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July 31, 2006

on again on again

So, I'm going to Maine.

I talked to my TA, and he's very nice about the whole thing. I explained I had this trip planned months ago with my family, and that I hated to miss even one day of class, but I might miss two. Would it be ok if I turned in the paper(s) early? He said "sure," and even said he'd be willing to go over the material if I was willing to come to office hours.

Turns out he's not such a hard-ass. He's just fair. A refreshing attribute for a TA at this university. I've complained before about the treatment of non-traditional students here, and there are several of us in this class, as well as the TA himself, so, finally, someone who isn't a dick to his students with jobs and/or families. And, an added bonus, he knows how to teach. I would seriously recommend him if you ever have to take history here at Cowtown State.

Now, I just have to see if I can find a cheap rental car once I get there. Right now, I've found 4 places with cars (all major chains of rental places), but prices per day of $40-$80 for the lowest economy models! $80/day + gasoline? Are you f*cking kidding me? Seriously. I'm gonna be stuck with my parents for 4 days. 2 in a car, and 2 at their mercy on where to eat/when to leave, etc. I'm doing this why?

maine or bust

so, i made the decision this weekend that i would talk to the TA of my history class, explain that I had vacation planned 3 months ago, and that I'll be missing one day of class, see what his reaction is, and then base my trip on that.

i talked to my mom and she and my dad seemed ok with going, still, and with leaving the night of the 10th. this would maximize the actual time ON vacation, and makes the trip more worthwhile. i would still prefer NOT to be on their timetable and at their whim when it comes to going places, or leaving places, but without driving separately, which would suck for both of us, i'm stuck. especially since plane tickets went up $100 in one week.

this is my chance to meet a bunch more of my mom's cousins, which is exciting.

now, one other reason for going is to avoid my high school reunion, which i just got an invite for. i'd been emailing for months trying to find out when it was, and they end up sending the invite 2 weeks before. Sorry, no. I'd rather just hang with Ms. KC and Bones here in Cowtown than miss a family get together and drive 2 hours to see folks.

again, talked with my mom about it. she says they dont really get fun until 15 and 20 anyway. this one's 15 for me, and without advanced notice, it'd be rushed and crazy, and it just seems to pale in comparison to getting to spend some quality time with my parents and extended family.

July 29, 2006

hell's kitchen, it's not.

i just watched an episode of "design star" on hgtv. it's a hell's kitchen style show without the anger and stress. three judges whittle down the large group to the one design star who will go on to get their own hgtv show.

the first loss was an easy call.

and with that, it's time for me to shower and get some dinner.

alone, still

i was really gonna go to meijer and do some serious work today, but i spent all morning (and early afternoon) drenched in sweat and stinky, so i really wanted to come home and shower. but then i crawled into bed and checked email and got drawn into a crappy movie which i barely remember, and then Serenity.

my allergies are totally out of control and i need caffeine because i didnt grab any coffee this morning. i'm jealous of nala and all the fantastic food he's had.

the hoont, who wont quit staring at the door, cant wait for him to get home, and i have to say, nor can i.

and i just got email. he'll be home tomorrow. time to go eat, grocery shop, and maybe get some more mulch.

July 28, 2006

school, summer 2

so, ask me how school is going. go ahead, ask.

it's going ok. the TA is awesome. the irritating classmate is back, and annoying as ever. and, of course, there are the papers to write. at least one per week... sometimes two. this week, two. and i still dont have the book, because the damn bookstore was sold out. so i ordered it online. should be here today or tomorrow. (*crosses fingers*)

which reminds me, i need to email my TA before I forget.

yeah. it's going well. i love the class, really, and i think this guy knows how to teach. i just need the last book (of 3) to be able to finish the readings.

mini run

based on a tip from the yahoo group, i ended up making a mini-toy-run at lunch and snagging Ransack GTS for Nala. He is a far superior repaint from the original. i'll probably post a photo later. he is slick in his blackness.

i also found they still had some mulch @ meijers. so, i know where i'll be going later. gotta get it before its gone.

general toy news

1) i'm glad i joined the Central Ohio Transformers yahoo group. for the news of Quickmix alone.

2) i paid for the toy show tables today.

3) mr b is a toy god, btw. long may he be praised. he managed to get 2 (yes 2!) of the lego batman and joker SDCC exclusives with sound-chip. TWO! insane. they are from a run of only 250! (they are totally "bitchin" as the kids say) he also managed to get 2 (yes, two) of the nemesis primes, at least 3 of the Grundys and Evil-Lyn, and Hellboy with Japanese heads, and tons of other exclusives. This is why I both simultaneously love and hate the man. I love him because he brings the toys, but I hate him because he gets the toys. But the love wins out. And for his hard work, I will help him move.

4) did you know the female figures from JLU are now coming with pegged feet and stands? amazing. I'll bet they still fall over.

5) I am *this* close to buying another Grundy just to have one completely sealed. and of course one to play amongst the others, free from the confines of his vibrating sewer.

6) btw, the variant grundy sucks ass -- i dont care about the soft-goods clothing with sewer slime. he looks better with the vinyl like the other figures. I will try to get a good photo once mr. b gets moved.

7) "the batman" selina kyle will be mine. x 2.

8) Mr B saw the pile o figures in the dining room and queried "cleaning out the basement?" -- I laughed and said "hasn't made it to the basement." I believe his response was "holy sh!t," but then i explained the basement was dusty, dirty and filled with mortar.

July 27, 2006

the thursday of many toys.

between finally unwrapping yesterday's delivery and today's visit from mr. b, the house is filled with new plastic. for instance:

zatanna and shining knight

green lantern corps

justice lords, assemble!

And then, there's the exclusive:

solomon grundy

I'm thinking I may buy another one, just so I can have one completely sealed.

Oh, and Nala got his Nemesis.

July 26, 2006

primuses, and batman

so, yesterday, I gave a tip to another local collector about a certain figure he'd been seeking. it was in a part of town where most of us don't frequent, and Nala and I had found them by chance, and so, knowing he'd been jonesing, I sent him word of the sighting.

today, i checked his livejournal to see this:

Today Graham and I got Primuses with Unicron heads, thanks to a tip from one of my favorite people. (Of course Matt's one of my favorite people. He got me Primuses.

Good toy karma. I will be sure to share the love if I see any more on my infrequent travels to the forgotten parts of the Cowlands. (and those of you who didnt tell me you were looking for them? um. sorry?)

UPS tried to deliver my new 3-pack JLU goodness yesterday, 20 minutes before Nala got home. And of course, they need a signature. *sigh* Maybe today...

And, btw, check out this picture of Willis and a guy in an animated Batman costume. Who thinks to do an animated style costume?

Thank goodness I also got one of those Batman t-shirts of his, too. Looks like they're in short supply.

And, of course, one more thing, while I'm ranting... Check out this fairly representative photo of Mattel's JLU lineup. All collectors know they're topheavy and/or ankle-weak, and sometimes they have one leg longer than the other, but if you're showing off your wares, you can't be bothered to somehow invisibly glue your figures upright? WTF, Mattel?! POSTER PUTTY? You have sunken to new levels of apathy. I thought bringing unfinished figures to a con was bad. I thought bringing sloppily handpainted figures to a con was bad. But now, admitting there's a major defect in your figures (aside from scale and crappy paint applications?) and presenting them with globs of rubbery crap on their feet?

July 25, 2006

lessened probability

due to the large amount of work that this class is going to take, i am unlikely to be able to make the trip to maine during the weekend i originally scheduled (the weekend of the large reunion my aunt is hosting.)

the 16+ hour drive each way, plus needing to be in class on Thursday and Monday means very little down-time to enjoy it. especially with a paper due that monday.

however, it will give me a couple more days vacation to spread around. you know. because i have so much extra downtime at work.

*sigh* i cant even go the following weekend, when the other 2 giant reunions are, because there's a final exam the next monday. 6 papers, 4 weeks. and a final worth 40% of the total grade, and attendance is required.

tuesday blues

1) the two corporate bookwhores didnt get the books we needed. the third only had 2 of 3 left. a fourth, but even skankier bookwhore had the third, (and only the third), and it was way too expensive and shrinkwrapped.
2) the prices online kick ass, and I'll save a good $20 over the prices in-store for the two i bought today. the third is a $40 savings, and hopefully will arrive before next week.
3) damn UPS. they tried to deliver at 3:40 but according to them, nobody was around to sign. Um. Ok.
4) coupons... free stuff... gateway. sure.
5) work. sucks. phantom error.
6) sent some good toy karma Walky's way. hopefully it will come back to me.
7) need to talk to parents re: august. it's iffy now due to this hard-ass teaching assistant and the amount of work this class entails. unless gram dies before then, in which case, i'm going no matter what.

July 20, 2006

mood swing! hooray!

ok, so that one class i was taking is over. the final was rough, but really no rougher than a quiz. i'll decide once i see my grade if it's worth arguing about with the TA. the final essay question was bizarre, and almost too bizarre to answer with both clarity and completeness.

you have never seen so many people glad that the torture was over. as i talked to mic after class, i knew everybody was in the same boat when it came to the final. not knowing which of the 50 terms from the last 3 weeks to study in depth made it difficult when we were given 8 of those terms on the final -- and had to choose 5. all of the quizzes offered much greater opportunity to choose -- more like 3 out of 20 terms. rough rough rough.

and the paper? yeah. that was actually not as bad as i thought, until, after i handed it in, i realized i could've really fixed it by writing a clear and separate introductory paragraph. yes, i suck. 5 pages of suck! *sigh*

and now, a week or two to wait till they're graded. i just want to crawl in a hole and die.

round 2 starts monday. more dates than you can shake a stick at. and not the kind where you get lucky.

i got back to work after the exam and realized i still needed to hit the bank -- i paid my car payment and swung back to work only to deal with 3 crises in a single hour, and one huge misunderstanding which served to only make me really furious for about 10 minutes.

and then i fixed it, and there was chocolate. and now i just wanna go home and sleep.

July 19, 2006

parental units

I ran home for lunch after class, and found my parents there, picking up some items at my house. It was a nice surprise.

Mom looked better (hopefully with less stress now, having seen the cardiologist), and seemed happy. I told her about meeting the neighbors Sunday night -- she thought that was cool that we now know even a couple more neighbors, and they're from "back home."

I forgot to tell Dad that M's doing his old job with water testing! And to tell Mom about my old classmate and the cocaine craziness.

Ah, yes. I forgot what it's like to have conversation NOT about pop culture. I like it. Especially with wine. Grillables help, too.

toy show prep

I wanted to get a start on thinking about the Toy Show coming up in Sept. I want it to be fun. I want it to be smooth. I want to get rid of stuff.

2 tables. Shelves. Bins. How is this all going to be organized? Will we have a notebook with spreadsheets? Do we need table-covers? (probably) Some sort of sign? (probably)

Things to take:
Batman TAS
The Batman
Extra DCD
Pokemon (ALL)
Extra Alternators
Extra Playsets

Anything else?

Update: Ok, I got email back from the organizer. Set-up time is available both the night before (6pm - 10pm) and the morning of, starting at 7. Tables are 6' in length, and he says "3 feet behind the tables for display". And, free admission for dealer and one helper. Parking for vendors is $3.50 day of.

July 18, 2006

fake out

she's rallying. no oxygen, no morphine, eating (on her own), speaking... i dont know how this bodes for hospice care. i think it's great news, at least for a while. her rate of decline is punctuated with moments of better health. i do wonder if it was finding out that some of my cousins are going to visit which brought her into this better state. the will can be a force with which to be reckoned, and that woman's got a strong one. i think it would be just like her to hear someone was coming and not want to appear as frail as she really is. "who told them i was dying?" indeed.

July 14, 2006

prepping for the inevitable

two years ago, flights to manchester and hartford were cheaper than flying into boston or portland. now, portland has doubled in price ($450-500?!), manchester and hartford are about 50% more expensive than they were, and boston has remained the same or has gotten even a little cheaper.

i'm tempted to fly into boston and drive the rest of the way. at $180 apiece, the cost savings over both bradley and manchester are worth the hassle of driving in the city.

figure 20mpg for the rental car, that's $50 in gas round trip to where I'm going in Maine. plus side trips. Say $100. that's still a big cost savings to drive 3.5 hours. Even with a $30/day car rental, that's still acceptable, considering the price difference of over $200/plane ticket, and still having to rent a car.

as you can see, my day went to hell, and i went into full blown panic mode over how to get there. actually, for a trip, that's not that bad. i could even deal with a vacation at that price.

twice, though? ugh.

more explanation later -- must go to end-of-day meeting.

July 13, 2006

and then she died.

"My name is Rose Tyler, and this is the story of how I died."

Ok... I'll admit it. I cried. I hate this new series, just for that, but I love it at the same time.

"This is the last story I'll ever tell."

I cried. And then stuff happened. And I cried again. And then more stuff happened. AND THEN I cried some more.

"This is the story of war on earth."

27 episodes and I cried. I wish I was joking.

"Rose, I want you to know something. I--"

spicy roll + berries and creme = holy mother of hell

ew. tastes like burning berries. two great tastes that absolutely do not taste great together.

July 12, 2006

associate of what?

it's now official. i graduated.

i found out the outcome by emailing a friend of mine on the inside. diplomas arent sent out till next month (from spring. seriously. they need a workflow to manage that.)

but, i graduated. one small segment of my education is complete. i can update my resumé.

i'd celebrate, but it's wednesday. maybe i'll buy myself dinner or something. today was a wretched day at work, after all.

not much happening

class still kinda sucks. lots of lecturing, but yesterday we watched a history channel special instead of having lecture. of course, it was with the lights completely out, so nobody could take notes. and, she's not making up the lecture. this is the worst, since she teaches from the lecture, not the book (which she declared optional). so, nobody has aztec notes. hooray.

of course, today, she ran long again and ended up dropping a slide. smoke was coming directly off everyone's notepads as we all struggled to write as fast as she was talking. important stuff, though.

someone asked when we would get our papers back since she doesnt post grades online and nobody knows their grades, and it counts for 20% of our total grade. 20%! she's giving them back tomorrow. they were due on the 3rd, which means, in any other class, it would've been 3 weeks ago. meaning, it's way too late to drop. next thursday, a week from tomorrow, is the final exam, and the final paper is due.

word to the ignorant fools who think they want to take this class in summer? don't.

on a different topic, i've noticed in a lot of photos, i'm tugging at my left ear. it's a habit i picked up over 3 months when my ear was first pierced back in 1996... which i still have a hefty amount of scar tissue from, 10 years later. the chick pierced it wrong, and i had lots of problems for something that is so incredibly routine a procedure. now i have a discolored lump in my earlobe. i touch it constantly, as i did just now, almost instinctively expecting something to have changed. it's an irritation. i sometimes think about getting it pierced again professionally with a larger gauge so it won't be just some blind, uncontrollable fascination with my own ear -- at least there would be something there. it's almost like my brain expects something to be there, but it's not. ever. and. it's. so. goddamned. annoying.

i remember after it finally started to heal, my parents came to visit unexpectedly -- my dad would've never approved, and my mom got to my door first. while my dad was unloading the supplies from their car, i greeted my mom at the door. she pushed me from one end of my flat to the other, into my bedroom, and said "take it out. i dont care that you did it, just take it out, so your dad doesnt throw a fit. if he sees it, he'll go off, and i dont want to deal with it." -- so i did. it was still tender, and i'll bet it was red. my mom ended up making sure i was ALWAYS seated to my dad's left, so he didnt see it. when he finally caught a glance, i dispelled it as nothing more than a blemish, and that was the end of that.

my goddamn ear

they came to visit every weekend, and eventually i ended up just letting my hole close over. by the time i started a real career, it was completely gone. all except the lump which now haunts me every waking moment.

July 10, 2006

another monday

wow. it's monday again.

saturday in ft. wayne was nice. should've planned to try to see the sis. went online today to check about chicago wizard world hotels, and (of course) the cheap one down the street is gone. then there's the price of gas, and tickets to get in, and i'm really debating if i want to go. i mean, i do, but factor in gas and possible hotel, and it gets kinda crazy. I'm sure I'll be able to buy a Grundy figure online for $50 or so, right?

instead, i'm now thinking more about my august trip to maine, and the crazy month of september. columbus toy show is Sept 17. pumpkin festival is Sept 21 - 24, and then BotCon is Sept 28- Oct 1.

Anybody else wanna get in on the toy show? I'm thinking of getting 2 tables. Yeah, it'll cost money, but that's 12 feet of space (plus back displays and bins), and it's only for a day. You know you all want to sell some crap that's taking up space! (I know I do!) Too bad we got rid of the slatwall already. dumb!

oh, btw, my debit card was eaten by the ATM on Friday. that means i'm without one for this week. UGH! i cant pay bills until I get it back!

July 5, 2006

ok seriously

if every male in my family dies in their 60s, that means, statistically speaking, i've lived half my life, and my cousins have lived OVER half their lives. i know some of them have come to that realization at my uncles' funerals, as they see each other's bodies starting to fail in their 40s.

it is a crazy thing to start seeing statistics pop up "Average age (at death) of [your family name] is 64."

depressing, i guess. i really should listen to my dad and start eating better now.

a puzzle

so, i emailed my friend Felix with my new family findings, and this afternoon he handed me 3 pages more info i had not come across. from one hour's worth of digging, he found 3 pages i couldnt find since friday.

i am the amateur of the amateur, apparently. if only i could find that missing link between my history and the pieces of older history i have from documents form 1927 -- that would kick ass, and i could go work on something else.

July 4, 2006

family dead ends

every once in a while, i pick up searching for my roots. i get lost in the virtual stacks of online information, and go deep till i have to come up for air. once in a while, i find something. last night, i found something incredible.

so -- for years, i was told (or at least given the impression) that my grandfather's brother died at a young age and didnt marry. while searching records online, i found a 90% match for his brother, who did not die before marrying. who did have a wife and 2 kids. they just didnt stay in the county where they were born.

i've emailed the source of the info to introduce myself and to hope that any bad blood between those families is long gone. my dad's cousin (if indeed this is the family i was looking for) also died in his early 60s, which confirms that the men in my dad's family die relatively young. so far, that's 4/5 men that i know of that died early. the 5th is my dad.

every time i hit a wall, i go digging somewhere else for a while. i've gotten my grandmother's grandparents, which was no easy feat. i've found some other interesting tidbits, too. Things like, when my grandmother was 2, they were living with my then widower great-great grandfather, who was then 56. my great-great grandmother had died some many years before. this explains so many photos with my great great grandfather and my great grandfather and grandmother -- it always looked like they were together, because they were!

great great grandfather, great grandfather, great grandmother, grandmother