I've been hanging with some Esperantoj around town lately, and it turns out that the North American Esperanto Congress is going to be in Austin this year. So, I talked to my buddy Jerm, who hooked me up with Kier-La, the program director at the Drafthouse,and we've been talking some about setting something up. So, I just found out for sure this morning that we've got a showing of Incubus lined up for the weekend of the conference. Bad ass. Details are still being worked out, but hopefully we can set up some bit where one of the guys who can actually speak Esperanto (that is, not me) can go up beforehand and give a little chat about how it all goes down. This should be really cool.
Also, getting up at 5am every day really sucks. That is all.
Oh, shit, it was my sister's birthday today, and I totally forgot. Well, it's not like I really have a current phone number or email address or anything for her, and I'm not even sure if she's in Maine, or Rochester, or San Francisco, or Texas, or what, so, it's not like I could have done anything. I think she's thirty-one this year. Huh huh, she's old. Well, Katie, if you're reading this, happy birthday, too late. Give me a holler when you come to town, and we'll make with the beers and whatnot.
Hey, it looks like I've got a solid gig all through June, starting on Monday! Through a series of convoluted misadventures, I've picked up a month-long, full time contract job at Frog here, helping to put the finishing touches on a demo for a super-secret mobile thinger. Sounds like a decently interesting and fun project, and the guys that I'll be working with seem to have it together pretty well, too, which is always a bonus. Plus, getting paid is quite welcome at this point - the room that serves as our office at the house is in dire need of painting, re-carpeting, re-shelving, and general making to not suck, and it turns out that people charge for that kind of thing. We should also get a coat of paint on the outside of the house before it becomes too hot for humans to operate outside without environment suits, and it looks like these things may be possible now. Joy abounds.
The main drawback here is that I'm almost definitely going to be working on-site, nine to six, five days a week, except for the first week, where I get to make my way downtown for training at seven in the morning. That's A.M. Barbaric, I know. As I was heading in for the interview today, I caught the receptionist heading out to lunch. She confided to me her relief that today was Friday - it took me a moment to realize that this was because it represented the end of the work week for her. I got the look I always get when I reply to these comments, "Oh yeah, I guess it is Friday, huh?" I'm guessing that I'm going to come to sympathize with these folks a bit more by the time July 1 rolls around. I just hope the whole working in my underwear thing doesn't freak too many people out over there. Unless it gets too hot, of course - then all bets are off.
I spent the rest of the afternoon running around taking care of various bits and pieces, and then headed over to Freddie's for burgers and beer with Bernie, Dave, Mel, and some of Mel's coworkers. A bunch of the guys from Handwire turned up there, too, having just abused their retinas with some sci-fi movie or other - Dave, it turns out, had just accepted a full time gig over there at Handwire, so, that's pretty cool. We were planning on heading over to the Church of the Friendly Ghost to see their shut-down party (stupid neighborhood music-hating goody-goodies!) with Jerm and the Total Foxes and the Darling New Neighbors, but I made the mistake of taking my boots off when we got home, and the meat and pie in my belly got the best of me, and I spent the rest of the evening lying around, reading and whatnot. Lame old people.
So, yeah. Bad. Really bad. At least it's over now.
You're going to see it anyway, so there's a couple things to look forward to: the fairly cool space battle at the very beginning, and Darth Wharfin. If you're fortunate enough to live in Austin, make sure to see it at the Alamo Drafthouse - at least you'll get to see some fun stuff beforehand, like bits of the Clone Wars cartoons, clips from the Star Wars Christmas Special, the appearance of Mark Hammill, C3PO, R2D2, and Chewbacca on the Muppet Show, the reader's digest version of the Turkish Star Wars, and bits and pieces of Harrison Ford on David Letterman, the Star Wars musical someone put on, and much, much more.
Well, at least it was better than the Hitchhiker's Guide movie. Eeesh. I need to go bleach some input organs now.
Oh yeah, I forgot. The other thing the Drafthouse has that other theaters don't is a special Star Wars menu. Nowhere else will you be able to watch this movie, drink beer, and eat a big plate of Boba Fettuccine. Seriously.
We finally got out rowing again yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, I'm not too bright, and didn't adjust my calculations for sitting out in the sun for an hour around one o'clock instead of early in the morning, and as a result, I got my pasty ass sunburned all to hell. Mostly just my forearms, and the front of my legs, except for a couple of strange white patches on my knees and ankles, where I assume some peculiarity of the way one scoots around in the hull protects the moving bits from the deadly burning rays of the giant yellow eye. Anyway, yesterday, not so bad. Today, bad. Ow.
I'm starting up a slow-turn game of Lexicon with some friends, which should be fun. More may join later, which may be even more fun.
I was finishing up some pain in the ass Flash work, with some giant ugly animations, working on my laptop while I used my desktop machine for making the music noises, on account of the good-ish speakers over there. Swearing at the latest busted-ass Macromedia interface, and staring at the giant monitor next to me, a thought desperately claws its way through my thick skull. Yeah, another big patch of screen real estate makes life a lot easier - two monitors makes a huge difference in productivity, here. One for the messy timeline jiggery-pokery, and one for my actionscript editing environment and other various computer-like tools. Don't know why it never struck me to do that before. Like I said, not too bright. The one drawback is that the dual monitor setup slightly cripples the whole Fitt's Law thing on that side of the screen, but I think that's a fair tradeoff for the extra awesomeness.
So, I went and got a haircut today. Not at my usual place, Pete's Flat-Top Shop, up on Burnet, oh no. Not saying that Pete doesn't give a good regular cut, and the price is hard to beat, but sometimes you don't get Pete himself, and, well, it's not so good. Turns out, there's a salon right around the corner here, next to our favorite coffee shop - we walk by it every day or two, when we go to get our mocha fix. It was getting to be about that time again - I've been getting the "Luke Skywalker hair" comments - so, at Bernie's urging, I stopped by this afternoon to see if they had an opening for a walk in. They did. Let me tell you, getting a wash and rinse and an actual haircut, with scissors and everything, from a cute blonde indy-punk chick is totally worth paying twice as much as what I used to pay for getting buzzed by some old guy that never says more than three words, two of which you can't understand. Also, a 200-foot walk around the corner absolutely beats driving all the way the hell across town, even if Pete's is right next to a kickass game and comic store. Actually, it's way better, since I don't go next door afterwards to blow money I don't have on games I won't play. And hey, a haircut that doesn't look like my stepsister-slash-cousin went at me with the garden clippers again. Bonus!
Also, tonight - Unleashed! Jet Li, Luc Besson, and Yuen Woo-Ping! Woo!
I was planning on hitting a game night tonight, at the house of some folks that I just barely sort of know, but I didn't - there's some weird space-time warp over in the neighborhood to the west of us, and this is like the third time that I've had trouble finding a specific place over there. Well, that, and they're pretty casual with the whole street sign and house number thing over there. I did get out for a good half hour walk or so - the weather is great right now, not too warm yet, and it was right around dusk when I left. There are approximately seventy billion lightning bugs out there tonight. I thought someone had blinking christmas lights up in one yard, but no. Bugs. Bernie has had very limited experience with fireflies, for some reason, so I think she would have freaked out on this walk - in a good way. Instead, she's off with a bunch of caver chicks, rooting around underneath Austin for a few hours.
So, instead of playing games - which, by the way, I am totally not doing enough of lately - I'm putting these new free hours to work, getting stuff straightened up around here, maybe putting some time in on a few personal projects that have been languishing for a while. I've been kind of busy doing AGD stuff, getting ready for our general meeting last night, working with Quoc and the guys, talking to folks, all that fun stuff, and I've had a few hours of work here and there with my current gig. These guys, by the way, rock. I'm getting some semi-regular jobs from them, which pay pretty okay (and, more importantly, promptly!), and they really make working with them so completely not a pain in the ass. Totally sane about time/work/money scheduling issues, client management, working remotely, and so on. Dream client, really. It's not a whole lot of hours, though, and I could really stand to get some more paying work in there. So, if anyone out there needs a Perl slinger / Flash masta / game developer / HTML monkey, give a holler.
Also, buy Darwinia. It's a great little game, and they deserve your cash. I think that if you throw money at small developers like this, they make more of the same kind of ruling stuff, so, do it!
Yesterday, my buddy Huff took his wife, Christine, to the hospital because she started having recurring abdominal pains, after many months of discomfort and swelling. At 5pm, the discovered that there was actually another whole human being that had somehow been implanted inside of her, and since it showed no sign of slowing its growth, decided that it would be better off living with them, in the outside world. I'm not sure if they've figured out what to call it yet, but my suggestion is just, "the boy". "Time to do your homework, The Boy!" "Fetch me another gin and tonic, The Boy!" "Aim for the head, The Boy, the head!" I'm sure they'll take my recommendations into consideration.
Anyway, Bernie had signed up to watch the other small human that was found inside of Christine a couple years ago, Malia, when the inevitable hospital trip occurred, so she spent the night over at their place last night, and I was feeling tired, so I got myself situated in the hammock and started in on the first few chapters of Chuck P's new book, Haunted, before falling asleep. Falling asleep 400 pages and six hours later, that is. Stupid writers, keeping me up all night. Also, it turns out that crunched up over a book in a hammock is not the ideal ergonomic position, so, I think my tooth advil is going to be doing double duty on some of my crippled old neck muscles today.
Well, it looks like I'm totally fucked.
For those of you playing at home: a few years back, I helped my cousin get into school by co-signing some student loans for him. Well, he went to school, got a degree in music something or other, and is now living somewhere in northern California, doing... well, I really have no idea what he's doing, but as far as I know, it has nothing to do with any music degree. Anyway, after several delays and forbearances and what not, he still has not made a payment on those loans. So, the nasty letters and phone calls from Sally Mae come to me. My (otherwise spotless) credit has already taken a huge hit from a series of missed payments last year - that I didn't find out about until too late, and there's nothing I can do about it now - and the final forbearance ran out in April, at which point my cousin assured me that he would be ready to start making payments, so as not to fuck me further. Well, it's May, and I just got another call - there's about twelve hundred dollars of delinquent payments and late fees due, like, today. Plus another forty grand and change after that. I call my cousin, and find out that his phone's been disconnected.
I call my mother, who helped get the loan set up, and her number is no longer in service. I call my grandmother, who got me the original paperwork to sign (as I jumped off and on a train that had stopped for literally two minutes, passing through Buffalo in the middle of a winter night), and as far as I can tell, her line is now a fax machine or something. I finally get through to my Aunt Sue, who is cousin Mike's mother, and she says that she can't get in touch with him either, because his deadbeat housmate stopped paying their phone bill. So, she's going to ping me back the next time he calls her, whenever that might be. I talk to the loan people, and they say that they've been calling him and sending him nastygrams as well, with no reponse, no payments.
So, the upshot is, my credit rating is all the way down the shitter right now - I can't even get a crappy business credit card, and I'm pretty sure that I'm well fucked if I try to get another mortgage when we decide to move. I've got no way to get in touch with anyone that I need to, and as far as I can tell, there's no money coming out of anywhere on that side of the deal. Unless someone - and that looks like it means me - starts making payments to Sally Mae immediately, it's just going to keep getting worse. The fun part is, of course, that we're not exactly rolling it it at the moment - my consulting work has been picking up some, but we're still running just about even, and we're trying to plan for events in the next year or so that may entail one of us being zero-income for a stretch. So, I've basically got two options: suck it up, and start dumping my own money into the hole, with basically no expectation of it ever coming back, or sit back and see if my cousin comes around to kick down before the credit weasels start tearing into whatever I've got left, and who knows what else. I've basically got about five hours to decide one way or the other, so, either way - totally fucked.
To top it all off, I had to go back into the dentist yesterday, because my temporary crown came off of my most recent savaged molar. It was a close grind, and it's been really sore for the last three weeks or so, but he says that's normal, and that I should wait to see if it gets better before he either cements it on permanently, or decides that I need another root canal there. Again, for those of you keeping score at home, that'd be three of those in the last few months, plus a lot of other toothy unpleasantness. Keep in mind that, being a self-employed freelance contractor, I have no dental insurance - this is where basically all of my cash has been going for the aforementioned previous months. Well, the crown coming off, and the temporary re-attachment aggravated the exposed nerve quite a bit, and I spent most of last night in the worst dental pain that I can remember since my first emergency root canal experience. Since I was out and about at meetings and whatnot, I relied on ibuprofen to take the edge off some, and finally got home to knock it out a bit with some vicodin and valium that we've got on hand for just such an occasion. It's not so bad today - except for the times I forget and bite down on it, which causes the tooth goblins to give me a good zap - but I'm just whooped from the adrenalin and muscle tension and whatnot. Dentist says that this is normal for the kind of nastiness I've got here, and to give it another while or so, to see if it calms down before he does anything else, but after a month of chewing on the left side of my mouth and overdosing on advil, I'm ready for my root canal, Mr. DeMille. Maybe I'll get a freebie for being a frequent flyer or something. Just make it stop, already.
Whew. Trying to get the house cleaned out a little before the weather gets too hot, and we have to close everything up to fend off death from the sun. I packed up eight or nine boxes of books to put into storage, and it hardly looks like anything's gone here. (Which means, there's plenty more where that came from - I'm guessing I don't really need those Director 6 or Flash 4 books, for instance...) I also took the opportunity to sort through my t-shirts, and cull out the ones that are too small, too old, too worn-out, or just too stupid to wear any more. The final score: thirty-five old t-shirts in a box headed for the storage place, ninety-nine t-shirts folded and put back into the rotation, fifty-five black, forty-five non-black. In theory, this means that I should be able to wear a different t-shirt every day for a bit over over three months, not including the days I forget to change, or "casual fridays", which generally involve a bathrobe at best, and may extend into saturday, sunday, monday... well, let's just say four months.
Also, I got a waffle maker. This may be the best purchase made in the last decade.