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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  


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


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