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It's been a good day. Especially when you look back. Last time I was at home, I had no heat, no internet, no cable, and no truck. Now I have heat, internet, cable, and my brand-new baby truck baby. It's mucho màs bueno. Oh, and I got a bike too.
I'd been planning to get one for awhile. I'd enjoyed using the treadmill while I was up in Canada, but I've often heard that the downside of running is the toll it takes on your knees. I want to start being more active again so a bike seemed to be a good cardio option without the drawback, plus it's a lot more useful than running in place. The reason I purchased it now, with just a few minutes of consideration was because as soon as I got back to town, I'd have to drop off my company truck. My truck was still in the garage. How was I gonna go get it? Walk? Pay another cab fare? Nope! I'll ride a bike! So I bought one on the way into town.
I didn't really know what the hell I was getting. Every bike I'd ever had was found, not bought. I looked at the ones on the close-out rack, but still, they were a lot more expensive than I expected. (In hindsight, I probably could've gotten a bike at Wal-Mart for a third of the price, but those are probably just POSs.) "I want that one," I told the bike clerk. It was black, but other than that I couldn't tell the difference between it and any of the other bikes on the rack. Then she started asking me questions and I instinctually tried to hide my ignorance. Everything she asked, I knew. Of course I knew all about the shifters and the suspension system and disc brakes and aluminum frame and the seat adjustment and my groin height and the derailleur system, etc etc etc. She would not stop. I just wanted to buy the bike, not look like a total newb; I could figure out the rest later.
Today was the bike ride. Just 5 miles from my office to the garage. It would take 10 minutes by car, or an hour and a half by foot. I wasn't sure if I'd made all the correct adjustments, but there was only one way to find out, right? Boom! I hit the road. The first couple miles were awesome. I was like, "Wow, this is so fast and so smooth! I should've gotten this years ago!" Then I started hitting the hills near Walnut Creek. Oye. My legs were like, "What the hell are you doing to us?!?" They were not prepared. Even though there was frost this morning, by the time I got to the insurance place, I was sweating. It was one heck of a workout. I stepped off the bike and nearly stumbled; my legs were so rubbery. They recovered quickly, but there's one muscle that didn't.
My ass is killing me. I don't know if it's the bicycle seat or I'm a white guy with no ass to begin with or maybe I just need to develop butt callouses. But MAN, it felt like my pelvis (hipbones?) had nearly gnawed their way through my gluteus maximus. Even now, 6 hours later, I'm still sore down there. Don't get me wrong, riding the bike is fun and I intend to do it regularly, but I gotta do something about my butt because this is painful.
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I’m so ready for this shit-tastic week to be over.
Last night I was doing loads of laundry to get all my luggage ready for west Texas. While going about other tasks, I thought, “Man, the dryer has been running for a long time.” Something like three hours, to be exact. I check the clothes, they’re still wet. The dryer’s not putting out any heat, just flopping the wet stuff around ad infinitum. Great. I suppose I may have been a little too rough loading/unloading the dryer from my truck during the move; something delicate must’ve broken. I actually resorted to hanging my wet things in front of the fireplace; it was a ridiculous sight.
So I get to call a repairman when I get back to town. In the meantime I have a whole lot of wet clothes to take with me on my trip.
This morning I got up early to make one last trip to the old house to clean it up before the landlord arrived to check me out of there. When she got there she started bitching non-stop. She wasn’t too happy that I’d already transferred the utilities over to the new place and that I hadn’t cleaned it to hospital standards . I dunno what her problem was, saying I’d done a "horrible thing" by creating such a "disaster". I couldn't tell what she was getting so worked up about. I hadn’t vacuumed because the power was already turned off, so what? Nothing was broken or destroyed or pet stained or nothing. Just a little dusty here and there. I’m sure some of that Polish she was speaking were curse words, but whatever. It was weird, I've never had a grandma chew me out before. I was like, "I can't snap back at her. She's OLD." She threatened that she’d have to charge me; I didn’t really care. I figure with that $800 deposit she got from me, she can pay Consuelo to vacuum and dust a bit. I was just ready to get out of there and be done with the place once and for all.
A quick bit of packing at the new house and I headed out to drop off the rental car. Now when I spoke to the insurance guy about dropping it off on Sunday, he’d said that their location wouldn’t be open on Sunday but I could drop it off at any other Austin location. Okay, cool, nothing to worry about, I figured. But when I stopped by the Enterprise place closest to the office, it was closed on Sunday. I checked the internet and out of the 15 Austin locations, 12 are closed on Sunday. Two locations which were kinda close are open until 3 pm. The current time? 2:54. Crap. The only one that’s open is the airport, way the hell on the other side of town. Great. From this point:
30 minute drive to airport + $50 drop-off fee + 15 gallons of gas @ $4/gallon because I forgot to fill the tank + 30 minute wait for shuttle ride + $25 and 30 minutes for the shuttle ride back to the office
Yeah, let’s just keep throwing money at this snowballing fiasco. I don’t even want to think of what the final price tag for this week will be.
*sigh*
After this week, some time in west Texas will be a welcome respite from all this crap. This has been the most ridiculous move I’ve ever conducted. I’m hopeful that some of these problems will sort themselves out by the time I get back. The new house is actually rather nice; I look forward to getting it set up properly when I return and maybe sinking my teeth into a new cosplay project too.
To sum it up, I’m thankful this week is over.
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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.

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.

Mixed bag

Jul. 17th, 2006 11:25 pm
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Heh heh. Guyver the live action movie is on right now. I've never seen it, never read the manga, but I know of it. It's a corny sentai-y movie with Mark Hamill, but whatever. What amuses me is that it was the bioweapons Guyver cosplay that was most responsible for getting me started on cosplay. Long before I ever found out about cosplay.com, that Guyver website was my biggest crutch and seeing what that guy accomplished inspired me to take on the fiberglass Den. If I hadn't found his site and been so impressed, I might not've gotten into cosplay. Now it's funny to find that the root of my intense hobby was something so corny. Heh heh heh.
But I'm kinda in a bad mood right now. My work truck broke down just now, so I've been spending the last two hours trying to get it started, walking back to the office, and playing musical cars (one driver, three vehicles). It happened too late for me to call anyone for help, which didn't really matter, since I didn't have my phone with me anyways. What stinks is that I even took it in last week for an oil change and all that other maintenance stuff. I just hope I don't get blamed for this. I get into enough trouble without an inanimate object making more for me.
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Got my new toy! It's still breaking me in. It drives differently than a car, that's for sure. The biggest difference is height. Everything looks different now. And though I've only had it a couple days, I've already started planning on customizations. Like, "Let's take this part off, put this in there, etc." It's got a lot of potential. It's just too bad that I've got to go out of town this week, I would've liked more time to get to know it. If I had planned things a little better, I could've set a little money aside and gone on a road trip to Anime Expo. That would've been a great opportunity to get to know the vehicle. 'Cause right now I'm itching for an excuse to drive it; AX would've been perfect. Ah well, next year I suppose.
So here's a pic of my old and new vehicles.



It's funny, yesterday (less than 24 hours after I received my truck), my brother calls and the first words out of his mouth are, "You haven't gotten rid of your car yet, have you?" Turns out his girlfriend got into a wreck and totalled her car. Since my brother doesn't have a car of his own, he turned to me and wants me to lend them my car until hers gets fixed. I don't mind, though I had been planning to clean out my car and take it down to Goodwill this weekend. Good thing for him I'm a procrastinator, huh?
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So I'm waiting . . . They said they'd deliver the truck by 5 pm, it's past 7 already. They called me out of the blue yesterday, while I was at work, on the road. So of course, they didn't have my full attention. Turns out they could do all the paperwork without me coming all the way down to San Antonio. Over the phone, he asks me how much I'll be putting on the downpayment and what length of payment plan I wanted. At this point, it'd been months since I last did the math, so I was a little unprepared to answer. But I told him $6000 and 60 months, because those sounded like good conservative answers.
Now that I'm looking at my bank account, I realize that's gonna leave me broke for the next two weeks. Two long weeks. I emptied my savings account to cover the downpayment so I've got no reserves. Yech. I haven't been this broke since college, but at least then my parents were my safety net; this feeling isn't nostalgic or comfortable in the least. But if I'm careful, I should be okay.
So I'm waiting . . . I hope I like the truck. I never saw it or took one for a test drive. I just designed it online and placed my order. Technically, it's got everything I need, but nonetheless asthetics and other qualitative desires might come into play.
Waiting, waiting . . . I'm not going home for 4th of July. My brother isn't, my sister probably is. All I could think of these past couple days were reasons not to. And today, my boss tells me they're gonna need me in west Texas next week. That was the last nail in the coffin. If I've got a long drive ahead of me on Tuesday, I don't wanna be on the road all weekend, new truck or not.
Waiting . . . I'll post pics of my truck if it isn't dark by the time I get it. I plan on getting a "Gunnm" vanity plate for it. They only cost $40 and I think it'll be fun. I've only ever seen one anime/japanese plate. It said "Umi chan". Don't know if that was from Magic Knights Rayearth or the gal's nickname. Anyways, my truck isn't all that big or beefy enough to really be associated with something as bad ass as Gunnm, but I wanted to show my support of the series.
Ah crap, what's taking so long?
My brother can't accept my car. Due to his two accidents, his insurance is through the roof. So I'll be giving it to Goodwill. I couldn't get but $500 bucks for it if I traded it in and I don't really want to go through the trouble. So I'll just give it away and take the tax break at the end of the year.
It was a good car though. It began life as a rental car (and you know how badly those are abused), then spent seven years with me, delivering pizza, driving cross country, running into stuff. Hmm. Hell, if Hyundai made a truck, I'd buy one on the spot. That's why I wanted a foreign vehicle, because of the reliability of my Elantra, but they don't offer nearly the incentives that domestic brands do. Though if I'd've known there were going to be this many complications in getting my truck, I would've just bought the pricier Mazda or Toyota. Oh well.
God dammit, where is this guy? I want my truck! And I'm hungry too!
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I don't have any _single_ thing worth writing about, but a couple of little things I feel like mentioning.

So the truck people called me and said my truck should be here this weekend (July 4th weekend). Only a month later than what they said, so I guess that's the same as being on-time. So now I gotta decide if I want to go get my new truck or drive home in my old car to spend time with the family. I had hoped to have my truck before now (like in June, when they said I'd have it). Of course I don't really want to go home, but I did let Father's Day go by without even calling my dad and his birthday is on July 2nd, so if I ignore both it might get me into trouble with him. Damn parents. They always put so much stock in holidays and birthdays and crap. I remember one time my mom flew off the handle 'cause we didn't do anything for her birthday besides get her a card (since we were all broke). So she says, "How would feel if we forgot about your birthday?" I'm like, "I wouldn't care." That reply only made her madder. I really don't care. I haven't celebrated my birthday since . . . shit, six years now? Heh heh heh. Yeah, I guess I really don't care. It's just another day, it's not like on my birthday a little bell rings and an angel comes down from heaven to give me a handjob and wish me well. Once you get past 21, birthdays ain't such a big deal.
Whoops, got off on a tangent there.
As for cosplay, Otakon is about a month away and I decided to repair my existing costumes rather than try to make a new one. That seems to have been the right decision. There's a bit of a Silent Hill gathering scheduled, so for the past few days I've been putting all my spare time into improving my Pyramid Head and making it airplane-transportable. About 11 pm last night though, I opened up my palm with a very sharp chisel. That slowed me down. Thank goodness I bought that first aid kit a few weeks ago; I've gotten very good at applying bandages using only one hand and my teeth.
And some cosplayer was asking for some advice about making mechanical costumes, leading me to tinker a bit with my ongoing Tagmec costume. For his sake, I uploaded a little video of it "in action." You guys can watch the blooper reel though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJsdXbUFPPc
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Heh heh. Don't worry, I'll wait while you look that word up . . . . Done? Okay, good.
So anyways, since my new truck is coming in at the end of the month, I was starting to do the paperwork to transfer my old car to my brother. I got a notice to renew the vehicle's registration a couple weeks ago. I tried doing it online, but got a warning that said I couldn't, due to a "scofflaw" thing. I looked at the piece of paper and at the bottom it said, "El Paso: Scofflaw". I'm like, "What's that mean? I used to live in El Paso, years ago. Do I owe taxes to this Scofflaw guy? Is he the tax collector of El Paso or something?" Then I look up "scofflaw" and that's when I realize I had an old speeding ticket back in EP. I had lived there five years with no traffic violations. I graduate, and a few months later return, to pick up my diploma. I'm there for less than 24 hours, yet manage to get a speeding ticket. That was like, 3 years ago now.
So I can only renew my registration if I go in person to the local tax assessor's office. I'm just worried that this might be some sort of scheme to get me in there so they can arrest me. Tickets turn into arrest warrants if you ignore them long enough, I seem to recall. Or maybe not, I don't know. Anyways, the fine is gonna be big, to say the least. Not too big, I hope. Or else I won't be able to put down that downpayment on my truck.
Yup. I'm a scofflaw, scalawag, scoundrel, [insert other "sc"-word here]. I got a laugh out of that. Yes, I'm a contemptuous law violator. Gee whiz, they make it sound like I seduced the mayor's daughter or something.
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Ah balls.
I _thought_ I ordered my new truck on Saturday. But the truck guy calls me back yesterday, saying it's a no-go. This car buying process is starting to tick me off. First I spend a month doing online research and emailing dealers so that I know exactly what I want and how much it's gonna cost me. I was _this_ close to ordering when I got sent to Louisiana. Alright, whatever. I figure, "Hey, that's just one more month that I can save up for the truck. No prob." When I get back, I drive down to SA to order it in person and give 'em my $500 deposit. At this point I figure it's a done deal. Then he calls and says, "Oh, they stopped taking orders for the '06 models on 3/8." When I was stuck in Louisiana. He's all, "But you can order an '07. It'll cost more and you won't get any rebates or incentives. And we don't have the pricing on the '07s yet, so you'd have to order it without an estimate." I'm like, "I'll think about it." Last night I do some e-legwork and I can't find any truck close to what I wanted, in the entire state. And I live in Texas; it's a big state. So this morning I grudgingly tell him, "Okay, let's get the '07 then." Then he informs me that they don't start building '07s till May, and it's a 4-6 week build period. Which means mid-June at the earliest. I had to put the phone down so he wouldn't hear me cursing.
And tonight I find out they cashed my deposit check on Monday, when I didn't even give them the go-ahead until today, Wednesday. These guys have some major huevos, pulling crap like this.
Suffice it to say, I won't be buying another new car for a LOOOOONG time.

P.S. Speaking of vehicles, I saw this car on the way back from LA. I think it's the kind Urkel drives. I didn't know they were real.

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