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Jane had two comedy classes this weekend so she'd be down in our area for the majority of the weekend. Even though we'd spent Tuesday and Wednesday together, I didn't feel like waiting till Saturday when she'd come down from Denton, so I went up there Friday evening. Along the way a bought a armful of facial products to improve my skincare game at Jane's suggestion. She was surprised by my ambitious bounty; I appreciated her advice as this was a topic I was significantly ignorant about. This weekend was Jane's monthly ebb so we didn't do much else besides go out to dinner (at a yummy unique place called the Greenhouse) and then lounged around in bed that night.
We didn't stick around in Denton for long on Saturday morning but we did go out to lunch on the Square. The temperature was mild and the weather was beautiful. We had the restaurant almost entirely to ourselves and the food was good. It felt like a very special moment to me, precisely because it felt so 'perfect' without any conscious effort or planning. When Jane went to the bathroom I found myself feeling oddly melancholic. No matter how ideal this moment was, part of me was aware that eventually the memory would fade, be forgotten, or eclipsed by a negative break-up. I had no reason to be pessimistic; I suppose I was just trying to pull myself back from being too smitten(?).
Back at home I half-ass cleaned while Jane was in class. Cameron and Katherine were all gussied up and ready to go out for their night alone. They left at least twenty minutes before Jane arrived. Lilly was eager for her to show up. I wasn't sure how this evening of baby-sitting with my girlfriend would turn out, but Jane had been eager for the opportunity.
Jane was ready for a nap when she arrived. I laughed. We were on duty tonight; there'd be no time for naps. After dinner we attempted to watch the Muppets movie but it proved to be too advanced for Lilly to follow so we reverted to watching her usual shows. The couch situation was: me as the bottom layer, Jane as the middle layer, and Lilly as the cherry on top. After a couple of episodes Lilly grew still and quiet so we both thought she might've fallen asleep, but our laughter from sexualizing the dialogue of TumbleLeaf probably shook her awake.
We bathed Lilly and then put her to bed. Jane almost succumbed to Lilly's teary-eyed entreaties for another story/song/treat/etc but I was able to pull her away eventually. Fortunately Lilly fell asleep without any of her usual incidents. After that we retired to my bedroom. Jane finally got her nap and I played video games. It was a low-key evening but pleasant in it's domesticity.
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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.
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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.

Ikkicon
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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No new news to report. Just another week of doing virtually nothing.
I fly back to Austin a week from today. Yay. A whole week off. I don’t have any plans for Thanksgiving. I haven’t contacted my family because I don’t want a repeat of last year’s Thanksgiving. I’m a bachelor who is rarely ever home. I don’t want to stay cooped up in a house with my nagging mom and sister watching whatever generic holiday movies are on because one is too broke to go out and do anything and the other is on-call and can’t commit to any plans that can’t be abandoned at a moment’s notice. Three or four days of that was mind-numbingly boring. It wouldn’t be so bad having my brother over, but in the women’s presence we can’t have too much fun.
I suppose I should put out some feelers for what my amigos are doing for Turkey Day. Hopefully someone’s hosting an Orphan’s Dinner. I’d much rather drink Wild Turkey while watching some turkey movies while gorging myself on turkey meatstuffs. And no families allowed. That’s the best part.

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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.

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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I got into town last night and was pleased to find a bunch of Christmas cards in my overstuffed mailbox. Considering they're probably all the 'presents' I'll be getting this year, I was happy to find them. Another unexpected bit of good fortune; my ex-landlord sent me back $600 of my $800 deposit. Wow. I'd thought I'd never see a penny of that again. In addition to that, my company gave me a small holiday bonus since I've reached the 5-year employment milestone. Plus, my credit card bumped my limit up by a $1000, since I've been with them for a year now. Yay for surprise money!
With these new funds plumping up my bank account, I went ahead and reserved my plane ticket for Japan. It's the biggest expense of the whole trip, but I needed to finalize that first before I could plan out the rest. So now I'm dialed in for 10-days, 10-nights in Japan. Wooo! Now that I can finally start planning and scheduling events and places, I'm getting really excited. It's hard not to get carried away.
But the trip-planning's gonna have to wait a couple days. My family's coming in to town tomorrow so I've got an ass-load of organizing and tidying-up to do at my new place. It'll be fun to see them I suppose, I just wish I had a little more time to myself to relax first. Oh well.
So I may not be online too much in the next few days but I really hope everybody out there has a fun, stress-free holiday.
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Yesterday seemed to drag on forever. Without tv or internet and all restaurants and stores closed, I was hard pressed to find ways to keep myself occupied. And man, did it get cold quick yesterday afternoon or what? That cold front was not screwing around. Of course, that meant I would soon discover that the thermostat/furnace isn’t working like I would expect. I’d finally figured out how to turn on the A/C the other day, but when I switch it to “Heat,” I get nothing. So I fired up the fireplace. I’ll probably be annoyed by it the other 360 days out of the year, but for this week I’m glad I’ve got it. I’ve been burning leftover scrap lumber from cosplays-past to keep the house comfortable.
I got up early this morning to take my truck in to the insurance place so they could do their estimate and insurance-y stuff. They gave me a rental car; apparently that was covered in my policy unbeknownst to me. I was expecting them to give me some dinky little Geo Metro or a SmartCar or something like that. But the guy brought around an Armored Personnel Carrier.
Flashback - A dream realized? )
Generally, I’m against the idea of “retail therapy,” but I think I may have accidentally committed it today. After being cooped up all day yesterday, I was not about to go back home after I got the rental. First I went to Jo-Ann’s. A little birdie had told me that you could get a whole bolt of interfacing for $3 on Black Friday. Hells yeah, that would set me up for life. Man, there were so many moms and grandmoms there. That was the longest wait at the cutting table ever. While I was waiting I browsed and ended up getting stuff for two more costumes. C’mon, it was half off! That’ll give me something to work on in west Texas. Next I went to B&N for books and then to Ikea for furniture and other odds and ends. I don’t like Ikea’s crappy construction, but I hadn’t found what I was looking for at any other stores yet so I gave it a shot. While I was there, I got a phone call from the insurance dude. He’d finished his estimate and told me, “The total damage amounts to thirty-six hundred dollars.”
*heart attack*
Holy shit. Four grand? The whole truck only cost 16 grand, new. Another 25% just for cosmetic repairs? That’s a whole other year and a half of truck payments! He kept talking insurance-y stuff, but all I kept hearing over and over was, Thirty-six hundred dollars, 36 hundred dollars, three thousand six hundred dollars. But then he said, “You’ll be responsible for the $250 deductible and the rental.” Wait, what? I was still kinda in shock from the larger number so I just kinda mumbled in assent.
So by the time I get back from west Texas in a week or so, my truck will be ready. Whether I have to pay $1000 or just $250, either will be a bargain compared to $3600. As long as I only have to pay my deductible, that’d be great. Something that might be called a bit of good luck is the fact that I renewed my insurance just a couple weeks ago and paid the 6-months in advance. So it’s not like they’ll be able to jack my rates up anytime soon. As long as these costs don’t get out of hand I should be able to absorb the financial impact without too much grumbling.
As far as holiday news goes, I don’t know where my family is, or what they’re planning. It may sound callous, but if they don’t show up, that’s fine by me. With as much stuff as I’ve got on my plate right now, I probably wouldn’t be the greatest host in the world, not to mention my house is a cold Stone Age hut right now. Maybe they’ll call tomorrow and show up, maybe not. If they don’t, I think I’ll go down to the Haven Gallery to see their exhibit. The Austin Chronicle did a column on a glass-weaving exhibition. The photo of a KIMONO WOVEN FROM GLASS instantly caught my eye. I’m no fashion nut, but I _am_ interested in impossible costumes and this is truly that. The exhibit ends the 11th, so I have to go see it this weekend if I’m gonna see it at all. I pray they allow photography there, because it’s gotta be phenomenal to see in person.

P.S. The title was totes a Deadwood reference. Bonus points if you caught it.

Bizee

Nov. 25th, 2010 03:37 pm
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No food at the new house and (almost) no restaurants are open. I really should've planned this holiday a little better. Apparently my family will be visiting me this weekend and not T-Day itself, which is good. That gives me some more time to get my house into order. Hopefully the cable guy stops by today to hook things up; I'd really like to have something more entertaining to do than spy on my neighbors through the blinds.
I had to drive all the way down to the Drag to find both food and free internet. (Thanks Austin's Pizza for both!)
Tomorrow morning I've got to take my truck in to get an estimate done. Since I'll soon be out of town for a couple weeks I figure I'll leave it there and get a rental car for the weekend. Then I've got to finish moving out, then family time stuff, then check-out of the old house with my landlord, then get ready for the West Texas job, then head out Sunday afternoon. Bleh. So much to do. I think I've only got two more loads of stuff left at the old house. If I can get that taken care of I'll be able to take a break for awhile.

Day-Killer

Nov. 23rd, 2010 07:07 pm
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Earlier this week I had my annual employee review with Boss #1. I’d hoped to evade him long enough that he would forget about our appointment, but no luck.
It was a . . . sobering discussion. Having the same guy who hired me now telling me that maybe I should look for a new job, is rather disheartening. He asked me the generic question, “Are you happy here?” I’d been unhappy since/during Canada, but I’d been telling myself that was an acute reaction to the immediate circumstances. Now that I think about it, I’ve been chronically unhappy with this job for awhile. Six years after I started and I’m still in the same entry-level position, not talented enough to advanced or outright lousy enough to be fired. My patience and willingness to tolerate adversity has allowed me to hang in there this long. I’m no quitter, but I have to admit that I’m a failure at this job. I’m not growing or advancing or benefiting from staying here. Something needs to change. I’ve lived here six years and I’m very grateful for the financial security and overall stability I’ve gained from this career; I dread risking it for the mere possibility of a better career. That’s probably half the reason why I’ve held out as long as I have. Fear of losing what I’ve got.
It’s only a seed of motivation now, but I know that ultimately I need to leave this company. I really don’t know where I’d go from here, if I’m no good at this profession. Yeah, I’m a little scared. I thought I had this shit figured out.
He said I should consider “re-inventing myself,” whatever that means. All I know right now is that I need to take a long, hard look at what I can and will be able to do for the rest of my life. Six years is a long mistake.

Last night I spent the night at my new place. I hadn’t planned on it, but due to a scheduling snafu, the power was turned off at my old place this afternoon. Yesterday was unseasonably warm so I sure as hell wasn’t going to try sleeping in a house with no A/C. Yeah, packing up my bed and toiletries and etc in complete darkness was real fun. I don’t even wanna think about what the inside of my fridge looks like. In time I managed to get the essentials moved over to the new house. I tried taking a cold-water bath (gas isn’t scheduled to be hooked up till Thursday!), but I had to draw the line somewhere. One inch of cold bathwater in the tub is that line, apparently. Frankly, all I’ve got at the new house is electricity, which is the most important, I suppose. I’m surprised at how handicapped I become without internet at my disposal. I don’t know when or where I’m posting this to the internet; probably from some ‘free wi-fi’ restaurant in the neighborhood. I’m just writing this post in good faith, like a message in a bottle, hoping that it will reach the internet someday. The funny thing was, after all the sweating and grunting to move my bed across town and up the stairs, I discover that the A/C at the new house isn’t working either. So I ended up sleeping warm and sticky after all.

Today I worked a half day. I needed to burn some vacation time anyways and with family coming in to town and a house to move into, I could definitely put the free time to good use. I was driving my bed and TV to the new house when this happened.
Now with eXtreme battle damage!
Apparently I wasn’t stressed enough with moving into a new place, having family visit for the holidays, and looking for a new job, so subconsciously I decided to rear-end a big-ass truck while merging onto I-35. I fought the semi and the semi won. Totally my fault, so I can’t even be angry at someone else’s fuck-up. This is all me. My poor baby. Just one month shy of getting it completely paid off. Yeah, he’s still driveable (he’s a 4-cylinder bad-ass like that) and yeah, I can just afford the $1000 deductible, but all I keep thinking is, “Fuck, my truck!” The crumpled hood blocks half my view of the road. It’s so damned embarrassing, like a boner at the pool. I can’t hide it. Everybody knows I suck at driving.
In my head, I can handle all this crap. Physically, my stomach has had that nauseous feeling for a week now, but that’s minor. But between you and me, one more straw and this camel is going down.
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Brought to you by the Home Depot.

Soo, I spent most of this weekend moving non-essential stuff from Casa 1 to Casa Nueva. By "non-essential," I mean cosplay, which is probably the majority of my possessions now that I think about it. Ooo, and once I started moving stuff into that great, BIG, gorgeous garage I started getting that feeling. That feeling of cosplay POTENTIAL. After a few trips to Home Depot (and a few hundred dollars of shopping), I've gotten that garage tricked out into one sweet cosplay workshop. I even painted the whole garage on impulse so that I wouldn't be distracted by how ugly it was. (Don't tell my landlord!) And that second bedroom upstairs? That's the storage room, also known as the cosplay retirement center. Now I have all the room I want to work. Yes, Tagmec and Catbus, you have been very patient, enduring an intolerant fiancé and cramped living quarters. The time has come for you to stretch your wings. Finally I'll be able to scratch those off my to-do list.
As if sensing my optimism, my mother called me this afternoon. She reminded me that (allegedly) I had agreed to host Thanksgiving at my place this year. What? Why would I ever do that? I can't really argue with the logic of having everyone meet in a central location though and since I'm a man, I concede to logic. So instead of preparing for a cosplay orgy this holiday weekend, I'll be preparing to host my family at my new place. That means pretty much everything's gotta be moved over before Thursday. Woof. I was going to make another trip tonight but then I realized Dexter, Walking Dead, and Venture Brothers would be on back-to-back-to-back. Note to self: Never make plans on Sunday nights ever again.
I guess the upside is that they should all return to their caves and haunts by Friday which means I'll still have some chance at fun and merriment later in the weekend. But in the meantime I've got a lot of packing/unpacking/cleaning to do. Woo, let's do this!
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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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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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I got a weird call from my mom yesterday. No small talk or anything, she pretty much just came out and said that the doctor had found a tumor in her brain, pituitary gland to be exact. The casual way she mentioned it didn't give me much pause to react or contemplate it. She was calling to say that she was planning to go up to Houston sometime soon for the surgery and she'd be coming up to Austin on Friday (to start planning things out, I guess?).
I suppose she was so matter-of-fact about it because we (the family) has sort of known this was coming. My mom is the youngest of 12 children in her family and most of my aunts and uncles have already passed on or are in delicate health. She's been struggling with her diabetes the last couple years. I remember driving with my driver's permit, taking my mom to the hospital when she had her anuerysm. That was 15 years ago and her health's been declining ever since. It might make me/we sound fatalistic, but I don't think any of us were surprised by this new development.
I don't know how tomorrow's going to go. I'm not scared or nervous, but then again I'm not the one going through it. I don't know if there's any particular way I should act or feel right now. All I feel right now is . . . a precursor of dread, perhaps? I don't know. It's weird.
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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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cut for size )

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