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Woof.
It feels like all week I’ve been playing “Catch-Up.” With the internet, work, home stuff, family, friends, etc. Heck, I haven’t even posted in a week. So whaddya say we get that Louisianime post out of the way while I can still partially remember it?

Louisianime )


CLICK ON THE PIC TO SEE THE ALBUM

P.S. I've almost finished editing my Dragon*Con pictures so they'll be up soon . . . ish.
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(Wrestling name or porn name? Maybe both?)
So after just a couple of days here in the Big Easy, my job has finished prematurely (unlike me). That’s a bit of a disappointment since I only now just managed to flip my sleep schedule, plus the work is easy and abundant. I could’ve made mad overtime on this job. I’ve done the math and I only "work" five minutes out of every hour. Okay, I also push a button occasionally, but really, this job is a big generous piece of cheesecake. Mmm. That’s why I’m writing this post, because I’ve got lots of time to kill and space to fill. I’m not going to lie, there’s been lots of talking to myself the past few nights. (Psst, this post is gonna have a lot of rambling if you haven’t already figured it out. Get out while you can!)
Hey, how about a few pictures to spice up my bland windbaggery? )
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I was driving on the I-10 overpass through New Orleans (looking fruitlessly for a Wal-Mart). And while driving over a historic cemetery, I think, "That looks cool . . . hey! I know that place! It's from Left for Dead!" Ha ha ha. Recognizing a place because it's from a game. Oye. Maybe when I get some spare time I'll go do a closet-cosplay of Ellis there and take my picture. Ha ha.
And now, I'm gonna go kill some zombies in the Parish.


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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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Last night we went to the casino. Neither Tom nor I had any idea which casino to go to, so we chose the biggest one visible from the highway. We walked in and gawked about like the clueless tourists we were for awhile, then eventually found our way to the info booth and got straightened out. Once I had my points card attached via bungee cord to my hip, I felt like I belonged there. There were three floors; the bottom floor was poor people gambling, the second was average gambling, and the third was the high stakes floor (which I didn’t even dare to go to). I figured I’d start out on the poor gambling first, then head upwards once I knew what I was doing.
That bottom floor was depressing. I think it was all slot machines, some I recognized from truck stops I’ve been to. Even the flashiest machines were cheap; all the games were either 1¢ or 5¢. The majority of players were either in wheelchairs or walkers and I had the sneaking suspicion that many were playing with their retirement or Medicare checks. Even the waitresses were busted up. I felt sorry for them, as I figure they probably don’t get any tips. I was surprised there wasn’t a bingo area down there to complete the scene. I didn’t play any of the machines since I couldn’t imagine myself getting too excited over a grand prize jackpot of $10. I didn’t stick around there for too long, the atmosphere of desperation was too thick.
Back on the middle floor the stakes were just-right-porridge for me. I looked around for awhile. The poker area was empty. The craps table was the most popular. I thought about trying it but the betting looked too complex at first glance and there wasn’t any vacancy anyways. Besides, I could tell those guys there were serious about shooting dice; they weren’t gonna have any patience for a newb. I wanted to try roulette, but forgot to go back to that table. Tom and I sat down at the slots. Based on the few gambling documentaries I’ve seen on TV, I picked a machine that seemed optimal for winning. At $5 a pull, my $100 nest egg dwindled pretty quickly. I intended to take my time, I wanted to make my money last long enough for me to have fun. Tom, seated next to me, won $150 in a couple of pulls. That just made me mash the buttons harder. I knew I’d end up losing my money eventually, but I figured if I got enough comps on my card, I could get a free buffet or something. At least then I’d get something out of the evening. By the time my money was gone, I had 30 points on my card. I hoped that was worth at least a discount or something, until I noticed a banner overhead saying that players could get a free stuffed animal for 1,500 points. Ha ha. I had zilch. So much for that free meal.
Actually, Tom was feeling a bit generous with his winnings and bought us both that buffet. I had high expectations. A $20 buffet, at a casino? It must be nothing but steak and crab legs, I imagined. Honestly, I’d gotten more excited about that when we first came in, versus the slim chance that I might win money. But the buffet turned out to be a disappointment. A lot of food to choose from, but pretty hit-or-miss on whether it was actually good. I could’ve gotten better food at Golden Corral.
Overall, this gambling experience was kinda “meh”. Next time I’ll need to try different games and go with a bigger group of people so that there will be other ways to have fun.
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Louisiana has been . . . interesting. I've seen things that I don't understand, things that I thought were just myths or exaggerations (but they're real). Much has puzzled or confused me. I'd brought a camera along to document all this weirdness I encountered, but it soon got commandeered for work use, so I don't have any photographic evidence to share. If I were a sociologist I might be able to figure out what all this means (I've never seen so many churches, trailer homes, and ATVs in my life), but I'm not. A lot of things here don't make any sense to me.
We should be finishing up our work here tomorrow. That's good. I'm reminded of the latter half of the story, "Flowers for Algernon" where the main character can feel himself slowly getting dumber day by day. I have to listen to country music all day every day, have steak and beer for dinner every night, and the only social contact I have is an illegal alien who doesn't speak english, a stuttering Hispanic with a huge chip on his shoulder, and angry Big Tom. I can't help but think this all this is having a negative effect on me. I'm actually starting to quote country song lyrics and I even ate at Cracker Barrel today. It's like boot camp for whiteys. It's kinda creeping me out.
Because of this risk of psychological trauma, I guess it's good that we're heading back to Texas soon. The plan is to spend a night in Shreveport on the way back and spend all the lunch money we've saved up at a riverboat casino. Never been gambling before, so I've no idea if I'll find it fun, boring, or addictive.
Time to find out!

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Ha ha, ha ha. Mmm, today was my last day here in Baton Rouge. It was a beautiful day. Well actually, it was overcast and windy, but hell, it could've been raining toads and blood and I still would have thought it beautiful. This bad weather was supposed to come yesterday and postpone my departure by 3-4 days, but we lucked out and now I gets to go home. My boss is allowing me a couple days off to decompress, which is extra sweet. I'm probably gonna swing by my sister's place in College Station. Don't tell her, but I'm only interested in her for her horse, Magnum. Heh heh. I just really need to get some physical measurements of a horse for my cosplay project. And he's a big horse, like 16 hands. Just right for a warhorse.
It'll be nice to get back to Austin. I can finally finish moving into my new apartment, seven weeks after I started. I just hope I have electricity when I get back. I don't think I kept up-to-date with that bill while I was out of town. Heh heh. Wouldn't that suck though? Return home after months of being away, only to find I have no electricity, so I end up staying the night in another hotel. Oh my goodness, I might just snap if that happened.
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Now that the end of the job is in sight, I find that my patience is running short. It's funny, the far shore of the lake is our objective and now we're so close that I could swim to it. Like some sort of refugee or immigrant, I'm just straining, yearning to reach that shore. Ah, with the end in sight, every minor obstacle just really burns my butter. The other guys on the crew are feeling it too, I believe. We've been pushing ourselves a little harder, pushing our luck. These past few days have been touch and go. Working in the middle of stormfronts on the open water, with one eye on the rig, the other on the waves . . . Today that boldness almost got the best of us. By my calculations, with luck, we'd be done in four days. So when a big blue-black cloud shows up on the horizon, I pay it little heed. It doesn't look that intimidating and the waves and wind aren't that bad. The driller wants to call back to the office for a weather update, but I don't wanna hear any of that talk. But when it starts raining, I comply. The response is, "It's nothing big, sit tight." So we do and start doing the dance of hiding out in the pilothouse while it rains, then run out to drop some pipe while the sun shines. One time as we're leaving our shelter, we notice that the wind changed direction all of a sudden. Then we look up and notice the clouds are rotating and descending, about 200 yds away from our barge. I didn't get it at first. I was just watching and thinking, "I've never seen them do that before." Then the driller's all, "Ah fuck it. That's a waterspout." I.E. a tornado over water. And me, being a retard and all, I smile and start clapping. "Awesome!" I say. They look at me like I'm crazy. At that point all the operating procedures and chain of command go out the window. The drillers barely wait for my nod before they start tearing down the rig faster than I've ever seen. And that includes Mardi Gras. Meanwhile, I'm with my camera, watching that vortex twist and stretch towards the water. The wind's coming from our backs, strong, and headed right for that point. The waves . . . being drawn in. And the darkness, wooo. It was an awesome sight.
We got out of there, but that thing was right on our tail. For some reason, I kept an eye out for the dolphins on our way back in. We see them most days, but not this time. I really like those dolphins. Even the grizzled old driller perks up when the dolphins visit. And of course, by the time we got back to the docks, the weather had cleared up, making us look like cowardly chumps. But at least I got some pictures. That way when the upper brass gripes that we're half-assing it and quitting early and whatnot, I've got proof. I yield to pedestrians and tornadoes. That's just how I roll.
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You spread yourself thinly enough and you become invisible. Not that I was all that discernible to begin with. Ah, don't mind me. I "belong" to what . . . a few dozen (?) web "communities," so why not plug myself into one more? I'd bet good money that this fruit rots on the vine, but what the hell, I'll give it a shot. Who knows, it might hold my interest long enough so that I don't forget about it in a week's time. Anywho, let's get with something worth the keystrokes.

Well this is week 3 (I think) in Louisiana for me. It could be more or less, it's hard to tell when you're working 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week. You lose track of time. Things are getting better, or maybe it's just that I've gotten used to it. It sure didn't start out that way. At the end of Jan, in one weekend I was moving to a new apartment, attending a con, entertaining out-of-town guests, AND I had to go to Louisiana. Obviously I was running ragged and way behind schedule at the onset of this engagement. I didn't recieve any details about this job, so I went into it blind. Turns out it's the repairs/replacement of the Lake Pontchartrain bridge, the one what got beat to hell in the hurricane.

And with all the political pressure behind that job,they've been working us into the ground. And I was getting grumpy. I only packed enough stuff for a week and they wanna keep me for a month and I sure as hell didn't know I'd be working 80 hours a week. BUT I'M NOT PAID BY THE HOUR. By the end of the 2nd week I was starting to get pretty uptight and non-teamplayer-y. I just wanted to go home. I hadn't even slept one night in my new apartment, all of my belongings were still in their boxes, and here I am stuck in a hotel (a nice one, I'll admit) full of refugees, eating fast food everyday.
I managed to get one day off, but only because I'd be delivering samples to sister offices on the way back. The drive and deliveries took so much time that I only really had 4 hours to spend in Austin. Somehow though, that was enough. I was able to take care of all the loose ends I had left hanging in the breeze. Now that I know everything back home is okay without me, I'm a little more relaxed. It kinda sucks that I'm paying rent, insurance, utilities, cable, etc, when I'm not even there to use them. Ah well. At least I'm getting the hang of my responsibilities here and honestly, I'm proud to be part of such an important project.
But I'd still like to go home soon.

August 2017

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