Swine flue is officially at the school, and all is calm. The sick are staying home. My Mom says the Spartanburg hospital has banned visitors except in dire emergencies and absolutely no kids. I always knew kids were trouble, and now the medical system backs me up. We decided to skip the homecoming game in the driving rain, and Your Sis feels she bolstered school spirit enough in the preceding days.
I had delivered a formal presentation at work to a national finance committee that day. It was my first such effort, and I prepared for days. I crushed it. I bestrode the meeting like a mighty colossus. Your Sis bought my bakery snacks and a 40 of Smirnoff Ice to celebrate. And, lo, did I gobble.
We got up early Saturday to prepare for the third annual pumpkin carving party. Groceries were bought and supplies stocked up. It's surprisingly difficult to find cords of firewood in this, the second half of October. I had to buy some gourmet wood packs from Lowe's. Your Sis began the cooking while I met with the senior for his project.
I'm disappointed that he isn't following up on my template of comic as research paper. Instead he's making finished pages despite not knowing what his story will entail or how long it will be. I showed him my thumbnails and script and sketches for a few of my comic projects to reiterate the need for the process. The kid allegedly is a writer, and I thought he'd latch onto the possibility of writing in layers, first with plot and then with dialogue. But he's the kind of kid who wants to go with his first notions, even if they're incomplete.
I pulled rank and assigned him homework: Give me a thumbnail outline of the comic's full story (knowing it can be adjusted) by next weekend. If he doesn't, I'll give him the same homework each week until he does. This is how comics are made. If he intends to treat comic production as the other legitimate guild skills his fellow seniors are learning, he has to respect the formal process. I admitted it sounds like I'm intentionally squelching the fun of creation, but I assured him a scaffolding of narrative will be his bestest friend come December when he's scrambling to finish this.
I talked to a few of his teachers at the carving party, and they shared similar stories. I remember being the same way in school. I thought the burst of creativity was better than planning, editing, and incremental production. You know, work. And work sucked for my lazy bones what wanted to doodle.
The party folk arrived at 5:30, and suddenly the house was filled. We had people in the library and the TV room and on the deck. I put the AMC Alien marathon on TV and asked each parent if they were OK with it around their kids. Only one blanched and that was much too late to keep her kid from seeing blood and goo. He thought it was, and I quote, awwwwwwwwwesome. We provided carving kits and drinks. People brought their pumpkins and communal snacks. Your Sis bought a growler of local beer for me to enjoy and share, and it was simply OK.
The party went well, and the firepit kept us from freezing as we reached deep into the bowels of the gourds for their sweet seed brains. The party ended at 9, but it felt much later, and all were of the mind that we do this every year. And so we shall.
Sunday, then, was our laze-about day, but we took advantage of the clear skies to carve the final pumpkins that afternoon. I plugged the iPod into cheapo exterior speakers, and we listened to Dan Savage podcasts. We're planning some joint exercise outlines to ward off the winter weight, and I need to decide on my race costume nowish. She roasted seeds in two spice combinations, and they were so good, even I couldn't give pass them up.
Picture of the Day
This is a costume for sale in Target. I don't think that word means what they think it means.