Apr. 9th, 2017 10:11 pm
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Things are getting better, I would say. Spring Break was really when my mood started to return to normal. Going to SXSW, going to All-Con, and hanging out with friends again reminded me that not every night had to be full of grading, boredom, and loneliness. Pretty much every weekend since then I've had stuff going on, or I've made something happen. I haven't started any costumes yet like I wanted, but I probably won't until I move into my own place this summer. (I would've moved out during Spring Break if it hadn't been for an unexpected $3000 truck repair bill. :T) Then it'll be a mad rush. But that's okay, since I'll be on summer break.
And as soon as we get out for the summer, I'll be heading off to Turkey for two weeks. A lot of people are nay-sayers telling me I shouldn't go because it's not safe or it's financially irresponsible, but there are dangers everywhere and I'd spend the money on something else even if I didn't go. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm a bit behind on my Turkish lessons. I almost think learning Japanese was easier. At least Turkish has a similar alphabet, but so many vowels and odd phonemes and those words are so long too! I don't even know pronouns yet. But anyways, it's going to be awesome. The exchange rate makes it really affordable and allowed me to stretch what I thought what would be a 10-day trip into a 15-day trip. There's a chance I may get lonely or homesick after traveling that long on my own but I think I've got enough planned to keep me occupied. Maybe my next trip abroad I'll actually have a travel partner for once.
Work is . . . moving along. Even though it's the second semester which should just be a repeat of last semester, I'm still so busy every day that when I finally look up, it's the weekend again. I don't know if that's a good thing or bad thing. The year will be over before I know it. And the assistant principal that's over the science department let me know in a roundabout way that I'd be welcome there next year. Even though I had no concrete reason to doubt my continued employment, it's good to know that I'm not totally worthless at this teaching stuff. I wish they'd discontinue that one stray “Earth & Space Science” class that I'm solely responsible for. The counselors have turned it into a dumping ground for lazy/challenged students and I neglect planning for it in lieu of my dear physics classes. But . . . I got this job because my civil engineering experience made me uniquely qualified to teach ESS. So if it goes, then so does part of my worth towards the school.
Also, Bamboo and I are talking again. It's limited to texting, since I'm holding to that “respect my need for distance” request until told otherwise, but we talk easily and fairly frequently. And she's re-friended (?) me on various online outlets too. These developments have really helped to cut through that knot of unease that's been living in me for months. I'm eager to try and restore that friendship of course. Yet, I know that that's not up to me. So we'll see.
I guess I'd say I'm almost content with how things are going right now.

A-kon 2014

Jun. 11th, 2014 10:56 pm
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This past weekend was A-kon. I ended up rooming with a totally random grab-bag of new people. There was nothing special or amazing about that, though our room party got pretty huge a couple of nights, which ain't for me. I hadn't been able to get the official time off for A-kon as I'd requested, so I had a couple of shifts interrupting/abbreviating my convention. I was mildly hungover when I reported to work Friday morning and that didn't do me any favors. So Friday night I took it relatively easy with the booze. Saturday would turn out to be my cosplay day. I cosplayed all three of the costumes I'd brought along, which is probably a new daily record for me.
As a bonus, Lindsay was also at the con on Saturday. I'd met her online about a month ago and we'd gone on a couple of dates. The dates had gone well enough, aside from the common ailment of struggling to find things to talk about. She's a mild cosplayer and fortunately/unfortunately(?) her friends wouldn't be attending A-kon, which meant that I was her sole option for accompaniment. I didn't have any cosplay or scheduling commitments, so I was content to have someone to bum around with. After an hour or so of text-tag and hide-and-go-seek, we managed to find each other and spent most of the day with each other. The online metrics say we're a very strong match personality-wise. I have trouble reading her though. I can't tell if her quietness and lack of outward expression is just because she's a reserved person, or if she's bored/uninterested with me and thus disengaged. I figure if she weren't interested, she wouldn't have stuck around. It's just weird that I can't discern any positive or negative cues from her.
She certainly looked cute in her Kiki costume. We wandered the con, grabbed some lunch, and went up to my room for awhile so that she could charge her phone. She'd just driven in for the day, so had no charger or change of clothes for that matter. Later on we went to the cosplay contest, which ran long. We got out of there about 10 pm and we were both ravenous and chose to wait in the long lines for the food trucks. By the end of dinner, Lindsay seemed to finally be relaxing/warming up to me. It being 11 pm, I was ready to switch to drinking and socializing. I proposed that Lindsay join me but she declined. After all, she had to drive home and she'd been wearing the same costume all day long. So I walked her back to her car and that was that.
The rest of the night was typical con goodness. I strengthened some friendships, made some new buddies, and unfortunately missed some people that I only get to see this one time of year. That's just how these things go.
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So. Since my last installment in August, what's happened? Well, I passed my PACT test with flying colors, scoring a 92%; it seems that cheating was mostly unnecessary. But as important as that test was, I wasn't going to leave anything to chance.
While waiting for my scores I attended Dragon*Con. Like always, it was the highlight of my con year. I think I've gotten the hang of that con. So many more of my friends attended this year. It seems like the center of gravity has shifted from AnimeFest to Dragon*Con, so I think it'll be the go-to Labor Day event for everyone I know next year.
I sat in Austin twiddling my thumbs until about Thanksgiving before I FINALLY got a reply from the University of Texas at Dallas saying that I had been accepted. That was a huge relief. I moved up to Plano and settled in at my brother's place ASAP. My mother and sister visited for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those holidays were as minimally unpleasant as could be expected.
I returned to Austin for the New Year's weekend, as I'd agreed long ago to volunteer to work the Ikki-con cosplay staff for Beauty. The work wasn't too demanding, but the hours were long, which prevented me any opportunity to take photos or go drinking with friends. I felt under-utilized and that I was mostly wasting my time but whatever. I was doing a favor for a friend.
I have to say I'm considerably more comfortable living here with my brother and his wife and toddler than I'd been in Austin or Richardson. I suppose the fact that I'm family neutralizes my reflex feeling of being a guest that I'd experienced at the other places I've lived recently.
School started just over a week ago. I was kinda nervous. Partly because of my age and the associated decline of cognitive abilities that go with it. And also, I signed up for 15 hours before I was informed that in graduate school, 9 hours is considered 'full-time'. As it takes 30 hours to get teacher's certification, I wanted to finish it in two semesters. So I was worried I'd bitten off too much. But if the first week is any indication, then this liberal arts degree plan is significantly easier than the work load I'm used to from my old engineering plan.
The only fly in the ointment is that I need to get a job. I took out a chunk of money from my retirement fund to pay the up-front cost of school and my rent/bills are modest enough that I can handle them for now just with what I've saved up. I've sent out maybe a dozen applications and I haven't gotten any nibbles. Perhaps it's because my heart isn't in it. I suspect that I haven't gotten any replies because I'm overqualified for the retail jobs which I'm loathe to do anyways, and yet I can't commit the time to any employment more serious than that. And the knowledge that I could dip into my retirement again (if I had no other choice) is probably sapping at any motivation I have to find a job. I KNOW I need to find one, if for no other reason than to sponsor my hobbies and social life. And truth be told, I have too much free time on my hands right now. I NEED to be doing something. I just can't seem to give half a damn about any of the job opportunities that I have a chance at landing and I may be too proud(?) to go back to minimum wage fast food drudgery.
If I could get the employment issue sorted out, I'm sure I'd have smooth sailing for the rest of 2014. We'll see.
In a couple weeks I should begin tutoring at a local school district. It seems a bit sudden to me, until I realized that I tested my way into the final phase of the teacher certification program. The FBI is running a background check on me as we speak, to see if I'm fit to work with children. I'm 90% sure I'll pass their scrutiny. I'm curious to experience this student teaching. Often, our instructors hark back to the purpose and idealized mission/drive that all teachers should have. This is kinda new to me; in engineering, our professors never spoke about what it meant to be an engineer or what sort of qualities you had to have, if you were willing and able, that was all that mattered. So when our pedagogical professors talk about how compassion and caring for students should be foremost, I find myself thinking, “Well I like kids, but it's science that I love.” By their metrics, it should be the other way around. Or at least, that's the impression that I get. Maybe this student teaching will show me if that disparity will be a problem or if it's just a phantom.


Aug. 25th, 2013 09:41 pm
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So, let's see.
Last week I took my PACT Physics test (the test that assesses if I'm proficient enough at Physics to teach it). I'd been studying constantly since I quit my job at Fugro, about 2 weeks prior. The odd thing about this physics test is that the majority of it was about chemistry, which I wasn't too thrilled to have to study again. I took the practice test after a week of studying, since I was already burnt out by then and wanted some sort of proof that I could stop studying. I got a 69%, which I was satisfied with since I figured it was close enough to 70. But then read in the fine print that 80% is the minimum passing grade. So there would be no slacking off for me till the test date.
I snuck in some notes about formulas into the test. If I was caught cheating I'd get kicked out and would miss my chance to apply for spring 2014 semester. But there were just WAY too many formulas for me to memorize so I took that chance. There were plenty of video cameras in the testing room. If someone has cause to view that tape, then I'll get busted. But seeing as how I wasn't kicked out I figure I'm okay. Although, there was one question concerning pendulums, which I hadn't bothered to study (or cheat for). So I improvised and used the computer's wired mouse to conduct an experiment to get the answer. That might have raised an eyebrow or two. I don't know if that's something that could be considered cheating.
We were given 5 hours to take the test. I could've finished it in two hours, but the two weeks of studying had shown me that my biggest hurdle was my own sloppiness in algebra. Not that I didn't know the algebraic rules, just that I've become TERRIBLY sloppy for lack of practice. So I used the entire 5 hours to exhaustively review my work.
I believe I passed, but I usually feel over-optimistic about tests, especially given my success on the last PACT exam. I should get my scores in another day or two. I was hoping the scores would take two weeks to come back (as they had with the paper-based test), so that I could enjoy Dragon*Con blissfully ignorant of my fate. It would suck to fail the test and have a pall cast over my favorite event of the year. Oh well. Best to know my fate sooner than later, I suppose. Once I know those scores I'll be able to decide whether I can continue with my graduate school plans or if I'll have to re-assess my job options with the degree and experience I have in-hand.

But what I really wanted to post about is DRAGON*CON!
I'm very excited this year. Once I took the exam I was freed to spend this past week furiously finishing up my costumes. I've nothing major planned; this year's costumes are fairly simple and casual. I almost feel guilty for not making something commensurate with my skill and experience. Almost. But Dragon*Con is all about drinking and fun, so no worries. Now that I've got my costumes laid out, I realize that I could've easily flown instead, but it's too late to think about flights. Luckily, I'll be driving out with Sarah, a longtime acquaintance and new Texan transplant. That roadtrip should prove to be much more fun than the past two times I drove with Courtney (she slept 90% of the way).
I'm most excited about the fact that an unprecedented number of my friends will finally be attending D*C with me. After 4 years of singing D*C's praises, it seems I've worn them down. I've filled my rooms with returning roommates. I would've rather roomed with new friends, but this is okay too. My resolution this year is to not drink so DAMNED much. I tend to wander off from the group when I do that, and it's fun and all, but I miss out on our shenanigans and making memories and all that crap. This year I'll be a good boy and stay put. And by not drinking so much, I should still possess a concept of 'time' and be able to attend a panel or two.


Tiny Pot

Apr. 23rd, 2013 10:50 pm
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I’ve been living with Daniel and Addison for two weeks now. It was a huge relief to have them take me in with just 24-hours notice, essentially. Especially considering I don’t know Addison at all and only ever met Daniel once one evening at last year’s Dragon*Con. I really lucked out; I think all my other friends in Austin only have small one-bedroom apartments. These guys have a two bedroom house-partment? It’s got like two living rooms essentially and my space is half of the spare one. At 9’ by 7’, it’s a . . . cozy living space. I really miss having my own SPACE. It’s been eight years since I lived with people(s) I wasn’t LIVING WITH. I’m terribly self-conscious of all the noise/mess/smells/disarray I create with my cosplay habits, so I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m at home. Nothing against Daniel and Addison, but I’d rather be living in someone’s backyard if it meant I didn’t have to worry about such things.
I tell myself to be patient, that I’ll adjust with a little more time. And even if I don’t, well I shouldn’t be here more than 3 months or so. Well, that’s what I was assuming. While renewing my graduate applications, I realized that all Texas universities require a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, no exceptions. Even the alternative certification programs require a 2.5. My 2.4 GPA may well exclude me from graduate school. UT Austin required a 3.0, which explains why they didn’t even bother with my application. I will re-apply to the other UT schools (read, ‘the less prestigious ones’) I’m considering, on the off-chance that my GRE scores might earn me a probationary status.
But I’m not going to hang my hopes on that. I need to start coming up with a non-graduate school Plan B. I can’t think what that might be at the moment, but I simply can’t continue to languish at my current job.
Speaking of work, that continues to be dwindling. Last week I exhausted the last of my vacation hours trying to stretch my paycheck towards 40 hours for the week. This week I might get 10 hours. An engineer and I have been working to get a large, local project kicked off in the near/immediate future, but as fickle as things can be in this business that could be next week or 2 months down the line.
So when Boss #0 asked if I’d consider an assignment in Mozambique, I couldn’t justify saying no. I don’t know shit about the job or that country, but I don’t have any other options. He’s submitted my resumè and that of another guy who’s in the same situation as me; so that’s a 50/50 chance that I could go. Looking up Mozambique on Wikipedia didn’t do anything to raise my enthusiasm and from what little I’ve heard about our other African assignments, it might entail living in a secure compound the entire time and being escorted by hired security. Further discouraging me from indulging my whims to go exploring is the fact that I don’t speak a lick of Portuguese or any of the native tongues. Even if the job turns out to be that confining and risky, I think I could endure it for the 4-6 week duration they described. Now that my Plan A for graduate school seems to be in jeopardy, I’ve put a pronounced emphasis on making what money I can while I’m still with this outfit. If I go, I go. Get another stamp on my passport.
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Ooo, it’s been a fun, busy holiday break. It’s so difficult going back to being responsible again.
Christmas-y poos
We finished up our work in Denton on the 22nd. I stuck around for an additional day when I found out that my mom was visiting my brother. I didn’t want to make separate return trip to pay my respects on Christmas, so this was a fortunate coincidence. We spent the day entirely at their place; my mom ooh-ing and aah-ing over baby Lilly, Kat and Cameron playing video games, while I fiddled with cosplay. It was a low-key but still pleasant visit.
Before I left DFW I also visited David and Kelly’s place, where I’ll be staying this year. They’ve got a nice house with plenty of space and better yet, they’re remodeling the place. I’ll be able to make use of my dormant carpentry skills and lends them a hand (and my power tools). I’m excited about staying there.
Back in Austin I jumped straight into building the Man Cave version 4.0. It’s not the highest priority project on my list, but it’s such a big project that I need to get it done while I still have my spacious house to work in. I like to think this will be the final version of this party tent.
Jenny, Beauty, and Mel came by for the remnants of my Krampusnacht celebration. Having just arrived back in Austin the day before, I only had enough time to get the basic party refreshments; honestly, this was just an excuse to do some drinking without eggnog or ugly sweaters. We chilled at my place for an hour before relocating to a karaoke bar down the road. There were a lot of black people there, for some sort of Xmas gathering, it seemed. The one young goth couple was amusingly out-of-place. On our way out we met a cute faux-hawked girl by the name Maybelline. Yeah, seriously.
Between Krampus and Karaoke, I was too worn out to join Jenny and Beauty for their LudaCristmas bar crawl the next night. The highlight of my Christmas was going to see “Django Unchained.” It was pretty cool. When I returned from the theater, I was surprised to find my mom at my house. Apparently she’d left Dallas a day early, to avoid the ice and snow forecasted for the 26th. I only had to endure the motherly inquisition for that evening; she left early the next morning.

Between finishing up the Man Cave and starting to move my furniture into my new storage unit, I also fixed up Ice King and made a new Dolan head to wear for Ikkicon on Saturday. I hadn’t found anyone to room with so I had half a mind not to go but I knew this would be my last chance to see my cosplay buddies for a few months.
It definitely wasn’t easy handling/putting on Ice King without a handler. It took me two hours to get it from my truck and put it on in the hotel lobby bathroom. When I realized I’d forgotten a key piece of the costume I was really tempted to say “Fuck it,” but I improvised a fix. I knew it wouldn’t look good.
Ice King photo under the cut because I can't look at, and notes to myself on how to fix it )

Despite the problems, Ice King got a lot of praise, being hailed as both the “best” and “creepiest” Ice King ever. I knew that was a possibility when I made the costume. Sightless eyes often tend to unsettle people. Heh heh.
I changed out of Ice King quickly so that I could go assist Jenny and Beauty with their own over-sized costumes at the cosplay contest. While at the truck I poured myself a big, stiff drink. Without a room (and room party) to call my own, I figured this was my best chance to get into the ‘con spirit’. In hindsight, this was a poor decision. I’d been so busy with my costumes that I hadn’t eaten that day and wearing Ice Kin had dehydrated me, so the rum packed a much faster, stronger punch than normal.
I was fairly buzzing by the time I got back to the con. I had no badge to get into main programming with, so I ninja-ed my way in behind a group of photographers. We still had an hour to wait for the contest to start. I sat with Jenny, Beauty, and Cat for awhile before noticing Crystal’s TTGL group sitting a row behind us. I went to go chat with them. I got a little too handsy during Crystal’s show-and-tell about her costume. Or maybe I had been stroking my own thigh; I’m not 100% what exactly happened. Either way, I regret that blunder.
When the cosplayers went backstage I sat with Amanda, Juby, and new-friend Anne. Juby lent me one of her sizable camera lenses. It was so big that at first I thought it must’ve been her boyfriend’s; since when do women focus on the size of their equipment? If I’d been sober I would’ve been more excited about playing with a new toy. As it was though, I was more like, “How do I camera?” We were soon asked to vacate the first 3 rows to make room for the “VIPs”. No problem. But rather than see industry guests and cosplay pros come in, it was just normal weaboo shlubs. Apparently they paid an extra fee to get the good seats. I don’t know if I approve of that.
Overall, the cosplay participants had some solid, well-done costumes. I was surprised at the level of quality, given the relatively small size of Ikkicon’s attendance. After the contest we went to dinner at a delicious Thai restaurant. The sobering walk there and back helped buy me some time but my memory gets spotty after that. From what I remember, it was a fun night.

New Year’s Eve
Traditionally we have our NYE party at Jenny’s and Beauty’s. With them moving out this month, that was looking doubtful for awhile. But they held on and hosted another one. This year the theme was ‘the Future!’. I found that it’s hard to make a futuristic costume that isn’t post-apocalyptic (which was last year’s theme). Indeed, only Jenny and Stephanie made costumes of any relevance; I shed my own costume within minutes of arriving. The house was soon filled to bursting with people and booze. The weather outside was too cold and wet for anyone but the most determined smoker to brave. I managed to stay Goldilocks-drunk and Beauty took up my duties/camera as videographer. Midnight came way too soon for my liking. People did start to disappear after that, but a good core of revelers stayed with us till around 4 am. It was good times.
Oh yeah, and this happened. Yup, the ole Dress-and-Shirt-Swap. I thought I'd see some boobs in the process, but somehow I was hoodwinked.

And then this was the . . . most coherent video that Beauty shot with my camera.

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Just got my full GRE test scores in the mail today and was disappointed. On the verbal reasoning (logic/words) I got in the 96th percentile. In the quantitative reasoning (math) I got in the 82nd percentile. But my analytical writing (essays) score was way down in the 29th percentile. I know my typing output was hobbled by the fact that I was reduced to hunt-and-peck typing, so that might account for part of it, but I still can't believe I did that poorly on the essay questions.

I'm quite bummed out and discouraged by these results. As far as my application for graduate school goes, my college GPA was unimpressive and I have no virtually no experience that would recommend me to the graduate program, so I was REALLY relying on strong test scores to improve my chances at being accepted. There's a 60-day waiting period between GRE testing sessions, so even if I wanted to take it again and improve my score, it'd be too late to get an application in for Fall 2012. All I can do right now is submit my application and hope for the best.
With the applications due at the end of February, I'll be sending out my requests for letters of recommendation this week, bothering my friends and family for that favor. I've a few application essays to write this week too; apparently I'll need to try really hard on those. After that, it's all out of my hands. Nothing to do but wait.
This weekend I'll be heading up to Dallas. Courtney had been coming down to Austin the past couple times, which was a pleasant change of pace. Highlights of those weekends included watching "Aliens" at the Alamo Drafthouse with Michael Beihn (Corporal Hicks) in attendance, drunken trivia night with J&B&S at Opal Devine's, Goodwill hunting, tattoo art revival/flea market shopping, and shark fighting (one of those is not true).
This Saturday Stephanie's planning a japanese-themed party. It will be fun to hang with my DFW pals again (plus, the sushi!).
And I've FINALLY got all the ingredients together to do a life-casting of my head. I'd ordered the stuff back in December, but me being me, managed to forget this, that, and the other thing. Sure, I'd like to do this in the convenience and mess-friendly environs of my own home, but I'll do it up in DFW if need be. I don't wanna wait another two weeks for my next chance. I figured I'll need an accurate duplicate of my head for sculpting the Hound's helm (Game of Thrones) and my old plaster one is due for retirement. This costume will be expensive and time-consuming, but it will be relevant at Dragon*Con and the Renaissance Faires, so I'll get plenty of mileage out of it. I need to keep making steady progress on it if I'm going to have it ready in time for those events.

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Just before I left for my Canadian assignment I stopped at Borders to take advantage of their going-out-of-business sale. Although I was saddened that there would now be even fewer bookstores in the world, I couldn't resist the lure of those LOW LOW PRICES! I bought a buttload of books and I've been nibbling at them the whole time I've been away from home.

Moby Duck )

Deep Survival )

Game of Thrones )
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This post was written two weeks ago, but I've been lousy at updating. Let me get this out of the way so that I can start getting caught up.


Coming up

Sep. 26th, 2011 08:11 pm
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I've just five days left here in Canada. Looking back, my time up here wasn't as bad as I'd feared but I'm still chomping at the bit to get out of here.
When I get back I'll use my accumulated vacation time to stretch my time-off to last until the Texas Renaissance Festival in two weeks. I hadn't planned on spending my vacation time this way but if I report back into the office I'm certain that I'll get plugged into another out-of-town that will conflict with TRF. So I'll just fly under the radar until I'm ready to go back to work.
The career counseling is going well. We're just about done with the self-analysis phase. Next time I go we'll be able to start narrowing the already short list of prime career choices for me. Whatever I choose I'll most likely have to go back to school for a bit since I'm leaving the engineering field entirely. That wouldn't be happening till the spring semester at the ABSOLUTE earliest so I'll finish up the year with my company. It's kinda inconvenient that my lease renews in October, which is too soon for me to know where I'm going or what my money situation will be. I'll have to see if my landlord would offer an abbreviated lease. Of all the places I've lived in Austin, this is the first place I'd like to stay put in. Only now that I'm changing my career plan I don't want to be anchored to a specific place for an entire year. Ha ha. Great timing.
Serious stuff aside, I'm undecided on how I want to fill my ten-day break between my return and TRF. The responsible hobbyist in me says I should focus on the half-finished cosplays I've neglected all year, to finally get them DONE so I can be proud and satisfied and still retain my status as an 'active' cosplayer, not just in past tense.
But my strongest urge currently is to ignore cosplay and work on TRF projects. I want to make a new costume since I've worn Skittles for the past two years already. When I drink at the Renn Fest, I always seem to want to do pratfalls and tumbles and other physical nonsense. Don't ask me why. I just get an urge to do a barrel roll and then . . . Yeah. In addition to the costume, I really want to upgrade the Man Cave. It's been fun and popular the last four times I've done it but I always see how it can be improved. It looks so much better in my imagination. (Think of King Xerxes' tent of a thousand delights from '300'.) I don't just want a Man Cave made of tarps like some Hobo Hut, I want a MAN VOLCANO. I want a legit tent worthy of our drunken shenanigans. Other 'party' tents cost around a grand, from what I've found on the internet. I know I could make one myself for much less. I like this idea alot since it would benefit the most people, but it might put a strain on ole Iron Horse. Hmm.
So I've got three competing options, each of which I could easily spend my block of free time on. Dunno what I'm gonna do yet.
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I finally got around to finishing my Dragon*Con entry. The report's kinda dull since I didn't do much cosplaying and don't remember much (because of all the booze), but NONETHELESS I had a FANTASTIC time. More fun than last year's D*C, if that's humanly possible. It was great fun to build on old friendships, rekindle distant ones, and start entirely new ones. I owe it all to my buddies, near and far, who made it a success!! A year is too long to wait for next time!

P.S. No pics just yet. I should have those posted in the next day or two. But here's one pic to curb your appetite.
(The secret word is 'cocktails'!)

Dragon*Con report, if you're interested )
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The first week here was the shittiest. Two weeks in now and I’m no longer so grumpy and unhappy. It’s not that I’ve grown to like it here or anything, I’ve just accepted it and learned to deal with it.
We’re working 14-hour days here which doesn’t allow much time for dwelling on my discontent. In the evenings I have 1, maybe 2, hours of free time between work and bedtime. I fill that time with reading, studying Japanese, or working on the homework my career counselor gave me. The busier I stay, the faster the days go by.
There’s nothing of interest here to write about. At least, nothing that I didn’t already write about last year. The accommodations and food still suck; I’ll probably lose some weight while I’m up here. Some camp residents have taken to wearing “Wapasu Correctional Facility” shirts (Wapasu being the name of our camp) to express their opinions about the camp. That’s probably the only souvenir I want from this place.
Dragon*Con is barely a week away. I’d be more excited about it if I’d been allowed to finish my costumes for it. I suppose instead of cosplay I’ll be spending the bulk of my time drinking and photographing. We leave for D*C almost as soon as my plane lands in Texas. I expect to be really stressed as I try to pack enough clothes, booze, costumes, and other gear for a week-long trip within the space of an hour or two. It sucks that I have no time to spare to prepare better.
When I do land in Austin, the only stop I’m making is at the career counselor’s, for our next session which has been delayed for three weeks now. I’d been asked to read a book on personality types and their relation to satisfying and successful careers. I typed as an INTJ personality type and it really describes me perfectly. It’s eerily precise. I’m surprised I could be measured so accurately from just one test. As I read the book and thought of examples from my work-, personal-, family-, and cosplay-life, my INTJ-ness became very apparent. It’s become explicitly clear how ill-fitting my current job is for a person like me. Even though I’m interested in and respect engineering, I don’t think I want to remain an engineer. Not with this company and not in the private sector. The public sector may be a different creature, but I don’t hold out much hope for that possibility.
Most likely I’ll leave engineering entirely and need to go through some re-education pertinent to whatever new career I choose. That might be more university, or training, or an internship, etc. For quite awhile I was afraid of the idea of forfeiting my engineering career because I’d have to start over academically and professionally. But now it seems like this is what I have to do to . . . have a life that challenges me, satisfies me, and makes me happy. Perhaps I wasted 7 years doing something I wasn’t meant for; I’m not afraid to admit that. I won’t let regret or denial keep me from moving ahead. I’m looking forward to this.
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It’s been awhile since my last update. Not much has been going on, but here’s a quick re-cap )

That brings us up to this week. Mmmm, kinda grumpy ATM, mostly due to work. I’ve just gotten to the point again where I’m fed up with it. Between working these out-of-town jobs, spending my free weekends in Dallas with Courtney, and a few rare days at home in Austin, I’m starting to really feel like none of those places are home. I simply don’t have the patience for this routine anymore. I haven’t made much/any progress on my job change; I’m rather stumped on what I might want to do besides this. I was going to go see a career counselor this weekend, but I’m stuck in Wichita Falls once again. I’ll be going soon.
Hobby-wise, I’ve been very irresponsible about cosplay since A-kon. I was making some serious progress right up to the con but in the month since then I’ve been dragging ass. It’s hard to buckle down and focus when I keep bouncing from place to place. (Or maybe that’s just an excuse.) In any case, I’m ordering myself to get back to work. Tokyo in Tulsa is just a week away and I can finish if I get serious about it. While I may or may not be able to attend due to my fickle work schedule, I’m going to work as if I CAN GO, until I know that I can’t. Even if I can’t go, at least my costumes will be that much more ready for Dragon*Con, which is for damned sure going to happen.
I feel like I’ve been missing out on friendships and other social fun due to my work commitments and personal choices of how I spend my time. That’s why I’m so intent on attending things like TnT and San Japan, conventions that I otherwise wouldn’t be concerned with. They’re rare opportunities of quality time with my peoples.

So, we’ll see how things go . . .
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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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While driving around today I got to thinking about this year's con schedule. There's barely a month remaining between now and the beginning of the summer con season. And I haven't finished a damn costume. The Dead Space costume is turning into an artisan project. With no deadline and no budget cap, it's taking it's sweet (expensive) time getting finished. It doesn't help that it's a linear costume so I can't work on other parts of it while I'm waiting on things to arrive in the mail. I fully intend to finish the Dead Space costume but I think I'm going to shelve it for now and focus on a costume I can finish for the summer season.
I think I'll go back to working on Sechs. I've made his/her costume before so there will be no learning curve. And with less armor than her AR version, it'll be even faster to make. I just dread having to paint another Titan blade. It's so damned time-consuming to paint all of those differently colored crystals. There's gotta be a faster way.
Yeah, it'll be fun to work on a costume that isn't so tempermental and crippled by delays and complications. Time to get back to my roots!

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I know All-Con is a month in our rear-view mirror, but I hand-wrote this post and it's been sitting on my desk collecting dust. Might as well upload the damn thing!

Short All-Con report )

August 2017

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