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Last Week:

Sunday I went to help the owner of the antique mall sort through her inventory, but then back to work on Monday. It was quite a busy week with more problems than usual, but for the most part everything went well. Then Saturday I worked at the antique mall, which was very, very slow unfortunately.

But then I woke up on Sunday, excited - I was going down to Esmerelda! If you don't follow me on social media, Esmerelda is a house we bought in Elbow Lake, Minnesota: built sometime around the 1890s, it was neglected for probably the past thirty years, until we bought it as a foreclosure for almost nothing, with the intention of remodeling it to live in. For the most part it's a fun hobby for me to go do physical work for a few hours.

I was excited because it was the first time I'd been down since there was snow on the ground, and also I was able to get the powder room sink installed. That part had more practical benefits, but getting to work in the yard is my guilty pleasure down there.

The lot is a large triangle, with the narrow point to the west; that point is covered with a large flower garden, which is pretty much just tigerlilies. I'd been working on getting it cleaned out of sticks and garbage and leaves, so this time I went nuclear on it - I took the lawnmower to it, and then used the thatching rake to scrape it down to dirt.

Don't worry about the tigerlilies - if there's one thing I've learned is that killing tigerlilies is difficult. They were growing around a couple trees that I had to cut down, and the stump grinder took out most of them, and then I dug down around them and took out all the bulbs I could find and replaced the top six inches of dirt, but, boom, this spring it's all tigerlilies again. The big tigerlily garden has probably been there since before I was born and it'll probably be there long after I'm gone.

Once it was cleared of leaf litter and garbage, I took the metal detector through it to see if there was interesting under the dirt, and the metal detector beeped everywhere. After a little digging I found it was because it was detecting the tigerlily bulbs. Sad trumpet noises. I did find a 1919 penny, though, and the lack of real metal garbage was nice.

I lost track of time and had to rush the last few tasks I needed to do, because I had to be back in town by 6 for Mother's Day dinner with D and Allie. Which was nice and uneventful - steaks, french bread, green beans, and blueberry pie.

Next week:

The first day of school! That is, if I survive the big project that wraps up tonight. And then - what - I have both a Saturday and a Sunday off? Snow was on the ground last time that happened.

Last Week:

Back to the real job again; the first two days of the week we tried to get more done with the storage units and the pile at the curb, but then the day job needed me back and I had to get to programming, managing, and otherwise being a normal office guy.

Friday night I went to the Juried Film & Animation Exhibition at MSUM - this is somewhat related to the Capstone screening I saw the previous Friday, but the content was a bit different. The Capstone consisted of all the senior projects, and there were some weaker than others. The Juried show, however, as you might expect consisted of the best they had from all classes, not just the seniors. The high level of quality was very noticeable; still of the "zero-budget" level limitations, but now I was a little anxious over whether or not I'll do a good job with such strong competition from other students when I get in these classes...but, of course, my family said I've got nothing to worry about, so I'll take their word for it for now.

Saturday was Free Comic Book Day, so Allie and I went, not so much for the free comics (although Allie loaded up on those), but to meet Chris Claremont. His biggest claim to fame was his work on the X-Men comic lines, which were largely the basis for the X-Men movies in some form, but he was co-creator of my most favorite comic during my teen years, The New Mutants. Teenagers coming of age but with superpowers? Of course that appealed to a 16-year-old nerdy kid. When I moved out to go to college I left my comic collection behind, which my brother took possession of and then added to, so when he passed the comics came to me. I found that he also liked New Mutants, and had added to what I had originally owned, including two copies of the first issue. So, I bagged the better of the two copies up and went to get it signed.

The autograph line moved very slow, out in the cold wind and with rain threatening to come down on us, and we found out that the slowness was because Claremont wanted a chance to have a conversation with everyone who came in for a signature. When we did get up to the table, I had a nice conversation about what works for storytelling; Claremont said what works is to start with a normal story - going out to eat, staying in school while everyone else leaves for Christmas, etc., but adding a little twist, something out of the ordinary, something different from normal, to put the story in motion and see where it goes; when you get to the next milestone in the story, another twist to keep things moving. I'm mostly writing it here so I'll remember it down the road, as part of my overcoming writer's block path I'm on.

Allie talked about a story she's been working on, a postapocalyptic story of werewolves, which they riffed together on a bit and ended up on a path where the werewolves are defending the Earth from zombie apes from around the world -- which was fun but also demonstrative of another technique: every idea is worth considering, don't discount things until they've been really thought over. I don't know that anyone really wants to hear about zombie apes from Russia, but you never know, and it might trigger an even better idea to discuss it.

Next Week:

Back on the normal schedule for the most part, but because I had to switch days with D at the antique mall, I get to work the 2nd weekend, this Saturday. Maybe I'll get an actual day off at some point; today I'm helping at the antique mall owner's warehouse to clear things out in anticipation of new inventory coming in. by next Saturday that will make it almost three weeks of days with scheduled tasks, and it is getting a bit tiring. But, I'll get through. At the end of the month we're planning a trip to visit D's family in Wisconsin, by that time I should get to rest.

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