_cherrywolf_! Thanks for the card! I got it right before I left and didn't have a chance to thank you before! I love the "nom nom nom" doodle! XD
excel958- I LOVE the card! Companion Cube~♥ Thank-you!
pacificpikachu! The Densuke picture is so adorable!! Thank-you! I can't wait until Fanime~!!
scaper84, your card was so appropriate because I had just watched the Planet Earth special with the penguins! XD Thank-you!
jen_kat!!!! Thank-you thank-you thank-you for the super sexy Kino pencil board and the Brave Story doujin! ♥♥♥♥ I love them so very, very much! ♥♥
This next part is filled with woe, anger, and general whining. Par for the course.
Day One - 12/23
I think this drive down south was the most pleasant one yet. My sister was driving down with our neighbor so she could watch her kids, so for the majority of the trip it was just me and my parents. They listened to Bill Bryson and I spent my time playing Pokémon Pearl, listening to my iPod, and watching Yu-Gi-Oh! GX episodes. I quickly developed an addiction to the fourth opening theme, "Precious Time, Glory Days." It feels like such and awesome, "you can do it!" sort of song. The only conflict during this part was when we stopped at In-n-Out to get lunch. My mom had her bag where we usually put the food and I had my bag right behind it (right next to me). When we brought the food into the car, she realized that we could not put the holder up if her bag was there (I had told her this when we left home, but was obviously wrong and did not know what I was talking about). I told her to hold on a second and I would move my bag so she could just scoot her bag back, but she ignored me and shoved my bag to the side. Uh, thanks, there is a lot of expensive material in there and I would appreciate it if you respected my property. But, as that was really the only upsetting thing that happened during the drive, I consider it a spectacular success.
We picked up my sister right after you pass Magic Mountain on 5. Things got much noisier with her in the car, but she didn't mean harm or mean to be annoying, so I can't really get mad at her. We arrived at my grandparents' house in the mid afternoon and after hugs and greetings I set up Artemis and started to work on pages. I ended up just throwing text on all the remaining pages and getting sfx on about half of them. My brother came over and we chatted for a bit before heading to dinner. The restaurant was nice but the service kind of sucked. Nothing horrible and it's a new place so I think they're still getting used to everything so I didn't mind. My mom did though. She made a big fuss when we left. After a little more time at my grandparents' house, we went to my brother's apartment and unpacked. He let me play a little Guitar Hero and play with Tussin, his cat.
Day Two - 12/24
Noah (my brother) took us to a cool place for breakfast and we drove around a couple of the nearby neighborhoods. These were niiiiiice places. Expensive places. We went by a 75 million dollar home. No kidding. The place has a website here. On the way back we had to pick up something that Noah's awesome girlfriend Yolanda wanted. My mom forgot her brush, so she decided to pick one up. She took so long, the rest of the family started making bets on the type of brush she was getting. Synthetic or natural? How many bristles? What color? She was not amused when she got back. Whoops. Well, usually it doesn't take over twenty minutes to buy a brush at the supermarket. We went back to Noah's and split up. Noah took my mom to his workplace to help her with some AutoCad stuff. My sister, Alexandra, stayed in the apartment. My dad took me to the glorious Book-Off.
Ahh, Book-Off. I felt really bad because he decided to just wait in the car while I shopped. I tried to hurry so he wouldn't have to wait too long. I ended up spending the least I've ever spent at Book-Off. I sure do love their Christmas sale. In my rush I forgot to check their novels for Baccano! and Kino. I'll have to remember next time. I didn't really get anything super rare or crazy this time, but I was able to pick up the first volume of Naoki Urasawa's Happy! along with two more Master Keaton volumes and six or so Monster volumes. I'm hoping to have a complete collection of Monster in english and in Japanese. They had a bunch of 20th Century Boys there too, but I think I'd like to finish getting Monster and Master Keaton before I start buying 20CB. I got a number of D-Live volumes (I love the $1 section so freaking much) and was reminded how incredibly exciting that series can be. Mmmm, I got a lot of random interesting-looking volumes, some Detective Conan, some Oofuri, and volumes from this and that series to fill in some holes. OH. I finally got my hands on the last volume of Bichi, Ohkubo's series before Soul Eater. It is simply glorious and makes me want to cosplay Showtarou. I'll have to finish my other costumes first. Show will have to wait a long, long time I think. =\
After heading home and trying to brush off the usual "did you buy everything in the store?" comments (I had three bags. THREE. That's all.) we drove back to my grandparents' home to celebrate X-mas with my mom's side of the family. I spent a good amount of time working on pages while waiting for other people to arrive. I had to put shorts on Zatch on one page. The task wasn't hard, but my grandma kept walking by. I don't think she would have understood that Zatch being naked in that panel is in absolutely no way sexual. I had to scroll away from the area I was working on every time she'd come by.
My brother and I ended up playing bartender again since we were positioned behind the bar. I think less alcohol was consumed this year. I got a nice shirt, scarf, hat, and gloves from my grandparents along with a $100 bill. They're really generous to everyone. I was also given a summer kimono set from my cousin. It was given to her when they had a Japanese exchange student. Everyone wanted me to put it on, so I did, but then they all laughed at me! What the hell? I don't think I looked funny in it, I think they just thought it was oh so funny because I'm such a Japanophile. Except I'm not. My relatives on my mother's side think I like anything that is Japanese because I love anime and manga. Now, I do love lots of Japanese stuff, but I love lots of things from lots of different cultures. The shirt that I got was Japanese-themed as well, because of course I'd love it if it is Japanese. Ugh. I mean, the shirt is nice, but... ~_~
My grandma made a big deal about getting everyone stuff they asked for. Now, I made a point to give my wishlist to my mom so she could give it to my grandma. I really like what she gave me, but don't brag about getting people what they want when you didn't get what my siblings or I asked for (wow, that sounds so rude and ungrateful). On the top of my sister's list was slippers. She didn't get any. Slippers aren't that hard to find. My list had a new Jacuzzi vest (this is aimed at my mother really), an electric violin (which is pretty expensive but I always put it on their anyway), and history books. HISTORY BOOKS. I even listed the types of history I was interested in. I put down some sort of obscure ones (Ye gods I will kill for a big book on Eumenes of Cardia), but I also had Mayan history, Egyptian history... topics you can go to Borders and find huge books on in the bargain area. Not exactly a hard gift wish to fulfill. Maybe because Japanese history wasn't listed she thought I was joking. Heh. Ugh.
I think the most amusing time of the evening was at the very end. Grandma had just given all the grandkids our $100 bills. She called all the men in the family to one room and gave them all Nerf guns to play with outside. Then she called the girls into another room. I was hoping that we'd get knives since they got guns. She pointed to a bed where she had left a box of partially used shampoos, conditioners, old sweaters, and old hats. She told us we could take whatever we wanted. Wait, wait, wait. Boys get guns. Girls get... shampoo? You could tell all the girls had no idea how to respond to this. I looked through the box, grabbed a bottle of shampoo and left. I know I'm female, but I like to play with weapons at least as much as a guy does. My Uncle Doug decided to be AWESOME and gave me his weapon, so I ran outside to play with the guys. My dad let Alexandra use his, and my Uncle Kevin gave his to his daughter. The three of us kicked serious ass. I'm so happy I have a Nerf gun now... I haven't had one in years! I'm hoping to arrange a Baccano! mafia and gang Nerf war at Fanime.
Day Three - 12/25
Christmas! My family is very generous and I got many cool things. If I had to pick, I'd say they coolest present was the antique pillow box filled with Copic markers. I was so excited! I have quite a collection now. They don't fit in my marker box anymore so Nur cleaned out a cookie container we had when I got back to SLO. Now I have a container for Copic Sketch markers and one for all my other types of marker. Oh, I'm so happy. My parents also gave me a leather sketchbook cover that has a magnificent dragon on it. Even holding it makes me feel like a real artist.
In the afternoon we went to my Aunt's place for a fabulous meal. I worked on more pages. It was a nice evening. When we left there it meant our time with my mom's side of the family was done!
Day Four - 12/26
We got some breakfast and drove down to Fallbrook. I watched Yu-Gi-Oh! GX on the way down. We ate, drank, and chatted for most of the afternoon. My cousin Michelle showed us some of the work she's been doing at school and for projects. She's going (went to?) a makeup artist school. This isn't just lipstick and mascara and stuff, this is prosthetics and blood and injury makeup too. Her work is really awesome. I showed my websites I made this last quarter and the last volume of Naruto I worked on (It was the only one that I had the Japanese version for too). We had our gift exchange and our M-gift thing (we each had to find something that starts with M and costs less than $5, then we give them out like a white elephant exchange). The M-gift I got was awesome. Magic Flakes, Magic Creme, and Mega Machado-style Sardines (in a can!). I love the asian supermarket at home.
In the evening my grandpa put on a VHS from 1993 when we had a Christman family reunion in the Rocky Mountains. Now my memory from then is a bit fuzzy. I only remember a few things:
1. We saw the tundra and it took 400 years to grow that much. (Something like that)
2. We went to Colorado Rockies baseball game. I love baseball. I enjoyed the game.
3. My cousins, second cousins, siblings, and I played with dinosaur puppets.
4. I had to play the piano for all my relatives. It was horribly embarrassing and I blocked most of it out of my mind because my heart twinges every time my mind wanders to it.
So yeah. I was soooo excited to see this source of minor childhood trauma. I went into the next room and worked on pages. My mom got angry because I wasn't being part of the family, so I had to show her that I could watch the video from where I was sitting. After about an hour and a half, my cousins and siblings bolted. They couldn't take anymore of the unedited retardation and the scores of relatives we forgot we had. I wanted to finish my pages, so I stayed and sat through the scene in which I played the piano. I wasn't as bad as I remember, but I was still embarrassed all over again. I finished up my pages and just felt like veging so I put on an episode of YGO GX. There is little more mindless than a duel-filled episode of that show. My mom comes out and gets angry again. Not because I'm watching anime instead of watching the horrid video with the parents but because I didn't run away with my cousins. Wait, what? So before I was a bad kid because I wanted to do my job but still made it so I could see the stupid video. But now it's bad? I love spending time with these cousins, but I was really tired. Reaaaallly tired. When the first three-or-so-hour tape ended, the parents quickly found something to do so no one would have to sit through one of the four other tapes from the reunion he had brought. When my grandparents went back to their hotel that night, my grandpa was really angry that no one wanted to watch the dumb tapes. Heh. We watched some Planet Earth (so amazing) and headed to bed. I went to bed before most of the other kids so I somehow got a room and a bed all to myself. It was so nice after three nights of sleeping on the floor. I watched some more GX before going to sleep.
Day Five - 12/27
I woke up and watched some GX. I was really trying to plow through second season, can you tell? We had a nice breakfast, said goodbye to some relatives that were leaving that day and five of us jumped in the car. Alexandra, my cousin Sierra, grandpa, Uncle Pat, and I were going to see the Dead Sea Scroll Exhibit in Balboa Park.
On the way down, Sierra said she had heard that there was going to be an exhibit with the Chinese terra cotta warriors in LA. My grandpa travelled all over the world when he was younger, so he has a story for just about anywhere you can mention. He started talking about when he and my grandma went to see the warriors in China. He said that the farmers used traditional tools, not machines, to do their farming. "You know, from biblical times." NO. If you mean what I think you mean, it's not from BIBLICAL times, they're from way before that. Ugh. Oh course, I can't tell him that they could be using tools from 1000 BCE or further back because he would get upset. So I hold my tongue.
The exhibit was pretty cool. It was split into two parts; one was a series of pictures and some artifacts that set the stage and the second was more artifacts and the actual scroll bits. Sierra, Alexandra, and I waited for a loooonnnng time between the parts of exhibit so we wouldn't leave Uncle Pat and grandpa behind. The scrolls are really tiny. Really tiny. It was cool to see where handwriting changed between scribes and where corrections were made. Historically it was really cool. I don't practice any of the religions the scrolls are really significant to, so I think I missed out on a lot of the religious aspects of them.
The people in the exhibit were so rude! I must have been nudged and pushed at least twenty times and only twice did someone apologize or say "excuse me" or SOMETHING. Every time my sister or I accidently hit someone we apologized right away. I just thought it was the right thing to do. People would crowd around the scrolls, leaning on the cases and not moving, even if they weren't looking at the scroll anymore. It was so infuriating! Think of those around you, people!
When Sierra, Alexandra, and I got out of the exhibit we decided to explore the rest of the museum and had a fabulous time looking at dinosaurs, giant sharks, saber-toothed tigers, and giant sloths. Cool stuff.
On the way back we decided to stop at In-N-Out for a late lunch. My grandpa, who lives in Arizona, had never been to one. When we were ordering our food, he said he just wanted some water. I ordered a soda, and the others got shakes. So we go to move to a table and he takes my soda cup! I don't feel like I can yell at him, so I just let it slide. But he didn't get water, he gets lemonade! If you wanted lemonade, why didn't you just say so? After the food came, I made an excuse to go get napkins and used that to get myself a new soda. The guy at the counter must have thought I was stupid, because there was a napkin dispense right behind me.
My mom had called while we were in the exhibit, so I returned her call. When she picked up, I told her that I was god. Now, many of my friends in SLO know that me being god is sort of a joke. As soon as the words left my mouth, I realized that grandpa was right next to me. He is Mr. Religious. Claiming I'm god is a big no-no. I could FEEL the pressure from him. Whoops. You know, if you can't take a joke, sucks for him. As we left he said he liked the food, but he wasn't very impressed by the architecture. WHAT? It's a fast food place. I don't think they're focusing on the architecture here. ~_~
We came home to a lovely dinner of tacos (mmmm, so very good). All four of us kids had a great time joking about all sorts of retarded things, like spherical crayons and how they would help prevent child obesity. Grandpa didn't like that. He's from the time when kids were quiet and hung on every word their elders said. Or something. I think he was also upset when we started telling grandma to stand up to him so she'd get her way once in a while. We reckoned that just shaking her fist angrily at him would be shocking enough yo get her way. After they left, we watched more Planet Earth. Then I got ready for bed, watched some GX, and fell asleep.
Day Six - 12/28
Grandma and Grandpa left in the morning, and we decided to see a movie in the afternoon. The decision came down to Sweeny Todd or Enchanted. I was perfectly fine with either, but I said that if I HAD to have a preference, it was Enchanted. I was more in the mood for a cutsey movie, and if I were going to see a movie with my friends they'd probably want to see Sweeny Todd. It was decided that four people were going to see one movie and four the other. We drove to the theater and found out that we were at the sister theater of the one we were supposed to be at. Whoops! We talked about going to the other theater because it had Sweeny Todd, but we weren't sure if they had Enchanted or not. So I said that we should see if they had both movies before we headed up. My mom yelled at me, "Don't you think we could do something as a group? Maybe we could see the same movie???" Now, she had said she was going to see Enchanted, so I thought she meant we'd all stay at this theater since they did have Enchanted. I told her that that wouldn't be fair so some people, because they wanted to see a different movie. She came really close to me and told I was the lynchpin of this operation and we were only seeing different movies because I'm a selfish girl. Whoaaaa, that is not the case. I explained to her that maybe she had missed the first three times I had explained what movie I wanted to see, but I didn't care which movie I saw, but I think some people did. I would see either movie happily. She couldn't find anything to say to that, so she hung off my dad's arm and flipped me off. What is she, three years old? We found out that Enchanted was indeed playing at the other theater, so we headed up there. My mom decided at the last second that she wanted to see Sweeny Todd, so Uncle Pat, my dad, and I saw Enchanted. It really was absolutely adorable and heartwarming.
When we got back we watched Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Watching that movie again reminded me how similar Indy and Keaton are. I had completely forgotten that Indy was a professor too! When the movie was over we watched more Planet Earth. We'd often make stupid comments about this or that, but for some reason they were absolutely hilarious that night.
You know the drill, GX, then sleeping.
Day Seven - 12/29
We woke up, packed, and ate breakfast. My mom complained that we were taking too long to get ready. Then she complained that we were going the wrong way. It wasn't the wrong way, it was a different way. My dad offered to go the other way, but she said she didn't mind (although it was obvious she did).
The ride up was generally uneventful. We had lunch with Noah and headed up 101 so I could be dropped off in SLO. I listened to music and watched, you've got it, GX. I finished the second season!
So, that was my trip. Not too eventful. It's good to be back in the apartment.
I skipped third season (I didn't have any downloaded) of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX so I started season four. Judai is being such a little twit! What happened to the happy little boy I loved? (Okay, I know a whole lot of crap happened to him...) He is pretty hot in this season though... EDIT! Okay, he's all better now. I love you Judaaaaiii~♥ You make me so happy sometimes.