things i do in my lunchbreak

"Ma'am, let me insert the cheese code"

Buckle the HECK down, because my time in Tescos is one hell of an experience. I’m one of those people who stand by the little cheap 10p bags in the self-service aisle and have the fancy little headset and coat. I was never told of the horrors with the CHEESE BARCODE NOT SCANNING.

When this happened, I think it was my first three months working there, so I barely had any of the ‘non-scanning’ items memorized. I had not been prepared for THE CHEESE NOT SCANNING. I also remember the incident of the day so well. The lunch break I spent asking all the cashiers, “what’s the cheese code??”

Imagine it, 8AM. The schools haven’t started, so all kids are getting stuff for their lunch. Kitkats, cola, the odd cake for the odd birthday, socks.. But three kids in the space of half an hour were getting cheese. Not grated cheese in a bag and some bread, no. A block of cheese. The cheese in the broken cooler that we had to move twenty minutes earlier, so the bottom of it (where the barcode was), had been soaked, and stuck together slightly. So, I was very unaware of this. Why would I ever care about the cheese that never sells until 10AM? It had to be dry by then. Anyways, this kid comes in, cheese in hand, tomato in the other. The poor boy was probably cooking in school. Scans his tomatoes easily. Tries to scan the cheese. Cheese doesn’t scan. Alright yeah, whoops, scan it proper kid. Tries to scan the cheese again. Cheese doesn’t scan. And again. And again. I eventually see the kid looking at me with hope, so I go in and enter the cheese code from the bottom of the pack. I give the kid his cheese, and he’s on his way. No more than five minutes later, the odd Harry comes up with a pizza base and cheese, not to mention squeezy tomato. He scans his base and squeezy tomato easily, but not the cheese, oh no. That doesn’t scan. I just think they got one of the few ones we moved last, so they were messed about a bit. I enter the kids code, he’s on his way. Same with the other kid that came in. I just thought it was unlucky.

But no, Lord behold, the ‘let me speak to the manager cut’ woman comes in with a BASKET. Love, why must you do this. It’s 10AM, just order online. I had already entered 10 cheese codes that day, and I’m thinking maybe the cheese has to refrost or whatever; I don’t work in stocking. So, I put myself on standby for this woman, watch her scan the little milk cartons (semi-skimmed, good choice) and the rest of her good eating looking basket. Then the cheese comes up. Oh god. I walk over to her, say the cheese won’t scan for the others, so it’s easier for me to put in the code. But no, no, she can make it scan. “My boy works in retail you see, one of those fancy shops in the big places? Yeah, those. Real good, told me how to scan.” OK love, whatever you say. I go back to my corner and mess around with the bags. Two minutes later, the lady still can’t get her cheese to scan. I go back over to help, but no, no. She has this. I tactically retreat to my bag corner. Another two minutes, and I put away the 'something in the bagging area’ thing for her. I watch her good, healthy veg as she goes to get two different blocks of cheese. She comes back. Her cheese is not scanning, so I offer yet again to code her cheese.

“Ma'am, let me put in the code. It’ll count as being scanned then.” No. She will not yield to my cheese scanning. I ask her once more. She will regret not accepting my offer. I tell her OK, I retreat to my corner. I begin talking to the cashier. His name was Matt, got sacked for being a twit of a driver. Nice guy, bought me stickers once. No more than five minutes later, the woman’s red light on the scanner goes off. She had tried to enter the cheese code and failed. She had entered the tomato code. Feel my wrath, Helen. I go over, and I enter the cheese code. I am free from her, she has left. But, she had brought MORE cheese buyers. Five more people fell to my idiotic cheese entering, I did not know the cheese code. I entered what I had. My lunchbreak had finally come up, and the first thing I said when leaving was good luck to the security man. If an item doesn’t scan, it’s usually taken out and people claim that “It’s free.”

The cheese saga ends here, but to this day, I continue to watch people fail at scanning the legendary cheese. I am the cheese slayer, I get people their dairy goodness. I do not like any of it, but I enjoy watching kids do my job for me.

I am the Tesco cheese slayer. I know non of the cheese codes, but I will slay them anyways.

it’s my 28th birthday and i am spending my lunchbreak sitting in the sun eating a salad and reading the collection of david foster wallace memories that mcsweeneys gathered from writers and other public figures after his death. i am trying to make a list of 29 new things to do before i turn 29, because i have, all my life, been voracious for life, wanted so much for and from it and so often not bothered to reach for it even as it’s felt like there’s this gaping chasm inside of me to fill. i am thinking of putting “finish infinite jest” on that list because i have started it before and never finished, despite being touched by the little i’ve read. i have a poor attention span sometimes, or rather: when i love something very much and there is a large but still finite amount of it, i tend to drift off in the middle of that thing as a sort of self-indulgent way of keeping it from ending. i’ve done it with book series, with long novels, with tv shows: as long as i don’t finish them then they’re still alive, vital, just waiting for me to come back. i have read almost all of dfw’s short stories. i have read all of his published essays, most of them multiple times. i repeat parts of this is water to myself over and over like a mantra or a prayer or a reminder. i have read the broom of the system, and i think that this might be the summer that i read infinite jest. people on here like to dismiss dfw, writing him in with all other straight white men when they’ve likely never even read him. it’s true that you have to have an ego to write a book as big as infinite jest, but i think more than that you have to have that same kind of hunger that i described in myself. dfw conquered mountains every day until the day he didn’t anymore, and what strikes me in reading these memories of him is the same as what i take away from his writing every time: his kindness, his humour (which he turned on himself more than anything else), his extreme generosity of spirit. he was an incredibly intelligent man and writer, and some people mistrust that, but what they miss when they do so is that he was also the kind of writer who wasn’t stingy with that intelligence, but who made everyone who read him smarter too. i said to @moriarteaparty last week that the word i have started trying to live my life by lately is ‘generous,’ because it is active and receptive and changing with every person and situation, instead of being fixed, and that is what life is like, too. i was very sad for a very long time, and there is something wrong with my brain that made me think there is something wrong with me. maybe there is, i don’t know. but starting from that point, trying to ‘fix’ myself or my life does not, has not ever worked. generosity - a focus i learned this past year from a mentor i admire immensely as a teacher and as a compassionate force for good in the world - that has done more to make me the best version of myself almost immediately, and it is because it’s about how i interact with the world and the people in it instead of being about me. sitting here, enjoying something as simple as this spinach and the sunshine on my skin, thinking “this is water. this is water.”

Some rough concept work I’ve done for a story project I’m workshoping with a group of kids at the school I work at.

I’ve started holding a short story writing club every Wednesday during lunchbreaks, as part of my job. It’s a bit tough managing to make the whole thing progress when you only have about an hour per week (and only about 9 hours total of meetings) but if things go well I’ll do it again next school year and have more time to work with them.
So far the kids are really enjoying themselves, and although they do are fairly tropy when it comes to character roles they do are thriving with creativity and a will to have fun while coming up with the story and plot points. I’m having a great time helping them make their ideas into a cohesive whole. The group is made of roughly 14-15 kids, mostly girls, and it’s really fun and interesting to see where they minds go, what they like, what they think makes a basic story structure work, etc. We’re aiming for 10-20 pages of text, plus illustrations by me, the kids and maybe some of my coworkers too.

These two are the main character (left) and rival/partner/potential love interest (right) respectively. The designs are by me (and not final, I still need to work in some of their ideas and check with them) but based on their recommendations, requests, and specific directions. My input was mostly there to help the designs feel more coherent, without conflicting elements (they want the main character to wear a cape but I’ll have to suggest against it or think of some way to implement it, i.e., as I don’t think wearing a cape is recommended when you also have a big ol’ axe on your back). The colors need more thought too, but I did what I could with what I had available at work ahah.

Anyway, really excited about this little project, it’s a blast working with kids’ ideas as a basis for design work. Look out for more as we keep working on it. Since it’s going to be a free, “for fun” thing, I’ll see if I can translate and make the finished product available online.

Sunday Rumor Mill - OP-Sumos Leak

Hello, all fans. I’m aware that some false “leaks” have been making their rounds across the Web, with one notable one being legitimate, and I just wanted to reveal some things. I’ve recently retired after coming into a fair amount of money, so I have no risk of losing anything by doing this (or so I hope!) and just wished to give you Super Smash fans some inside scoops. Sadly, I worked in the sound department, so I’m not entirely sure about everything, and was unable to get pictures. All information I give here was what was given to me on lunchbreaks from my colleagues. With that out of the way, let’s get onto the show! That being said, I made a new account as to not be able to be traced back. Hope this isn’t an issue.

- Since I worked in the sound department, I can confirm that everyone will NOT have their own victory theme, at least at the time of writing. Somewhere down the road, perhaps, if time allows, but the first job dealing with victory themes just told us to create one for each series, like before. Meta Knight’s variant was kept at the start, though.

- Because of this, I can confirm that the veterans who are the sole character in their series are coming back. These ones in particular: Yoshi, Wario, Ice Climber, Mr. Game and Watch, Robot, Captain Falcon and Solid Snake. Yes, Snake is returning. I know some fans were worried about him, but fear not!

- In addition, our job description entailed having a victory theme prepared for Punch-Out!!, Nazo no Murasame Jo and Chibi-Robo. I think we can assume that a character is getting in from these games. These are the only other new series that we needed to compose for that haven’t been revealed yet.

- As a fan of Fire Emblem, a friend of mine has informed me that in addition to Marth coming back, Ike will return and Chrom will be added. The current plan is to have Ike become an unlockable, due to him being less in the public eye. He shall either be revealed to coincide with Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, or held off until the game’s release (whichever comes first…even Sakurai’s not sure when SMTxFE is being released). Chrom is unique from the two, and will be revealed mid-April, to coincide with Fire Emblem’s anniversary. He utilizes both a sword and spear, making him a tactical character. There are currently no plans for Roy.
- At one point, I helped record a sound effect for an above-screen KO for Ridley. I believe this confirms that he’s a playable character. 

- The Palutena leak from a while back is correct, as I helped record her lines. Some of the development team was notably upset that it happened, but the situation with that leaker has been taken care of, to my knowledge.

- One of my friends that works in PR informed me that King K. Rool is planned to be released at E3 2014, fighting Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong on the Gangplank Galleon. He is the heaviest character.

- Falco and Wolf are both returning, and Falco is getting a rework, if the new sound effects we recorded are anything to go by. They seem to imply and Arwing Final Smash, as well as a hawk-like screech. Not sure what that screech is used for, though.

- When recording the lines for the announcer, I can confirm that Home-Run Contest, Break the Targets and Board the Platforms will be making a comeback. The announcer is the same for both versions. 

- At the time, no cuts are planned, but if deadlines aren’t met, Lucas is the first to go, according to Sakurai’s priority list. That being said, if Lucas is revealed, a no-cut scenario is rather likely.

- Some of the staff were joking around and saying that Mewtwo should be revealed, since his birthday is on 6 February 2014. This sort of implies he’ll be making it back, though I wouldn’t bank on that particular date

- Waluigi returns as an Assist Trophy, as we needed to convert his sound pack. Andross does as well. That sound effect is rather hard to miss.

- Diddy is the next reveal, though many have guessed that. 

- We recorded a few lines for Lucina. Whether she is an Assist Trophy or part of Chrom’s Final Smash is unknown.

- We actually brought in my neighbor’s dog to record the sound effect for the Nintendog.

- Drake Redcrest’s theme, Champion Battle (XY), and Bumpy March were the last songs I helped work on.

- Shulk is an Assist Trophy, to my disappointment. I asked a friend of mine (the same one who gave me the Fire Emblem information). However, there is a good amount of Xenoblade songs, as well as a stage on the Wii U. 

That’s all I have. I’m sure you’re questioning this thing’s validity, but let me assure you. After Diddy Kong, Mr. Game and Watch will be the next veteran revealed. As well, we will get a newcomer toward the end of February. More than likely, it will be Palutena, in order to quiet the leak a bit more.