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This week was Thanksgiving holiday break. I didn’t have anything planned; it just sorta snuck up on me before I knew it. I told myself that I’d spend the time off planning for school and getting ahead of things. For the first few days I worked towards that goal but my motivation dropped off as I started to get bored with the ample free time. We didn’t have any family coming over so there really weren’t any demands on my schedule. I killed time the first few days by playing games and going to the movies, but that started to wear thin fairly quickly.
Earlier this month I’d gone to a science teacher conference in San Antonio along with a handful of colleagues. I don’t know if I’d say the trip was worthwhile, but the highlight was the last night we were there and we went out to a comedy club and drinking together. The girls had been drinking it up evening. Unbeknownst to me, my male roommate had been turning down their invites on both of our behalfs. That sucked. But the last night was fun and I got to know those teachers as people. They’re chemistry teachers so our paths don’t cross too much, but it was still encouraging.
So this week I texted Brittney, the teacher I’d gotten along best with, to see what she was up to. If our convention trip was any indication, I figured she might be game for hanging out and drinks or whatever. Sunday we texted, Monday we met up for drinks at her place. Since she’s only recently moved to DFW, her local friends-base is virtually non-existent, which works out in my favor I suppose. And since she’s only moved in a month ago, she didn’t even have any furniture. We drank and went over to her neighbor’s place, where they were grilling. They were kinda an average, almost country bunch, but after a few drinks I talked the talk and walked the walk as well. Brittney joined them in smoking. It amused me that she seemed almost embarrassed to smoke in front of me, when in fact I was glad she felt she could just be herself. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d met someone brand-spanking-new and had the pretenses drop away so quickly.
Wednesday we did it again. This time she’d acquired a table and chairs so we stayed at her place. We drank, listened to music, played Gin Rummy (which she taught me and I won at), she smoked, etc. In this somewhat more intimate setting I had to be continually remind myself not to optimistically misinterpret the situation. As attractive and fun and cool as she is, I had to keep in mind that attraction is not the same as chemistry. Plus, we work together so that’s a whole other reason to refrain. Maybe I’ve just been single too long and now I’m prone to over-react to any gestures of friendliness. But I behaved.
By the end of the night, either Brittney had had too much weed, or booze, or was just tired, but she reached this point where the conversation stopped dead and she was fixated on her salsa and chips. I figured it was just the munchies and would pass, but after a few minutes she went to her bedroom and passed out. We’d been having a great, relaxed conversation, but it was like she hit a wall and was done. I was kinda bummed that the evening ended so abruptly but I understood what it’s like when your body just tells you that you’re done.
Saturday I went to a French-themed Friendsgiving party. I made a quiche which turned out surprisingly well. We ate and ate and ate. The only booze there was wine, which I’m not really into, so about 9 I was still sober and kinda getting bored so I headed out. It was early and this was the last night of my Thanksgiving holiday week, so I felt restless. I texted Brittney and we decided to go out and do something.
We ended up at a “hookah bar” near her place. I use the quotes because it was unlike any hookah bar that I’ve been to, and not in a good way. It was like part sports bar, part restaurant, part dance club, with hookah service. I wasn’t a fan of the flavors we smoked so I focused on my booze instead. Brittney got up and danced a bit, enticing other ladies to join her. It was amusing to see how people just gravitated towards her. Eventually the booze made up for what the atmosphere lacked and we were laughing and having a fun conversation. We gave the place a shot but after an hour or two we were bored and there wasn’t much point in continuing to waste money there so we headed out.
Just as we were pulling out of the parking lot, Brittney said, “I have to take this call.” It seemed to be an ex-boyfriend. It was interesting to hear Brittney’s vocabulary and demeanor change so strongly. Every other word was “bruh.” I was laughing on the inside. She talked the whole drive back, then when we got back to her place she excused herself to the patio and kept talking. I tried to keep myself pre-occupied for the next hour and ignore the conversation but Brittney was loud and animated. The snippets I heard sounded like they were dredging up ancient history; stuff like, “we didn’t work out because …”. That’s not anything I wanted to eavesdrop on. I didn’t like the feel of that conversation at all. What kind of married guy calls up an ex-girlfriend late on a Saturday night to talk about their relationship? It made me uncomfortable and also I felt a bit grumpy. We’d been having such a good time and now I was completely being ignored. After an hour of trying to be patient, I left.
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Ooo, it’s been a fun, busy holiday break. It’s so difficult going back to being responsible again.
Christmas-y poos
We finished up our work in Denton on the 22nd. I stuck around for an additional day when I found out that my mom was visiting my brother. I didn’t want to make separate return trip to pay my respects on Christmas, so this was a fortunate coincidence. We spent the day entirely at their place; my mom ooh-ing and aah-ing over baby Lilly, Kat and Cameron playing video games, while I fiddled with cosplay. It was a low-key but still pleasant visit.
Before I left DFW I also visited David and Kelly’s place, where I’ll be staying this year. They’ve got a nice house with plenty of space and better yet, they’re remodeling the place. I’ll be able to make use of my dormant carpentry skills and lends them a hand (and my power tools). I’m excited about staying there.
Back in Austin I jumped straight into building the Man Cave version 4.0. It’s not the highest priority project on my list, but it’s such a big project that I need to get it done while I still have my spacious house to work in. I like to think this will be the final version of this party tent.
Jenny, Beauty, and Mel came by for the remnants of my Krampusnacht celebration. Having just arrived back in Austin the day before, I only had enough time to get the basic party refreshments; honestly, this was just an excuse to do some drinking without eggnog or ugly sweaters. We chilled at my place for an hour before relocating to a karaoke bar down the road. There were a lot of black people there, for some sort of Xmas gathering, it seemed. The one young goth couple was amusingly out-of-place. On our way out we met a cute faux-hawked girl by the name Maybelline. Yeah, seriously.
Between Krampus and Karaoke, I was too worn out to join Jenny and Beauty for their LudaCristmas bar crawl the next night. The highlight of my Christmas was going to see “Django Unchained.” It was pretty cool. When I returned from the theater, I was surprised to find my mom at my house. Apparently she’d left Dallas a day early, to avoid the ice and snow forecasted for the 26th. I only had to endure the motherly inquisition for that evening; she left early the next morning.

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

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

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

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

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Things may not be as bad up here as I first assumed. No one bothered to inform me of the relevant details that would’ve improved my attitude about coming back here. The workload has dropped off considerably, from 4 drill rigs to just one. Now it’s just a one man job, not like when I was scrambling trying to be in four places at once. From what I can gather, this remaining drill rig is working one of the last structures, so there shouldn’t be more than a month or two of work left to do. Since the workload here can be handled by one inspector, if I were to come up here again, it would only be for when the full-time guy takes his one week off each month.
The prospect of working just a week per month is a magnitude of difference compared to working 3 weeks a month. I’d have no complaints to that option. Combining that with my Texas work schedule, I’d be making double my base pay, plus I’d be racking up the frequent flier miles very quickly.
This is a huge relief. I can start looking towards the future optimistically and make plans, rather than limiting my thoughts just to the day immediately before me.
I return to Austin on the first of December and I’ll take the following week off to start packing up my house and move it into storage. On the 10th I’ll join the drillers for one more 10-day shift up in DFW before a 2-week break for the holidays. I would like to see my brother for Christmas but I know that drive will be horrendous and it doesn’t seem worth it just to hang out for a few hours. So without any other DFW-centric plans, I don’t think I’ll be going up there. I don’t know if Jenny and Beauty will be hosting their traditional New Year’s Eve party since they’re also moving house in December. So for the time being I have no real holiday plans. We’ll see what comes up.
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I think most peeps on my friends list are represented on FB, but just in case:

If you'd like to receive a Happy Holidays card this season, comment here with your address and you'll soon find a surprise in your mailbox!
Comments are screened, of course.
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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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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!

Derpa derp

Dec. 3rd, 2009 07:50 pm
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Let's see . . . so that crazy-weird snow a couple days ago kicked me out of Dallas. Even though that blew a royal-sized hole in my work schedule, on the plus side, it gave me the opportunity to get my ass back to Austin and slam down a deposit on that house I wanna get (chase that silver lining, Cody!). It took all of 15 minutes to get that lease squared away, I was surprised at how easy it was. Unless everything goes haywire, I should be getting the keys tomorrow. Oo yay! I won't have any utilities for a week or two, but I've got all month to move in. I'm just glad that I've got the living situation thing taken care of.
Of course, my wallet is at death's door since I have to pay TRIPLE RENT this month. Woof. It's gonna be tight, but I should be okay as long as I'm careful the next couple weeks. *holds breath* It's kinda lame, since right now Best Buy's offering a bundle package on HD tvs and PS3s for $1000 off. That's a steal (and I do need a tv for my new place). But it's bad timing for me.
Oh! And I sent out the Christmas cards today. Yay! With that I've fulfilled my holiday duties. Family said, "Don't buy any presents and nobody visits nobody, because we're all broke." I'm okay with that. Since I don't have any presents to buy this year, I allowed myself to splurge on the cards a little. Though now I have a buttload of leftover cards and stamps. I might just start sending them to people whether they want one or not.
That means Christmas is shaping up to be a quiet non-holiday for me. Liz will be celebrating with her family so I'll have the apartment mostly to myself. I think I'll use the days off to pack and move into my new place. Not the most enviable way to spend the holidays, but it's the only guaranteed time I'll have off. Gotta make hay while the sun shines, right?

Last call!

Nov. 30th, 2009 05:55 pm
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You know you want a piece of this live, hot, Christmas card action. Speak now or forever hold your peace! I'll be sending them out this week.

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