Monday, October 27, 2003

I'm develping a habit of not spending much time at work on the weekends. I'm pretty sure that's a good thing.

Friday I was supposed to go to the gym...wait. First off, I've been very, very bad about going to the gym. Last week I missed every day that I was supposed to go during the week. I've been saying for a while that I need to get serious about it again, but it's really fallen out of my routine and I need to get back to the point that I don't have to think about it; I just do it.

Anyway, Friday, instead of going to the gym I had dinner with Shane, Cathy, Ethan, and Kian at one of the local Thai places. After dinner, Shane, Cathy, and I went to see Mystic River. It was very good. Excellent actors and good direction from Clint Eastwood. It was worth full price just to see some of those actors working together.

Saturday I made it to the gym, then headed downtown to get comics and pick up the final piece of my costume for the Halloween party this weekend from the Army/Navy Surplus store. It should be fun. Speaking of the Army/Navy place, for some reason, I really want one of those tri-fold shovels. Isn't that weird? I saw some at the store and thought, "Wow, it'd be cool to have one of those." I've always wanted one. Of course, I've also always wanted to own a crossbow. Man, I want a crossbow. Anyway, costume complete. Now I just need to shave off my year-old facial hair to prepare for it. It'll be funny to see the reactions of people whom I've met in the last year when they see me clean shaved. It's odd to think that they have no concept of me without the goatee, especially considering I haven't had facial hair before the last year.

I saw some leather jackets at the Army/Navy store and it reminded me that I kinda want one of those, too. However, I've never wanted one of those before. It's a recent desire. Why? I dunno.

Saturday night I picked up Shane and Cathy and we drove north of Seattle to Everett and met a number of people from work for dinner and a visit to a Jaycee-run "haunted forest". Dinner was okay, but overpriced. The haunted forest was silly, short, but fun with a couple of very cool moments. Particularly funny was when we rounded a corner to see a guy stooped over a glowing kettle, he was holding a string of shrunken heads and he jiggled them and moaned a bit in an attempt to try and freak us out. However, after the others moved ahead on the path, he looked up at Shane and I (we'd fallen back a bit) and said, "Man, you guys totally caught me off-guard. I wasn't ready at all...I nearly fell on my ass down the hill...and now all my skulls are tangled up." Heh, heh.

Sunday I went to the gym. Realized Daylight Savings had gone into effect, then went to work to meet with Jason and his wife to talk about some of the responsibilities of his new job. He was moved from his old job to a new position and since I'd dome a similar job when I started here he wanted to ask me some questions. We talked over lunch and he seemed to feel better about things afterwards. I think he'll do fine.

The alarm system at work was freaking out, so I had to deal with some of that, but that's more annoying than interesting, so that's all I'll say. I promised Will, who was layed off on Monday, that I'd run a painting and a couple other things over to his place, so I loaded everything up in my car (except for a computer tower that wasn't put together. I'll do that one some other time.) and went to his and Johanna's new place. It was nice. Very cluttered because they just moved and were just married a couple weeks before that, but it's quite spacious and has a lot of character. It's on a corner, too, which is nice.

I talked with them, got the tour, then had to get back to work so I could run my D&D game. That was very entertaining, but wow is it taking a long time to get through this adventure. Whew!

Today was a normal work day and now I'm going to have some dinner and go to the gym. Tomorrow I'm going to call and buy a new computer (about damn time).

Thursday, October 23, 2003

I talked last night with some friends from work who are originally from South Africa. As a joke on Monday night I started writing down some of the words and phrases they use that I didn't know and then I decided to write it up as a "South African to English Traslation Guide". They thought that was pretty damn funny so they sat with me and now I have two pages of terms with definitions. I'll post it if I can figure out how to create a table.

I ended up staying here too late doing that last night, so I didn't make it to the gym. Instead I went home, had dinner, started to watch some more bad anime (more on that in a minute), but then decided that I was going to move my computer table and computers from my bedroom where they sit unused out to a corner of the living room where they can sit unused -- at least until I buy a new computer. Which may be soon. I called a local place that my office uses for its computer purchases and I should have a price quote tomorrow. I can't express how badly I need a new computer, my old PC is seven or eight years old and I need to back it up before it dies completely.

Okay, bad anime. I like anime, some of it, but wow, when it's bad it's really bad. I was watching Devil Lady the past couple of nights (and as much as that sounds like it's porn anime, it's not) and it's not good. Maybe it's the pacing (which sucks), but it was a real chore to get through the four episodes on the DVD I got for free from work. I was talking with Seth about it last night and I hit upon a theory I like -- I think a lot of anime (and other things for that matter) are well-liked because the ideas are good -- even if they're executed poorly. People look at it and say, "Wow, that's a cool idea. I want to see more of this just to see what they do with the idea." Unforutnately, it never gets as cool as it could. I feel like that about a lot of anime. The only exceptions I have are for the Ranma 1/2 stuff, and Cowboy Bebop. Oh, although I did enjoy Kerry's copy of Phantom Quest Corp. Um, that all on that.

I need a couple of new bookcases. Now that I cleared the desk and computers from my bedroom, I have room for some more bookcases. Man, I have a lot of books. Mostly gaming books. I may have to get rid of some. Especially that Rifts crap. Oh, damn, now some poor Rifts fan is going to stumble onto this site and give me hell. Those guys are rabid.

I made plans today to go to Wizard World Texas in November. I also looked into meeting Seth and Chris in New York, but I don't think I can. The ticket runs about $330, and I don't have that to spare at the moment.

I had a nice talk last night with Greg. It was a good talk and he caught me up on what's going on with all the folks at LSS. Donna is still a putz, but I forgive her. Robyn however, had better keep posting.

Okay, now I'm going to clear out of here and see if I can get to Best Buy before they close. I want the Indiana Jones DVDs. Mmmm, good.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

I ordered a shirt from the the Monkeyfan store last week (this one) and it arrived a couple of days ago. When I opened the package I accidently cut the shoulder of the shirt. It seems like a waste to send it back and get it replaced, so I asked Angel if it were possible to fix such a thing and she said it wasn't just possible, but she'd be willing to do it! That's so cool. I thought I'd have to take it somewhere to get it fixed. It's such a silly thing. Angel made me very happy.

I'm disappointed in my friends from LSS (except you Greg). They started out blogging merrily, but their posts have now dwindled to a meager pace.

Speaking of water; apparently Seattle received a record rain yesterday. Five point some-odd inches in a day. It's funny because Yahoo did an article about it and that's the first place I've seen someone honestly write about the weather out here. I can't find the article anymore, but it was funny to finally see someone write about how rain here is mostly just a drizzle and that we don't get any more rain here than most Midwestern or Eastern cities, we just get a constant misting...and no thunderstorms. God, I love thunderstorms.

Hey, apparently Nothing Good Can Come of This has dropped in the Google ratings from first place down quite a few places. I don't know how it went from #1 to so far down the list, but I'm saddened. *Pout* Any advice, oh Web-savvy friends?

Monday, October 20, 2003

Tough day at work. We had to let some people go from work and that was...difficult. Certainly for me it was easier than the people it effects more directly, but it still wasn't easy to have to be involved in that and say good bye to them.

Now I'm going to go to dinner with some people and try to come down.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Last week wrapped up with a fun evening out with Shana, Angel, and Patrick over at Kate, Katie, and Beth's place for an evening of drinks and a viewing of The Hot Chick. Yeah, well, it wasn't may choice. That being said, it was actually fairly enjoyable. The evening was fun and I definitely needed a night away from work and all the normal things I fill my time with. I'm happy to have a group of people I can really relax with. I dropped Shana at home afterwards and then ended up staying up until about three o'clock, so I slept in until a little after eleven. That was nice.

Of course, as soon as I opened my eyes I remembered that I'd planned to help Will and Johanna move...beginning at nine that morning. Whoops. Well, at least I hadn't told them that I'd be there, so it doesn't look like I wussed out. As I was preparing to get moving and go to the gym I received a call from Elizabeth -- whom I had promised to help move that afternoon -- she said she could get the van earlier than planned so we could get started earlier. This meant that I couldn't go to the gym because I'd definitely be late to her place if I did, so I spent the early afternoon watching a DVD of Lewis Black that Brian lent me. Ah, he's a funny guy.

I got lost in beautiful (Ack!) Renton and wound up getting to Elizabeth's a bit later than planned. Still, there was plenty to move. It was a bit awkward, though, because we were moving her out of her and her soon-to-be-ex-husband's apartment. He was helping move, too, which I thought qualified as above and beyond, but it all went fine and we had everything loaded in about two hours. We unloaded at her new place in about a quarter of that time because many of her things were going into storage in a garage. Afterwards we talked and ate some pizza. Around eight o'clock I left, changed, and went to the gym. It's surprising how few people go to the gym on a Saturday evening.

Okay, maybe it's not. Well, I was one of them and it had been two weeks since I'd last been to the gym, so I wasn't slacking any longer. I honestly can't tell you how AMAZED I am by the fact that I hadn't put on a bunch of weight. The past couple of weeks I've been as bad with food as before I starting going to the gym. Well, maybe not that bad, but I've been pretty damn bad.

Sunday I got up, went to the gym (yes, again) and then went downtown to meet Shane and Cathy for our weekly comic buying excursion. Our talk turned to Halloween and they mentioned a costume shop they wanted to check out, so we hopped in my car and drove to the Northgate Mall area and went where they'd mentioned. It was a great store and I have my costume started. I don't want to talk about it here, but I'll try to post pictures after the party I'm going to.

Oh, here's the best thing overheard at the costume store. One of the clerks, a nice, middle-aged balding fellow with a pen stuck through his forehead (he does makeup at the store, so it was a costume wound, not a real one) was talking to someone at the makeup counter and he said, "The only time I've ever had a kid screaming in fear wasn't because of one of the gross, bloody wounds like this one," as he touched his pen-wound, "nope, it was when I made up someone as a clown." I thought that was great. What is it about clowns that freaks people out so badly? I am completely at a loss, because when I was a kid, my room was decorated in clowns. I loved 'em. Anyway, Shane, Cathy and I laughed about that and knew we'd have to tell Shana (who's afraid of clowns) when we saw her next.

I was supposed to run my D&D game tonight, but a couple people didn't show up, so it was shelved and instead I went to see Intolerable Cruelty. It was not quite the romantic comedy it's billed as, but it was a romantic comedy with a bit of black comedy thrown in. It was much better than I'd feared. Worth the price of admission? Sure. Worth the price of a matinee? Definitely.

Now I'm blogging and getting ready to do some shopping before I go home and sleep.

Oh, Seth called this weekend and told me that he (and possibley Dr. Chris) will be out in New York for a convention that a former co-worker of Seth's is on the organizing board for. I'd like to get out there and spend some time with them in the city. It looks like it will fall around the middle of the month, so I'd better start looking now for some good rates.

I also forgot to mention that I cleaned off a bookshelf in my apartment. This is the first step in moving my desk and computers from my bedroom out to the living room and the bookcase into the bedroom. I also plan to get a new computer to put on the soon-to-moved desk. I'd like to get this all taken care of in the next week or so.

Yesterday was my eldest nephew's twelfth birthday. I'm very sad that I wasn't able to be there. In 1991, October 18th was first day it snowed in Madison. I was living with some friends above a hairstylists on Old University in an apartment that my friends and I still refer to as The Center of the Universe, or C.O.T.U., because we all spent so much time there. It's amazing that it's been that long.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

I've been sleeping poorly the last couple of days and I've been mightily distracted so I haven't had too much to say.

Last night I left work at a reasonable hour, made dinner at home, then left for the gym, but realized that I'd left something I needed on the printer at work -- so I stopped by and ended up talking to some late-nighters until about 11:30. Very bad of me to skip the gym, but I had a good time talking with everyone.

I don't have a whole heck of a lot more to say, but things are going well in general. Tonight I hope to make up some lost sleeping time and relax.

That is all.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Sometime in December I probably have to take a trip to Hong Kong and China for work. (Yes, I know they're the same country, but they're very different places.) I was talking with my boss this evening and he was regaling me with tales of his college day in his frat compared to the times he's spent in China and Hong Kong. The similarities were a bit frightening.

The information he gave me was very useful -- "one of them will sit next to you and drink with you, then another will take his place and drink with you while the first takes a break for a while, then they swap again," "if they toast you, how deeply you drink is a reflection of how much you respect the person who toasted you," "it's perfectly acceptable -- and expected -- of men in their culture to go out, get drunk, and sleep with 'hired' women...they will expect you to do the same and may be insulted if they off and you say no."

I'm cool with the first couple of tidbits, but I have a problem with the last one. Maybe it's because I was brought up in American culture with its strong roots in Puritan beliefs, maybe it's because my parents did a good job of raising me to believe that it's wrong to take advantage of people, heck, maybe it's all the Captain America comics I've read over the years that espouse that "one man can make a difference". Who knows, maybe it won't come up, but if it does, I think, if I'm on the verge or greatly offending someone, that I'll graciously accept and then bribe the woman into going away. More good advice from the boss.

It's very odd for me to think that this would ever be an issue that I'd honestly have to think about.

Luckily, I really don't. A long time ago I decided that the worst thing anyone could ever do to a person was to take away that person's ability to make the correct choice for themself. More accurately, take away another person's ability to say "no". "Do you want to have sex?" "Do you want to die?" "Do you want to take this drug?" That sort of thing.

Maybe it's horribly judgmental of me to think that these people don't have the ability to say no for themselves, but when you're faced with a social and economic reality that rewards people for selling their bodies, well, I think the individual loses the ability to make an informed and independent choice that's in their best interest. I'm willing to be horribly judgmental in this case.

Maybe this isn't really appropriate talk for my blog, but hey, it's on my mind.

Okay, outside of all that, I'm almost recovered from my cold and should be back to the gym tomorrow. I got a new haircut yesterday and even asked for some advice on how to get it cut. It's nothing radical, but I figure it's been 17 years since the last time I changed my hairstyle, so it was probably time. Everyone seems to like it.

I've really been enjoying the new Steve Martin book I picked up over the weekend, The Pleasure of My Company. It's written very well and is easily digestable because it's written in a very reader-friendly style. I continue to recommend it.

Okay, time for me to get out of here and try to get to bed at a reasonable hour so I can be back to work bright and early. Lots of things to do over the next few days.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Why is it that I feel guilty when I actually take a weekend off? Isn't that just a little crazy? Sure, it is, and I know that, so I'm not going to let it bother me. Everyone get's weekends, right? So I should, too.

I'm still getting over my cold, but it's mostly just an inconvenience at this point. Due to being ill, I haven't gone to the gym since last Sunday. I find that if I go to the gym while I'm sick, I only manage to have a poor workout and then become even sicker. I thought that exercise was supposed to bolster your immune system, but in my case it doesn't seem to work that way.

Tomorrow I think I'll start going to the gym again. Last week when I went to the doctor to get some cold medicine I talked with him for a while about my recent lack of success at losing weight. After running through what my typical workout is and what it's been in the past, he said it sounds like I'm doing everything I should be. The only recommendation he had for me was to do more cardio and watch my food intake. He reiterated what I've found in countless articles that I've read -- the body gets very efficient after a while of the same workout and it also gets very comfortable at a certain weight and makes it very, very difficult to get past that. That's where I am. He also said that other than being heavy that I'm in perfect health and that it's a misconception that just because someone is overweight that they're unhealthy.

So, there you go. No fear of diabetes. No fear of heart disease. No fear of high cholesterol. No thyroid problems. I'm just heavy and healthy. I'll keep going to the gym, stay healthy, and work on losing weight. It keeps me from doing things I'd like to do.

I received an amazingly nice compliment the other day. I was talking with one of the V.P.s at work and she was relating to me a story from a meeting she'd been earlier that day. One of the people in the sales area is leaving and the other members of senior management were asking him who could take his place. He responded that one of the people in his department could...or me. And someone else at the table said, "Yeah, but Jon can do anything," and apparently everyone else at the table agreed. Wow. That was cool.

The V.P. who told me this asked me why it was that I could do anything here and I could only reply that I've participated at every level of this industry, from fan to distributor to publisher -- and filled a number of positions at each of those levels. Part of me thinks it's exceedingly egotistical to think that I could do anything here, but another part of me thinks, "but I can." And I really think I can. There's no job they could give me here that I couldn't do well.

Regardless, I was very flattered and proud that other's felt that way (or is that the definition of proud?).

I already mentioned that I didn't do any work this weekend, but I didn't say what I'd done. Friday I went to dinner with Shane, Cathy, and Kian to a place in Seattle called Dragon Fish, then we went to see a late showing of Kill Bill. It was very entertaining and completely over the top. I think it was worth the price of admission and I look forward to seeing more of the series.

Saturday I slept in, met up with Shane and Cathy to go buy comics in Seattle, then I said good-bye to them and went to run some errands at the game store and at Target. I picked up Steve Martin's new book, The Pleasure of My Company, and a bamboo plant I liked along with some other things. Nothing too exciting, but I do that that plant. As I was driving home I got a call from Katie. She and her housemates were having people over for movies and whatever else we decided to do, so I grabbed something to eat and went over to Seattle again to spend the evening playing Pictionary, talking, and watching Saturday Night Live.

Today I slept in, watched some of my new Casablanca DVD and came in to work to straighten some things out, watch bunches of things at, buy something from the Monkeyfan Records store, and work on an article that will be posted sometime this week on the company Website.

Now I go for dinner with Kevin and Kim and then either to a movie or home to read.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

It's been mega-movie-watching week for me. Thursday I went to see Secondhand Lions, Friday The Rundown, Saturday Underworld, Sunday School of Rock, Monday Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Happily, most of them were pretty darn good, although Underworld was underwhelming.

Saturday I went into Seattle to get comics with some friends that live downtown, then we went to the movie, then had dinner. We had a good time. It's good to get some more people to do things with. Sunday evening I ran my sporadic D&D game. It went well, but I started to get a sore throat over the course of the evening that has blossomed into a full-fledged head cold now. It was worse yesterday, but I visited the doctor last night -- more so I could get some medicine for my throat if my cold decided to move there when it was done with my sinuses, than it was to take care of my head cold, but he gave me some decongestants, too, so that's cool. I'm feeling better today and slept very soundly last (Tuesday) night.

Because of the cold I'm having a hard time concentrating, but I'm still making progress on things at work.

The new head of sculpting is in town this week, so Monday night I went to dinner with he and Brian (another sculptor). Then last night I went to Brians to have pizza and watch a movie. It was nice and relaxing. Tonight we're going out again to have dinner at Africando in Seattle. It should be good. I'll let you know.

Friday, October 03, 2003

I'm still alive. I've just been busy and haven't had much to say. As soon as I get a chance I'll do an honest-to-goodness update and let you know what's been happening.

And in case my card doesn't get there on time, be sure to tell Julie "Happy Birthday" for me, Mom.