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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


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


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


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


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