$$$!

Jun. 3rd, 2007 03:03 pm
shirenomad: (celebration)
May was an oddity in my work schedule this year. I get paid biweekly on Tuesday, which normally comes out to two paychecks a month, and I budget accordingly. However, given that months are not exactly four weeks, every so often a third paycheck slips into a month, and I effectively get a 50% bonus as far as my budget is concerned. This year, a "bonus" paycheck came on May 29th, so I've got several hundred extra with which to enjoy myself. There's my DMV renewal (they're already asking for it, go figure), my Pirates 3 ticket and the dinner afterward with friends (already spent the day before I got the check), my Anime Expo pass, gas expenses for a trip up home and back in a couple weeks, a few extra hundred toward my student loan... and I'm seriously considering getting a bike. The office isn't all that far away and it'd probably pay itself back in fuel savings, plus, hey, exercise.
shirenomad: (speculative)
Jaylene, the latest resident of the Room of Doom, pulled out (under nicer circumstances than the previous two) after a couple months of residence. She has been immediately replaced by Bo, the landlady's son, as he just got out of university and can't hang out in the dorms anymore. So this is actually sort of convenient... and as a relative of the landlady, hopefully Bo will have curse immunity.
shirenomad: (confused)
I got a high def TV for Christmas. This is all well and good, except the house I'm renting from didn't have high def TV channels on their plan. Well, Time Warner offers them for just five bucks more a month, so I asked the landlady if she could up my rent by five bucks a month; she said sure and ordered the channels.

Now things get a little complicated... )
shirenomad: (computers)
I've been the media dude for Irvine Presbyterian's third service for several months now. What that usually means is that I show up about an hour before the service, set up the media laptop and plug it into the designated projector jack, and load the music lyrics (alone with the "Welcome!" images and so forth) into the church's slide show program of choice. Then during the actual service I switch from digital slide to digital slide as things progress; this all runs through the projector and shows on the big screen behind the pulpit/praise band, so everyone can sing along to the lyrics. I've gotten good at the pre-service setup and can usually finish in about 30 minutes; the other thirty is if there are any surprises.

This Sunday there were surprises. As I'm arriving, Heidi comes up to me and informs me that she's got a bunch of photos she wants to show on the big screen during a presentation she's going to make about an orphanage in Swaziland we sponsor. The photos are currently on her iBook; should she burn them to CD? Sure, go ahead. Off she goes to find a blank CD while I get back to handling the other pre-service chores.

At Service T-minus 40 minutes, she returns with the CD. I accept it, insert it, and discover that the folder with the images is divided into folders and sub-folders and sub-sub-folders, all not in the order she wants anyway. Whoops. Well, wait, what order did you want them in? The order they're on her image utility on the iBook. Does this image utility have a slide show option? Sure! Oh, why didn't you say so? Plan B, then... since Pastor Mark won't need the second cable jack this week, we'll plug the iBook direct into the projector and run straight from that!

...and being an iBook, it doesn't have the proper outlet for the video cables we have. But fear not! Plan C: Pastor Mark also has an iBook! He uses an adapter to hook it in for his sermon slides. Go talk to him. Well, Mark was occupied with the second service, but he said he'd dig the adapter out of his office as soon as he was done.

My first real mistake: I should have started copying the images off the CD and reordering them anyway, but I figured the problem was solved, so why bother? "Why bother" came at T-minus 15 minutes, when the second service ended, and Mark comes over with the adapter to discover... it's an AV-to-DVI adapter. And Heidi's laptop, being older, doesn't have a DVI port either.

Plan D: panic. With 15 minutes to go, I need to get all 90 images off the CD into one folder, then figure out a fast-and-furious way to load them into MediaShout, unless... yes! This laptop also has an image utility! With a slideshow option! ...that refuses to display on the second monitor! (The "second monitor" is the projector; the primary is the laptop screen.)

After wasting ten minutes trying to find a way to put the slideshow on the projector, I go back to Plan D as I furiously transfer images. People are already starting to file in by this point, so I have to restrict all activity to the main monitor or everyone will see me dragging and dropping files on the big screen, which is not why they've entered this house of God. As I do this, I quietly inform Heidi that she may have to drop the image portion of the presentation entirely; she informs me that the images are, pretty much, the presentation.

T-minus ZERO. Files are still transferring and I have absolutely no way to get them into Media Shout any faster than "create a slide, insert an image, create another slide, insert another image..." The worship band starts up. I minimize everything and start the lyrics (c'mon... I know your poor RAM is stressed, but switch slides please? For me?); while I'm doing this, Kirk comes up and I inform him that we may have to accept defeat on this one.

T-plus 3 minutes... Trevor's delivering the opening announcements, which gives me a five minute window where I can drop attention from keeping the projector in sync with what's going on. I hunt through the programs. There's gotta be... PowerPoint! God bless you, Bill Gates! And it has a "photo album" fast loader! And a simple selector to display the presentation on the secondary monitor! And it's time to resume the lyrics! You couldn't have dragged that out just a little longer, Trev?

T-plus 20 minutes. Out of stuff to sing; if we don't do the presentation now, we never will. I select every image in the folder, package it into a PowerPoint Photo Album, wait a breathless minute while Kirk introduces Heidi and PowerPoint processes (stall, Kirk, stall!), then hit F5 and pray... And! It! Shows! On the big screen! Hallelujah. Kirk glances back behind him, confirms that yes, he is looking at Swazi orphans, and hands it off to Heidi. They weren't quite in the order she wanted, but after all that, we were all grateful to have them at all.
shirenomad: (computers)
Last week my office headphones decided to lose all treble. Given I am allowed to listen to music at work if I use headphones (and usually do whenever I'm at my desk and not engaged in conversation), this proved annoyingly limiting. So I moved my home headphones to the office. Much better, except now I need headphones at home. A lower priority -- the walls aren't that thin at the house -- but still handy when I'm up late just to be courteous.

Also, I was thinking about getting a new mouse anyway; I've recently started volunteering at the church handling their projector, and the attached laptop needs a working USB mouse (I loathe those touch pads), so I thought I'd bring over my old one and get something nice and ergonomic for my home use.

First mistake: I decide to purchase both at Fry's. Yes, Fry's. It is physically impossible to leave Fry's without buying at least one more item than you planned, because it's discounted so temptingly and you would have bought it at some point anyway and... ahem. Anyway, I was aware of this and had pretty much budgeted an extra $20 for damage control on that subject...

And they had a huge stack of hard drives for sale. Brand new 400 GB hard drives... for $110. I dearly wanted more hard drive space. My three (count them!) hard drives came out to barely 100 GB total. And two of those three were under-20G bricks that predated the current administration, so their stability was suspect to boot. Sale ended the next day. CRAP.

No problem, I didn't need that kidney anyway. Second mistake, however, was thinking it would be a simple plug-and-go operation. I hadn't installed a new hard drive since I reformatted the entire mess and started over two and a half years ago, so I'd forgotten the trouble I had getting it to recognize three drives at once. The fact that I had to remove all drives (including the CD and DVD drives) and the graphics card before I got enough clearance to extract the oldest (and largest) of the bricks only added to the confusion, especially since I wound up wasting nearly an hour figuring out where the serial ATA cable disappeared to afterward.

Then I had to convince the machine that yes, the boot drive was the one attached to the serial ATA, not the ultra ATA. (Look, the Ultra doesn't have any data on it! No, I'm not going to reinstall everything on the new one! I've got everything the way I like it on the old one!) Then it didn't like the jumper settings on the new one and would recognize it during initialization but not in Windows. (What were the previous jumper settings when this all worked? Did this drive even have a jumper when I started?)

At 1 in the AM, it finally recognized the main drive, the new drive, and the brick I had plugged in for data transfer, all at the same time. I declared it "good enough" and called it a night. This evening I'll be handling the re-partitioning, data transfer, and with luck I'll even be able to swap bricks at some point and get its old data direct (though the other brick is archival stuff and is completely backed up to DVD if it comes to that). Bonus is that most of this can be done by punching a few keys and standing back for a half an hour, so I think I'll get in some Katamari or a DVD while I wait... I need the stress relief. But frankly, given how things went yesterday, I'll feel good simply if the settings still work today.

At least the new mouse is comfy.
shirenomad: (memorable)
So yeah, with some major furniture-moving help from Allen (thanks Allen!) I got... well, not everything, but all the big stuff and quite a bit of the little stuff moved to the new place. The advance planning I did with measuring tape and a lot of cutouts on graph paper helped considerably when deciding where all the furniture would wind up, although I made a miscalculation in placing my desk (more on that in a minute) and I expected more out of the closet than I got (or rather, I expected there'd be less to fill it).

More details underneath )
shirenomad: (celebration)
Since my brother Andrew is shipping out to Okinawa today (apparently they need a few good Marines to stick out their tongues at Kim Jong-il from across the sea), he's loaning me his car for the duration of his deployment. Honda sedan, about 10 years old, good gas mileage. Also, it's got bumper stickers for both the Marine Corps and the Naval Academy, plus a Department of Defense registry sticker, so no one's going to dare steal it. ^_^

Unfortunately, retrieving this vehicle was an interesting exercise. At about 3:45 yesterday, Andrew gets in his car and leaves Twentynine Palms for Orange County; he arrives a little under three hours later. We get food (making the mistake of doing this in a sit-down restaurant), run a couple quick errands, and don't leave Orange County until after 9pm. With no traffic, we return to Twentynine Palms at 11:30, shuffle around a few other items he wants me to stash until he returns, refuel, and I leave Twentynine alone with the car around midnight. I finally stagger into the apartment, crashing from the last caffeine buzz, about 2:30 in the morning.

I took advantage of our somewhat flexible schedules at the office to sleep in an extra hour; I'll make up the same hour by leaving late. And driving myself. After nearly a year of begging rides off of coworkers, it's a very liberating feeling, really...
shirenomad: (memorable)
So yeah, I spent the weekend up north, as mentioned. The trip up went smoothly until we reached Casa de Fruta, this tourist trap rest stop in the middle of nowhere, about an hour from San Jose. We stop for a quick leg stretch and bathroom break, I pick up some dried fruit as a gift for the parents just because, and then we all pile back into the car... and it gurgles. And stalls. And generally refuses to go. We'd noticed a bit of gurgling as we pulled in, but we figured it was nothing... joke was on us. So after checking the obvious for problems, we drag in both Triple A and Allen's parents, one to retrieve the car and the other to retrieve us. Arrival time was thus two hours later than planned. (Turned out the water pump broke down, meaning the radiator wasn't getting water, if you were curious.)

Saw my good friend Cheryl that evening, along with some of her friends. (I owed her that after not seeing her once all Christmas break, due to one complication after another.) Followed that up with seeing my grandmother (who's getting chemo right now but is holding out okay) for lunch the next day, and the usual crew at church on Sunday. This was not, however, the best choice of weekends if I wanted to see my parents; they were highly busy due to some church planning event (there's some major redecorating coming up in the next few months), so I barely saw them at all Saturday and only saw Mom for most of Sunday. But I did get to spend the last bit of Friday afternoon watching a DVD with both of them.

Still, it was good timing in one other respect. There's this elderly lady I'll call L who was going through some trouble last year and, with the encouragement of her friend R, sought a lawyer... namely, Pam. Coincidentally, R was (and still is) a member of Santa Clara First Baptist; she had no idea until she walked in the door that I was working for Pam as an assistant, but she was glad to know I'd be helping out. I moved down south before the case was resolved completely, but it was basically a stunning victory for our side, and no one was more pleased than L (who was convinced she was screwed and there was no point to fighting it). But I bring this up because R continued being L's friend, and invited her to church, and by another sheer coincidence, L got baptized this Sunday. So it was just cool to see how much better she was doing. I made sure to say hi after the service and congratulate her.

Trip back south was uneventful, although I wasn't able to sleep through as much of it as I did on the way up. Also made sure to bring south as many books as I could pack; I had left most of them behind when I moved for space reasons.

And oh yeah, while I was up there, I was helping Mom out at Costco briefly, and while I was there I poked around the bargain bin computer games, and behold! Brand new, 16 bucks. I haven't seen it used for less than $14. Can you say "Score"? Good!

Spree!

May. 13th, 2006 08:41 pm
shirenomad: (celebration)
Got through all of April without spending most of my tax refund, and I decided it was time to rectify that. Purchases today included City of Villains (price has gotten low enough that the worth of the free month exceeds half of the total cost), a legit copy of Baldur's Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal (yeah, I had pirated it; couldn't find a copy for love or money until today), Deus Ex 2 (what? it was for five bucks! for five bucks I'll buy just about anything!) and The Sixth Sense Collectors Edition DVD (also on sale).

Also restocked on detergent, water filters, contact lens cleaner.

And oh yeah, plopped down an extra $750 toward my student loan. That felt good.
shirenomad: (memorable)
So yeah, the haul:

- Jumbo cutting board and frying pan. (Mom says the first sign that the kids have grown up is when they start asking for practical stuff.)
- DVD writer. I just asked for a DVD-ROM drive, so bonus.
- TWO sets of headphones. Apparent failure to communicate between the gift-givers, but I'm fine with this: one for work, one for home.
- Huge tin of Jelly Bellies, among other snack food. (Yum.)
- Pen set.
- Reimbursement for airfare.
- 40 bucks.

Andrew bought Double Dash for me on eBay... it has yet to arrive. He bought it two weeks before Christmas, and the eBay ad said the seller could get it anywhere in the States in a week, so we're not sure what went wrong there. If it doesn't get here before I leave, he's promised to deliver pain and agony to the seller in question. ^^;

Andrew also bought the entire family Twilight Imperium, which we spent a good chunk of yesterday learning. Interesting game, though kinda complicated, and not ideal for five players.

A friend got a whole mess of 24 DVDs (that's the series on the DVDs, not the number) and last night he got a lot of us together to see the first six episodes of Season 1. Mind you, this was my first time watching the show. ...the writers are EVIL! EVIL I SAY! (Must watch more...)

Which brings me to this morning. If you've got to wake up with the annual flu bug, you might as well get it while spending a week at home, away from work or the need to cook, and with parents who have plenty of cold meds in reserve. I'll be skipping the planned get-together tonight, most likely, but with luck I'll be back up and running by tomorrow.

[livejournal.com profile] kitarin, got your card, thanks. More than a bit unexpected, since we haven't had the chance to talk in some time, but no less appreciated. (But, uh, who's "Abi"?)
shirenomad: (celebration)
My uncle used to drive a 1984 Honda Accord. He bought a new car and gave the Honda to my dad. Later Dad bought a new car and gave the Honda to me. Up to the day I moved back to Orange County in September, I was still using it to get around, as beat up as it was by then. I did not, however, try to drag it south with me (no way it would have lasted through a 300+ mile drive), so it's been sitting at my parents' unused for over three months now.

About the only advantage that car had was that, as an '84, it wasn't built with later environmental regulations in mind, and therefore wasn't required to follow said regulations (got less stringent smog checks, etc.) But someone in Sacramento apparently decided enough was enough, and Mom got a call a few days ago. It seems, in an effort to get as many of these health hazards off the road as possible, the California DMV is making offers on all of them. Mine came in at over double the Blue Book value.

I remind you that I'm not driving it and neither parent needs it. You'd better believe I'm taking the offer.
shirenomad: (celebration)
Saturday (yeah, I'm behind on my entries; so what?) Allen called in Brian and I for a special mission. We went over to a nearby park with a banner, which we were to attach to a bridge over the lake. Then we were to film the result as Allen and Christina (his girlfriend for six years) rounded the bend, and Christina read the message: "Christina, will you marry me?"

*waits for the "Awwwww"s to die down*

Unfortunately, there was a snag... the letters on the banner weren't large enough. We should have checked earlier, but it simply wasn't legible at any distance that you could reach without walking on water. So Allen gets her to the planned point, and it's clear from there that there's... something... hanging from the bridge... (D'oh!) So he makes some excuse to make a phone call and gives Brian updated instructions on the sly, then heads around the side of the lake, facing Christina away from the bridge while we furiously take down the banner and reposition it across the entryway.

Alas, by this point Christina had figured out something was up, and she was able to deduce from there. So the only surprise for her was that Brian and I were involved. But hey, she still said yes (like there was ever any doubt), so all's good. Congrats, both of you!
shirenomad: (informative)
I found out about this new job due to the fact that three of my new coworkers graduated were in my class in UCI, all CompSci majors, all in the same dorm freshman year. I have no doubt I was hired (at maximum pay rate for an entry-level) almost purely because all three had seen what I was capable of at college and promoted the hell out of me to their supervisors. (The power of networking! Wish someone had hammered that point home while I was in college; I might have socialized more. Then again, maybe not.)

Another bonus of this is that Brian, one of the three, is able to house me until I find something more permanent. The "more permanent" place will probably be with Brian (and possibly Hacker, another of the three) as well; he's looking to find someplace closer to the new office. But in the meantime I'm housed in a spare room in a house with him and his dad.

Got everything moved in Thursday night (after a long drive down with Mom and Dad); did some shopping for supplies Friday morning (thanks to the parents!); spent Friday afternoon getting everything unpacked and organized (I'm ashamed to admit my computer got set up first, but that was largely because I needed music while I worked to stay sane). Spent Friday night sleeping. Caught up on life Saturday and had the chance to hang out with two out of three coworkers that evening.

Space is an issue. The room is a combination lounge/workshop/place to house Brian's personal webserver. Anything I don't need just yet (winter clothes, bedding, cooking gear) has been moved to a storage room until further notice, but my computer is on a desk that's really too small for the purpose (mouse pad is sitting on top of a lot of paper and books in an open drawer), I have no closet so my clothes are all organized in the largest suitcase on the floor, and the bed, when it's not a couch, takes up most of the rest of the room. I do have a mini-fridge, but it was never meant to hold anything larger than snacks, which is just as well since the kitchen is at the other end of the house and there's no place anywhere in between to sit down and eat. Nonetheless, due to a crowded primary fridge, I find myself stashing miscellaneous foodstuffs (largely sandwich material) in Fridge Jr. At least it seals well, which keeps out the ants.

Ah yes, the ants. They have a mild ant problem on this side of the house. Less mild when you leave food out. Eating around this room is probably a bad idea anyway, in other words; a few crumbs and a couple hours is enough to create a trail across your floor. I dumped the trash and washed the can out in the back yard, destroying the only real problem in this room, but there's still a few scouts wandering here and there trying to find a new source (I really hope that fridge has a good seal). One keeps exploring the edge of my keyboard as I type this. As soon as I or Mr. Ismay can pick up some baby powder (he didn't have any; wish I'd thought to pick up some Friday while my parents and I were grabbing supplies), I'm going to spread a line across the outside doorframe, and maybe another under the fridge door as a second line of defense.

There's one of the plusses, though: there's a door in this room that leads right outside and into the front walkway. Key lock with deadbolt. I can go in and out without disturbing anyone if I want. Not that I've got much of anywhere to go; I'm vehicle-less until further notice*, something that's left me a little nervous. Still, I should figure out what's within walking distance for shopping purposes.

The other plus being that they're housing me for free. Still on my own for food (so's Brian, apparently), but lack of rent will keep me above water until my first paycheck arrives. Not that I'm not hoping to find someplace else soon, even if it does mean heading back up north for furniture, but I'm grateful to Brian for the convenience.

*Think the Honda could have made it all the way down here? Please. Last time we tried making the trip with it, it died three times trying to get over the Grapevine.** That was five years ago; I don't expect it would last ten minutes this time. Plus with gas prices the way they are, I'm all too happy to carpool with Brian and split the cost. I'm just a little worried about inconveniencing someone in the house every time I need to go someplace.

**For those not familiar with Californian geography, this article will fill you in.
shirenomad: (memorable)
Within thirteen hours after our flight left Seattle for home, my cousin Jenny had gone through a rapid labor and given birth to her first child about five weeks early. Despite definite premie status, Zoe Potesta is healthy, but really needs to work on her timing.

Anyway, all you gathering in the area over the next few days, feel free to hunt through hospitals until you find her so you can say hi for me. And so you can get an early start on molding her in our image. MWAHAHA. ;D
shirenomad: (frustrated)
*letter arrives in the mail*

Letter: BY ORDER OF THE COURT, your service is required 06/13/05 THRU 06/17/05 to serve as a prospective juror. YOUR GROUP NUMBER IS 222. YOU MUST EITHER CALL the 24-hour recorded message or access the jury web page to see if and when you need to report to one of the Court's locations. Please call the phone number listed above or access the jury web page between 5pm Friday and 7am Monday the weekend prior to the week for which you have been summoned for jury duty.
Me: Crap. Fine, fine...

*Friday the 10th at around 5pm*

Website: Juror Group 222, please access this website again, or telephone the 24-hour Juror recorded message on Monday, June 13, 2005 at 5pm.
Me: Okay...

*Monday the 13th at around 5pm*

Website: Juror Group 222, please access this website again, or telephone the 24-hour Juror recorded message on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 at 5pm.
Me: *grumbles*

*Tuesday the 14th at around 5pm*

Website: Juror Group 222, please access this website again or telephone the 24-hour Juror recorded message on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 between 11am and 12pm.
Me: Finally. Progress.

*Wednesday the 15th at around 11am*

Website: Juror Group 222, please access this website again or telephone the 24-hour Juror recorded message on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 at 5pm.
Me: ...WTF?

*Wednesday the 15th at around 5pm*

Website: Juror Group 222, please access this website again or telephone the 24-hour Juror recorded message on Thursday, June 16, 2005 between 11am and 12pm.
Me: ...

*Thursday the 16th at around 11am*

Website: Juror Group 222, please access this website again or telephone the 24-hour Juror recorded message on Thursday, June 16, 2005 at 5pm.
Me: I'm beginning to sense a pattern here.

*Thursday the 16th at around 5pm*

Me: Wait, let me guess! "Juror Group 222, please access this website again or telephone the 24-hour Juror recorded message on Friday, June 17, 2005 between 11am and 12pm."
Website: Juror Group 222, please access this website again or telephone the 24-hour Juror recorded message on Friday, June 17, 2005 between 11am and 12pm.
Me: I guessed right! What do I win?
Website: You get to access this website again or telephone the 24-hour Juror recorded message on Friday, June 17, 2005 between 11am and 12pm.
Me: Thanks, machine that controls my life!
Website: No problem.
shirenomad: (tired)
Remember this project? Well, I've been bumped up to production assistant. In essence, a production assistant makes sure contracts are signed, permits to film are secured, and people are informed of when things need to happen. (I'm still not getting paid, though I may see a cut of the profits if there are any, and it looks good on a resume regardless.)

For the most part, I could do all this stuff on the side without difficulty -- an email here, a phone call there -- but Friday started reshoots. Which meant there was a big rush coming up to Friday to make sure everyone would be there and that all our paperwork was handled. Then we actually started filming. I got a ride to the first location, since it was an hour away in San Francisco, and got the signatures from a couple of actors for something that needed to be handled right away. I also introduced myself to most of the crew, whom I hadn't met face to face until now, and then mostly just sat back and watched the actors and the director go to it.

The group assembled on location around 6pm. Eight hours later...

If I had known my ride couldn't get me home until 3 in the morning, I would have said screw the price of gas, driven myself, and left as soon as I was no longer necessary, but I figured it wouldn't take longer than four hours... we were only shooting three scenes, for crying out loud! But first the lighting all had to be set up. And then the actors, directors, and producers had to debate over the script for the updated scenes. And then we waited a bit for the sun to go down. And then they did about 20 billion takes for the first scene alone, interrupted by both the failure of the primary generator (we had a secondary, fortunately) and the sudden arrival of rain. Compound this with the fact that I had been up since 8 am running down a permit for Saturday's filming, and I was ready to pass out by the time we got back. So I did...

And slept through two alarms, finally waking up about twelve hours later. I was really glad I had permission to show up for Saturday's reshoot "whenever."

Anyway, being well-rested, I enjoyed Saturday a lot more, appreciating the shooting (which mostly consisted of the lead getting shoved against a wall, but hey!), chatting with the other crewmembers, and keeping myself busy most of the evening. And there was no shoot today, nothing I need to attend tomorrow, and I may get Tuesday off as well, which leaves only Wednesday. So I may recover yet.

Ah, show biz.
shirenomad: (God moment)
I've been running the projector for the church for a couple of months now. This being the most important service of the year, not to mention involving a few extra features we don't normally mess with -- live camera projection, DVD -- meant our Audio/Video department head (Jerry) was running around the booth beforehand to make sure we understood absolutely everything we needed to do. By golly, we were going to do this flawlessly, and nothing would stop us!

So, of course, God taught Jerry humility by blowing the circuit breaker to the projector. ^^;;;; We missed an entire song getting it back up and running; thankfully, it was in the hymnals, so the worship leader was able to direct the congregation (that's church-speak for "audience"!) to dust them off and read from there. (I knew we still had those for a reason.) Our screw-up for the day complete, we handled all the more complicated tasks without incident... though that may have been partially because Jerry got paranoid and didn't leave the booth again until the very end of the service.

-----

The church also did a "Journey to the Cross" on Good Friday, which was open for the entire afternoon: people would enter the church and move from station to station, each depicting a scene during Christ's last day before His execution. Inspired by the Catholic Stations of the Cross, but we aimed for something much more physical and interactive. We had at least 20 potted plants in one corner for the Garden of Gethsemane, a path with bloody footprints to walk down, and an actual casket at the end.* The most effective, though, was a wooden cross... and a box of nails. It becomes very real to you when you take a nail and a hammer and pound it into the wood. Visual, auditory, kinesthetic, all at once. Having the station there also meant that you could be at some other location in the room and suddenly hear, in the distance, the WHAM! WHAM! of a nail entering the cross. Very powerful.

Oh, and of course the Good Friday service that evening had to have its own glitch... The church has a large but empty cross engraved on the wall, and during the entire afternoon we'd had Jesus projected on it (my contribution to the "Journey" project: getting that set up). We intended to keep Him up there through the evening service, but we'd neglected to take into account that we'd had to restart the projector multiple times over the afternoon because it was beginning to overheat. Sure enough, midway through the service, Jesus suddenly had "High Temperature" flashing next to Him... about ten minutes later, the projector had performed an emergency shutdown and Jesus had bugged out entirely. The pastor, ever on top of things, merely pointed out at the end of his sermon that although Good Friday is a time to be mournful, the best part was ahead, because (and here he gestured to the empty cross to much chuckling) "as you can see, He's not on the cross anymore!"

* Interesting story behind that one: we wanted to borrow one from a mortuary, but apparently they can't sell a coffin once it's been "used". No, it didn't matter that no one was actually in the casket at any time, or that it would never be buried. However, after further discussion, the mortuary decided to simply give us the casket. Well, hey, we're a church, we do funerals, so sure. The staff figure that they can offer it to use for "in state" viewings of people who are eventually going to be cremated and don't need it permanently.
shirenomad: (mixed)
In case I neglected to mention it earlier, I'm toying around with joining the JET program. (It's in Japan, it pays money. What other reasons do I need?) Went through the interview stage today... not sure how well I did, though. I generally don't interview well. And I can't just go in and say I want to be an JET ALT because Japan and money. Fortunately, I'd already thought that through to some degree when I cranked out my application essay a couple months ago, so I had a few more answers prepped on that subject. And I was able to come up with something off the cuff in response to "you enjoyed your time in Japan before, but what if it proves harder or more stressful this time?" On the other hand, I had a bit of trouble with "how are you qualified for teaching?" (why, WHY didn't I mention that I've done both amateur and professional proofreading?) and I don't think I impressed them with my uncertainty over which grade I wanted to teach ("wherever the class is taught in about 50% English, 50% Japanese" was my best stab).

But actually, the most stressful part was getting lost on the way there. One hour from San Jose to SF, 45 minutes driving the streets of the city with a bunch of maps and a confused expression. Whoever designed the city layout ("can't turn left here... or here... or here... you know what? screw the signs!" *completely illegal U-turn*) needs to be shot.
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