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I would say this past month has been a resurgence for my friendship with Brittney. I had once thought, if we didn’t reconnect by the start of May, it wouldn’t happen at all because the school year would soon be over. We didn’t hang out till mid-May; better late than never, I guess? Ramadan started soon after so Brittney wasn’t drinking anymore and wasn’t even eating until sun-down. I’d be leaving for Turkey at the beginning of June, so I was a bit concerned that this late start combined with these handicaps would prevent a reconnection.
Brittney actually took me to the airport since my family was out of town on vacation, and helped me out with some good ideas and stayed in touch while I was gone. She couldn’t pick me up when I returned because of some car trouble but I went to her place anyways since she had my truck. As soon as she saw me she greeted me with a hug. Contact. In a way, this evening was a combined celebration of the end of Ramadan, her recently-passed birthday, and my return. I was very sleep-deprived but I really wanted to enjoy this. We hung out with her Nigerian neighbors upstairs. I held back on the alcohol a bit, just so I could hold it together. Fortunately Brittney tapped out around 10 pm. I guess her month of sobriety had temporarily made her a lightweight. That was fine by me. We went back to her place and crashed in short order. I actually fell asleep on the bedroom floor while I waited to sober up. Brittney compelled me to get in bed like a normal human being. Now I’d resolved to never again set foot in her bedroom or sleep in her bed out of regret for what had happened, but here I was, tossing that resolution out the window in the face of my fatigue and intoxication. That’s some real commitment, huh?
The next morning kinda continued with the drinking. I felt like being done, but accidentally recommended some hair of the dog. So the beers continued. Eventually we got out of bed to go get some lunch but detoured to Benji’s apartment instead. I think the accumulation of beers had caught up with Brittney at that point because as soon as lunch was over she conked out on his couch. He had a nice apartment with a balcony over-looking a concert that was getting set up for the night. We’d ostensibly gone over to his place to smoke. He seemed like a fun guy and I smoked a little, but it was kinda quiet with just the two of us. I felt like getting home and getting some genuine rest, so I coaxed Brittney awake and we headed out.
That homecoming meant a lot to me. Quite often Brittney had mentioned how much she missed my company over the two weeks I’d been gone. That was touching. And overall, it felt like things had returned to normal. I hadn’t expected such a present upon my return but I was sincerely grateful to receive it.
Since then we’ve hung out a fair bit. We both have equal amounts of free-time and boredom. I’m trying (and I think she is too) to hold back on the drinking. It just . . . gets old and shouldn’t be what we do all the time. It’s kinda hard to come up with stuff to do. My response to free-time is to tackle a project but I don’t think she’s quite as hands-on or self-propelled. And I wouldn’t want to bring any of my junk to her clean, pet-friendly place. And we both need to be mindful about saving money, so that also limits our options. I know she’s cool with doing absolutely nothing while hanging out but I feel restless when I’m at someone else’s place for no discernible purpose.
So yeah, I’m trying to figure out what to do with the next seven weeks of summer. I may resume driving for Uber if Cameron and Katherine are game. I have a couple costumes to prepare for Dragon*Con, though I’ll admit my enthusiasm is feeble at the moment. I really need to get started though. I have to be cautious not to spend too much. My bank account is reeling from the Turkey trip. And then I had also promised myself I would move out before school resumed which means I need to get on the ball about finding an apartment. I also need to ditch my truck ASAP but I don’t know if I can afford the double whammy of a car payment and apartment stuff all at once. But I can’t just ignore those matters. As much as the truck is an imminent concern I think I’ll focus on the apartment first. I have to get out of this house, sooner than later. Ugh, and I have to put together a robust curriculum for my expanded Earth & Space class. I don’t know whether this is genuinely a long list of things to-do, or just seems that way because I have a deficit of motivation.
Hmm. Well, either way, I’ve got to start chipping away at it.
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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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Nothing of real interest occurred during my trip. I just wrote this post during my travels out of sheer boredom.

Read on . . .  )
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I'd thought to write a post about the delightful weekend my friends and I had at the Texas Renaissance Festivale this weekend, but a sudden swirl of clouds has eclipsed that.
I returned from Canada two weeks ago. Between all the overtime I'd worked and the vacation time I'd accrued, I took that time off for myself. I returned to the office on Monday to find some ill-boding portents. Last year when I'd returned from Canada, I discovered that many employees had been let go, a trimming of the fat in these lean economic times. And again, when I returned from Canada, I found that more people were gone. Last year I likened the office to a ghost town; now it's as if entire parts of the office are abandoned. There's no fat left to cut; now (muscle/essential people) are being excised.
Within the space of a day following my return, Boss #1 has already laid out my meager option, singular. He says that he did not expect me to return from Canada so soon (although I think I was explicitly clear that I was only agreeing to a finite stay of two months, and here we are at two months and a week). The job I'd assumed would be in full swing by now and to which I'd be assigned, has stalled out instead. I used up my accrued vacation time last week so Boss #1 has put me on unpaid leave for the week. There is simply no work, no assignment that I can be put on. The only assignment that he could find for me, the only one that is still vacant due to the fact that no one with a choice would accept it, is Australia.
I wasn't surprised at this. I'd known that as soon as I returned to the office, I'd be shipped off somewhere else; that's why I avoided it as long as I could. This was expected. I'm only sorry that my girlfriend has to share in the crap I've been dealt.
He asked me if I could leave for Australia by Friday. Glutton for punishment I may be, but even that short of notice is too much of a slap for me to tolerate. Most likely I'll have to depart Monday. In the next few days I'll learn more of this assignment. Plans could still change, though I doubt it.

Also, today was my final session with the career counselor. The outcome was not the silver bullet/golden egg I'd been hoping for. I'd expected this process would result in me finding the one single career I was perfect for, a goal that I could fully commit myself towards. But now that it's all done, I'm left with an ambiguous choice. The career(s) that I'm most suited for . . . also happen to be the ones that require the most advanced degrees and ALSO have the fewest job openings. So, go back to school for a PhD in a profession that has only 60 job openings statewide? 700 nationally, if I'm willing to emigrate from Texas? Or do I settle for a less-than-optimal-for-me career that is more marketable, but comes with the risk that I'll divorce it like I have my current occupation? Regardless of which I pick, the prospect of 4-6 years of college and a lower income/lifestyle for that duration isn't very enticing.

The big jump is coming next. Deciding where to live, where to go to school, how long I'm willing to commit, how am I going to finance it, what risk am I willing to accept, when to quit my job, will I leave the state to have a better chance, etc. It's going to be a big lifestyle change and loss of the stability and comfort of my current home, regardless of what I decide. I'd just hoped that the answer would've been clearer, to make my choice easier. But no, it's not in black and white.

So in a nutshell, today was two doses of bitter pills.
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As any regular LJ-user may have noticed, LJ's been having a bit of trouble lately (more than usual, it seems). With the help of [personal profile] becala I found an alternate journal website that should provide a good mirror in case LJ goes belly-up.
I'd been postponing writing any new posts because I wanted to wait for Dreamwidth to import all my old LJ entries first. But LJ's epileptic fits have prevented that, so whatever. I've got writing needs that are going unmet!

I know I've posted the hell out of my Japan trip, but there's a re-cap/post-game/end credits post that's been bouncing around in my head and I need to get it out before I can write anything else. (I promise this is my last Japan entry!) So, here are my Top 5 Reasons Why Japan is Awesome )


I ALMOST FORGOT!!!! If you're already on Dreamwidth, please give me your screen-name there so I can add you! (As of today it is my main journal site; not that it matters much since all journal entries are cross-posted.) I'm "astillar" on both websites, herp-a-derp.
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You just get on a plane
and you're there.
But its hopeless;
I don't have a passport to your heart


Japan Day 10: Tokyo to Texas )
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My train is running faster
Than the speed of light
And in my heart
A million stars
Are burning bright


Japan Day 9: Hikone and Tokyo )
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In a strange city
An unexpected encounter,
Surely this must be
A trick of the gods


Japan Day 8: Arashiyama )
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Throw some blue love,
it's like action painting.
Dash yourself against the canvas,
it's very action painting.


Japan Day 7: Higashiyama )

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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Today I leave Tokyo, headed west. I was just starting to get comfortable here and beginning to know my way around. I suppose that means it's time to move on. I can't have an adventure if I'm comfortable, can I?
I'm grabbing a bite of breakfast before I check out of my little hotel and head to the train station. I'll be taking the bullet train out west to a hot springs 'resort' area near Mt. Fuji. I'm almost more excited about the train ride than the destination, ha ha.
Well, breakfast is done; time to head out.
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And all the love
On earth
Was suddenly there
On the lips
Of that girl from Ginza


Japan Day 4: Central Tokyo )
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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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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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"Hi! This is your airline hostess, Susan Kelly, speaking to you direct from our new Boeing 7-0-7 jet in mid-air!"

Japan: Day 0, part 1 of 3 )
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The bad news is really starting to stack up for my trip.
I’ve been keeping the news of nuclear danger in perspective, even though I’ve had dozens of people tell me that I’m crazy/stupid for ignoring it. Really, I’m getting pretty pissed by so many ill-informed people and complete strangers TELLING me what I can and can’t do. They don’t even try and discuss it with me, they just figure since they’ve watched 5 minutes of news, their blanket opinion carries more weight than the opinion of someone who’s been planning this trip for four months and has his own money and safety invested in it. I had to spend an hour last night trying to calm down my irrational sister; she wants me to at least wear a dosimeter while I’m over there. I think I will, just to shut up all these nay-sayers. I won’t even answer the phone when my mom calls. 9_9
I’m not worried about the scheduled black-outs or the rumors of food shortages; I figure that those only apply to limited areas and could quite possibly be corrected by the time I arrive. I’ve got a rail pass that allows me to take the bullet train anywhere in the country, should I need to avoid certain areas. So I’m fairly flexible.
But today there’s been two big setbacks. I chose this time of year to make my trip because the Tokyo Anime Fair is next week. I see that as a sort of cosplay pilgrimage; witnessing cosplay in it’s homeland, at the site of the world’s largest anime convention. Imagine how awesome that’d be.
But the Anime Fair has been cancelled for this year.
. . . That sucks.
But really, that only affects one day out of my ten-day schedule. It’s regrettable, but 90% of my schedule is still intact and I can easily fill that hole, I imagine.
The big one though, is that the tour company announced today that Jenny & Beauty’s tour had been cancelled, so they won’t be going. That . . . really sucks. I avoided signing up for that tour because I wanted the freedom to do my own thing, but I’d still planned to have overlapping itineraries and hang out with them occasionally. Now I’d be going without any friends; two weeks on my own in a foreign country. That’s lame and a little intimidating. The question I’m asking myself now is, “Can I have enough fun on my own to justify the trip?” At this point, I really can’t say.
I’ve got until Saturday to decide whether I’m going or not; after that I’ll start getting hit with last-minute cancellation fees. So I’m holding out for some/any good news that makes this trip more attractive. I've started to contemplate the idea of postponing, but I don't see any equally good time for travel in my near future. I'll need to change jobs soon and once I do that, big vacations won't be in the cards for awhile. I can't shake the feeling that if I postpone, it'll be 'indefinitely.'
Besides the matter of money and my own stubbornness, I think one reason I’m still committed now, even after all these setbacks, is that I keep thinking of that quote attributed to Mark Twain.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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Yeah, as if.
Don't ask why I haven't posted in a month. I could cite half a dozen lame, half-baked reasons.
Anyways, life is the same as I last reported. Working out of town, no social or romantic life back home, etc etc.
The only bit of new news is that I'm a mere week away from my trip to Japan. A few dingbats I know are saying, "You're not going to Japan! The whole nation is fucked up!" I know they're wrong, but it pisses me off to have their ignorance raining on my parade. I don't care if I get off the plane and spend my entire 10 days filling sandbags and working at a soup kitchen; I'M GOING TO HAVE A JAPAN ADVENTURE, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.
I kinda gave up on the crash-course-Rosetta-Stone a week or two ago when it became obvious I wasn't going to do a John-Travolta-from-'Phenomenon' and learn the language in record time. So I'll just have to rely on the cosmopolitan-ality of the Tokyo-ites to make up for my lingual ignorance.
Even though I know Japan's gonna be a whole other level of fun and adventure, I still feel like I've gotta jam-pack as much fun as I can into my last week here State-side. SXSW is coming up; I plan to spend at least one night checking that out. Next weekend is Anime Matsuri and All-Con. My friends seem to be equally split on which con they're going to. It apparently boils down to: cosplay or drinking. I haven't put together any great new costumes so I'm leaning towards the drinking con. Hell, if it's my last chance to hang with my friends for awhile, you better believe I'm gonna booze it up with them.
So yeah LJ, that's all I have to say for now. Sorry for the recent dearth of entertainment. Life is just dull often sometimes.

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 )

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