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The sound of the subway
And a song
I had long forgotten

Japan Day 3: Shibuya & Harajuku )
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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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In the end I couldn't meet you,
I stayed at the hotel alone.
The city that never sleeps,
it's seven at night in Tokyo

Japan: Day 1 )
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Being sub-contractors, the drillers had Sunday (and only Sunday) off. So did I, but with it being a 10-hour roundtrip to Austin, I kinda had to stay put here in west Texas. But not completely. I drove up to Lubbock, which is the nearest decent-sized city. I did quite a bit of shopping. First stop was the bookstore. Imagine how surprised I was to find the newest volume of Last Order on the bookshelf, two days before its scheduled release date. Ooo, naughty B&N! Gunnm rambling )
Then I went clothes-shopping, then to the mall, then I ate a yummy non-fruit meal, then somewhere along the line I figured I needed a haircut. Judging my shagginess, I was about a month past due. But rather than stop at a barber’s, I just stopped at Walgreen’s and bought some electric clippers.
That’s right, this dork!
At first I was being very careful. Reading the directions, blending here, brushing there, changing guards here, herp-a-derp-a-derp, etc. It was looking . . . decent. Not awesome, but good enough for my standards. But then, somewhere along the way, I put on the wrong size guard. Only too late did I realize my mistake. There was no blending this, nope.
. . . I had to commit to it and buzz-cut all the rest.
I’ve only ever had ONE hairstyle my entire life so I'm just cracking up over this new look. I can’t stop running back into the bathroom to look in the mirror and smack my monkey-shaved head. I’m peach-fuzz boy! What a hoot.
Good thing it’s beanie season.
Oh yeah, and the last thing I did before I left Lubbock was to go see Black Swan. Bird observations )
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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.
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So far I've been thrown 2 "Going Away" parties. So either my friends are really sad to see me go, or really HAPPY to see me leave. Hmm. It's 50/50. Wednesday we went out to Dave & Buster's for food and games. That was fun. Last night we went to Bikini's (the guys picked it). That place was kinda lame. Average, yet overpriced food plus a mandatory 19% tip for our group of 6. What the hell, man? You can be sure I won't be going back there, boobs or no boobs. We got out of there ASAP and grabbed dessert at DQ, which helped to partially salvage the evening.
Aside from fun time, I've been going through a blitz of training and shopping to get ready for Canadia. My company being the way it is, all the preparation was delayed to the absolute last minute, leaving everyone involved in a real pinch. I did manage to get most of my gear, except for the Eskimo boots and the winter coveralls, which I'll be getting in Calgary. Last night I went to Best Buy to try and get the laptop I planned on taking north with me. I'd been keeping my eye on this laptop since January, back when I still thought I was going to England.
So when the BB slave came by and tried to coax me into a pricier laptop, I was all, "No, I know what I want. I want THIS one."
Then he says, "Well I don't believe we have it in stock, I'll go check in the back."
Five minutes later he comes back, "We're out of stock, and so are all the regional stores."
"But you can buy it today and we can ship it in 1-2 days."
I tell him, "That won't work for me. I'm leaving the country in 2 days."
"Oh, we can ship it to anywhere."
"You better be able to ship it by sled dog to a set of GPS coordinates, pop-tart," I think. But instead I say, "Well can I buy this floor model?"
"No sir, we don't sell the display units."
"You don't?"
"No, we keep them on display so that customers can view the units and purchase them online."
WTF! Yeah, I was pretty grumpy that I couldn't get the laptop I'd been planning on and I wasn't too happy with that twerp. I even checked Target and Wal-Mart out of desperation, but they had crap in the way of laptops. So today I think I'll try Fry's. Hopefully I'll find something there.
Also, my brother had mentioned that he might come down to Austin this weekend to hang out before I ship out. That'd be fun. Other than that though, I'll just be cleaning house and getting things ready for Monday.
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I priced the clothing I'm supposed to buy before I head up and it adds up to about $900. Woof. Between REI and Cabela's I should be able to find the gear I need; each one will be ripping me off equally. Not like I have a choice though. Plus $400 (ball-park) for the plane ticket, depending on when I purchase it. Considering that I'm $15 over my credit card limit already and I've got a mere $108 in my bank account, you better believe I'm asking for a reimbursement check in advance. I pray I get enough overtime on this job to help me get ahead of my bills a little bit. I can handle being broke, but being broke AND having to pay for these big, unexpected costs is stressful and embarrassing.
I won't be doing any shopping till next weekend, after I've gotten paid. In the meantime I'm trying to plan out all the things that need to be taken care of while I'm gone. It's kinda difficult to figure out; I may be able to return home every couple weeks, or maybe once a month, or maybe not at all until the job is over some months from now. I just don't know at this point. The safest bet is to assume I won't be coming back for months. If that happens to be the case, I may have to ask my friends for a favor like picking up my mail and stuff, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. (Don't tell my mom though, she'd jump at the chance to 'house-sit.' *shudder*)
I'm also trying to stock up on entertainment too. I doubt I'll have high-speed internet up there, so I need to stockpile some anime to watch while I can get it easily. I started watching Seirei no Moribito recently, but I'm gonna need a lot more than just one show. Anyone care to recommend some series, and/or other ways to keep myself entertained during the long, dark, arctic nights?
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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.

August 2017

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