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Got a notice that if I don't do a post every so often they'll delete my LJ account. I'd rather that not happen.

"10 Things" or "Q&A"

b&w typing
In no particular order:

10. So?!!
Well, the very short version is, I didn't get the job from Pixar.

9. Longer version?

The slightly longer version is, I found I was on the short list but I didn't get an interview. In some respects I think that would have been worse than the email telling me I didn't get the job because it would have felt so *personal.*
I figure by the time you get an interview for a job, your resume/portfolio has already shown you can do it...the interview is whether or not they want to work with you.
So the plan now is to keep working on my portfolio... I've got a great 100 panel sequence planned out as well as mulling over a scene to board out from Romeo and Juliet. Not the "famous one," ... I thought the scene early, early on in the play where Romeo is being teased by his cousin about Rosalind would be fun.
Emo angsty Romeo... big gregarious cousin... be a fun study in physical and emotional contrasts and moods.
I'm planning on applying again in May. A ver lo que pasa.

8. How's Beowulf?
Have been toilet training Beowulf and it's going very well. I wouldn't think coming home and finding little kitty poos in the toilet would thrill me so but there you go. We think he's ready for the final ring of the "Litter Qwiter" but are waiting until I get back.

7. Get back? Where are you going?
I'm glad you asked. I'm heading to Utah tomorrow... road trip by myself. I've done that drive by myself once before and it's quite a haul. I've loaded up the ipad with a lot of audio books, stocked up on cinnamon sticks, boiled some eggs and grilled some chicken breasts. Tomorrow at some point I'll stop and get some carrots but it'll be interesting to make that journey again by myself.
I'm taking Lisa's car because it has slightly better gas mileage AND she has a cruise control that WORKS.
I think before I take Friday off on a haul that long again I'm going to buy another 3rd party cruise control and have CLAUDIO (our super awesome mechanic) install it. Money well spent.

6. Today there is no #6.

5. Wait...WHY are you going to Utah?
Sad tidings. My uncle had not been doing well for a while and he finally slipped away over the weekend. I'm really sad about it... Lisa and I visited every one of my mom's siblings... except the one that lived closest so we missed seeing her and my uncle. Regrets, I've had a few.
Still, while the circumstances are sad, it is nice to see family. I missed my beloved Aunt Laura's funeral a few years back and I resolved to get closer to my mom's side of the family. I got a lot of that accomplished this last summer and while it's inconvenient (and when is a funeral ever?) I'm making sure to get home for this one.

4. Is Lisa going?
Sadly, no. 4 days would be a chunk of school for her to miss so she's going to be home along for a week. Wulfie I'm sure will be very affectionate when she gets home in the evenings. He's a very social cat and I think he'll miss having me around.

3. How's work?
The freelancing has actually been picking up quite a bit this last year for which I am grateful. It seems one gig ends and another one picks up. I am being greatly blessed.

2. When are you getting back?
I expect I will be back Monday morning/early afternoon. Fortunately it's a holiday so I won't have to worry about missing Spanish class. I want to get back as early as possible because we set that day apart to play an all day D&D game at our place with the boys.
D&D Wednesdays really are the highlight of my week.

1. Shouldn't you be going off to bed? You have a long day tomorrow.
Yes and yes. Drinking some warm milk and just popped a few benadryls. Ta!

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Christmas Roger

Starting my weekly commute to Lisa s school for D and D Wednesday's. I have to say I kind of hate it. It s. Not that I m a public transit snob...believe me I have ridden my fair share of buses. It just this really is the best bus to take and yet it s over an hour of bumping and jostling and winding around San Francisco. Every week i get car sick.

Speaking of weeks it s been a pretty good one. I have been keeping missionary hours more or less, my morning routine is quiet and stable and I had s phone call out of the blue to do some quickie story board work. Hooray and thank you Lord.

Okay, the starting ands stopping is getting to me so I d better quit.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

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Christmas Roger
I'm too tired for a big long note but I figure a few sentences are better than the most vivid memory. (Hat tip to Mad Men for the sentiment.)

Had breakfast this morning with Debie and her kids at the Chino cafe. It looks like a little cafe from the 50s that got updated in the 80s but then subsequently forgot. Upon asking, I was told it was actually built in 1992, so there's that.
Great little diner. The plates were platters so Lisa and I split breakfast.

We got everything packed up, did a last walk through, and then headed to Lisa's parents. We are doing what we always seem to do at Lisa's parents house. We sit and eat and the TV is on and I set up my laptop and Cintiq and draw.

I didn't immediately set up my Cintiq because my pen had not arrived here yet. (We were halfway to So Cal when I realized that while I had packed the tablet...I had forgotten the stylus. They do not sell those anywhere... I had hopes the Apple stores might carry them...but they don't.
I figured I wouldn't be drawing much on it while we were out for the holidays...but my first day at Debie's I got an email out of the blue from a potential new client.
When I realized it was actually going to pan out I got on the phone and called our friends who house sit for us while we are gone.
I described my pen to her and told her to get it to the post office and next day send it.

I was very gratified when around 6:00 tonight, the doorbell rang and I heard someone in very rough English asking for me. I went over, happily signed my name and then set things up. Hooray! It was $20 bucks to next day it from SF to Redlands but it's money well spent.
It would have been better had I actually remembered it in the first place but I'm glad I've got it in my sweaty little paws again.

I feel like all I've done since we've left San Francisco is sit and eat. I need to go for a seriously long, long, long walk tomorrow.

____

Things I think;

I can't see a reason for a lame duck session after elections. Technology and travel have changed enough the day after an election the locks should be changed and those voted out of office get the frak OUT of Washington.
No more of these sessions where crap sandwiches minus the bread gets stuffed down the American people's throats.

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Christmas Roger
3 loads of laundry
3 sketchbooks sketched
1 box of apples ordered for tomorrow (in Spanish!)
Jackie picked up.
Car filled up (holy cow, I really haven't put any gas in my car since September?!)
New Costco visited and checked out
bought printer ink
Fancy Yancy Jalapeno Pepadew cheese! Finally, we don't have to stock up like crazy when we go visit Utah!
Michaels Art Supply
8 art kits purchased (talked to the manager to see if I could get Monday's deal price even though it was Tuesday. Super nice guy. Could. HOORAY!!!)
Rivets (because I think they will look neat on sketchbook covers)
Sale on candles. (going through a vanilla phase.)
Home Depot
Glue purchased
Next time you need razor or exacto blades, go to Home Depot instead of a very expensive craft store!
Jackie got me a mint hot chocolate from the front of the Home Depot. Got to practice my Spanish a bit more.
Jo-Ann's fabric store:
Fancy cord for sketchbooks. Can't believe I almost ran out. This last book making junket has exhausted much of my supply!

___
Came home, dropped J off at Meercat Manor and helped unload all of her stuff (which was not inconsiderable) and thanked her for being my shopping buddy. Lots of fun.

Went home
Unpacked shopping bags
Brushed teeth
Got address
Headed out, just in time to see Lisa who had just arrived.
Went with her to Storyboard Art gathering.
Met a LOT of really fun and talented artists.
Gave Sergio his sketchbook (he promises he will draw in it)
Came home.
Showered
Had dinner Lisa had saved for me from her teacher's party
In bed.
Very, very, very tired.
b&w typing
Turned out I slept a lot this whole week. I would sleep in until embarrassing hours and then haul myself out of bed and work on sketchbooks.
I am opting to do open spined sketchbooks this year. I’d like to play around with doing one with spines a little more before doing another mass production of them… plus, these really do come together faster and it seems every year my group of people who get a sketchbook grows.
It used to be just Suzanne’s kids…now I have added the kids of two of my cousins, plus BJ and Bryce and this year I’ve decided to make sketchbooks for our little D&D group. Turns out we all like to doodle and make notes while we play so I figured this would be a fun Christmas present for the boys.
Instead of 4…or even the 8 of last year…Christmas 2010 I’ve got 13. Yoinks.
I’ve got 9 done though and I’m hoping to enlist Lisa tonight and stitching up the last of them. I’ve got a feeling I’m dangerously low on white signatures though and may need to run to Office Depot tomorrow and buy some more legal sized paper.
___
This next week I will be working on the etched mugs I’m attempting for my siblings as well as Annette’s “A” glasses. I’ve done a lot of trial and error and I think I’ve got a working process…but it’s a lot more tedious than I had initially hoped.
I should just make friends with someone with a laser engraver. Still, I think these will be a hit. Especially when we bust out the wassail.
______
Speaking of wassail, made my first batch in a good long while for Lisa’s Friday Night Thing. Man, that makes the house smell good. “Hey Sylvie, want some wassail?” Hee.
The whole batch got consumed and I immediately got a second batch brewing. The taste of it makes me thing of company and game nights and laughing like fiends around the kitchen table.
Lawrence complains that I overly spice It to which I think there ain’t no such thing. I *did* put a little bit of cayenne into the first batch with no complaints. I’ve learned I have to cayenne my individual wassail though… the heat I prefer tends to knock other people out and racing for tissue to start wiping their noses and eyes.
I want to organize a game night while I’m in Utah. That would be a fun New Years Eve I think… a few of my friends and my folks and sit around the table playing chicken foot. Combs really liked playing…heck, *all* of my friends I’ve brought into my family’s domino tradition has loved it. It’s easy enough that there’s not a painful learning curve (like a lot of Lawrence’s games,) but there are enough twists and turns that you’re never bored.
It will be sad to not have Lawrence there though. One of my most favorite Christmases was 1999… Lawrence and Terence were working at a game store and it seemed every night we had a crowd of people over to play different games.
One night my mom came in the kitchen…and it was close to midnight. We thought she was going to send us off to bed…and instead got: “I’m in the mood for sweet rolls!” and started BAKING.
We all got a little loopy off the fumes from the icing flavorings and had to crack open the deck door. We got hot fresh sweet rolls close to 2 in the morning. It was like I suddenly had Coraline’s “Other Mother.” It was terrific.
___
Christmas Roger
Saw Tangled today. I think it's the best thing Disney has done since, oh... Lion King. I couldn't *believe* how GOOD the CG animation was... it felt delightfully squash and stretchy ... her HAIR was gorgeous ... it looked liked the animators weren't fighting against the machine but instead had finally, finally tamed the thing.
I understand Glen Keane really, really pushed the animators as well as the tech guys behind the rigs to be able to deliver those kind of scenes. It was just *beautiful* to watch.

The story was delightful... Mother Gothel was SUCH an interesting villain...basically a terrible, terrible mother. A master emotional manipulator with a desire to keep Rapunzel's gift all to herself. I think though in her limited capacity she really DID love Rapunzel and Rapunzel did love her back. I mean, she really was all she had known since she was 17!
I'd had the idea of a witch keeping Rapunzel in the tower to keep herself young when I was 20 and even sent Disney a letter about it (which they returned saying they couldn't take unsolicited ideas,) but this was exceedingly well done.

Maximus was fantastic and the physical humor they were able to wring out of him (thank you Disney gods for not letting the animals TALK) was unbelievable. It must have been SO fun to board out some of those scenes! I had read on the story supervisor's blog one of the story team saying, "He's like Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive" and after that they just HAD him.

I didn't think the songs were as memorable as Mermaid or Beast or Aladdin or even LK, but they worked in context.

I'm definitely going to be going back.

"Sunday Sunday" or "Small branch, long day"

Christmas Roger
I was awake a little after 7 am and finally started stirring when Annette knocked on our door. Church starts at 9 am for them here but she needed to be there early for a music practice and it takes roughly an hour to get to their branch building.
Let’s just say this was the *nicest* branch I’ve *EVER* been to. Lawrence told me they share the building the the Japanese ward but it’s still really, really nice. It’s 3 stories tall and *beautiful.* The chapel reminded me a lot of the chapel in the Bountiful temple except larger. It let in a lot of light, everything was clear and bright and calming.
It was a very small branch. Smaller than the one in Mississippi…smaller even than the one in North Carolina. This was more of a “twig.”
(Note for the reader: LDS congregations are divvided up geographically into units of size. Several wards make up a stake, stakes make regions, regions make zones and zones make the whole church body. Branches are what occurs if there aren’t enough members to sustain a ward. IE: TINY.)
Everybody there was incredibly nice. Of course, when you are out here in a strange country and it’s disorienting at best to get to church, you *really* want to be there.
The Sunday school lesson had amazing participation and so did all 8 women that were in relief society. (That is counting Lisa and I.)
It was a good thing I liked the building and the people so much because we were there pretty much the rest of the day. Annette was going to be helping the Japanese ward put together their Christmas program after their service.
It was really nice to just hang out with Lawrence though. We chatted with the Elders (really nice guys. One was a total greenie. I noticed his name was Elder Bednar. (Any relation? Nephew.)
I was also glad I had brought the iPad AND the charger. Lawrence played Plants vs Zombies a little bit and we compared our respective strategies. I set up the “Whack a Zombie” game and let some of the kids play. I was curious why some of the kids were there so late and they told me they were the branch president’s kids.
Ah.
I have much empathy. I remember being a Branch President kid and helping clean the chapel after church every Sunday and waiting for my dad to finish up church business.
___
Lawrence and Annette seem to be following the wonderful, wonderful tradition of putting a roast on in the morning before we leave for church. When you come home the first thing you smell coming through the door is the lovely, lovely aroma of pot roast.
This is not so easy for Lisa and I to do since my church is 9 to noon and her church runs from 7-830 at night with choir practice at 5. Also she is a vegetarian so I’m not sure how keen she would be on pot roast.
If things continue to blow up at her current congregation she may switch to the one in east bay that is also in the mornings. Is it bad that part of me thinks that would be nice so we could actually spend a little bit more of Sunday together?
She gets the choir director and pastor that she wants… I get her the rest of the day. Win win!


-Getting ready to go out again! More later!

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happy
We were among some of the last passengers to board the plane. As I told Lisa, “It’s a 10 hour flight. Are you really in a hurry to go and sit down that long?”
We were more than a little giddy when we saw where Lisa’s student’s mother had put us. She had given us the row behind the emergency exit! On the downside there was no window. On the upside, all the leg room one could wish for. It was a covetous place to be.
For the most part the flight was uneventful. (The best kind.) I read quite a bit having loaded books and papers galore on the iPad, I napped a little bit and killed zombies.
Lisa plowed through her stack of grades getting most of them done. I now know how to keep her on target the next time she’s got a pile of papers that big. I’ll put her on a 10+ hour flight with nothing else to do.
Across from us was the jump seat for flight attendants so we got to chat with them while we were taking off and landing. One of them had been flying since the early 70s so she was fun to talk to regarding the changes.
“People used to dress up real nice,” she said. “They used to also be able to smoke everywhere and that wasn’t as nice.” She told us how the over head bins used to be open and people mostly put their hats and coats up…how security had gone from NO security to where it is now. Really fascinating stuff.
___
The sun was finally setting as the plane touched down in Narita. Over 16 hours of sunlight made for a very, very long day. We went through customs and searched bewilderingly through the crowd and I got tackled to my left by Annette who was more than a little excited to see us.
We found an abandoned cart and since the bus wasn’t leaving for Camp Zama for another hour she took us on a nickel tour of the little mall inside the airport.
Things I did not know about Japan:
A yen is not the equivalent of a dollar…it is more akin to a penny. Yes the exchange rate does NOT work in our favor but it helps when you realize what is going on with the comma.
Japanese like Kit Kats. And not just regular ones. They have all sorts of different flavors. They had lemon and cheese and coke and red pepper and green tea and dark chocolate and wasabi. Kind of crazy.
Hello Kitty really IS everywhere. We saw a store full of nothing but Hello Kitty. Hello Kitty dressed up in Sesame Street character outfits, Hello Kitty pink ninja…
Speaking of pink. I see that color everywhere.
There is a squat toilet for women in the airport. I decided I was there for adventure and used it. It’s like going in the woods but really nice.
__
The bus ride to Camp Zama was really nice. When Annette said bus ride I assumed school bus type of affair but it was one of those really tall ones with super nice seats. We went to the very back and after talking for a little bit more Lisa and I zonked out.
It’s about a two hour ride so there was a little rest stop. Lisa continued to sleep (she hadn’t slept on the plane) but I wanted to see a Japanese rest stop.
It is unlike any American rest stop. It was ridiculously clean, smelled nice, had big round unbroken mirrors in the room that was nothing but sinks and had vending machines galore out front. All sorts of stuff… hot soups, weird drinks, a gazillion different types of coffee… cigarettes… DUDE, I haven’t seen a cigarette in a vending machine since I was a little kid!
We piled back on the bus and this time there was little pretense of talking… I completely zonked out.
___
There was a little bit of back and forth checking us in. The policy had changed that you could check in only one person per household member so Lawrence came to the front to help get the both of us in.
The guards were Japanese with fake rubber shotguns and knew very, very little English.
We got an overnight pass and promised we would be back in the morning for a day pass. We would be unable to get an extended pass until Monday.
___
The rest of the evening really was a blur. It is *always* fun to see Lawrence. The military has made him massive and he could be really imposing except for his perpetual megawatt smile.
They gave us a little nickel tour of their place… really cute to have one in real life instead of Annette wandering around the house with her computer on showing it to us via Skype.
Lawrence had spent some time cleaning out his “man cave” which ostensibly doubles as the guest bedroom but since we are the first guests who have stayed longer than one sleep we were pretty much breaking it in. There was a single bed but fortunately they had filled up an air mattress.
I’m not sure what happened after all that. I tumbled unconscious into the air mattress and didn’t wake up until the next morning.

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"Promising Beginnings" or "In the Know"

Christmas Roger
Yesterday Lisa announced to her class that she was going to be gone the remainder of this week and next as well. Her classroom was instantly full of the buzz of 12 year olds with burning curiousity. One of her boys got her attention and asked if he could pose 3 questions.
"I'll answer the first one," she said, "and then we'll see."
"Um....what airline are you flying?!"

As she was telling me this story I thought how strange it was that airline preference would be his top priority when his teacher is going to JAPAN, but that quickly cleared up.

"United," she told him.
"MY MOM WORKS FOR THAT AIRLINE!!!"

And indeed she did!

As we walked into the airport today and to the (fortunately not busy) United counter Lisa spotted her checking in passengers in Business Class. (We are NOT BC.) Another United worker was telling us where we needed to go as Lisa was trying to explain that we just knew that worker and that's why we were stopping and looking over there.

I have found one can do a great many things in life if only by asking.

"Can we just go to her instead?" I asked the employee.

"Oh." Pause. "Sure!"

So we waited for the mom of Lisa's airline loyal boy...and it was worth the wait. She was tickled pink to see Lisa...upgraded us without asking, walked us down to the super secret oh so fast way of checking our luggage (she couldn't check it in the business class...ours had to be stowed with General Population,)... walked us through some of the lines of security and put us in the fast track screener line.

United. They may break guitars, but all the employees so far we've met have been fantastic.

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