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So, I spent the past weekend in LA attending my youngest cousin, Carrie's, wedding. The whole weekend was an interesting experience.

The flight out was uneventful other than a bit of a wait in Denver. For some reason, nearly all of the people arriving on the plane I departed on had checked their luggage at the gate. That and air traffic control backup led to a bit of a delay. Fortunately, my immediate family had my flight information, so they were still able to pick me up at the Bob Hope airport on their drive in from Vegas.

The wedding itself was divided into two parts on Saturday. First, was a morning civil service for Carrie's family. It was pretty standard stuff held at a place called the Inn of the Seven Day. And it was really fun seeing my oldest cousin, Mike, direct an army of photographers to document everything.

At the morning reception, I learned that my cousin Mike was mostly doing filmmaking this year, including cinematography for his first feature film. He and his wife also have a second kid on the way in October.

My cousin Matt flew in from Jordan by himself, and didn't get to take advantage of his embassy being closed since he was already on leave. His wife is also going to have another baby, and stayed in Jordan because of that and their first child doesn't adapt well to the time change. He's also starting look like a senator.

Back at the hotel, we relaxed for a bit and teased my sister about the sari she planned to wear in the evening for the Hindu ceremony being held for Carrie's husband's family.

It was an interesting experience, and we got the impression that Carrie was donated. Her new father in law kept trying to correct the official conducting the ceremony in case Carrie's parents were offended. My uncle was actually amused, and my aunt was wondering if she could claim some sort of tax write off for the "donation."

After the ceremony, we discovered that my uncle's advice on how the food worked at a Hindu wedding reception was wrong. It's actually like a western wedding reception, but with Indian food, not a long series of main course sized hors d'oerves.

While all the wedding ceremony stuff was being cleared out, and my sister got some help with her sari, the main part of the reception began. It was a lot of traditional India music and dancing. Very beautiful, and it looked just like the dance numbers from Bollywood films in a good way, but it was extremely loud. My sister, her husband, and I took to texting to communicate since even shouting wouldn't have helped. My usual response was to text, "WHAT?," back at whatever they wrote.

After getting some food, and enduring the music for a while, my sister, her husband, and I left for the evening. My ears are still ringing a bit.

Surprisingly, my aunt, who was very sick (the wedding was canceled for a while she was doing so poorly), actually partied for most of the night.

The next morning, after convincing my family that food was a good idea, I had a pleasant breakfast, and suggested to my cousin Mike that I should visit for a bit longer sometime next year.

After food, my family and I parted ways, ans I spent the afternoon checking out the science museum and natural history museum with Vince. It was fun. We saw Endeavor, I shared amusing tales of my odd relatives, got to be social for the first time in a while. I also now have him convinced he needs to set aside bail money should I visit again when Dev is there. I cant say he's wrong.

After that we had a nice meal, and he dropped me off at the Bob Hope airport to fly home. That's also where things got interesting. I was supposed to fly to San Francisco to get a connecting flight to Chicago. It was delayed and eventually cancelled. At first, United wanted to reschedule for 9:30 the following morning because the computer system didn't see my connecting flight for a while. After a couple hours, things were sorted out, and I was sent on a shuttle to LAX for a flight that went to Chicago, and met up with my original final connection to Lansing. The lesson here- flying I to Bob Hope airport is fine, but flying out can be a pain especially if your destination is San Francisco. I got a seat upgrade for the flight to Chicago out of it. Sadly, the connecting flight to Lansing was delayed a bit due to a glitch in the plane's communications system.

I have now collected my cat from his stay at the vet, and it's taken a couple hours longer to write this than expected because he's so happy to be home and have his human again.


Posted via m.livejournal.com.

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I got back from a trip to Florida yesterday. It was my first vacation, other than Anthrocon, in a few years, and I apparently needed it quite badly.

My aunt now has a nice new computer so she can Skype my mom, or could if my mom's computer hadn't died right before I left.

While I was there, I made sure to cook her a nice meal. We had lemon garlic chicken, grilled asparagus marinated in some of the excess lemon garlic marinade from the chicken, roasted red pepper hummus, and a lemon souffle. All of them were quite tasty. Well, I assume it was. My sense of smell shut down while cooking. It was either because I was around the strong smell of what I was making or because I was allergic to her cats. Either way, my aunt told my mother how good my cooking is, and now my mom is asking why I don't cook like that for her.

I finally got to see her two cats- Smoke, a 17-pound monster of a cat, and Munch, who is quite small. They liked me right away (I've been told not to tell my grandfather that since he'll feel hurt that they didn't like him much), and were confused after I left.

We found a great sushi restaurant that served homemade ginger ice cream with banana won tons for dessert.

I also brought along my copies of i.s.o. volumes 1 and 2 since she had indicated that she could be trusted, and that it was the sort of story she would enjoy. She loved it, even if it did take her longer to read than it normally would because she read every page twice to appreciate both the art and the story.

I also had the best reaction to coming out to somebody that anyone could hope for- pretty much no reaction beyond acknowledging what I said.

Coming back home was somewhat tough since it meant returning to work after six days of not having to think. Plus the weather reports lied- the temperature in Lansing got nowhere near 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) yesterday. On the positive side, I found out that the smell of other cats isn't what freaks my cat out when I take him to the vet- it's being out of his territory and separated from me that does it.

7 Things

Mar. 21st, 2012 06:55 pm
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Future competition plans
Right now, I'm planning on doing one in mid-July this year. The only downside is that doing so will screw up my ability to go to Anthrocon since travel makes it much harder to maintain the cutting diet I'll need to be on.

I'm also considering doing one later in the year, when the guy who will help me prep for my competition may be doing one of his own.

Long hair
It works for me. A long time ago I tried really short hair and didn't like it. It sticks up in funny ways and places, and it made a big, ugly mole on my scalp much too visible. And I don't care too much about how long other peoples' hair is as long as it's clean and the owner likes it.

Cooking
It's funny. I make my own meals nearly every day, yet I don't consider it cooking. It's mostly boring, healthy stuff. It's usually when I can cook for others that I go all out. And I'll be able to do so when I visit my aunt in Florida at the end of next month.

My mom was a home economics teacher for a while, and my sister and I were used as guinea pigs, so I can do well with baking (except frosting things). Meat dishes give me some trouble, especially fish since I almost never had it as a kid, so I have no feel for preparing it. Vegetables give me a lot of trouble, and I usually go for anything that can be eaten raw as a result.

The last new thing I tried making was some roasted garlic hummus. It turned out reasonably well, even if the tiny pinch of cayenne pepper I added was stronger than I had anticipated. Unfortunately, I dropped the lid to the food processor while washing it, and put a big crack in it.

Riley
I love my little cat. And I got a glimpse of what it was like to not have him around. A bit over a year ago, his annual checkup revealed that he was exposed to heartworms, for which there is no effective treatment for cats. Thankfully, the heartworm prevention medication worked, and killed the parasite before it could do anything.

This year, I had his teeth cleaned, which meant putting him under and keeping him at the vet for observation for the rest of the day. It was really weird being home for the day without him around.

Favorite Transformer (I... don't know if I ever asked!)
This is like asking a parent which of their kids is their favorite. There are so many of them to choose from- Wheeljack, Soundwave, Perceptor, Optimus Primal, Rattrap, Beast Wars Megatron, Waspinator.

Assuming we're ignoring Beast Machines, I'd say Optimus Primal.

Drawing
Years ago, I tried learning, and found that it wasn't my thing. I'm not a very visual person, and I don't learn things very well unless I have a goal to achieve. Plus, it didn't help that work and the gym take up a lot of time.

I do enjoy seeing the process of drawing, though. It's fascinating to see different peoples' methods and the things that go into making a final piece.

Favorite PRANK you've pulled (you've mentioned several ;-p)
Now this one is definitely like asking which of their kids is their favorite. I can't even remember all of the pranks I've pulled.

Don't know if this one qualifies, but I once had my sister conditioned to say, "I hate Jar-Jar!" whenever someone mentioned Star Wars.

Some of the ones I loved planning didn't go quite as planned, like my uncle realizing that I was the one who sent him birthday m&m's in colors he won't eat.

I'm actually working on a really fun one right now, but the timing is tricky. There are six guys in my office with the same first name, including me, and all of our cubes have clear plastic plaques that hold paper with our names. My plan is to go into the office after hours or on a weekend and change all of the name plaques so they all have the same first name- mine. The hard part is printing everything, and making the switch when nobody is around.
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I've been in a bit of an anti-social funk since last fall thanks to work and not planning to relax after massive amounts of overtime. Stress seems to make me withdraw from the world.

The good news is that I got a promotion and a nice raise when I wasn't expecting it.

Sadly, I haven't been up to as much as I'd like.

Around Christmas, my power went out for half a day, part of my iPhone's touchscreen became a regular screen, I made a delicious gingerbread cake, I tried to give my mom a Christmas present that was a bit of a joke only to have it backfire when she liked it, got a nice new Android phone, and found out that my cat may have heartworms.

Then work bounced me around between a few different things because we had some staff changes to work through only to settle on having me do some work on rewriting a part of the client's database application that their users dislike, and that I wasn't very familiar with.

During this time, I also found out that my cat is a fuzzy little sneak. He was low on food, so I bought a new bag and set it on the floor until the previous one was empty. The next day, I put some food in his bowl and found that he had no appetite. Thinking something was off, I watched him carefully the next time I fed him, just in case it was a fluke. When he still didn't eat, I was ready to take him to the vet the next morning. After getting the carrier out and preparing to put the cat inside, I discovered why he wasn't eating. Turns out, he found or made a hole in the new bag of food, and was happily chowing down whenever he wanted.

I also had a fun prank apparently backfire. My uncle John hates food that's dyed green or blue, so I went online and ordered him some custom blue and green M&Ms that read, "Happy Birthday," for his birthday. If I did thing right, I was expecting him to blame my mother and retaliate in a funny way. Unfortunately, I never heard of any reaction, but they were definitely delivered, which means my plan failed or he's waiting to do something to me on my birthday.

Next, I had to deal with my apartment getting a bit waterlogged when a sump pump failed and flooded every apartment on my building's first floor. I think the problem was related to the aforementioned power outage since my drains were a little bit slow from then until after the pump got fixed.

My time at the gym seems to be paying off, even if I am getting to a point where I need a spotter for a lot of things. I maxed out the leg press, finally started doing weighted pullups, got some nifty fingered shoes, and my lower back pain seems to be gone.

Now, I'm looking forward to Anthrocon and reconnecting with people so I can learn to be more social again.
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After spending most of the afternoon baking, the cake for celebrating my grandfather's 90th birthday is finished. It doesn't look quite as good as I'd like, but that was somewhat expected since I've never frosted a layer cake before, and homemade caramel frosting sets up much quicker than I had anticipated.

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I finally have pictures from my competition. Some were taken by the trainer who helped me prepare, and I found several others online. (No point in making this friends only since they're already out there for the public to see.)

http://pics.livejournal.com/exatron/gallery/0003ba13

Posted as a link to the gallery because it's just easier. Plus, I hate looking at pictures of myself. Especially here since I see all the flaws and little things that bug me, like how my glasses make my eyes look closed in nearly every photo.
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I'm finally home and rested from my competition. This will probably end up being a very stream of consciousness-style entry since the whole experience is a blur, and I was dehydrated and carb depleted for part of it. Just to tweak the impatient, I will say that I came home with something. You'll have to read the entry to find out how I did. )
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It's taken months of training, practice, and eating boring food, but I'm finally going to be in a bodybuilding competition.

This is going to be really interesting. Being short gives me a slight advantage, but I'm not quite as lean as I think I should be since cutting isn't an exact science.

Since this is my first time, I'm nott expecting to win, but I'll still try my best. Surprisingly, I wasn't nervous until work took us off mandatory overtime. (30 extra hours just in the first half of September.)

Sorry there weren't any progress pictures. The aforementioned overtime left no opportunity to take any, but there will be some from the competition itself.

This is going to be interesting, and I'm really looking forward to having carbs and liquids again.

Posted via m.livejournal.com.

WANT!

Aug. 21st, 2010 01:44 am
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The Notion Ink Adam is the first e-reader/tablet PC I've seen that makes me want one of them instead of an actual book. The only downside is that there's a chance the first version might not support Android 3.0, but that should be clarified a month or two before the Notion Ink Adam is available for sale.
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Honestly, there isn't a lot going on in my life at the moment. Work has been really busy, I've been doing a lot of extra hours (usually on the weekend), and will probably have to keep doing that so we can meet a tighter-than-usual deadline.

I'm also trying to prepare for a bodybuilding competition on September 25th. My cutting diet started a couple weeks ago, and I seem to be doing reasonably well with the mandatory poses. I'll try to get some progress pictures, but it's difficult since I'm a terrible photographer. (Although, my laptop does have a webcam.) Plus, I'm still pale and don't feel lean enough yet.

The hard part has been putting together a routine for the evening show. Posing, showing off, and being the center of attention are the exact opposite of what I'm used to since I'm an extreme introvert, and will need major help with putting everything together. Just picking out my music took a few weeks of wondering what represents me best, or if there even is a me. (Even that wasn't an original thought, it was just a bastardized Peter Sellers quote.)

That leads into the other thing I've noticed lately. Between the gym and burying myself in work, my social life is so dead that I've forgotten what my interests are, and will have to relearn how to be social. It's a really weird, disconnected feeling that I've been trying to avoid acknowledging or dealing with.

One last thing, I found out why I've been having trouble chatting with people online. The wireless router I got a good deal on when I bough my new laptop turned out to be a piece of junk. For reasons I have yet to determine, the router would work fine for a while, only to stop responding until I power cycled it. Naturally, that had some negative consequences, as the surge of interrupting and restoring power so frequently looks like it burned out the ethernet port on my laptop.
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I had a great idea for a gag gift to send my uncle for his birthday, a package of green and blue M&Ms with "happy birthday" printed on them. He can't stand food that's dyed those colors, and if I planned it right, would blame my mom and attempt some sort of hilarious revenge.

That little plan came to a halt when I misplaced his address, and nobody who wouldn't tattle could find his address either.

Oh well, better luck next year.
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And don't forget your booties 'cause it's cold out there today.

Well, it's grondhog day… again.
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And don't forget your booties 'cause it's cold out there today.
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Technically, I could have used that bit last year, but it takes less explaining when you're 31.

A surprising number of people remembered my birthday this year, to the point where it was starting to get in the way of doing my job.

In other news, I'm going to give competitive bodybuilding a try in November. Everything I do at the gym will have to be kicked up a notch since I only have about nine months to bulk, work on my problem areas (chest in particular), cut, and do anything else I need to prepare. Thankfully, being short is an advantage here.
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I finally have a new computer to replace the rapidly aging machine I'd been using for the last couple of years. Naturally, it's not quite up and running yet- NVIDIA's drivers are giving me trouble. The machine also needs a name.

I also got a nice ego boost at the gym last night when a trainer asked if I had considered competing. I didn't think I had what it takes to do well at bodybuiding, but he has me seriously thinking about trying. The tricky part would be doing reasonably well.

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One thing I love about the holidays is that I actually get a chance to make fun foods that I shouldn't be eating.

This year, I picked out a tasty looking recipe for brown sugar shortbread from Cooks Illustrated. (I ♥ that magazine.)

Despite not having a stand mixer, like the recipe called for, and an oddly-shaped mixing bowl, the shortbread looks like it turned out. The final test will be how well it goes over tomorrow.
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When I was putting gas in my car for the month, a couple guys in an old, beat up van asked me if I wanted a free home stereo.

Finding the offer suspicious, I politely turned them down, which made them give me a sales pitch. Eagerly waiting for the pimp to stop, I nicely replied to their questioning. I didn't want one, and I don't have the room.

Then, as if they weren't suspicious enough, they asked if I had a nice TV. Assuming they were up to something, I lied and said I didn't have one yet. Thankfully, the gas pump stopped at that point, so I had a convenient excuse to leave end the barrage of reasons I should take their extra stereo.

I'm not sure why they approached me, but I'm hoping it's because my efforts at the gym have been paying off. Probably not, but it's fun to fantasize.

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I got an invite to Google Wave today. It's an interesting tool that feels like it was deliberately left very basic with lots of hooks for users to link it to other things and make their own add-ons.

Now, I just have to figure out what I can do with it.
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CNN.com has an article about Transient Global Amnesia, which my mom experienced close to five years ago.

She had assumed it was just a catch-all term for unexplained, temporary amnesia, but apparently scientists were able to determine that it's a real, but rare neurological condition. Strenuous activity, migrane headaches, and age seem to be the triggers.

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