In short, our family of 4 has split. Greg and Robb are moving on, while Beemer and I remain here. It's been in the works for a while now, and my faux pas was simply the catalyst for the inevitable. I don't give a damn who did what anymore; I just want things to proceed smoothly without further incident so we can get on with our lives without animosity. That's all I'm asking.
In the meantime, I'm serving pizza for dinner tonight as I don't have the energy to whip up a Japanese meal (not that they'd eat with me anyway.)
One last thing: a big FUCK YOU to radio stations for playing only loss and break-up songs during my drive to and from coffee. Perhaps you could add some salt to my open wound while you're at it? Dicks.
In the meantime, I'm in the doghouse again. I've made a mess of things here, so I'm doing damage control while trying to give G&R time to cool off. Yeah, I keep mucking things up with Robb and I accept his anger. This rift grows ever deeper.
Most of the jobs I'm seeing out here that aren't retail are tech jobs, and as I'm swearing off QA or similar positions while my pride and self-confidence heal up, that doesn't leave me much. Still, I search. dr_tectonic and I agree that while the teaching position in Japan is a great opportunity, now is certainly not the time to pursue it. I'm not in any position to up and leave again, and his patience with me hasn't run so low as to deport me. In the meantime, resumes away!!
The snow has returned, and with it comes stiff joints, an inescapable chill, and ever-present gloom. There are young squirrels hopping about the bare branches of the trees, discovering what is and isn't edible from the poor offerings they find. I find that I'm enjoying their acrobatic frolic, knowing full well that they are too young yet to have been recruited into the Squirrel Mafia. I'm safe for now.
While bar-hopping with musikub on Monday night for Halloween events, I dressed up in the yukata and got a number of appreciative comments. The one that caught me off guard, though, was "Are you a Japanese priest?" Ha! I corrected him, but then told him about the time I saw the Buddhist monk zipping about Hirakata on a moped. I never tire of that tale, and from his laughter I could tell that neither would he.
*When my arm gets tired from merely flossing, I know that I'm still sick and require more bed rest. Ugh. That means I miss any number of parties and soirees, such as zalena's pumpkin carving party this afternoon. I'm sorry! *bow*
*Very proud of dr_tectonic and his accomplishments at work.
*saintpookie is off to AZ for the weekend, and the cats are missing him terribly. So much so that they're constantly demanding reassuring cuddles from robbster_zombie and myself.
*The kung fu school has moved to a new location and the housewarming party is today, but I'll need to pass on it. Man, I am doing so many push-ups when I go back...
*One of the episodes of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends shows a bystander wearing a Gatchaman shirt. Geek references in geek shows FTW.
The guys have been very patient with me recently, so I treated them to a fairly sizable dinner.
Inari Sushi, Plum Sake soaked chicken with red pepper slices, veggie tempura (zucchini, onion, daikon, red pepper), and an experiment involving fried veggies with kara-age seasoning.
( Read more... )
*I can't remember the last time I was up before 7 AM. Ugh.
*If things continue as such at work, I'll finally be able to re-enroll at the Kung Fu school. That black belt ain't earnin' itself.
*Oh, and a regular schedule means that I can resume my weekly Japanese meals. I made a hearty curry with tempura chicken for the guys last night. Nom.
*On the gaming front, I've been playing a handful of smaller titles. Indie titles like Breath of Death VII, Cthulhu Saves the World, and Deep Deep Dungeon have passed the time nicely, while the Xbox 360's Child of Eden was a joy to play, watch, and listen. Oh, and the XBLA has the multi-player Castlevania: Harmony of Despair to play around with, though it relies a bit heavily on grinding for better gear.
*I was talked into watching Naruto, and I'm thoroughly unimpressed. The kids are obnoxious and unlikeable, the head ninjas are completely irresponsible, the character design is highly questionable, and I'm already worn out on the juvenile, over-the-top antics. I'm about 10 episodes in and I've only made this far because it happens to be something I can watch during my morning rituals of email and breakfast.
As today was hot, I chose to serve a group of cold dishes. The main course was green tea soba noodles served with two types of soy/mirin/sugar based dipping sauces. Thin beef strips were cooked in sake and garlic chunks, rinsed with cold water, and served chilled. The Sunomono consists of sliced daikon and cucumber that were salted, rinsed, and then mixed with rice vinegar and sugar. Optional toppings included sliced green onion, shredded ginger, sesame seeds, and wasabi. Dessert consisted of green tea mochi filled with azuki bean paste.
Anyway, not all of the companies showed up though you couldn't tell from how busy the large room became in just two hours. I had a small stack of resumes with me as I figured that most people would rather I submit it online, but was prepared for those who wanted to get to know me on the spot. It worked out both ways, as I have a ton of leads to follow and I nearly ran out of resumes to offer. While my Japanese skills were a hard sell, I had several companies openly blurt out "QA?! Oh, God! Thank you!!" It seems that the Colorado market is supersaturated with developers, IT professionals, and upper-management wannabes, but few QA folks to test the hardware and software. I even got to joke with some of the dev members about how their code is perfect and offers 'unanticipated features,' at least until guys like me show up.
I don't think I'll be unemployed for long, but it's not quite a career I desire, either. We'll see. grymmbear's exploits on his blog have taught me to keep keenly aware of possible marketing pyramid schemes and other hoaxes. I'm pretty sure there was one there, as they were insistent about getting me to attend a seminar of the growth of some new company despite my apparent disinterest in that market. I'll do some background research on them later.
Mostly, I was wading through people who tried far, far too hard to impress via a suit and buzzwords, trying to eye those companies that had promise. No, I wasn't wearing a suit, per se. While I was in Washington, tdjohnson gave me his father's sport jacket which, when combined with good jeans, a dark shirt, dark leather shoes, and a leather satchel, looked reasonably professional.
No, I wasn't going to win a Best Dressed award, but I wasn't in there in a polo and khakis, either. Anyway, as I round a corner, some thin guy in a suit passing the other way obviously latches on to my attire with his critical eyes. I could almost hear his mental insults, but when I detected the start of a sneer, I went all "OH NO YOU DIDN'T!"
I subtly shoulder checked him. I have about 40lbs on this guy, he's busy judging me, he's off balance, and I know martial arts. I barely felt him as my right shoulder collides and passes through the area where his left once was, and I just hear him lose his footing. I didn't look back and kept walking. Immediate karma, you fucktard. I can only imagine how many people have been wanting to do that to him. (Luckily, this was in an area where there were very few representatives, so no one noticed.)
So overall, this was quite a successful job fair. Not only did I get a number of leads for myself, I also acquired leads for Greg and Robb, too! Yar! Sadly, no swag. I tried to adopt one of the CU Boulder plush buffaloes, but the gals at the table wouldn't let me (which I came to read as "No, they're *ours*). :(
Vague, yes, but I'm trying to remain spoiler free for those of you not yet watching this clever show.
Anyway, yeah, that was a massive oversight and fairly poor writing to shoehorn in a new element rather quickly. My gripes aside, I'm still enjoying the show, and it's nice to have something all of us participate in.
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...
Chip, bearfuz, surprises us with a message that he secured three tickets to see the performance of Mary Poppins held at the Paramount theatre. We met with him at Blue C Sushi before heading out for the performance. I was told that the conveyor belt style sushi is a new addition to the area, which rather surprised me. These were virtually *everyhwere* in Japan, and I thought that they had long since been adapted for the Western market. I'm wrong, apparently. Anyway, I found that they has served a variation on what my CO groupies know as The Green Beans of Crack; it was far less sweet, had much more garlic, and was served hot. I'll need to experiment with this dish upon my return home.
I talked with Chip about what he was doing in the play, and he was on one of the two pianos in the orchestra. In fact, our seats allowed us to just barely see his face down in the pit during the performance. He's basically running about from city to city playing piano for performances, though at one point he did act as music director. It's all quite impressive, but I've definitely learned that I'm unable to be from my guys for such long stretches of time.
The play itself took from both the movie and the books, giving a different tale. I hardly remember the story as it is, so this retelling was novel and quite fun. The set had a distinct pop-up book feel regarding the buildings and rooftop scenes, while the park sections quickly adjusted to depict colorful, fantastic locales. Quite clever, truth be told, and the fun songs kept things moving at a quick pace.
Naturally, none of this could be captured on film, so here's a picture of the interior roof, which in itself is impressive and luxurious, though I can't quite shake the feeling of a giant teat of doom undulating above our heads.
While we wait for the crowd to clear out, I grab a pic of rlegters, tdjohnson and myself using the numerous mirrors along the walls of the Paramount. I can see this place being the inspiration for Astoria's Liberty Theatre, but the Paramount maintains superiority with elegant wall designs, numerous crystal chandeliers, and major productions such as this one.
Afterward, we met up with Chip and his friend Faith for drinks into the wee hours. They were a fun pair to be around, and the drinks were quite good. I had some Acai Coladas, which were fruity and light though not too heavy on the alcohol. (Hey, I had to show *some* restraint.)
At this point, we've had breakfast, coffee, and I'm about to shower before we begin today's sojourn to the Ballard Locks and Fremont.
Oh, piffle. It's my last day here, isn't it? I'll need to pack up when I get home tonight. :(
We left a bit early to reach the ferry which would take us across Puget Sound, and though there was a bit of a wait, it was nice enough out to let the windows be open and enjoy the air. The ferry can carry 122 cars across the water and were always filled to capacity. During the trip across you can wander around the decks to grab a bite to eat or stand outside for pics. This panorama is from our return trip, but it'll give you an idea of how nice the day was.
While being shuttled across, another ferry runs counter to our course, and we can just barely see others mulling about as we were. Personally, I like the pic as it shows just how pronounced the clouds were.
Suddenly, my Monkey Sense was tingling, and I turn to see rlegters and tdjohnson chuckling at something. Clearly, they were plotting against me in some maniacal fashion which could only mean one thing: COFFEE.
Port Townsend is a nice town. More modern than Astoria, but it does maintain its historic importance at the same time. Lots of little shops and cafes line the streets, we heard bagpipes being played, numerous jugglers, and other festivities were being held, which we think was tied into Memorial Day celebrations. The town was lively, but not crowded, which suited me quite well.
One of the stores we ducked into was a Native American crafts store, and I found this little crab amongst the plushies. The face on the back of the crab reminded me distinctly of the Heike Crabs from Japan, where the shells of the crab have an uncanny resemblance to the scowling faces of the samurai masks. This ties into the end of the Tale of the Heike, where the Taira clan were forced to fling themselves overboard to drown rather than being caught and killed by the Minamoto forces, and those drowned souls were believed to have been reincarnated as these crabs. The crabs are real, mind you, and I was probably droning on and on at R & T about the story.
After having lunch at a cafe, we stepped outside to find ourselves accosted by a tiny white dog. This little guy was hopping on his back paws while his front ones bobbed up and down in the begging motion, all complete with a truly pathetic whimper. He got *everyone's* attention, but we had just enough sense not to feed him.
The return trip was uneventful, though quicker than the outset as we didn't have the wait at the ferry port. The breeze was much cooler, so our meanderings were cut a bit short. We're home now, relaxing and being entertained by cats. I think I'll teach R & T how to play Zombie Fluxx later tonight.
The Copper Salmon season has just arrived, and at the guys recommendation, I tried it. Wonderful presenation, nicely prepared, served with small potatoes and a variety of sauces; I tried to pace myself but I still finished before R & T. Om nom nom nom.
While we didn't get any dessert, we did witness the spectacle of this creation; ice cream and what looked like a graham cracker served in a cup which sat in a bowl full of dry ice. Just before serving, water is poured into the ice to create the billowing steam effect. It was most impressive.
We walked along some of the outside balcony to grab some pics of downtown Seattle, though at this point we had seen it several times. Since the restaurant rotated at a slow pace (1 revolution per 46 minutes), we had seen all the landscape while eating. Still, it was nice to see it all without the window in the way.
Though we passed it on the ground, the view of the Experience Music Project from the air gave the odd hodge-podge of design styles a semblance of cohesion. rlegters commented that the design is akin to that of smashed electric guitars, and from up here I could sort of see that. Huh.
We caught the monorail downtown and headed down to the Pike Place Market, a lengthy string of shops of locals who sell hand-made crafts, fresh veggies, fresh fish, and much more. It rather reminded me of comparable markets in Japan that I was taken to, which immediately likened me to the area. We swung by a toy store that tbass's friend worked at, saw a rather impressive comic book store that had lots of cool swag for sale, and exhausted ourselves.
Oh, and the guys did point out the first Starbuck's store, which I felt compelled to at least visit. That is, until I saw the line out the door and down half a block, which then convinced me to merely take a picture from afar and move on. However, I was introduced to Fran's Chocolates, a Seattle local store with some exquisite sweets. I may or may not share these with my hubbies when I get home. Om nom nom nom * 2.
Afterward, I had to return the rental and catch the light rail down to the Amtrak station. The train was pleasant, zipping along the sylvan woods of OR and WA with its rhythmic movements. I chose to spend most of my time in the lounge with a beer reminiscing about the shinkansen and the local trains in Japan. As I absent-mindedly munched on some nori, I became acquainted with a retired woman who was on her way up to Alaska to care for her parents. We swapped stories, had some laughs, and I offered her some of my snack as she'd never tried it before. She wasn't a fan, but I assured her that it was an acquired taste and goes well with green tea.
After arriving in Seattle, my generous hosts tdjohnson and rlegters whisked me off to a burger at Red Robin and then a fun evening of karaoke at The Cuff (the event affectionately called 'Bearaoke'). You should know that rlegters is an *amazing* singer, despite his quiet persona, and deserved his roaring applause.
While there we encountered the charming tbass and his effervescent hubby shirtlifterbear!
Also, the irrepressible bearfuz arrived on-scene to join us for the end of the event.
At this point the lot of us were completely exhausted, so my hosts took me home for the evening. Today, we're planning a trip off to the Space Needle, a few other local scenes, and other fun events.
Yes, I'm quite happy right now, but I do need to give a shout out to my boys at home. *ahem* I LUVS YOUS!!