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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Other Peoples' Problems

Hola, senors and senoritas! Como estas? (And that's the extent of my Spanish vocabulary).

So there were a lot of interesting/annoying people at work this week who I could write many stories about. I could make something up for the paranoid mom who's scared of every bent corner in whatever book she's buying lest she can't return it later on. Or I could go into detail about the old man who has to, for some reason, ask every question that comes into his mind twice. And then there's the teacher who teaches at my old high school and the mom whose son goes to said school, and how they met each other and talked about reading and English classes while looking over the 'Summer Reading' book table. But instead, I'm tell you about Marion, the grumpy and prickly grandma who thinks her problems are bigger than everyone else's and who automatically hates anyone who shows the slightest frustration towards her autistic grandson.

What I mean is, I was back in Music/Movies keeping an eye on everything when said grandson and his mom entered the section. He was making noise and talking to himself, so I knew automatically the kid had special needs. Then Marion and her husband came in, and the kid puttered around and picked out some DVDs. But then he started getting loud and high-pitched, and it didn't help that he set off the security system a few times by accident. By this point the mom has told me he has autism, and I'm like, "Alright", because I knew he had something like that in the first place, and who am I to make a fuss about his behavior when I have autism too? But he keeps making loud noises while his mom pays for one of his DVDs, and at this point I'm wincing a bit because my ears can't handle the chatter anymore and not because he reaches over the counter to grab at the movies. Of course, the mom and Marion see this and, not knowing the real reason behind it, say to each other, right in front of me, how the check out girl is getting frustrated with an air of silent disapproval around them like I'm being horribly discriminatory concerning the boy. I stay silent because I don't know how to explain myself properly, and eventually the mom and son leave to check out the rest of the store while Marion pays for the remaining movies. Still not liking my apparent attitude towards her grandson, she's short with me when I explain her membership has expired ("No, it can't be, I've already renewed it.") and at one point reminds me again that her grandson has autism and asks if I know what that is. I take this chance and tell her I have Asperger's, thinking it would give her a clue about the reason behind my reaction (because surely she would know about autism's symptoms, one of which is being sensitive to stimuli like loud noises) and also showing her I'm on her side. Instead, she brushes my explanation aside like she doesn't believe me or it's nothing compared to her grandson, who has, "moderate to severe autism", thus making it seem like his problems are so much bigger than mine. At this point I shut down, only saying the customary, "Thank you for shopping with us", and angrily stewing about it after Marion leaves.

The whole scenario just pisses me off. I mean, we were both in the wrong with Marion gossiping with the mom right in front of me and me wincing about the noise level, but she brushed off my own autism like it wasn't a good explanation for what happened. It's not like I was expecting her to be all, "I'm so sorry" and stuff, but an "Oh" would've been nice, and maybe we could've had a small talk about it. But nooooo, that's not possible, and according to Marion I should've known better since I'm either lying or have a mild case where I can easily control myself (not that she said this, but something like it was implied). Overall, everything about this situation just made me feel like my own diagnosis was unimportant, along with all the struggles I myself go through. Because yeah, I have a mild form, but even with that comes social anxiety, aloofness, shyness, and an inability to act normal in any given social situation. It took years of therapy to learn how to look people in the eye and control my tone of voice, but I still have problems not making faces, and I rather be alone than be social. I struggle with this every day, SO DON'T BRUSH IT OFF LIKE IT'S NOTHING!!! Just because you have your own problems doesn't mean you should be so ignorant to think that they're bigger than everyone else's or that everyone else doesn't have problems in the first place. Have some perception, lady!

Thankfully, that crummy customer wasn't enough to spoil my week or my excitement for Comic Con WHICH IS ONE WEEK HOLY COW!!! I'm nervous, excited, and pumped all rolled into one, and those feeling are amplified by two bits of good news. One, I got my promotional postcards in the mail. Don't they look great?




And two, I'm doing a panel (which, for those of you who don't know what that is, is basically a staged Q and A session between experts and an audience) on the 9th! I'll be talking about YA books and writing alongside some other local YA writers, Elizabeth Bunce and Bethany Hagen, and I can't wait. I wonder what type of questions I'll be getting; I hope I can answer them all (note to self: charge phone so video of whole panel can be taken) and a decent amount of people show up. Either way, it'll be a good experience!

I'm still stuck in the dialog bog with M.O.A-27. The girls are still talking, the guys are still complaining, and everyone's getting tired, including me (When am I going to allow myself to shift scenes? As soon as you think everything's covered, that's what!). The good news is I've made my way through a time transition, which can be stinkin' awful to write most of the times, but I did it. So far the boys and girls have checked out multiple recyclable sites and have walked many streets to get to each one, but neither group has run into the monster yet, and there's all sorts of security they have to dodge and hide from. It's only a few hours from dawn, and everyone's thinking of calling it a night and heading home, so they agree to meet at another dump site. I think we all know what'll happen next; the problem is, would it be too obvious to have the monster attack them all there? Please tell me what you think!

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Day old expired Godiva chocolate. We sale Godiva chocolate boxes around the store, and whenever the selling/'Good Thru' date passes, they're taken up to the break room and we employees get to nom on them. Delish!

Like 2: My postcards. See above.

Like 3: The panel. See above.

Like 4: Newest season of 'Face Off' started this week. Let the monster making and imaginations run wild (and possibly give me my own creature ideas)!

Dislike 1: People who think their problems are bigger than everyone else's, or those who think others don't have problems at all. See above for rant.

And quote!

"The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter." -Mark Twain

Adios,
Colleen

Sunday, July 26, 2015

How Not to Get A Membership

Hey-yo, readers of all ages!

So I had a busy week at Barnes and Noble, in the sense that for the first time in forever I was working the front cash register. There were a lot of people (which was surprising for a Wednesday), and I lost track of how often I had to press the 'Help Wanted' button to get people checked out faster (though I did have to press it in the first five minutes I started my shift). It was up here that I met Rochelle and Ashley, two ladies who are the points of interest for my customer stories this week.

First, Rochelle is an African-American and a busy but caring mom of three. She's short with short hair, wears capris and T-shirts, and has some junk in the trunk, if you know what I mean. Rochelle knows what she wants, whether it be a certain book or a good deal, and she loves memberships that help her save money to buy that stuff she knows she wants. Ironically, she's not very good at keeping track of money and sometimes finds out she can't buy something in the middle of buying it ("There's not enough for the membership on my card?"). Rochelle also takes her time doing things, like filling out forms, because she's a thorough type of person, and while that's sometimes a good thing, more often that not she takes too long by asking a lot of questions when something confuses her, leaving people impatient and backing up checkout lines without even noticing it.

Ashley is a bright and bubbly brunette in her early thirties. With slacks and blazers as staples for her wardrobe, she looks every bit the casual architectect, but she knows how to have fun and is planning on going on vacation soon. Reading is a beloved past time of hers, and her favorite genre is mystery; she was recently recommended to get "The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling by a certain cashier (and she got it). She likes a good laugh and is incredibly generous and nice, and she has a lot of friends who love her as much as she loves them. What really sets her apart from the rest, however, is how she recognizes the good in others, whether it be her family or complete strangers. Ashley sees what any person is like, what they can do, and the effort they put into both of these to be the best they can be, and it makes her want to be a better person as well. And since she's so giving, she sometimes hands out little rewards to unsuspecting people ("Here, this $25 dollar gift card is for you. You really made a conscious effort with that big line and kept your cool despite it all, so you deserve this."). She's just a overall great person who reminds you that there are great people out there and hard work does get rewarded.

For KCCC, I have finally ordered my promotional postcards, and they look rather nice if I do say so myself. Now it's on to ordering books, and I have to thank Rich-the-editor for the help. He told me about this business deal Spencer Hill Press has with this printing company called Midpoint Trade, where I can get 40% off my order of SWAMP ANGEL books (which is good, because I need to place a big order). He gave me this email to use to contact the company, and I've sent them the order. I can't wait to get a nice big box of my book!

I said last week it was either going to be more dialogue or some action for M.O.A-27, and I wound up writing more dialogue. We finally get more details about Aria/Moa's death; according to what the police told Ursele and co., it was a teleporter accident which resulted in Aria/Moa basically getting bisected, and it was so gruesome the body was cremated before anybody could see her. Ursele also tells Moa about how the friends were after the funeral and how they were up until Moa's appearance: Ursele buried herself in work, Thayer took on the whole Tar Pit and got into a lot of fights, and Len had to run the repair shop by himself because Shawney was so distraught (he was the one most effected by Aria's death since the two were childhood friends). And during this lovely talk about death, we discover info on everyone's parents: Aria's and Shawney's parents are dead (they're engineers who died in an explosion), as in Len's father who died of sickness. His mother and Ursele's parents are in group homes (not like retirement homes, but more like a commune, a big family), and no one knows what's up with Thayer's parents since he doesn't talk about them. For all intent and purposes, it was a very informative week this week, and I can say we're getting closer to action now that the lot they need to explore is now empty and they can get down to business finding the monster. Will they, though?

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: I got a $25 dollar gift card from a customer. See above.

Like 2: It was my grandma's birthday this week. Her, me, my grandpa, and my sister had a very delicious dinner at nice steakhouse, and everything was SO GOOD. The salad, the bread (oh, the bread), the sea bass I ordered, and the peanut butter mousse definitely gave me one happy belly, and it was nice talking and spending time with the loving people that are my family. I'll soon be living on my own when I go off to school, so I'll enjoy these moments when I can. :)

Dislike 1: I got COMPLETELY DRENCHED Saturday on my way to work. I didn't have an umbrella because it wasn't raining where I live, but by the time I got to the mall, it was coming down in sheets with the wind blowing everywhere. I tried waiting it out, but it didn't lift by the time I had to get in lest I be late. It wouldn't have been as bad if I parked closer to the doors, but as an employee, I have to park in the back so the customers can have the better parking. Of all the things to be jealous about. Thankfully, I didn't have to work in wet clothes the whole shift since they dried out pretty quickly, but my shoes were soggy the whole night, which made me cold the whole night. Hope I don't catch a cold. :P

And quote!

"What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?" -Robert H. Schuller  

Bye,
Colleen

Sunday, July 19, 2015

What's Half of Twenty?

Hello, my lovely readers!

So this week at Barnes and Noble was interesting both work-wise and people-wise. If I haven't said so before, the CD section is basically becoming the record section; other than the discount stuff and a small selection of CDs from each musical genre, most of music is records. I spent one work shift this week alphabetizing they and sticking them in the nice new plastic slots we now have for them. It didn't last the whole shift, but it was interesting handling the new merchandise, and a fellow employee showed me how to shrink wrap stuff as well in case I came across a record with a torn sleeve (I didn't).

Concerning people, the most interesting customers are a couple, the Duboes! They're young, in their late twenties, and both have brown hair, brown eyes, and barrel-like bodies since they don't have a penchant for not working out. They like doing everything together, which includes road trips, shopping, and movies; they're frequent visitors at the local AMC. And it's good that they like being with each other, because they don't have a lot of friends, being that you need an incredible amount of patience to be with them. Why is that? They aren't the brightest crayons in the box, being unable to read signs ("Does the red dot mean 50% percent off?) and do simple math problems ("Excuse me, but what's half of $19.99?"), and as such have to rely on others to explain things to them, which drives many people crazy and leaves them wondering how the two can be so oblivious (especially the cashiers who has other customers to help and stuff to clean). If they are aware of this glaring trait, they don't make a note of it, and thus go along their lives happy as they are and a little satisfied they they can be a bit lazy when it comes to figuring stuff out since someone will do it for them.

Concerning book stuff this week, the KCCC is coming closer, and I can't wait. The postcards are working out (though NO ONE who read this provided any feedback; is the comment section or the link to Facebook that hard to use?), and my mom liked the summary I wrote, so it's a matter of finalizing and ordering them. With M.O.A-27, the group has split, with the boys tackling one recycling dump and the girls taking another as they try to track down/run into the monster. Security is tight; police patrol every street, camera drones fly above, and people are freaking out. Despite this, the girls make it to their site and start exploring it. As they do, they talk, and we find out more about Thayer's back story and how he became friends with everyone (it happened when they were all 11/12 years old: he basically came up from Underground one day, found the four walking home from school, decided they would be his friends, and started following them home every day) and how the relationship between Thayer and Ursele has changed over time (hinting at so romantic feelings though Ursele never outright admits it). To summarize, not a lot of action, but a whole lot of character story and development, which is almost exciting or even better than action. Which will I go with next week? Stay tuned!

Weekly Dis(Likes):

Like 1: Allison visited. She and some friends of hers came into town to have a mini vacation at our lake house, so she wasn't around for too long, but I did get to see her and her friends when they came back but before they flew out. We had some good barbecue and talked, and it was just nice to see her.

Like 2: This story my grandmother told me. She was getting her hair done at the hair salon she frequents (I've been their a few times myself; it's quite nice), and another customer was talking to her hairdresser about her twin boys, both of which had recently been diagnosed with autism. She was worrying about it, so my grandmother told the lady about me and how despite my own case of autism (I have Aspergers, for those who don't know), I have been very successful with my life, as shown with my book getting published and graduating from college. The lady loved hearing that, and was very reassured by the story, and I was touched when my grandma told me about this. To think myself as some sort of success is odd; to me I'm just someone trying to live my life the best I can, which is something everyone does. But to inspire something like this is nice, and it shows me how what we think as average or ordinary can be extraordinary to others.

Like 3: Home-made marshmallows. One of my fellow employees brought a giant bowl of homemade marshmallows in original and strawberry flavored, and they're SO YUMMY! So much better than the bagged ones; I can only imagine how homemade would taste on a s'more (answer: delicious!).

Dislike 1: The fact I've been doing my new workout plan for two weeks and eating right, but I've only lost one pound. GAAAHHH! I mean, I don't know if I'm supposed to lose more weight than that in that time period, but if I am, I need to call my mom and talk to her. I might be doing something wrong, but I don't think I am. :( Either way, just got to keep trying. :)

And quote!

"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable." -Louis D. Brandeis

Bye,
Colleen

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Stupid Magazines! (GRRRR!)

Hi, everybody. Sorry there wasn't a post last week; I got caught with 4th of July festivities and didn't have time to do my weekly post. But that was then, and now is now.

Surprisingly enough, even though it's been two weeks, there isn't any customer that comes to mind when I try and think of an interesting/annoying person to tell a story about. But I do have something to discuss/rant about, so you might want to brace yourselves. The topic? The magazine racks. We have four giant ones near the cafe section of the store, loaded front and back with magazines, three by three. If I ever said there's an aspect of my job that I didn't hate, I take that back. I hate the magazine rack. Part of it is because it's so hard to put them away. Yes, the hand scanners tell you what section, but it doesn't tell you what row it goes in, so you basically have to find the stack of the same magazines out of dozens and stick it there. And since they overlap each other, there could be another copy right under your nose and you don't know it since it's hiding, or you never find the stack because you're holding the one copy the store has and you don't know otherwise. To summarize, putting the magazines away is a pain in the ass, but what make it even worse is that customers DON'T PUT THEIR MAGAZINES AWAY. They just pull them out and leave them lying around the cafe. The worse is the guy who reads a lot and leaves a giant stack behind. DO YOU KNOW HOW RUDE THAT IS!? I spent a good half an hour putting such a stack away during my last night shift that I didn't get home until 11 o'clock! JUST BECAUSE I'M A STORE EMPLOYEE DOES NOT MAKE ME A JANITOR!! You wouldn't want to pick up after people, so why would you put others in such a situation? (sighs) I just don't understand why people think it's so hard to put their stuff away. Is it short term memory loss and they don't remember where it goes? Laziness, because they know we'll have to clean up after them? I don't know, and I wish I did. Have you ever done that; leaving something out even though you know where it goes in a store? What was your reason for doing so? DId you think about how an employee would have to move said object back to its proper place? Tell me on Facebook or in the comments below.

Concerning M.O.A-27, nothing really interesting is happening right at the moment (the gang's basically returning to Renatola from the Underground as they start monster hunting, so there's no real action right now). I do, however, want to tell you about the M.O.A-27 promotional postcards I'm currently designing. My mom was the one who suggested it, saying that it'd be nice to promote my latest work at Comic-Con (and maybe get the attention of some visiting publishers/future readers), so right now I'm working on a story summary to put on the cards. Here's what I have so far:

"A thousand years after war ended the world, the pieces have finally been picked up. Bouncing back from the brink of destruction, humanity has settled together in the paradise of Renatola, where no one is poor, all vices have been banished, and technology has drastically improved the quality of life.

At least, for mostly everyone.

Moa doesn't know why she was created. A cyborg in a city where such fusions are illegal, the only thing she's sure of is that she needs to decrypt the memories that plague her mind. Breaking free from the control of the doctor who made her, what starts as a simple puzzle turns into a dangerous game of cat and mouse as Moa discovers the conspiracies woven into the fabric of Renatola. With friends from the life she lost at her side and her creator and government officials on her heels, Moa will seek out the truth ... but what she finds just may destroy the world all over again."


What do you think, my lovely readers? Too long? Too wordy? Too over-dramatic (but aren't most descriptions?)? Most important, does this make you want to read the book, or at least check it out? I really would like to hear any critiques and suggestions you guys have so I can make this the best summary I can, so live a comment down below or on my Facebook page here.

Bi-Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: 4th of July! This year's celebration was better than ever because my aunt, uncle, and cousins were visiting while we were at the Lake of the Ozarks. There was swimming, good food (s'mores, blueberry pie, and a lobster boil, which has got to be one of the best meals I've had ever), and wonderful fireworks courtesy of the guy at the end of our cove. Only downside was a lack of boat rides and our own fireworks (just some Roman candles), but it was still really fun.

Like 2: Royals baseball. Went to the game today, and it was fun. Royals got six runs in the first period alone, but then the opposing team came back in the sixth with my beloved team messing up a whole lot (seriously, guys?). In the end, we won 11 to 10 thanks to a single home run (I don't want to think about what could've happened if we missed that), and it was just a good game.

Like 3: My sister's new friend. Her name is Melissa, and my sister met her at college. She flew out on Thursday to spend the weekend here, and she is a very polite and interesting girl. Speaking with her has been a genuine pleasure, and it's comforting a bit that my sister is making such good friends and surrounding herself with good people (even if she's never had a problem with that before). Thanks for the visit, Melissa!

Dislike 1: People who pull magazines off the shelf and don't bother even trying to put them back (see above).

Dislike 2: How sweaty I got at said Royals game. I only made it to the fourth inning before I had to go sit in the nice air-conditioned clubroom for the rest of the game, and in that time I swear I sweated through both my T-shirt and shorts. For all those complaining about rainy summer days, I rather have those back!

And quote!

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." -Arthur Ashe

Bye,
Colleen

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Marriage Equality!

Salutations, my lovely readers.

It was another good week at work, though nothing too exciting happened. We're having a 50% off sale on stuff over by the mall entrance, and yesterday they kept bringing stuff over and telling me to find a place for it, but eventually it got to the point where there WAS NO ROOM! It was still something to do (as was straightening up said bargain when customers were too rude to put stuff away properly), so that was good, not to mention there's some good items out for sale: if anyone needs kid books, arts and crafts, soap, journals, etc., come check it out (as with the KCCC here).

You ever met someone who has a preference to book types, like between paperback and hardback? Our customer this week is one such man! Meet Victor, an African-American man in his late thirties. He's a family man, and is invested in his daughter's education, so much so that he tags along with her when she buys her required summer reading for school (The Secret Life of Bees). Wanting to see what kids these days read for school, he also orders his own hardback copy of that and some other books instead of just getting the paperback, but is patient and willing to compromise when it comes to where he picks his books up (even if it's not the store in Lee's Summit, and I don't know if we have one there). As it is, he likes hardbacks for how long they last compared to their paper counterparts, but he also believes that hardbacks have a better and stronger 'book smell' to them, which is his favorite scent in the whole wide world (and I can't blame him for that). A self professed 'huge geek', other than a love for books, he also has a thing for superheroes and gets easily distracted by action figures (his favorite being Cyborg from the Teen Titans series). This shows how horribly forgetful he can be with remembering stuff, like the phone number for his B&N membership.

Concerning M.O.A-27, don't worry if you're starting to get bored with the lack of action. I've finished the chapter off, and after a short Dreaming moment (in which we see more between Shawney and Aria), we'll be on track with monster hunting and trying to find the scary beast. As it is with the chapter ending, though, you really get a sense of a building connection between Moa and Shawney, especially how she tries to comfort him about Len despite everything telling her not to in her head. She knows about emotions, knows what they do to people, and knows how others commonly comfort those who are sad, but having never done it, nor not designed to do it, she's in a bit of a pickle. But she does her best:
 
            '“I know this is when someone says something comforting, like everything will be okay,” Moa said as much. “With your lost, and with what is coming, however … I do not know if things will be okay, in all honesty. But I can say this and mean it: the only way I will leave you is when I am dead and in pieces ... I will not leave you no matter what.”'

And it works; Shawney does start crying, but the two hug it out and find out how safe they are when they do so. Because where else is safer than in someone's arms? You tell me! But either way, it's interesting exploring emotional moments like this considering my own emotional problems (nothing serious; it's just autism); it's like I'm sorting out and investigating my own emotions when doing scenes like this and figuring out what's right and what's wrong socially. Then it's just a matter of going out and living my discoveries (which is a struggle, but I try).

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: The cute shirt my mom found for me at Anthropologie. It's a gray and white v-neck with a swooped hem and a eyeglasses print. I wore it to work the other day, and the one customer who complemented it turned out to be an eye doctor! :D

Like 2: Gay marriage is now legal across the US! I am straight, but it's been an issue I've kept an eye on, and it was amazing to hear the news on Friday, because everyone should have the right to be with whoever they want to be with. Hooray for human rights!

Like 3: Dairy Queen butterscotch dipped cones. YUM. :)

Dislike 1: Bug bites. I've got two mosquito bites on my arm and leg respectfully, and while they're aren't always itchy, they can suddenly go off at any moment (like if I accidently rub the offending limb against something) and then I just want to scratch like crazy. If there's one thing about summer I hate more than the heat, it's this!

And quote!

"Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action." -Benjamin Disraeli

See ya later,
Colleen

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Fathers' Day!

Hello, guys and gals.

So work was good this week. No complaints to be heard from me. It was another array of night shifts between the music section and the mall cash register, and I did some shopping errands for my grandma and picked up a few books for her. My manager Justin also got back to me about the number of books I should bring along to sell; he said about forty would work, which is good (and it helps I already have like eleven on hand), so I need to get those ordered. I'm also debating whether or not to ask my sister to do a little social media promotion about the event; I need to ask her about it, but I hope she says yes (if you want to check it out yourself, click HERE).

There were a lot of interesting customers this week, and I'm stuck between two of them and deciding which one should get a story. So how about two mini stories this week? First we have Bianca, a lady in her mid-thirties to early forties with dark brown hair held back by sunglasses. She loves an online deal, and when she finds something she can get on hand in a store, she goes after it. However, she usually gets a nasty shock when she finds out the in store prices and online prices are different, and then puts it on herself to explain price points to whatever employee she's talking about, going so far as to not understand what they're saying and interrupting them mid explanation ("No, that's not what I'm saying!"). She then explains that she owned businesses before which is why she knows what she's saying and feels the need to share and confuse people. Thankfully she never goes shopping without a friend, who speak Biana-nese well enough to play mediator and tries to translate what Bianca says so the employee can understand and vice-versa.

But though Bianca may forget her manners, Aermad doesn't! Aermad is a man visiting the United States from Armenia, a small country in Eastern Europe. He's currently on a cross country trip visiting all his American friends, and so far his favorite places are San Fransisco and Chicago. He loves to talk and loathes the silence, and as such makes friends wherever he goes, although sometimes he doesn't know when to be quiet, and his odd accent doesn't help when he's trying to explain things. He often gets asked to repeat stuff, but he doesn't mind. Aermad also knows his friends well and gets them books about their favorite subjects (like a guidebook to religion) because he loves to read. His favorite part of America is the sense of freedom throughout the country, and his favorite color is green, which gives him an appreciation of green eyes, which he compliments people on.

In M.O.A-27, plans have been finalized; after some rest and construction of some new hologram disguises and communicators, the gang's going to investigate the spaces where Moa and 35 died, then split up and look in similar areas (closed off, untrafficked areas, like recycling and dump areas). Ursele and Thayer hit the hay, but Moa stays up and watches Shawney as he gets to work. It's nice between them as Moa discovers why he likes holograms so much, but the conversation takes a sad turn when she brings up Len (which they haven't really had a chance to talk about until now). Of course, Shawney gets sad, and Moa asks if he blames her. He does say that yes, part of him wants to be mad at her, but part of him is mad at everyone, and he's still aware of how death can happen with what he's doing for Moa. How will this conversation end? For better, or for worse? Let's find out next week!

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: It's Fathers' Day! My dad's out in Colorado, but he called in saying he can't wait to read the book I got him. And I spent the day with my grandpa (who's also my godfather), and I got him a nice card and had a good dinner with him, Grandma, Mom, and Maggie. To the two best (and only) men in my life, I love you forever!

Like 2: Speaking of Mom, she's visiting for three weeks. She'll be staying through July 4th, and I'm just happy she's here (because I've missed her). We already have a bunch of fun things we want to do, like go see movies and blueberry picking, so I can't wait to spend time with her. :)

Dislike 1: The amount of stupid street construction going on around town. Maggie and I had to pick up Mom from the airport yesterday, and we couldn't take the usual route because of repaving or whatever. So that meant more driving time (and an angry Maggie), which wasn't fun. And this isn't the end of it either; it looks like they'll be doing some work along the usual route I take to work, so now I might have to find a new route (unless they leave it open with one lane). Either way, it's stupid, inconvenient, and may bad driving karma fall on those who signed off on this in the first place!

And quote!

"My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: he believed in me." - Jim Valvano

Bye,
Colleen

Sunday, June 14, 2015

5 Year Reunion

Hey-yo, my beautiful blog readers!

Work was fine this week, but it was also slow in the sense that there were not many interesting customers to imagine stories for. However, I'll try my best! This week is Helga, an old grandmother type with short white hair and the whole 'cardigan and slacks' attire grandparents are known for. She has four grandsons, one of which is having his birthday this month, and believes in the good value of books for entertainment, education, and gifts, preferring them to those new-fangled video games. But she doesn't have the best memory in the world, and she also possesses the ability to lose things she was just holding a minute ago, like book receipts ("I swear I just had them in my hand a minute ago! Did you check the books?"), and then is never able to find them again. Whenever that happens, she starts to blame the person she was supposed to hand the thing to, but eventually realizes that that's not the right thing to do, and does her best to find it or replace it (like get some new receipts printed off). Taking responsibility for accidents and trying to fix them is, after all, one of her best qualities!

No new news on KCCC yet, but I'll share with you here when I do!

In M.O.A-27, it's time to go monster hunting! The gang, having realized the connection between Moa, 35, and the black scary monster from both their memories, have decided to find the thing and see what it knows. Surprisingly, Thayer of all people is hesitant about going after it, talking about how if Moa was almost taken down by one of her sister cyborg's, how much powerful would the monster be? And what would happen if it decides to go after him, Shawney, or Ursele when none of them stand a fighting chance (and it could go after them, considering they'll have to split up to find it)? Of course, Thayer also knows that there's no other alternative or lead to follow, so eventually everyone does convince him it's the right thing to do. However, that doesn't change the fact that Renatola is HUGE (roughly the same size as Andorra, that tiny piece of land between Spain and France), with a very large population, and both people and land mass about double when you factor in the Underground. Some logical thinking rules out certain times of the day (the thing starts hunting at sundown and through the night), who it goes after (single people, not groups), and the whole Underground is eliminated from the equation:

'"If it wants easy pickin’s it’s not gonna go after ungudies who can put up a fight. Even if te guy would lose, it wouldn’t be an easy kill," Thayer argued. "And that’s what te thin’ wants..."'

However, there's still too much ground to cover, so Shawney asks Moa if she can remember any clues from her and 35's memories that might tell them some locations they can start looking. Will she be able to remember anything?

And Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Ascension Garage Sale! My parish has this awesome sale in their basement each summer, and they have everything: furniture, clothes, books, jewelery, toys, electronics, etc. It's always fun to go and find some nice stuff for a few dollars, and I bought some nice things: some snakeskin flats, a new pair of jeans, some slacks for work, a green button up, some T-shirts, and a very pretty tunic/dress that I can't wait to wear out and about.

Like 2: Five year high school reunion! Me and about forty of my high school classmates (some of who were the ones who arranged it) celebrated our five years reunion at the local Johnny's Tavern, and it was fun! We had a back room all to ourselves, some good drinks, and tons of pizza, and I got to sit and chat with a bunch of my old friends. It was nice seeing who got married and what everyone was now doing with their lives, and it's nice to know that everyone's doing well. One guy read a list of things that had changed at my high school since we graduated (new babies, new principals, etc.), and there was a poll for certain categories like "Most Eligible Bachelor/Bachelorette", "Most Interesting Job Since High School", "Mostly Likely Came for the Beer", and others. I won the category for "Most Likely to Be Famous by Our Next Reunion" and got some cheap sunglasses as a prize. It was all good fun, and I can't wait for our ten year reunion!

Like 3: I finally saw Mad Max in theaters, and it was just as awesome as I thought it would be (though it was hard to stay under the speed limit while driving home afterwards)!

Dislike 1: I did sit in a sticky bar stool while at my class reunion, and while wearing my favorite pair of jeans too. It's not like they're ruined, but still! Ewwww!

And quote!

"The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us." -Ashley Montagu

See ya,
Colleen

Sunday, June 7, 2015

"Sorry, I'm Back Again!"

Good day to you all.

For those who work in retail, have you ever had one of those customers that, once they're done shopping, just hang around until they find another thing to buy, and you end up thinking, "Good grief, just leave already!"? This week's mini story is about Anna, a bespectacled blond who's just like that. Incredibly indecisive, she doesn't have that great of a attention span, for the moment she sees something 'shiny' (aka something to buy) she gets it, and that happens a lot. Despite loving music, she know nothing about it and insists that there's a difference between a soundtrack and a score ("No, I don't like the listing for the Aloha soundtrack, I'm looking for something else. See if there's an Aloha score.") and will get a little defensive if you try to ask questions for clarification (because she thinks you're trying to make her look dumb). If there's one good point about her spending habits, she's thrifty, buying all but one discount CD. She's also a loving wife and mom, making plans with her husband over the phone and going off to pick up the kids from whatever they're doing.

Work was work. Employee Appreciation Week has come and gone, but it was good. Got some nice books with a great discount and helped myself to some ice cream from the break room's freezer (they had green tea ice cream. I love that stuff!), so all in all, it was fun. No new information about Comic Con, but you all will be the first to know if anything pops up.

And it's official people: as of this week, I have resigned from my editor position at The Fashion Foot. Despite asking Dana the boss again if the new position she was offering was paid, she NEVER REPLIED, and I couldn't help but feel like she was avoiding the question. But instead of forcing the issue and possibly putting tension between us, I simply said that while I was thankful for the offer, it was time for me to move on, and Dana understood and thanked me for my hard work. I even got a nice note from my favorite writer telling me she loved how I edited her work and best wishes (which I thanked her for). So thus ends the internship, and like I said last week, there were definitely frustrating times, but I worked on my editing skills and learned new things, so it's truly an experience I'm glad to have.

Things aren't looking good for Moa in M.O.A-27. She's fine in the fact that none of her systems are damaged due to the coma, but she lost all the info downloaded from 35, and there's no chance of getting it back; 35's head exploded thanks to all the negative feedback. All that's left are the memories that she witnessed, and as Moa explains what she saw to her friends, it sinks in just who 35 was. They didn't (or couldn't) notice it when she was attacking them, but 35 was an actual person once, with thoughts, feelings, and her own life that was taken away from her without her consent. If there were a chance for her to make a new life, it's gone now, and Moa can't help but point out the her and 35's position could've easily been switched; "Why me?", she asks, wondering why it was her that broke free and broke out. Of course, no one knows the answer, and will they ever? That's up to me to figure out.

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Used book sale! Every summer the local library chain has a used book sale, and it's always a highlight of my summer. I got myself a nice selection of books and DVD's (they had a very good selection this year, but maybe that's because I went on opening day), and I even found some things for the grandparents and my sister. Yay for cheap books!

Like 2: My sister graduated from college this week. I wasn't able to go, but I sent her a nice present and all the warmest wishes I could. Love you, Allison, and congratulations!

Like 3: Green tea ice cream. Yum! (insert dreamy smile).

Like 4: "What Would You Do?" I used to watch it a lot, and I had the chance to watch it this week and remember how good it is. For those of you who haven't heard of it, it's basically actors/actresses acting out a troublesome situation and you see how regular people react. It's basically the most awesome social experiment ever, and seeing the good reactions reminds me just how good people are all over again.

Dislike 1: Had a bit of a scheduling scare this week. I'd requested the evening of the thirteenth off to attend my high school reunion, but the manager in charge of scheduling missed the memo and gave me the night shift that day. Thankfully we were able to fix it and I was able to find someone willing to swift shifts with me, but for a second I thought I never would. :P

And quote!

"What is lovely never dies, But passes into other loveliness." -Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Bye,
Colleen

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Books in A Bag

Good day to you all!

Tera is the name of this week's customer story. She's an average height, with orange-blonde way hair in a bun, and a big fan of capris and blouses. She friendly, steady, and has made reading is her life; whenever she has the chance (and the money), she picks a buyable bag in B&N and fills it to the top with books from the bargain section, which after buying takes home and spends the evening reading them all. Unfortunately, because she really loves sitting around and reading, she's not the skinniest person in the world. But she is strong (from carrying heavy bags of books), and she's recently started working out, and has managed to incorparate her books and reading into her workout; she just walks on a treadmill or rides a stationary bike and reads while doing so. Tera's even set goals for herself; once she loses a certain amount of weight, she can treat herself to another bag of bargain books. Her friends think she may have a spending problem and too many books, to which she says, "There's no such thing as too many books," and will believe that statement until she dies.

This week of work was normal. I think the most interesting part of it was when I was putting 30% off coupons onto some new hardback releases, which may not sound fun, but considering I was at the mall cash register, I was happy for the work (it also helps that the required school summer reading table is there, because that constantly needs rearranging). Other than Tera, there were a lot of nice customers, like this one dad with two little kids who was looking for a Lego Brick Bible (yes, those do exist) and whose son made a little mess with the stationary stand but tried to clean up after himself (when the dad apologized, I told him how about 75% of customers don't clean up after themselves, so the kid was golden in my book for trying to). So all in all, a satisfying week (and no, I don't have any new info about the Comic Con, though Justin the manager did say he would figure out how much merchandise I should bring).

I think my internship is starting to wrap up, in my mind at least. I mean, there's no set quitting date, and Dana (my boss) says we can stay as long as we want to, but even with the associate position she offered, I think I've learned all I can from this internship. Dana's been good about answering what type of work I'd be doing, but she still hasn't said if it's paid or not. I'm going to ask again, but even if she says it is, either this weekend or the next will be my last time editing for The Fashion Foot. Not to say that it hasn't been fun, though; I've read some really interesting stuff and picked through some good writing, so it was worth it!

In M.O.A-27, we're finally back in real life as Moa wakes from whatever trance she was in. All her friends are around her, fretting and stuff despite the fact she's a kick-ass cyborg, wondering what went wrong. As Moa tells them her side of the freak out, Shawney and the others tell them her version; to them, it was a cross between a seizure, a coma, and a computer crashing all in one. Starting to run tests on herself, Moa concludes that their description is not far from the truth, for her computer mind took in too much info from 35's head along with an 'unfamiliar file form' (aka the black spot) that acted like a virus. I'm officially at a line where Thayer's wondering why Moa's human brain couldn't help out with the remembering since the brain has the ability to store lots of data without 'reaching capacity', so I'm planning the next few lines to go into how Moa's head works and how both parts may have contributed to her coma. It's fascinating stuff, figuring it out and writing it down. Then again, I find it fun to work out even the littlest details. I wonder if that's due to the story, or due to me being a writer? Hmmm ...

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Employee Appreciation Week started on Friday! From then until the 6th, us lovely employees get a boosted discount on all store items and free ice cream in the employee lounge freezer. I had a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich during my night shift Saturday, and it was good (I honestly can't remember the last time I had one. Isn't that sad?).

Like 2: Mad Max: Fury Road! I haven't even seen it yet, but if the stuff on Tumblr is any indication, I'm going to love it (I think I already do, actually). The story, the setting, the action; it all looks good, but what's really nice is the characters and how kick-ass all the females are. Can't wait to see it. :)

Like 3: I've officially taken care of my storage space and everything in it! Some very nice workers from the Salvation Army came over this week and took everything still inside, and I took care of the contract, so that's one lest thing I have to pay for. Oddly enough, I had to keep my lock; I couldn't turn it back into to the lady at the desk, which seems kind of wasteful (can't they use them again), but whatever.

Dislike 1: With all the stored furniture gone, so is the big leather chair and ottoman, which was like the comfiest chair in the world; I remember me and Dad or Mom sitting on it watching TV when everyone was still living together. Goodbye, beautiful chair!

Dislike 2: Yours truly may have put on some weight. It's not like I can't fit in my clothes, but some of my jeans don't fit and it stinks when you think everything's fine with your body until you step on a scale. Thankfully, I've talked with my mom about it (she's a fitness nut), and have taken the appropriate steps to remedy it, like more running and less junk food.

And quote!

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." -Thomas A. Edison

Bye,
Colleen

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mr. Mustachio

Hola, compadres!

In the spirit of my Mexican greeting, this week's customer story is about Jaime, a Hispanic gentleman with slicked back hair, an epic mustache, and a face full of laugh lines. This is evident that he likes a good joke, and is ready to laugh at any little quip he may overhear. He has a heavy accent, having just moved up from the southwest, but he doesn't mind repeating stuff. Since he did just move, he's very interested in learning about the area, particularly the wildlife and the birds, and seems invested in getting a bird-feeder. Jaime's favorite thing to read is biographies. Concerning his family, he has a deep love and respect for his father, and wants to make sure he picks out the perfect present for him. Overall, he's a nice guy who likes engaging in small talk with people and sharing his interests with them, whether it be birds or God.

Work was work this week. I actually got called in twice because of some sick coworkers, and while it was nice to earn some extra money, I hope everyone's feeling okay. Even better, I had some wonderful customer interactions this week. It always makes your work sweeter when you're helping nice people, and believe it or not, one of the best instances was helping a family after they set the security alarm off. When that happened, they stopped, and I came over and explained how it might be a book's security tag that set it off, and if I could just rescan their books, that would be great. There were two sweet girls who each had a book, and when I was getting the tags off one asked me what I was doing. So I explained the whole process (which I'll put here as well): we basically have a black electric plate called a security pad, and when we rub merchandise on it it deactivates the sticker security tag. The two thought it was really interesting, and the family was just so overall nice. This is definitely one of my favorite customer interactions to date.

I still haven't decided if I should take the new position for my internship, though my parents think I should ask if it's a paying position. That, along with the details and workload are key to figuring out my answer; if the answer's no, I think I'll stay around until grad school starts. Either way, I have one less writer to worry about; the writer I was lambasting last post is finally quitting (this is her last week), so I no longer have to get angry over the fact she never listened to me. Though I probably shouldn't get mad since it's not my fault in the first place and I have other stuff to focus my energy on.

Like writing. I'm wrapping up Moa's vision of 35's memories and getting ready to shift back into regular chapter mode. If I haven't said so before, I write in a different style whenever I'm writing Moa's dreams or memories. Compared to the basic third person of the plot, the dream sequences (I call them 'The Dreaming') have a free-verse poetic quality; it's very much like words spewing out with no sentence structure yet still connect together so you can figure out what's going on. You also have clips of remembered conversation to help decipher things, not to mention there's two different fonts I write in to further add to the effect. It's quite fun writing so freely, but there's actually a lot of thought you need to put in so everything adds up (if there's one thing I learned from my college poetry workshops, you can't just put words on a page and think everyone other than you who reads it will understand it). It's good work, though, so I like doing it as I like working with this story in general. It's just so awesome!

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: The customer interactions I've had this week. See above.

Like 2: My dad flying in to visit for Memorial Day. It's always good to see him.

Like 3: I got my bookshelf out of storage, and it's now in my room with all my books on it. Oh, what a lovely sight it is. :)

Like 4: For those looking for some KCCC new, I finally checked out my convention webpage! It's really cool, and the website in general provides a bunch of info, so if you want to check it out, click here.

Dislike 1: The fact the whole family got to spend Memorial Day down at the family lake house without me. It's not from a lack of trying; I did try and ask for those days off, but it didn't work since a bunch of coworkers asked before me. :P At least I'll get to spend some time with dad when he comes back but before he goes home.

Dislike 2: Driving home in the rain. We had a humongous rain storm this week when I was working I night shift (we actually lost power for like a millisecond), so I had to drive home in it. Do I like storms when I'm in my house? Yes. Do I like storms when I'm driving through them. NO!

And quote!

"Every story I create, creates me. I write to create myself." -Octavia E. Butler

Adios,
Colleen

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Trying Something New

Hello, lovelies!

So a certain someone (you know who you are) has pointed out that my blog might be getting boring since I talk about the same stuff over and over again. I don't think I do (because what person has the same week over and over again), and if I do, it's because I'm telling you all what really happened, and other than the book stuff my life isn't all that exciting (excuse me for being boring!). But since I don't want to bore my readers, I'm going to try something new by basically inventing a back story for any interesting or annoying customer who comes to B&N.

So let's start with our first character, and let's call her Rose. She has brown hair in a ponytail, glasses, a slight bit of an accent since she recently moved up from the South, and is married to a husband that lets her take the reins over every single matter. Her hobby is collecting really obscure movies and finding things that also share her name. Used to getting what she wants, Rose is a master of making snide comments that don't really sound snide at all and has a habit of looking at the glass half empty ("It's an out there movie, so I'm sure you won't have it."), which tends to annoy people. She also expects everyone to know what she's talking about, and therefore doesn't bother doing her research when it comes to finding things that she wants. Yet regardless of all this, she's still a Southern belle at heart, and displays that with her excellent manners, saying please and thank you when asking for something, which is why she has plenty of friends.

So how was my first faux customer roast? Tell me in the comments below!

Work was normal. Interestingly enough, I had nothing but night shifts this week, which I was fine with. I actually kind of like them; the store's not as busy as it is during the day, so it's more relaxed and I can actually get a breather. It's even better when I'm in the music department because it's practically a ghost town and I can watch whatever movie's showing (it's Paddington this week!). Nothing really interesting to report other than I did confirm with my boss that I want to do KCCC (Kansas City Comic Con). I've answered some questions needed for pamphlets and stuff, and my boss is going to help me figure out how many books I should bring along to sell.

My internship is getting really busy. I'm now looking after three writers, and the newest one (who I've worked with before) hasn't changed anything about her writing style since I last edited her. If there's no change this week, I promise myself I'm going to report her. But that's not even the biggest news. My intern boss sent me an email this week, not only telling me I was her strongest editing intern, but also asked if I'd be interested in "advancing to a Senior Editor internship"! According to her I'd be the first person ever to have this position, and while she hasn't laid out the details of the job (she says it needs some development on her end), it sounds really awesome. However I can't decide if I should accept it or not because I was actually thinking of leaving once grad school started; I don't know if I'll have the time for it anymore. Yet it sounds exciting and it goes to show how hard I've been working. Thankfully I don't have to answer right away, but right now I'm stumped. What do you guys think?

In M.O.A-27, Moa has finally entered 35's big black blob after it contacted Moa's own big black blob, and has basically gone into the sleeper mode where she remembers stuff from her old life. The only difference here is that she's remembering stuff from 35's life before and after she was turned into a cyborg. She sees Bentwood giving orders to catch her, as well as clips of 35's old life (it seems like she was quite the party girl. But hanging over all of this is something scary and familiar. Something Moa's seen before, but can't say what it is because she doesn't know. What could it possibly be?

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: I saved a turtle! My sister and I were pulling into our church parking lot when I saw the little guy crawling off the grass and onto the tarmac, so I got out and picked him up. He got as squirmy as a turtle can get, but he didn't go inside his shell, and I got him back to the grass safe and sound. Which is good, because I like turtles! They're just so cute and peaceful with how they don't do anything to anyone.

Dislike 1: I killed a squirrel! I was driving to work, and this car drove past me. Out of nowhere this squirrel came out from underneath it, and instead of running right in front of me, it ran under my own car and got hit by my back wheel. I could actually feel the little bump it made. Yes, they're rodents, but I still feel horrible about it. :(

And quote!

'"… How the hell can you be so optimistic all the time?"
"Because, bro. Pain and suffering is inevitable, but misery is optional."' -Author Unknown

Ta-ta,
Colleen

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

Hey-yo, everyone! How are you all doing?
Work was normal this week. I was place at the mall cash register during all my shifts, which, as you can expect, got rather boring after a while no matter what books are lying around to be straightened up. I just don't get why the mall register doesn't get as many customers as the front one. It's like, half of the people that come into the store come in through the mall entrance, so why can't that half use the mall register when they leave? I don't know. There's not a whole lot that happened.

I do have some news concerning the stand at Comic Con; I was able to work out a deal with my publisher concerning how to get ahold of some books, but now I need to figure out just how much is enough, and for that I want my boss' opinion, but I haven't had the chance to see him all week. Hopefully I can this time around, because I really want to confirm with him that I can do this.

With my internship, I got another new writer on my hands, and OH BOY. Her articles were a mess in the sense that she was capitalizing everything and her sentence structure/flow was a disaster. She used multiple words too many times, said the same point in multiple sentences, made weird word choices ... I could go on, but the point is nearly one whole page of my editor notes was donated to listing all the changes I had to make! That was a first for me, but then again, sentence structure (how sentences are put together and how it sounds as a cohesive 'unit') and flow (how sentences interact with one another) is the one biggie that needs fixing in all the articles I've ever read over. It's an work in process for all writers in general (including me) to get to a point where good word choices and sentences come somewhat easily, and all we can do is read our work over many times, learn how to pick the right words and how to construct sentences. What sounds good to the author doesn't necessarily sound good over all, and we learn that over time with help from editors. As it is, this girl appears to need A LOT of help, but she is new, so I'll wait and see what her work is like next week. I only hope and pray that she'll be like my other new writer and listen to my notes.

In M.O.A-27, Moa's finally exploring the inside of 35's head as she looks out for any info on Bentwood. She's already downloaded a big file, but something has caught her eye; this about invisible blob in 35's systems that's severely out of place. What's even weirder is that Moa has a similar blob in her own computer brain. Not knowing what it is, she reports her findings to her friends. All of them know what has to be done if they want to find out more (to the point where no says, "Let's download it" because they know that's what everyone's thinking), but the nerves are back, because for all they know it could be some sort of virus planted by Bentwood as some sort of failsafe. But speaking of the imagery here, I had fun coming up with what Moa's inner mind looks like when she pulls it up on a computer screen. It's basically a big glowing blue room with a brain that looks like "a cross between the model of an atom and a spider made of nervous cells", where the electron 'rings' carry all the info that Moa knows. I wonder, though, how it will hold up against the black blob?

Here's the Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Happy Mom's Day, mom! My mom actually flew in today because she'll be spending some time with us, and it was so good to see her. My sister and I picked her up at the airport, then went out for some yummy Mexican food (anyone remember Ponaks?), gave her her Mother's Day presents, and did some shopping. It's going to be great having her around for a while.

Like 2: I went on a small shopping spree with my sister. We drove up to our really awesome outlet mall, where we stopped at J.Crew (my sister had to return a swimsuit that could only be taken back at that certain store), then went to T.J. Maxx and Designer Shoe Wearhouse. I got a simple yet lovely navy blouse and some pinstriped shorts (originally sixty-two dollars but on sale for ten!), so it was a trip well taken, not to mention I got to spend time with my sister (have I mentioned how much I love her?).

Dislike 1: Seed pods getting stuck in my windshield wipers. There's a tree right over where I park my car and recently it's been dumping seeds on the window. If's it's sunny, it's not a problem because the wind take them off when you're driving, but it's a pain when it's raining because they get wet and gross and when you try to use the wipers some of the seeds stick and leave streaks behind. Yes, I could remove them from the blade, but not while it's pouring rain out!

Dislike 2: Washing my bed sheets. I hate this in the sense that it takes the comforter and the blanket FOREVER to completely dry even when the dryer is on its highest level. It wastes energy and time to do it all over again, and since I usually do laundry in the evening (because any other time doesn't work), I sometimes go to bed without the full set (especially if I decide to hang the heavy stuff over the banister to air dry instead of another spin in the dryer).

And quote!

"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it." -Mark Twain

Ciao,
Colleen

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Stand Up

Hey howdy hey, folks!

So after the epicness of last week with the thieves getting caught and justice being served, things have gone back to normal at Barnes and Noble. I'm watching the registers, spying-not-spying on the customers, and keeping my eyes peeled for interesting books. But something awesome did happen; I got invited to host a stand at Kansas City Comic Con! One of my managers took me aside and told me how B&N was looking for local writers to participate since they had a bunch of stands (or maybe it was my manager himself who had the stands; I don't exactly remember) and he asked me if I wanted a stand to promote SWAMP ANGEL at! He talked about how it would be good coverage or my book, and how there might be a chance for me to actually be on some writers panels and talk about writing and stuff. I thanked him immediately for the opportunity and said I would think about it, but secretly my mind was already made up (answer: YES YES YES!). Nothing's set in stone just yet, so I need to figure out my schedule for August and how many books I should have on hand for my stand (I'll have my own stand!).

In my internship, I was rather surprised this week to discover that one of my writers is quitting. It's one of the two that has a habit of not listening, so I can't help but wonder if I had something to do with that considering my last report to my boss. Now I'm stuck wondering if I should ask the boss if I had anything to do with this, because as much as it annoyed me being ignored, I didn't want anyone to quit over me. But is this something that I can ask her about (this is where my lack of social tack shines brightly :P)? I don't know. At least my other not listening writer showed some important this week; I'm constantly telling her she needed to shorten her links, and she did do that for at least one of her articles. I hope she can show more improvement next week considering I'm going to start asking my writers to email me confirmation that they got my notes and understand what to do. Why didn't I think of doing this before?

Writing is writing. I still haven't gotten to the actual scene where Moa downloads whatever is in 35's head, but I'm slowly working towards that. I'm excited to describe all that gets into Moa's head, not only because it's an important plot point, but also because I just like describing things; it's fun and a true test of writing and making stuff up. As it is, Shawney's still connecting everything together and Thayer's getting impatient, so if something doesn't happen soon, he's going to break something or pick a fight with Ursele.

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Possible stand at Comic Con! See above.

Like 2: My youngest sister is home from college. Her school ends early, so now she's here with me, and it's wonderful to see her; I've missed her a lot. Love you!

Like 3: I went to a small graduate banquet hosted by UMKC, where I'm going to go to grad school this fall. It was at a professor's house, and the new students and I basically met older students and professors while noshing on some snacks and listening to some awards given out. I was nervous (who wouldn't be surrounded by people they don't know), but everyone was very friendly. I spoke to a lot of people, including my advisor (who's as nice in person as she is over email; we had a brief talk about what classes I want to take), and I found out some more about campus life, including the school's literary magazine and this graduate internship I want to try out for (you edit a magazine, and it counts for school credit. Talk about a learning experience!).

Dislike 1: Traffic. I got stuck in some driving over to the banquet, and AAAAAHHHHH! I mean, I still managed to get there on time, but why?!

And quote!

"What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other?" -George Eliot

Goodbye,
Colleen

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Busted!!

Salutations, ladies and gentlemen.

So remember in my last entry when I used the phrase 'grand theft bookstore' to say my work week was normal in the sense no one tried to steal anything? Well, I did have another normal week, but we (the store) actually almost had such an incident! I wasn't working the day everything happened (bummer), but I got the whole story from the manager and I can't help but be impressed with not only how everything turned out, but also with how my manager handled the stinkin' thieves.

As it is, it actually started a few months ago when two teenage girls stole a bunch of tiny plastic figurines right under our noses (not mine, though, because I wasn't working that day). Management, of course, wasn't happy and made it very clear by hanging a plastic bag full of the boxes the figurines had been in on the 'people to watch out for' billboard along with a security shot in case the two ever decided to come back. Well, this week they did. According to what my boss said, the guy working the mall cash register recognized the two when they came in and called one of the managers, who then called the boss, who confronted the two right at the same cubicle where the figurines had been stolen. What followed was a volley of questions and story changes where the girls said they weren't stealing, then they gave the receipts to a mom, then mom had left, then their phones died, and so on and so forth with my badass boss not taking no for an answer until the two finally admitted that they were stealing. After that, they were taken by mall security to the police branch that's in the mall (I didn't know that was there), where it was was discovered they had stolen merchandise from THREE OTHER STORES on them. Because they stole from four stores in a time range of seventy two hours, they actually committed a felony, and were charged as such, which means it's going to stay on their permanent record or whatever forever; even when they turn eighteen, which is the age records get sealed and stuff, the fact they shoplifted cheap plastic stuff from four stores won't suddenly vanish.

When I first heard all this, I was angry that these two dunderheads (I want to call them something worse, but let's keep this blog clean, people) would try something like this, and felt those two got what they deserved. And I'm still happy that justice was served, but I can't help but shake my head in disappointment that those girls would screw over their future for some tiny five dollar toys. How could something be worth that? Were they so confident they could get away with it (apparently not, considering the boss said they burst into tears when put in the holding cell)? So concerning the event it's with some mixed feelings of triumph and disappointment, and though shoplifters are always going to be a pain in the butt, the triumphant part of me is going to do my best to catch the badies before the financially hurt the store I love so much.

After all the excitement with my job, my internship seems kind of boring. I did get a break with one of my doesn't-listen-to-me writers getting temporarily switched to another editor, so that was sweet, as was the smaller amount of articles to edit. However my other writer who doesn't listen was a mess concerning sentence structure and flow with how often she repeated herself, and once again didn't listen to my suggestions. I'm going to email the boss about it (she told me to do so if it happened again), but at this point I'm either going to ask for a new writer or email her directly and figure out just exactly is going on. But it's not all bad; my newbie writer has listened to me so far, and her work has shown obvious improvement since last week. Working with her is going to be a treat.

Writing is slow in the sense that I'm still at in the scene where Moa's trying to convince everyone to upload whatever info's inside 35's head to her. Or maybe that's just me, because some scenes do seem to drag on. Most of the time it's scenes that are either boring or hard to write, like fight scenes, but every once in a while a scene that I think is going to be fun starts to stretch out. Maybe that's a sign that I need to start wrapping said scene up? Either way, when I get this feeling I just power through because I know what happens next and I want to get there!

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: The shoplifting incident. See above.

Like 2: My sister Allison visiting. One of her friends from college, who lives in the Kansas City area, was flying home from her study abroad program in Japan, so Allie flew out to essentially get her while some of the mutual friends drove out with Allie's car. They stayed the weekend, and it was fun. Allison and I had a good time showing them Kansas City; we took them to the farmer's market, walked around Union Station, Kaw's Point, and the World War I memorial, visited Crown Center for shakes at Fritz' (where model trains actually deliver your food), and stopped for some good Mexican food at Ponak's. It was great to see her, and her friends were funny and awesome. A short but sweet visit indeed.

Like 3: Bubble tea. I ordered some when we had some breakfast at the farmer's market, and it was DELICIOUS. Sweet milky tea with gummy balls mixed in; yum! I wonder if I can get some more without having to go back to the farmer's market again.

Dislike 1: The shoplifting incident. See above again.

And quote!

"Tough times never last, but tough people do." -Robert H. Schuller

See ya,
Colleen

Monday, April 20, 2015

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Hey-yo! I know I'm a day late; I blame the internship and all the editing I had to do on Sunday.

Work was normal this week, which basically means no crazy/interesting customers, no grand theft bookstore, and no memberships sold. However, I did, after a very long drought, got more than just emails one day when I managed to sell both a Kids' Club card and a special offer (this special offer being half off a kid's picture book with purchase of another picture book), so I do feel somewhat accomplished this week. The only other thing I can make a note of is one of my managers showing me a new guidebook which I looked through one day when I was working the mall cash register. It touched on some things I didn't know (or forgot), but other stuff seemed to be geared towards employees with a higher position. Which, when I think about it, would be nice. I'd like a full time job in Barnes and Noble and be surrounded by books all day, though I think I'd prefer a customer service or 2nd floor job over cashier if it was full time. :)

My internship was normal this week, though once again my two regular writers didn't listen to me at all. I know I've griped about it before, and I'm sorry, but I just can't understand why they, as writers, won't at least think about the advice I, their editor, am giving, and more important why they can't do their best to make their drafts as close to perfect as possible. I mean, when I was writing and rewriting SWAMP ANGEL, I made sure to do my best with my spelling, grammar, and sentence flow because I didn't want to give Rich-the-editor a sloppy mess to work with; that felt rude and disrespectful to me. But am I the one in the wrong? An editor's job is supposed to fix mistakes in a piece, so does it not matter what state a written work is in since I'm supposed to correct it all anyway? I don't know, but I do know I'm not giving up on this internship; it's given me a lot of good experience. And my newbie writer listens to my advice, not to mention my boss is on my side, so I guess everything's pretty good after all.

In M.O.A-27, it's the return of M.O.A-35! Nah, just kidding, but Moa has reminded everyone that she has 35's head with her, and she's suggesting that they somehow hook Moa up to 35 and see what can be learned from the other cyborg's central processor. It's a good idea, but Shawney's slightly hesitant because he's the eletronics guy but has never worked with what Moa's made of. Of course, she says she'll help, and he'll accept it, but is there another reason behind his nervousness? Hmm ... (strokes imaginary beard and smiles mysteriously)

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: I went to my first official Royals baseball game (and no, the one in Arizona doesn't count because it was a practice game). It was awesome; the seats were good and we won, but there was also some fighting in between the Royal and the Athletics with hitting players with balls and lots of booing from the audience. That was actually kinda exciting (because I've never seen anything like it), but I hope the other teams we play aren't

Like 2: I've found out who my advisor is for UMKC. I've also got my list of classes for Fall term, so now it's time to pick what I want to learn next. Some of them sound like classes I took at Knox, so I'm torn between sticking with what I know or trying something else.

Dislike 1: Return of the Metro Fee paperwork! All right, it wasn't that bad, but it turned out I'd left out some paperwork for my application to get in state tuition, so I had to send them some more stuff. Kinda annoying, but at least the parents and grandparents were around to help!

And quote!

"There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast." -Charles Dickens

See ya,
Colleen

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Easy Going's

Hi, my lovely readers! It's been a good week in the sense it's been slow yet steady in pretty much every aspect of my life.

Work is going well. For the first time in forever I actually worked at the front cash register for a few hours, and I was surprised to discover how much I missed it. I don't miss the long lines where you have to press the emergency, someone get over here and help me buzzer, but I did miss how you're never completely bored up front because there's always someone to check out or something to straighten (the one time a messy customer is actually good). Other than that, I was music and mall cash register again, and maybe the most interesting thing that happened at work this week was me getting called in for an extra shift, which I accepted (gas doesn't pay for itself). However, I have taken up customer watching when there's nothing to do (don't want them to steal something), and this week I've come to a small realization of how grateful I actually am to have had braces because the last two weeks have been nothing but customers with very horrible teeth. Seriously! Of course, not everyone has bad teeth, and those who did were nice customers, but it was just a little reminder of how braces were worth the trouble so my mouth doesn't end up looking gross.

In my internship, I've finally gotten a new writer. She actually writes, which means she puts out articles of decent length instead of only a few hundred words, which does means more to edit but the pieces read and feel like actual articles. Of course, she's not perfect; while there's no spelling and grammar errors, the way she sets up sentences needs some work. In fact, that's something all my writers need to work on; they all have the habit of writing short sentences that should be combined together and using weird phrasing that sounds awkward when you read it. I've given them some feedback, but once again my two regulars don't seem to be paying my notes any attention. Let's hope the newbie actually listens and learns.

With M.O.A-27, the characters are still talking about what to do next, but the conversation has taken an interesting turn when they start discussing just why Dr. Bentwood had to make cyborgs and touch upon the 'lore' of these beings and why they're against the law to make. It was mentioned before, but at this point we're getting some more details, like how when the experimentation started in the BW age (Before the War), they used criminals as test subjects so if something went wrong, they wouldn't lose any soldiers that they were hoping to turn into super-soldiers. That didn't help the cyborgs reputation, and what really damaged their rep was how much destruction they brought, both by themselves and when the enemies started looking into how to destroy the other side's cybertronic forces. To quote Shawney:

"...people were sick of fighting, and here’s a new weapon to enter the war force. ‘Yes, it looks human, but it has machine parts in it, and machines have done nothing but hurt us for forever’. That was the mindset people got, and it stuck around for a long time.”

It kinda makes you think about violence and war in real life. Don't you think anyone who holds a gun for too long ever gets tired of it, or wonders how much more will be done to win the battle?

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Appreciating the fact I went through braces (see above).

Like 2: Noodles. I've had some macaroni and cheese and ramen noodles this week, and both of them were delicious. God bless the guys who invented noodles, because they're the tastiest stuff on earth!

Like 3: Extra money from extra shifts. Who can complain about that? Now I have more to buy what I need.

Dislike 1: People who don't use their lane change signals when driving. It drives me nuts (pun unintended) because it comes out of no where and you don't know what's happening until the other driver does it. If anything, it's bad driving manners, and who knows if something so small can cause an accident? Are people that stupid to forget it? I think they are (I also think I'm turning into my mom, because she hates bad drivers and always complains about it).

And quote!

"Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." -Reinhold Niebuhr

Good day to you all,
Colleen

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Hello!

So after last week's fun filled update with Arizona and all that jazz, everything been back to normal since then. Work remains pleasant; I was watching the music/DVD department again this week, so that was relaxing. Another thing that did happen was I turned in a score sheet completely blank (we have little cards where we tally how many emails, memberships, etc. we get). And it wasn't on purpose; I literally didn't even get a single email that day because there were so few people and the customers I did have didn't want to give it or didn't have one. So that was a first, and though it's not like the end of the world, I hope I don't have to do it again; an empty card feels like I'm not doing enough work (though I always try my best). Just have to keep trying!

With my internship, one of my writers was transferred to another editor. This one was kind of troublesome, considering that until Boss sat the writers down and told them to stop ignoring the editor's notes, she was one of the biggest offenders (not to mention she misspelled the simplest words). She's improved since then; however, just last week Boss asked me to inform her if any of my writers' articles were too short, and C (let's call her that) sent me one piece that was nothing but a list of spring fashion needs. I don't know if me kindly telling Boss about it was the reason for the change, but I hope C continues to improve with her new editor. As for me, I'll be getting a brand new writer under my wing this week, so let's hope she/he is willing to listen and learn.

Currently, Thayer is NOT a happy camper in MOA-27. And who can blame him when Moa's just told him that if they all hadn't escaped from Bentwood, he would've been killed with Moa while Ursele and Shawney simply would've had their minds erased? So he's currently have a full blown rage attack, shouting and swearing and kicking about an innocent chair and everyone's letting him do it because his anger is understandable; you would think 'utopia' would've removed these sorts of barriers between everybody despite their lifestyle choices, but sadly that's not true. Those who live the 'bad' lifestyle are bad and thus are treated differently, but it's coming to a point where the question is, who's living the 'bad' lifestyle here; the one full of crime, or the one without truth? Which do you think is worse?

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Easter! I had a wonderful Easter Sunday. I went to Mass with my grandparents, then the three of us met up with some family friends for a delicious Easter brunch at my grandparents' country club. Just as good were the two care packages from Mom and Dad: Peeps, jellybeans, malted milk balls, fruity marshmallows, prickly pear taffy, and a stuffed rabbit. Thanks guys!

Like 2:I finally got that dreadful Metro Rate paperwork done for UMKC. If all goes well, I'll be getting in-state tuition and not have to pay the out of state price.

Like 3: I can eat sweets again! Oh, how I've missed you!

Dislike 1: The fact that many customers don't know how to respect my personal space. When I'm looking up something on the computer in the music/DVD section, I do not have the luxury of having a counter in between me the customer and I like at customer service. As such, a lot of customers think it's perfectly okay for them to stand right next to me and look over my shoulder while I'm searching, completely obvious to the fact I'm trying to lean away from them as much as I can. It's not like I can say anything, because they're the customer and have the right to look and see if we have what they want in stock, but them getting so close is awkward and uncomfortable for me, as I'm sure it is for everyone else (because who likes having someone look over their shoulder? Honestly?). Should I suck it up, or kindly ask them to stand back? I don't know.

Dislike 2: Bookclub being cancelled. You know how I said I was going to join one? I did, but when I drove to the meeting spot, I was told by the leading lady that she cancelled it because she wasn't feeling well; in fact, she'd sent out an email to all the members telling them about it just moments before I arrived. So that stunk, and now I'm left hoping we can discuss Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy next month instead of reading another book.

And quote!

"Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

See you all again,
Colleen

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hi from Arizona

Good day!

So if you read the title, the reason I didn't post last week was because I was out visiting my mom in Arizona. It was incredibly fun: I went on two hikes, went to a Royals Spring Training Game, went shopping, visited the Musical Instrument Museum, saw a Coyote's hockey game, and had a general good time. It was kind of like a mini Spring Break. The only part I didn't like were the two RATTLESNAKES I saw on one of the hikes. Very creepy, somewhat scary (considering one shook his tail at Mom), and something I didn't need to see. :P But all in all, a very good trip.

Work has been going well. I'm still watching over the Music/DVD section a lot, and this week I did a DVD look over for the first time. It's like a CD look through when you're checking for rogue tags, but with the DVDs. And the person working before me had done half of them, so I didn't have to do the whole section. Unfortnately I had to look over the TV DVD section, which is the biggest section of the store with really high walls; there was so much to do it took two shifts to look it over. Please just stick me with the CDs next time, please!

In other work news, I think I got asked the stupidest question by a customer to date. I was working the mall entrance when it happened. You see, across from the B&N mall door is this station of shopping carts for kids; you know, the ones with the little plastic cars built in for the kid to sit while Mommy shops. You basically put quarters in the machine to rent it out, then bring it back when you're done. Well apparently one machine ate the quarters but didn't hand out a cart, so this lady came over and reported it to me. This came completely out of nowhere; I never thought I'd hear anything about this, considering it's SO obvious B&N and the cart dispensers are two separate companies. Of course, I didn't point that out, and simply told her to inform the mall security about it. But that was one thing I never saw myself getting asked because, like I said, it's so completely obvious B&N doesn't control the carts! Use your eyes and observe, people! If I ever get asked/informed about this again, it'll be too soon. 

The internship with The Fashion Foot goes on! Thankfully the writers took note of the boss's email telling them to pay attention to the editor's notes, because their work has been looking better this week. Or course, that's to say they're not perfect; some of their mistakes leave me thinking "How in the world did you forget to do this?", but they're better. And with my advice, they'll get as close to perfect as they can. As it is, there's a line of Sailor Moon-themed bags coming out in Japan, snake skin is in (the irony), and bold, bright stripes are the latest trend. I actually saw some of the bags, and they're pretty cute, but I don't know what to say about the stripes. I'm picky when it comes to patterns, not to mention the whole 'horizontal stripes make you look fat' thing. What do you think of patterns in clothing?

In MOA-27, I've reached what I think to be a real breakthrough in the story. The gang's still in Thayer's hideout, but the breakthrough isn't plot; it's a realization. Basically, with all the trouble of the last mission and losing Len, Ursele has come to see that Moa is a completely different person than who she was before. Aria, Moa's former self, is dead, and Ursele's been holding onto hope that Moa would be just like Aria. But the mission's made her realize differently, and Ursele says as such, apologizing for her behavior and saying how she would like to get to know Moa. It's so deep writing this, thinking about what kind of release and discovery this is; it's sad, but so wonderful to write. Scenes like this are the things stories are made of. The problem now is, does Shawney and Thayer ever come to this realization as well? And do they want to?

Bi-Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: My trip to Arizona. See above.

Like 2: Running into more old friends! This time my guy friend Chris popped up out of the blue during a break cover shift, and it was really nice to see him. We talked about school and jobs and stuff, and it was really fun catching up. I really should Facebook him!

Dislike 1: Venomous snakes. Constrictors I like, and think are cool, but poisonous snakes like rattlesnakes just creep me out. It's something that can kill you, and you're standing only a yard away from it; who wouldn't feel freaked out about that?

And quote:

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." -Judy Garland

Bye-bye,
Colleen