goodness, humor

Teacher Roommate made my day

Teacher Roommate can be very… blunt and to the point with herself.  This comes out in little ways like how she writes little reminders to herself in terse little messages on the back of her left hand, or in the titles of the alarms on her iPhone.

Her dad is in town on a visit.  They are the drinkin’est family I have ever heard of (aside from the Australians I encountered when I visited my family in Tasmania).  Naturally, when I get home around 730, they’ve already been out drinking for a while.  We texted back and forth for a bit about the internet debacle (now fixed), and how her dad helped her set it up (thanks dad!).  Then I receive this non-sequitur gem:

her awkwardness is my LOL

And my day has been made.  Thank you Teacher Roommate.

badness, life, work

No warrior, no war

It’s about a half-mile walk from my office at Office Job to my car at a parking structure a couple of blocks away.  Typically when I walk through any parking lot, I make it a point to keep my eyes up, and stop fussing with my phone, or stick my head in my purse, or otherwise distract myself from… whatever.

paranoid parrot knows what I'm talking about

I’ve come to realize that “whatever” really means imminent attack by some asshole who wants to steal my car/accost me, etc.  I’ve never been attacked by a sober person, so this would be a new experience for me.  Still, I can feel myself tense up a little when I step off the elevator to the third floor of the parking structure.  I’ve finally given in to reading The Hunger Games on my Kindle, but as the doors open, my eyes slip up from the screen, and I step forward, full of caution and confidence, ready for some hidden enemy to pounce.

There have been men working to replace all the lights in the structure every day this week, and yesterday was no exception.  As I walked away from them toward my car, I thought about how I could probably read my book right now instead of keeping an eye out since there are people around.

My mind goes to work.  I calculate how many times I would have to scream for them to realize what they’re hearing, and how long it would take them to arrive to help me.  At least one of them is overweight; he would never arrive in time, and probably wouldn’t be able to do anything useful, so I subtract him from the equation.  Then I calculate how likely these men would be to help a woman being attacked by a man a) with bare fists b) with a knife c) with a gun.  Anything worse than a pocket knife would probably scare them off.  On the other side of the equal sign I’m left with one not-overweight maintenance worker who wouldn’t jump in front of a knife to help me, which means I shouldn’t depend on him at all.  I decide I can probably trust them to ward off any attacker with merely their presence.  “I’m probably safe,” I think as I slip my Kindle in my bag and pull out my keys without breaking stride or dropping my gaze.   My eyes pan across the floor between cars for shadows and feet, then back across the windshields to see if anyone is lying in wait.  I’ve given myself permission to relax,  but I can’t stop preparing for… whatever.

Whenever I teach a women’s self-defense class, I try to calm them down: I say something like, “I just want to point out, and I don’t mean to sound callous or hurt anyone’s feelings, but you are not a special snowflake.  You will probably never get attacked.  I hate to break it to you, but you’re just not that special.  Relax.  You’re here to learn something potentially useful, not to safeguard against the inevitable.”

Where did this hyper-cautious impulse come from?  Did my training make me crave an attack so I can test my skills?  I could’ve sworn I had grown out of that phase.  Or do I worry about an attack because I know all the ways a person can cause injury to another with their bare hands?  Did the two fights I’ve been in make me like this?  They turned out well, what am I worrying about?  I’m no warrior, and there is no war going on.  Why am I like this?  What am I doing?  It feels like such a huge waste of time to be this tense every day… then again, if the alternative is getting blindsided by some asshole in a ski mask, I’d rather miss twenty seconds of whatever novel I’m reading to make it to the car sans violent encounter.

goodness, nerd

The best part of wakin’ up is Cthulhu in your cup

Who wouldn’t want this mug?  Seriously.  Adorable.  Must be hard to stir in your sugar, though…

Alternative title to this post: In his house at R’coffyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.

badness, school

Verizon, die in a fire

hey look, it's me

Like most people, any good experience I’ve had with customer service from a huge company like Verizon/ATT/DirecTV has been buried under the mountains of horseshit that make up the majority of my interactions with said behemoth hell-spawn companies.  This past week has consisted of the horseshit variety.

Our modem broke last Tuesday night, so Verizon supposedly sent us a new one, which we never got.  UPS “left it on the doorstep,”  apparently.  So they’re sending us a new one for free (after some negotiating), and it should be here by Friday.  That’ll be ten days without internet at home.  We can’t ask for a refund of the time we’ve gone without internet until we get internet back.  They don’t know what happened to the $80 credit I’m supposed to have already received due to being wrongly signed up for Starz and Games Unlimited.  They don’t know why I haven’t been charged for March’s service.  I have spent (cumulative, over the course of four calls) 106 minutes on the phone with Verizon to discover they are clueless about my account which they control, and inept at fixing the problems they create.  And I am fresh out of surprise.

Imagine if I were already in school, and needed to “go to class” by logging onto the online classroom stuff.  What a hassle this would be.  I think it might actually make me mad.

badness, goodness, life

Erin go braugh

i want to go to there

I’ve wanted to visit Ireland for about as long as I can remember.  The green hills, the pubs, the castles, the cold, I want to experience it all.  But it’s more than that.  I feel like if I went there, I wouldn’t want to leave.  It seems like the emerald isle could be the home I’ve never seen.  Ireland has been calling to me.

Diminutive Roommate and I were chatting at the breakfast table a few weeks ago about vacations, and how long it’s been since I took one (London with the family in May, 2009).  I said I would love to go to Ireland.  She said, “Let’s go!”  The show she’s on will be ending a bit before I start school, so I’m planning on leaving Karate Job a few weeks before classes start to take a trip with her.

It was a pretty flawless plan, but like most plans, it had, in fact, a flaw.  I IM’d Diminutive Roommate a week after our convo: “I’m getting excited about Ireland,” and got a response: I don’t think I can go with you.  Teacher Roommate had reminded Diminutive Roommate that she had promised to go with her to Ireland years ago.   My heart sank.  I wasn’t even angry, just horribly disappointed.  A couple of weeks passed while we ignored the topic, and I finally sat down while Boyfriend and Diminutive Roommate’s ex-boyfriend and a good friend of mine from college (let’s call him Boardgame Friend since he’s super into boardgames, and even taught a class on table-top gaming for actual credits at an actual school once) played a zombie game on the floor nearby.  I said, “Ok, what’s going on with Ireland?  Tell me what’s on your mind.”  Turns out she won’t be able to keep her promise to Teacher Roommate since her schedule will preclude her from traveling with her while TR is available to travel (August), while DR and I can travel in late May/early June.  This was all truth as of last week.

Yesterday afternoon I was chatting with Teacher Roommate about Diminutive Roommate’s schedule, and she said, “Sounds like they’re pushing the show back, too.”  I thought, No.  No way.  there’s no way Diminutive Roommate wouldn’t tell me that her schedule had changed, thus potentially changing my plans to travel abroad for the first time in three years.  Surely… surely she would tell me.

I texted her asking when her show would be done.  No answer.  When she got home, she broke the news that the show might be ending later than planned, but she wouldn’t know for another week.

Well.  Fine.

note to self: table flipping looks super gratifying. must try.

Now I’m placed in the position of deciding where I should really just consider where I want to travel alone.  Should I do another archaeology expedition instead?  I had such a blast in Belize, but I was surrounded by people my own age there, too.  Should I join a tour so I can experience the country in a group?  Wandering around alone definitely has its appeal, but it does sound a bit… lonely.  Sharing new experiences with someone you love is so fun.  Sure would be nice to have Diminutive Roommate there with me.

goodness, humor

Sherlock Holmes, the human otter

No wonder I love Sherlock.  He is secretly an otter.  In case you didn’t know, otters are the cutest animal.

I’ve read a few Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was hilarious and a bit of a genius.  I love everything about these stories.  They’re short and fun, and written in what I like to call, “The Old Style” that I love so much (1880-1925).




love is forever. also, pretty creepy.

I had to share this awesome skeleton cameo.  My mom has a couple of cameos, a ring (and maybe a necklace?).  They’re such a cool art form, and I love the lolita/Dia de los Muertos look of this one.

But is this one really made from ivory?!  Isn’t that horribly wrong (and also completely illegal)?  That’s not what cameos are traditionally made of anyway.  My mom has a cameo ring with a thick gold band.  She always treated it as though it were quite delicate, but if it were made of some kind of stone… I wonder.


Ukulele time is happy time

Lanikai ukulele

I just took up the ukulele!  I got a Lanikai soprano ukulele on Wednesday, and I’ve been practicing a couple hours a day since.  My fingers are in less pain every day, and Diminutive Roommate and I jam every time she gets home in time.  The first song I learned was Jamaica Farewell (Harry Belafonte).  I can also play Big Jet Plane by Angus & Julia Stone, Can’t Go Back Now by The Weepies, and The Lion Sleeps Tonight.  Singing while playing is easier than I thought it would be; maybe because I spent so much time singing in the choir growing up.  I’m so glad I did that.  Now I can hit a note if I want to.

This is my first successful foray into the land of instruments.  I taught myself More Than Words on the guitar in high school, and I took a semester of piano at USC where I learned Paca Bell’s Canon (my parent’s wedding music, which I was going to surprise them with, oh well).  But the uke is so transportable, so much easier to play, and I know two people who are enthused about it too, so I’m excited to see myself progress.  So far so good; I’m picking it up pretty quickly.  I heard something about blues ukulele… that sounds good but… odd…

UPDATE: March 14th, 1:10pm
I’m starting to get calluses!  And I’m trying to find a good version of “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” because that would be a hilarious, fun duet.  She also wants to learn “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People.  I contacted my uncle Skeeto to find out what kind of songs he and my dad grew up listening to/singing, and he sent me a few ideas (Little Grass Shack, Tiny Bubbles, Moonlight Bay).  I originally wanted to learn some traditional Hawai’ian songs, but they’re not as prevalent online as I thought they’d be.  I’ll have to buy some music books 🙂

family, goodness, humor, life, manfolk, nerd

The one percent

I was looking through my iPhone photos this morning, and a random thought occurred to me: what would my life look like if I could only see every hundredth photo?  I recently cleaned out my phone of extraneous contacts, photos, emails, apps, etc., and the aftermath is just over a thousand photos of the past year and a half.  Here’s what one percent of my life looks like:

I have to include number one; it’s a good starting point.  My mom gave me her iPhone 3g when she got a Blackberry from work, so I inherited some of her photos, and haven’t had the heart to delete them.  She travels for work (too much), and took this shot at a waterfall.  It was nice to turn on my “new” iPhone for the first time, and see that my mom has a good eye.


I work at Karate Job in Redondo Beach three times a week now, and there’s a pretty strong jalopy following down there.  I used to see at least one every few weeks.  This one was particularly shiny and handsome.  The owners are always  happy to let me snap a quick shot.  It’s like a car version of really good cosplay; they put a ton of work into it, and are happy to share their enthusiasm with others.


I’m your average nerd in a lot of ways: table top/online/video gamer, cosplayer, renaissance attendee (with costume), BSG fan, anime fan, manga reader, etc.  When I bought some go-karting tickets for Boyfriend for his birthday, we decided to go with a group of friends, who promptly decided it would be fun to dress up like Mario Kart characters.  Some of us bought our costumes, others made theirs from whatever they had lying around.  I did a combination: I painted an old helmet like an 8-bit piranha plant, bought a green spandex body suit, and voila!  A costume I could wear on the track without using any of the public equipment.  This is the helmet in-progress.  It turned out really well.


My friends are (of course), nerds too, bless their little hearts, and for a while, Wrath of Ashardalon was our game.  We couldn’t get enough.  I even drew my own character art, and wrote a dozen spells specifically for him.  This is one of those games where you pick your final boss at random.  Our first game, we pulled the game’s namesake: the main boss, Ashardalon, a giant fire-breathing death lizard.  His character dwarfed ours.  We were honestly a little scared.  It was a close one, but we pulled it off!  A very exciting game, and one that I felt the need to document.  As you can see, one of us has already died, while another has just rolled horribly.  Note the cave-in in the adjacent room.  That was a fun series of disasters.


I love the Renaissance Faire.  It’s so harmless and fun.  Women dress like tarts and men dress like warriors, and no felony sexual assault results.  People walk around fully armed with many very sharp swords and daggers, and no one fights.  Everyone is friendly, even to that one guy who dresses as a ninja, or that other dude who came as Captain Kirk that one time.  Everyone is so wrapped up in admiring costumes, eating turkey legs, playing games, and going to hilarious shows that a sense of good will permeates the fair grounds, and one feels out of place without a smile.
Boyfriend couldn’t make it to last year’s fair, so I took this photo to remind him of how pretty I look wearing girly stuff.


Diminutive Roommate has been on the hunt for a house for the past year or so, and most of the houses within her price range are in the valley.  I like to go with her whenever I can go give her a second set of eyes, and just to hang out.  Of course, it’s sweltering hot in the valley half the year, so on our way back from visiting one of her prospects this past summer, she blurted out, “Let’s get a watermelon!”  I said, “You’re a genius.  You’re my favorite person right now.”  We pulled over at a Trader Joe’s, grabbed this little guy and strapped him into the back seat.  I’m still pretty protective of my new Fiat, and Diminutive Roommate was eating raspberries or something in the front seat, and had her hands full.  So I improvised.


I can’t believe it took six hundred photos to randomly fall on one of Calico, Diminutive Roommate’s adorable cat.  She’s like a dog trapped in a feline’s body.  She flops over to have her tummy rubbed.  She loves smelly feet.  She begs when we eat delicious meats.  She’ll cry until we feed her, or if she just wants some company in the morning.  She tackles our legs with all the force her little body can muster, and sometimes it’s really scary.  She’s very sweet, and super cute.  She loves her tennis ball, and she occasionally chirp/meows at the birds outside.  She had just gotten trimmed before this photo, so she looks tiny.  She’s usually pretty poofy.


My room needs some overhead lighting, so when Dad and I went to Ikea to pick up some cabinets for the apartment we’re fixing up, we decided to see if they had any cool light fixtures.  In order to get to the lighting section, you have to pass through the entire store, so like most people in Ikea, we went a little crazy.  Dad has a great sense of humor, so when he saw these stuffed sharks, this is the first thing he did.  I made him freeze so I could snap a quick photo.  Y’know, for posterity. (note the Lanikai Canoe Club hat 🙂 )


My family has had a rough time this past year and a half, but this Christmas was really nice.  Mom asked Sister and me to spend the night Xmas eve, and sleep in our old beds, just like when we were little.  She coerced us with a promise of pancakes and bacon in the morning.  It’s a commonly-known fact that my mom’s pancakes are the best pancakes.  You didn’t know?  Yeah, they’re the best.


Diminutive Roommate and I used to go grocery shopping together all the time, and we always had a blast.  It was like going to a theme park.  Every isle held something fun and stupid to laugh about.  It was a golden era; we were both dating nice guys named John, we shared a room in a pretty gated community in Culver City, we were still in school, and everything was as it should be.  This talent to find fun in ordinary places is one she and I have retained, but when we found a hat in the shape of a giraffe at Joanne’s while hunting for fabric to cover my couch, the pieces sort of fell into place on their own.  I think it really suits her.


I just took this photo last night!  Diminutive Roommate’s coworker came over a couple weeks ago to play poker, and mentioned that he had taken up playing the ukulele.  He’s the outdoorsy type, and wanted an instrument he could take with him on backpacking trips and the like.  I said I had always wanted to learn to play the uke, and he offered to teach me.  Diminutive Roommate said she wanted to learn too.  My Lanikai uke just arrived yesterday; hers is arriving tomorrow.  I can’t wait to jam with her and her friend.


A quick summary of the first thousand photos on my phone:
Mom has quite the artist’s eye on her travels.
Jalopy’s are fun and remind me of Archie.
Go-karting is a perfect venue to show off your love for Mario Kart.
My friends and I love our table-top games.
The Renn Faire is the only place I feel comfortable dressing like a lady.
Watermelons are the ultimate summer snack.
Calico is as adorable as she is deadly.
Dad allows himself to be mauled by a shark to keep us sane at Ikea.
Mom makes a delicious Xmas morning breakfast.
Diminutive Roommate does her part to maintain tradition of being weird and fun.
I love my new uke.

I’m pleased with the turnout here: family, hobbies, friends.  It’s a happy collection, but I’m disappointed at the locality of them.  New goal for the next thousand: exotic locations, new experiences.