2008 Oct 30 | making Halloween costume

There's a traffic divider in front of my apartment complex, so if I want to turn left, I have to turn right and then make a U-turn after the divider. However, near the end here, the divider becomes really short and skinny. I'm always tempted to U-turn over the divider rather than drive all the way to the end to save a little time, but I'm sure that's illegal, and a cop would probably be hiding somewhere if I tried it.

Another source of anxiety is coming into the complex. There are two entrances only about 100 feet apart, and I turn into the farther one. I like putting on my blinker early so people behind me can get into the other lane rather than slowing down, but if I do that, someone about to come out of the first entrance might think I'm going into that one and whip out in front of me.

Most people put plastic over a broken window, but this guy didn't. I guess as long as it doesn't rain it would be fine, although dust would still get in there.

One annoying thing about the Jeep is that the headlights stay on for about a minute after you turn it off. I always worry that I might have left them in the "on" position instead, so I sit and stare at it until they turn off. I can also open the Jeep back up, turn the lights on, and then turn them off again, because then they don't stay on. It's faster, but it takes work. I can see they're trying to be helpful and leave the lights on to light your way, but it's just a pain for me.

My "eye" to practice BIO on.

This was pretty good. I was supposed to put kiwi and all this other stuff on it too, but I usually modify recipes to keep them simpler.

I tried taking a local road home instead of I-45, but around 3:30pm, all the schools are getting out, so it took more time. When I-45 is jammed with traffic (usually around 5:00pm) it seems slower because you have to slow down so much on a highway you're used to going 60mph, but it's still usually faster than the local roads. Then again, there's only a 5- to 10-minute difference or so between the different options (including different local routes), so it really doesn't matter that much anyway.

Wal-Mart usually has about the cheapest gas anywhere. There might be a few gas stations scattered around that are cheaper, but they usually are cash-only prices and far out of my way.

Because of that, there's always a line at the Wal-Mart pumps. It's usually not too bad, though; most of the time I just have to wait for the one person currently filling up rather than waiting behind four other vehicles.

How can Wal-Mart be completely out of carts? Don't they have thousands of them that totally fill up this area?

I like Ultra Quilted Northern, but I haven't seen it around lately. Maybe they don't make it any more or changed the name to this Ultra Plush.

I hadn't eaten at a Luby's the entire time I've been in Texas, so I decided to try it out. It's a cafeteria-style restaurant and decent if you're in the mood for that type of food, but not great. This was $15 and I saved half for later, but that's still $7.50 for per meal just OK food.

I ordered a crystal ball for my costume. It was supposed to arrive Saturday, but didn't. Then it got to Houston Monday morning, but for some reason they didn't deliver it. I wanted to get it early enough so if it didn't work I could order another one from somewhere else, so I called FedEx Tuesday morning. They said it wouldn't go out on the truck until after noon.

So I drove to the FedEx service center, but it actually had been taken out. I asked if the delivery guy would leave it outside my door, but the woman at the service center said he would not and I could come back that evening between 7pm and 8pm. So I went to school and came back at 7pm. I drove straight to FedEx and didn't stop at home because we had a test until 6:30pm. Right when I arrived, it came to mind that maybe I should have stopped at home and looked to see if he had actually dropped it off, but since I was already here, it was too late. Of course, the woman at the counter said the delivery guy had just left it outside my door.

I got an automated call asking if I had used my credit card for gas. I had used one yesterday, but I didn't think it was this one. While I was trying to look up online which one it was, the call hung up. So I called Citi and explained what happened. The woman asked if I was using the card right now for gas, and I said no, so we cancelled the card. About halfway through the call I thought that a good question to ask was where the charge was made, and she said New York City, so then I knew for sure someone else was using my number.

This is the second time someone has tried to use my Citi credit card and I've had to cancel it, but at least they're really quick at contacting me rather than letting the charge go through and then me having to fight it. After a few days I thought that I should have tried to figure out exactly where the they were trying to use my card, call that place up, and have them arrest the person, but I thought of that way too late. The person must have just had the numbers, so the clerk must have typed the numbers in rather than sliding the card. I wonder if that happens often or if it should have tipped off the clerk?

I was driving around northeast of my apartment and went through the Washburn tunnel that goes under the channel. Every other road uses a bridge, so seeing a tunnel surprised me.

One of my credit cards has reward points. At the extreme end, if you get enough points, you can get a grand piano or even a boat. There are bars that show how close you are to having enough points for each item, and I didn't have enough points to even get a single pixel on the bar for the boat.

The one thing I've never liked about the reward points system is that I'll be pretty close to having enough points for whatever I want but not quite enough. Of course, that encourages you to spend more just to get points. Thankfully, the opposite happened here. I had just enough points to get what I wanted, with only 18 points left over.

Bad security questions like these are how Palin's email account got hacked. You can find out most of these things online in just a few minutes now. The best thing to do is probably put in incorrect answers and write them down.

I had a craving for a stick of Juicy Fruit gum, but there were only mints in the candy machine, and no gum at all. Aw, no instant gratification this time.

Two of our classmates made masks of two of our professors and even dressed like them. Ryan was Dr. Chino and Brandon was Dr. Stephens. During the lecture, Dr. Stephens said he couldn't look in the back of the room because it was too weird seeing himself.

It was Nicole's birthday, too, and we all sang, which turned her bright red.

The big box for my costume already had little handholds, but they were too high to be comfortable, so I cut some lower. Those weren't low enough, either, so I cut a third set. If I've learned one thing from making big costumes that you have to carry for a few hours, it's that you have to be comfortable. Chafing up your arms or exhausting some muscles is more of a pain than painting over some unneeded holes.

This is dumb. I duct-taped the edges of the box together, but the tape kept coming off, so I had to glue it down. Honestly, gluing on tape?

I was going to paint "Zoltar" on top of my costume (from the movie Big), and I actually started, but then I realized/remembered that I'm horrible at painting, and it looked really bad. So I wiped off the paint and spray painted over it. Instead, I got some construction paper, found a picture of a Zoltar machine online, selected just the part with the word "Zoltar," made it big, and printed it out onto the construction paper. I also flipped the image before printing so the face-out side was all red, without the dark center and lines.

The crystal ball I had ordered online had two problems. First, it was pretty small; only 3 inches around. Second, it was really heavy; it actually was a crystal ball. I decided to keep the base, which had lights that pointed up into the ball and lit it up, and instead make the ball part. I bought a 6-inch syrofoam ball, hollowed it out until a lot of light went through, and then glued it to the base. It actually worked out pretty well.

I had to go and buy a few things like the styrofoam ball that I hadn't originally intended on using. Searching for a hobby store near an airport named "Hobby" doesn't work very well, though.

Costume stuff all over the living room.

I chose a Zoltar costume because I hadn't seen one before, even looking at lots of costumes people had made online. However, after I started making it, I came across a website of a guy who had actually made one. I'm glad I did, though, because the box was a little too short for me to stand in comfortably. If I wanted to just stand somewhere, I had to either bend over a bit or stand straight with my head actually lifting the box off the ground a bit.

He had used a small box around his waist and PVC pipe to hold up the upper part of his costume. I didn't need to do that, but the pipe would be useful to get the box off the ground a bit and make it much more comfortable to stand in. However, the total height of the costume would be over 6 feet, and I only had 5 feet in the back of the truck to fit it in.

I could have just left the back door open, but I decided a safer thing to do would be to buy some smaller pipe that would fit inside of the larger pipe. Then I drilled a hole through both of them and put a bolt through the hole with a nut on the other end. That way the big pipe ended at the bottom of the box, at 5 feet long, so it would fit in the truck, and when I took the costume out, I could slide the small pipes into the bottom of the big ones and bolt them in place, making the costume around 6 feet tall and comfortable to stand it.

He had also mentioned a lot of people didn't get the movie reference and asked for a palm reading, so I studied that a bit. It turned out that everybody I met knew it was from Big and nobody asked for a palm reading, but I guess now I know the basics of reading palms in case I ever need it.

I also made a bunch of fortune cards to give out to people. I made 30 different sayings and printed them on business cards. The Halloween pub crawl was only for adults, so I decided to make them a little naughty. Then again, we were basically walking around in public, so I didn't want to make them too blantant in case someone threw theirs on the ground and a kid picked it up. For example, this one said, "Save water. Shower with a friend."