Monday and Tuesday were a race to get things done before my scheduled time off. The first two weeks of May are "Cleanup Week" in the area, so actually "Cleanup Fortnight" I guess, and as we've done for years I take time off so we can participate. It used to be for driving around and picking up other people's garbage to clean and fix it and either resell or use ourselves, but starting last year we began throwing out more than we picked up, trying to gain space in the garage and storage units. Each day so far we've made a couple trips to the storage unit, filled up one or more vehicles and left it on our curb, where the pile then slowly disappears like snow in spring, as strangers drive by and take our garbage to clean and fix, and then use or resell, and so goes the Circle Of Life.
Aside from this, the past week was also Participation Week. In deciding to go back to school, I've been forced to reflect on what I did wrong the first time I was in higher education. One of the things I failed to do was Participate. In theatre, someone was always performing somewhere, or there was an extracurricular event of some sort, and I never went, never supported my fellow students unless I was part of the event itself.
So, at MSUM, there were two things on the calendar: One, the film-watching club had a screening of The Shining, which I went to as my inaugural attendance, which was just watching a movie, but I hadn't seen The Shining before so that was good. The screening was poorly attended presumably because of the second event of the week: Friday was the "Capstone" screening of all the film production seniors' final projects. This was fun, technical problems aside - although a pretentious film critic might say that you should be able to watch a film without sound and still hit the emotional beats, but I don't think that's the goal here. On arriving your were confronted with a sign next to a table of cupcakes and cookies saying "DON'T TOUCH, WATCH THE MOVIES FIRST" but while the sound playback problems were resolved the faculty graciously let the attendees eat cookies early. There were five projects, three live action and two animated, with a Q&A with the creators after each; the energy of people showing off something they created doing something they love is infectious and I'm looking forward to my own Capstone in about three years.
I'll still be off Monday and Tuesday for Cleanup Fortnight, and then back to work Wednesday to do a week's worth of work in three days, but then Saturday could be fun: a local comic shop is having an anniversary event, which coincides with Free Comic Book Day, and this confluence will also include an appearance by comic book writer Chris Claremont. Back in the eighties, I was a big fan of the comic The New Mutants: me, a geeky teenager, reading a comic about teenagers discovering their superpowers, what was appealing about that? Claremont is one of the creators of this comic, and by acquiring my brother's comic book collection when he passed and combining it with my own I believe I have a complete set of New Mutants, including two copies of issue #1, one of which I plan on getting autographed during the event. I believe I'll be going with my daughter Allie, a rare event for just the both of us, in one of our common hobbies. Aside from that, our house's actual Cleanup Week is the 2nd week, so we get an extra weekend of piling things on our curb, if D and my bodies can handle that much lifting, carrying, and moving.