Archive for November 2014
Harris Teeter doesn’t have a whole lot of Starbucks hours to give, so I’m working less than I have been recently. Yesterday, for example, I got out of work while the sun was still up. I haven’t seen the sun a whole lot recently. It seemed like such a big thing. Once got home, I changed out of my work clothes, into some casual clothes, then put on some walking shoes and took a walk.
I spent most of the walk thinking just how amazing it was that I was able to take this walk. Then, after a while, I found myself thinking that this would be more fun with a dog. But for now, I should just be happy to walk. The peak of fall had already hit, so I was looking at a lot of bare trees. But the temperature was nice. The sun was making everything gold. Work had been thoroughly dull — they have so few hours available for Starbucks that I had spent the whole day training in Pizza. Once you get over the initial excitement of oh my gosh pizza!, the actual work of pizza is quite dull. As soon as you get one pizza out, you turn around, beat a new piece of dough into shape, spread the sauce, and sprinkle on the sauce and toppings, and then bake it and get it out. Repeat ad finitum. But my whole head felt clearer after just a 30-minute walk.
This morning, I was able to sleep in until 9:00. Actually, I didn’t even sleep that late. I spent the last hour just lying in bed thinking how nice it was that I didn’t have to get up if I didn’t want to. I’m closing the pizza bar tonight, so I don’t have to do anything until 2:00. Technically, James asked me to finish cleaning the kitchen, since he would only have a little time to attend to it before he had to leave for work. I had said I would. But that wasn’t, like, pressing.
I ate breakfast and read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for an hour and a half, before admitting to myself that it was now 11:30 and I really should get ready for the day. Once I did all that, I went and got all my schedules figured out and entered into my calendar and synched up to my phone.
I have Friday 5 off. I somehow got a random day off. James and I will be Christmas shopping that day. I was finally able to sign up for the ACT workkeys test that I need to finish applying to Wake County Schools. It’s, uh, tomorrow. My tests are tomorrow. Huh.
If all goes according to plan, I should be leaving for DC on the night of Thursday 11, and then I’ll leave either Sunday night or Monday, depending on how my work schedules line up.
I’m feeling good, guys.
Song Reference if you haven’t seen Chicago
Who’s Mi-chael Brown?
A Black Teenager.
Why’d you shoot him?
We were fightin’.
Was he angry?
Like a monkey
Still I said, “Mike, move along.”
He hasn’t done anything wrong.
Then describe it.
He ran toward me.
With the pistol?
From my holster.
Did you fight him?
Like a hero.
Mike had strength and he had none.
And yet we both reached for the gun
Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes we both
Oh yes we both
Oh yes, we both reached for
The gun, the gun, the gun, the gun
Oh yes, we both reached for the gun
For the gun.
Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes they both
Oh yes, they both
Oh yes, they both reached for
The gun, the gun, the gun, the gun,
Oh yes, they both reached for the gun
for the gun.
Yes it’s perfectly understandable
Not a bit reprehensible
It’s so defensible
How’re you feeling?
Are you sorry?
Are you kidding?
James and I spent Thanksgiving with his aunt Lynette and her family: husband Jeff, kids Paul and Alicia, and granddaughter Aiyana. We showed up only about twenty minutes before dinner was served, so we sort of got right into the whole feasting thing right away. Unfortunately, Alicia wasn’t feeling well and was upstairs for most of the night.
Before we ate, we did the usual what-are-you-thankful-for thing. Jeff went first. I was sitting on Jeff’s right, and therefore assumed that I would go last. In my family, we pass everything to the left: dishes, responsibilities, etc. However, in this family, they pass to the right. So instead of having four people recite their gratitude before me, I was thrown on the spot before I could come up with a list, much less compose it into something nice. I sort of sputtered out something about how I was glad the economy was recovering, realized that sounded cold and political, and decided by saying that I was grateful for how supportive and understand James is while I’ve been getting on my own two feet, financially speaking. James in turn said that he was grateful for the opportunities he’s had at work this year (getting into the management training program), and that he was glad he finally got to have me around all the time. Apparently James’ family had been experiencing a lot of health issues this year; they were grateful to still have each other, and were hopeful for a better next year.
We asked Aiyana what she was grateful for. She stared at us over the apple she had started eating. We laughed.
Conversation flowed pretty well. James was pretty quiet, but he perked up after he drank some water. Obviously we all overate. I had made the decision this year to only have one piece of turkey, since I always regret having a second (I got the drumstick! They gave me the second drumstick to take home!) I had planned to, instead, have two helpings of all the side dishes I liked.
After dinner, James passed out on the couch. I stayed out of the way while Lynette and Jeff cleaned up. I sat with James on the couch and started drawing in my sketchbook. James put his arm around me and straight-up fell asleep, so that I couldn’t move. Eventually James woke up, and we headed out with leftover turkey and the cheesecake James had made, thanking Lynette and Jeff profusely for dinner.
When we got home, it was time for Christmas. James turned on his Pandora Christmas station: the first song of the Christmas season was Bing Crosby’s “Let it Snow”. All was well.
YES WE KNOW TARGET.
I had a random thought coming home. I recently reread Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: the Invisible Art, a book about the philosophy and science of storytelling through comics. It’s told in graphic novel format, and it’s a really good read, if you’re interested in expression, art, or philosophy. Anyway, I specifically read the part about “closure.”
Even today, as I write and draw this panel, I have no guarantee that anything exists outside of what my five sense report to me. I’ve never been to Morocco, but I take it on faith that there is a Morocco!…All of us perceive the world as a whole through the experience of our senses. Yet our sense can only reveal a world that is fragmented and incomplete. Even the most widely travelled mind can only see so much of the world in the course of a life. Our perception of “reality” is an act of faith, based on mere fragments. As infants, we’re unable to commit that act of faith. If we can’t see it, hear it, smell it, taste it or touch it, it isn’t there! The game “Peek-A-Boo” plays on this idea. Gradually, we all learn that even though the sight of Mommy comes and goes, Mommy remains. This phenomenon of observing the parts but perceiving the whole has a name. It’s called closure.
…Comics panels fracture both time and space, offering a jagged, staccato rhythm of unconnected moments. But closure allows us to connect these moments and mentally construct a continuous, unified reality.
…Every act committed to paper by the comics artist is aided and abetted by a silent accomplice. An equal partner in crime known as The Reader. I may have drawn an axe being raised in this example, but I’m not the one who let it drop or decided how hard the blow, or who screamed, or why. That, dear reader, was your special crime, each of you committing it in your own style.
This particular part about closure blows my mind every time I read this book. I found myself pondering it on my way home from Petsmart today. I parked, got out of my car, walked up to my front door, put my keys in the lock, turn the key/lock, opened the door, walked inside, and closed the door. I then wondered how much of that sequence would I need to show, in, say, a comic, for a reader to understand what I was doing. My exact thought was “how much would a movie show?” which was not at all in the mood of where I learned this concept, but whatever. It’s what I thought.
Driving–>hand on car doorhandle–>open car door–>step out of car–>car door close–>walk up front walk–>keys out–>key in lock–>turn key/lock–>open door–>–>retrieve keys (an easy step to miss)–>step into doorway–>close door
driving–>car door close–>walk up front walk–>key in lock–>open door–>step into doorway–>close door
Okay, but can I make it shorter?
driving–>walk up front walk–>step into doorway–>close door
What is the shortest I can make this without completely losing the meaning?
driving–>step into doorway
*McCloud, Scott, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, pg 61-68, HarperCollins, New York: NY, 1993
I’ve been trying for a week, and I finally got in touch with someone about taking ACT courses (in order to qualify for a teacher assistant position). I have to sign up on a specific website. There’s three mandatory tests that I have to take:
Reading for Information
These tests are each $10 and take 55 minutes to complete. I can also take a fourth test, Business Writing, which costs $20 and takes 35 minutes to complete.
Time-wise, that seems really steep. The first three tests clock in at $1/5.5 minutes. Business Writing is $1/1.75 minutes (100 seconds). But it’s also the shortest test. According to the woman I spoke with, if I pass all four tests, I get a certificate from the governor. I’m not sure what the certificate is for. But it’s from the governor. Wait, who is the governor of North Carolina?
This guy. Pat McCrory.
On Saturday, I did some volunteer work for Wake County Animal Shelter. My plan had been to go to Southpoint Mall afterwards, eat lunch, and wander around the mall looking at different bedding options. As I was driving back towards the West side of Raleigh, I got a phone call from my boss at Harris Teeter. Apparently another Harris Teeter needed someone to close that night. So I agreed to take the shift, although I gave myself some time to grab some lunch, eat the lunch, and change clothes.
James got home around 4:30. I wasn’t home, but as I had told him I intended to go to the mall after volunteering, he didn’t worry. He sat and vegged on his computer for a while. Around 7:00, he realized that I still wasn’t home, and gave me a call. My phone rang, lonely in my car, and the call went to voicemail. He contemplated what to do next; he decided that if I hadn’t contacted him 9:00, then he would start contacting my family to see if they knew anything was up. I called him at 8:30 and explained what happened. He was extremely relieved.
We went out to dinner, to a local burger chain, where he ate a burger and I ate hot wings and a salad. We mostly discussed an exam he had to take for his managerial training program. But it felt like a date night. We were out and about, there was good conversation, we were silly with each other.
At home, we snuggled together on the couch and flipped through pictures of comforters together. We discussed our future. We discussed our visions of home. We were warm and happy. He had worried about me. But now we were just together. There was nothing easier in all the world.