Archive for November 2014

All was well   Leave a comment

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.

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Posted November 30, 2014 by agentksilver in Personal

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Razzle Dazzle ‘Em   Leave a comment

Song Reference if you haven’t seen Chicago

[MEDIA]
Who’s Mi-chael Brown?

[DARREN WILSON]
A Black Teenager.

[MEDIA]
Why’d you shoot him?

[DARREN WILSON]
We were fightin’.

[REPORTERS]
Was he angry?

[DARREN WILSON]
Like a monkey
Still I said, “Mike, move along.”

[GRAND JURY]
He hasn’t done anything wrong.

[MEDIA]
Then describe it.

[DARREN WILSON]
He ran toward me.

[MEDIA]
With the pistol?

[DARREN WILSON]
From my holster.

[MEDIA]
Did you fight him?

[DARREN WILSON]
Like a hero.

[TOM JACKSON]
Mike had strength and he had none.

[DARREN WILSON]
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.

[MEDIA]
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.

[KKK]
Understandable, understandable
Yes it’s perfectly understandable
Comprehensible, Comprehensible
Not a bit reprehensible
It’s so defensible

[MEDIA]
How’re you feeling?

[DARREN WILSON]
Very frightened

[MEDIA]
Are you sorry?

[DARREN WILSON]
Are you kidding?

Posted November 29, 2014 by agentksilver in history

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Actual Thanksgiving Post   Leave a comment

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.

black friday is here

YES WE KNOW TARGET.

Posted November 28, 2014 by agentksilver in Personal

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tl;dr The new blankets and I have come to an understanding   Leave a comment

I am not very good at sleeping. Part of the reason James and I set out on this project of redecorating our bedroom is because our bed usually looks terrible. James needs one bedcover under a single sheet. He lays down, crosses his arms over himself like a mummy, and falls instantly to sleep. I kick the sheet off of me, and sleep in layers of blankets:

Layer 1: a thin, loosely-woven blanket directly over top of me, to let air in
Layer 2: a quilt, not very heavy but still has weight, over my upper half
Layer 3 (optional): a nice warm blanket for when I get cold (usually when I first go to bed and need to warm up, and when I wake up but still have an hour or so to sleep)
Layer 4 (optional): a small, heavy blanket for when I am really, really cold

So James’ side of the bed is always nice and neat, while my side is a tangled mess of random-looking blankets. I toss and turn for a while, sometimes using a heating pad to warm up just my stomach or feet.

James decided to spend part of his bonus check on new bedroom decor for us. We had finally settled on everything, and it all showed up while I was working a double shift on Wednesday.

blue and yellow striped bedset

James set it all up as a surprise for me. He rotated the mattress, bought new pillows and a mattress cover, washed all the new linens, and set it all up. It was apparently all worth it to see me jump up and down in excitement when I saw it. It was just so pretty!

We went to bed around 11:00, and I got frustrated around 4:30 because I was so hot and tired and unable to sleep. I had even tried pulling the sheet and quilt out from the edges of the bed and sticking my feet out to cool them off. I had tried a heating pad to lure me into relaxation. I stuck extra blankets on my shoulders. But the mattress pad seemed to absorb all the heat and turn everything into an oven. The new pillow was so fluffy that I couldn’t breathe if I lay on my belly, which is how I normally sleep. Nothing felt right.

Finally at 4:30 I took one my normal blankets and my HP Lovecraft book out into the living room (I’m in the middle of The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath, where the biggest thing to fear is all the blatant racism). I turned myself into a cocoon and read until I couldn’t hold my eyes open anymore.

At 5:30 James woke up to go to work. He woke me up from my spot on the couch. I’m not entirely sure what words were said. But when he got into the shower, I crawled into bed. I tossed the new blankets onto his side of the bed and put my small, thin blanket over top of me.

I felt cold, so I decided to pull the new blankets from James’ side of the bed back. I pulled them onto my shoulders. That was fine. I rolled onto my side and fell into a weird sort of sleep, because I was sleeping on my side. I woke up again and felt cold, so I pulled my heavy quilt over top of me and fell asleep again.

On my first day off in about five weeks, I got about five hours of light sleep. But I figured out how to make the new blankets work for me. They just can’t be my primary blankets, that’s all.

Posted November 27, 2014 by agentksilver in Personal

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Random thought of the day   Leave a comment

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

Posted November 25, 2014 by agentksilver in animation

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Now I know   Leave a comment

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:

Applied Math
Reading for Information
Locating 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.

Posted November 24, 2014 by agentksilver in teaching

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Sorry   Leave a comment

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.

Posted November 24, 2014 by agentksilver in Personal

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