel enabled him to get some good grouping with his shots. But my mini-barrel was one helluva handicap. It had NO accuracy, even at 7 yards. So as much as I may have liked the portability (and cuteness) of the small Glock, I won't be taking it to the zombie apocalypse. Next time, longer barrel.
For dinner we went to a really nice Japanese steakhouse. Dinner ended up being in the triple digits, but the food was great and I actually had saké that I liked!


. . . the green dots mark my shots )
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I spent a couple days up in Lewisville with the runt. We didn't do too much, just mostly hung out. He's out of school and has no job at the moment, so his schedule was wide open. Mostly it was going out to eat and video games. It was fun to hang out with him; I should've done it earlier this week. We watched "The A-Team," which had ridiculous action, but exceeded my non-existent expectations.
Today though, has been a fiasco from the start. I go back to Canada tomorrow so I left Lewisville at the crack of dawn to get back to Austin so that I'd have all day to get packed and otherwise organized. When I got back to Austin I noticed that I had a new voicemail on my home phone from Cameron. I wondered, "Why'd he call? To say goodbye or something?" The message: Hey Cody, you forgot your laptop up here.
Aw fucknuts.
I had the laptop power adapter and it's wireless mouse with me in the truck; how had I forgotten the laptop itself? So mere minutes after returning to Austin, I got back in my truck and turned right around back to Dallas. The entire drive back I was kicking myself in the ass. God I swear I am so freaking absent-minded. I don't know what it is. ADD? There's a hole in my brain big enough to sail an aircraft carrier through. All the gingko-biloba and mnemonics in the world won't patch up that hole. Like this weekend, Cameron, Katherine, and I went to this fancy Italian restaurant up there. Something called Mangio's or Mannioto's--I don't know. But it was fancy. Split-level dining room, everything is built out of wood, chandeliers on the ceiling, candles on the tables, etc. I'm like, Wow. Fancy. Good thing I didn't wear jeans today. Sometime during the meal I excuse myself to go to the bathroom. I go in there and notice that . . . all of the toilets are stalls.
At this point a normal human brain would have spoken up: Hey Cody, you're in the ladies' room. Get out quick. But not my brain. Mine's got wires crossed or something. Honestly, my thought process was this: . . . Hmm . . . No urinals. . . . Well, this IS a pretty fancy Italian restaurant. I guess over there in Europe, urinals might be considered tacky or vulgar. Stalls are more discrete, I guess. Hm. This is a pretty classy place. They're really European here." So I go do my business, convinced this is normal. Five minutes later I'm washing my hands that a woman comes in the door behind me. Our eyes meet in the mirror (I don't know which one of us was more confused) and THAT'S when I realize I'm in the ladies room. Honestly, I think there's something wrong with my brain.
So I drove back to Dallas, got my laptop, and turned around again. Instead of 3 hours of driving today, I spent 10. Weeee. On the way back I stopped at the Schlotzsky's in Hillsboro for a late lunch. I was displeased to see that they've discontinued my favorite sandwich, but whatever, they're all pretty similar. While eating my sandwich, I bit my lip, with my canine, hard. I jumped an inch out of my chair. My lip is bleeding, that's how deep of a gouge it is. I keep eating . . . and bite myself again. SAME SPOT. I jerk like someone zapped me. God that hurt. Now every time I take a bite of my sandwich, I leave a spot of blood on the bun. The rim of my cup has blood on it. By now my lip's getting a bit swollen where I bit it, so I try to be more . . . mindful of how I'm chewing. But apparently I was over-thinking it because, BAM! I bit myself a third time in the same damn spot. It hurts worse every time! I jumped up again and nearly cursed out loud. I managed to finish eating my metallic-tasting sandwich without further injuring myself. I move on to my chips. The usual. . . . Salt & Vinegar. Normally they're not a problem. Then again, normally I can safely feed myself. One salt-encrusted, vinegar-soaked chip touched my open wound and LIT IT UP. That brought tears to my eyes but since my mouth was full of food, my cry of pain came out only as a moo of pain. That was it. I gave up.
Today has not been my day. I'd prefer to savor my last night here in civilization, but I think it would be wiser to stay home where it's safe (I hope).
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If you, like me, were woken up yesterday morning at 3 am-ish by the sounds of Noah's Deluge (Part II), this news will come as no surprise to you.



Yup, the Guadalupe is flooding. Whitewater toobing sounds a little too extreme (plus it's gotta be hella difficult to hold onto you beer in those conditions). So that means no float this weekend. I'm only going to make this disaster about me just for as long as it takes to say: What the hell?!? Why can't I have any fun?!? All my plans are getting shot in the face! Oh well. This weather provides a good smokescreen for the fact that probably no one was going to show up anyways. But whatever. It's in God's hands now. Now I need to find something else to do.

Today (and probably tomorrow) I'll be heading up to Dallas to harass my brother's ass. It's nothing gay, I just couldn't think of anything else that rhymed with 'harass'. We don't have anything planned to do, but with our powers of boredom combined I'm sure we'll come up with something. (Hopefully it'll involve booze and 'splosions.) I'll keep my fingers crossed.
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Yesterday was hectic. My brother had come into town Friday, leaving Dallas immediately after his last final. We hung out for awhile at my place before meeting up with my sister and her guy to go watch the new Robin Hood movie at the Drafthouse. Even with the aid of the bucket of beer I was pretty underwhelmed by the movie. I kept waiting, wondering, "When is he going to start stealing from the rich and giving to the poor?" I did like the whole 'stolen identity' idea, but that was the only aspect that caught my interest. I guess I still prefer the Bryan Adams/Kevin Costner version. After the movie we tried to find Robin Hood: Men in Tights for rent, but had no success. Both my brother and sister say I've lost weight (not a compliment I was fishing for, but appreciated all the same); according to my sister I'm "less puffy than normal." Ha ha ha.
My brother and I spent most of Saturday waiting for my mom to show up. We farted around at Best Buy, Dragon's Lair, GameStop, and we were just about to go to that steampunk event (Green Steam Circus) when we finally received word from my mom that she was in Austin. By then it was 4 pm.
I'd assumed that the whole reason for her drive up was to make some serious plans with us and essentially begin to circle the wagons, just in case things took a turn for the worst. But it was just like any other time she visits; no real agenda other than to sit around and talk and eat. Took them to EZ's and Amy's for fun Austin-ish foods and then we went to go see Iron Man 2. I was only half present, mostly I was thinking of all the packing and reservations and other crap I had to do. And yeah, I was also selfishly thinking of all the other ways I'd like to be spending my last evening in town. I guess it was good to see everyone, but the poor timing just kept me from relaxing and enjoying their company.
Everyone finally left around midnight, giving me just four hours to pack and prepare before my airport shuttle arrived. And boy, it took every minute to get it all done. But I did pilfer a few moments for me and my brother to crack open the fancy Canadian whiskie I'd bought on my flight down. And I even swung by Jenny's and Beauty's to drop some stuff off and to receive my hamster war-name.

Today finds me once again in Calgary, en-route to the work camp. Just before I'd left my boss had told me that when I came back, I'd be a supervisor rather than a field engineer. Technically that's a step up the food chain, but in reality it just adds the stress of being middle management for the same pay of the field hands. I've often voiced in this journal my reluctance to accept greater engineering responsibilities. I'm not a really confident guy, nor am I enough of a hard-ass to wrangle these young punks they've contracted to do the work. So . . . . it's probably going to be a bit rough, at least at the start. *shrug* I don't know.
Either way, here I go again!
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Thank Helios the sun has finally come out! Sure, there's still frost and flurries in the morning, but the afternoons are actually pretty comfortable. Unfortunately this thaw has turned the snow-covered landscape into one huge, brown, muddy bog. Knee-deep mud everywhere. The native word for this organic muck is "muskeg," which I believe loosely translates to "moose shit". So we've gone from snow to swamp in two days. I'm not sure that's an improvement.
In (sort of) good news, I finally got my photography permit (just in time to not take pictures of the snow). Now I can take my camera along with me and not worry about the random vehicle searches. Guess I'll have to wait till spring gets here before things are pretty enough to photograph.
I also finally got around to getting Skype. I told myself to get it so I could call for (practically) free to the States, but I haven't actually called any of my kin yet. I'm just so tired in the evenings! But I have to call my brother. It was his birthday yesterday. Happy Birthday, runt!
I got paid yesterday which marks a shift from me paying to be up here to finally getting rewarded for the hardships of this job. The pay is better than I was expecting, which was a nice surprise. Too bad I can't spend any of it up here! Ha ha ha. Oh well, it's probably better that I can't.
And most importantly, I've just got 5 more days before I go back to Austin for a week. I am SOOOO friggin' ready for that. Working 12-14 hours a day for 28 days straight? Yeah, I need some down time. I spend a good part of my idle time daydreaming about the things I want to eat/do/buy when I get back to the 'real world'. Sadly, the food is my greatest fantasy. I haven't had caffeine or a fry or any sort of combo meal in a month. The sucky aspect of my week off is that I have to travel on my own time and it takes 2 days to get from the camp back to Austin (and vice versa). So they give me 7 days off, but I'll only actually be in Austin for 3. Majorly LAME.
I guess that just means I'll have to really focus and cram a month's worth of fun into three days. A challenge? Yes. Do I accept? Hells yeah.
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Yesterday I hung out with my brother and sister. I took them to the conveyor-belt sushi place on Airport to (mildly) dazzle them. But we got there at 3 in the afternoon and we were the only ones there so the sushi had been doing quite a few laps by that time. Room temperature maki? Bleh. They still enjoyed it though. After that we went to go see "Shutter Island," which turned out to be much better than I expected (I had my doubts since Leonardo DiCaprio was in it). The first half of the movie I was thinking, "This is how the Silent Hill movie should've been. All it needs is fog!" The second half I was thinking, "This is Memento! We're going down the rabbit hole!" Yup, I was quite pleased with it.
After the movie was dinner, then idle chatting time. Everyone headed out at the end of the night.
Oh yeah, I managed to get a comparable laptop yesterday morning. I sprung for one about $100 more than my target, because I impulsively decided I wanted one with webcam capabilities. (Maybe I want to be a camwhore too!) I've been transferring my big computer onto the satellite laptop; it's been taking hours. And that's not even including the mega-database of porn. I'll be leaving most of that behind, I ain't got the patience to do all that downloading. Ha ha ha. Just the basics: anime, music, and cosplay stuff.
random tangent )
Today I've got to do tons of laundry and pack. Right now I'm pretty hungry but I've successfully emptied my pantry, so I don't have anything to eat here. I guess I've got to go eat take-out. Bleh. I'm kinda tired of that stuff. But I need fuel to get everything ready TODAY!
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So far I've been thrown 2 "Going Away" parties. So either my friends are really sad to see me go, or really HAPPY to see me leave. Hmm. It's 50/50. Wednesday we went out to Dave & Buster's for food and games. That was fun. Last night we went to Bikini's (the guys picked it). That place was kinda lame. Average, yet overpriced food plus a mandatory 19% tip for our group of 6. What the hell, man? You can be sure I won't be going back there, boobs or no boobs. We got out of there ASAP and grabbed dessert at DQ, which helped to partially salvage the evening.
Aside from fun time, I've been going through a blitz of training and shopping to get ready for Canadia. My company being the way it is, all the preparation was delayed to the absolute last minute, leaving everyone involved in a real pinch. I did manage to get most of my gear, except for the Eskimo boots and the winter coveralls, which I'll be getting in Calgary. Last night I went to Best Buy to try and get the laptop I planned on taking north with me. I'd been keeping my eye on this laptop since January, back when I still thought I was going to England.
So when the BB slave came by and tried to coax me into a pricier laptop, I was all, "No, I know what I want. I want THIS one."
Then he says, "Well I don't believe we have it in stock, I'll go check in the back."
Five minutes later he comes back, "We're out of stock, and so are all the regional stores."
Damn.
"But you can buy it today and we can ship it in 1-2 days."
I tell him, "That won't work for me. I'm leaving the country in 2 days."
"Oh, we can ship it to anywhere."
"You better be able to ship it by sled dog to a set of GPS coordinates, pop-tart," I think. But instead I say, "Well can I buy this floor model?"
"No sir, we don't sell the display units."
"You don't?"
"No, we keep them on display so that customers can view the units and purchase them online."
WTF! Yeah, I was pretty grumpy that I couldn't get the laptop I'd been planning on and I wasn't too happy with that twerp. I even checked Target and Wal-Mart out of desperation, but they had crap in the way of laptops. So today I think I'll try Fry's. Hopefully I'll find something there.
Also, my brother had mentioned that he might come down to Austin this weekend to hang out before I ship out. That'd be fun. Other than that though, I'll just be cleaning house and getting things ready for Monday.
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cut for size )
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Okay, so the movie I'm going to tonight? My brother bailed. He says because it's supposed to snow tomorrow and he doesn't want to have to drive back through that (but I bet his waifu had a say in the matter). I kinda had a feeling this is how it would turn out.
So! That means I have an extra ticket and Drafthouse rules say: No Refunds. It's short notice, I know, but does anyone wanna come along? 7 PM tonight, we can carpool if it helps.

http://www.originalalamo.com/Show.aspx?id=7094
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I spent most of this weekend sitting on my butt, killing zombies. I'm mostly house-bound at the moment since I need to be watching my money right now. I gotta say, my patience for being poor is starting to wear thin. This has been the most expensive move I've ever done; it's caught me by surprise. Easily over $2000 in extra rent, deposits, fees, bills, and other random 'surprises'. I could really use some overtime to help me get ahead of these bills. I'm just hoping I can get the bulk of it paid off while I'm still under the 'introductory 0% interest' phase of my card; after that the blood-sucking begins. But I shouldn't be all 'the glass is half empty'. After all, while I was in Louisiana last week my boss called me to let me know that I'd be getting a 1.5% pay raise, in recognition of my willingness to work out-of-town for long periods, like in Dallas. I almost chuckled; if they knew how many problems Dallas created for me, I think I'd be getting more than 1.5%. But that's not really relevant. Even though the extra money is almost insignificant, it's the thought that counts, considering that our company has been under a pay-raise and hiring freeze ever since the financial meltdown. The fact that I'm getting anything at all is a significant gesture.
I didn't intend to talk about money. It just came out. Anyways, I went up to Dallas on Saturday to pick up some furniture from my brother. I figured $45 in gas was worth getting a free drafting table and sofa. But they hadn't actually gotten around to buying their new couch so all I got was the table. That was kinda lame. While I was there, I laid my best Austin sales pitch on him to try and talk him into visiting me once in a while. I told him about the upcoming Sherwood Faire and Super Happy Fun Monkey Bash (which I'm trying to gather a group for). While cruising the Drafthouse website, we accidentally clicked on the clip below and impulsively bought tickets for that one-night-only showing. So I guess we're doing that on Wednesday night! Ha ha ha. It looks retarded and fun.


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cut for family crap )
I spent 36 hours in the Valley and that was more than enough. I’m not going back for Christmas. I like to enjoy my holidays.

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