Hi there!

Jul. 21st, 2015 08:45 pm
kung_fu_monkey: (B&W profile)
No, I ain'tn't dead; rather, I've just been hobblin' along this depressing year.

After Ioliel's passing, the house has been emptier than it's used to being. Nicodimius had been showing signs of sadness and missing his playmate, but he's perked up recently. I think we'll be getting another cat soon and hope they'll mesh.

I had to head back to OR to spread Dad's ashes and check in on Mom. She's doing alright, but I can already see her mentally assigning her possessions to the kids. I love her, but I do wish she'd stop thinking she's one foot in the grave already.

Pretty much all jobs I'd been applying for have fallen through. While ultimately unsurprising given my resignation from the last job I was in, you'd think that someone would need a hard working monkey. Still, there may be a small glimmer of hope yet...

Oh! I'm back in ceramics! The Rec Center nearby has a pretty stocked pottery center that has all the stuff I'm used to and more. I'll post a few pics of what I've made thus far soon. Have I mentioned I'm happy about this? I am.

Gaming-wise, I'm enjoying Final Fantasy 14: A World Reborn for the MMO fix I need, I've acquired a Sony Vita (which happens to be an underused machine that probably won't succeed in the US), and being passably entertained by Drakengard 3. Yes, I do have ample spare time.

Hugs and cuddles, everyone.
kung_fu_monkey: (Default)
After the KF classes, I swiftly headed home to finish up some minor cleaning details before the party. I won't bore you with that, but instead I will tell you that the party went splendidly!

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kung_fu_monkey: (timmy)
With my B-kun out for the week, I've got a tight schedule to keep me busy and active. Lunch with family member, several classes of kung fu and tang soo do, assist in preparation for this weekend's martial arts test, dinner and movie with friends, and whatever home improvement projects I can fit in. Rar!
kung_fu_monkey: (BM)
My Rockband 2 strengths lie in drums; the quick beats, the coordination, the intensity during the riff sections. It's a neat instrument and I'm loving the challenge. However, being a devout believer in cross-training that I am, I do try to stay competent at the other instruments. Well, save vocals, as my voice is akin to a hoarse banshee singing death metal and I'm horribly insecure behind the mic. However, as it's just Beemer and I, I felt that it was a good time to sneak in some practice while I'm home alone. Tonight, B and I were playing and, with the help of some liquid courage derived from some home-brewed honey mead, I howled a few notes on Easy mode. It's sort of fun, and singing Rob Zombie's Dragula can be surprisingly invigorating.

The home slowly improves. I've repaired one of the two broken bathroom fans, though the other has a dead engine. It's off to Home Depot tomorrow to price a new one, and Beemer might be joining me to view some of the projects I'm visualizing. The guest room is about 95% finished and will probably remain in that state until I can dispose of the ungainly entertainment center which still resides in the room.

I'm reminded that the day after tomorrow is Thanksgiving here, and we're heading off to some relatives of Beemer's. I'm a bit sad, really; at one point I did look forward to having the four of us sit around a Thanksgiving dinner. Oh, well. I know that we're welcome to any number of homes for socializing, but there is a depressing feeling that I may not actually have a family dinner in my own home.
kung_fu_monkey: (Default)
After some nudging by friends who were concerned about my well being, I realize that I ought to post an update. Yes, I'm doing fairly well in light of recent events.

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kung_fu_monkey: (timmy)
On my last day of the vacation, [livejournal.com profile] tdjohnson and [livejournal.com profile] rlegters took me off to Ballard to see the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. These locks allow large and small boats to switch from salt water to inland fresh water via a mechanism of increasing and diminishing elevations of water levels. It's neat to see it in action.

Fans of boats will appreciate the variety of ships that come through here: tugboats, yachts, pleasure boats, etc. Fans of the guys on those boats will find a wide variety of seafarers to admire: stocky guys in Carhartts, slim guys in thermals, and of course the burly lock attendants. Those who enjoy marine life will enjoy seeing how the variety of fish in the area adapt to the presence of the lock as adolescent fish will pass through one side to reach the salt water, while adults will try to return to the freshwater to spawn. You can often see little fish being sucked (mostly harmlessly) through the powerful tubes which keep the waters balanced.

Should you decide that you've had enough of the salty air, you can head over to the Botanical Gardens and adore the variety of trees and plants which come from many countries. I eyed the Japanese and Chinese ones, naturally, but that's not all to see.

Afterward, we zipped over to Fremont to view the curious collection of artisan shops and soak in the local feel of the place. It strongly reminded me of Boulder, but without all the pretention and college kids. There's a rocket planted atop the entrance of a shop that has this lengthy and comical history that you can find under the following link. I'm told that it lights up and blows smoke at a certain time of the evening as if were lifting off, which makes for a great tourist event.


We wander around a bit more when we wind up under a rather tall bridge. I notice that the road is called Troll Lane, and I chuckle that this area would indeed be perfect for a troll to live. Actually, one does...

Oh, to see my own face light up with glee as R & T give me this final surprise, facing down one of America's own bakemono made real. I was instantly giddy, and my two infinitely patient hosts snapped a pic or two of the gentle giant while I performed my own version of Shadow of the Colossus.

We're home now, and I'm finishing up my packing for the evening while reviewing my itinerary for my return trip home to the guys. This has been a completely awesome vacation, and I thank everyone who offered me a hand or a place to stay during my travels.

Now let's see what I can't do about finding a career...

The locals

May. 24th, 2011 08:53 pm
kung_fu_monkey: (timmy)
Mom and I are the only ones who get up early, which in this house tends to mean "before noon." She was itching to pull some weeds along the fence and I needed a cuppa joe something fierce. I run an errand for her to drop off some mail at the post office, which I somehow forgot was in the needlessly huge, terribly historical building showing off its marble floors in defiance of any modernization effort. I forget how recalcitrant Astoria can be when it comes to updating anything as the town takes so much pride in having a rich history that it often simply refuses to move forward. Yes, that's part of its charm, but it also makes you feel really out of touch if you're a visitor.

After procuring my liquid ambrosia, I headed across the bridge to Warrenton's Fred Meyer to look around. The surrounding shops had changed since I've been here last, but this business giant stands as a sentinel of the supply chain for the area. I'm not much for the layout of the store, but I do a quick browse anyway. (Why on earth would you place toys next to bedspreads?)

Returning to downtown Astoria, I find that the Amazing Stories comic shop still stands as strong as ever, feeding the young and old geeks with continued tales of heroism and gaming supplies. I might have been a stranger, but they knew one of their own when I stepped foot in the store. A young man who was a bit on the heavy side but boasted a killer smile and boyish charm made sure I was finding everything I was looking for. Ah, if only to be just a few years younger again.

Mom called, citing her victory over the ever encroaching threat of malevolent flora and stating a desire to explore the shops with me. I zip back home, pick her up, and return downtown. We begin by exploring the 14th St. Bistro, a coffee/sandwhich shop that was connected to the lobby of the Commodore Hotel. It was a nice shop, but the real allure was in the lobby of the hotel for us. The seats were next to large walls and shelves stacked with numerous oddities which demanded my examination.

The lobby also boasted this perception-altering entryway into the rooms upstairs, with an odd chandelier and strange mural which had me twisting my head for so long that my neck began to ache. Of course, this means that the designer just acquired a complete victory from this curious monkey.

Following this, we meandered over to the Fort George Brewery. It's a new restaurant with it's own brewery within the walls, giving lunch customers the alluring odor which wafts from the store. A good selection of alcohol was available, though I chose not to partake at the moment. I should have though, as a cute ginger guy was behind the bar and I'm sure he would have made any meal interesting.

If you think that the above image suggests that something caught my eye, you'd be right. No, it wasn't the red-headed eye candy, but rather a little painting which immediately capture my attention. I'm unsure exactly what Vortex Monkeys is all about, but I can assure you that if my life was presented in a cartoon-like painting, it would probably look an awful lot like this.

We then swung by the Liberty Theatre, which has underwent numerous restoration efforts during my absence. When I was here, this theatre was almost always closed to the public due to leaking roof, lack of heat, and other repair issues. Astoria had to choose between tearing down the building or restoring it. It should be clear which path Astoria took, and true to Astoria's M.O., the Liberty Theatre is now a fully functional art center, capable of hosting plays, dance recitals, concerts, weddings, wedding receptions, and much more. The frescoes along the inside walls were restored, returning a sense of granduer to this location.

Man, I think I look quite tubby in that photo. :(

Anyway, we looked at the upstairs reception area and its limited view over the Columbia river, and the downstairs area where concessions would have been sold. It's nice and all, offering restrooms for Women and Me.

Yes, Me. All mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.

At this point, I'm just about to dive into some of Mom's homemade blackberry cobbler a la mode and go into a food coma for the rest of the evening. I should look into the drop-in/visitor rates at the gym at the entrance of town tomorrow; Mom's cooking, while completely scrumptious, is NOT helping me get back into shape to earn that black belt.
kung_fu_monkey: (animated)
Monkey's Log: Monkey Date 052211.4.38.

Woke up yesterday at 3:30 AM to gather up stuff and head down to DIA for my 6 AM flight. My loverly [livejournal.com profile] dr_tectonic took me to the airport, smooched me goodbye, and departed. The flight down to PHX was fine, but there was an hour delay due to plane maintainance, which made us all grumpy.

After *finally* landing, I meander over to Enterprise to find a line of 20 people wanting a car, and only ONE person behind the counter. Ugh. By the time I reach the counter, I was nearly out of patience and they were out of economy cars. However, as I had reserved one, they upgraded me for free.

I was supposed to have some Aveo, but I'm running around in a Kia Soul now, which is a wonderful car despite the boxy exterior. Quick acceleration, decent gas mileage, tight control, and USB connection to my iPod for tunes (which, I believe, can be controlled via voice command.) Quite pleasant.

When I met up with TJ, we went out for lunch at McMenamin's Chapel Pub. He had a Mahi Mahi burger, but his fries wound up being pretty soggy. I had a regular cheeseburger, had equivalently icky fries, but had a Diet Rite (which I haven't had in years.)

He happens to be a well known artist in the Portland area, with his recent work focusing on lots of negative space and odd angles of architecture. It's quite interesting work.

This guy, however, is a *total* mooch.

He led me off to several spots in Portland: The Fox and Hound Pub, the Japanese American Historical Plaza along the Willamette River, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and the Uwajimaya grocery store in Beaverton. It wasn't all about me, though, as he had his moments of joy.

I picked up ingredients for simple sashimi, miso, and a sampling of sake. The best of them was this gentle, feminine-style sake that was lightly sweet, very little bite, and went down quite smoothly.

TJ countered with his own creation; Cherry soda ice cream on a chocolate sweet roll topped with chocolate nibs and a chunk of soy chocolate. It was *very* good.

I had hoped to see Portland's Eagle, but by this time I was nearly passing out from exhaustion. We called it a day.

The next morning, we said our goodbyes, and I hopped in the Soul to take the 2 hour trip to Astoria. The city happens to be having its 200th anniversary, but I'm not at all sure that I have the energy to participate in any events today. So far I'm just chillin' at home, but I did get to wrestle with Mom's 100 lb Labra-poodle and earn the trust of Dad's cat, the Maine Coon called Jade.

All is well, and the next few days are going to be low key.
kung_fu_monkey: (animated)
Beemer and I were just discussing how long we've been together when we realized that this coming Thanksgiving will be the start of our 10 year relationship. We usually celebrate our anniversary on April 1, as that's when we openly announced our status as a triad with Greg, but, man, 10 years already? I need to come up with something to mark the occasion.
kung_fu_monkey: (Default)
I think I'm finally finishing my bout with the jet-lag, though my sleep schedule is still shifted just a hair too much to the late evening for my taste. No problems, though, as I've got plenty to keep me busy while I readjust.

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kung_fu_monkey: (Flames)
Oh, hooray. Two more 'adventures' in FaceBook land.

1. My coke-addled brother has stumbled upon FaceBook. Right. Time to cut my losses there by carving off all family contacts and maximizing security. I'm amazed he even figured out how to sign up for FB, much less turn on his PC. He's spent his whole life trying to turn me into something he approves of, and I'm not about to let him stalk me online.

2. I get a message from a distant family member saying that she's giving me 'one more chance' to get in touch with her, and that despite it all, "...the one thing you can hang your hat on is family." Hate to break it to you, girl, but if it wasn't for family, we wouldn't be so horribly scarred like we are now. Seriously, what guarantee do I have that you're any better than the people I'm protecting my family from?

So... We had some laughs, FB, but love is over. I'll figure out what to do with you soon.


Apr. 25th, 2010 07:30 am
kung_fu_monkey: (Flames)
It's no secret that 'family' is a concept which quickly sends me into a feral, foaming rage; distant connections and/or relations to people I do not know who now wish to claim me as one of their number with such a perverse fervor that I can't help but be repulsed by thier desperate association to my being.

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kung_fu_monkey: (Default)
Well, it's the end/start of a week, and I find myself once again performing my version of a libation to absent friends. I have a beer in the park near the Sem House each Sunday, thinking of the folks I met at the Wrangler whom I miss, and certainly of the guys at home who have my very heart and soul. Normally I'd be in a better mood as I fulfill this ritual, but maybe the chill wind makes tonight feel that much more lonely. Did I really come to rely on contact with people so much and just take it for granted?

I'm not alone out here; there are others here who feel so isolated, and perhaps that's driving us to bond as we do. A mix of institutionalized alienation and seperation anxiety, perhaps? I seem to have some friends who have clearly made an impression on me, which seems to be extremely difficult to do if I'm in the States. Regardless, this is how it's playing out, and it's not unfeasible that they feel the same way.

I bought a simple plant the other day. The tiny tag says it's a Pachira, which seems to also be commonly known as a Money Tree from some folklore. It makes my little room feel less empty.
kung_fu_monkey: (Default)
After a 2 hour delay, my flight left Denver and, after navigating some choppy weather, delivered me to Portland, where I met up with the folks.

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kung_fu_monkey: (NO)
Psycho-religious branch of family and bigot siblings have found my Facebook account. Oh, the joy of being around close kin. "Blood is thicker than water?" I'll take water, thanks.
kung_fu_monkey: (Default)
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kung_fu_monkey: (Me. Amused.)
Let it be known that one little coyote can scare a plane full of people witless. As we took off, the critter ran in the way of the plane, colliding with the front landing wheel. Naturally, we in the plane didn't notice, but DIA contacted our pilot, letting them know that the landing gear may have suffered some damage from the impact, or at the least, bits of said animal may interfere with the functioning of the gear. As such, we prepped for an emergency landing and evacuation.


Thankfully, it was all for naught, as the landing was smooth, the travelers were well behaved, and the whole plane cheered the captain and crew for their part in us not being horribly killed. Mom met us at the gate, and we found ourselves quickly exiting the airport...

...only to find ourselves inexplicably drawn to an Ikea. I hadn't been to one before, so finding myself in a brightly colored labyrinth of inexpensive household sundries was surprisingly draining. (No, seriously, it's a FREAKING MAZE!) To our credit, not to mention our carrying capacity, we left only purchasing lunch.

So! Here we are in beautifully wet Astoria, where the humidity is always pretty high, and most of the denizens look like they could use a bath. It's changed a bit, but I grabbed Greg and took a spin in my Dad's Land Rover to familiarize myself with the streets. It's dark, and I can see a large freight ship sitting out on the Columbia River, glowing in the night, casting a reflection on an otherwise invisible body of water. I forgot how beautiful that is.
kung_fu_monkey: (Default)
So, heaps of thanks to everyone who sent me the supportive thoughts and emails about my problems with the family. No, it's not resolved, but I can wait it out.

I wanted to let everyone know that we're still doing Movie Nights here at the TAMC dwelling. This month, [livejournal.com profile] saintpookie has the helm, and he's declared it to be a Maggie Smith theme. You may remember her as Professor MacGonagall in the Harry Potter movies, but if you're more international in your viewing preferences, then you'll immediately know why we love her as an actress. So far we've seen The Last September and Keeping Mum, and this Sunday we're showing The Prime of Ms. Jean Brody.

Would anyone be interesting in a monthly anime night viewing?

One of our KF students has finally come to the realization that most people at the school think he's a jerk. Let's see here: disrespectful, openly laughing at some of the forms, crude, dismissive, and thick-headed. Yup. He's a dick.

While I can't talk about work much, I can say this: I'm on a project where I can actually stun the female co-workers with my unabashed lack of taste. No, it's not any HR violation, but they stop what they're doing to gawk while I'm testing. Needless to say, I both love and hate my new project.
kung_fu_monkey: (Default)
This morning was the funeral. I hadn't heard from The Boy, so I had assumed that he didn't want to go to it. I'm disappointed, but he's an adult, and it's his choice.

After getting dressed and securing some coffee, I drove down to the church where the viewing was being held.

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kung_fu_monkey: (Default)

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