The day after Disney, I dyed my hair pink.

I’ve been looking forward to this for months. I have only colored my hair a couple of times since starting with the mouse over eight years ago, and even then it had to be a natural-looking color. I missed the crazy shades! I mostly used to do reds and oranges, or just bleached blonde, and thought about those colors this time around. But I finally decided that I’d do a color I’ve never done before: pink.

To start with, here’s a before picture:

before - dark hair

With extra bonus helper sink cat!

On the 10-scale of hair color, black is a 1 and lightest blonde is a 10 (there’s a color chart later in this post). My natural color falls right around a 2, even though it looks mostly black in this picture. (I took most pictures in the spare bathroom, because it has a nice plain white door right behind the mirror. The lighting in there isn’t 100% awesome, but I adjusted as well as I could.)

I washed my hair the night before, so it was free of products but also had some time to build up a little bit of scalp grease. Ew, that sounds gross. But seriously, don’t color freshly-washed hair; you need a little oil on your head to protect your tender head skin from the chemicals.

Behold, my supplies:

pink hair coloring supplies

I browsed the Sally Beauty Supply aisles thoroughly, torn between the Manic Panic and other brands. I ended up going with Ion, a brand I’ve used before (though for more “normal” colors) and liked. All of the unnatural colors are “semi-permanent,” so it’ll be interesting to see how long the color sticks around before I need to freshen it up.

With hair as dark as mine, it needs to be lightened significantly before it can take any really good color. So it was a two-step process: bleach, then color the lighter hair. I got a blue-based lightener, because my hair tends to go really orange and brassy when it gets lighter, and the blue is supposed to counteract that.

And yes, it’s really, actually blue.

blue bleach

Mix the blue powder with cream developer (I went with a 20-volume, recommended by the lightener packaging for when you’re working right at the roots) until it’s the consistency of pancake batter, then brush it on all over. I had Scott assist briefly, to make sure I got the small hairs on the back of my neck, and didn’t have any big drips or smudges on my skin.

The lightener packet recommended 30-50 minutes, depending on how light you want to go, and how tortured/thick/stubborn your hair already is. My hair was virgin and uncolored, so I was comfortable going with 50 minutes to get it as light as possible. The goal was to take me from a level 2 up to a level 7/8.

hair color chart

According to the packaging of the pink color I chose, I didn’t need to shoot for a level 10 to get good results; it recommended a 7.

So, after 50 minutes, I rinsed out the bleach and ended up with the following:

middle phase: bleached hair

Yeah, it’s still a little on the orange side, but not much. There’s only so much that the blue goo can do. If I’d gone for a non-colored lightener, it would have been WAY orangier, believe me. Been there, done that. Spell check is telling me that “orangier” isn’t a word, but I’m rolling with it.

Also, if you compare to the chart, it’s definitely lighter than a 7. I’m lucky, in that my hair is pretty dark, but it always bleaches out really well. Maybe it’s because I was blonde as a child, who knows?

Every time I bleach my hair, I’m tempted to stop there. It’s a kind of cool color. I could get a toner and use it, which would take out more of the gold tones and put it more toward platinum. Hmm, maybe in the future. For now, it was project pink all the way.

I let my bleached hair dry thoroughly before putting on the magenta dye. Some recommend waiting a couple of days between bleaching and coloring, while others insist it should be done right away, while the hair follicle is wide open. I figure, if they do it right away in the salon, and I’m using salon-quality supplies, I’d be just fine coloring immediately.

On with the pink sludge!

all pink sludged up

The instructions that came with the color said to leave it on for 20-40 minutes. However, a lot of the young people with their YouTube how-to videos appear to leave their color on for 2 or more hours. Since the color is just pure color (as opposed to store-bought boxes of hair color, where you mix a developer in with the color), you could leave it on overnight if you wanted to, and you’d be perfectly OK (well, you’d have a hell of a messy pillowcase to clean, but other than that, OK).

I rinsed after 40 minutes. And yeah, when I refresh the color, I’ll definitely leave it in for longer, because it’s way lighter than I expected it to be — more of a candy pink than a deep magenta.

I took some shots in the spare bathroom, but the color was hard to get right. Here’s the best representation, in natural light by a window:

the final pink hair

And even though it isn’t the color I thought it would be, I really dig it! It’s definitely not Disney-appropriate, which is a great reminder every time I look in the mirror that I don’t have to go in to work next week.

A couple of notes:

If you’re going to put a crazy color on your hair, rub some petroleum jelly on your skin along the hairline first. Because these colors stain like crazy! Here you can really see along my hairline where my skin had Vaseline on it, and where it ended and the color got on my scalp:

color stains the scalp meat!

(You can also see that my accuracy along the hairline was not all that great. There are also spots on top of my head where I missed the roots by a quarter-inch, and some areas that barely got the pink dye. These are all because of doing it with my own two hands, and not being able to see parts of my head directly. It’s hard when you’re using a hand-held mirror to look at the reflection of the back of your own head in the bathroom mirror, y’know?)

Anyhoo, the scalp line is no biggie, since I wear my hair over my forehead, and the stains will wash away after the first couple of shampooings. (I even got a color-protective shampoo, to replace the bar soap I usually wash my hair with. Yes, I wash my hair with bar soap. My hair is baby-fine, and just lays there limply in the Florida humidity unless I torture it a little bit.)

These color dyes are really thick. You can thin them out with some hair conditioner, but whatever you do, DO NOT thin them out with the developer solution you used with the lightener. Bad mojo there. You can also thin out the dye with a lot of conditioner, to get more of a pastel look.

Use non-metal bowls. I like to go with glass — easy to see that you’ve mixed everything up from the bottom, easy to clean, and non-reactive with the chemicals you’re using. And don’t wear anything too precious, because you WILL get bleach on it.

I plan on accompanying this color with an undercut, which I’ll probably do today or tomorrow. Not sure if I’ll end up with 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch on the sides — I’ll start out with the longer and see how I feel, then go shorter if the mood strikes. I kind of can’t wait for the roots to start growing out — nearly-black on the sides and pink on top will probably look really cool.

When refreshing the color, I may try Manic Panic or Special Effects or one of the other big brands, to see if I like them better. Anyone out there have a favorite brand?

The end of the mouse is in sight.

I’m at the two-weeks-left point of my job, and boy howdy am I ready to be done. I really like the job, don’t get me wrong, but I’m holding off on doing so many things right now. One thing I’ll say, I don’t know if I’ll ever find a cooler job — I’ve listened to so much music that I broke my headphones.

Thank goodness for duct tape.

Thank goodness for duct tape. No point in getting a new pair, since I’ll only be there a short while longer.

One of the things I’m holding off on is coloring my hair. Disney has a set of appearance guidelines called “The Disney Look,” and one of the points is to have hair in a “natural” shade. I miss the crazy colors I used to be able to do! So the day after I no longer work there, I’ll be bleaching, then coloring my hair with this stuff:

MAGENTA!

I’m most likely also going to give myself an undercut, because, why not?

We have our move date set; on September 9th, we’ll be flying ourselves and the cats out to Arizona. Where they apparently don’t have things like this in the grocery stores:

A Wal-Mart in Florida.

I’m looking forward to a time when I find this kind of thing weird and cool again, instead of just looking at it and thinking, Eh, that’s totally normal.

In other news, there are a couple of new bouncing baby books in the Meyer household! Scott’s fourth book, Master of Formalities, came out on July 7th (on Kindle; the paper version and audio book will be released on July 28th). It’s completely different from his other three books, and the quickie descriptions is “Downton Abbey set in the Dune universe.” I loved it, but then again, I’m probably a biased reader.

Scott's books: 4 so far!

You can check out Master of Formalities over at Amazon: USA, UK, Canada. You can also see all of his books at his Amazon author pages on the USA and UK sites. (His Magic 2.0 books are all on sale right now for $2.00 each on the Kindle, so there’s that, too!)

But wait, there’s more! I also had a book come out this month: Unsung Villains, which is the sequel to my first book, We Could Be Villains. Now I have a matched pair! I have some thoughts about the third in the series, but right now I’m thinking about writing something else before I move on to book 3. And of course, all writing is going to wait until after we’ve moved across the country.

Valentine & Hart, Books 1 & 2

Note: These copies are test proofs, so the actual covers aren’t as dark. Pertinent links: Unsung Villains is available on Kindle and paper at Amazon USA, UK, and Canada.

And to celebrate, right now (through July 21st), my first book, We Could Be Villains, is on sale for 99¢ in the US Kindle store, and 99p in the UK Kindle store.

I hope to get back to this blog and write a lot more, once I don’t have a day job anymore. After we move I’ll be putting myself through online school for graphic design, and I’ll probably have a lot of fun projects and things to share. Plus, I’ll have much more available time, since I won’t be away from home for 9 hours every day.

One last snappie before I sign off:

SO CLOSE.

SO. DARNED. CLOSE.

July: One Heck of a Month

I’m very, very glad to be on the backside of July. Because man, was that one packed month.

Most of the busy came from work. I’d been working at one specific desk in my department, booking one specific kind of talent and writing contracts for them. Now I’m at a different desk, writing contracts for a completely different kind of talent. Which you’d think would be similar, but they’re done in completely different ways, and it’s surprisingly hard to get your head working in a different direction.

(Could I use the word “different” more? Probably.)

At any rate, I wasn’t able to dedicate all of my time learning the new job, since I still had to do the old job, so for a couple of weeks I’d hop over to the new desk for an hour or two at a time every day, and learn a small portion of the job, and scribble down notes. And of course, in a 20-step process, that means learning step 17 one day, then moving on to step 8 the next day, then learning both step 4 and step 11 the next. It’s only now that I’ve been doing the job for a week that I’m seeing all of the steps in order, and things are clicking.

Add in that during this fortnight, while learning the new desk, the other person who did my old job (several of the desks have two people splitting the load) was on vacation. So I spent two weeks covering two desks while learning a third. Then after that, I got to spend a week training someone to do my old desk, while still popping over to the new desk and learning more little tidbits there.

Yeesh, I’m tired just writing about it. But I made it through. I’m slow now, because I’m going over everything a thousand times, and I’m consulting my notes on every step. Time will bring up my speed.

Things are good in the homestead. Scott went off to San Diego Comic-Con, and had an enjoyable time. I considered going, for a short while, but eventually realized that the very thought of it was making me panic. Too many people, too small a space, unknown city … I would have been a crazy panic panda the entire time. Once Scott got there, he confirmed that me staying home was the absolute right choice.

(We are planning on going on JoCo Cruise Crazy next February. It’s like a very small con, centered around people I like very much, and with your hotel room right there, instead of a crowded 30-minute bus ride away. Centered around a tropical cruise vacation where you don’t have to worry about finding a place to eat or a quiet corner, since it’s ALL places to eat and quiet corners. It seems like the perfect kind of con for me.)

The cats are doing well, and remain the most beautiful cats in the world. With the kissiest little faces. Look at Commie’s little face! I think I’m going to go give him a smooch right now.

I’ve acquired a Miracle Fruit plant, because I’m crazy that way. If you haven’t heard of Miracle Fruit, it’s a small berry that you crush in your mouth and swish around, and then for a couple of hours afterward, sour things taste sweet. You could eat a whole lemon, and it would taste like amazingly sweet lemon candy. There’s a chemical (called “miraculin,” hilariously enough) in it that alters the receptors on your tongue.

No berries yet on this plant, and I don’t know how long it’ll take before some arrive. It’s a slow-growing plant. But since the berries themselves cost from two to five dollars apiece online, I figured I’d just try to grow my own. (You can also get tablets made from the fruit, which are cheaper than the fruits themselves, but apparently don’t last anywhere near as long.)

Finally, we’ve finally become people who put little family decals on the car window. These are the Star Wars family car decals from ThinkGeek. Which are, sadly, out of stock right now. They came in a set of 50, so we have Jawas and Vaders and Lukes and such galore. What to use them on … hmmm. These particular choices are based on How to Decide Which Star Wars Character You Are Most Like, in which Rick imagines us as we really are.

Photodump: I’m a huge blog slacker

I’ve been a huge blog slacker of late. I have craft projects to document, books to review, products to endorse … perhaps it’s just that I have too many choices, so I don’t know what to write about next. So I’ll dive back in with the easiest possible thing — catching up on my photodumps.

First off, I finally bit the bullet and got some Skele-Toes. Yes, they’re the weird shoes with toes. And I have to say, I could walk FOREVER in these things. They’re the most comfortable athletic shoes I’ve ever owned. I even got a second pair in black. If you’ve ever been intrigued at all by these, but were put off by their price tag, see if you have a Finish Line store near you — they’re clearing these shoes out for $29. I went to their site the other day to get a second pair in pink, to put away in cold storage for when these wear out, but they’re out of my size. Oh well, I’ll have to care well for the ones I have.

I did try on the Vibrams Five Fingers before I got these. Thing is, I like how the Skele-Toes put the two smallest toes together in their own pocket. For me, both of those toes were too stupid to easily make it into their own individual homes.

Oh, and also, I got some of the super-thin athletic socks to wear with these. Though you could go barefoot in them too.

We visited the Orlando Mini Maker Faire, where we saw lots of fun doodads and gewgaws. The local R2 builders’ group had many of their models out on display. I was especially taken by the bronzey guy in the middle here. He had a whiff of the steampunk to him.

Disney opened up a brand new resort! The Art of Animation resort is mostly family suites, and a step above the regular value resorts. Cast members got a chance to tour the grounds and look inside some of the rooms, and I have to say, it’s really nice. We’ve only ever stayed at the value resorts ourselves, and this was a definite step up.

We figured that we could see the grounds anytime, but this “open mouse” would be our only chance to really scout out the rooms. I’m glad we went — when else would I be able to get a panorama shot of the gigantic Nemo pool with only Scott in the frame?

I got some lightweight pajama pants for summer. They had the Muppets on clearance at Old Navy, so how could I not? I took this picture because of the freakish Kermit/Piggy hybrid face in the center, but I didn’t notice until uploading the picture that the left-hand side has a really weird phallic Piggy-nose thing going on. Or is it just me seeing that?

I’ve missed the Cash & Carry terribly — we have Costco and Sam’s Club and such here, but there wasn’t a convenient restaurant supply store … until now! We just got a shiny new GFS Marketplace, and it’s everything that Cash & Carry was. But cleaner and more brightly lit.

I didn’t purchase a bottle of liquid fake butter, sadly. But I did get a box of frozen gyros meat slices. And a huge pillow pack of pepperoni. And several pounds of saltwater taffy for my candy bucket at work.

I’ve really missed those frozen gyros meat slices. Mmmmm.

On the deliciousness front, one of my lemon trees turned out to be a lime tree. I finally picked the fruit to check it out, since it was taking FOREVER to turn yellow. Yeah, the joke was on me. So since I have no idea what kind of limes they are (the tree is labeled “Meyer lemon”), I call them mothereffing limes. Though I’m less ladylike about it.

Anyhoo, the mothereffing lime is flowering again, and creating new leaves like crazy. The Eureka lemon tree appears to actually be a genuine lemon tree, and it has two lemons growing on it. It’s also going crazy with the new leaves.

The cats are doing well. We were having some flea problems, but Advantage appears to have them under control. We tried Frontline, but apparently Frontline is pretty much useless in our area — the fleas are all adapted to it.

Commie is loafish as ever, and Trouble could stare for hours at the most beautiful cat in the world.

I’m still playing Draw Something, but I’ll admit, I have so many games going that I don’t play them all as often as I’d like. I nibble away at them when I can. I’ve started trying to draw everything in under a minute, since part of the game is having to watch the other person’s drawing being created in real-time. And there’s nothing that makes me more insane than watching a drawing happening, guessing all the while, for five minutes or more, only to have the person finally draw the actual guessable item almost as an afterthought at the very end.

I try to get the guessable part in there in under 30 seconds, then save the fine details for last.

I realized as I put my stuff down on my desk the other day, I tend toward hot pink a lot.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, just an observation.

Last but not least, I’m running Ice Cream Sandwich on my phone, courtesy of CyanogenMod 9. It’s super-sleek and fast, and the ICS camera is even better than the stock Samsung camera I loved so much.

All right, now that I’ve emptied the photodump tank, I can move on to various other things waiting in the blog queue.

Photodump: Concert, Ukes, Lemon Trees, and Special Robotic Guests

Busy times lately. I’m pleased to say that my cool temp job, which was supposed to end at the beginning of February but got extended, is turning into my cool for-realsies job. A full-time position opened up in the department, and they offered it to me. So as of this week, I’m now an officially official member of the Disney Creative Entertainment office & technical staff. Yay!

What else has been going on, you may ask? Well, we attended a concert:

Our chums Paul and Storm came to town. Wonderful guys, both. I don’t know what it is about internet celebrity people of Roughly Our Age, but so far every one of them I’ve met has been lovely.

I re-strung my best and my cheapest ukuleles. The best got a new set of Aquilas, including the low-G string. The cheapest got fishing line. For realsies. As an experiment, I strung it with pieces of 25-pound, 40-pound, 50-pound, and 60-pound test. Being me, I got the cheapest fishing line I could find: $2.50 for each spool. It doesn’t sound too awful!

It’s my understanding that some of the really good quality strings are, actually, high-quality fishing line. But we’re talking fishing line that’s $20 per package. I’d have to re-string really frequently to make it cost-effective over the $10 I spend on a pack of high-quality strings.

And when changing, it was totally obvious that I needed to swap out these strings. These are both low-G metal-wound strings. The bottom is the old one, the top is the shiny new one.

Unfortunately, now I have to deal with stretching out the new strings. Which means re-tuning over and over and over. Right now, they don’t even stay in tune through an entire song. But they’ll stretch and settle in soon enough.

I put a new battery in my electronic tuner, since I’ll be using it a lot. Did you know that IKEA now carries size 2032 batteries? Those flat round ones, about the size of a quarter, that seem to be in EVERY little gadget? $1.99 for an eight-pack, which was the highlight find of my most recent IKEA trip.

I don’t know if the Swedish yellow pea would have been a highlight. Just the name gave us the giggles.

I also transplanted my two little lemon trees into bigger pots. They’re both flowering like crazy right now, and the Meyer lemon is still working on a few fruit that it started back in the fall. They stopped growing for a month or so, during the colder times, but they’re totally getting bigger again. Hopefully the Eureka will also bear fruit, now that it’s in its first flowering.

The cats remain grand, as usual. They’re both on my desk right now as I type, trying to duke it out for the coveted spot in front of the keyboard. Which means I may soon have to wrangle my arms up over the top of one of them to type. They’ve been very civil to each other today, including a cheek-to-cheek nap.

To close, things are good. Especially my job, in which things like this happen:

Photodump: Fireworks, Clothes, and Chicken Granules

It’s been an adventure-filled week, and I still haven’t done my baking yet. That’ll be this evening.

We went out to Epcot on Wednesday night with some friends; it’s always nice to hit the theme parks in December to see the decorations, and we hadn’t seen the seasonal add-on fireworks at the end of the Illuminations: Reflections of Earth show.

First, I played around with some new camera apps for my phone. This is from the HDR app, and the water of the fountain came out creepy cool. You can see Scott peeking in on the side. I like this HDR app, and may actually upgrade to the paid version eventually. It’s “HDR Camera” in the Android Market.

We got a nice lagoon-side spot to watch the fireworks, although from over in France where we were, there was an island blocking the big globe. That’s OK, I’m not a fan of the globe parts anyway.

The extra fireworks on the end were so over-the-top, I giggled like an idiot all through them. Also, you can see a lot of ducks over in our corner of the lagoon, hanging out as far away from the fireworks as they can. Over on my Flickr, you can see I have a history when it comes to fireworks and ducks.

It was a gorgeous night, and there was a HUGE half-moon hanging low over the Mexico pavilion as we left. I know it doesn’t look all that huge in this picture, but isn’t that how it always is? Also, I love that we have flowers blooming in December here in Florida.

Onward! I went to Old Navy to consider their sweaters again. Once again I tried on some of the ladies’ sweaters, and once again I ended up buying a boys’ XL instead. They’re just so much softer! I don’t get why ladies’ sweaters have to be so coarse and stiff.

I sure am glad I carried my stuff to the fitting room in a neat stack. The girl took everything from me and piled it elegantly in the corner.

I also looked at sweaters at the Target. In the adult section, as well as in girls’ and boys’.

I think they forgot to include something on this particular label. Or perhaps they couldn’t think up any actual features of this tee.

I also found something delicious at the Target.

Don’t knock the chicken granules until you try the chicken granules! I took this jar full of delicious to work, where it’s nice to have a hot cup of broth in a freezing-cold office. It tastes just like the broth that I used to get out of a machine at the high school where my mom worked, back in the ’80s. The cups had poker hands on them. Ah, memories.

Yes, that’s an electric stapler. This office is classy.

I’m going to miss this job when it’s over. There are only three weeks left of my temporary assignment. Although there’s always a chance my temp spot will be extended, I haven’t heard anything to that extent yet.

So here’s to you, cube 226A! My festive lights, fez lamp, various other crap and I will savor you for the next fortnight and a half.

Photodump: A Quite Busy October

It’s been a busy little month at the House of Meyer. We took our first ever cruise near the beginning of the month, which was awesome. But then we also had visitors come to us!

Scott’s mom and younger brother came to town for a few days, so we showed them a good time. That good time included visiting Disney parks:

I took this with a HDR camera app for my phone. The results aren’t as good as real HDR work, but it still comes out pretty cool. The colors seem more vivid, and everything is super-sharp.

I was also able to take the four of us on a surprise voyage — a fireworks-watching cruise out on the lake in front of the Magic Kingdom. I, a person who never wins anything, won it! It’s part of the “magic backstage” program, which provides nice little thank-yous for cast members. We set sail from the Contemporary Resort.

The weather was a bit drizzly, and there were a lot of pesky bugs down at the Contemporary marina, so the pool wasn’t being used by any people. Good thing, because a dozen or so ducks made it their home base.

We headed out on the water, and we were given drinks and snacks.

Neither Scott nor his Mickey-shaped “crispy cereal bar” are actually that creepy.

The fireworks show wasn’t the usual Wishes, but a special Halloween presentation. Awesome as always.

Our little boat had the soundtrack piped in. It was a load of fun!

At one point in our Disney-goings, we went to a cast-specific store. It used to be just merchandise, but now they have a section where you can shop from a limited selection of groceries. The prices were great! I just don’t need a restaurant-sized can of marinara sauce. But I did get some produce, because the Granny Smiths looked excellent.

And indeed they were. Fresh and tart, as opposed to a lot of the cold-storage stuff the groceries have at this time of year.

You know what else is delicious?

IKEA chocolate. I’ve never been much of a dark chocolate person (really, the bulk of my experience has been the miniature Hershey’s Special Dark bars that come in the Xmas assortment), but I’ve heard that it’s good for you, so I tried out IKEA’s Choklad Mörk. And it’s surprisingly tasty!

Also apparently delicious: grass.

I planted a little patch of grass for the cats to enjoy, since their main outdoorsy time is on our 2nd floor deck. So far Commie is still scared to come out on the deck, but shy Trouble loves it. And she loves to eat her greens. It’s surprising how fast this Bermuda grass grows.

My lemon trees are doing well as well. The Eureka still hasn’t bloomed, but the Meyer went through a lovely bloom (and those flowers smelled fantastic). I’ve been warned to not expect lemons right off the bat, but it sure looks like I have almost a dozen little guys growing. They’re tiny so far, but making nice progress.

They’re just adorable!

Now that I’ve sidetracked like crazy, back to the visiting Meyers. We also went to Sea World! It was my first time, but everyone else had already been a couple of years ago. Still, we three young’uns got to ride Manta for the first time together.

I really loved that coaster. You kind of dangle downward on your belly, so there’s none of that bashing and smashing of my head like I get from a lot of looping coasters. Compared to Manta, the old Kraken coaster was painful and kind of boring.

Had a surprisingly good gluten-free meal (roasted chicken) there, and I was also impressed at the upkeep of the park. Everything was neatly maintained, freshly painted, and very clean. I went in with Unversal-level expectations, so Sea World kind of blew me away.

Except the penguin exhibit was kind of eerie. They just stood around in groups, staring at each other. (This is another picture from the HDR app.)

All in all, it’s been a great fun month!

I’ll leave you with this warning sign that appeared one day at a busy intersection in our neigborhood. Simple, but a message that motorcyclists would love more drivers to keep in mind.

Fortnightly Update & Photodump

It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve posted. Ack! It’s been a hustle-bustle fortnight here at the House of Meyer.

Workwise, I’ve just finished a week of training for my actual job. If you’ll recall, I’ve been doing some basic greeting and luggage-hefting until they had a classroom session available. I only had to wait a month and a half to start my actual training, which is apparently fairly fast. The five days of training consisted of one day of learning the two software programs, then four days of doing the job while under supervision. I’m sure I’ll still have lots of little questions here and there, but I have the gist down. I start doing the actual job tonight, although I don’t get to do the classroom learning until tomorrow, so I may only have half of the software I need available tonight. We’ll see. Three people do the job at the same time, so at least I’m not being thrown in all alone.

Since I have no seniority, it looks like I’ll be mostly working nights. I don’t mind it so much, except that Scott works mornings. We get to re-bid for schedules every 6 months, and I just missed the bids when I started, so hopefully in 4 months or so we’ll be able to figure out a way to see more of each other and maybe share a day off.

Medically, I’ve been down with a cough and some stuffiness. I’m also going next week to a brand-new gastroenterologist, hopefully one who actually listens to me and doesn’t treat me like an idiot. With any luck, he’ll agree to let me stop the double-dose of immunosuppresants, and go down to one for maintenance. Also with luck, he won’t make me wait two hours to be seen or make me cry or tell his staff what a pain in the ass I am when I’m standing right around the corner, like the old guy.

Scott’s getting ready for some medical whatnot of his own, although I don’t know for sure if he’s said anything to the general public yet. I’ll just say that he’s going to have a procedure done soon that I had done when I was five, and after he has it done, he’ll be able to eat all the ice cream and popsicles he wants.

Commie’s eye is doing great. A little weepy now and then, but for the most part back to normal. Here he is on top of the safety and side-effects sheet for Cimzia, one of the medications I take for Crohn’s. Mind you, it’s also printed on the back side. In fairly small type. This stuff packs some serious yuck.

In the world of little animals, we’re seeing a ton of baby frogs lately. When a friend was over visiting, she just had to pick one up. You can see how totally tiny they are.

Believe it or not, this was one of the larger tiny frogs. Later that week I saw some that were less than half this guy’s size. I’m making sure to step gently when I see them.

Here’s a question for you Oregonians and Portlanders. I saw this car in our apartment complex lot, and while I understand the two Oregon-related stickers, I don’t quite get how the “TURD” sticker fits in.

Perhaps it’s just another of this Portland-loving person’s fixations. Portland and poop, two great tastes that taste great together.

Lastly, we met up with some friends for dinner and mini-golf last week. First we went to Putting Edge, which is an indoor glow-in-the-dark place located at Festival Bay. For those of you who don’t know, Festival Bay is a relatively new-ish but spookily deserted mall. Over half of the stores are vacant, and the occupied spots are filled with weird stores like Black Market Minerals or the several memorabilia stores. When your mall’s biggest stores are Bass Pro Shop and Shepler’s Western Wear, you know you’re in trouble.

We peeked in at Putting Edge and decided that it looked cheap and cruddy, like a traveling carnival’s spooky dark ride. Everything looked like badly-painted plywood. Their price was the same as all of the other area mini-golf joints, so we just toodled over to the nearest Congo River Golf location. Same price, but far less creepy.

See? Much more civilized. The course was good, but it was mostly creative greens. I prefer a mini-golf course with stuff like windmills and buildings and other weirdness. I may be spoiled, since I grew up really close to a Putt-Putt that I loved.

It appears that Universal is building a pair of ’50s B-movie themed mini-golf courses, set to open in early 2012. Fingers crossed that they’re awesome, because the theme is right up my alley.

Photodump: Vistor and Early Summer

Summer has arrived early here in Florida. Although it was partly cloudy today.

Horrible, right? Right.

Temperatures are around 90 degrees right now, with humidity to match. I’m working outside, but at least I’m working in the shade, so it’s tolerable. As for the job, it’s going well. I’ve learned that (a) I’m physically stronger than I thought, and (b) I’m much stronger now than I was a month ago. Not that I’m all muscley or anything, but 50-pound suitcases are way easier to lift.

I’ve had more than one manager thank me for doing a good job. Which seems to me the only way to do the job, but if you’ve ever worked anywhere, you know that there are those dead-weight people around. I’ve also had someone mention already that I should become a trainer. I’ll totally consider it in five months, because you have to have been in a position for six months before you can train it.

We’re also getting some kids from the college program starting up, and they all seem like nice guys. I wish I’d known about the college program when I was in college.

Onward to our visitor! Our friend Kermet was in town for a comedy gig, and we were able to meet up with him for an evening. Of course, we dragged him kicking and screaming out to the Magic Kingdom.

He took pictures to torture our Seattle friends. Then we ate some dinner and rode some rides. The new Haunted Mansion interactive queue is a lot of fun! And the new hitchhiking ghosts at the end are a nice update.

We fought our way through the pre-fireworks crowd and headed out via monorail after the sun went down, over to the Polynesian resort to get a Dole Whip. I actually had the pineapple/vanilla swirl, which was a great move. The vanilla cut down on the richness of the pineapple. We caught the ending of the Wishes fireworks show across the lake.

Then we strolled past the luau dinner show, where (according to Kermet) they played three great songs in a row. He’s Hawaiian, so I’ll totally take his word for it. He was also amazed and impressed at one of the hula numbers they included, which was all shirtless men. I can totally get behind this dinner show. Someday I’ll have to check it out.

He didn’t find the Polynesian resort as horrifying as we all thought he would, which was nice. I still don’t think he’ll stay there, though.

The main gift shop at the Poly (called “Bou-Tiki”, I believe) had this horrifying set of mannequins in the window:

The dad has wonky eyes, and the little girl is something out of a nightmare. But at least they’re stylishly dressed?

Anyhoo, we had a lovely time catching up with a great guy. He’s coming back out for another gig in a couple of weeks, so hopefully we can spend another evening taking him to another park.

New Job: Week 1!

I just finished working seven out of the last eight days at the new job, and boy are my legs tired.

For those who don’t know, I’ve moved over to the resorts arm of the Disney empire. My eventual job will be “Bell Dispatch”, in which I’ll work in a little booth with a computer, telling the bellmen (I keep wanting to call them bellhops) where to pick up guests and their luggage, and where to take them.

Thing is, I’m not scheduled for my classroom sessions at Disney University for two more weeks. So until I’ve learned the software used to dispatch bellmen, I’ll be doing other work. I’ve shadowed a few people, and I’ve been trained to do an easy temp job (more on that below).

So how was my week? Busy. Tiring. And unfashionable.

The first day was orientation for the resort. It was actually a combined orientation for two resorts, then at one point we split apart and did separate tours. There were a dozen or so of us, headed to many different jobs: dispatch, front desk, housekeeping, food & beverage, and a couple of managers. We had to do some getting-to-know-you exercises, we learned about the Disney service basics, we got overviews of our resorts, we took our tour, and we went to costuming to get our outfits.

I’d heard about Disney costumes from Scott, but this was my first time trying them on. The bottoms are like something out of 1983 — a high and tight waist, several pleats, and tapered ankles. The sizes are also from the past, which is apparently standard for uniform companies. The blouse is a boxy camp-shirt style, with poofy shoulders. It’s as if they decided that since they can’t make everyone look great, they’ll make everyone look equally odd.

All right, fine. I had Scott take a picture of the trousers:

There’s also a pocket on the right side. It adds to the weird saggybaggyness. On the plus side, there’s also an option for shorts. On the minus side, they also have the high and tight waist. Oh well, it could be worse. There are some seriously awful costumes out there. Dinoland USA, I’m looking at you.

Anyhoo, after Monday’s orientation, I got Tuesday off, then headed into a 6-day workweek. Wednesday was spent shadowing the job of “Greeter”, which will be my job for the next two weeks. Basically I hang out in front of the check-in building, under the porte-cochère, greeting guests. I answer their questions, direct them to places, and help with their luggage. If their flight leaves at 7pm but they had to check out at 11am, I can take their bags and put them in storage so the guests can go frolic in the parks. I hold doors for people, and just generally smile and stand around, being available for any guests. It’s not hard work, and it’s not mentally taxing, but it’s standing for 8 hours, which I’m not used to.

Thursday I got to go out with a bellman for the first half of the day, and I learned how they do their work. Which is basically getting calls from the dispatchers, and fetching/delivering guests and their luggage. Then I spent the rest of the day in the Disney’s Magical Express luggage office. It’s a system where you check your luggage into the airline with special tags on them, then at your destination the bags are loaded up and brought to your resort. There, they’re sorted and sent out to the rooms with bellmen, so you don’t have to fuss with the bags. You can just check in, then head off to the theme parks.

So for half of Thursday, and again all day Friday and Sunday, I was slinging luggage. It came in stacked in big locked cages, which we laser-scanned and sorted onto shelves for later retrieval. I learned that I’m stronger than I thought! Although I did bruise the heck out of my knees and legs, what with all the bumping against suitcases and using my knees to help heft bags up to the upper shelves.

My knee is pretty much capped with bruises. But they’re no big deal — I bruise if you look at me wrong. You can also see the mole-removal scar down there on my calf. They’re all healing nicely.

Saturday and Monday, I was a Greeter all on my own. No tranier, not shadowing anyone. Actually doing the job! I answered questions, sent people to places, stored luggage, opened lots of doors, and did it all hanging out in the shade on a warm spring day, with a breeze rustling through the palm trees. Seriously, you could do a lot worse.

Most of the people have been lovely so far. The bellmen are extra nice to me, but I suspect they’re sucking up a little because they know I’ll be dispatching jobs to them eventually. Many of the people in my area have been with the company lots of years, and they’re all well older than I. There are also a number of kids here on the college program, but quite a few of them are leaving this Wednesday, so I only barely got to know them. However, a new batch of fresh faces should show up in the next few weeks. It’s one of the strange things here at Disney — everyone seems to be either 20-something or 60-something. I’m in a weird middle ground.

This next workweek I’ll get a taste of some evening shifts (everything I’ve done so far has started in the morning). I hear it’s a lot less busy in the evenings. Then on the 23rd, I get to hit the classroom. I believe it’s 2 weeks of on-the-job training after that, and I should be a full-fledged dispatcher by mid-June. Since I’ve changed unions, I’m coming into this job at the bottom of the seniority ladder, so I may be working nights again. Time will tell, and we shall see.