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Taren's Journal Below are the 25 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Taren Nauxen" journal:

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January 19th, 2012
05:27 pm


How are you supposed to "deal with" grief?
Yesterday was Athus's birthday, and I spent it hanging out with Sema at the BD shop. We came back from FC on Tuesday, and I took an extra day off as a "decompression day", which just so happened to be his birthday.

I really don't feel much in terms of emotions, so when this whole thing happened 3 months ago, I only really felt numb for a couple of days. Within a week or two I felt "okay"-ish. The only real feeling I had was guilt that I was not as outwardly expressive as other people. I don't miss Athus any less, I just am incapable of feeling or understanding the correct emotions.

Right after it happened, I did go through my own sort of grieving process by making that plushie for his mom. It seemed cathartic enough to help put it all behind me, but after last night, I feel like I'm right back where I started.

Seeing how upset everyone was yesterday just reopened that wound that I thought was scarring over. I was thinking about it on the ride home last night, and I described it to Sema as "a shelf".

You know how some people "put their feelings in a box" or a "closet"? I put all of my painful emotions on a shelf. Everything I experience is in plain view in my mind, but over time, as I let them sit there, they gather dust and cobwebs, and slowly become irrelevant or faded. Sometimes I put too much on the shelf and it collapses. However, last night was something different: the shelf was dusted- it's as if I had just put it there yesterday.

I was in kind of a funk/haze all last night, and this morning that emotional numbness came back that happened right after this all started. Sema explained to me that it meant that I had never "dealt with" the loss, just ignored it.

But I just don't understand, what am I supposed to do? Emotions are completely foreign to me due to my AS (superpowers), so the only thing I know TO do is work around it like an obstacle on a go-kart track- every time I come across it, all I have to do is dodge.

What do "normal" people do? Maybe this is something I'm going to have to bring up in therapy tomorrow. :/
(crossposted to furaffinity)

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November 7th, 2011
11:32 am


Holiday Ranking?
Just blowing off some steam here.
I was going into this work week thinking I was getting a paid holiday on Friday seeing as it's a FEDERAL HOLIDAY. Yet somehow it's not? This company thinks it's fine to make Columbus Day a paid day off but not Veterans' Day?! Wow dude talk about bad form. We get Memorial Day off but not this one. My only theory is that maybe my company only wants to observe Movable Feast days so they don't have to worry about major holidays falling on weekends or Wednesdays.

Columbus Day ranks WELL below Veterans. If you get Columbus Day off you should at least get a day to honor the people that actually know where America is.

At least my company doesn't take off for Pulaski day, haha.

I'm just bitter that I'm not getting Friday off :(

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November 4th, 2011
07:10 am


Dear readers,
Have any of you been on fluoxetine (prozac) before? That's the medication I'm currently on for my anxiety. I've been on it for just over 3 months. I'm honestly enjoying being on it, I feel like I have mental stability for the first time in years. However, one of the major side effects, insomnia, is really starting to creep up on me.

About a month ago (before the Athus incident), I noticed that started "beating my alarm", waking myself up just minutes before it was set to go off. I get 5-6 hours of sleep a night, so I didn't really mind. It was nice to be alert and awake early on instead of literally having to ROLL out of bed.

Then I started waking up at about 3-4 every morning. I blamed it on the Himalayan salt lamp we got at the flea market. It's quite bright. However, earlier this week I slept with it off and- surprise!- I still woke up in the middle of the night.

Now I find myself tossing and turning for 30 minutes to an hour before I actually konk out, and then I wake up at least twice during the night. It's usually about 1:30 and 3, give or take a half hour for each. And it's only long enough to wake up, look at the clock, think "what the fuck come on", and go back to sleep. I have no issues getting back to sleep.

I am enjoying the bizarre dreams that come with waking up prematurely. Like last night, I dreamed about a new kind of puzzle-game, going to the movies with Sema, and taking a trip through scenic France. I also went to a White Castle in France on that trip, it was epic.

I'm not any more groggy in the mornings than I usually am, but I am quite concerned with this whole progression of waking up in the middle of the night earlier and earlier. My medication is set to run out while I'm out of town for MFF, so I got my blood drawn yesterday, and I plan to schedule an appointment with the doctor that put me on the pills to discuss this.

I was just curious in the mean time, though, if anyone else has been on this medication and had any similar reactions? What was it like for you, did it get any worse, etc. I really like how this medicine has improved my mental state, but I don't want this issue to get to the point where I can't sleep at all. That'd be bad, mmkay?

Current Mood: need... breakfast...

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October 31st, 2011
08:23 pm


Why I wasn't picked for Wheel of Fortune
Holy shit you guys
I just solved a puzzle before any of the letters came up
The Halloween theme and apostrophe helped though :)

Current Mood: winning?

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October 14th, 2011
09:26 pm


Friends & Family of Athus Nadorian a.k.a. Brian Dyer
Friends & family of Athus Nadorian aka Brian Dyer

On Tuesday the 11th of October 2011, Athus was involved in a severe car collision that ended his time here with us. The 29 years of his life were filled with amazing stories, incredible adventures and outstanding creativity and talent. He shared his love of life, affection for others and sense of humor with many wonderful people. In memory of Athus and his special life, his closest kin have created a website for others to share their experiences with Athus as well as share photos and artwork. An email address has been established to send your wishes in to be posted on the site athus@athusnadorian.com. Thank you for your kind words, love and support through all of this. Remember to love life, hold your friends close and have a little fun - Athus wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Please visit the site we have established www.athusnadorian.com and use the email address athus[at]athusnadorian.com to share your wishes to allow time for his closest kin to mourn peacefully.

-Friends and Family

Narse, Athus, and me at Anthrocon 2010- Narse and Athus bought me a magazine to remind me that my birthday (6/25) is the day Michael Jackson died. Those guys NEVER stopped giving me a hard time about it. <3

I saw him for the last time the day before. I went up with Sema to their laser hair removal appointment, and stuck around for lunch at Uncle Sam's in Scottsdale. So my last memory of Athus is hanging out with him and the rest of the gang at a great restaurant eating great food having a great time.

Part of my grieving process was making a plushie for his mom. It would be something to remember him by, you know? I put on some more mellow/somber music while I worked, just to kind of help channel it. I ended up listening to Mike Oldfield for most of the seven hours I spent on the plushie. Started with Incantations (my favorite), followed by Orchestral Hergest Ridge, Tubular Bells 2, Songs of Distant Earth, Crises. When Moonlight Shadow came up I really began to feel it. Ho boy. ("See you in heaven, one day...")

When I held it up to examine the finished product, I could feel him there looking at it with me in approval. It's like when you're standing outside on a cold night and your back is to a campfire, that was totally his presence.

Additionally, part of how I deal with anxiety and stress is by doing math. It's just a way of distracting myself from my problems. I began to play around with his date of death, and found some pretty fun meanings. Athus passed away on October 11, 2011. Using two-digit dates, that's 10-11-11, which can be interpreted as a binary number. You can arrange those pairs in three unique ways, 101111, 111011, and 111110.

Each of those three arrangements can be interpreted as an ASCII character, and I found those three in particular to be extremely interesting.

101111 binary = 2F hex = / = Usually referred to as a "slash", this character's formal name is SOLIDUS. When Athus left US, it simply reinforced the fact that our "family" is SOLID, and will continue to be in the future.

111011 binary = 3B hex = ; = The semicolon is as used as frequently as people like Athus come along: rarely. Its main purpose is to CONNECT two similar clauses into one compound idea. In this case, Athus was integral to connecting us all together.

111110 binary = 3E hex = > = The greater-than sign is used to show inequality. Indeed, this tragedy will bring us closer together and we will become a close family even GREATHER THAN before.

I'm sure he can see this and is getting the greatest kick out of it.

Current Music: Mike Oldfield - Moonlight Shadow

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October 9th, 2011
04:00 pm


Audiogalaxy part 2
For the last few months I've been having problems with my Droid X getting a corrupted SD card. It would start messing up random gallery images, then it started "performing surgery" on my MP3's, transplanting small segments from song to song.

I thought the music thing was kinda silly until one day I was listening to some ambient piano baloney and all of the sudden holy shit high-energy eurobeat buchiage garbage ahhhhh (darn you, Super Star Mitsuruuuuu)

After a few weeks of dealing with it and having trouble with TuneIn and Pandora, I looked into "is there any way to stream music from my computer to my phone?" Sho 'nuff, there's Audiogalaxy.

The funny thing is, I used to use Audiogalaxy Satellite back in the '00-'02 era all the time. Back then, it was a P2P client, right before the RIAA killed everybody. Same company! It's awesome.

The best part about this music program is its "Genie", kinda like Pandora's system of selecting new songs, but Genie focuses more on albums and artists. I queued up one IIDX artist, and Genie eventually went through a series of related artists a couple songs at a time. There would be 10-15 song stretches of "oh must be the program's (xyz artist) phase, lol". I also like hearing stuff come up that I didn't even know I had.

So yes, highly recommended. A+++

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October 7th, 2011
04:51 pm


I found my DA Doppelganger
I got cloned at DeviantArt



What's sad is that I found this while searching for "happy dog is happy", i.e. the meme that made our dog Qoppa E-FaMoUs

Current Music: 猫又Master - さよなら世界

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December 25th, 2010
12:35 am


Taren stalks Santa again...




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April 16th, 2010
04:42 pm


Computer hardware questions
I'm looking into replacing my 6-year-old computer with something more... capable. I looked at what Best Buy had to offer, and I plan on shopping around. I don't know JACK SQUAT about hardware, so could any of you geeks explain what's what?

CPU: Intel vs. AMD?
RAM: DDR2 vs. DDR3? The 3 seems to have more, like 6GB vs. 4GB.
HDD: Who cares, I have a 500GB external drive anyway.
Drives: I heard DVD drives can read/write +/-'s and even burn Dual-layer?
Video: ATI vs. NVidia? Shared memory vs. dedicated memory (does this exist?)?
Brand: Dell, Compaq, Asus, HP, Sony, who else...
SW: I'm going to need pirated copies of MSOffice 2003 or 2007 and Nero 6. STAT.

I don't really have a lot I do with my computer. I'm not really a gamer, only Stepmania. Maybe Second Life, if I get updated specs. Mostly do a lot of programming, so I'd want a fast processor with high RAM. Dual-screen support would be a plus but not mandatory (I currently have a 17" VGA-only LCD).

As far as OS: Can't really use XP anymore, since it won't support 2GB+ RAM. Never liked Vista, no opinion on W7 yet. I am a power-user, so I'll probably want W7-Professional. Which Best Buy never seems to offer. I'd probably be better off with a hacked Ultimate, lawl. What's the point anyway, for "upgrades"? Who cares, Windows Band-Aid (Update) is retarded anyway. Get it right the first time.

Any suggestions?

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April 11th, 2010
06:47 pm


First, in trying to find a sofa for our future living room, we found a special deal on a kickass room-set that included a new 50" plasma TV. Guess we don't need to look for a TV for that room now, either! Looks like that room is complete!

We also just purchased a netbook with part of the tax refund, and found it came with the exact wall-to-brick power cord that her other laptop was missing. Hooray!

We'll be needing a second one eventually, though. Does anyone have a spare cable lying around they'd be willing to sell? It looks just the cable on the left- two-prong, round on both ends (not like a PS2 cord).

So now we haaaave... seven computers in this house. Good thing there's no law against technophilia! ataq (my desktop), pickles (my linux), madrugada (my laptop), vaio (decommissioned), semtop (out of order), acer (sj's desktop), netbook (it's new!). Hotnesssssss

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April 2nd, 2010
01:25 pm


April 1st marks 4 years that semjay and I have been together. We celebrated by going to a "spa" resort. I got my car cleaned out (again), then we got massages, dinner at Rawhide, and went gamblin'!

Long story short, the resort spa was being a bunch of douchebags so we went to Massage Envy and got a couples massage for less than half of what the resort was charging for two individual massages would have cost. I think I like massages :D I will figure out how to pay for them with an FSA so I can save even more on them- fuck taxes.

Rawhide was amazing, and our server knew raspberryroo! We had live entertainment and my Cajun Cowboy steak was delicious :O~~~~~. It took like 90 minutes to get seated, but that gave us a chance to explore the town. A gunfight broke out in the street D: Don't worry, it was part of the show.

After dinner, we went to the new Wild Horse Pass casino. It is VERY fancy! Quite a step up from their old location, which is now just an abandoned building. No huge jackpots for me, what a disappointment, but I did kick ass at blackjack for once. Within one 6-deck shoe, I was up about $100 from just $10 bets. I had an ultra ultra ultra combo or something. About freakin' time, bj hasn't been treating me well lately, but the place I had been going before was probably rigged. Anyway, after all was said and done, the trip to the casino paid for dinner!

I got a lovely wake-up call at 7am from India my home security company. The pet sitter let the dogs out but forgot to disable the alarm, so they thought it was a burglar. I told them everything was fine, don't worry about it. The sitter felt so bad, but I explained that our system has this "feature" where it doesn't go berzerk when tripped on "stay" mode. It happened to us a few days ago, too! An alarm would be nice to alert us or scare off a burglar, don't you think? No, not on "stay" mode, only "away". I'm gonna have to deal with THEM now, too!

Then I couldn't get back to sleep because our air conditioner in the room sounded like Uncle Buck's car when it fired up, and then hotel maintenance started their renovation work (vacuums!) right then. How relaxing. Then the hotel was giving me shit on my room bill (after breaking in the room, christ- I'm not checked out yet!) in the morning because we didn't use the spa, so I gave them a talking to AGAIN. I'm going to watch my bank accounts, because their little billshit (bill bullshit) has fucked up two of my accounts, until the charges clear. I fully expect to have to call them in the near future to dispute dumb stuff.

We came home to 3 lovely wiggling dogs! They did a great job overnight with the pet sitter. I'm very pleased with how that went, and I am looking forward to hiring her again for IFC/MFF and beyond. It costs just as much as kenneling and we don't have any surprise diseases to deal with when we get back.

Overall: I had a great time with MY BESTEST FRIEND EVAR. The dogs made a new friend, too. Wouldn't recommend the hotel/spa/resort, but Rawhide and the casino are so much fun. It's like going on a mini-vacation in your own town! Got the whole weekend ahead of me now, and we're probably going to Silly Mountain today. (I love that name)

Happy April Fool's Day Anniversary, boo!

~~Here's some obnoxious centered text and pictures to make me look all edgy and cool~~

"Yes, this is what America really looks like."

tl;dr: pictures; dogs.

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March 14th, 2010
09:59 pm


Ostrich Festival!

Ostrich Festival was more or less just an excuse to throw another carnival. No complaints from me with that!

No caption needed. They also had a horse tricks show, an emu chase, a camel race, and ostrich chariot races, complete with country music and intentionally hokey banjo medleys. It was a grand old time.

I really have no fucking clue what's going on in this picture. Neytiri riding a tentacle-swan?

Dock dogs!

I call hax. The 'Fearless Flores' had a nice thrill show that included a motorbike cage, hula hoop show, unicycle deal, and a neat balancing act.

We even got to try some Papa Murphy's pizza (delicious, A++++) and sign a petition against speed cameras.

I think I got too much fresh air though, I'm a little red and very tired. Maybe I'll have the allergist test to see if I'm allergic to "being outside".

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March 11th, 2010
11:19 pm


mysql/php question...
For some reason, a PHP script I'm running fails mid-run. Could anybody give me an idea as to what I'm doing wrong? Usually I'm pretty good at debugging, but I'm just stumped.

This is a script for my little FA Rank project. In particular, it's the one that calculates the rankings- i.e. sort by score, enumerate from 1 to N, and then look for 'ties' and update those values.

$sizeOfData is 134265. Yes, that's right, a 130k element, 2-D array. I have had to heavily modify this particular function because that array was causing out-of-memory errors (90MB+, what?).
for($i=0; $i<$sizeOfData; $i++)
        echo "a$i ";
        echo "b$i ";
        echo "c$i ";
        $tie=($data[$i]['rank']==$data[$i-1]['rank'] || $data[$i]['rank']==$data[$i+1]['rank'])?1:0;
        echo "d$i ";
        $result=mysql_query("insert into `ranks` values('$handle','$date','$rank','$tie','0')");
        echo mysql_error()." ".mysql_errno();
        echo " e$i ";

Here's an example of the output I get: "...Duplicate entry 'darknatasha-2010-03-05' for key 1 1062 e35 a36 b36 c36 d36"

The "Duplicate Entry" is because I've run this script many times, and am trying to clobber what I've already written. That's no big deal. The real puzzle is why it stops THERE. After "d". And even MORE screwy, it stops at arbitrary points in the program. It might say "d36" or "d1003" or "d157", but every time it dies in the middle of that mysql_query() call.

My webhost (poor guys) have no explicit limit on SQL usage, but there is a 30-second timeout for PHP scripts, and this script dies after about 2-3 seconds. I've run other much more query-intensive pages before and never had this happen. Could it be a memory error? Is my query getting killed? Why am I seeing no error messages?

Probably gotta rewrite it all anyway, but any tips? This was working great up until now.

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March 2nd, 2010
09:49 pm


Selling a derginhed!


This guy has been sitting around the closet for a while. And now he's been replaced and needs a good home! Unused, in great shape. Make me an offer!

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07:49 am


in the future this will all seem so insignificant
The last few days I had been pretty upset about stuff, but late last week I came around. It occurred to me that even though I wasn't getting the attention I felt I deserved for my art on FA, my FA Rank project has probably received more hits than even the raunchiest pr0n on FA. Mission accomplished.

Sema's birthday party was awesome. That's all I have to say about the one. Go look at the pictures!

Now on to the meat of the post: Fails!

I recently caved in and upgraded a lot of my stuff. My phone had a new OS come out a few months ago, so I figured it couldn't be much worse than my current one. For the most part the upgrade actually makes my phone usable (Blackberry Storm on Verizon) but there are two "gotchas" that are the exact reason why I never upgrade anything.

The phone now has auto-dim on. Whenever you use the phone in a dark room, the backlight dims. If you hold it up to light, it brightens up. Kinda like a solar-powered flashlight. Neat trick, but the toggle to disable it doesn't work. Good job. It is kind of annoying but I can deal with it.

The really unpleasant surprise was that now all audio played through the headphone jack has a choppy fade-in for the first second or so. On speaker it's fine but if I want to rock out in my car, it ruins the intro of most songs. Imagine trying to sing along to your favorite songs but the first two words of every song disappear. How would you feel? There is no option to disable this "feature" and it was never an issue before the upgrade. I'd switch back if the previous OS wasn't so godawful compared to this. Maybe this issue will get fixed in a future OS. I ranted on a BB forum, so maybe people will have some advice there.

And now for some fail of my own. Bowling! Here was game 3 last night. I'm "EH" at the bottom.

Nice 290 game, amirite? Frame 1 was some random bullshit like a 2 or a 6 pin. Frame 9 was a pocket 7-10 likely due to a bad rack. Frame 7... As I got on the approach, the gentleman just coming back on my right let loose the longest, loudest fart I've ever heard. I didn't recognize the sound at first but then everyone within a 2-3 lane radius was laughing hysterically, causing me to start laughing. It's kind of unfortunate, because he's a cool guy. He took it all in stride, as I'm sure he didn't mean to. I took a moment to compose myself and got back on the approach. As I took my first step I could tell I was still lightheaded from laughing so hard... And put the ball in the gutter. Talk about embarrassing. We're not really the most mature lot, but you take what you can get.

I better get back to work now! Hope you enjoyed my stories. (typing this on my phone is sooooo much easier now that I have word wrap for text fields. Yeah, it works niiice now, like a brand new phone.)

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February 14th, 2010
11:47 am


stingy coupons rant!
I remember when coupons used to be valuable. If you were smart you could use coupons strategically to cause a retailer to incur a loss on the sale. You still can, if you're really good, but now it's all about "how can we still profit from customers and make it look like a good deal?"

BOGO's are now replaced with BOGOHO: Buy one get one half off. Even better, restaurants LOVE to offer a free meal with the purchase of an equal/greater value meal, *and* two overpriced beverages.

Contests and drawings are always a joke, too. Enter to win one of ten hundred-dollar gift cards! Okay, who is officiating this drawing? How will I know your contest is valid and you won't just tell everyone that "somebody else won"?

Little Debbie takes the cake (no pun intended, seriously). On the side of their box of Nutty Bars, I saw the ultimate in cheap-ass coupons. If you go to their site, you can sign up to be entered into a drawing for one of 50 vouchers for $10 your next airplane ticket with AirTrans.

I don't know about you guys, but any plane ticket *I* buy costs two or three HUNDRED bucks, and it sure as hell isn't with AirTrans. So you're saying I have to divulge my personal information (likely for marketing purposes) for a slim chance at "winning" a 3-5% discount on my next cross-country flight?

Well, I'll see you at my block party when I win it, guys. Little Debbie's gonna save me a Hamilton! That's a total of $500 in "discounts" to the "winners" of the "contest". The logistics and implementation of that "contest" probably cost more than the "discounts" they're providing.

Just another example of promotions that are really advertisements in disguise. Same reason why manufacturers and grocers actually *promote* coupon-strategy websites: to get you to look at their pretty ads specifically designed to exploit your psychological weaknesses and innate, unconscious behaviors.

Holy shit, did I just go Freud on little pieces of paper?

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February 11th, 2010
11:50 pm


paint fail

When something I don't usually pay attention to changes, I get this weird spider-sense thing going on. It was definitely tingling when I saw this on my way home. (US 60 + Ironwood in Apache Junction)

At some point today, somebody spilled a little paint on the road. And by a little, I mean A METRIC FUCK TON. This picture barely does the carnage justice. It's about this, times five. And this afternoon, it was still all wet.

All three lanes are whitewashed for a good 10-20 feet, PLUS if you look carefully you can see paint splashed up on to the median. It likely splattered any cars awaiting to go northbound from that intersection.

We went to the Bad Dragon house tonight, so of course we had to go by it again. I laughed so hard I fogged up the windows in my van. It just keeps playing over and over in my head- visualizing that paint spilling all over the road.

The best part of it all is that I get to see this EVERY DAY on my way home. If you're lucky, it'll show up on satellite imagery, in time.

Let's all say it together: GREAT JOB!

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February 10th, 2010
11:17 pm


I'm still here
I don't know what to do with myself. Every day I come home from work, and something always seems to happen that eats up my entire evening...

Mondays I have bowling league, so I'm out of the house from 6:30am until 9:30pm. The rest of the week, I don't know. I get home around 5-ish. I was all stoked and ready to cut some pieces for post-FC hat commissions, but after we went out for food and a Walmart run, it was 9pm and I was beat. At least I have all the materials gathered, so I should be able to sit right down.

I guess right now is an exception, since Sema's parents are in town and staying with us. I'm not complaining, but good lord, how does the time fly so quickly? And it's not like work goes by any slower- I blink and suddenly my day becomes two hours shorter in the mornings. And then the last 15 minutes or so vaporize, every day.

Kinda reminds me of those lengthy, annoying boss battles in old-school NES games where battling the stage boss involves a lengthy process just to get a small window of opportunity to inflict damage, after which you have to start the process over again. If you played a lot of games as a kid you know exactly what I'm talking about. No specific references in mind, just was a recurring theme for lazy game designers.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, what do "normal" people do between quitting-time and bed-time? I have all these neat ideas and projects, but it seems like after I come home, it's immediately off to bed and up again to start the process all over again, and I never get anything *I* want done. Maybe I do, but it sure doesn't feel like it. (I do get a lot done during the weekends, but I don't like waiting for those.)

On the other hand, I have been spending those last few hours each night drawing. It's a fun way to release my creativity, and it doesn't involve a lot of set-up and tear-down. Nothing's worse than having to waste lots of time prepping for something. Finally, all ready to go, and time to quit! Here's some stuff I've drawn in the last few weeks:

Anyway, I really didn't get enough sleep last night, so I'm going to try to catch up tonight. I'd like to actually get work done tomorrow instead of fumbling around groggily for the first half of my day.

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February 2nd, 2010
10:33 pm


Just to see what happens, ask me shit:

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January 27th, 2010
12:11 am


January was...
Hello again.
How have you been?

Let me tell you about the last four weeks. I have been too busy to write about my adventures of 2010 so far, but now that I have a chance...

1. new house, moving
2. work stuff
3. further confusion 2010

On 12/30, we closed on the house. It's got four bedrooms, three full baths, a two-car garage, and one sweet backyard. 2155 sq.ft., a newly built house, pretty good neighbors (except for that one guy...), and a pretty decent selection of local commerce. Grocery, walmart, UPS store, petsmart, target, fast food, whatever.

The only down side is that it's a ways out there. We're in the newly named San Tan Valley, which is in unincorporated Pinal county, about an hour southeast of downtown Phoenix. Our housing community is so new that Google Maps doesn't recognize our address, and when corrected to a different city name and zip code, displays farm land. Awesome!

On 12/31, we got the keys and a walk-through. They were very thorough. Numbers to call for warranties and such, instructions on how to not blow up the water heater, etc.

Fast-forward about a week and a half: moving day. Yay? Athus and Raith came over and helped us move all the heavy furniture, including my super-homo-rainbow fabric bookshelf, the TV armoire, and the comfy green couch.

What a nightmare. I rented a truck (thank god I'm not under 24!) to haul over the big stuff, and figured I'd make trips in my minivan for the rest. Well, after two or three of trips to the old place, I couldn't be bothered to clean the rest out. Oh well, we got the rest of the month. Saturday we'll go raid the house and clean it up in hopes of getting the security deposit back (pffft). The truck rental company website quoted me something like $67 for the rental- one day's use, mileage, and an overnight dropoff fee. When they finally processed the charge a week later, they had charged me nearly double. At that point I just didn't care. Whatever. The cab smelled like cigarettes and the radio was pre-set to some obnoxious mariachi station.

After we got all set up, I got to start commuting to and from work from the new house. It wasn't difficult, just long and boring. It's about 35 minutes each way, but there is rarely bad traffic. It's very dense, but the cars move along just fine. Unfortunately, all it takes is one cop on the side of the road to cause rubbernecking and massive backups.

In the mean time, my work has been a clusterfuck. Nothing bad, just stupid management. One of my roles basically consists of maintaining the project's database. People send me change requests, I process them with a specially tailored program, and I return the updated content of the database. Well, these requests are rarely formatted correctly, and often times require me to edit the contents or pester the authors for clarification.

In an effort to appease higher-ups and end-customers (who are all just as clueless), my program received bupkis for funding, and decided that it would be a good time to crank out some deliverables in a ridiculous timeframe. A typical release cycle takes me about two weeks. Management's idea was to push through a release in three days. Greeeeat. Fortunately, I was able to pull it off with assistance, right before leaving for FC. Boy, if only I were incompetent, I could be a manager.

Speaking of incompetent managers, I had to go to a training class for "Team Center". From what I understand, TC is a tracking system to manage documents and bureaucratic paperwork relating to jobs and such through the web browser. I would actually care if I needed to use it, but for some reason this four-hour grindfest was required. Whatever, I'll just charge you for my travel time, too.

And even though the instructors printed out very specific instructions on how to log in to the lab machines, the older gentleman sitting on the machine next to me spent a solid 5-10 minutes on some account setup screen for some software that wasn't even installed on the machine. I watched in amusement as he made very exaggerated gestures expressing his frustration while pulling out his driver's license to set his password-recovery security questions. I didn't have the heart to tell him to "read the damn instructions". In fact, it took all my effort not to lean over and ask if he was a manager. Fortunately, his hunt-and-peck keyboard technique confirmed my suspicions.

The training session was in Scottsdale, so it gave me an excuse to swing by Pop The Soda Shop and pick up exotic soft drinks like Virgil's Cream Soda and Dog 'n Suds root beer. I got turned around a couple of times on the streets, and then realized I had forgotten my lunch box in the training room.

The one thing about this training deal that irritated me was that it was in a secured building with no "main lobby". The two entrances to this building were secured with badge readers, which employees from Gilbert (like me) couldn't use. Even though almost all of the employees were from Gilbert, the training organizers insisted on using the classroom in the secured building on the sole factor that it "looked most like a classroom". Give me a fucking break. Tiwwchnt.

Despite several recent company-wide emails warning employees of the danger of outsiders infiltrating company buildings, I had not one, but TWO different people hold the door for me to enter without badging in. Hell if I was going to wait for security to "maybe" come help me gain access to the building. If I were in the business of espionage, I'd have no problem at all getting into this place. I also left the building twice- the first time with the rest of the training group, and the second by myself. When you don't badge out properly, a loud siren right above the door blares. Well, the second time I just pushed the door open, ignored the alarm, and waved my badge at the security camera. Screw it.

Not to sound like an ingrate, but I wonder whatever happened to holiday bonuses or raises. Most places give out bonuses around Christmas, right? And then my manager mentioned something about "small raises" during the Christmas. Nothing so far... A "small" 2% raise in my salary would literally double my "disposable income". That would be so nice... I think I'll mention it at my next review session or whatever.

The week or two leading up to FC had been equally as stressful, with me working hours such that I drove to work during dawn and drove home during dusk. And since I literally sit in a cube all day in a windowless room, I saw little to no direct sunlight, and it really wore down on me. It reminded me of my seasonal job at my dad's work- near the winter solstice, the hours worked extended past the daylight hours. It was a 9.5-hour day, but there was so little daylight even before the cloud cover that it wore me down.

Sema semjay had also wanted a new fursuit to debut at FC. I had plenty of time to work on it after wrestling with the mortgage company and whittling my life away behind a desk, but I was being a lazy fuck and put it off 'til the last minute. Having that hanging over my head also caused me plenty of stress. I got it done, but it was right up against the deadline. It seemed to work out okay. Did you see it at FC?

On to the good stuff! The con.


There's really not much to see in my gallery, other than lots of windmills, Carmex, and a really hilarious Pedobear picture (seen above). As a "marketplace dealer" I didn't really have a chance to explore the hotel at all.

We drove from Phoenix to San Jose and back, and boy what an adventure it was! We left around 0330 hrs on Thursday. I had spent the prior evening packing, and had not slept since I got up around 0630 Wednesday. No point. We got the camper roof rack compartment and main car cabin filled with crap, and headed out in the pouring rain with Annee and Ronny in the back. Qoppa stayed home with Sema's brother Matt.

A series of storms had been pounding the Phoenix area around that time, so it had been raining and gloomy for a while. There was not a whole lot of traffic for 4 AM, but I often wonder what people were doing around then. We picked up Zin and Jacobs in Glendale and headed off to I-10 for super happy funtimes on desolate desert roadway. Hilarity ensued. Points of interest were few and far between.

When you cross from AZ to CA on I-10, you are required to stop at some inspection station (EB 10 doesn't stop, woo). I don't know or care why, probably some argicultural thing. A little known fact: I have an Illinois plate in front, and an Arizona plate in back, since only back plates are required in AZ. The lady at the booth asked if I was coming from Illinois, and had the most confused look on her face when we explained that we all came from Phoenix. Hah! Next year, I want to put my Aruba license plate (souvenir from a trip) on there and see what happens!

After sunrise, we hit up a truck stop for bathrooms and snacks. A kind trucker overheard us discussing whether we'd take up US-101 or I-5, and explained how most of the roads in California were being affected by the torrential rain and snow, and suggested taking 101 to avoid the possibility of I-5 shutting down. At that point, I was peer-pressured into trying a 5-hour energy drink. It took a while to fully kick in, but man do those things work. For me, it was like I had had a full night's sleep!

I finished the drive all the way to LA to pick up our fifth rider, Reese. When Jacobs saw him, his first reaction was, "Please don't be tons o' fun... thank god you're not fat!" The car was already jam-packed; the suspension was depressed about a foot and there was equally as much free space inside the car. We had a nice chat with his dad, and he seemed like a nice guy. He told us that I-5 had just shut down in the mountains due to snow, so we had to take 101 North up. Adventure!

Did I mention it was still raining? In fact, it rained for about 95% of the 14-hour trip up there. Visibility was crap, and the cars spraying road water weren't helping. For the small part of the trip that wasn't raining, we got to see some sweet rainbows.

That night, Sema heard rumors that there was a tornado watch out for Phoenix. Wait, how is that even possible? Sure enough, a few minutes later, it was upgraded to a warning as a funnel cloud was spotted in Scottsdale. After rubbing it in my parents' face (all in good humor of course) that I had just seen the Pacific for the first time, they sent me a text asking if everything was all right- apparently Queen Creek (neighboring city) had also had a tornado warning.

Sema called Matt, who was house sitting, to check in. The power had gone out at the house, and he bailed to go to his friend's house where they did have power, leaving Q-dawg alone without heat. Sema flipped out, I think, and he headed back home.

On his way home, he was driving down Rittenhouse and it was like a haboob rolled in- his visibility dropped to zero and the sudden driving rain sounded like a train going by. Everyone he talked to said that he had just driven through a tornado. He was fine, so it couldn't have been a very strong one, but still- a tornado, here, and less than ten miles from the house! Yikes!

The power came back on a little later, and everything was back to normal, except our all-dirt backyard is STILL soggy, five days later. Supposedly our lot was designed to shed excess rainwater off toward the street, but that was a bust- a majority of our backyard was flooded the next day. It all funnelled to the back of the yard instead of the front. Ugh! It'll take days to dry out. Also, our house must have settled in the softened dirt during these storms, because now our master bedroom door doesn't shut cleanly, and snags on the frame. It was fine before we left! That's so weird, but covered by the warranty!


Not Fail.

After a scenic trip through wine country on some random state highway, we arrived at the con Thursday evening. Now came the fun part: unpacking. Unfortunately, the loading turnaround at the hotel was a disaster. The bellhops wouldn't let customers haul the luggage carts themselves. They were probably union scum, but in retrospect, they probably knew people wouldn't return their carts if left to handle their own luggage.

The worst part was that the director guy was flipping out about me having my car there. He kept yelling at me with a thick accent to move the car and generally gtfo to make room for taxis. I was too flustered from the long drive to argue back, so I drove off to public parking after unloading only half of my stuff. I explained my situation to the public parking attendant, and she mumbled something unintelligible (with a thick accent of course) and pointed to the handicap spots. I wasn't keen on parking for 4 days in a 2-hour spot, and my luggage rack wouldn't fit through the 6'8" basement ramp. I pulled back in the hotel loading zone, the director yelled at me some more, but when I said I was going to use Valet parking (at $26/night!) he backed off. I see what you did there!

He did come back to talk to me, though- apparently my luggage rack wouldn't fit in the parking garage that (surprise!) had a 6'8" clearance. Guh... I painstakingly took the rack off and they parked it. By the time I went to sleep, I had been awake for 42.5 hours, and I felt like death.

(Skipping parts here...)
On the way out of the con, I had a run-in with another cranky parking director. I pulled the car up in the spot and gathered the Bad Dragon crew to help with loading, since they needed me to haul stuff of theirs. I always had somebody attending the car, and according to them, the parking guy (who happened to be another black man in a trenchcoat with a fedora and thick accent) was flipping out at them too! You need to move your car, can't you move it somewhere else, people are trying to unpack, etc. Where? All the meters within a block were taken up by sketchy cabbies squatting to make bank off some furries.

I had pulled the car way up on the sidewalk so as to be as far away as possible, and conveniently taken the keys with me. At this point, we were fucking tired of it, so Sema simply told him, "Oh, I'd love to move the car for you but I don't have the keys." Others also mentioned to me how much of a dick he was being, and how he even threatened to ticket my car at one point. Bluff much? I just said "Fuck him, just ignore it. We're paying customers." What a nutjob. Anyone else have issues with that guy?

My con experience was "eh". I might go back next year. The parking situation was retarded, and staying in the second tower was annoying because the card reader in the elevator was the worst god damn idea ever. Driving there was affordable but difficult. 14 hours in the car each way does not good times make. But the hotel staff (inside) was very nice, con staff I met were cool, and I met lots of nice people at my dealer table. I didn't get to go to any dances, or suit much, or even peruse the dealer's den, but that's my own damn fault. I had tons of fun working my ass off- sewing and cutting and negotiating for 30-35 hours over the 3 days.

Quotes of the con:
"COME ON!" (Optional: "Fry! Pizza dilvery!")
"Yeah... No... Yeah..." (repeat, while rubbing lips with one finger)
"Penis, Jakesooly?"

Random thought of the week:
One night while I was working very late, a man in a bath robe came up to my table where I was working on commissions. I don't know if he was trying to cross-dress or just liked wearing women's clothing, but he was showing a black bra across is bare, relatively flat chest, and wearing a skirt under the robe. It was very obvious he was a genetic male. He came up to me and asked if I had a safety pin to attach his costume tail to his skirt. I looked around and said that I didn't have any safety pins, just straight pins, sorry.

As he walked down the hall, I thought to myself, how would a "normal" person would have reacted had they been in that situation? I realized that even though I recognized his attire, none of it registered as "unusual" to me; I just didn't care. You're wearing clothing of the opposite gender? That's nice- how can I help you?

I think that is one thing that is really amazing about the community in general- it's a group of people that can see past the surface into one's character, and be more open and accepting. It can be a double-edged sword, but it's such a refreshing change from the opposite end of the spectrum, where people are shallow and judgmental. And I'm cool with that.

I got more stories, but now it's bed time...

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December 30th, 2009
11:57 pm


in b4 end of decade / house


[X] Sign closing documents
[_] Wire transfer down payment
[_] Get keys
[_] Party time

Current Mood: house
Current Music: house

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December 24th, 2009
11:58 pm


waitin' 4 santas
Looks like this is my holiday tradition or something: ...plotting ways to off Santa with various weapons? I'd never do such a thing, but somehow this is hilarious is some sick, twisted way...



2008 was skipped because I'm lazy

2009: Stalking santa in real-time!

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06:32 pm


"OST 2009, Fall"
It's that time again. I guess it's close enough to the end of the year where I don't think I'm getting any more songs added to this list, so I think I'll post it.

Ever since I started college in 2003 I've keep a list of songs that remind me of certain points in time for whatever reason. Maybe the song has a special meaning, or is connected with a special experience, or is just so damn catchy that it was stuck in my head for long enough.

01. 3AM Eternal / The KLF
02. Slap Chop Rap / Steve Porter feat. Vince Offer
04. smooooch / kors k (IIDX 16)
05. Colorful Cookie / Lucky Vacuum (IIDX 16)
06. Astral Sunset / Artemis
07. Sense 2007 (Long 2009 Version) / good-cool
08. Incantations Part 2 / Mike Oldfield
09. 御殿場清掃曲 (Gotenba Seisoukyoku) / EarBreaker
10. Luv To Me (Graffias Remix) / Graffias
11. On The Rave (The Origin of whorez) / RANDO:
12. Y (Full Version) / ND Lee
13. Kung-Fu Inspire / Marching
14. Unicorn tail / DJ Yoshitaka (IIDX 16 CS)
15. Troposphere / kobo (IIDX 16 CS)
16. Electrorgasm / Sota Fujimori (IIDX 16 CS)
17. System / KMC

God I'm such a nerd

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10:06 am


My two cents on health care reform
Warning: politics ahead.

it's a trap!Collapse )

I just needed to get this out of my system; I am going to enjoy the rest of my holidays in peace.

As far as opinions go, I am just stating these as my own. You may not agree with what I think, and that's cool. I'm not going to change my opinion of anyone based on their political views, and I hope others reciprocate that.

After all, there's so much more important stuff out there to stress about. Like SOMEBODY THAT DIDN'T BUY ME A PONY FOR CHRISTMAS LIKE I ASKED ALL YEAR. </3. Just kidding. Work's dead today so I'm just gonna listen to 90's hipster music and reminisce about the good old days where I was completely ignorant of political issues .

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December 20th, 2009
08:56 pm


2009 memememe
1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
-Wrote a master's thesis and defended it (something I'll never do again yuck)
-Got a real job
-Bought a house (still in progress)
-Checked email from my "phone"
-Found a fully working, chipped PS1 at Goodwill
-Learned a programming language with no words
-Raised a freakin' puppy

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No, I did not keep my resolution to not make resolutions. I will make the same resolution next year; I plan to fail again.

3. How will you be spending New Year's Eve?
Probably chilling with friends

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I don't think so

5. What countries did you visit?
Arizona, and the USA. OH WAIT

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
Tranquility. Five months of stress to get my MS done, then another month of finding a job, then another couple months of "WE NEED TO FIND A HOUSE HNNNGGHHHH" and then the rest of the year has been "PAPERWORK! FUCK." We're probably going to close on the house 12/31 too.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I can barely remember last week, what are you talking about

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Graduating (again), from ASU this time.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Busting my camera at one of the bowling meets. Narse gave me his, though. Love!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Got sick at the end of September. Flu shit, nothing big.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My giant Maleficent dragon plushie

12. Where did most of your money go?
semjay, lol jay-kay, more like rent and utilities and food. I don't ever really buy nice things.

13. What song will always remind you of 2009?
My list of "memorable songs" from this year is fairly long. Probably the Rap Chop song, unfortunately, or Graffias's remix of Luv To Me

14. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Hang out with people. Our best friends are pretty far off.

15. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Sitting around the house

16. What was your favorite TV program?
I don't care enough about TV to have a favorite. Probably South Park.

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't think there's anyone new to the shit list.

18. What was the best book you read?
Total books read: 0

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Pandora, the music program. Despite the fact that it crashes my phone daily, it's pretty nice for work.

20. What was your favorite film of this year?
Moon was pretty kickass, but I just saw Avatar last night, and... holy crap. Moon is a good mindfuck film, and Avatar was a great adventure/story film.

21. What did you do on your birthday?
Hooters with about a dozen gay dudes and Sema. It was pretty funny watching the waitresses' charm get deflected by TEH GHEY

22. What kept you sane?
Headphones, art, IIDX, some DDR

23. Who did you miss?
Eh, dunno.

24. Who was the best new person you met?
I met people this year?

25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:
Nothing is out of reach if you put your mind to it

26. What things are you looking forward to in 2010?
-Moving into the new house
-Having more space to do *anything* in the new house
-Not going back to school
-Selling stuff at 3+ cons
-eh, dunno

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