The paradox of the summer months is that they always hold so much promise and potential for doing the things that you’ve been putting off because you had become so flattened by the stress of work but when you actually reach them, you find yourself with so much time on your hands that it becomes easy to snap back in the opposite direction and declare things you’ve been meaning to do as something you can get to after you take a little time for yourself. Now, while this summer was one where I got a lot of things done that absolutely did need to be done, one thing that fell off pretty early on what keeping up with weekly updates. It’s hard to talk about the events going on in my life when the point of summer is that I’m trying to have significantly fewer events in general. I’m taking time to become fully human again in the wake of the exhausting last few months of the school year, and that means that most of the time I’m a much less interesting person, even to myself. Also, summer is the time of year when we pack in most of our travel for the year, and I just wasn’t in the right headspace to write about all of that while I was in the middle of it.
Because of all of that general mess, this post is my relatively brief nod towards acknowledging that stuff happened in June, July, and August, and it was mostly good. We flew to Los Angeles, did a bunch of stuff there, and then took the train back home to Portland. I very much recommending taking the train if you have the time and means to get a sleeper cabin. Rachael and I reserved a roommette, which was a cozy little compartment that turned into a couple of bunk beds for the overnight portion of the trip. In July we flew to Iowa to visit Rachael’s parents in their new house. It was a really fun long weekend where we got to enjoy my mother-in-law’s excellent hospitality skills and make fun of the bad television we all agreed to watch together. In August we rented a beach house with some of our close friends and enjoyed the general vibes on the Oregon coast. It was a good summer.
The end of break was a little stressful as I learned just before the beach house trip that a job in the English department had opened up at the high school where I’ve been working, and because I’d been playing with the idea of casually looking for chances to make a move out of special education, I let my principal know that I was interested in the job and applied for it. Because of the quirks of how our district does its hiring practices and a couple of other unrelated things, I spent the last two weeks of summer stressing about whether I was going to get this job. I felt like I had a good chance as someone who’d been working in the school for several years by this point who had demonstrated that I knew what I was doing in a classroom. I interviewed on the Thursday before I was due back for pre-planning, and because I didn’t hear anything on Friday, I spent that last weekend of summer feeling more than a little anxious about what I job I was reporting for on Monday.
Ultimately, I didn’t get the job, although I’ve been told that I was passed over primarily because they had another candidate from in district who already had experience with one of the courses that needed to be covered. My principal was extremely supportive when she broke the news to me, and then she said that there was an opening at our feeder middle school that I might be interested in applying for if I was really eager to switch to general education. I spent a couple hours thinking on it (while sitting through our back-to-school all hands meeting that always lasts the whole morning on the first day of pre-planning) and decided that after coming so close that I wasn’t willing to pass up another opportunity. I applied Monday afternoon, and Friday morning the principal of the middle school called to ask if I could interview that afternoon. I agreed, I interviewed, and less than ten minutes after we wrapped up, he called to offering me the job. I accepted, and so after Labor Day weekend I packed up everything at my high school and drove down the street to start setting up my classroom at the middle school.
As you might expect, the one problem with this plan was that students started the day after Labor Day, so I couldn’t actually move much in while my classroom was being occupied by my new students and the sub they had gotten to fill in for me until I could get settled. It’s now Saturday, and I’m still furiously scrambling with all my free time to make up for the fact that I spent pre-planning preparing for my old job. It’s a weird quirk of late summer shuffling in education that this time loss happens, and while I’m really physically tired, I’ve been incredibly happy this week because I get to teach general education classes. There are definitely quirks to the job (I’m teaching both ELA and Social Studies, which is a content area I’ve never taught before; also, it’s middle school), but overall I’m pleased with the change.
I’ve done a lot of art this summer that I haven’t spent any time writing about in this space, and altogether it’s probably not worth spending too much time rehashing what I’ve been learning over the summer. The big thing that I’m preoccupied with right now is the fact that I just don’t have as much energy to draw with my new job starting up. I hope that will change as I get settled into a more normal work rhythm, but for the moment it’s meant that my art has been progressing slowly. Besides the progress problem, I’m working on a very ambitious project that’s going to involve compositing multiple individual characters onto the same large background that I painted a couple weeks ago. I think it’s going to be cool, but the amount of time it takes is going to be much more than I anticipated two weeks ago when I first decided to try it. At this point, I’m trying to think forward to Drawtober, and I’m feeling like I may end up taking another pass this year what with the new job and all.
I wish I had brain space to write coherent thoughts about comics right now. I haven’t given up on my ambitions to do a critical read-through of the rest of Vita Ayala’s New Mutants run at least through the “Labors of Magik” arc, but that’s a type of brain work that is also very difficult to manage in the current state of things. I’ll say that Marvel’s Judgment Day event has been a really fun crossover so far, even as I haven’t looked at anything that’s come out in the last week for the usual I-have-no-energy-because-new-job reasons. Maybe this weekend I’ll cozy up with my iPad. After I finish my weekend chores.
I’m slowly playing through Nier Replicant, and it’s a fun game in general. I expect the gut punches to come faster and furiouser as I get to the end of the first playthrough before I work on the subsequent endings. Nier Automata was a compelling game, and I’m just hoping that Replicant is half as good.
Last weekend Rachael and I played Immortality, the new Sam Barlow FMV horror game. It’s really good, and a pleasant way to pass a weekend. It’s largely a meditation on the nature of creativity and art along with a gentle critique of misogyny in the film industry. I think you get out a lot of what you bring to the game.
We watched Licorice Pizza last night. It’s a beautiful movie about 1973 anchored by some really fascinating performances by the two leads. I’m sure there are other things we’ve watched in the last two months that were also worth discussing, but as with everything else right now, it’s all sort of a blur. I might also recommend The Rehearsal if you want to watch a comedy with the most chaotic premise I’ve ever seen. I’m pretty sure the entire thing is a single massive bit. Pretty sure.
I have not been to a coffee shop since the last time I checked in. I did drink a nice cup of tea while I was working on this blog post though.