Gum, yum

Jan. 9th, 2011 12:19 am
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I’ve been meaning to write an LJ entry all week but every evening when I get in, I’m too tired to care. I’ve got a fistful of half-formed entries and I figure if I roll them all up together like gum taken from underneath many tables, they’ll form one awesome, delicious gumball. Dare you try it?

Do vegetarians even have friends? (TMI?)
This is a little town we’re working in. Five “restaurants” total and one grocery store. It’s hard to eat well here. I can’t even shop at the grocery store because the town’s high school students work there and they won’t let you take your own bags to your car, they carry it for you and expect a tip. The first time I went there I was all, “Wait, you mean this cute high school girl is going to follow me back to my truck in the middle of a dark parking lot so she can make an easy few bucks? . . . Is this some kind of trap? Am I on hidden camera?” But I digress. As I was saying, it’s hard to eat properly. Breakfast = gas station breakfast tacos and Lunch is brown bag; no time to drive back into town for fast food. Trying to eat responsibly, I’ve been bringing tons of dried fruits and granola bars and eating that for lunch. I’ve never eaten nothing but fruit for an entire day. By the afternoon I’m Jupiter, the gas giant. I cannot stop breaking wind. Thank goodness we’re out in the middle of nowhere and I stay downwind of the drillers. But man I felt like I was gonna explode, that first day of the extra-fruity diet. If this is what you girls mean when you say you feel ‘bloated,’ I think I’m beginning to understand. I just wanted someone to stab me so I could deflate. How do vegetarians do this? If mega-gas and quintupled bowel movements are the price to pay for a healthier and longer lifestyle, I think I’ll remain a carnivore.

Waiting for the drillers to show up
Sure, it was fun playing on a swingset for the first time in years, but the abandoned elementary school (off-camera) was a bit depressing.

The episode where Cody remembers he likes dogs
Today while we were working, three dogs came out of nowhere and joined our crew. No barking or running around to herald their arrival; they just appeared. It was a bit scary, having a pack of dogs appear out of nowhere like that. Andrew was especially startled, but that may have been because this one was SO white.
The dogs seemed quite interested in what we were doing and who we were. They seemed to be saying, “Hey, we just met, but let’s be friends!” Joe the driller grumbled half-heartedly about them being in the way, but within a few minutes he’d given his lunch to the dogs. That might’ve been a bad idea because now they didn’t seem in any hurry to leave. They lounged around like this was their place, not at all noticing that we were trying to work. (Get out of my truck! You can't have my Lunchables!)
That’s when it hit me; Dogs are so much awesomer than cats. Whereas these random dogs had instantly given us their friendship without any prompting or coaxing, I cannot imagine a cat warming up to a human so readily. Cats are so temperamental and inscrutable, kinda like women. You never know what they’re thinking. But these dogs obviously wanted to be our buddies.
After an hour or so they moved on and I was a little sad to see them go. Adios boys. Have a fun adventure out there!

Adventure time gender swap
When I wore Finn at Ikki-con, Beauty didn’t know what it was. She looked some images up online and asked me if this was what I was cosplaying. No! That’s not Adventure Time! But then I started investigating and found out that Fiona and Cake are fan-art drawn by one of the series’ artists, so they’re legitimate characters, TECHNICALLY. Her mirror-universe is pretty cool, the more I look into it. And then I found out today that these spin-off characters are so popular that they’re actually gonna get their own episode sometime in the near future. Weird, huh? And I also found out that Thurop (the creator of Flapjack) is a writer on AT. Now I don’t feel like watching AT is such a betrayal of my Flapjack fandom. Phew! What a relief.
I didn’t really have a significant reason to write about Adventure Time. I’ve just been cruising the fan sites this evening so I had in on my mind I guess. Here, have a Fiona comic!
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I was looking at the Otakon photo galleries yesterday, to see what I missed out on this summer. There were some pretty impressive costumes. Seeing all that talent really got me fired up for cosplay. After all these months of not being able to do it, I just want to do something EPIC to make up for all the lost time. I know I've got the tools and experience to do it, the challenge comes in FINDING something with epic potential. Up till now, my instinct has been, "go big or go home" and that's led me to do these super-sized mascots. They're cool and all but they're no longer a challenge; I've used the same construction methods on the last four. Any increased complexity comes in the form of mechanics. With all the levers, switches, handles, and battery packs inside those mascots, it's more like I'm building life-sized puppets instead of costumes. I think I've gone too far in that direction. They're becoming overly complex and almost unwearable. So no more mascots!!! . . . for now.
I'll be coming home for good in a month or so and I expect that attending Dragon*Con will get me super fired-up about cosplay so it'll be the right moment for me to invest my time and enthusiasm into an impressive cosplay. I've never cosplayed a character I didn't know/wasn't interested in (I look down on that behavior), but I may have to do that this time around. I kinda envy people with "Cosplay I'm gonna do" lists that are half a mile long; I guess I'm just too picky. I need help to find this cosplay.

Fandom meme: 23. Character you'd want to party with )
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The last few days in the office have been mind-numbingly dull and slow. Since I'm kinda in limbo till the drilling starts, they've just been giving me the busy work that no one else wants to do, like auditing thousands of records for typos and errors. I actually took it seriously the first couple days and made a huge dent in it, then I realized it was an endless quest so I started sandbagging and just read manga online instead.
rambling about manga )
Rather than continuing with my manga reading, I was sent out into the field to work. Weeee! Finally, after months of being an office slave, I got to see the sun! I was so glad to be out of there. Today I got sent to the Pig Launcher site, which I'd only first heard about a few days ago. I can't show you actual pictures of it, for security reasons, so you'll have to settle for this artist's depiction. And while I was there, I saw an EXTERNAL combustion engine. I didn't even know those things really existed, like platypuses or Santa or G-spots. CAPSLOCK does not begin to describe how LOUD, NOISY, SMOKY, GREASY, and BLACK it was. It shook the earth. It was AWESOME. It baptized me in oil. (For the record, I'm not frowning. I'm squinting, because I'm still not used to the SUN. I even got sun-burnt! Yay!)
So that was the bit of interesting stuff for today. Tomorrow will be even better because one of our senior engineers is leaving the project. What does that mean? Going-away BARBECUE!!!! Sweet! Real food! I'm getting hungry already, just thinking about it! (Or maybe it's 'cause I haven't had dinner yet!) (Fucking parentheses, enough already!)

11. Character you'd be best friends with )
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My brief bout of freedom was very refreshing. Once I got the truck onto the paved highway I stopped worrying about getting caught or having some phenomenal bad luck that would ruin my plans. I got to Fort Mac just in time for the first showing of Inception, though I drove past the theater a few times because it was so small and inconspicuous. Man, I haven’t been to such a rinky-dink theater in a loooong time. But I totally didn’t mind. I was just glad to be there.
mild movie spoilers )
Once I was out of the movie I really wanted to spend the whole day in town, as much time as I possibly could in civilization and away from camp. But by that point I’d been awake for 24 hours and I was fading fast, despite the movie theater BladderBurster of soda I’d had. I went to the town’s sad little Wal-Mart (instead of the CANADIAN TIRE). After that bit of shopping I went straight back to camp and crashed. Well, I tried. As tired as I was, somehow I could not fall asleep. I think I had too much residual caffeine in my system and I only got 3 hours of sleep last night. Three hours of sleep out of 48. I’m a zombie today.
From this point on I have no idea what my schedule’s going to be like. I’ve sailed beyond the edge of the map/calendar; everything here is in limbo. All they can tell me is that I’ll be getting a break some time in August and the new end-date is looking to be October. I can be okay with that, I guess. Two, two and a half months to go. It’s curious, how much lighter the burden of this job becomes, once I have some semblance of a goal in sight. And it’s a good thing I requested my Dragon*Con vacation as early as I did. Now it can be the anchor around which they arrange my schedule.

I'm feeling brain-dead right now so I'm kinda phoning this one in.
9. Character you’d bring home to your parents )
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Tonight's my last night on night shift. I'll be switching back to days soon. I've got tomorrow (both day and night) off so that I can reset my sleeping schedule. That's 30 hours of free time. Rather than remain under house camp arrest, I think I'm going to make a break for it. I'll 'borrow' a truck and drive in to Fort McMurray. I'm gonna eat real food made by humans for humans, I'm gonna watch 'Inception," and I'm gonna go to Canadian Tire (Canada's equivalent of Wal-Mart, don't ask me about the name) and buy some groceries. Hopefully my temporary ATM card works in town or else it'll be a very short one-way trip.
Normally I wouldn't even consider doing something like this, but the other night when I was drinking rum with my neighbor, he was telling me about all the times he and other co-workers had snuck into town to go get wasted and screw some barfly in the back of the company truck (which is why I now refuse to drive certain vehicles). Apparently almost every time anyone takes a sick day out here, it's not because they're sick, it's because they're hung-over. Here I was, a totally oblivious boy scout because I'm on night shift and have no idea what's really going on.
Now that I know how many times certain bosses of mine have gotten busted for drinking, or run their truck off the road, etc, I feel quite entitled to go into town for a few hours.
All these damn rules are a sham; it's just another scoop of B.S. to add to the pile.

30 Days of Gunnm:
8. Character you look like the most )
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Sorry if my post comes out a bit discombobulated; one of my 'associates' waylaid me with copious amounts of rum this evening. (Have I ever mentioned how booze quintuples my vocabulary? Notice the double-point SAT words I'm using?)
It so happens that today, I learned that rather than having a mere three days left before I returned home, my stay up here has now become 'INDEFINITE' (<---My boss's exact words). Yeah. Apparently the contractor that kicked me off their site some months ago is now trying to make up for lost time due to their own incompetence, and now my company is scrambling for guys to cover that work after dismissing the bulk of the hired help. (More pics and explanation when I'm sober.) Anywho, the gist of this is: the job ain't over just yet and Cody-boy ain't going home. Shit sucks but after 5 years with this company I'm used to getting my poo pushed in. You could almost say I'm an old hand at this.

But anyways, back to the point of this post: 30 Days of Gunnm (let's see if I can pull this entry out of my ass)

5. Character you'd like as your child )
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I blame [ profile] azriel_oda for this. I'd been wanting to do this 'meme' for awhile, but I thought I'd have to wait till I was back home and had access to my manga. Then I realized that there were online scans. Derp derp.
So anyways, here's my 30 Days of Gunnm meme. I've changed some questions that are either non-sensical or just plain uninteresting to me. I like to hope that maybe, just maybe, this quiz will elicit enough curiosity for someone to pick up a volume and read what I think is one of the damn finest mangas out there.

1. Your Favorite Character )
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DaVinci, Darwin, Einstein, and me. What do they all have in common? They're friggin' geniuses.
Last night I went to Jo-Ann's for fabric. Same old, same old. Even though it's not as bad as it used to be, I still feel a little out of place there. While comparing swatches to bolts of fabric and feeling the textures, I'm quite aware that I must look gay to any passerby. I don't blame em, even I doubt myself a bit. Guys don't belong in fabric stores! That place is full of nothing but women.
And then it clicked. THIS PLACE IS FULL OF NOTHING BUT WOMEN!!! Why didn't I see this before?!? I could be king here! It's an untapped goldmine! Picking up chicks at the fabric store! It would be like poaching from the King's Forest. I'd be Robin Hood! There's got to be some way to work this angle, it's ripe with opportunity. I haven't come up with a plan yet. Set up a couple stools at the cutting counter and let them come to me? Join up with the 'Sewing for Singles' group? Watch a Project Runway marathon and lurk the aisles till the fashion majors swing by? There has got to be some way to exploit this hunting ground . . . If I can figure this out, it will be my gift to man-kind. Yes.
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Curse you, FireBowl! Your name should be FireAnus, because that's what you are! Agh! Ow! Dammit, why do I keep eating there?!?
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So Sunday night I arrive back in Dallas and check in to the hotel. I go to my room and start unpacking, la da da blah blah. Then I start wondering, "Where are all my jeans?" I check the suitcase and then check the drawers to see if I already unpacked them but had a brainfart.
After a couple confused minutes, I realize, "My jeans are in Austin. Still in the dryer. . . . I have no pants. Dammit!"
The best solution I could come up, short of driving back to Austin to get my laundry, was to go to Goodwill and buy some cheap pants to get me through the week. So I went to Goodwill for what I thought was a simple errand.
There was a men's department, with suits and dress shirts and work clothes and slacks . . . but no jeans. There was a women's department with women's clothes . . . and jeans. I looked through the men's side of the store at least three times. I wanted jeans. But they weren't there. The only jeans were over on the ladies side.
So I looked through the jeans. All of them had tags saying "W Jeans". Some of them had bling bling, rhinestones on the butt pocket, brands I've never heard of, and other clues saying that I'm was in the wrong department.
But dammit, there weren't any other jeans! And at only $6 a pair, I could turn a blind eye to the obvious. So I managed to find a couple pairs that fit, I bought em, and got the hell out of there. Stupid Goodwill.
So yeah, I feel kinda funny now. As if . . . other people know I'm wearing women's clothing. I'm not proud, but it was an emergency. You'd do the same.
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I like to think I’m a good driver. I’ve been driving what, 11 years now? Yeah, I’ve got a few speeding tickets to my name, but nothing bigger than that. Heh. There was that one semester where I was a delivery driver and watching Initial D at the same time . . . yeah, I had a few close calls that semester. (It took me awhile to learn you can’t drift in a front-wheel drive car.) But those years as a delivery driver, plus the fact that my work truck has one of those "How’s my driving?" bumperstickers has made me a conscientious driver, I think. And taking a few courses in transportation engineering helps me to see the futility of trying to outsmart traffic and the roads. It kinda pisses me off when I see people trying to do that, one case especially. That’s where I’m driving on the highway, typically in the right lane and a car comes in from the on-ramp. Like a polite driver, I check my blind spot and change lanes to make room for them to merge. But they’re only on the highway so they can dodge an intersection on the frontage road, then take the next exit a couple seconds later. It’s especially annoying when the highway traffic is heavy and it takes a fair bit of jockeying to make room for them, only to find out they were screwing around.
Other than that, if there were one thing I could change about all drivers, it would be to make them use their turn signals. Sure, it’d be nice if people slowed down or were more courteous or only drove when they had their full attention on the road, but I’d be happy with more turn signal use. Hell, I’ll forgive someone for cutting me off, if they just use their turn signal. Because if someone uses their turn signals, then that usually means they’re planning ahead as they drive, checking their mirrors, blindspots, etc, rather than just driving on impulse. So it’s less likely that they’ll F-up the flow of traffic, by planning ahead and communicating to other drivers what their intentions are.
But yeah, it’d also be easier if we could get those smart self-driving vehicles on the road. Ah, those prototype vehicles are so promising! Ah, imagine how our insurance rates would drop if we had a computer behind the wheel. Oh, I could sleep on the way to work again! And no more gridlock stress or highway hypnosis. Ah, how sweet it would be!
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I FINALLY finished "Voyage of the Beagle" by Charles Darwin. It wasn't a hard book, but ever since that Wal-Mart job ended I just haven't had the spare time to lay siege to a big book (and this one was 500 pages+). It was a fine read, except the geological narration got old after awhile and I'm a geotechnical engineer, so that's saying something.
But it was a great read. And it made me aware of a prejudice I didn't even know I had. I guess I'd just assumed that anyone from "the past" was stupid. I mean, hell, the things they used to do back then . . . retarded! It's like you read a history book and you're thinking, "How could they possibly think this was a good idea? Apartheid? Foot-binding? The world was flat? Electro-shock therapy? Idiots, all of them!"
But then I read a book like this or Gibson's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" and I'm all, "OMG, they were geniuses!" Considering these books were written CENTURIES AGO and they're still relevant . . . wow. And back then, these writers had to ride horses to libraries or go hunt down sages or build their own telescopes to gather all this info and weave it into a new theory. And as crude as science was in their day, they still managed god-like feats of intelligence and insight.
Nowadays though, everyone's just a click away from every thought ever written, there's such a wealth of information instantly available and yet, ignorance still exists. Racism, bigotry, fanaticism, etc. It's crazy, as small and closely-linked and technologically advanced as this world is becoming, people can still be idiots, ignorant of everything outside of their own narrow views and immediate lifestyle. With so much information and differing views around them, the otly way someone can stay ignorant is by consciously refusing to acknowledge the rest of the world and that's just pathetic. It's mind-boggling how ignorance continues to flourish.
I guess that just goes to show that there are idiots and geniuses in every era.
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I was raised Roman Catholic. My mother's Mexican, so of course she's Catholic and that meant I was Catholic too. The whole nine yards. When we moved down south, that kicked it up a whole other level. Without fail, mass every Sunday, shrine visits during the week, youth/bible meetings on Wednesdays, retreats, vigils, baptisms, quinceaneras, etc etc etc. I prided myself on being the only one to pay attention during mass. My mother would usually fall asleep, my brother would put his head down and "pray" for the entire time, and my sister's tactic was to escape to the bathroom for eternity. Even though the sermons had a tendency to repeat, I would try to pay attention and pick out the relevant message tucked away in the parables and miracles. As a kid and young teen, my faith may have been superficial, but it was appropriate for my age.
Then came Confirmation. Heh, 'confirmation.' As teenagers, we were at the point where we were old enough to take responsibility for our faith, rather than just going through the motions because our parents told us to. So the purpose of Confirmation (as I understood it) was to confirm our belief in the faith as we entered adulthood. There were cram sessions for weeks leading up to the event, capped off by a big retreat. Man, I seriously examined my faith like never before in those days. Following Confirmation I was really, really, REALLY committed to living as a better Catholic/Christian. I took it all to heart. If I tried hard enough, I could re-make myself into a better person.
But as the weeks and months wore on, I became progressively unhappy. As I would examine my words, actions, and behaviors, I became acutely aware of my own flaws and failings, of how far I was from being a "good Christian." I was full of shame, frustrated, disappointed, and miserable. Going to church became reprehensible. I felt horrible there, so unworthy. The harder I tried, the worse I felt.
After about a year or so, it finally reached the point where I had to make a choice. Either I was going to be an unhappy, imperfect, damned Catholic for the rest of my life, or I could be a happy, decent human. So I gave up on my faith.
When the missionaries come to my door to pray for my soul so that I can be born again, I let them in and listen very carefully. They say all I have to do is surrender myself and place my faith in God. But that's what I can't do. It's not that I don't believe in God, I CAN'T. I'm not made for faith. I'm incapable of believing, hoping, trusting, praying; I have to know with my mind, not with my heart. I need proof. I'm not strong enough to believe, to fall over backwards and trust that someone will catch me. I just can't.
In the years since, I've gone from agnostic to atheist. (Heh. I remember when "atheist" used to be a dirty word to me.) I don't think the label means much. I've met people who call themselves Christians who are terrible people that sully the very word, and I've met atheists or pagans who are saints. So . . . I dunno. *shrug* I admire and envy people who have faith, it's a wondrous thing to have in your life.
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Although each one was borne of pain, I've grown fond of the assorted scars decorating my body. The highest concenration of them is on my left hand of course (since it's the right hand that's always holding the sharp tool), so let's start there, shall we?

Left index finger (fingerprint): a little crescent moon shaped scar, from when I was eight, and trying to chop itty-bitty pieces of wood with a hatchet.

Left index finger (knuckles): a cool diagonal trio of white scars, from when I was thirteen-ish?. A bow saw skipped off the branch I was cutting and raked across my finger. That happened at boy scout camp, so I had to hide the bleeding otherwise they would've taken away my Totin' Chit.

Left thumb (fingerprint): Just a diagonal slice from a Cutco steak-knife, when I was 19 (?). I think I was trying to cut one off one of those ink-tags that had accidentally been left on a pair of jeans.

Right thumb (fingerprint): A nice, puckered scar from a wood chisel, while I was working on Pyramid Head version 3 (all of my cosplays have tasted my blood, by the way. Weird, huh?).

Right inner wrist: Ha ha. It's a tic-tac-toe pattern, like I tried and failed to cut my wrist. But in truth, one set is from the thorns of a mesquite tree, the other set is from some fanblades.

Right thigh: Puncture wound. Was at the beach and used a pallet as a raft, only to find it had lots of rusty nails sticking out.

Left shoulder: Cigarette burn.

Left eyelid: I'm not too sure about this one; it's my oldest, from when I was a toddler. I believe it was from a bottle rocket, but I'm not too sure.

Right knee: Nickle-sized scar, a 2nd degree hot-glue burn from when I was working on Sechs.

There are many more scars, but I've forgotten their stories. My brother has some truly impressive ones, but those are his stories to tell.
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I really do. Often, after listening to one of my favorite P5 tracks I'm so exuberant that I can't help but shout, "I FUCKING LOVE PIZZICATO FIVE!!!!" And the odds of me exploding like this double if the sun happens to be shining, that's how happy this music makes me. Even the "sad" songs are great, it's like they make my soul sigh with contentment. "Ahhhhh . . . "
I'm glad I was born when I was, so that I had the entire P5 music library ready and waiting for me when I was ready to find it. Although . . . if I'd been born earlier, it would've been physically possible to go see them live. *heart skips a beat*
It's too bad there isn't more P5 merchandise out there. I'd love to show my rabid support somehow. I think I'll get some T-shirts silk-screened that say "I love Pizzicato Five!" Nothing kitschy or fancy, just something to tell the world that yes, I do!
P5 sound )
My top ten favorite Pizzicato Five songs. It wasn't easy to come up with this ranking, let me tell you!

1) Paraiso
2) Perfect World (single version) <--- This is the one that makes me explode the most!
3) My Bossa Nova
4) The Sound of Music
5) Wild Strawberries
6) Action Painting
7) London-Paris
8) Spellbound
9) Hori Made Hittotobi
10) Good

P.S. If there are any P5 fans out there that read this LJ (impossible, I know), raise your hand! We can explode with happiness together!


Jan. 11th, 2007 12:33 pm
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There's something wiggling in my brain, but I don't know its name. Something . . . it's like there was something I was supposed to do, or something I wanted to talk about, something urgent/relevant . . . It could just be a false alarm; maybe I got mixed up. I started writing to see if I could jog it loose, but no luck. Oh well. Here's a filler entry!

filler )
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9:00 - Ha ha ha. Ah, it's funny. I tend to talk to myself. Alot. Not in a crazy way, like I've got voices in my head or anything like that; I just think out loud, that's all. Though sometimes I get into arguments with myself and to the casual observer I might look a little nutty when I'm doing that. "No, fuck YOU!" Heh heh. I try to be careful not to let people catch me doing that, but often I'm so wrapped up in my own dialogue that I'm not aware of what I look like, talking and gesturing to myself. Sometimes they'll ask me why I talk to myself so much. My go-to answer, although a bit rude, is, "Because it's the only way to have an intelligent conversation around here!" All of which leads me to wonder, do I talk to myself because I'm alone, or do people leave me alone because I talk to myself? Ha ha ha.

10:30 - Ah, I'm having too much fun today. The job is getting close to being finished so the final clean-up crew has come in to tidy up the site and get it ready for Wal-Mart to move into. Since it's all cleaning stuff, the crew is mostly women. They're just a bunch of tourists to me, like a group of kids on a field trip, with their matching blue shirts and whatnot.
The funny thing I saw just now was one woman who was going to each porta-potty on the job site. She'd open the door, look inside, and then close the door and go to the next one. I guess she was trying to find a "nice" one. Ha ha ha. They're all more or less nasty, with tons of graffiti on the walls. The johns were clean when we got em, but after a year of being used by a hundred or so Mexicans . . . well, use your imagination. I don't know whose idea it was to give them all Sharpie markers, but it wasn't a good idea. I wondered which toilet would be up to her standards. The one with the cartoon woman wearing nothing but a sombrero? The port-a-potty of Picasso penises, perhaps? The mega-racist Sani-Can? Ah, but she can only choose one!

11:30 - "Where do you want to eat?"
"Somewhere close and not slow."
"There's Subway and Thundercloud, that's about it."
"Mmm, there's also a Wendy's, but that's kinda far."
"I'm tired of fucking burgers anyways."
" . . . Burger fucker!"

14:00 - This month's Discover (my favorite science magazine) had an article about the 25 greatest science books of all time. I figure, "Hell, maybe it's about time I read a book that doesn't have pictures in it." So during my lunch break I went to Barnes & Noble with the intention of buying #1 on the list, "The Voyage of the Beagle," by Charles Darwin. I had $17 in my pocket, enough for a book and lunch, I figured. But on my way to the science section, I passed by the manga section (coincidence? I think not) and noticed Genshiken #7 is on the shelf (only a month late). The one where Ohno-san turns the club into a cosplay cult! Yay! But uh-oh. What's it gonna be? Science or manga? Who will win out? The nerd or the otaku? Tough choice. Guess which one I bought . . . . Ha ha. Trick question! I bought both! But I read Genshiken first. (And now I'm really hungry.)


Genshiken opinion )

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