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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 . . .

Eclipse

Mar. 30th, 2011 06:55 pm
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The sun has almost disappeared
Once again.
And now I can't see you
Once again.


Japan Day 6: Hakone to Kyoto )
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My doctor asked me
If this summer
I am going to take a holiday,
If I am going anywhere.
"I don’t care
Where you go,
As long as you promise me
Not to sunbathe."


Japan Day 5: Hakone )
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If god comes whispering in my ear
'How do you like the wine?'
I would be just too happy
To offer him,
'Please have some'


Japan Day 2: Shinjuku & Akihabara )
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"the first time
the two of us
ever spoke to each other
was a Thursday afternoon
in May"


Today's itinerary is going off the schedule a little bit. I'll stay in Shinjuku this a.m. I'll be checking out Uniqlo and Mugi, two popular clothing stores known for offering cheap but stylish and casual clothes. I'm not sure I'll even be able to find anything that fits me; I've heard the rumor that Americans have a hard time finding their sizes a time or two. I don't mind if I don't find anything. I'm just curious to check out what they've got.
Then I'll be going to Tokyu Hands, a Do-It-Yourself department store that offers quite a bit of cosplay materials. I'm going to do some investigation into the cosplay ways of the Japanese and smuggle out their technology.
In the afternoon I'll head up to Akihabara, the electronics/otaku district. I'll check that out for a while before meeting up with Kelly for dinner. She's a fellow Texan cosplayer, currently here for a teaching gig. (This may be the best meal I get all week! *drool*)
So yeah, that's the plan. I wonder if it'll hold up . . .
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Ooo, it’s been a totally unplanned (but fun) weekend so far. It all started once upon a time . . . *cue twinkly SFX and wavy blur*
I needed to go back to Wichita Falls to do some reconnaissance for work. Overall it meant I’d be doing 12 hours of driving and 2 hours of hiking. That would’ve added up to one very long workday so I planned instead to drive partway there on Thursday, spend the night at my brother’s in Carrollton, and then knock out the rest of the job Friday so I could get back to Austin at a decent hour. Easy peasy, right?
It didn’t quite work out that way. On the drive up, I started seeing snow about Hillsboro and thought, "Is this what everyone is complaining about? This is nothing! There isn’t even enough ice to make a dirt raspa. These people are babies!" Then I hit the Dallas city limits and boom! Ice on the highway. My windshield soon got covered with mud and slush and of course I had no washer fluid to clear it away with. So I was driving blind, on ice, through the Dallas MixMaster. That was not fun. But I called upon all my training from Canada and amazing driving reflexes from my pizza delivery days and my knowledge of physics, biology, and engineering and I triumphed.
By the time I got to Cameron’s place I’d decided I wasn’t doing any more driving. I’d gotten in, but I wouldn’t be getting out. He and his wife had been home-bound for four days and in pajamas for nearly as long. (At least the cold kept the smell down.) I hadn’t brought any supplies with me so the big question was what to do for food?
Somehow or another we managed to make plans to go get dinner with Cat & Kevin. They were even worse off than us. Their apartment gate was literally frozen solid so they could only eat within walking distance of their apartment. At least we could drive, albeit very slowly. I wasn’t too sure how this would turn out, I’ve never mixed my family with cosplay friends before. But it turns out that nerds are nerds are nerds, just in different flavors. LOLcats was the perfect universally understood ice-breaker. I felt it was a fun dinner.
Overnight we got about 4 inches of new snow. It was pretty, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to try driving in it. Work would have to wait till the thaw. Katherine was actually "work" working from home so Cameron and I went outside to play around for awhile and buried her car in snow. Then we got bored enough to risk a drive to the supermarket for booze and steak. It was fun to watch people slipping and falling on their asses in the parking lot. Back at the apartment, we set up a little man camp on the balcony, set the beers in the snow, barbecued our meat, and had some quality bro time.
After steak and beers I exercised some poor judgment. I decided I’d accept Stephanie’s invitation to meet for drinks. Slightly tipsy + driving at night + on ice + in a COMPANY vehicle + with bad tires = not very smart. I fishtailed once and that sobered me up INSTANTLY. But even with my recovered stats, it was still a suck-ass drive. 80 minutes to drive 30 miles. Ridiculous. But I would not admit defeat!
Our mutual cosplay friends didn’t show, just a few of Stephanie’s law school buds. There was me, Steph, Lorraine/Lauren?, Amy, and Amy’s cleavage. I only mention the fifth guest because the groundhog had seen his shadow, meaning that there would be six more weeks of turtlenecks. So this unexpected, but welcome glimpse of bosom was telling me, "Yes Cody, Spring WILL come. Keep the faith!" "Okay boobs, I’ll stay strong." MMmmm, boobs . . .
The girls were cool. I learned a lot about Law, mostly that 1) I could never hack it in the law profession, and 2) I need to watch more Law & Order marathons if I’m going to go drinking with them again. Nah, we talked about all sorts of crap. Stephanie had kept her cosplay past a secret from them so when they asked how we knew each other, I had to make up some story about our days at the Austin soup kitchen. I thought it was a good story.
I was surprised that one of them actually knew what a civil engineer was. In my 6 years of being one, I’ve NEVER met a non-engineer who knew that. Furthermore, she was quite familiar with the client I was working for this very weekend. I was like, “Shit, you know my job better than me. Who are you?” Cool gals, we had fun. Next thing I knew it was one a.m. and time to depart. It was definitely worth the hassle of the being an ice-road trucker.
I slept in this morning, giving the sun plenty of time to melt the snow and clear the roads. I went up to the job site and slopped around in the meltwater mud for a couple hours then turned around and headed back to Austin. As I drove south, the snow disappeared from the landscape bit by bit until there wasn’t a speck of white to be seen. As if the snow and ice had just been an unpleasant dream. That was fine by me. I’d had my fill of the stuff.

It lives!

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

Talk about Japan trip )

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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"Dimé un pollo medio," I say, ordering my dinner at a food stand in a gas station parking lot.
"U . . . juan haff cheeken?" the guy behind the counter asks in 'English'. It takes my ears and brain a few seconds to decipher that he's asking me if I 'want half a chicken'.
"Yes," I reply. Half a chicken would be perfect. If I'm really super-duper lumberjack hungry, I can eat a whole chicken. But I'm trying to be a little more responsible so I'm just going to get the half chicken. Besides, it comes with beans and rice too; that's a whole meal right there. As yummy as this pollo asado tastes, I know it's got to be bad for me so let's try and minimize the damage.
So I wait. And wait and wait, in the parking lot. It seems like it's taking him quite a while to bag up my food. Finally he calls me, "Señor," and brings my food to the window. I hand him a twenty.
And then two thoughts simultaneously get jammed in my brain. "Why isn't he giving me any change?" and "That bag looks awfully big." Then boom! I figure it out. He said, "One AND a half cheeken," which costs exactly $20. I don't know if it was his Engrish or my Spanrish that screwed up the transaction, but I'm an embarrassed white guy so I try not to act surprised, just act like a fatty instead and take the food.
So that was dinner tonight, double portions of chicken, rice, and beans. I feel about ten months pregnant right now.

At least I know what I'll be having for dinner tomorrow night!
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According to what I've heard, today is the closest thing Canada has to an Independence Day. I think it's called Canada Day (I don't know for sure, I'm trying to keep my Canadian trivia knowledge to a minimum). So our field bosses decided that it would be a good morale boost to celebrate with a lunchtime barbecue for all our guys. Of course that required a good bit of organizing, such as a four hour drive to town to get groceries (pretty much one supervisor paid for it all out of his own pocket), then filing for a permit to have an open flame outdoors, and requesting supervision from the environmental office in case a bear shows up for the picnic.
When I heard about this, my first question was, "Are Americans invited?" The answer, yes. My hopes rose and my next question was, "What about nightshift?" The answer was, "We'll save a lot of food for you." Awesome! This was very good news.
I don't think I've talked too much about the camp food up here, so I'll digress for a bit. For camp food standards, it's pretty good. But the menu is small and repeats often and I've been eating it for 4 months now. Therefore I have it memorized. The taste of this camp food is burned in my brain. Even when I'm on break back in Austin, I can still taste the food. Next time you see me, quiz me on any food item. I can describe it in excruciating detail. To put it simply, I'm so tired of the camp food that I skip meals rather than eat the same stuff over and over again.
So when I heard about this barbecue, I was excited. Even if it's just mediocre hamburgers and hot dogs, I'll still be happy. Just so long as it's not camp food. I even mentioned this aloud as me and the nightshift were driving back to camp this morning. "Is it sad that I'm really excited about this barbecue?" Yes, came the answer, amidst the laughter. But I'm sure they were looking forward to it too.

As soon as I got into the office today, I sniffed around, hunting for the aroma of brisket or sloppy joes or chicken, even. I asked the first engineer I saw how the barbecue went. He said it had been a success. An early morning thunderstorm had shut down work just about noon, which allowed all of the technicians to come into the office just in time for the barbecue. They'd grilled burgers and hot dogs and had all the fixings, with potato salad and coleslaw and cake and soda.
Then he told me about the thieves. Our engineers had set aside a big portion of everything for us in the office fridge. Sometime during the afternoon, other people in the trailer raided the fridge and ate almost everything. By the time our guys figured out what was happening, only two burgers and three hot dogs were left. The surviving food went into 24-hour lock-down.
My boss told me to distribute the food among the field guys. No barbecue for us office personnel.

D:

Well, there is a bucket of coleslaw left.

X[
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I spent a couple days up in Lewisville with the runt. We didn't do too much, just mostly hung out. He's out of school and has no job at the moment, so his schedule was wide open. Mostly it was going out to eat and video games. It was fun to hang out with him; I should've done it earlier this week. We watched "The A-Team," which had ridiculous action, but exceeded my non-existent expectations.
Today though, has been a fiasco from the start. I go back to Canada tomorrow so I left Lewisville at the crack of dawn to get back to Austin so that I'd have all day to get packed and otherwise organized. When I got back to Austin I noticed that I had a new voicemail on my home phone from Cameron. I wondered, "Why'd he call? To say goodbye or something?" The message: Hey Cody, you forgot your laptop up here.
Aw fucknuts.
I had the laptop power adapter and it's wireless mouse with me in the truck; how had I forgotten the laptop itself? So mere minutes after returning to Austin, I got back in my truck and turned right around back to Dallas. The entire drive back I was kicking myself in the ass. God I swear I am so freaking absent-minded. I don't know what it is. ADD? There's a hole in my brain big enough to sail an aircraft carrier through. All the gingko-biloba and mnemonics in the world won't patch up that hole. Like this weekend, Cameron, Katherine, and I went to this fancy Italian restaurant up there. Something called Mangio's or Mannioto's--I don't know. But it was fancy. Split-level dining room, everything is built out of wood, chandeliers on the ceiling, candles on the tables, etc. I'm like, Wow. Fancy. Good thing I didn't wear jeans today. Sometime during the meal I excuse myself to go to the bathroom. I go in there and notice that . . . all of the toilets are stalls.
At this point a normal human brain would have spoken up: Hey Cody, you're in the ladies' room. Get out quick. But not my brain. Mine's got wires crossed or something. Honestly, my thought process was this: . . . Hmm . . . No urinals. . . . Well, this IS a pretty fancy Italian restaurant. I guess over there in Europe, urinals might be considered tacky or vulgar. Stalls are more discrete, I guess. Hm. This is a pretty classy place. They're really European here." So I go do my business, convinced this is normal. Five minutes later I'm washing my hands that a woman comes in the door behind me. Our eyes meet in the mirror (I don't know which one of us was more confused) and THAT'S when I realize I'm in the ladies room. Honestly, I think there's something wrong with my brain.
So I drove back to Dallas, got my laptop, and turned around again. Instead of 3 hours of driving today, I spent 10. Weeee. On the way back I stopped at the Schlotzsky's in Hillsboro for a late lunch. I was displeased to see that they've discontinued my favorite sandwich, but whatever, they're all pretty similar. While eating my sandwich, I bit my lip, with my canine, hard. I jumped an inch out of my chair. My lip is bleeding, that's how deep of a gouge it is. I keep eating . . . and bite myself again. SAME SPOT. I jerk like someone zapped me. God that hurt. Now every time I take a bite of my sandwich, I leave a spot of blood on the bun. The rim of my cup has blood on it. By now my lip's getting a bit swollen where I bit it, so I try to be more . . . mindful of how I'm chewing. But apparently I was over-thinking it because, BAM! I bit myself a third time in the same damn spot. It hurts worse every time! I jumped up again and nearly cursed out loud. I managed to finish eating my metallic-tasting sandwich without further injuring myself. I move on to my chips. The usual. . . . Salt & Vinegar. Normally they're not a problem. Then again, normally I can safely feed myself. One salt-encrusted, vinegar-soaked chip touched my open wound and LIT IT UP. That brought tears to my eyes but since my mouth was full of food, my cry of pain came out only as a moo of pain. That was it. I gave up.
Today has not been my day. I'd prefer to savor my last night here in civilization, but I think it would be wiser to stay home where it's safe (I hope).
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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 like to think my new health regimen is going well. I only pigged out the first day I was here. Ever since then I eat just cereal and fruit for breakfast and a sandwich and fruit for lunch. By dinnertime though I'm friggin' tired of fruit and I'm voracious. It doesn't help that the cafeteria serves such awesome food. I'm eating better now than any other time in my life. They serve everything from nazi-vegan to nom-nom-oink comfort food. Just last night they served bison and salmon. Holy moly, I've tried so many new foods here that I never would've tried on my own.
I've been working out every night too. It's actually not as tough or self-conscious as I would've expected. I actually get more into it when there's lots of people in the gym. The one time I had the place to myself I totally half-assed my routine. I've found working out to be surprisingly enjoyable. Except for crunches; I still hate those. And jogging does not come easy for this once-asthmatic kid but I stick with it.
I want to stick to a daily routine but I'm starting to think that I might not be able to keep it up. Yesterday when I got back to the lodge and out of my 30-lbs of gear, I looked in the mirror and wondered what I had done to my face. My eyes were black. I checked my gloves for soot or oil, thinking I might've rubbed my eyes, but they were clean. Then I realized that my eyes weren't dirty, they were just very very dark from fatigue. We're working 12-14 hour days and I typically have just 3 hours between quitting time and bedtime. One of those goes to the gym, leaving just 2 hours for dinner, laundry, and a small slice of me-time. I really should try to get more rest, especially considering how the nurses warned us of the SnP virus that's going around camp. ("Shitting and Puking," their very words). The little spare time I do have, I spend chatting with the new people I'm meeting online. I could start going to bed earlier and this 3-week shift would fly by but my nightly chats are really the only personal time I have. I need to find some balance.
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The puddle-jumper plane left Calgary, bounced through Edmonton, and then took us north of the Fort. As we flew further and further north, the landscape turned from brown ( Calgary ) and became whiter and whiter ( Edmonton ). We landed at an airstrip with a small trailer as the 'terminal'. I got the feeling I was the only newbie in the group, so I just followed the group as it made a beeline for the bus waiting near the edge of the tarmac. But a nagging voice in my head asked, "But . . . what about our luggage?"
It was a forty-minute drive down a long dirt road. Our bus and all the vehicles I saw were all covered in the same brown mud we were driving over. I was kinda disappointed by the scenery. I guess I'd been expecting lush, green wilderness like what I'd seen in "The Journey of Natty Gann" (oddly, that's the first Canadian-ish movie that first came to mind, either that or the Homeward Bound with the talking pets, but I don't know where that was filmed). Anyways, everything was brown and dead. Even though everything's blooming back in Austin, it's still winter here. I was sort of pleased to see that I'm back in the land of my favorite tree, but for now the aspens are just white tree trunks. Hopefully things will green up around here soon.
We arrived at the lodge and when I saw it I thought I'd been duped once again by the project manager. Back in Austin, I didn't really know what to expect to find up here. Would the accommodations be a dormitory, a work camp (as in cabins), or tents, or what? He told me that it was like an extended stay hotel. I found that hard to believe as there was no city or even permanent road on the map I'd been looking at. When the bus pulled up at the 'lodge', I was reminded of that documentary I'd seen about the Antarctic science station, which is pretty much made entirely out of cargo containers. Great. It looked like this was going to be a barracks-style camp, complete with bunkbeds and communal showers.
Although the exterior looked spartan, the inside could've been a hotel. Front desk, a store, gym, cafeteria, even a bar; it was decked out. There were tons of people hanging out, the atmosphere vaguely reminded me of a college dorm, except that everyone here was an adult. And it was a mix unlike any I'd seen on any job in five years. Men, women (OMG), young and old. Wow.
I got signed in and went to my room. It was cozy, but well-appointed. A room all to myself with a leather recliner, flat-screen, and fridge? And totally free? This sure beat the hell out of the primitive camp I'd been fearing. It was obvious that a lot of money had gone into this facility. Once I got settled in I called my contact. He was out in the field so he told me to just get dinner and relax and he'd see me in the morning.
I hadn't eaten before the flight because I didn't want a repeat of last time so I was famished at this point. That cafeteria was AWESOME! Friggin' prime rib and shrimp for dinner! I skipped the shrimp, considering I'm 500-some miles from sea, but otherwise I totally stuffed myself. Free, GOOD food? Man, it's going to take some real willpower to not turn into a total butterball while I'm here. I guess I'll be stopping by the gym in the evenings. This is a dry camp, so there ain't much else to do in the evenings. Might as well work out, eh?
After stuffing myself, I lugged myself up to my room and flopped into bed. I gotta say, I think I might enjoy my time up here.
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I had actually started writing a fun light-hearted post this morning, but everything went fucking bonkers this afternoon and now I'm too stressed, aggravated, and tired to follow through with the funny stuff.
The good news: After two days of being in limbo, I will finally be getting on a plane to Calgary tomorrow. So that means no more wondering and waiting. It's really going to happen.
The bad news: Once I get there, I'll have a dozen different things to pay for that I can't afford and my company's being a penny-pinching dildo about giving me any money in advance. They won't even give me money for food and lodging (which are basic needs), but they expect me to also be renting a car, chartering a flight to the Fort, and buying $300 snow boots, amongst other things. What the fuck? They sign my paychecks. They know I don't make that kind of money. When I get up there they'll have to cough up the money somehow, so I don't know why they're being so damned stubborn about it.
*sigh* So tomorrow's gonna be a lot of not-fun. Once I get on the plane I'll be able to relax; someone else will be holding the reins for the 7-9 hours it takes to get there. Right now though I'm still pretty wound up. I want to stay in tonight and relax, but since my cupboard is bare, I think I'll go somewhere that serves beer and have a long, indulgent dinner. That should help me decompress. Oh, and if I have enough steam left over after that, I'll go to 6th Street and get my official Texan uniform to wear tomorrow. ;)
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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!

July 2017

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