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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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Ooo, it’s been a totally unplanned (but fun) weekend so far. It all started once upon a time . . . *cue twinkly SFX and wavy blur*
I needed to go back to Wichita Falls to do some reconnaissance for work. Overall it meant I’d be doing 12 hours of driving and 2 hours of hiking. That would’ve added up to one very long workday so I planned instead to drive partway there on Thursday, spend the night at my brother’s in Carrollton, and then knock out the rest of the job Friday so I could get back to Austin at a decent hour. Easy peasy, right?
It didn’t quite work out that way. On the drive up, I started seeing snow about Hillsboro and thought, "Is this what everyone is complaining about? This is nothing! There isn’t even enough ice to make a dirt raspa. These people are babies!" Then I hit the Dallas city limits and boom! Ice on the highway. My windshield soon got covered with mud and slush and of course I had no washer fluid to clear it away with. So I was driving blind, on ice, through the Dallas MixMaster. That was not fun. But I called upon all my training from Canada and amazing driving reflexes from my pizza delivery days and my knowledge of physics, biology, and engineering and I triumphed.
By the time I got to Cameron’s place I’d decided I wasn’t doing any more driving. I’d gotten in, but I wouldn’t be getting out. He and his wife had been home-bound for four days and in pajamas for nearly as long. (At least the cold kept the smell down.) I hadn’t brought any supplies with me so the big question was what to do for food?
Somehow or another we managed to make plans to go get dinner with Cat & Kevin. They were even worse off than us. Their apartment gate was literally frozen solid so they could only eat within walking distance of their apartment. At least we could drive, albeit very slowly. I wasn’t too sure how this would turn out, I’ve never mixed my family with cosplay friends before. But it turns out that nerds are nerds are nerds, just in different flavors. LOLcats was the perfect universally understood ice-breaker. I felt it was a fun dinner.
Overnight we got about 4 inches of new snow. It was pretty, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to try driving in it. Work would have to wait till the thaw. Katherine was actually "work" working from home so Cameron and I went outside to play around for awhile and buried her car in snow. Then we got bored enough to risk a drive to the supermarket for booze and steak. It was fun to watch people slipping and falling on their asses in the parking lot. Back at the apartment, we set up a little man camp on the balcony, set the beers in the snow, barbecued our meat, and had some quality bro time.
After steak and beers I exercised some poor judgment. I decided I’d accept Stephanie’s invitation to meet for drinks. Slightly tipsy + driving at night + on ice + in a COMPANY vehicle + with bad tires = not very smart. I fishtailed once and that sobered me up INSTANTLY. But even with my recovered stats, it was still a suck-ass drive. 80 minutes to drive 30 miles. Ridiculous. But I would not admit defeat!
Our mutual cosplay friends didn’t show, just a few of Stephanie’s law school buds. There was me, Steph, Lorraine/Lauren?, Amy, and Amy’s cleavage. I only mention the fifth guest because the groundhog had seen his shadow, meaning that there would be six more weeks of turtlenecks. So this unexpected, but welcome glimpse of bosom was telling me, "Yes Cody, Spring WILL come. Keep the faith!" "Okay boobs, I’ll stay strong." MMmmm, boobs . . .
The girls were cool. I learned a lot about Law, mostly that 1) I could never hack it in the law profession, and 2) I need to watch more Law & Order marathons if I’m going to go drinking with them again. Nah, we talked about all sorts of crap. Stephanie had kept her cosplay past a secret from them so when they asked how we knew each other, I had to make up some story about our days at the Austin soup kitchen. I thought it was a good story.
I was surprised that one of them actually knew what a civil engineer was. In my 6 years of being one, I’ve NEVER met a non-engineer who knew that. Furthermore, she was quite familiar with the client I was working for this very weekend. I was like, “Shit, you know my job better than me. Who are you?” Cool gals, we had fun. Next thing I knew it was one a.m. and time to depart. It was definitely worth the hassle of the being an ice-road trucker.
I slept in this morning, giving the sun plenty of time to melt the snow and clear the roads. I went up to the job site and slopped around in the meltwater mud for a couple hours then turned around and headed back to Austin. As I drove south, the snow disappeared from the landscape bit by bit until there wasn’t a speck of white to be seen. As if the snow and ice had just been an unpleasant dream. That was fine by me. I’d had my fill of the stuff.
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If you, like me, were woken up yesterday morning at 3 am-ish by the sounds of Noah's Deluge (Part II), this news will come as no surprise to you.

Yup, the Guadalupe is flooding. Whitewater toobing sounds a little too extreme (plus it's gotta be hella difficult to hold onto you beer in those conditions). So that means no float this weekend. I'm only going to make this disaster about me just for as long as it takes to say: What the hell?!? Why can't I have any fun?!? All my plans are getting shot in the face! Oh well. This weather provides a good smokescreen for the fact that probably no one was going to show up anyways. But whatever. It's in God's hands now. Now I need to find something else to do.

Today (and probably tomorrow) I'll be heading up to Dallas to harass my brother's ass. It's nothing gay, I just couldn't think of anything else that rhymed with 'harass'. We don't have anything planned to do, but with our powers of boredom combined I'm sure we'll come up with something. (Hopefully it'll involve booze and 'splosions.) I'll keep my fingers crossed.
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Today I flew out from camp to Calgary. I had to work half a day on-site, which put me in a bit of a rush to do laundry, pack, get checked-in, etc. Sooo maybe I didn't plan all that properly. I finished and put away my fresh laundry (because I don't want to come back to a pile of dirty clothes) and put on my returning-to-Texas outfit. Maybe it was because I was in a hurry or maybe because my brain had already checked out, but apparently the fact that I'd been snow-covered and wearing 4 layers of clothing that morning had slipped my mind. I was only taking the clothes on my back with me because I want to travel light so I can bring back lots of cosplay stuff. A short-sleeved rayon shirt, jeans, and my jogging sneakers, that was it. When I get to Calgary, it's dark and snowing (AGAIN). At least this time I had the good sense to take a taxi to the hotel, but now I had to find food.
So that's how I found myself jogging down a city block towards the nearest fast food joint, nipples hard enough to cut diamonds, giggling at my own idiocy, picturing my parka hanging on a coat hook in my room 500 kilometers away and wondering whether I'll catch pneumonia or frostbite first. While I was hopping in place at an intersection waiting for the crosswalk signal to change, a bum approached me.
"Hey man, I ain't gonna lie. I'm trying to get seven bucks together to buy a bottle of gin. You think you can help me out?"
I'll pay for honesty. "I've got $5 you can have." And almost added, "I'll give you another $20 for that greasy hoodie of yours."
Money changed hands and I sprinted across the street to the Wendy's.

Only to find that it was already closed.

I used a new curse word I'd learned from the pile drivers this week and kept going to the Tim Horton's further down the street. By the time I got there I was shivering like a chihuahua with Parkinson's. I'm sure the cashier thought I was tweaking for a fix of something.
But man, that dinner was worth it.

Tomorrow, Austin! Fuck yeah!

P.S. Note to self: Don't forget to buy Crown Royal Special Reserve at the duty-free shop tomorrow. That's the liquor from that documentary that you couldn't remember for weeks. Get it and see if your tolerance has really dropped after a month of teetotalling!
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There was a bitter, spiteful cold snap today. Recently the temperature had been getting into the 70s and making me wish I'd brought sunscreen. Today though it's down to 3º and overcast and rainy. Being the dunce I am, I wasn't prepared for it. I'd already packed away all my winter gear. So this morning I was looking for any way to stay warm. Holding my breath to stand in the crane's exhaust for a few seconds, doing toe crunches to keep my little piggies alive, daydreaming about spontaneously combusting, etc. I even tried some Jean Luc Picard Earl Gray tea this morning. It was quite yummy (with a couple of sugar lumps in it) and the scalded throat was a nice bonus. I could see myself drinking it again but I don't know if I'll ever become a fancy tea drinker for reals. I was born a Texas which means I was drinking iced tea before I had my first taste of breast milk.
So, this one's for you, Enterprise!

1 pm update: It's fucking snowing again, goddamnit! I thought we were done with this crap!
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Thank Helios the sun has finally come out! Sure, there's still frost and flurries in the morning, but the afternoons are actually pretty comfortable. Unfortunately this thaw has turned the snow-covered landscape into one huge, brown, muddy bog. Knee-deep mud everywhere. The native word for this organic muck is "muskeg," which I believe loosely translates to "moose shit". So we've gone from snow to swamp in two days. I'm not sure that's an improvement.
In (sort of) good news, I finally got my photography permit (just in time to not take pictures of the snow). Now I can take my camera along with me and not worry about the random vehicle searches. Guess I'll have to wait till spring gets here before things are pretty enough to photograph.
I also finally got around to getting Skype. I told myself to get it so I could call for (practically) free to the States, but I haven't actually called any of my kin yet. I'm just so tired in the evenings! But I have to call my brother. It was his birthday yesterday. Happy Birthday, runt!
I got paid yesterday which marks a shift from me paying to be up here to finally getting rewarded for the hardships of this job. The pay is better than I was expecting, which was a nice surprise. Too bad I can't spend any of it up here! Ha ha ha. Oh well, it's probably better that I can't.
And most importantly, I've just got 5 more days before I go back to Austin for a week. I am SOOOO friggin' ready for that. Working 12-14 hours a day for 28 days straight? Yeah, I need some down time. I spend a good part of my idle time daydreaming about the things I want to eat/do/buy when I get back to the 'real world'. Sadly, the food is my greatest fantasy. I haven't had caffeine or a fry or any sort of combo meal in a month. The sucky aspect of my week off is that I have to travel on my own time and it takes 2 days to get from the camp back to Austin (and vice versa). So they give me 7 days off, but I'll only actually be in Austin for 3. Majorly LAME.
I guess that just means I'll have to really focus and cram a month's worth of fun into three days. A challenge? Yes. Do I accept? Hells yeah.
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Today's conditions:
-24º, -35º windchill.

It's painfully cold here.

pic and rambling )
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Nyah, nyah, take that North Texas! We can get snow too! Sure, it soon turned to sleet and slush, but STILL! . . . we got some.

And also this morning, Boss #1 stopped by.
Boss #1: *checks his watch* "It looks like you've got one week to go to Sixth Street."
Me: " . . . I do?"
Boss #1: "Yup, you'll be going to Canada at the start of March."
Me: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So there you have it. I've got less than one week to get geared up and get tickets and plan out this extended trip up to Canada. Hopefully this morning's weather hasn't prompted the department stores to sell out of parkas, because I _NEED_ one! This job may end up putting the kibosh on my con and cosplay plans for the next 3-5 months, but I'm not mourning that right now. We'll see how the schedule goes and I'll salvage what I can. The good news is that this job is the excuse I was looking for to buy a netbook finally (I'm tired of trying to lug my desktop along on trips with me) and who knows, maybe I'll find a snowbunny up there!
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Just a quick post to touch base with my adoring fans. Got back from Renn Faire today, back to Dallas as well. Despite the weather, it was a fun weekend. I was so glad to have hung out with everyone who came.
Tomorrow I'll deliver pics and report, promise.

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I'm not gonna make the weather about me, but what the hell was that? The first day we're on the water and we get rain, sleet, snow. In Texas in April? WTH? And the lake (at a piping hot 50º) was fogging up something crazy like this was Silent Hill. At first, the drillers were joking about it, saying, "Hey, somebody call the Discovery Channel! We're on The Deadliest Catch!" Although when I was climbing the cliffs in the rain, I thought it was more like "Cliffhanger." Heh heh. No one else was on the lake besides us retards. Man, we were doing some hardcore macho shit, which was pretty cool and stupid. Today, if I can just stay dry, that'll be enough for me. I don't need any more danger and excitement.

in the fog )
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I could just copy-and-paste yesterday's entry to today's. Same weather, same work situation, same boredom/ennui . . . bleh. One new development: It's nice to see that Austin has grown some balls today; people are actually getting out of their houses and driving around. I guess they either ran out of food or just got tired of being shut-in all day.
extended version )
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Snow?!? What the hell?!? This is nuts! This is the second year that we get freak snowfall like this. Man, this snow has gotten me hyper.
It's a Winter Wonderland! )

The closest I got to "playing in the snow" was punching out my ice windows. It was fun!

Ergh . . .

Nov. 30th, 2006 06:25 am
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6:00 - Today's forecast:
Low of 25º, wind gusts up to 45 mph, with freezing rain.

This day is gonna suck. I'm not getting out of my truck for nothing! I can inspect through a windshield. Screw getting pnuemonia!

17:00 - Post-script:
Hardly any of the contractors showed up today, due to the weather. It was curious; yesterday it was in the 80s and I was getting burns on my hands from handling 300º asphalt, today I watched the rain freeze on everything it touched and was wearing gloves. After about five hours of that crap, I excused myself and returned to the office, to get a headstart on some paperwork.
As physically unpleasant as today was, tomorrow's gonna be worse. Not weather-wise, but stress-wise. The completion date for this job is Monday and all sorts of deadlines, affidavits, letters, inspections, etc are falling on top of our heads. We're still suffering from the handicap of a six-week delay in construction and now we're out of time and nowhere near finished. Tomorrow's gonna be hellfire as we have to answer for all our shortcomings. And there's gonna be lots of fingerpointing and blame and other shit to go around. Even though I'm just a minor player in this, I'm sure to catch some heat too. *sigh* I think I'll start drinking at breakfast.
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Pfft. It would be nice if you could tell your body to target certain areas while you're hungry. "I can't eat right now, so metabolize fat from that area! And tighten the skin while you're at it!"
So I've been broke for like . . . a couple months now? I dunno. It's a pain in the ass, walking this tightrope. Last week, I thought I'd finally wind up a little bit ahead. Not by much, but a couple hundred dollars in the black, just a little safety net. I was kinda happy, thinking about how nice it would be, not worrying about every dime and dollar going through my hands. And then, on payday, I come home from work, and my car's gone. Huh?
It got towed. (*&%^CR$#!! The tow yard was like less than half a mile away and I'm thinking, "I've gotta pay $300 just to drive my old ass car around the block? This blows!" But the dude adds $50 per day to the fine, so I didn't have time to waste. I hate paying for towing or traffic tickets. That's just throwing money away. And I was mad at myself too, when I found out later that I could've gotten a parking permit FOR FREE and avoided this whole mess. The apartment manager said, "Think of it as an expensive lesson." I was thinking of tearing someone's head off, actually.
So that little incident has extended my poorness for another couple weeks, so I don't have much money for food. I'm hungry. In my fridge right now, I've got Ragu spaghetti sauce, expired bagels, cheese, cream cheese, and tortillas. I guess I could make a really weird pizza.
Anywho, besides that, things are okay I guess. Not having money puts a cramp on my cosplay; can't buy materials. So I've gotta be more innovative than usual. My commission is slowly coalescing. It's PVC-riffic! It'd be done by now if I weren't putting in so many "special effects". Even though the client didn't ask for these options, they just seem irresistably cool so I can't not put them in.
There are two things that are making me happy right now. One, summer's dying right now. No more triple degree temperatures. Thank goodness. A cold front came in last week and broke summer's back. Now it's actually pleasant outside. Of course, I caught a cold from being outside in the rain when that front came through, so that kinda stinks. The weather is almost worth the phlegm.
And gas is getting cheap. I don't have the money to fill up my tank, but just watching the prices drop is getting me excited. $2.35? Oh my god! Is it gonna drop below two dollars? I thought I'd never see that again in my lifetime! These prices make me wanna stock up on gas or go on a roadtrip or something.

Here's a funny pic I took in Waco a while ago. I was driving by and when I saw it, my first thought was, "How does it know?!? That bench is omniscient!" Ha ha ha.

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