It's been almost a year since my last journal entry on this thing, and I've got about a million other things I should be doing right now, so why not?
2011's been going pretty good so far.
I'm still working for Salem Christian Homes, but as of this past December, I now officially work for only one of Salem's (19?) homes for developmentally disabled adults (whereas before I've always had my permanent schedule with two different homes). I now work just at Blue Jay Home, and I'm very glad for it. The staff there are pretty easy to get along with, and the House Manager is really easy-going and laid-back. It's a relatively stress-free working environment. Except that I got attacked by one of the residents last week because I told him he needed to eat his lunch in the kitchen and not in his bedroom... so... yeah. But that happens VERY rarely. And I suppose I COULD have avoided it by not taking the baggy of fig newtons he was eating out of his hands. (but he was going to LISTEN to me, dagnabbit!!) Yeah. Basically after that he hit me in the head (not super-hard, tho) and tried to rip my shirt. Good times. Needless to say, I ended up working 13 hours that day--4 hours of time-and-a-half, and 1 hour of double-time. woot woot. Things have calmed down QUITE a bit since then. This morning was good. The same guy who attacked me last week was in pretty good spirits, and he allowed me to clean up in his room a bit while he chilled on his bed.
The rest of the residents are pretty cool. The other guy that I work with is deaf and completely non-verbal. He loves to imitate staff, and occasionally (when I get the time) I wave at him and make funny faces and make all kinds of weird random gestures at him and get the biggest kick out of watching him imitate my gestures. It's also fun to try to teach him old-school clapping games. xD
The two other women at the house are quite fun as well. The woman that I'm assigned to in the morning is in a wheelchair, and I help get her dressed and ready for the day. She also is non-verbal (for the most part--she makes noises and gestures to communicate with staff and her housemates), and always greets me in the morning (from her bed, mind you) with a big, "HAAaaAAaaAAA!" (which means, "HI!!") So I say, "HI! How are you doing?" To which she'll reply, "Yuh" And I'll say, "Oh, pretty good, huh?" She'll say, "Yuh!" And then she'll grab her right arm with her left arm and make kind-of a whimpering noise, and I'll say, "Oh, you're cold, huh?" And she'll say, "Yuh!" I'll ask her if she's ready to get up, and usually she says "Yuh!", but occasionally she'll shake her head no. So I help her sit up, and then ask her if she's ready to flip. "Okay, one, two, three!" She's able to "flip"/roll herself over onto her stomach and stand by her bedside all on her own while I go get her wheelchair from the foot of her bed. Once I get her into her wheelchair she makes this grunting and groaning noise as if to say, "aw, that was hard work man." And I'll say, "aw, that's hard work, huh?" and she'll say, "Yuh!" And then she helps me pick out her clothes for the day. And that's pretty much how my day starts out every Monday through Thursday. She's quite the character.
The other woman that I work with is pretty easy to deal with... as long as she's in her room playing with her jacks. They're like, these giant, plastic jacks and she's obsessed with them. If ever she's bothering me while I'm working in the kitchen, basically I'll I need to say is, "I'ma get ur jacks, yo." and then go running into her room to grab her bag of jacks and scatter them all over her room, and she comes hollerin' after me all the way down the hall, grabbing at the bag of jacks, trying to get them out of my hand, pushing me out of her room. lol. She pretty much leaves me alone after that. And she'll sit on her bed with her bag of jacks in her lap (she cleans them up from all over her room in like, two seconds flat), rocking back and fourth, singing to herself in her very-own special kind of way. She's usually just looking for a little bit of attention.
So yeah... Those are the residents that I work with. Like I said, they're all pretty cool and quite hilarious to work with. In that regard, it's quite similar to The Boys Next Door and the Tibstra House days.
As some of you may know, I've started taking classes again. I'm now enrolled at Mt. San Antonio (Community) College (a.k.a. Mt. SAC), and am taking two classes (to gain moar skillz x3)--Animation 104: FUNdamentals of Animation (with the emphasis on FUN!), and ARTD 17A Drawing: Life. I'm in a life drawing class! I draws nekkid people! xD It's hasn't been awkward at all though. I think a good seven-and-a-half years of showering residents kinda worked that one out already. I just think it's funny that, if you would have told me ten years ago that I would be taking a life drawing class with nude models I would have been like, "WHAT??OMG!!!"
srsly. xD ANYwhos... That's going really well. Drawing the human body is a little challenging. There's a lot of things going on with that that I need to learn to be mindful of--like proper proportions, creating the illusion of volume, foreshortening, weight distribution, the general "attitude" or "gesture" of the pose, center lines, etc. etc. All of these things are very important to consider when drawing the human figure (for animation or otherwise). The professor (teacher? professor? whatever-the-heck-he-is) is pretty cool. Kind-of a young guy. Teaches life drawing as well as animal drawing, which he recommended that I take if I was considering getting into animation. Definitely something to think about.
My other class (Fundamentals of Drawing) is a much more... basic-level class. with a much lighter atmosphere. While life drawing is pretty much a no-talking class, my classmates and I in Fundamentals are encouraged to engage in conversation. I've enjoyed the company of a few of my fellow classmates, laughing and joking around while drawing. Class usually starts out pretty quiet at 9:45 a.m., but things start to liven up as the class continues. So far, a lot of our in-class drawing time is spent copying drawings from cartoon character model sheets. Which may seem kinda lame, but I totally get the point of the exercise. It's to build craft skillz. It's important in animation to be able to accurately re-create a pre-existing character based on that character's structure. Storyboard artists need to be able to draw the same character accurately over and over again with as much consistency as possible. It's been fun. So far we've done characters from Animaniacs, Woody the Woodpecker, and Life With Louis. I'm also pretty excited because last week Friday in Mt. SAC's bookstore I found blue mechanical pencil graphite. When I was at the Animation Academy in 2008 we were asked to do all of our rough drawings in blue pencil so that clean-up could be done in black lines right over top of the blue, and the blue could later be taken out. (it's kind-of an old-school traditional animation thing.) I always use mechanical pencil when drawing so I don't have to sharpen the dang thing and it never gets dull, and so I was hoping to find a blue erasable mechanical pencil somewhere.... possibly online? but I didn't find any and ended up having to settle for regular blue pencil that needs to be sharpened manually. So then last week I went to Mt. SAC's bookstore to buy myself a new mechanical pencil--or an eraser--or something--because my eraser on my pencil was super-low, and also I was running out of graphite. While browsing through my standard BiC Mechanical 0.5 pencils one of my classmates caught my eye, and he directed my attention to a variety of other options--including a pencil-less eraser (shaped like a pencil, but just an eraser), and a mechanical pencil with a longer eraser which I could adjust the height on by twisting the back end of the pencil. I found the blue graphite near those pencils, and was SUPER happy about it. In the end, I purchased a blue adjustable-height eraser pencil and blue graphite. Now I feel like a real animator--with customized tools of the trade. ^__^
Family's been good. Last night I went to Alan and Kevin's (my cousins) middle school band concert. They are starting to sound REALLY good. It's so surprising to me how much they've grown musically in the three years that I've been out here. My first year in California Alan had started fifth grade band. I think his first performance was for the Christmas concert. The first fifth grade band concert always cracks me up--with all the kids exaggeratedly stomping their one foot to keep the tempo as they calculatedly blast out each and every note of Jolly Old St. Nicholas. Love it. But yeah, these guys have gotten good. They're both in Jazz Band as well as Middle School Band, and so they played Jump Jive an' Wail, The Mission Impossible Theme Song, and Disney Blockbuster--a very fun collection of songs. Like I said, they sounded really good, and I couldn't help but want to sing along as they were playing some of ma favorite Disney tune-idge. ^__^
I spend most of my non-working evening hours at Judy and Earl's either watching Anime or educational television with Doug or hanging out with Aunt Judy watching C movies on television (ones that often feature Arnold Schwartzenegger or John Claude Van Damme--I'm sorry, but ever since Conan I can't take Arnold's governator accent seriously.), or playing Bible Trivia, or soaking in the jacuzzi.
It's been a while since I've been over to John and Wanda's house. One of the last times I was over there we (Stephanie, me, Andrea, Alison, and Matt) had a hair-cutting party in their tiny bathroom. Stephanie trimmed my bangs, and her and Alison both collaborated on Matt's cut which was done with the clippers. Seriously good times.
I've been involved with a variety of prayer groups and Bible studies on a regular basis both in and outside of my home church. Wednesday night I go to my church's prayer group meetings. As of the past few weeks, God has used a long-time member of CrossPoint's congregation to emphasize the importance of our group's continued prayers for God's guidance and direction, for the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, and for revival. It was a much-needed reminder!
On Thursday nights I've been attending/co-facilitating our church's Beth Moore Bible Study. I seriously SERIOUSLY recommend Beth Moore's Bible Studies to anyone who has an interest in getting better acquainted with that book we refer to as "the Word of God." They're really good, and I've learned quite a lot, and gained new perspective on some things that I already knew. And it really is such a delight to watch her videos and to see the Holy Spirit at work in her as she presents the material to her audience.
Fridays I occasionally go to Mizpah Ministry's prayer meeting. Again, with prayer focused on the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and revival.
Every-other Saturday I get to go to the Berean Bible Study Group hosted by The Center For Christian Training and Development at the Carolyn Owens Community Center in Chino. Over the past few weeks we've been doing a very in-depth study on the topic of emotions. It's kind-of a complex topic that would take quite a long time to go over, and a brief summary really doesn't do it justice, but this is ABSOLUTELY my favorite study group to go to. I recently brought my mom's cousin Kathleen along with me, and she really seemed to dig it. Kathleen and I have been hanging out on a fairly regular basis, spending several hours chatting over lunch at places like Panera Bread and Flo's Cafe.
On the every-other Saturday that I'm not at the Berean Study Group, I go to visit C.J. at CIW (California Institution for Women--a.k.a. "prison") We usually make a pretty good time of it. It's amazing how easily amused the two of us are by the most mundane things. For example: one of the days that I was visiting with her, we pulled the tabs off of the soda cans and were flicking them around the table. We made "goals" out of napkins and played table soccer for a good half-hour. With pop tabs and napkins. We've also made styrofoam cup puppets, and sculptures out of the random trash we accumulate from our vending machine lunch/snack. All of these things have to be thrown away, though unfortunately, because neither of us is allowed to take anything out of visiting. Although, I did have trash stuffed in my pocket from this past week that made it out with me... hm... AND C.J.'s Papa--one of the officers who's now in charge of visiting--not her real dad, but she's quite close with him and calls him her Papa--anyway, he kept a drawing that I did of C.J. with her toofer (her false tooth) flipped out of her mouth xD. So yeah, that's been pretty fun and awesome too.
Other Friend Stuff
My friend Judith just recently got a job, so praise God for that! Judith and Belinda and I occasionally meet with each other on Tuesdays for prayer and to hang out. They've both been very good friends and very good mentors for me.
I spent time with Michelle this past week. She needed a ride for pre-op for surgery to have a mole removed. So I got to go with her to her two separate (but on the same day) dr.s appointments. That was adventuresome. Trying to find the right building--then weaving 'round the halls of Kaiser to try to find where we were supposed to be. And watching Divorce Court on TV in the waiting room--about some guy wanting the money back that he had paid for his ex-wife's breast implants so he could pay for school. The judge totally denied the claim. xD So that was a fun day.
Also went to lunch with two of my coworkers (Janette and Belinda) after an inservice for work. We went to a Chinese buffet place. It was tasty.
Well, I guess that's pretty much it... as far as stuff going on out here...
My list of upcoming events/to do list:
clean my room (this seems to be kind-of a big hang-up)
get my Bible Study done for Thursday
draw Linnea and do drawing homework for life drawing
sit down with "Possessed" and write some feedback
get stuff done so I can get my taxes done
schedule a dentist appointment
read my Bible
read (a variety of other materials including--but not limited to--a variety of fiction from Suzanne Collins, Jack's Life: The Life Story of C.S. Lewis, and The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation)
uh... do my laundry.
buy plane tickets and badge for ACen.
And the most immediate item on my to do list: