Body Party

Mar. 7th, 2017 06:28 pm
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from Sacramento’s Tupelo Coffeehouse:

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Since me moving to the Sacramento area looks to be a distinct future possibility, I’m still on the lookout for that indie coffeehouse I’ll fall in love with. And...Old Soul @ 40 Acres is still the winner for me, despite being in a rather sketchy neighborhood. Tupelo is in a much nicer area, but I’m not sold on it despite the Yelp raves. The coffee’s fine, but the “plenty of seating and outlets” I found rather wanting. Of course, showing up on “rush hour” on Saturday at a place right next to the College probably didn’t help, but the seating is a little more “communal” than I generally like. I guess it’s a generational thing, younger people don’t seem to mind sitting at tables next to a bunch of strangers.

Also: I was in town for a reason other than the job search; it was [personal profile] 2ndbanana’s [observed] birthday, so we had a big pizza and sundae party at his house. A delightful bear-y attendance; an extremely cute guy gave me a hug and complimented me on how “warm” I was. I thanked him, then began to worry if I was running a fever! Obviously not, considering I feel just fine!

Something new happened to me on Sunday: it was the first time I got hailed on when it was raining! Fortunately, I had the foresight to bring my hooded jacket, which did a fine job of protecting me from hailstones. I’m lucky to be in California, where we don’t get the proverbial “golf-ball-sized hail.” Tends to be about the size of rice grains whenever we get it. In any case, I lived. It was over at the Hillside Nature Area, and I concluded my hike with a visit to the El Cerrito Recycling Center’s Exchange Zone. Picked up some USB cables (mini/micro); not as glamourous as a Tascam dual tape deck, but better than nothing at all.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from Kaleidoscope Café in Point Richmond:

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I caught a bit of a cold this past week, so have been feeling a little under the weather. On the plus side, [personal profile] albadger took me out for Chinese food (including some much-needed hot & sour soup), then I got him caught up on Steven Universe.

Annoying non-illness thing that happened this week: I thought my Nexus 5 had bricked. It got stuck in a kind of loop trying to power up but would keep resetting itself. I found that the solution was just to hammer on the power button over and over until it rebooted properly. Nice to know there’s a cure, just hoping I don’t have to do it again. The half-hour of using the Optimus L9 was virtually torture.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from a new favorite hang-out spot, Point Richmond’s Kaleidoscope Coffee:

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Didn’t really feel like venturing far this weekend, for various reasons, so I was pretty hermit-y. [profile] bigjohnsf and Harvey (not on Social Media™) lured me into Berkeley for a dinner at Saturn Café, but that was about it. Haven’t done a lot of hiking on account of the weather.

Still in Expectation Mode on that full-time position with the State. Had another interview on Wednesday at the Franchise Tax Board in Rancho Cordova, but I’m not holding my breath on that one. It sounds like a pretty undemanding job, but it requires a Class B license. I’m pretty sure one of their other interviewees already has one. Oh well, looks like there’s another interview coming up in the coming weeks at least.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from Oakland’s Leona Canyon:

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Nothing as cool happened to me this week as finding that free dual cassette deck. Still on the lookout for a vintage solid-state receiver to replace the much-missed Pioneer SX-1000TW. The ones I saw recently at Urban Ore (an overpriced Kenwood) and Hayward EcoThrift (an even more overpriced Toshiba with missing knobs and an early digital Hitachi, also with missing knobs) didn’t cut it.

Sunday was a long day in San Francisco, hiking around Mountain Lake again, a trip to Amoeba, then a brief stop at Maxfield’s (café) before dinner at Ken’s Kitchen (Chinese restaurant) with [personal profile] albadger, [profile] hardybear, [profile] scottasf, [profile] bigjohnsf and Jim Billy (not on Social Media™). Afterwards, John, JB and I went to Green Apple Books in the West part of town, then for dessert at the doughnut place down the street.

There’s another job interview coming up at the Franchise Tax Board in Sacramento on Wednesday. I’m not expecting much, but I figure someone’s eventually got to take the bait.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from my Xmas Eve walk along Bayside Park in San Rafael:

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I suppose you could call it A Tale of Two Christmases. My first was after work. J__, my co-worker, bought a whole mess of food and cooked it on his little Weber grill outside the maintenance shop. We spent the time waiting for things to cook telling off-color stories from our pasts. I had made a spice cake for dessert and brought that for the cookout.

The second was in San Francisco with John ([ profile] bigjohnsf), Peter ([ profile] hardybear) and Jim Billy (not on LJ). We went to Star India for Indian buffet and then went on a whirlwind tour of San Francisco Christmas light displays. It’s always a pleasure to see Peter, since I do so rarely these days.

Counting the grains of sand while I’m still at China Camp. It’s been kind of a rough and rocky season but in the end, I’m going to miss the place. What lies ahead is uncertain, but I trust something good is on the way. I do have an interview coming up, and a few “contingency” applications out there, so cross your fingers for me.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Empire Mine State Park, adjacent to Grass Valley:

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Well, I kind of blew the interview, but I had a nice (if chilly) day up in the foothills. Grass Valley is a quaint little town, and a nice place to spend the day. Had dinner in Sacramento with [ profile] 2ndbanana and [ profile] bobobear12, and it was good to catch up with them. Wound up talking about variety shows and specials of the 1970s, of all things.

On the plus side, I have another interview in Half Moon Bay coming up on Thursday. I need to make this one count, as I really want this job! I’m cramming like a college student in preparation for it.

It looks like I’ll be spending the Christmas holiday with my co-worker, J__. He suggested a cookout, and I told him I’d bake something and bring it. Maybe my “famous” tomato soup spice cake.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Since my time here is winding down, this week’s self-portrait hails from China Camp, just outside of park housing:

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Changes are coming fast and furious. My co-worker M_______ is now my former co-worker. Our boss R______ called and said he needed him out at Samuel P. Taylor. I had assumed “in a week or two,” not “Wednesday,” so Monday was our last day working together. Gonna kind of miss the little guy, since we’ve been working together all season long.

I am on the work schedule until the end of December, so there is that. No idea if I’ll be working in January; if so it’ll only be the first two weeks. I definitely want to move out of the housing by the 31st of this month, so I’m going to request a couple of days off to make that easier (working and moving is a b*&%# and a half).

Oh, and hello from Grass Valley. My interview is in another hour and a half after I post this, so wish me luck! Composing this post from the public library, where I’m boning up on tools and whatnot in preparation for the interview. Later, I’ll be passing through Sacramento where I’ll be dining with [ profile] 2ndbanana and [ profile] bobobear12.

But that’s the future. Hopefully it holds something good.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from the laundromat in Fairfax:

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[ profile] albadger and I watched more episodes of Stranger Things last week. I really like the way this series is progressing. They did a very good job with this, and I can’t wait to see the rest of the series, which should be tomorrow. In other good TV-related news, there’s a new episode of Steven Universe coming up this week!

I was inspired to write some more Confirmed Bachelors dialogue this week. I’ve also put out feelers to an artistically talented net-buddy of mine for concept/poster art for promotional purposes. And a very nice lady complimented one of the promotional videos I posted last year, and suggested I audition for local theater. It’s something to consider.

Still waiting on that job interview. Hopefully my sending out applications will result in one. In the meantime, I have another job offer waiting for me, so it’s likely I’ll be sending out another in the near future (like: tomorrow or Wednesday). Also: Wednesday is First Aid training up at Olompali, so I’ll be attending that. I don’t know if I mentioned it, but East Bay Regional Parks wanted someone with First Aid training, so this is definitely a good career move for me.

I’m finally on my own phone line. Carol and I had been on a family plan since 2012, and just this week I went down to T-Mobile to finalize the process. Another step in my continuing march towards complete independence...

I flaked out on The Weekly Puck last week. Super-sorry about that. I’ll present you with two this week, I swear!

***sigh*** Did anything else happen this week?
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from park housing, showing off my new union suit:

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I think we might be in a new golden age of television. [ profile] albadger and I started watching Stranger Things, which has gained a certain infamy for the rather gratuitous nerd-baiting and exploitation of 80s nostalgia. It doesn’t need them, it does just fine on atmosphere and character. I was especially impressed by Winona Ryder in this, she excels at portraying a woman at the end of her rope.

But you don’t need a recommendation for that, everyone’s talking about it. What you do need is a recommendation for Lady Dynamite, a highly confessional vehicle for comedienne Maria Bamford. Not only is this show extremely funny, with an appealing sense of the surreal, but it’s also brutally honest. Bamford holds nothing back with regards to her struggles with bipolar disorder and her various personal problems and battles with self-doubt. For all that, it remains a very funny show, one which I highly recommend you check out.

Lastly, I celebrated something which is fast becoming a November tradition; a re-viewing of the 110-minute Cartoon Network animated mini-series Over the Garden Wall. If you haven’t watched this yet, by all means do so while autumn is still in the air. Not gonna lie, I think this is a latter-day classic.

Had a perfectly awful time at the café yesterday. Remind me never to visit Royal Ground Café in Albany ever again! Ugh! I only wound up there because my first choice (Kaleidoscope Café in Point Richmond) had a speaker and there was no seating, so I said, “to Hell with this!” and sought another place to park my bottom.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from the end of Tomales Point!

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I worked Thursday and Friday, the rest of the past week has been all vacation days. I’ve been doing like my last week at Big Basin, using the park residence as a base for operations for hiking day trips. Tomales Point has been on my personal “bucket list” for a long time so, after an abortive trip here back in April of 2008 (when it was much sunnier than my day here, but the ice-cold ocean wind was so punishing, it felt like my ears would fall off!), it’s nice to finally get all the way to the end of the point. Totally worth it!

Also went out to Tennessee Cove south of Mill Valley, and on a picnic trip out to the Pulgas Water Temple with [ profile] bigjohnsf. Tonight I’ll be taking Carol out to dinner and tomorrow? I haven’t decided just yet. Maybe up to the top of Mt. Burdell if weather permits (i.e.: if it’s not too hot). Then back to the grind on Thursday. In the meantime, checking in on J___’s cat while he’s off at training. I still have yet to see the fabled cat, but I know he’s there, as evidenced by the empty cat food dish and disturbed cat litter box.

Got a lot of work done on my Second Hand Goods review series of all the #2 hits. Which you can read at my other blog. And in other computer news, R.I.P. my old laptop bag. It had begun to fray near where the shoulder strap connects, so it was only a matter of time before critical failure. I found a new one at Thrift Town that works for me, so at only $4, I jumped at the chance to get it.

The main problem with the old one was that it was emblazoned with the logo Andersen Consulting. The new one is an Intel bag, which I find ironic and funny, as my laptop has an AMD processor!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Richmond’s Kaleidoscope Café. They have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

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Strange, strange week. I think I have had more bizarre occurrences at this park than anywhere else in the world. My week began with an English woman blatantly flirting with me (“I love your moo-stache!” Trust me, the tone in her voice was unable to be interpreted as anything else!) and ended with a French lady ranting that the campers in a neighboring tent were “high” and were yelling “It’s so cold!” all night long.

Harvey (not on LJ) made dinner for [ profile] bigjohnsf and I last night. It was nice to just have a relaxing evening of dinner and conversation.

I also wound up walking out of Amoeba Music earlier this week with a stack of laserdiscs. You can see what I got in this video. So far, The Palm Beach Story is the only one I’ve watched. I’m considering taking my laserdisc player to the park residence with me, as I don’t really have a lot of time on my days off to watch movies.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from China Camp park housing:

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The chief purpose of this image is to show off the new sleeping bag (Well, new to me, I’ll get to that). The old one, which I believe was a cheap one my dad bought (it wasn’t mine, it was just one I picked up for an emergency situation), had a critical zipper failure. And it was nylon and there is no coming back from a broken nylon zipper! I actually got stuck in it once last season, and wound up tearing a big section of the fabric trying to free myself. So, good riddance to bad rubbish!

The new one isn’t anything great, it’s all polyester, but I found it at the thrift store for cheap. And it does have a zippered pocket. I haven’t found a use for said pocket yet, but I may in the future.

It would be lovely to use said sleeping bag at some campsite. I’m planning on taking some time off in September and would like to go camping for a couple of days. Seeing happy campers every day has me thinking, “I want to do that, too!” Thinking I might need to go into more preparation. My plans for Cave Lake are definitely not happening, not until they repair the water system!

Wound up in Fairfax again doing laundry. I had to wash the new sleeping bag in addition to my usual load of laundry. As I’ve previously stated, it’s worth the slightly longer drive for cheaper washing/drying and a better class of laundromat-mates. That didn’t sound too snobby, did it?

I had to do laundry a bit early because [ profile] hardybear was available for dinner on Saturday (my usual laundry day), and that’s a rarity. Little did I know that [ profile] albadger would be arriving with Carol (his friend, not my stepmother) in tow, another rarity. We dined with [ profile] bigjohnsf at the Fuddrucker’s in Emeryville.

Getting new tires for Chester in the morning. The front tires are all worn down and didn’t pass the “penny test.” I wanted to get new tires today, but the place I go for tires didn’t have them in stock and had to order them. I’m not driving all the way to Folsom (remember that State test I told you about?) on two worn-down tires!

My soundtrack for this posting. This song came on just before I started to compose it, and it’s one of those tunes where I just have to let it play through from beginning to end, basking in the musical bliss. The piano playing especially just moves me.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Berkeley’s El Burro Picante:

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Smiling on the outside but frustrated on the inside. Had to miss Dore Alley this year on account of work. Not like it’s a super-big deal or anything—I’m a little over events like that—but there’s people I would like to have caught up with that were going to be there, and I had to miss them. I have to miss a lot of things these days, and I regret that.

I do want to make plans for early September for a brief vacation, maybe a camping trip if I can find anyone who wants to go with. Was considering Cave Lake even though it looks like a torturously long drive, but since the water system is under repair, it looks like it’s out of the question. Maybe South Yuba River if I can score a campsite.

Next week we’ll finally be repairing a section of split-rail fence in the park that was rammed by an idiot motorist. Looks like the Visitors’ Services guys will be helping us out on that one. There’s a new VS guy working in the park that I just met, and like I said, G______ returns on Saturday.

Enjoying the new Steven Universe episodes but I’m extremely frustrated by the impatient people who insist on downloading leaked episodes and posting spoilers everywhere. Why can’t you just let us enjoy this in real time?
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Berkeley Espresso. I think this is as close to a decent self-portrait as I’m going to manage this week. That’ll teach me to wait till the last second:

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Unusual week. Wound up travelling to Fairfax to do my laundry instead of the miserable laundromat in Santa Venetia next to the 7-11. And am I glad I did! Not only is there a much nicer clientele (no powdered goop in the machines’ drawers, no gaggles of screaming kids scurrying around like rats) but it’s far cheaper! 75¢ to dry a load of clothes! And free wi-fi! And I don’t have to worry about that horrible parking lot where I nearly always have an accident! Sure, it’s a slightly longer drive, but it’s so totally worth it. I’ll be back.

[ profile] albadger and [ profile] bigjohnsf chose to meet me at the laundromat of all places. We wound up dining at the pizza place a few doors down. It was like Improv Comedy pizza as we all shouted out random toppings:

  • Applewood bacon!

  • Roasted leeks!

  • Avocado!

  • As it turns out, it was the best pizza I’d had in a very long time. I’ll be back here, too!

    Replaced the needle on the MCS 6603 record player Al gave me and it sounds great. Through headphones or speakers, anyway. For whatever reason, when I attempt a digital transfer, it comes through sounding saturated and thin. I don’t know what I can do about this, as it seems to be an issue with my laptop’s crappy sound card. I’ll keep fiddling with it and hope I can find a cure. In the meantime, the old Realistic turntable got dumped at Goodwill. It’s served me well these past *ahem!* years, but really, good riddance.

    Maybe exciting news on the Confirmed Bachelors front, but it’s still too early to say. Maybe exciting news on the video front in general, but I’m a bit antsy about talking about it until I’ve really done something. We’ll see...
    progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
    Self-portrait from Prettyland Terra Linda-Sleepy Hollow Divide Open Space, one of my favourite names for a parkland, incidentally:

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    Odd week. After I shot this portrait and came down off the hill, I wound up at the library at the Civic Center. Wound up chatting with [ profile] snousle, who was in town with Ray. They invited me over to join them and buy me a drink. And we watched a band for a while. Not something I could have done casually (and on a Thursday, of all nights!) at Big Basin!

    Both of my roommates left this week. Not only did they leave, but they left a mess of their stuff behind. The kitchen utensils I don’t mind (I could always use more pots and pans and an extra pour-over coffee brewer) but the food? I see a large amount of clean-up in my near future.

    Speaking of “large amount of clean-up,” the holiday weekend may not have been as crazy as it tended to be at Big Basin, but it was still crazy enough. It was another case where I was worried that I would run out of places to throw all the garbage, as the dumpsters were all full. Part of me just wishes that people would take all of their camping equipment with them, instead of throwing it away in the park when they leave.

    [ profile] albadger gave me his old turntable, an MCS 6603, to replace my venerable workhorse Realistic LAB-450. One of the channels dropped out on the LAB-450, and I found out that the cartridge was the culprit. And I discovered it costs upwards of $80 to replace. The MCS needs a new needle, which is all of $15. Far more in my budget, so thanks, Al. I offered the Realistic to J_____, one of my now-ex housemates, but it was too rich for his blood to fix it up, too. I get the feeling I’ll be dumping it off at Goodwill (or some other thrift store) for someone looking for a fixer-upper in the near future.


    May. 16th, 2016 06:30 pm
    progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
    Self-portrait from the bayside, on the beach near China Camp Village:

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    What a week I’ve had! Those days where I’m the only maintenance staff on duty are...interesting. Especially since before 9 AM I am the only park staff on duty! So when a car got stuck in the marsh (and I don’t mean two wheels like last time, the entire car was sunk in the salt marsh!), I was the only staff to witness it. That’s definite Visitor’s Services stuff, though, so I was glad it sorted itself out by the time I returned to the area.

    Not so the dead jackrabbit I found in the middle of the road the next day. No, that was my job to deal with! Too big and heavy to deal with a pogey stick (like you do with dead squirrels and smaller rodents when you find them), I wound up having to invert a garbage bag and do the “picking up dog poop” thing. That was Saturday, the same day as something called “Ales and Trails.” Which meant every lush within a twenty mile radius flocked to the park in search of cheap alcohol. Which meant cleaning up after them the next day.

    And the excitement did not end there! Sunday after the main clean, but before lunch, M______ and I found ourselves looking for a task to occupy our time, so we decided on weed-eating the area around the shop and residences. Then J__ came back asking us to take A-frames and caution tape to a place near the main entrance where there was a sewer leak. The campground needed to be temporarily closed while the water guy came down from...wherever he came from to help fix the problem.

    I don’t imagine all my weeks will be this exciting, but you never know.

    Yesterday, [ profile] bigjohnsf and [ profile] albadger invited me to join them in Berkeley for dinner. It happened late, so I had lots of time to kill. I wound up waiting out the fallout from an accident on the bridge by walking around Baltimore Canyon west of Larkspur for a bit and poking around the Barnes & Noble before finally making the East Bay crossing.
    progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
    Self-portrait from Berkeley’s Bangkok Thai:

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    Came here for an early birthday dinner with friends [ profile] bigjohnsf, Jim Billy, Seph and Ian. John sprang for ice cream after. I also got some birthday cake...sort of. M______, my roommate/co-worker, bought a chocolate cake for his girlfriend’s birthday and offered some to me. He didn’t even know it was my birthday too!

    There seem to be other job opportunities in my future. A co-worker asked for my e-mail, and she sent me news on openings in other districts. Also, I’m on the lookout for local CPR/First Aid classes. Not only will that look good on a résumé/application, but it will be attractive to EBRPD the next time they have an opening.

    Keep on the lookout for the new Confirmed Bachelors promo coming soon. In the meantime, there’s this.
    progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
    Self-portrait from outside the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento:

     photo IMG_20160402_162305_zps0tg0rv0r.jpg

    I was quite worried that my handlebars were going back to their droopy nature, but by Saturday they were behaving again, so all’s well with the world. Met up with [ profile] aadroma alongside a passel of other bears at the contest. Supported Regev through the contest, even though he (undeservedly) did not win. We wound up at an Old Sacramento bar & grill for a late night dinner.

    My weekend was rather sleep-deprived. I was supposed to guest on a podcast on Sunday, but that seemed to fall through due to poor internet communication. Oh well, if it ever happens in the future I’ll be sure to let you guys know about it.

    It’s typical that any time I get an important phone call, I happen to be taking a shower or am otherwise unavailable to answer the phone. Oh sure, any time I get a telemarketing call, I’m easily available, but when I get a call about upcoming employment, it deploys to voicemail before I can pick up. Oh well, at least it does seem the gears are turning (turns out, G______ down at Santa Cruz district was on vacation, and it seems she’s the only one down there who knows what she’s doing) and I’ll know more soon.

    I’ll conclude this post with another photo from the contest.

    Behind the cut, with some annotative text )
    progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
    Self-portrait from the Crockett Library, whence I am composing this post. Sorry for the frumpy look:

     photo IMG_20160328_190108_zpsms2se8wx.jpg

    I shouldn’t get over-confident with regards to facial hair symmetry, as I’ve been having drooping issues again of late. And with a Beard & Moustache event coming up! Oh well, I don’t have any intention of competing, I am just there to support/meet up with [ profile] aadroma.

    My attempts to go hiking here in the Crockett area have been met with failure each time, for one reason or other. This time it was rained out, even with a little hail! I managed to get a little street walking around town in, but my original plan to hike from Eckley Pier out to the town of Port Costa is out. Oh well. Is this some kind of curse?

    Finally got a copy of Love Has Many Faces, a rather infamous Lana Turner vehicle from 1965. [ profile] albadger and I wound up watching it on Friday. It’s very quotable, in particular any scene featuring Ruth Roman or Hugh O’Brian, who between them steal the show from Lana’s legendary “million dollar wardrobe.”

    Hoping to hear from the park soon. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
    progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
    Self-portrait from Bangkok Thai in Berkeley:

     photo IMG_20160320_200823_zpsovhg0wml.jpg

    Speaking of which, it’s always a good day when your handlebars are in symmetry. I’ve been lucky to have a lot of those days recently. I probably shouldn’t jinx it by talking about it.

    Had an e-mail from M_______ from Marin District and apparently they’re in negotiations with Santa Cruz District to transfer my paperwork over. So I guess that means the gears are turning. I did have a dream that they decided not to hire me at China Camp or Angel Island, and I went on a big rant about how sick I was of Big Basin and how I didn’t want to have to go back. I’m sure that’s just a regular dream and not an actual scenario.

    Considering a jaunt up to Sacramento for a beard and moustache contest, which would be my first. [ profile] aadroma will be there, which is the real reason I’m interested in attending. But I did recently get the Major-General Progbear coat dry cleaned and I found a hat that goes with it all in the same week, so I do kind of need a pretext to wear it (and the next Dickens Fair is 7 months away).

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