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I knew that I hadn't written anything here for ages, but I hadn't realised exactly how much time had gone by. Almost a year! Lots of change in the past year, much job-related. I've moved to a different suburb of Vancouver: more sprawling, more conservative, just across the river from my (at least what I consider to be) hometown, closer to highschool friends, farther from friends and family in Van proper. I'm working a new job. Between Toys "R" Us and here, I also did some time behind the checkout at a Save-On-Foods (awful hours, stressful position). I stopped liking Toys "R" Us for a while, since much of the job of working in the electronics dept. there involves what is euphemistically referred to as loss prevention: surreptitiously watching your customers in case they're really thieves. Other than that, the job was a lot of fun, and I was actually sorry to leave. Not that I was going to pass up the opportunity for a full-time job.

So now I work in Material Stores at Cascade Aerospace, an MRO (Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul) that specialises in narrow-body jets, specifically B737s. It was pure luck getting in on the ground floor; they needed a warm body to fill in while some storespeople were doing long-term training, and my Mom (who works as an Interior Tech there) told me about the opening. She's got a good reputation there, which helped in that my application was seriously considered, and I was taken on for a 3 month contract. My contract was extended twice (it's nerve-wracking when that deadline nears), and I eventually took a permanent position in July as a Stores Person Level 1. Yay! My warehousing experience certainly helped, and a few months convinced them that I was serious about the job. Apparently, they'd also had trouble with younger guys slacking, and were wary of me for that. *shrug* It came out all right, obviously.

Along with the job came a requirement for reliable transportation. Until I started at Cascade I'd had no great need for a car, and, through the usual quirks of fate, I didn't get my license before the regulations where changed, back when I had the chance. Besides, going to school in Vancouver meant that I could easily rely on the transit system there, which, although not nearly as good as many cities, was quite adequate. It got harder to get around without a car the farther out into the valley I moved, though, so I did finally get a car. It's a crap-looking '88 Reliant five-speed, but it's a lot of fun to drive. Stick-shifts rule.

I've gotten out of the MU*ing habit as well as given up my position at SMT MUCK. Filling that gap now is a decent 3rd edition D&D campaign that I'm running. Four characters are the current focus of it; a female elven druid (the reluctant leader, and going insane with the Shifter prestige class), a male elven thief (who tries to be a fighter, and will likely multiclass into one soon), a male halfling bard (who gets on with pixies really well, and makes legendary skill checks, so long as it's totally unrelated to combat; e.g., playing his pan pipes, helping a farmer NPC harvest wheat, playing practical jokes), and a male fighter who favours the greatsword (and kicks tremendous ass with it, as well; 3rd edition really brings home the impact of hit bonuses with its plus-based system, as opposed to the THAC0 of earlier editions). A fifth player has a crappy job that dominates his weekends, so his character has been temporarily written out of the plot until further notice; a male elven ranger favouring two scimitars (familiar, yes, but interesting in his own right as any character who's risen to high level always is; he's an important figure in the Forgotten Realms, though I won't say how, as my other players don't know and I won't tell them here, and has the goal of bringing Myth Drannor back from the grave to drive him, although he seems to think it will be a cakewalk, mwhahaha...). The first four are new characters, while the absentee fifth is an old character from another player group (dissolved until all the players can get together again, if ever) in the same ongoing Realms campaign.

I didn't mention that I've also recently (early August) gone to a permanent night shift at work. Various reasons motivated such madness, but primary is that they're 10-hour days with better pay, meaning I get a three-day weekend. Granted, I tend to be awake in the middle of the night on weekends, so my social schedule is a bit weird to juggle, but it works out alright. I've taken to playing a lot of computer games in the night on weekends, since I've never really had the time to indulge myself before. I've finally purchased a copy of Half-Life, a kickass game, and it came with OpFor, Blue Shift, and Counter Strike. Alas, my poor dual-booted harddrive doesn't have much free space on it any more, least of all in Windows, so I don't have all of them installed at the moment. I've also been playing Return to Castle Wolfenstein, which is fun, but has extremely disappointing level design. It's pretty, sure, and there's quite a bit of good plot, but the levels are bloody linear. You might reply that you can't get much more linear that Half-Life, but when I say RtCW is linear, I mean you're stuck in a square tunnel, moving forward cautiously, looking for where the next set of enemies is going to appear around the corner. No exploration, no freedom to attack from a creative angle; you're just shunted along a predefined rail. It's may not all be tunnels literally (though much of it is), but the pathway is so contrived, the linear thinking shows through the design no matter how open the level appears to be. And some of the scripting just doesn't make sense. I mean, I clear out the buidlings around the airfield and move on to the security tower to open the gate, and guys just start pouring out of the buildings behind me that I'd just emptied, as soon as I touch the switch. Huh? Anyway. Aside from those two, I also bought Myst III: Exile, which is a beautiful game and does quite well at keeping in tradition with the original, despite not being made by Cyan. I've borrowed Riven now, too, so I'll complete the trilogy in an odd order, but I don't think I'll get around to playing it until I've cleared either HL or RtCW off the drive. Then there's Black and White to reinstall and finally play past the second land...

I've also got myself a scanner, now; it's ironic that so long as I didn't own one, I could think of a hundred things I would scan if I could, and now that I do own one, I barely use it. I've been thinking of scanning all of the photos I've got lying around in their original photo-finishing sleeves, but I'm not really sure when I'll get around to it at this rate. The most interesting thing about the scanner was really that it was USB, which meant that I got to play around with the kernel and figure out how to make USB and SANE work under Linux, aside from the lovely challenge of figuring out what driver to use to make it all go. That last part is almost always a pain.

A friend introduced me to the Faeries' Oracle, which is really interesting. I'm a natural-born skeptic, but also paradoxically fascinated by the possibilities behind the veil of the scientific view of the world. As I explore and discover ways of looking at life and spirituality, my view of the world becomes broader and much more interestingly textured. Where I'll end up, I don't know, but the ride is always rewarding.

Hmp. It's gotten late, and I'm going to be up early tomorrow for a trip to Queen E. Park and the Bloedel Floral Conservatory. My SO's current flora obsession is with bamboo, and apparently there is quite an impressive grove at said Conservatory. We shall see.


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