The Habitrail

Absence of posting
May 20, 2008, 2:09 pm
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Just because I’m not posting doesn’t mean things aren’t happening.

  • I went down to SoCal for my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah last weekend. It’s scary that he’s 13 already, because I remember him being born. I also think I impressed him by “fixing” their TV to make the Wii work by changing it to the right input with a single button press.
  • I’m trying to lose weight again, although I haven’t introduced more exercise into the equation yet, I am back to eating less. I know it’s not enough yet, but I’m still trying to work out my routine.
  • I’m also in the process of examining my budget, after realizing that I’m probably spending more on random per-month things than I really need to. Scarily, the money I spend on FFXI each month is starting to seem like it would be better spent elsewhere. I’m also going to try to look into possibly refinancing to lock into a nice low rate, even though my ARM is going to be coming back down because it’s a 12 month moving average. My mortgage payment is about 130% of what it was when I first started, and that extra money every month really starts to hurt.
  • My room is probably the cleanest its ever been since I moved in. I’ve been working on the various regions of it, and I just managed to get my desk mostly cleared this weekend. The last few steps were amazingly noticeable — sections of carpet that hadn’t seen the light of day in years were now visible. Seeing each part by itself was already pretty amazing, once I managed to get it all done at once, I’m going to have to take pictures as historical proof.
  • My Prius didn’t get as good mileage as I thought it would have when I drove down to SoCal. I suppose it makes sense: when you’re driving at a constant speed on a flat road, a hybrid doesn’t really get much benefit. I was “only” getting 38-40 mpg on I-5. But then when I hit LA, and I was driving up and down hills, slowing down and speeding up, it went back up to 50. I was a bit afraid that I wouldn’t make it on one tank of gas (it’s a smaller tank than my last car, which could barely make it on one tank), but I managed with miles to spare.

Back to work…

Dragon*con stuffs
September 5, 2007, 2:45 pm
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So I suppose I should make a post about that whole five days I was in Georgia or something.

After a bit of confusions with my housemate, I got to the airport on Thursday without too much fuss. On the flight there, the Delta in-flight entertainment things in the seatbacks weren’t working, so no trivia or DirectTV for me. I made do with my laptop, game boy, even a (*gasp*) book. I landed just about as the other ShirtNinjas were eating a seafood dinner, and my dinner that evening would technically be the stupid little “crackers and spread” thing they gave me on the plane.

In the airport, it was amazingly evident there was a convention in town. You could pick out who was going from the crowd very easily (especially if they were already wearing their badges… perplexing). The first night was basically meeting up with Ardneth, getting my room key, and a bit of hanging out / scoping out possible hang out spots for the rest of the convention.

The rest of the convention followed a very predictable pattern, though we didn’t spend as much time sitting in the food court chatting as the last time I was there. I saw a few panels: the Venture Bros. panel was hilarious (Doc Hammer made everyone ask their questions in alphabetical order). Michael Winslow had a panel/presentation that seemed to be about 50% prepared and 50% improvised, and very impressive. The Mythbusters build team was suitably entertaining. The Brent Spiner/Robert Picardo/John DeLancie panel on the last day turned into a John DeLancie panel when the other two couldn’t show, but was still entertaining. I didn’t get a chance to see Peter David, but I’d seen him at Wondercon recently so it was no big loss.

Other highlights of the con were running into a sign on the sidewalk, buying PS238 from Aaron Williams and getting them signed. Ditto for Exploitation Now / Errant Story and Poe. The Steve Jackson Games (and other folks) booth where they’d call out “Exact Change!” in a triumphant voice every time someone paid with such. In a convention full of witty T-shirts, getting comments on the ones I wore (which I never saw anyone else wearing the ones I did. Luckily I brought more than I needed, or else I would have ended up wearing one that I saw a whole lot.) Seeing for the first time in probably 15 years. Meeting a few of the ShirtNinjas I hadn’t met yet (, , and others).

I would have liked to have taken pictures, but as my mobile post before said, the battery in my old Canon Elph no longer holds a charge. I think I’ve found one that’s suitable, I just have to figure if it’s worth it to spend the money on something I’d rarely use. I have the camera in my phone if I ever want to take a picture of something random that I run across, even if the quality is crappy.

I need to make a mental note that the flight I chose to go back home on was way too late, I was bored in the airport for too long, and that was even after taking my time on Monday. At least the flight back I got to play with the in-flight system (and lucky me once again I got one of the few empty middle seats on the plane next to me).

My internal clock is still all messed up. Even though I’m falling asleep at my usual west coast time, I’m waking up at the east coast time I was used to over the weekend. This lack of sleep is making me groggy and I’m getting headaches. I almost even fell asleep at work yesterday. I hope it all works out soon.

An Accidental Day
August 12, 2007, 11:32 pm
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(Bear with me if you don’t know the people I’m talking about in this tale.)

I guess it all started earlier this week when two things happened. First, I decided that I really needed to shift my sleeping schedule back to somewhat normal in preparation for needing to be at work at 9 a.m. on Monday for orientation, and the other being that for some reason I had it stuck in my head that the final AOD staff meeting was this Sunday, not next.

So this morning, when I’ve awoken at a time that’s still rather late by most people’s standards but early for my forward shifted sleep schedule (and not early enough, I had to sleep in yesterday because I woke up with a headache and ended up having to sleep it off). So I checked my email for the time of the meeting, saw it was at 3 p.m., not noticing the date, and at around 2, left for a haircut and to drive up to San Francisco.

Getting my hair cut made me late (or so I thought) so I got to the hotel at 3:15, and didn’t see anyone around. Assuming they had already started, I looked at the hotel schedule and didn’t see anything. I begun to get nagging doubts in my head (especially since I hadn’t been contacted earlier in the day asking to carpool up, which usually happens) so I used my cell phone to check my email, a process which took a bit too long for this day and age, and eventually determined that I was, indeed, around 167 hours early for this particular event.

Now I’m in the city with nothing to do, and an hour’s drive behind me and ahead of me make me think I should at least make the best of it. So I figure now is as good as a time as any to visit the restaurant owned by Dom’s cousins, whom I play WoW with. When I call Dom for the address, though, he informs me that they are closed and won’t open until 6 for dinner, adding that he’s sure I could find something to amuse myself. It is San Francisco, after all.

My typical location of amusement happens to be only a few blocks away, so I drive to Japantown. And this is where my tale starts taking a turn for the surreal. It just so happens that today was the Nihonmachi Street Fair. It didn’t really impact me so much, because I was making a beeline for he theater, I figured I could kill time with a movie. After buying a ticket, I leave to go buy a crepe and I notice the woman leaving the theater ahead of me looks familiar. “Rannie?” I ask as I tap her on the shoulder. Sure enough, it’s her. I explain the mistake that led me here, she tries introducing me to the guy she’s there with, but when she pauses after “this is ___, my….” I wave it off, because I know sometimes it’s kinda complicated. We talk for a little bit, but eventually she leaves and I go off to get my crepe. After going upstairs and ordering and waiting for my crepe to be done, I look around in the crowd to see if there’s anyone else I know.

And there is.

Off in the distance I see none other than Hong, wearing a Salsa Dancing T-Shirt and chatting up some girl. I wander over in a daze and surprise the heck out of him, especially with my goatee. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen him, and even longer since I saw him on any regular occasion. (Yes, 5XL has been broken up for six years now.) We do a bit of catching up, talk about being old and me not staffing anime cons anymore. Eventually the pressures of the crepe and the movie starting make the conversation end, and as I tardily claim my crepe and walk back to the theater.

The rest of the evening was fairly normal, aside from the fact that it involved a Vietnamese Fusion restaurant in the heart of the Castro District. When I first said hello to Kevin it was kinda funny. I said “It’s Andy.” and he just kinda acted friendly, then I added “you, know… Werehamster” and his eyes lit up. Also at the table next to me was another guildie, celebrating his birthday with his family. The food was good, I think I made a mistake ordering an appetizer and entree that both involved fried food. They were both very good but I think it was just too much fried for one meal.

On the drive down I had a weird sort of epiphany. I’ve had days like this before, where weird coincidences show up. One of the things that went on at the table next to me was the scratching off of lottery tickets. I remembered that I used to buy lotto tickets on days like this, and numbers seemed to be very prominent in many of the events of the day, so I stopped and bought one on the way home. I did four quick-picks, and one where I specifically chose the numbers based on the things that happened.

I’d add a bit more, but I’m actually getting legitimately tired, due to the purposeful deprivation of sleep last night and walking around the city. I hope I can actually fall asleep, I have to wake up dang early tomorrow…

The wonders of spring
May 8, 2007, 4:20 pm
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Spring brings us many different things:

  1. A heatwave that only lasts one day but is amazingly hot. Opening the windows didn’t cool the house off yesterday because it was still hot out when I got home. So I actually turned the air conditioning temporarily, but by the time the house had cooled down, so had outside. Freakish.
  2. Spring cleaning. We had a party at the house on Saturday, so we needed to clean the middle floor. So of course, in order to get the middle floor clean, we had to make room for some of the stuff that was lying around, which meant cleaning other parts of the house to make room for it, and it kept chaining. The net effect was me reorganizing furniture in my room, buying a new bookshelf and DVD rack, gaining complete use of our kitchen table for the first time in years, seeing the patio floor again, and throwing away so much trash that we couldn’t park one of the cars in the garage over the weekend because the trash took up too much space.
  3. Birds. Graceful and beautiful when observed from a distance in your leisure time. However, they are neither when they are repeatedly running into my bedroom window at 6am every morning for the past week. Like clockwork, this stupid bird keeps flying into my window, waking me up, flying back to his branch or whatever, then flying into my window again for anywhere from two to fifteen minutes. I have no idea why, but it’s driving me crazy and making me all sleep deprived. And on Friday, it interrupted the song and dance number in my dream. With Neil Patrick Harris. I give no explanations for my subconscious.

The world at a 90 degree angle
April 23, 2007, 10:44 am
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So, last week I had a pain/pressure in my left ear. I was pretty sure it was an outer ear infection, a.k.a. swimmer’s ear… but of course in order to get some sort of relief I had to go to the doctor. He confirmed that it was, in fact, what I thought, and prescribed an antibiotic anti-inflammatory ear drop. Hooray for having to pay full price for a 10 minute doctor’s visit and medication… but $110 total is worth it for being able to actually sleep through the night and not worry about it getting worse or something.

However, having to hold my head sideways for 5 to 10 minutes three times a day is an odd additional price to pay for this relief. At least it got better after a few days. Sadly, as it is an antibiotic, I have to keep taking it for a week even though there are no symptoms anymore.

In other news, I’m in the midst of reorganizing the furniture in my room. I removed the table and moved the dressers to the foot of the bed where the table was, now I have enough wall space for one, maybe two more bookshelves. Vertical storage is sort of a necessity now as I’m accumulating more and more books and other stuff. More bookshelves also means more tops of bookshelves to put Star Wars legos on, as I was already one bookshelf short.

The post I keep forgetting to make…
April 13, 2007, 5:09 pm
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… since last Friday.

I made it through passover this year, it was made easier when I realized that El Pollo Loco was fair game if I didn’t get tortillas and I got the correct sides.

It turns out I’m getting money back from the government this year. This was a welcome surprise.

Today is the last day of one of my coworkers, a fellow back-end engineer. He’s going to work at Gaia Online, in a weird twist of fate.

Where the heck have I been?
November 17, 2005, 2:11 am
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I haven’t updated in a while. I didn’t post a second half to my Indiana trip. I haven’t been doing a lot of things.

What I am doing is going down to Gencon SoCal tomorrow to help run karaoke for the anime track, then staying down in L.A. through Thanksgiving at my parent’s.

There’s other stuff, I suppose, but nothing worth noting.

October 26, 2005, 1:19 am
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Okay, so first part: It happened again on the crosswalk back to my car. Argh!

Second, on the drive home, I got a call from my Grandmother. Apparently she thought it was my birthday, which isn’t until… well, today. The funny part is that it actually took the two of us a good minute to figure out which of us was mistaken. Between the two of us, we don’t really have set schedules, and I wasn’t looking at a calendar. It wasn’t until I knew it was Tuesday and she realized she’d gone out to dinner the night before (therefore making that Monday night) that we figured out it was, in fact, October 25. We are too alike. You may now start making fun of me for comparing myself to a 90 year-old woman.

Played a little bit more of Ultimate Spiderman. I bought that game when every store seems to be out of Shadow of the Colossus, but it turns out to be worth the price. Being written by Brian Michael Bendis shows, and makes it worthwhile to try and play through the missions.

People came over, then took Dom and me out to birthday dinner (as we’re both going to be playing Magic tomorrow). Came back and watched the end of the world series game, which was (gasp) still on.

Oh, and I’m am a hair’s breadth away from unlocking everything on Meteos now. I just need 150 more Zoo meteos, which is one good game, so I’m going to go do that right now and go to sleep.

Edit: Unlocked everything. Yay.

Oh yeah, Dragon*Con
September 9, 2005, 11:41 am
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I never posted when I got home, huh?

So I guess my last post was in the middle of what would be a very long day separated by two hours of sleep. After getting my luggage back in my room (and switching into shorts from the pants I wore on the plane) I wandered back to the food court, where we ended up spending most of the day. I managed to wander down to the Exhibit Hall and Art Show, bought some random stuff that I could’ve bought anywhere but was just there right then. Wandered back to the Marriott lobby, which was the other place we spent a lot of time. Found out I had managed to completely miss that there was a “Dealer’s Room” in addition to the “Exhibit Hall.” Blame my anime convention experience on this one, where the two terms are interchangeable. Tried sticking around as long as I could, but the sleep deprivation caught up to me and I went back to the room and crashed. At some point in the day I realized that I had missed the 7pm Peter David panel, which saddened me greatly.

Saturday was a similar day, but with a bit more roaming around on my part. I found the Exhibit hall (and bought some random Magic singles). That night we went to the Steak & Ale for dinner, where there was a group shot taken which I didn’t bother taking because other people would, and got lost in the restaurant. The rest of the day is a blur, which probably means we spent it in the food court and the Marriott lobby. Getting back to the hotel, as we were about to go to sleep, Back to the Future came on the TV, which meant, of course, that we had to watch it. It’s a law, you know.

Gaming Room (OMG that thing was huge, more space in that one room than most cons have for all their function space) where I entered and won a 9th edition Magic Draft, and played a few Looney Labs games and later an unfinished game of 7th Sea, because I had to wander off to get in line for the Serenity panel. The panel was amusing, mostly for the fact that the four actors were vehement in not spoiling the movie, and sort of exhausted because they had done this two times before already and were not anticipating any sort of “good” questions. That night we gathered in and Tannim’s (don’t know if he has an LJ) hotel room to watch the Masquerade on the hotel TV. Much Anachronism was played by all, and I think that was undefeated, mostly helped by his uncanny ability to roll double sixes.

Monday was a shorter day, and less people were around. I know we spent almost all of it sitting around, and I managed to copy most of JLU from (what I didn’t get I got via when I got home or via BT). My flight back was less harrowing, but just as uncomfortable… why do I keep getting stuck in the middle seat?

I also managed to get the con sickness, which wasn’t evident until last night, but is very noticeable now. Although I think it’s more fun to blame for it, it was probably just the travel and the close proximity to people, etc.

Oh, and one last thing. For Jokersama. For Kermix.

Dragon*con update
September 2, 2005, 9:49 am
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Coasting on two hours of pseudo-sleep, if I can keep this up, I can crash and be on some semblance of a normal schedule. Ran into in the airport, he was on the same flight as me. He was kind enough to store my luggage while I got my badge, where I randomly ran into . Wandered to the food court, met up with most of the ShirtNinjas, and sat there for two hours jabbering. In the process, got my room key.

Afterwards, got my luggage from Lionel’s room, and trekked down to the Holiday Inn, where I am now, about ready to head back up.

Yay free wireless Internet.

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