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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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So I’m spending my evenings checking out properties. Fighting rush hour to see as many places as I can before the sun sets is a bit of a contest. Last night I checked out the satellite communities of Hornsby Bend and Manor. The ‘historic’ area of Manor was quaint and cute and the neighborhood was full of young families. That might be a comfortable place to live, if I weren’t the only white-chocolate chip in the cookie jar. There were some good deals out there and I thought the Hornsby house in particular was really nice and had lots of open land around it, which would be a welcome change the crowdedness of being in town. But ugh, they’re so far out there. I ABHOR long commutes, which is why for the past 5 years I’ve opted to live in sketchy neighborhoods close to the office instead of living somewhere nicer and further away. When I do the math and realize that I’d be spending an extra hour or two in traffic, plus the added gas, and the inconvenience of having no stores or restaurants within 20 minutes; those are big minuses to me. I try to look at it in a positive light; with no restaurants nearby I’d probably eat healthier and be forced to be a more organized person since I can’t run to the store every time I need/forget something.
That was last night. Tonight I headed north and in towards town. More convenient locations but higher rents too. The houses are nicer, but also at the upper limit of my price range. Even though I could afford it in theory, I don't think I could bring myself to sign a four-figure rent check every month. The duplexes are more affordable but damn, they all look so jacked up. And me being as anti-social as I am, I don't relish the idea of being cheek-to-cheek with a random stranger for a year. I'd get a housemate if I wanted a housemate.
So, I gotta keep looking.
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cut for length, not girth )
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I made it home. The actual trip back was pretty nice, but once I got HOME home, it was a turd fest.
traveling gripes )
That was yesterday; it sucked. But it's in the past. Today I'm doing much better. (My sleep schedule is ba-zonkers, but that's to be expected.) Now! it's time to get ready for San Japan. Mm-hm, yes, mm-hm. I've got two (and a half?) days to get my cosplay done. Yikes! I know most people get that procrastinator's panic and can blast through a costume, but not me. I work at one speed and I get bored/distracted often, plus I refuse to take shortcuts. So it's gonna be a tight schedule. But hell, as much bitching as I've done in the past few weeks about NOT being able to cosplay, I'd be a punk-ass hypocrite if I DIDN'T burn like a cosplay supernova for the next couple days.
First, shopping for supplies, and then IT'S ON!
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When I got back into town on Friday, I was surprised at how short my grass was. It was shaggy, but nowhere near the 4-feet I was expecting. Then on Saturday I got a call from my landlord who said she'd driven by a few weeks ago and noticed that the grass was three feet high at the time. In my lease it says I'm responsible for maintaining the yard, so I fumbled the ball there. The reason my grass was short now was because she'd called in her lawn guys to take care of it, for $80 (which I now need to repay).
So today I was planning on getting myself a lawnmower and some yard tools. My yard is grassy, with bamboo all around the fence, which I like because it affords a good measure of privacy. As you can see, there's a few bamboo shoots trying to claim the yard for themselves. Personally, I'm enough of a weaboo that I wouldn't mind having a bamboo thicket in my backyard, but I was told I need to dig them up. I will (but I'm gonna transplant them!). While forming my plan of attack, I noticed I have a guest! See if you can find her.
Okay, there she is.
When I was little I would climb into our backyard trees and try to make nests out of yarn and sticks to try and entice birds to nest there. It never worked, of course. So I was a little excited to see a bird nesting in my backyard today. But once I noticed her, I was all, "Can I even mow my lawn now?" Her nest is barely ten feet above the ground. I don't want to freak her out or make her abandon her nest or anything. I've been out of town for a month, it must've been a nice quiet nest until I showed back up. Hmm. Maybe I'll get an electric mower and strap a pillow over it.
I dunno, I know I need to cut the grass sooner or later, somehow.
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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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And another weekend bites the dust.
Saturday . . . I spent half the day at a training thing for work. 7 am to 1 pm. That blew chunks. Once I got back home I farted around until it came time for the Be-jewelled Sweater Spectacular (otherwise known as Cat's birthday party-thing). We all gathered at Mitch&Matt's place to work on cosplay and sweaters. Half the people took off to Goodwill to find the appropriate sweaters. The rest stayed behind to work. We popped "Rescuers Down Under" into the tv to have some background noise, and although I haven't seen that movie in nearly 20 years, I started quoting that thing verbatim. It freaked me out; it was as if Disney had programmed me ala the Manchurian Candidate. It wasn't as bad as when it happens to be "Aladdin," but still, it was a bit frightening.
After they got back from shopping we went to Razzoo's for Cat's B-day dinner. I'm not a big fan of Cajun food since I have a delicate, gentle, and fairy-like gastrointestinal tract but I figured I'd give it a go and I ordered the big-ass Cajun sampler. The best part about going there were the drinks. Beauty had the right idea of going straight to that menu. We got this huge-ass aquarium of a mixed drink that serves 4. It had punch and vodka and everclear and who-knows-what. We all sipped at it non-stop like parched gerbils at a water bottle. Then my food came and commenced to set my mouth on fire with it's unholy spices. And what did I have to drink to quench my thirst? Just the Gator Punch. . . . . Yeah, that was poor planning on my part.
Back at the apartment we had birthday cake and naughty bedtime stories and worked on stuff and watched a marathon of America's Next Top Model, etc etc etc. We didn't get out of there till 3.
Of course I slept in this morning. My plan had been to go over to Jenny's later to continue working on costume stuff. But I could no longer ignore how messy my house was, or how I was running low on groceries. So instead of cosplay, I just did chores most of the day. Boring stuff, but it feels good to be responsible once in a while.

Our super-awesome adult beverage.
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I spent most of this weekend sitting on my butt, killing zombies. I'm mostly house-bound at the moment since I need to be watching my money right now. I gotta say, my patience for being poor is starting to wear thin. This has been the most expensive move I've ever done; it's caught me by surprise. Easily over $2000 in extra rent, deposits, fees, bills, and other random 'surprises'. I could really use some overtime to help me get ahead of these bills. I'm just hoping I can get the bulk of it paid off while I'm still under the 'introductory 0% interest' phase of my card; after that the blood-sucking begins. But I shouldn't be all 'the glass is half empty'. After all, while I was in Louisiana last week my boss called me to let me know that I'd be getting a 1.5% pay raise, in recognition of my willingness to work out-of-town for long periods, like in Dallas. I almost chuckled; if they knew how many problems Dallas created for me, I think I'd be getting more than 1.5%. But that's not really relevant. Even though the extra money is almost insignificant, it's the thought that counts, considering that our company has been under a pay-raise and hiring freeze ever since the financial meltdown. The fact that I'm getting anything at all is a significant gesture.
I didn't intend to talk about money. It just came out. Anyways, I went up to Dallas on Saturday to pick up some furniture from my brother. I figured $45 in gas was worth getting a free drafting table and sofa. But they hadn't actually gotten around to buying their new couch so all I got was the table. That was kinda lame. While I was there, I laid my best Austin sales pitch on him to try and talk him into visiting me once in a while. I told him about the upcoming Sherwood Faire and Super Happy Fun Monkey Bash (which I'm trying to gather a group for). While cruising the Drafthouse website, we accidentally clicked on the clip below and impulsively bought tickets for that one-night-only showing. So I guess we're doing that on Wednesday night! Ha ha ha. It looks retarded and fun.


So anyhoo,

Jan. 5th, 2010 07:12 pm
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I was pretty busy that week between Christmas and New Year's. So busy in fact, that I didn't write nothing. Now I've got the time!
Holiday Week report (sorry, no pics here) )
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I've been meaning to do a year-in-review post for a couple weeks now and if I don't do it already, it' ain't gonna get done. So better late than never. I liked the format that [livejournal.com profile] opheliasavalon used, so that's what I'll be using. I've gotta say, thank goodness for LiveJournal; I would've forgotten 99% of this year without these cliff notes to refer to.

2009, for what it's worth )
It was a tough year.
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It’s been a melancholy evening. Tonight I effectively moved out of our apartment. Starting tonight I’ll be sleeping at my house. I’ll still need to go back a time or two to clean up and turn in my keys, but I felt a sense of finality when I locked the apartment door behind me this time.
Liz wasn’t there when I left; she’d headed out a couple hours earlier. But maybe she noticed it too, because as she was leaving she said, “In case I don’t see you again . . .” She didn’t finish. I don’t know what I expected her to say. I wasn’t planning on saying a big goodbye tonight, anyways.
Ever since I got back from Dallas, living with her has been wearing on my patience. It’s been difficult just to maintain civility towards each other, and I’d been counting the days till she’d be out of my life once and for good. I’d been looking forward to getting away from her selfishness and insecurity and her devil cat. That’s why I’m partly surprised that I do feel sad now that it’s finally time for us to part. Maybe it’s regret that we didn’t work out, maybe it’s disappointment when I look at where I was a year ago and my prospects looked so much brighter, maybe it’s the non-Christmas alone that I have to look forward to. All of these, none of these, I don’t know.
I know in the morning I’ll probably feel fine; a night’s sleep is all I usually ever need to hit my emotional reset button. Tonight though, is pretty blue.
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Moving has been going rather well. I think part of the reason it’s going so easily is since I didn’t do hardly any cosplay this year, all of my gear and cosplay crap is still packed up from the last move. (And I no longer have the titanic Catbus to lug around; he needed his own damn moving van.) Even though I need to be careful with money this month I scrimped together enough to buy a couple rugs (and a cinnamon bun) from Ikea. The house is mostly tiled and could use a few strategic areas of carpet. I also bought one of those latex mesh . . . under-rug things that you use to keep rugs from sliding around. Anyone who’s worked with latex knows that it reeks of ammonia and as soon as I opened that bag, whoa. It was strong. I decided to let it air out for a while and continued with unpacking stuff. I’d often forget about it and find myself wondering, "It smells like formaldehyde in here, what the hell were those last renters into? High school biology? Cooking meth? Necrophilia? Oh wait, it’s the Ikea stuff. Duh."
Even though the spare bedroom is kinda small I think it’ll make for a good cosplay workshop. With my mad Jenga skillz I was able to tetris most of my cosplay bins into the closet, leaving the floorspace mostly uncluttered. Except for that huge burrito of tarps, catbus fur, and foam that I hadn’t bothered with since TRF. That needed to be put away too so I unrolled it and BAM! I was hit in the face with a smokehouse, ribs and all. The fabric was clean and dry, but smelled strongly of woodsmoke, woodsmoke, woodsmoke. I had a sudden craving for turkey legs. I didn’t actually get around to putting away the fur and foam. Okay, I didn’t get anything done because I stretched out and fell asleep on top of the fur pallet. So soft . . .
My neighbor’s bass guitar woke me up a little while later. Thanks, I didn’t need a nap anyways. I got back to organizing crap into the closet and opened up the fabric bin that I’d taken to TRF. The fabric smelled dirty, but looked clean. I mean, it smelled EARTHY. That was odd, but the material looked clean so I put it away in the closet drawers anyways. As I got deeper into the bin, I realized that there was a 5th grade science project going on in there. MILDEW! It was all damp and furry in there. Blech. That’s what that “earthy” smell had been. I threw away the pieces of material that had already started to evolve and hung up the other pieces to dry. Thankfully, none of the good pieces had turned into a biohazard, but they still stunk. As soon as I move over my washer and dryer, they’re first in line for a wash.
Not counting the plethora of aromas now in the house, I’m making good progress getting settled in. Now that it’s starting to look like someone lives there, it’s getting harder to resist the urge to go shopping for the stuff I need/want for the house. TV, couch, shelves, lawn-mower, microwave, etc. And it wasn’t until last night that I noticed, "There’s no dishwasher. . . Huh." Ha ha ha. I guess that just shows how much importance I place on kitchen-y stuff.
So yeah, that’s about all that’s going on with me right now.

P.S. New Weezer makes me bouncy.

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?

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