JapanFestĀ 2004

      So yesterday Giuliano and I went to JapanFest in Stone Mountain Park, GA. I had been looking forward to going to this ever since I found out about it online by chance a while back.
      The first thing I began to regret was forgetting to put on any sunscreen. We arrived late so it was around 1:15-1:30 when we arrived. The sun was high in the sky and there were no clouds. I repeatedly sought out shade and tents in order to keep myself from burning. It didn’t take long before my arms began to feel warm, which I already know by now is not a good sign. I know all too well on conditions like that, my burn index is about 15 minutes in the sun. After that I begin to look like a cooked lobster.
      Being my first time at this festival, I made my way first past the bonsai tent. Then we saw at a distance some kimonos hanging from a display in a large building on the top of a hill. We walked there so that I could check out the kimonos. That was one thing I had come to get, a good kimono for myself. (And if I was lucky a kimono for Giuliano.) Also maybe we could find something I could at least cover my arms with.
      Well the building was packed as was this small table seller. A lot of people were looking over the t-shirts hanging and on their table. The shirts all had anime designs. I found myself soon wishing they had brought more displays to hang them from. It would have made it easier to get around.
      I began to look through the kimonos, but soon realized I have no idea what size I am. I tried a few on, but they didn’t fit. I tried to find someone working at the booth and get their attention. However with it being so packed, I couldn’t get anyone’s attention. So Giuliano and I looked at the other sellers to see if someone else was selling kimonos and could help me. The only other ones I saw were much more elaborate and I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford them.
      I made my way back to the first seller. By now I’m getting disheartened and a bit disgusted. I began to remember why I hate crowds. I looked through the kimonos again, frustrated that I had no idea what would fit. I just wanted someone to tell me what size they thought I was and point out the kimonos I could fit to me.
      I began to snap a bit at Giuliano as he was only following me around like a lost puppy. I needed his help to flag down someone to help me. After waiting and waiting and waiting at the seller’s table, we finally got someone’s attention. We asked and she said that the kimonos were one size. I sighed. She pointed to some kimono tops on sale. I went to look through them, audibly mentioning to Giuliano how the seller needed signs saying the kimonos were one size. It would have saved me the trouble of waiting.
      So I looked through the tops, but most of them were pink (ick) and light green. I really wanted a blue kimono. I tried one and surprise it didn’t fit.
      Now I was to the point of crying from frustration and depression. I had imagined some kimono tent at this fest and someone to help measure you and help you into your kimono. That wasn’t happening. I looked at the other side of the display of the kimonos, and lamented again. I saw one that was blue. “That looks nice,” I said truthfully. “I bet it won’t fit either.” I took it down and started to put it on. “Just watch.” I wrapped it around me and to my surprise I could get it around me.
      “That looks like it fits.” Giuliano remarked.
      “Really? You don’t think it’s too small?”
      “No.” Wouldn’t you know it, a saleswoman walks by then and Giuliano flags her down to ask her if that looked like it fit. She seemed to agree.
      I had also noticed what looked like men’s kimonos and pulled one down when I found this blue kimono. So we asked if it was a men’s kimono and she said yes.
      Well I had pestered and pleaded with Giuliano to try it on. He kept asking me why and what he would wear it for. (It’s always a pain to get him to at least humor me.) Then he said “Unless you’re going to buy it for me.”
      I rolled my eyes. Giuliano at this time is short on money, and I had two large paychecks under my belt. It was my ‘duh’ look. “Yeah I’m paying for it.”
      “Oh.” He smiled and put it on. *Mental groan.* He put it around himself and looked down. It looked really good.
      “That looks good on you?”
      “You think so?”
      “REALLY good on you.”
      The saleswoman straightened he kimono on Giuliano and smiled and agreed it looked great. That finally convinced him and he agreed to let me buy it for him. Finally!
      We then asked if there was a sash (obi) for my kimono. She had to help someone else with a sash, so we waited. Finally as we purchases our kimonos, she got one for me. Of course I forgot to ask for a sash for Giuliano’s kimono. (I didn’t see any men’s sash’s anyway.) The sash I got I’d say is like a long scarf. (So we both need an obi at this time. I need a wider one, and Giuliano just needs one.)
      Then we walked around. I asked Giuliano to see when the archery was taking place. We had just missed one. So we walked through vendors. I bought a Japanese fan. (I really needed it.) We looked at various things.
      Finally we saw a tent at the Konnichiwa Club (I think it was) where they were doing your name in kanji. As Giuliano’s name is so unique, I always wanted to know how it would write out in Japanese. So we waited and finally Giuliano could ask for his name. He wrote it down and pronounced it. The woman wrote it down and explained the kanji to him. The first kanji was actually the woman’s name. (Heh.) She said the first kanji meant “long life”. However he couldn’t hear the rest. Giuliano seemed very happy. Then Giuliano asked if I wanted to go. I supposed so. I could probably find “Christine” online in kanji. So I wrote my name down and pronounced it. She slowly wrote it down and gave it to me. I thanked her heartedly. Then we made a donation to their club. Now we just have to frame those.
      We then noticed it was almost time for the next archery time. We made our way and there was already a crowd. They talked about how it was done as someone demonstrated. It was beautiful to watch. I turned my head to see a man dressed up in Samurai armor. I tapped Giuliano’s arm and pointed to him. (We would later discover they were doing pictures with a Samurai at the fest. We missed out on it.) I lamented that I forgot my digital camera. My attention turned back to the archery display. I watched as each person got up and displayed their skill and art. We overheard that they have classes to teach this. Giuliano later told me he would not have the discipline to do that. I probably would as I’m very serious about my work and very focused. However I’m far from in shape and would not have the arm strength to handle that bow.
      Finally we left and went to see the rest of the vendors. One tent had what I’d call geeky stuff. Computer CDs, storage tapes, displays of the inside of a cell phone, etc. Giuliano looked through all of it, as was to be expected. Nearby in another tent, they were showing an elaborate toilet with controls. Giuliano picked up a few brochures. (I know I want to replace the house toilets, but this is a bit much.)
      After we finished up looking around, we decided to get some lunch. Giuliano stopped a few yards away under the hot sun to look at the booklet to see what each vendor was selling. I started baking and pleaded with Giuliano to keep moving. He still didn’t know what to get. I saw a nearby tent that was selling fudge, drinks, and some hats. I told him to figure it out as I went for the shade. I picked up a very colorful triangular-shaped hat. I had to wait as they had PC problems at the register and had to reboot. Suddenly I felt very hot. I fanned myself faster as I stood in line. No doubt about it, I was dehydrated. It was already after 4 o’clock and I hadn’t had anything to drink since I got here. Finally I got the hat and put it on. Already I began to feel a bit better.
      Giuliano picked a place to get food and we got some. He slowly made his way to find some shade. I told him I’d sit on the ground if it meant having shade. I was feeling really warm. Luckily someone let us sit near them on a shaded picnic table. I took off my hat and started panting out loud. I’m sure those people thought I was strange. I was baking and probably starting to suffer from really bad dehydration. I’m lucky I didn’t pass out right then and there.       I had Giuliano open for me my can of green tea. I took a long sip before I began on my food. I ate my food as if I was starving all this time. Maybe that was heat related too, trying to regain my energy. Afterward I felt a bit better.
      The fest was beginning to wind down. We walked to a tent that was talking about Commodore Perry and the opening of Japan. A few people tried to talk me into taking a picture behind some cut-outs. I was not about to do that as I was still feeling tired. I looked through the tent. Then we went to the bonsai tent and the sponsor tent next to it. Giuliano filled out a form to win a trip to Japan. By that time it was after 5 and the fest was over. Before walking out, I told Giuliano that we didn’t have any gelato from that vendor. I never had gelato before. So we both got some chocolate gelato. Now I know it isn’t good to have, but again I’ve never had it before. As my boyfriend is Italian, he’s known about it while I asked about it a while back. (Making me feel uneducated.) It just goes to show that even after 6 years, I still need to immense myself in more Italian culture.
      Finally we left the fest and I slowly walked back to the car. I was beginning to feel sick. Definitely not a good sign. I was completely miserable from the heat and humidity. When we got in the car, Giuliano turned up the AC. I think I drifted off a few times on the drive home. I actually do not remember some parts of the drive home and I was the navigator.
      When we got back to the house, I turned on and up the AC downstairs. I sat on a chair and rested as Giuliano got me something to drink. It took me a while before I finally began to feel better.

      So overall it was fun. Next time we need to find a way to bring water or buy drinks more often. At least I have a kimono now. I just need some shoes to go with it.
      Later that night I put on the kimono and posed for a picture. Then I had Giuliano do the same. So here’s us in our kimonos.



Bad luck comes in threes…

      I’ve heard that bad luck comes in threes. I just didn’t want this to be the third..
      Yesterday I made the final decision to put my first cat Muffin to sleep. (I got her 18 yrs ago when I was in the 4th grade.)
      For quite a while now Muffin had been getting thinner and thinner. She doesn’t eat much. Even then sometimes she throws it back up or has loose bowels.
      My parents are leaving, as I am, to my brother’s wedding this weekend. They’ll be gone 5 days. They worried that by the time they got back, Muffin would already be dead.
      So when my mom first told me all this on Sunday night, I had to decide if I wanted her buried or cremated. Among all my tears and sobs, I had to make a decision I have been dreading for years.
      When I was last at my parents house before my move to Georgia, I hugged Muffin and said my goodbyes then. I knew I would probably not see her again. I thought that would help heal my pain. But it didn’t. I wish I could be there now, today, when she finally gets put to sleep.
      I had decided it was best to put her to sleep and end her suffering. Muffin isn’t getting any better. Also we wouldn’t be wondering if she’d still be alive when my parents returned home.
      I also decided to have her cremated. I had promised Muffin that I would show her my first house years ago. I had to break my promise because by the time I was about to move into this house, Muffin had gone deaf and she was already starting to get thin then. At least up in CT she had a home she knew and a vet who knew her. I figured that was for the best for her. But if I had known it would be less than a yr later that this would happen.. I may have thought twice about it. So anyway I figure this way I can bring Muffin’s ashes to my house, give her a spot in it, and keep my promise to her.

      This whole thing has wracked my emotional well-being all week long, like giant waves crashing into a cliff. I’ve been sleeping poorly, and my work is starting to be affected by it all. I’m having a difficult time keeping tears at bay.
      The worst part is that Muffin has been holding on all this time. I wonder if maybe she thought I was coming back home. She always did follow me around the house and outside the house. If I was crying she came up and comforted me, even if we were outside. She was my friend when I had none. Maybe if I came home she would have gone in her sleep, content.
      Yesterday while talking with my mom and making the final decision, Muffin was sitting in my mom’s lap. She put the phone to her and Muffin was purring. That just killed me right then and there. She has no idea what’s coming.

      There’s so much more I can say about this and about her, but unfortunately I have to head to work now. I just wanted to type something up about her before I knew she would be gone forever.

Am I the only one who pays attention to ordinary details?

      So yesterday late afternoon and overnight we had a lot of strong thunderstorms pass through our area. In the afternoon one storm had 2 very loud crashes of thunder that sounded just a split second after lightning flashed. Overnight lightning was seen flashing in our windows.
      Today Giuliano and I went grocery shopping at the local supermarket. They were stocking their freezers around the yogurt and ice cream sections. On the ice cream freezers there was a sign. It started off saying, “Due to the electrical storms last night our freezers our down.” I stood staring at that sign in disbelief. Then I gazed at the other copies of the sign around. All saying the same thing.
      Then when we were about to leave, someone was driving the wrong way down the parking lot. (You can only drive either down or up the lanes, not both.) Now the arrow clearly marks which way to go. And then there’s the way the parking lines are slanted.
      *Shakes head.* It just makes me wonder.

More about my problems with AT&T Wireless

      I had called AT&T Wireless customer service several times. I was even passed around different people like a ball. Some of the people I talked to assured me that they could fix my problem. Whatever hope I had died when I found out time and time again that they couldn’t do anything for me.
      It turns out that when I moved from MA to GA, I moved to a different wireless region. When that happens, I have to be giving a new account number in the new region when I change my cell phone number. So that at least is why I got a new account number.
      Unfortunately I’ve been told several times by different representatives that they cannot link or join my new account to my old one. They can see my old account, see my old cell phone number, see when I bought the phone, but can’t link the two accounts.
      Now this whole account mess has made my life with them miserable. This is why:

  1. I had a past due on my old account when I changed my cell phone number.
    I pay my bills online. So when ATTWS gave me the new account number, I was no longer able to access my old one and pay my bill.
    Of course I assumed that the old balance would get forwarded to the new account number. It did not.
    So then I get an overdue notice in the mail. By that time, I didn’t have the extra money at the moment to pay the bill (thanks to car breaking down). So of course I get another notice saying to pay now or be sent to collections.
    I call ATTWS to pay my bill. I enter my old cell phone number in their automated system but it becomes soon apparent that someone else has that number now. So I have to hang up and call again entering my new cell phone number.
    Finally someone takes my call and I have to explain the whole mess that I’m in. I tell them that I’m trying to pay on a bill on my old account. I have to be on hold so that she can find it. Finally after a few minutes she sees it and I pay it.
    Now how pain in the butt was that to accomplish? If ATTWS didn’t give me a new account number, or forwarded the old amount, this would have been be so much easier.
  2. It messed up my ability to get an equipment upgrade discount.
    Now for some really stupid reason AT&T’s system bases your eligibility for that discount based off when your account started. It does NOT base it on when you actually bought the phone.
    So, of course, because I got a new account number, I was no longer eligible for the discount on a phone I bought in Jan 2003.
    This is probably the biggest problem that pisses me off the most.
    I scoff now when I hear that I can upgrade my phone every year. Nooo. It’s every year that you have the same account, NOT every year after you buy the phone. Of course they don’t tell you that.
    So now I have no choice but to buy a new phone at full retail value. Or get a discount by extending my contract 2 years. Fat chance of that happening.

      Basically when Giuliano and I called ATTWS CS they should have told us that changing our cell phone numbers from MA to GA would give us a new account number. They should have explained #2 listed above to us. If I had known this would happen, I would have paid my account, upgraded my phone, THEN change my cell phone number.

      So now I have a cell phone that drops calls every 10 minutes. Because the warranty is only for a year, ATTWS can’t do anything for me. I have to mail it back to Panasonic in order to get it fixed. Meanwhile I’m paying for minutes I cannot use.
      When I mentioned this to ATTWS CS, they said I can suspend my wireless account for around $10 (probably a month). However for each day my account is suspended, it adds a day to the end my contract. Four words, “I don’t think so.”

      So I did my research on cell phones. The cheapest phone ATTWS has, a Nokia costing 99.99, is basically a piece of crap according to reviews on Amazon. I’m not paying that much for a cell phone that won’t work well.
      I found a better cell phone, but for just about $30 more I can break my contract with ATTWS. (Something that I’m still tempted to do because I’m so pissed off over all this crap.)
      So I’m browsing eBay for good cell phones cheap. I’m looking for a seller that is willing to offer a return if something is wrong with the phone. It’s the only way I can actually have a cell phone that I can use.

      My contract with ATTWS ends this October. So I’m letting my contract run out at this time. However if I do get a good paying job soon, I’ll probably use one of my first paychecks to break my contract. I’d probably actually call customer service, tell them why I’m breaking my contract, and then do so.
      Of course I’ll have to wait now when I call ATTWS CS. They have to take a good minute to read all of the notes on my account. I bet.

“My Keyboard!”

      Giuliano stepped away from his desk at work early in the day. When he got back, his keyboard was gone.
      I’ll try to explain without going into those sticky details. (No pun intended.)
      Basically some coffee got spilled on a wireless keyboard that belonged to another coworker at Giuliano’s workplace. So someone else went to get a replacement. Instead of going to a room where other keyboards are kept, they swiped Giuliano’s keyboard while he was away from his desk.
      Least to say Giuliano was shocked when he got back to his desk. He then went to that room that has spare keyboards and got himself a replacement. Unfortunately the keyboard is older than the one he had.
      Now it’s a working keyboard, which is good. But I mean come on. Who swipes keyboards while someone is not at their desk? Don’t even say anything. Don’t even find that person and ask if they can have it. Just take it. Plus what if that was someone’s personal keyboard? (Meaning that someone bought themselves a keyboard out of their own pocket.) And then the person swiped that.
      I don’t know, but in my little world when you take something without permission, it’s called stealing. I mean geeze! At least have the courtesy to ask if you can have the keyboard. Or if you must have that keyboard because it’s the same type that was damaged, at least replace the person’s keyboard that you’re taking. Don’t just grab, run, and never look back.
      Giuliano and I just find the whole thing irritating. Hopefully the coworker whose keyboard was damaged is having a replacement (better) keyboard ordered for them. Then when the new keyboard comes, Giuliano will get his old keyboard back.

      I’ve heard of people swiping pens, pencils, markers, but keyboards? I guess we have to somehow prevent our keyboards from disappearing while we’re away from our work desks now.


      Just when you think it can’t get any better, it does. Giuliano just told me a bit more about this whole situation.
      Apparently the person who took Giuliano’s keyboard tried to clean the keyboard that the coffee spilled on. Then that person tried to give that damaged keyboard to Giuliano to see if it’d work.
      So the person doesn’t clean the keyboard, try it on their PC, and plan to give it to the original owner. They try to pass it off to my boyfriend.