21 December 2010

The Election, The Animation & The Raider Nation

2 November 2010
The best part about November is that it left no time for being crippled with grief. The Giants won the World Series. And then it was Election Day. If you haven't worked in news, I can't describe it. It's exciting. It's confusing. It chaotic. It's stressful. It's the best we know how to do, right after breaking news. It's all encompassing. It's about passing the time before the results come. It's wondering what we get to eat, and how many treats we convince ourselves it's okay to have. It's about working together and getting everything right. Election Day is the best and worst day to work. That's why it only comes every two years.



I didn't talk to XBFJ that day either. But when I got home, more stuff had been taken. Again, I couldn't bring myself to step into the living room. But with my clearer head I did start wondering. I had questions about where he lived and who had been in my apartment to help him move. The place was a mess and even now I shudder to think some stranger saw it that way. I wondered why he wouldn't communicate with me. I wondered that was going to be our new reality. I wondered how I was going to get the keys back.

5 November 2010
November tried to redeem itself by pouring on the fun. I got my most important purchases on Friday. These two pillows came from Scotland. I probably paid too much to get them but at that point in life, money did not matter. These pillows were to be my inspiration. I was planning to move without packing, by changing the apartment. I was going to make it mine. I was not going to be reminded he used to live there. I was not going to hear the emptiness every time I walked in the door. These pillows showed me how. Getting them was essentially the green light to start my own next chapter. And I did not waste any time.

6 November 2010
I began my redecoration project. I gave myself a budget, created a spreadsheet and start (more) shopping. I found a desk via Craigslist that would not fit in my car. I thought to take it apart, but it was just too complex for that. Fortunately the seller was a) really nice and b) had an Outback. She ended up following me home to drop it off. I got it upstairs all by myself. It wasn't pretty - for some reason I refused to put down my keys & purse first. But I made it. I had made my first solo furniture purchase. And even though there was still so much of a mess it had to sit in the hallway, I thought it was a great sign of moving forward. I had no time to marvel though, I had a date with Pixar.

I've mentioned I was shopping. But I should also mention there was no rhyme or reason to my purchases. I bought a french press, mostly because it was green. I bought clothes. I bought those pillows. And I bought a day at Pixar Animation Studios. It was a benefit for the Cartoon Art Museum. For a lot less than I would have paid to go, I went. It was another incredibly awesome occurrence I had to experience alone. But that's nothing a life sized cartoon can't cure.

The Incredibles. Giggle

The bottom floor of the studio was open for pictures. The second floor was not. I understood that, there was intellectual property strewn about the walls. Still, I asked for and received permission to take a picture of (with) The Incredibles. I wanted to capture their size. But I also wanted to stand with them. There was no way to do both.

Me & Mr. Incredible. I had to stand on my tippy-toes.

Now he's looking at the camera.

Mrs. Incredible & I. Happy times.

"There's no photography on the second floor."

And I was busted. Do you see her? She's waving a finger at me and yelling across the building. That's right. I got yelled at within 15 minutes of setting foot on the Pixar property. I suppose, when it comes to cartoons, I am a rule-breaker. Or not. I really did have permission, it was just not from her. Too bad for her and her rules I had already gotten what I'd come to get.

I can't describe how fun it was in there. Aside from the life sized characters, there were doodles and drawings and original design comments everywhere. Just the pieces they put on the walls showed how much detail goes into every single aspect of every shot. These are successful, legitimate adults who (possibly) love cartoons more than I do. Swoon. I tried to absorb it. I tried to hide in an office until Monday when someone would admire my dedication and make me an animation apprentice. But security is tight. The compost bin was my only option and that just didn't feel right.

I watched some shorts films and walked slowly through the lobby trying to make sure I didn't miss a thing. Someone offered to take my picture and the day was made. I felt awkward, and my posture shows it. The place was full of families and couples. I was thrilled to be there though, alone or not. Still, there was a part of me that couldn't shake the loneliness. Eventually I left, because there was nothing more to see. I also wanted to park before it got to be too late. I also stopped in Target (just for cash to cross the bridge) and somehow spent $100. I don't know how that happened. Okay. I do. But I had good reason.

7 November 2010
That same weekend, I got tickets to the Raiders / Chiefs game. It actually turned into a brouhaha amongst friends. I immediately thought of David, who is the biggest Raiders fan I know. But he lives in Vegas, and I got the tickets two days before the game. So I never entertained the idea of bringing him. Instead I asked Melissa, because she's my sports buddy. The thing about Melissa, she's a 49ers fan. This did not sit well with David. He was greatly offended that I would take her to the Coliseum. I really think he would have preferred I go alone rather than take a 49ers fan. His outrage ran deep, or at least as deep as the situation could seriously allow. He offered to fly up just for the game. And he was serious. But Melissa was down to go.

And when I say "down to go," I mean she agreed not to wear 49ers colors, but stopped short of wearing Raiders' gear. Her rules stated she would not cheer for the Raiders, but she would also not taunt the Raiders' fans. I recognize her courtesy was born of fear. The Raiders have the most passionate fans ever. I firmly believe that. Even if they lost, speaking ill of them could have gotten us hurt. So I respected her reverent indifference.

It was a cold and rainy afternoon, seriously meant for curling up on a couch and watching football from under a blanket. But our seats were good and our neighboring fans were respectful. Melissa got to see Raider Nation in it's full, foul mouthed, passionate glory. We heard parents chant insults laden with four letter words, with no consideration of the kids present. We saw impassioned stomping that honestly must have been exhausting. We witnessed a pass so ambitious, Melissa actually said "yeah right" as it was released. It was also completed. The Raiders tied, then won that game in overtime. The Coliseum erupted. It was amazing. And I'm so sure Melissa was glad to have been a part of it.

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