Today was made of awesome. We had an easy half-day of lopping and pruning cedar and oak trees on some BCP (Balcones Canyonland Preserve) land, then we got to do an awesome workshop with our partner on primitive tool usage. He taught us how to make cordage from yucca fronds, which can be used for rope, baskets, sandals, bowstrings, etc (mine sucked)…How to properly strike flint to make Stone-Age implements (flint-knapping), and at the end we got to play with an Atlatl, a stone-age wooden device that launches arm-length javelins at long-range with killing force. I was actually pretty good at that. I’m so ready to hunt a mastodon now.
Well I am going all kinds of nuts right now, trying to decide what I’m going to do once Environmental Corps is over with. Three months may seem fairly far away, especially for a chronic procrastinator like myself, but I’ve learned enough from the experiences of the 6-monthers to know that I need to start looking NOW. I want to move again. I like sort of "vagabonding" it quite a bit, gaining new experiences, scenery…It’s exactly what I wanted to do with my life and I’m glad I pulled free of Buffalo’s gravity well and entered local space. However…Austin’s so damn attractive compared to Buffalo it’s gonna be hard to reach escape velocity a second time. Especially considering that I went and blew a significant chunk of my savings on GenCon two weeks ago. Oy…I’ve got a few ideas though:
– do a second term of Environmental Corps. This is a fairly attractive notion, even if for only 6 months this time. I’m fully familiar with the job, I know the people working, I could make crew leader with my experience. Plus the extra money I’ll soon be making landscaping on the side will triple. And I can continue my current living situation which is decent.
– get another job here. Meh. Especially not something career-oriented just yet. I still have the travel bug something fierce.
– get another job elsewhere. This is where I’m focused on at the moment. I’m not sure I want to do conservation work elsewhere, though if Buffalo offered it I wouldn’ve left in the first place. I did look into working with a fishing company up north. Waaay north, in Alaska. No seriously, I’ve actually applied for a few crews. Haven’t been accepted yet, but I’ve talked to a few people and Alaska’s a great place to fly to, get pickup work for a season or so, then fly back to the states proper. I’ve also got a rather…Exotic…Option lined up I’m giving strong consideration to. Even more exotic than working for a fishery in Alaska, yes. As things progress I’ll spill the beans; I don’t want to set tongues to wagging just yet.
I suppose I should say SOMETHING about GenCon, eh? Ah…Round the clock RPG’s and lack of sleep make Earl something-something? Ok..I saw so many good things out in Indianapolis where the gaming convention was held but I bought nothing, suprisingly. I got to play plenty of pickup games of D&D…All of them rather bad but usually silly and fun in that way. I got to try some interesting card games, Flux (a constant favorite) and Inn-Fighting (a new favorite) among them. Got to try Pathfinder 3.75, something I strongly recommend for anyone as opposed to D&D 4.0 as I am. Indianapolis had some fun non-gaming things to do but I really didn’t get to do too many of them save shoot the breeze with this guy who was so drunk he couldn’t get into his hotel. First night I stayed up with no sleep. 4 a.m. or so, I was wandering downtown Indy looking for stuff to do and saw him outside the Sheraton. He’d swipe his access card, then stagger over to the door, but by then the door would relock. I watched with amusement until he noticed me, then helped him out. He wanted me to jam a key in the door and try to pry it open. I explained that I’d rather not be caught on a security camera doing that but I would open it when he punched his card, and lo and behold, it worked. After that we shot the breeze in the lobby for a bit and he asked me if I was an exhibitionist. My general response was WTF? considering exhibitionist has multiple meanings. He explained it as "you know…running games over at that convention thing." Ah. Eventually he staggered his way to an elevator and I was alone again.
I’ve never gone two straight days without sleep before…The second to last day I didn’t want to sleep because my buddies Jacob, his wife Christina, Jay, Dan, Jeff, Andrew, and Jacob’s brother Zack were all there (my gaming buddies from Buffalo) and I wanted to get some time in with them. And the last day, due to some poor planning on my part, I was stuck in Indy for an additional day after the Con. So instead of channel-surfing in my hotel room for an entire day (had to get a cheaper hotel closer to the airport since my rides were leaving town before I was) I decided to stay up for a second day of straight gaming so I’d just hibernate that last Sunday away. And boy did it work. After two days straight of being up, I slept 17 HOURS STRAIGHT. Crazy…But it worked heh. Sunday melted away into Monday and I flew home with little problems.
Tomorrow I need to play with Betsy. I’ve left her alone for over a month because between the bus and bike, I’ve no need to spent gas on anything whatsoever but I might sell Betsy soon and I’ll need to know exactly why she keeps overheating. And I’ve got to get new work clothes. All two pairs of work pants of mine are riddled with holes from rocks, cedar snags, cat briar, and what-have-you. I need some serious pantage badly.
Ok, someting more serious…I’m getting to know a lot of the homeless in South Austin. I walk and bus a lot so I feel bad about looking away from faces I recognize and I stop and talk occasionally. Something few people seem willing to do and really strikes a cord with me personally. So many people justify it as not wanting to get fleeced by people who work on the side and/or are just too lazy to work that they turn a blind eye to everyone out there and it’s kind of sad, really. Disclaimer: I’ve never been a crusader for the homeless, I don’t volunteer at a shelter like I could, and don’t pretend to be better than everyone else but I like to think stopping to give someone a little human interaction is something we all should try doing, let them remember that we’re all the same species, even if we don’t have change. Because the ones that are truly down value the conversation over the money I’ve come to realize, and they especially love talking about big issues. Politics, religion, philosophy…It’s not all about muffin tops and alien brainwaves, though I get those too. Try it sometime; you’d be suprised how smart a lot of these guys are and how much humility they have considering many of them were once where we were. David is a middle-aged man, small in statue, late 30’s I’d say. Once a week I see him at the I-35 and E. Ben White junction around 4-5 p.m. after work. He holds his sign whose text escapes me and gives everyone the peace sign, especially when people shout at him to find real work. Why? He told me: "Hell, I was there not too long ago. I yelled at homeless from my car and thought they were all freeloaders. But I learned something after my accident: none of us are that far off from being right there on that street corner. It doesn’t take much for you to fall." David wants to start a homeless shelter once his lawsuit goes through for getting hit by a car when he had the right of way and lost his job, car and home because he was out of his construction job. I think that’s awesome.
Edit: This post was brought to you by the letter "A," for awesome, the most overused word in this page heh.