My Exciting Waste of a Weekend

The real purpose of this post is to share my Halloween costume.  But since I can’t write less than 1,000 words, I thought I’d just tell you about my whole weekend.

Halloween:  I went this year as The Walking Dead‘s Daryl Dixon.  A) I love him with all my heart, and B) I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult.  Here’s my reference photo:


He’s the hottie on the right, not the hottie on the left

As you can see, the only unique thing about the outfit is those wings.  So I prowled the thrift store for about an hour before finding a $6 faux leather jacket in the women’s section that I took home and cut the arms off of.  I then found a close-up pattern of the wings online, which was incredibly easy given how many people are making this vest to sell on eBay and Etsy.  I cut them out of an old white T-shirt and glued them onto the vest.  Next I got a toy crossbow off Amazon, and my costume was practically complete.  Add a sling of stuffed animals on my belt (Daryl hunts for squirrels for food), and voila!


Obviously beginning of season 3 Daryl, when the wings began as white


The ear trophy necklace was store-bought at Spirit, I regret to say.  Couldn’t find or make an alternative.  However, it was with no small amount of satisfaction that I noticed they were selling the Daryl vest (with fake pre-printed wings) for $29.99.  WIN.






One last step:  Facial hair and hair hair.  I drew on a beard sort of quickly.  The bigger problem was my cowlick, which looked nothing like his hair and which rules my head with an iron fist.  With Tery’s help and generous product, I kind of mostly tamed the cowlick, at least for the night (Tery said she preferred me without it.  I do too, but not for the amount of work that it took).



I in fact love this photo so much I made it my WordPress AND Facebook avatar













I was afraid that no one would recognize me at the party.  How wrong I was.  I was practically the center of attention all night.  ALL the ladies were in love with me.  My co-worker Sam told me three times I was the hottest thing she’d ever seen.  They all wanted pictures with me, since “it was the closest to Daryl they’d ever get.”


Not Sam, Tracie


Better lighting. Plus Bowie knife, a last minute addition

So, Daryl Dixon 2013=smashing success!

Sunday was biking with Gerry.  You might remember Gerry as the guy who just about killed my love of mountain biking.  That hasn’t changed, and when he asked for a do-over, I adamantly insisted on road biking.  This, I’m happy to say, was a much more pleasant day.  We did a 20-mile route that took us all over the city, and it was so much fun that as we neared the end, we agreed to tack on an additional 9 miles around my park.  It was at this point that I am honor-bound to inform you that Gerry, who is usually manly to a fault, couldn’t handle the large divots that plague the dilapidated road through the park (which I’ve grown used to after two seasons), forcing us onto the smoother sidewalk/trail normally reserved for pedestrians, old people and cyclists towing their kids in sidecars.  Nevertheless, it was great fun and I suppose he redeemed himself (but I also suppose I’ll save that call for our next trip to the mountains).

I worked my usual shift that night, 8 pm to midnight.  I had planned a lovely after-work horror movie (because Tery is out of town this week), but something possessed me to instead take on a gig from my third job.  That’s right, I technically have three jobs.  I found this one near the tail end of my last disastrous boss’ regime at the hospital, when I was desperate to escape.  It’s called “general transcription.”  It’s also working from home, only transcribing a larger variety of files, not just medical.  Anything from business presentations to art classes to interviews with celebrities to car commercials.  I don’t know why anyone would want half the stuff on there made into a transcript, but I’m still not paid to ask questions.

I’m also not paid terribly well there, but it has the huge bonus of letting me work literally as much or as little as I want.  I could work for fifteen minutes or twenty-four hours, they don’t care.  I’m paid per transcribed job.  And a lot of them are pretty interesting; for instance, my first file was some poor guy trying to arrange visitation rights and a paternity test for his newborn son, and mom was being kind of an unreasonable beeyotch (this was obviously being transcribed for legal purposes).  I got to type an interview with Teller of Penn & fame.  The particular gig I took on this weekend wasn’t so interesting, about bilingual studies and incorporating kids’ ethnic heritage into the curriculum.

I said I didn’t get paid well.  Here’s how big an understatement that is:  The paternity test job took me about 7-1/2 hours to complete (that doesn’t include the hour I took off to go biking, which is allowed as long as the job is done by the deadline).  I got paid $33.  This weekend’s file took me 6 hours, and earned me $28.  Obviously I never would have taken it if I knew I’d be watching the sun come up and praying for death.

The problem is general transcription isn’t at all like medical transcription.  Medical reports are, obviously, very formal and structured.  Regular conversations between people are terribly sloppy and imprecise.  Lots of stammering, mumbling, trailing off, cutting each other off and talking over each other.  It drives me mad.  We aren’t required to type it word for word, but it then becomes a challenge of producing a legible document that essentially captures the spirit of the dialogue.

Did I mention you could work as much or as little as you want?  That’s about all it has going for it.

So, Monday.  My one day off.  I didn’t have BIG plans, but nor did I want to spend almost the entire day sleeping.  Which is exactly what happened.  Even after doing that all day, I slept Monday night, and Tuesday morning STILL felt like I needed a day off.  Never again.  At least this time I couldn’t blame it on old Gerry.


6 thoughts on “My Exciting Waste of a Weekend

    • Thank you! I also repurposed a dog blanket into a poncho (actual ponchos go for $30+ on eBay), but every time I put it on to join the party outside, everyone moved inside. Guess the Daryl Dog wasn’t hot enough to make them stay outside 😉

  1. A friend (slash not friend anymore because she’s gone Tea Party mad) got to meet and hug and take pictures with Daryl Dixon (could that name be spelled in a trashier way?) this weekend. He did not have lipstick marks all over his face but somehow I feel like your version is more accurate.

    Great job with the jacket. You always put so much WORK into your costumes. I’m surprised you are not just always doing cosplay. You are welcome to always have facial hair if you like.

    Is it geeky that I want to know more about these bilingual studies? Do they include ethnic heritage from both cultures? I imagine that would be difficult.

    • That bitch. Nothing good should ever happen to any Tea Partiers ever.

      It is a trashy name. Only slightly less trashy than his brother Merle (who is (was, spoiler) a much, much bigger meaner redneck).

      Thank you. I have nothing but admiration for cosplayers, while wanting nothing to do with that level of dedication. I have a FB/LJ friend into it, and she’s constantly making costumes–sometimes adding finishing touches on the train en route to the convention. Stress.

      Haha, I won’t pretend to be humble. One of the reasons I love the pic is the gender bend if you look at it quickly. Though looking at the side by side, I think I should have taken more time with it. My beard looks like a cartoon drawing.

      I wish I could satisfy your curiosity, but I don’t know much beyond the file I typed — and by 6 am I barely even cared what they were saying, I was so ready to be done. They were just very, very concerned with making sure kids took pride in their ethnic origins, which is a great thing, I suppose.

  2. Oh gosh, this place looks different now. You’ve changed. It’s like I don’t even know you anymore.

    And you did a great job with the costume! I totally recognized it as Daryl and not Dirty Vagrant With A Crossbow. Argh, I need to catch up on the show. The second half of Season 3 really dragged for me and has kept me from starting up Season 4.

    When you’re doing general transcription, the amount of time it takes you to do it, is that you typing and keeping up with the recording? What I’m asking is, is 6 1/2 hours of typing approximately equal to a 6 1/2 hour recording?

    • You don’t like it? I was afraid the light text against a dark background was too hard to read, and that was the only thing standing between me and massive readership.

      Thanks! It seems like parts of every season seem to drag, but it’s not like giving up on the show is an option. Every week it’s our first stop on the DVR.

      Oh god, I wish. That’s the terrible thing. For some reason, two minutes of audio can take 15-30 minutes to type, depending on the quality. The quality is the biggest issue. Medical reports are one doctor, one phone, most often in a quiet space. These files are often more than one person, with the mike favoring only one and the rest being muffled, heavy background noise and/or static, on top of people’s naturally sloppy speech patterns. But the Teller interview was lovely, because he did most of the talking (and actually has a wonderfully clear, precise voice) and there wasn’t a lot of interruption or “crosstalk.” Plus I am still really new at this, so hopefully eventually I’ll get a feel for it and can pick up some speed. Because $4/hour or less ought to be illegal.

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