tek2way: Nature - Lightning Storm (Nature - Lightning Storm)
..what an oddly appropriate title to the journal entry in which I detail my trip to New York.

As much as I'd love to inundate you with a detailed retelling of the full eight days, I am going to break it up into manageable chunks, because too much of a good thing quickly becomes "TL;DR" instead.

We will start with...

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

While some of this may be suspect due to the passage of time and lack of sleep, I am going to hold that this is the truth.. "from a certain point of view," at any rate.

I slept maybe a couple of hours that night, and woke at 3am instead of the much more reasonable 330am I had intended to use for my alarm. Oddly, from showering to dressing to finalizing packing to breakfast, I was pretty much perfectly on time. This meant, of course, that I'd originally subconsciously intended to rush and hurry to get to the airport. Thank the heavens I didn't give into that temptation.

I arrived, printed my boarding passes, and checked my luggage. Turning toward the TSA security checkpoint, I saw why my tickets said to arrive two hours early: the line to get through security was easily 40 feet long. To their credit, it moved pretty steadily, and soon I was headed toward my departure gate. (NOTE TO SELF FOR FUTURE REFERENCE: Your backpack has two straps, and you are carrying more than a pair of schoolbooks. Put that shit on your back, dork!) I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do at that point, because I was probably at least 30 minutes early for boarding, and I hadn't paid enough for my ticket to qualify for boarding as soon as they announce it.

Fidgeting, I watched the sun rise out of the window by the gate, and even thought to take a picture (which became the first of over 200). I was a good little Facebooker, and kept up photos of my trip, as well as posting updates throughout the day. The drain on my battery was significant, though.

Soon, I was on the plane, and had the entire row to myself! I learned, though, to my embarrassment, that the seat belt wouldn't buckle with me in it. I kept my calm, and kept trying, but finally settled for tucking the ends under my loose t-shirt and acting nonchalant, all the while praying that the plane didn't go down in a fiery ball of death, because I was totally going to get blown FAR away. I might have gotten up and looked more closely at the belt ends, but I didn't want to call attention to it, and I was deathly afraid that I was going to get thrown off the plane, and not get to New York after all, so I shut up.

I departed my first flight in almost thirteen years when we landed in Detroit, Michigan.  photo IMG_3002_zpswbskb4mq.jpg For those who have never been to the airport in Detroit, let me say that it is BIG. Thankfully, it all seemed to be in a straight line, with plenty of moving sidewalks to help you get from one end to another. I had to pee something fierce, though, so I opted to go to the restroom before making a mad dash for my gate (I was at A9, and my departure gate was A55).

For the second time that morning, I became horribly embarrassed. I tend to prefer stalls to urinals, because I'm rather shy when other people are around. The only unoccupied stall door, though, wouldn't fucking open. So, with a ton of nerd shit in a bag that kept trying to fall off my shoulder, I sidled up to an empty urinal, feeling horribly self-conscious. While I was peeing, my bag slipped off my shoulder twice. When I finally was done, I realized I'd gotten some urine on my shirt tail. Thankfully, it was a black t-shirt, so it didn't show up terribly obviously, but I was self-conscious until much later.

The second leg of the flight wasn't as bad, even though I had to share my row with someone. Thankfully, it was a thin girl. Also, my seat belt fit just fine, which perplexed me, and left me wondering if I really had grabbed the wrong belts before. They came in handy, because the plane came in so fast at Scranton that I thought the tires were going to explode from either the pressure of landing on them, or the speed at which we were slowing down. He also didn't seem to have lined up his landing, as we went from "in the air" to "on the ground" particularly abruptly.

Going down to baggage claim, I saw Ricky and Brittney out of the corner of my eye, and since they were pretending like they didn't know me, I played the game, and even walked around a post they were circling, so that they couldn't find me.

Eventually, they did, and we hugged as only those who truly have missed each other do. We grabbed my suitcase, and headed for his van. The trip back to Endicott was uneventful, except that I was completely blown away at all of the mountains in the region. (It's easy, at times, to forget that the Appalachian Mountains start up in that area.

We went to the Blue Dolphin, where Brandy was working, and had lunch. I had a burger and fries, which were pretty good. The strangest thing for me was that Ricky warned me off ordering the sweet tea, saying that up north, sweet meant "raspberry-flavored".

The food was pretty good, though, because I must have eaten too fast, for I got a horrible bout of gas. I wound up laying down for about an hour when we got back to Ricky's apartment. When I woke, I felt much better, and began to dig into my suitcase for the things I had brought people (an Iron Man shirt for Dakota, the D&D cartoon series on DVD for everyone, and three bottles of Dale's marinade for Brandy).

At that moment, Dakota came bursting in, thrilled beyond words that "Uncle Anthony" was there. He immediately wanted to show me his "Star Wars" room, since I'd sent so much to him. I was certainly impressed, and pleased that my gifts had such an enthusiastic recipient. Not to be outdone, Brittney pointed out all of the Doctor Who stuff in her room (where I was staying while I was in town -- she preferred to sleep on the loveseat anyway).

(I have to admit, it was a surprisingly good feeling to have someone that happy to see me. As adults, we've grown cynical and mistrustful, and so even the most heartfelt greeting has a hint of that cynicism layered underneath. Put another way, no matter how happy someone seems to be to see us, we automatically assume that they can't possibly be as excited as they are acting. With an 11-year-old, though, that cynicism doesn't have much room, particularly when he cites exactly how long it's been since he last saw you, and later extracts a promise that you not wait that long to see everyone again.)

I was asked not long afterward about playing D&D. Well, folks can't play D&D without dice, and I never had time to pick up any sets*. So, Ricky, Dakota, and I piled into the van to get some dice for the kids. We went to "SoundGoRound" in Vestal (literally the other side of the highway from Endicott). Let me tell you about that place. They sold new and used video games and systems, LPs, cassettes, CDs, comics, geek toys, anime DVDs and Blu-Ray, collectible card games, board games, and RPGs (like D&D). I've never seen a store so certain to get most of my discretionary income in my life.

All that was missing was a bookstore section (and I didn't get to check out the whole thing, so I may have missed something). The clerk who ran the RPG/CCG section had the dice by the Magic cards, and Ricky immediately began to ask about those as well as the dice. Eventually, we both left with a pair of preconstructed decks, and a few packs of the newest expansion. Oh, and we got dice (yes, almost as an afterthought).

We stopped by "Price Choppers" on the way home, and spent a little too long shopping. Part of it was because they didn't have a lot of groceries at home (it was time for them to shop anyway), and part of it was that I was taking pictures of the store, so I had some frame of reference for later, should I decide to put in an application and move up there. Those I told that I was considering this probably figured I was just stressed out, and didn't mean it, but I decided that I could do a lot worse than do some very preliminary legwork about moving.

When we got home, there wasn't enough time to play D&D that night. I explained that we would definitely play on Wednesday, bid good night to the kids, and went to sleep myself. At least, I tried to. Going from a room with a constant fan blowing in cool A/C to one that had neither fan nor a reliable source of A/C was significant. It was cool that night (mid-50s), so I made the most of it. Besides, I had too much to do while there to worry with something like sleep!

P.S.: Oh! I almost forgot. My first new beer in New York was Middle Ages Brewing Company's "Sparrow Wit". Good beer, but I wasn't quite in the mood for a witbier (think Blue Moon or Hoegaarden). Regardless, it was a tasty start to my introduction to all New York alcoholic beverages, as well as a nice nightcap before bed.


* - Sets for them, that is. I have enough dice to fill a large movie theater popcorn bucket. :)
tek2way: Anime - UN Spacy (Anime - UN Spacy)
So, in the interest of beating a dead horse, I'm going to talk about anime again today.

You see, I am (re)discovering the unbridled joy that came from watching it, particularly the stuff that I was into when I was in my late teens and early 20s (Ranma 1/2, Tenchi Muyo, Kimagure Orange Road, Macross, Bubblegum Crisis, and similar). Only this time, I don't think I have any fucks to give for anyone who might naysay my choice of pastimes. That's not to say that I was overly worried then, but on my way home, listening to Two-Mix in my car, I found myself saying firmly, "I'm an anime fan. I'm an otaku. I'm a geek. I'm even a metalhead. I do not fear fandom labels, because they're the things I like, and --"

That's when I had to make the left turn, and focused on the oncoming traffic instead. :)

Regardless, though, there was a liberating feeling to that thought, and I liked it. I'm a Star Wars fan. I'm an RPG fan. I'm a gaming (role-playing, board, card, video) fan. I'm a Brandon Sanderson fan. I'm a sci-fi fan. I'm a Game of Thrones fan. I'm a Tolkien fan. I'm a Harry Potter fan. I'm a Marvel Universe fan. I'm also a DC Universe fan. I'm a fan of Neil Gaiman, and am generally in love with the cast of characters from his various books. I'm a music fan. I'm a fan of Iron Maiden. I'm a fan of Nightwish. I'm a fan of Helloween. I'm a fan of Sarah Brightman, Hayley Westenra, Josh Groban, Loreena McKennitt, and Enya.

In some small way, listening to anime music (and watching anime) has reminded me that it's okay to like the things I do, no matter what society has decided is appropriate for someone my age. For gods' sakes, if I was to truly measure myself by society's standards, I really would be planning to end it all, because a car is about the only "grown up" thing I can say I've "accomplished". House? Nope. "Grown-up" job making enough to support my family? Nope. Significant other? Nope. Kids? Absolutely not.

All this from listening to anime soundtrack music? Oddly, yes, more or less. You see, some of this has come from self-reflection since that thought, but the principle still applies. I also want to stress that I'm in no way suddenly "better", and free from my depression and anxiety. First, today was a stressful work day, but I was able to manage it, and I never got overwhelmed. Second, the pragmatic side of me reasons that this could be -- to use older parlance with which I'm at least passingly familiar -- a manic mood, or "high", that's a counterpoint to the abysmal low I was living with last weekend. I suppose that the main thing is that I'm not questioning it.

I'm off Monday. I am going to get up, pick up my Kimagure Orange Road TV box set from the post office, get my brother and take him to replace his cell phone, and then I'm going to run by Best Buy and pick up an external DVD/CD-RW. I considered going for a Blu-Ray drive, but 1) my anime is only DVD, 2) a DVD drive is over half as cheap as the Blu-Ray player, and 3) the Blu-Ray player needed USB 3.0 to run, and I only have one port for that (which is given over to my 1TB HDD, which would run horribly on USB 2.0).



P.S.: It doesn't hurt my mood at all, that management has responded to my more resolute and positive outlook by being more positive and understanding. Basically, the worse I'm doing on an emotional and mental level, the less understanding and the more hurtful they get. Yeah, this place does *NOT* deserve my loyalty at all.

Next up: taking stock of what all I have, and weeding out what I don't need/want. However, unlike last time, I'm going to keep it all, but separate it from the main collection. Then, if I still am disinterested in it in, say, six months, then I'll see about selling it.
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Default)

Yesterday, I woke in a funky mood. When I went to bed Saturday night, I'd dosed myself with a round of self-pity and no-one-likes-me, with a little I'm-not-good-enough for good measure, and it carried through till I woke. Frankly, I shouldn't be surprised. That was a classic Anthony pity-party.

I woke to a text from my girl, telling telling me good morning (something we do almost every day). However, I'd sent her an email the night before, telling her about some problems I was having trouble working through, so after the good mornings were exchanged, it got serious. We texted for about 30 minutes, at which time it was decided that I should get up, dress for work, and head over, so we could talk face-to-face. I'm glad I did.

In hindsight, talking about what was bugging me is just what I needed, and she did beautifully in listening to me, being patient with me, and giving me the love and support I needed. She really is something special. :)

After that, I went to work, where I learned we have two new U-Scan robots. I'd remembered [livejournal.com profile] marius_98 saying something briefly about it last week, before I shut down all talk of Kroger because I was on vacation. It actually worked out rather well, because we now were allowed another attendant down there. Also, the layout of the new U-Scan is a lot more friendly to the attendant standing in the middle to assist customers.

At any rate, I started my shift down there, and spent most of the first part of the day in a register. This worked out, because I needed the mindless work to get back in the swing of things. Ironically, I felt more... "with it" as far as making decisions and being okay with being the go-to second person on the front (since I last posted in January, the management and the CSM have changed, and I'm now the backup CSM). I must investigate this further...

I went to lunch at the cottage with [livejournal.com profile] marius_98 and [livejournal.com profile] una_con_laluna, enjoying the last little bit of Gremlins while I had my double quarter pounder with cheese. Being in that atmosphere, I was very relaxed and felt very safe and loved, and it helped center me and let me refocus for the second half of my shift.

The second half went smoothly. Even though it was the end of the month, as you'd expect on Hallowe'en, the only traffic we had was from folks buying candy. One guy even said he ne'er ate sugar, so the last kid of the night was going to get the rest of what he had in the bowl. OMG, I would've thought I'd hit the motherlode if that happened to me. #fatkid, indeed. :)

Coming home, I cleaned out the Jeep (which I'd been driving while my car was out of commission), because I figured Charles would be driving it this morning. I cleaned the kitchen, made dinner, and tooled around on WoW for a little bit. When they say things have changed, they're not kidding. I spent the whole time figuring out what I was looking at. It was kinda fun, exciting, AND frustrating all at once. :)

I crashed out around 2-230, and slept till I woke up at 630 this morning, when I decided that I should stay up so that I can get my car fixed. I will sleep a lot better knowing my car is driveable again.

So that's my Hallowe'en, or Samhain to some of my friends. Heh, or "Sunday" to still others. :) I'm gonna finish my coffee (Ugly Mug's Good Vibes, with some Carnation French Vanilla creamer and sugar), and see about conquering my car. See everyone later!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Default)
This is just a test post to see if LJ and Facebook are talking and behaving themselves.

I've thought about beginning to update my journal on a more regular basis, and thought to provide a way for those I know to read them, even if they don't have LJ accounts to know.

The get-together at Kevin's Mom's house tonight was pretty fun, up until everyone started exchanging presents. While Momma Dunn got me something I can really use (oven mitt and pot holders), I felt myself withdrawing from the gathering, wishing I was already at home. I felt out of place. Interestingly, Kevin already knew how it felt.

Anyway, I work 5a-2p tomorrow, and I want to make sure to get enough sleep, so to bed I go.
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