Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Bye Bye Passport, Hello Christmas

I sent my passport and my certificate of eligibiltiy to the Japanese Consulate in Portland today. Beh, my nerves always tweak a tad when I have to send all of those sensitive documents through the mail. I know it will come back to me alright but it still bothers me. Oh well, it is either this or don't go to Japan.

Today has been a pretty slow day. I went to my parents house for dinner and hung out with my brother a bit. I also printed out a copy of my Christmas list for my parents. My mom still insists that I make her a Christmas list each year. I don't think she completely grasps the fact that I am twenty-five years old but that is ok.

My brother and I have different Christmas list writing styles. He likes to make a simple list, no descriptions and very short. In general, he does not put a ton of thought into Christmas and his wants, which is kind of cool but completely different than my style of Christmas list. When I write a list, I figure that whoever reads it for potential gift giving ideas should have plenty of options to choose from. Therefore, my lists tend to be bigger and each item on the list has a detailed description of what it is and why I would like it. Sometimes if the items are a tad obscure, I also include a website or something from which they can order the item. This year, most of my stuff was centered on my moving and stuff I will be able to use over there like a Japanese to English dictionary or Hastings gift cards. Those come in handy for me to stock up on movies before I leave and have to pay more in Japan for them because they are considered imports. The one big thing on my list this year were some kind of spendy earbuds for my iPod. I already know that my parents are getting me luggage, which was also on the list but I figured I may as well put the earbuds on there anyways.

In a week and a half, I will no longer have a job. YAY!!!! I am getting so excited for Christmas to come so that I will be able to see all of my friends and family before I head off to the land of the rising sun. This is the firs time I have been excited for Christmas in years.

A Buffet Of Topics From Which To Feast

First, I hate looking at pictures of myself. I always look chubby in them...though that could possibly be due to the fact that I am indeed chubby...far from being orca fat but just a tad chubby. I have been needing to send the people that are picking me up from the airport in Japan a picture of myself so that they can spot me when I get off the plane and I haven't been finding a pic that I am fond of. I have come to the conclusion that most pictures with me in them that are staged end up looking goofy. I look my best when I am not paying attention to the fact that I have a camera pointed at me and don't have a dumb smile on my face.

Next, speaking of pictures, I took my Kodak P850 for a walk tonight and scored some decent pics of the downtown Boise area. My favorites are below. I really enjoy black and white photography and night photography. Lucky for me, the P850 has really nice low-light functionality.

Lastly, I want to change the look of this blog. I think what I want is probably beyond the scope of my HTML coding ability but I am willing to learn. Though, if any of you guys can come up with a cool template that you think I would like that would match my style(not sure what that would be...minimalistic maybe)I would be down for using it and giving ou credit for it, just tell me how I go about installing it. Just looking at the blog now, I am getting sick of the green and orange and light green lettering. I know those are easy changes and I know how to make them but I want something more, I just can't quite describe what it is that I want.

Ok maybe one more topic, I am trying to make a new drink and I am afraid what the end results will be. I while ago, a co-worker gave me a recipe called Apple Pie. Basically, it is a fifth of Everclear(yes, Everclear), a gallon of unfiltered apple juice, one pound of honey, some water, nutmeg, and cinnamon to boot. You mix it all up and let it set for at least two weeks. I whipped it all up on Friday and it is now sitting on top of my fridge. It scares me. The one thing that I am unsure of is whether or not it should be refrigerated. Demonator and I reasoned out that it should probably be kept at room temperature but I just don't know. Hopefully, I don't die or go blind when I try it in a week and a half.

Ok, this is the last part for sure, I need noise cancelling headphones but am unsure which ones to ask for for Christmas. The two contenders I have been looking at are the Shure E4Cs and the Super.Fi 5 Pros. If anyone has any input on those two models or knows of better ones let me know.

Ok, I think I am done now, enjoy the pics.

Monday, November 28, 2005

If I Ever Find Out Who You Are I'm Gonna....

Every morning for the past three days, I have awakened to the sound of my cell phone clucking on my nightstand. Every morning when I answer the clucking, nothing. So help me, if I ever find out whos unidentified number it is that keeps waking me up at the butt crack of dawn...9:30am...I am going to gut them like a hunter would a deer. I will hang them from a tree over a tarp and slice them top to bottom and just watch the blood drain out of them and coagulate on the forest floor. Where I will take them, no one will hear them scream and no one will come to their rescue.

Bottom line: I don't like being woken up.

In other news, Zombie Night was quite fun. Demonator, Phyrry, Vixen, and I went over to The Sandworm's apartment and watched two movies. The first was one I had seen before called Nightmare City, it was Italian and cheesy. It was however, better than I had remembered it. The second masterpiece was Dead Heat, starring the most awesome bad guy of the Eighties, Joe Piscapo. I personally think his best performance was in The Karate Kid as the owner of the Cobra Kai dojo but anywho. It turns out that the brother of the guy that wrote the Lethal Weapon movies wrote Dead Heat. By brother, I mean retarded redheaded step-sibling of the guy that wrote the Lethal Weapon movies. Dead Heat was fun but not one of my zombie top ten and yes, I do have a zombie top ten.

Well, time to go be productive and get some stuff done today.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Yes, I Am A Nerd

More than usual, I have been extremely nerdy today. After laying in bed and playing on my laptop for a good part of the morning, I went to work. Upon, getting off work, I go to TPLConjecture's parents' house and play Magic: The Gathering with him. Up until the other night, I had not played that game since my sophomore year of highschool.

After leaving TPLConjecture, I headed for Jack In The Box for food seeing that I had not eaten a meal since yesterday and had a headache from it. The window person at Jack's was easily confused and I was able to get two meals out of her for the price of one. I love Jack In The Box employees. My meal cost me $6.28, I gave the window girl a ten dollar bill and twenty-eight cents on top of that so I could get back four dollars even. This befuddled the poor teenager and caused a situation that spiraled out of control, making her forget that she already gave me my food and causing her to think that she actually forgot to make my food altogether. Yes, I could have said something but it was much more fun to watch the whole episode unfold. Without saying a word, I almost got three free meals. Who knew counting change could prove to be so hard or costly.

Upon arriving home, I ate and watched The Big Lebowski. Now, I am playing on my laptop while watching Hackers. Yes, I am a nerd. BTW, I got a call about my car today but so far, nothing else has come of it. I did put signs in it this morning as well. Hopefully, it will sell soon but as it looks now, I think I am going to have to pay one more car bill.

Tomorrow is zombie movie night so that should be fun. Vixen, if you read this before I call you, you are more than welcome to attend the undead festivities.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Giving Thanks

Last year, my Thanksgiving post was much easier. I was married and happy. Sure, there were problems but I had a clear cut path to follow when it came to my relationship and that part was figured out. Life was generally good.

This year is weird. I have been tossing around the notion in my head that this year, I have broken even on the "good things/bad things" meter. I don't know, I am definitely thankful for my family and God and Japan and all of that but there is other stuff I am thankful for too.

I am thankful Mushi found a way to be happy this year. I am thankful that we did everything when we did and didn't put it off. I am thankful that the divorce brought my family and I closer. I am thankful that I am more independent and self-sufficient than I was last year. I am thankful for my friends and the people I met this year that quite possibly kept me from going crazy. I am thankful that two weeks from today, I will quit my job. Lastly, I give thanks that I don't consider myself a failure, which, is something that I was unsure of last year. The one funny part is the one thing that I thought I was pretty good at ended up being the one thing that came crashing down the quickest. I am thankful that I have found out stuff about myself that only the events of this year could have shown me.

Today was a different day, the entire day, I felt like I should be with Mushi's family for at least part of the day. I have been with them for part of every Thanksgiving for the past four or five years. Oh well. I am guessing Christmas will be like that too and am preparing myself for it. I have decided that this year, I am going to totally immerse myself in my family and try not to think about myself or be alone at all this Christmas. Maybe if my mind is on other stuff, I won't be remembering what I was doing last Christmas. I know that is not the right frame of mind that I should be coping with all of this in but I am not sure what else to do. Lately, my new mantra has been "Go to Japan and your problems go away." When you are trying to destroy data on a hard drive, the only good way to do it is to delete it and then write new data over it several times over. That is what I am trying to do with my mind. Japan is an escape and an awesome opportunity that I am thankful for.

I was going to try to make this a positive entry but I don't think it worked out that way. I just don't feel horribly positive right now and I don't know whether these feelings are justified or not. Why can't I shake my memories and feelings? I don't want a lot of them right now. On the other hand, I am thankful for the pain because it reminds me that I am alive; without it, good times would not be nearly as good.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I had a cool moment earlier this evening while getting out of my car at the grocery store. As I opened my door, surrounded by a pretty thick mixture of fog/ice, I noticed that the minute ice crystals that were wafting through the air would occassionally catch the light just right and sparkle. It was beautiful.

I probably looked like a goof to anyone that happened to pass by at that moment because I just stood there for a little bit and looked up and around me and watched the sparkles. It was just kind of one of those cool little moments that God gives you every once in a while to remind you that you are indeed alive and the world is still a magical place.

I have been enjoying the thick fog as of late. I like how it makes the streetlights illuminate the air itself and cast a cool orange glow on everything. I took some pictures of it earlier with my new camera, the Kodak P850. So far, I have been impressed by it. It takes really cool low light pics which comes in handy on nights like these.

Today was also I very productive day. I got my car listed in the newspaper. This makes me sad because that has been the best car I've ever owned and I got such a short amount of time with it. On the flip-side of that, I need the money from it and hopefully it will sell before I have to make another payment on it. If I was me, I would buy it. :) I also called the Japanese Consulate in Portland to see about getting my work visa finalized. Those people were freakin' friendly! If all government employees acted like the people at the consulate, everyone would like to deal with the government. Anywho, they said I could just send them everything and they would send it back to me. This is cool because I need to save money and not put anymore mile on my car than need be.

Oh yeah, my certificate of eligibility for my work visa came in the mail yesterday. The weird thing is that it was opened and that kind of freaked me out. It is probably my paranoia kicking in but since they are immigration papers and you need them to live in Japan, I got to thinking about terrorism and whatnot and that led me to call the FBI about it. Yes, I called the FBI and they too were very friendly and appreciative. I would just hate to know that someone got into the country and did something and it was my work visa stuff that they used. The part that was odd was that the paperwork came via secured registered mail via UPS and that the security strip had been removed. It was not like a regular envelope had just come open so I think my paranoia is a tad justified.

Anywho, that pretty much sums up today and yesterday.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Transportation Secured

I officially booked my flight to Nagoya today! I had originally been looking at a flight in the neighborhood of $1600 but found one on Cheap Tickets for $1200. It makes a few jumps and whatnot but I will sit for a few extra hours if it means that I am saving nearly $400. I will be leaving at 6:34am on January 3rd, who knows when I shall return.

In other moving related news, Demonator now officially owns the badass computer from which I am making this entry. We are going to move my (err...his) system into his room on Monday. This way, I will have to make due with my laptop from here on out. This shouldn't be difficult seeing the laptop rocks, but I will miss my bigger system. I wanted to do the exchange now so that I could adjust to life with my laptop as my sole computer. This way all of the software that I may find myself needing in the next month can be installed before going to Japan and me finding out I need a piece of software the hard way with no easy way to get it. I think my life of piracy will have to change when I get over there. I hope not, but I am preparing for the worst.

Tomorrow, I am probably going to return my pot and pan set to Costco and get the money for it. I won't be able to take them with me and I could use the money. I also found the receipt to my Kodak Z740 digital camera tonight and may also return it and get a slightly better model. This is not something I need to do per se but I figure I may as well have the best camera I can get at the time because I will definitely be using it more very soon.

Anywho, it is now 6am and I haven't slept yet so I will do that. The damned sleeping pills only work when I want them to and will not simply knock me out. This means I actually have to will myself to sleep in order for them to work. I can't do that while typing this so, I am off for the night. :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

All Sorts of Good News

Today has been a good day! This morning, my contact with the company that is hiring me in Japan called to tell me that my Certificate of Eligibility had been accepted by the Japanese government and that my work visa could now be formally granted. All I have to do now is book my plane ticket and get a stamp on my passport at a Japanese embassy stating that I am a legal resident of Japan as long as I am employed.

While at work today, I spoke to my warehouse manager about paying me for a special kind of vacation pay that I did not think I would be eligible to get after I quit and found out that I would indeed get that money too. All in all, my last paycheck from Costco is going to be around $2000. This will help me out a ton, now I just need to sell my car.

Tomorrow is my brother's birthday so I got the day off and am just going to relax over at my parents' house most of the day and go have dinner with them. So, as the title implies, all of the goings on as of late have made for a pretty good set of days.

The Zen of Quitting

An update on the state of my job at Costco. Basically, any care, concern, feelings, work ethic, anything that had to do with my job, is gone now. All that is left is me counting the days until I quit, 23, and doing whatever I want while being at work. Today for example, we got those retro arcade cabinets in and I played MERCS, while on the clock, and worried not even the slightest about retribution from mangement.

A "member" called me on the phone today and got snippy with me so I told him I needed to put him on hold to check something for him and then hung up on him. I did not feel like getting belittled by some no-life hack that just wanted to make himself feel better by getting cocky with me. I think he is the third member this week I have hung up on. Childish, yes. But it feels so damned good.

I no longer park in the employee designated parking spots. There are two reasons for this: A) It is getting close to Christmas, which means that parking is hard enough to come by without worrying where I am and am not supposed to park. B) I just don't give a damn.

I no longer tuck my shirt in. I have never liked this rule because many of my shirts are not supposed to be tucked in and they look dumb that way. I am not a style god to begin with and after the tucking in of my shirts, I become even less of one. That and I just don't give a damn. A manager actually tried to make this an issue the other day. He told me that they could terminate me for not following dresscode. I just said "ok" and walked away. I think he was kidding but then again, I really don't care. Nothing has or will happen to me.

I leave early almost every night and take extra long breaks and lunches. The night people in my department are supposed to stock the shelves now. Without a forklift driver there to drop stuff for us, there is nothing to stock. Then why should we stay late? Answer, we shouldn't; its a waste of payroll and our time. As for the breaks and lunches, this is something that most people in my department do. We are not supervised and none of us care if our fellow worker gets a little bit longer break. As long as my peers are cool with it and they get their extra breaks too, I am fine with it.

When you get down to brass tacks, it really all comes down to the fact that I just don't care what happens at my job anymore. I am not bothering anyone else and my quality of work doesn't suffer, take from that what you will. I need to quit jobs more often.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Dreams and Worries

The past two nights, I have had some crazy lucid dreams. Night before last, I dreamt that I was on LSD. Why? I do not know, but damn, that was a colorful and vivid dream. And for the record, no, I have never done acid. Last night, I had this dream that I meant this goth girl in a bar that was closing down and we went back to her place to watch the Blue Angels fly over her house. Odd. Either way, both dreams were super realistic, like I was watching a movie or something. Anywho, I mention this just because it is a good sign I am sleeping harder now and they were extremely realistic, cool dreams.

On to the worries part. I worry about my brother and his girlfriend. I am a worrier in general but it seems that as of late they have been going through a rough patch and I feel for them. I am especially worried for my brother because I just have this vibe that says she is going to break up with him and for no good reason that I can think of. I dunno, it really is none of my business but I just find it curious that I have let their relationship bother me so much. I constantly wonder when the hammer will fall and my brother will find himself single. It feels like when I was married and or going out with Mushi. This may also be the reason why I am bugged about a relationship that I have absolutely no business being bugged about aside from the fact that the guy is my brother. They make a good couple and I would hate to see them break up. Both of the families involved like each other and get along very well. She is kind of like a little sister to me and I would hate to see her go. I don't want to see my brother hurt especially. Anywho, I try to say supportive things to my bro and hope everything turns out alright. Hopefully, they will. I hope I don't constantly worry about breaking up in my next relationship; it doesn't make things very much fun. This I know.

On a side note, while talking to my brother I found out that he was drinking when he was a sophomore in high school. Damn...I didn't start until I was almost done with my first semester of college and I thought I was starting early. He doesn't drink anymore however, because he had a bad experience with vodka and a beer bong that made him pretty sick. That and he was a jock so when sports started up he had to get into shape. It is funny how almost everyone goes through a streak where they drink nonstop and get it out of their system. At least hopefully, they get the urge out of their system. I still drink but nothing like when I was 19-21, all of those years blur and I don't remember a lot. Ahh...youth.

Thought to ponder: When you dream, how does your body know what falling feels like and how does it trigger that sensation while in a dream state? Why can't we trigger that sensation in a waking state without actually falling or tripping? I am sure there is a scientific answer to it but I have been thinking about that today.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Less Than A Month

I am getting down to the wire in respects to quitting my job. As of today, I have 27 more days to hang around, watch TV, play video games, and get paid for it. Yesterday, I was bored so I made a paper chain with as many links as I have days left. People at work were cracking up because as of late, the paper chains have become a tradition amongst quitting employees; there are quite a few of us now. In my department alone, there are two other people quitting and one more thinking about it. I have started a fad. :)

Aside from making the chain yesterday, I also started doing the math as far as what I need before I leave for Japan and how much income I am going to have. The figures are kind of lopsided but I should be alright, if need be I have money in savings I can tap into. This all just seems so weird, I am really starting to get excited about the trip. I haven't been this excited for something since I got married but the funny part is my contract for this job will last longer than my marriage did. Such is life. :)

Anywho, I need to get ready for another day at Costco.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Repair Guy Day

I had the day off today and pretty much all I did was work on other peoples' stereos or computers.

First stop was Mushi's. Yes, I fixed my ex-wife's computer. I am a nice guy but I also wanted the new mp3s she has gathered since our parting and went over to her place today to do all that. I had been dreading it most of the weekend and all of last night; which could be why I went to bed at 9:30pm, a miracle for me. Either way, it didn't go too bad and only one off-handed comment was made and it was made by me. And she actually thought it was kind of funny. Anywho, that was as much fun as hanging out with your ex could possibly be I suppose.

Then I was off to a co-worker's house to work on their computer and got a six pack and dinner out of it so that wasn't too bad....which reminds me, I need to get the beer out of the car before it freezes. Yes, it has been getting a tad cold here.

Lastly, I sold my surround sound setup to my brother and had to make a stop by his place to set it all up and get the subwoofer working. I also used the opportunity to get a bite to eat and play some computer poker. Having lost at computer poker, I returned home and here I am. It was a very busy laid back day.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

I May Be Unable To Sleep (Like this is something new)

This pic will haunt my dreams and waking hours for at least the next couple of nights. I got this beauty's pic off of the sheriff's website and she just strikes me as the kind of person with that kind of expression that one would see right before she plunged a knife into their groin and then their heart. She scares me.

In other news, I am feeling better today. I stayed home sick from/of work yesterday and slept most of the day, that helped. Today, I went back to work and then went to a good sized poker tourney at my brother's. I ended up losing at the first table but it was to a full house and I had a straight. I can live with that outcome; there isn't a lot to do when the guy you are up against flops a boat. I was just glad to have gotten my straight, thus justifying my all-in bet. Tomorrow, some of us may play again but I am not sure.

I have the next three days off and I am going to try to make them productive. Monday, I am going to visit the tax people and see what I need to do before I leave. I am also going to make my dad a co-signer on all of my bank stuff here in the States so he can do my financial bidding while I am in Japan. I will be able to take care of most of that stuff online but I also like knowing that someone I trust will be able to make any in person transactions that may be necessary while I am away. That and if I die, it is good to have someone who can close out those accounts. :) There is my dark thought of the day.

Speaking of finality, on Wednesday, I will have exactly one month of Costco left. I have been thinking a lot about my last day and how I want to go out. I think I will write a letter to the people in my department, optical, and the photo lab. These are the departments that I interact with the most and have made the majority of my work friends in. I will miss them and I feel they deserve more than a cheesy goodbye. It is so odd to have to think about all of this but in a way I am glad I get do do it like this because I have been able to plan all of it out and leave people with an image of me that I want them to remember.

Anywho, that is all for tonight, time for bed.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Feeling Sick

I haven't felt that good today, in fact I just got home from work early because I felt sick. My stomach just feels weird. I do not like not feeling good, it puts me in a bad mood.

Either way, I am home now and will probably stay here for a bit; I do need to run some stuff by my parents' house so I may do that later on. Beh, I hate not feeling well.

In other news, I have 42 days left until I quit Costco. I have been thinking about how I want to say goodbye to my coworkers and whatnot. It is very strange to think that I probably won't see the vast majority of them again. Some of them I actually like...not many...but some. There are three departments that I am very friendly with and interact with on a daily basis so I think I will write each of them a letter and maybe give them some early Christmas presents. It is so funny to think that 42 days from tomorrow, I will walk out of that store for the last time as an employee. I am getting excited. The people that are sending me to Japan are sending me emails almost daily now and that is also building up excitement. I am also starting to feel the crunch of needing to get some things done around here before I leave. I need to get my teeth cleaned one more time before I go, see a tax person and figure out all of that stuff with them, maybe see a doctor before I leave and make sure I do not need any boosters or anything like that, see a bank person to figure out all of my 401k stuff, etc. I also need to figure out how much baggage I can take on the plane. There is getting to be a lot of stuff that needs done and I would like to have almost all of it out of the way before mid-December so that I can enjoy Christmas and hanging out with friends and family.

Anywho, just thought I would post a short update since I am here and not doing much else at the moment.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Ho-Hum Halloween

As much as I like Halloween, it being tied for my favorite holiday behind Christmas, this year was boring.

The day started well, my brother and I went to see Saw II. It was a fun slasher flick and much better than the first film but the end was kind of lame and sets the franchise up for another shameless sequel. Either way, blood and Halloween go together so it worked.

After the movie, I ran by my parents' house and picked up my mail. My mom has a touch of the flu and my dad was in McCall on business so not too much was going on there. My mom didn't give out candy but there were almost no kids out anyway so I guess it doesn't matter.

After my parents', I headed over to Phyrry's house to see what she was up to. Like me, she was bored so we went to the mall to watch the little kids trick-or-treating there. That was kind of fun, there was a tiny kid probably no older than three that was dressed like Yoda and he was cool. Halloween is a holiday that makes me wish I had a kid so I could dress him or her up and take them out trick-or-treating. There was a very cute chicken outfit at Costco that I would have dressed them up in. Anywho, you have to have a girlfriend or a wife to have kids so I guess I am getting ahead of myself. :) They would make the holidays and Halloween so much more fun though.

Anywho, Phyrry and I then went to Flying Pie and used the gift certificate that Mr. Blue's dad gave me for working on his computer. The pizza was pretty good as was the salad and I even have leftovers. Following pizza, I dropped Phyrry off and came home, where I played some videogames until now and here I am. A pretty boring Halloween. Oh oh, yesterday Phyrry, Demonator, and I did carve pumpkins. That was a blast despite my being rushed as to make it to work on time. As you can see from the top of the post, our pumpkins guard the stairway to the apartment using all of their scariness to deter would-be visitors; not that trick-or-treaters would go down there anyway, the place looks like the kind of building that a serial killer would hide bodies.