Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Sorry for the lack of content...

We went camping last weekend on Mount Palomar. I took Friday off and everything! So, that put me behind at work with the end of quarter coming up. We have these quarterly MBOs (Managed Business Objectives) here. And our raises and bonuses are tied to how we do on them. So, there is always a flurry of activity at the end of each quarter as people try to complete things that are not yet done. So, of course, I took a day off. But that's not all! I'm taking of this Friday and Tuesday to make July 4th a REALLY long weekend. That means I have shaved off my buffer. Typically, your assessment of your MBOs is due on the Tuesday after the quarter ends, give or take. So, I have had to work pretty frenetically to get mine done. They're not done yet, but I'm pretty close. So, no more posting until after the holiday.

My evenings are spoken for as well. We are packing to go to Sequoia National Park for the holiday. We are leaving tomorrow afternoon. So, there is prep for that as well. However, I do have some cool photos of the Palomar Observatory that I will be posting when I return. I'll also have some great redwood photos as well. All that, plus another couple Karma stories! So, check back on July sixth and see what I had to say to your comments and what I had to say for myself!

Oh, and Wombat? When next you comment, include a link to your blog as well, please. I'd like to roll it. I bet.

Peace out and Happy Independence Day!

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Bad News - Good News...

Well, the bad news is that I was karmically punished for my recent urethra post. (Note: Be warned. This post is pretty gross.) After my routine physical, the doctor decided that I should have a flexible sigmoidoscopy, even though I am young and healthy. For those who don't know what this is, it's a test wherein a camera on the end of a flexible tube is inserted into your rectum and sent as far in as you can stand on a fact finding mission...

In addition to the discomfort, there is the added benefit of lying in a humiliating, naked from the waist down position while you are tortured. They put a paper table cloth over you to "allow you some privacy". Then they fold it up so they have access. There is a lot of twisting and turning from the camera to get it to focus. At least there was a little TV there so I could watch and see what was going on in there. I can now tell you exactly what digested yellow Jellow looks like. I won't. But I can. I was offered some pain medication for the process that I had to decline. L. could not pick me up from the appointment.

The worst par was the advancing of the tube. My theory is that the seal is tight so, as the camera advances, air is displaced. The only place for the air to go is back up the pipes until it comes to a space that it can spread out in. Instant abdominal cramps. I was determined not to yell or swear or anything like that. And I made a pretty good show of it. I gritted my teeth. I grunted through the pain. On the occasions when that wasn't enough, I blurted out things like "Oh yeeeeeeah." Dr. Newman had a sense of humor about it as well. "That hits the spot, huh?" After what seemed like forever, he decided he had seen enough. He assured me that he COULD have gone further, but he chose not to as he didn't see a need to torture me further. "That's fine. I'm not a fan of torture, myself," I said as I exhaled. "I am," he said matter-of-factly. "Next time." I promised.

The good news is I have a healthy colon and he sees no reason to see me until I am 50. So, no cancer, which is what my doctor was concerned about. Whew. In spite of taking up less space, I'd call the good news bigger than the bad. Of course, the bad news had company.

I'm including the preparation and after-effects as separate bad news. Especially since they were so bad. The prep work required a 24 hour clear liquid diet, with nothing after midnight. That means I could have Sprite, bouillion, water, and non-red Jello. In addition, I had to drink a GALLON of Colyte. Colyte is an electrolyte and laxative cocktail. That's sixteen 8 ounce glasses of nasty. The directions specifically say that you can't flavor it. Eight ounces every fifteen minutes. The time separation is to allow you to get to the can! Colyte is difficult to describe without using words like gross, gag, or for the love of G-d, no! Basically, it's a powder that dissolves in the gallon jug. The directions say refrigeration improves the taste. If THAT was an improvement, I'd hate to taste it at room temperature. It's slightly more viscous than water or soda. Not enough to make it syrupy or sticky. Just enough to remind you that it ain't water. It's salty, too. But not table salt salty or sea salt salty. There is another taste in there too, as just drinking plain salt water never tasted this bad. However, I didn't want to think about it, so I didn't dwell on it enough to identify it. They also tell you to drink it quickly as opposed to sipping it. Like I was going to sit out on the patio with a colyte, a sprig of mint, and a good book? It's quick acting, too. By my third glass, I was racing to the throne. The end result is supposed to be that your stool is clear. I assumed they meant transparent and not colorless. I was wrong. I was sh*tting water. Or Colyte. Or whatever. That was some unpleasantness for a few hours. It left me with a headache and a burnin' ring of fire. At least the procedure was at 8am the next day. A good night's sleep and it would be all but over.

Or so I thought. Unfortunately, the effects have lingered. All that air that was forced in had to come out somewhere. I had several bursts of flatulence throughout the day, coupled with nausea and cramping. And this wasn't a little toot here and there. These were long, loud, trumpet blasts. If I had fine motor sphincter control, I could have played the Star Spangled Banner. My body has been trying to readjust to digesting food. In the mean time, I am crampy, gassy, and grumpy. And this is the next day! I am hoping my intenstinal distress dissipates soon as we are going camping tonight.

However, there was one more bright side to it all. As I was sitting in the men's room stall, an equally gassy individualt sat down next door to me. As he and I grunted, sometimes in unison and sometimes in harmony, an idea for a tasteless short film or skit occurred to me. It's tentatively called "dueling buttholes", though I am open to suggestions for a better name. I'm sure you can all guess how it would go. The song dueling banjos done to fart noises. The shots would include the stall doors with the feet visible underneath, shots of the 'musicians' on their thrones, and closeups of the 'musicians' faces as they grimace in an exaggerated day. I suppose it could be subtitled "Chili Day at the Cafeteria".

I have sunk to a new low.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Injustice for all...

The Patriotic jingoists strike again! (Found this via David Grenier) An eight year old boy in Southern California made up his own version of the Pledge of Allegiance and recited it during the morning Patriotic Devotional. Here is his rendition...

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United Federation of Planets, and to the galaxy for which it stands, one universe, under everybody, with liberty and justice for all species.

I don't know about you, but I like it. I like the sentiment and creativity. A parent in the class did not. The incident was reported to the principal. The boy was suspended for a day and ordered to write the Pledge of Allegiance FIFTY times as penance.

His Mom was called in to pick him up with no explanation beyond that he was suspended. Did I mention that the school is near a military base and many of the students have fathers on base?

The link to the story is a link to her blog containing her recounting of the events. You won't find this in the news as the Mom has not decided to alert the media. I really like the way she handled it.

First, she laughed when the Principal told her why he was suspended. When she saw how serious the Principal was, she decided not to say any more and took her son home to do his penance. She let him watch Star Trek. The more she thought about it, the more she decided that the school was really wrong. She told him not to do copy the PofA even once. The next day, she marched back into the school and demanded they remove the suspension from his record and cited all the reasons why they were wrong. She told her son that he could keep reciting his pledge, but to do it silently so as not to disrupt the class. She further let him know that he did not have to recite any pledges or oaths that he did not believe in.

The suspension got rewritten to a warning, which I suppose is progress. I would have pushed for an apology from the teacher and principal, but I suppose if the boy knows his mother is on his side, that's the important thing. She also read him all the comments of support over on her blog. He's been buoyed by that.

Also noteworthy for relevance to the "School Administrators are Morons" meme is this story on Thing of Ugly. Short form is that two boys planned a scientific experiment to show the dangers of BB guns. They had adult permission and oversight. Anyone who looked at their work could see that this was not just an excuse to play with guns. (It might have been an excuse to play with ballistics gelatin...) The administrators disqualified the project as too dangerous.

To a lesser extent is another story on my friend Jenn's blog. She took her Kindergartener to be to a school tour to experience the teachers she may have. The teacher their group met with read the Rainbow Fish and then asked the class, "Is it right to be so beautiful, or should you share with others so that you are all the same?" There's a good message for you. Don't achieve. Don't be the best. And if you are, then find ways to conform so others will like you. This teacher then went on to guide the kids on an art project. She stressed the *right* way to do it, right down to the colors that MUST be used.

So. Remember kids. Don't think outside the box unless you want some institutional beatdown. It's American Survivor! Conform. Consume. Concede.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Marvin the Martian Lives Next Door

We met the folks who live behind us a few days ago. We were on the hill, weeding. They were in their back yard. They called us over and we exchanged pleasantries. They had a question for us, "Is that big tree yours?" I wondered what led them to conclude this. Eighty percent or more of the tree is over the fence into our side neighbor's yard. That eighty percent includes the whole trunk and root system. Perhaps it was the fact that I had trimmed the branches that were hanging down to the ground and blocking our sprinklers. I made the leap and said as much...

"Nope. It's not ours. I just trimmed some branches so our sprinkler could water this side of the hill. Why?"

"Well, we wanted to ask if we could cut it down."

They wanted to cut down a beautiful and sizeable shade tree in someone else's yard? WTF? They saw my puzzled look and felt the need to clarify.

"We'd do all the work. They wouldn't have to do any of it. We'd get it cut down and haul it away."

"That's very nice of you," I ventured, not sure where this was going at all.

"When we're in the hot tub, the tree blocks our view."

Don't worry. I swiped their illuduim Q-36 space modulator. The tree is safe for now.

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Friday, June 17, 2005

For the record...

If someone mentions the southern part of Norway around you, and you say, "Isn't that where the Norwegian rednecks are?" and someone from Texas who happens to be overly sensitive is in the room, odds are good she will find it offensive. If she retorts, "That's exactly the kind of thing you expect from a Northerner", that is NOT offensive. Why, you ask? Because it is retaliation. And retaliation apparently always has the moral high ground. Just thought you should know.

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Razor burn or freezer burn?

Check out I am tempted to order from them just to see whether or not they are any better than a regular razor. These razor blades are "cryogenically tempered" at -300 degrees F. That's getting down toward absolute zero. The premise is that the molecular structure changes at that temperature, making it more durable and stable. I found the site because I was looking up fuel economy solutions. I don't remember the exact search string, but a story on this guy came up because he did the same process to his car parts and got significantly better gas mileage and longevity on his car.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Maybe I Hit My Head Harder Than I Thought...

Last Friday, I resolved to go to the doctor about my bump on the head. I think I just got tired of people asking me if I had been and then being shocked when I said, "No." The popular opinion seemed to be that a fall of that nature, coupled with a perpetual headache and near constant tiredness was cause for concern. I didn't disagree, mind you. I just didn't think it was serious enough that they were going to do anything about it. My self-diagnosis was: mild concussion. I've seen enough medical drama to know the signs. Still, the nagging finally got to be more annoying than the headaches, so I went. The doctor spent about five minutes with me. She twisted my head in a variety of directions. She shined lights in my eyes. She poked my bruise to make sure it hurt. Then she gave me her diagnosis. Mild concussion. She told me I'd have a headache for a couple of weeks, but should suffer no lasting ill effects. If I experienced any blackouts, nausea, bleeding from the eyes, or speaking in tongues, I was to come back. Fine.

I headed off to work where I received great sympathy from my boss. "You're one of those people that should wear a helmet at all times, like those kids." He laughed heartily. The day went by more or less uneventfully and I headed off to the theater to get ready for the show. The wife and kids weren't going to be coming, and I didn't have anyone from work coming either. No biggie. I'd still have fun. I was a little bummed that I hadn't had many people come up for the show. Whatever. The audiences have been good and the cast has been great. I don't need to know anyone in the audience to entertain them.

So, I went through my preshow routine. I did vocal warm-ups. I stretched. I put on make-up. I socialized with the rest of the cast. Then came the call. Places! I open the show. There is a brief intro in which I do a little dance ending with a couple of bell kicks, one left and one right. Then I go down on one knee and take my hat off pointing at the audience member three seats in from the stage right end of the center seating bank. Kind of a "Ta-Daaa!" without words.

So, I hustled out to my spot. Waited for the preshow announcements and the house lights to go out. Music! I made my entrance. I did my moves. My character is allowed to break the fourth wall, so I started surveying the immediate audience to decide who I was going to interact with. Kick. Kick. Hat. That was the point when I thought that perhaps my concussion was worse than I originally thought. Had to be. My hat was pointing right at my Dad! But he was in Massachusetts. And there was my Mom. And why were L and the kids not at their cookout? Everyone was sitting there grinning at me.

I'm told the look on my face was pretty priceless. I wish they had gotten a picture. I can only imagine. L has since asked what was going through my head at that point. Normally, I weight a beat or two before going into my lines. I try to see who reacted the best to my dance and deliver the opening line to them. Friday night, it seemed like an eternity before I went on. Here is what I was thinking: "No way. NO. WAY. Holy crap. I don't believe this. NO WAY! HOLY CRAP! How did they? Where did they? NO. WAY." I blame the concussion for my not having deeper thoughts. I'm milking that bad boy for all it's worth. After that, I continued the opening. But they had succeeded in throwing me off my game a bit. I had this strange grin on my face that didn't really fit the lines so much. I pulled it together after the opening solo, but it wasn't easy.

I made my first exit and immediately ran to one of my costars, the one that I kiss. "My Dad is in the front row! From Boston!" I whispered as loudly as I dared.

"I know," she told me.

I went to the guy who played my boss. "My Dad is..."

"I know," he cut in.

I had to do a cross. So I didn't have a chance to interrogate anyone else. I crossed and ended up behind the upstage curtain. I went to yet another costar. Surely she hadn't heard. "Gretchen! You'll never guess..."

"I know."

"Does everybody know except me?!?"

It turned out pretty much everyone did know. But they hadn't known for long. My wonderful wife did an amazing job of keeping me out of the loop on this. She dashed into the theater at 6:30, a mere 15 minutes before I arrived. She explained that she had a reservation under a false name and told the folks there what was going on. They let her save the appropriate seats so she could have the desired affect, a privilege normally reserved for groups of 10 or more. She wanted to be able to sneak them in when I wasn't looking. Then she dashed out through the alley and went several blocks out of her way to get back to the car, just to be sure she wasn't seen.

The story is even funnier than that, because they were convinced I knew and was toying with them. They held this belief up until they saw the look on my face. You see, I had called my Dad on Thursday night and Friday morning. No reason. Just to chat. Hadn't talked to him much lately and I figured I ought to pass along the concussion news. Well, he was kind of busy Thursday, so I told him I'd talk to him later. Friday morning was later. The only thing was, he was in California already for both calls. And both my kids were with him. So, he had to think and act fast to get me off the phone.

The cookout was also a fabrication, as if you didn't know. She and the kids were out to dinner with my folks. So was the sleepover at the triplets' house the night before. They were actually at the hotel with my folks. I gave them some added panic by calling my sister Sara-Anne during my commute home. She, too, was convinced that I was fishing for information. She became especially worried when I got home and wondered aloud why L's car was in the driveway if they were at a cookout. In truth, I thought that the kids had misbehaved and they had been forced to come home early. I excused myself and went to check. Sara-Anne immediately placed a panicked call to Dad who relayed the gaffe to L. Thinking quickly, she called me and asked me if we had any Benadryl. Her allergies were acting up because she was in Susan's car. Susan has a big van and it didn't make sense to bring two cars. The Benadryl also served to delay me a little as I had to make an extra stop on my way to the theater. Disaster averted.

I'd like to think that if I had been clear headed, I would have picked up on the signs. My Dad meeting with a customer at 8:30 at night is not unusual by itself. That, coupled with the sleepover out of the blue, coupled with him not calling back, coupled with the car being left in the driveway, coupled with the call about the car mere minutes after I wondered about it to my sister... Can that many things be 'coupled'?

At any rate, my weekend turned out great, concussion and all!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

More Alternative Fuel Vehicles

The New York Times and Motor Trend both have reviews of Honda's fuel cell car. Sounds like the technology has made some impressive strides, but it still has a ways to go. This is one of those catch-22 situations. We need Hydrogen refill stations before these vehicles will be considered viable. But nobody will build a station until they are sure the vehicles are viable. Perhaps if we shifted some oil subsidies into multi-fuel type stations. Give some incentives for stations to expand their offerings. I think hybrid technologies are the way to go. We have a gas/electric hybrid. Why not a bio-diesel/electric hybrid? Let's learn from the stupidity of the past and not depend on any one thing to power our transportation.

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Great Haiku Debate

So, Chuck and I were having a discussion about haikus today. It all started because of a guy I am going to be interviewing. His first and last names together sound a lot like haiku. So, I submitted the following for Chuck's amusement...

I must interview
A man whose name is Haiku.
Oh! The irony

However, I had to quickly correct myself. According to the definition, this is not a valid haiku. I seemed to remember something about the lines not rhyming.

Chuck disagreed. He had heard rhyming haiku before. Here is one such by Taniguchi Buson:

The piercing chill I feel:
my dead wife's comb, in our bedroom,
under my heel ...

He feels that the imagery and feel are less strong without the rhyme. I tend to agree. But the fact that it is beautiful does not make it a haiku. Add to that the fact that the english is a translation. Did the original rhyme? Or were the words chosen for a visual as well as auditory impact?

Thus began our debate. And so we turn to you, gentle reader, to answer this question. For Chuck's side of the story, click here.

Poem flows like stream
Syllables all correct, too
Uh-oh, rhyme. Haiku?

During the course of it, I slung links at him, and he at me. It was quite a lot of fun because we mocked each other's positions as we debated. Usually in haiku. I'll tack on the definition and support links at the end.

His first take was that "unrhymed" was open to interpretation. Unrhymed does not mean that it *can't* rhyme. It just means no special effort is made to make it This, he called the accidental rhyme.

Fine. If the rhyming rule is optional, so is the meter. What if I accidentally add an extra syllable and make a 5-8-5 poem?

CSeggelin:THat's an issue of meter, not rhyme.
CSeggelin:A poem can rhyme by accident
Briwei: Still. It's a deviation of rule.
Briwei: Unrhymed means not rhyming
Briwei: The word isn't nuanced enough to carry intent.
Briwei: You can rhyme by accident, but you have still rhymed.
CSeggelin: Poetic license is about breaking rules. If someone chooses to rhyme their haiku, as far as I'm concerned, it's still a haiku--to me rhyme is far less structural than meter say. A purist might argue otherwise.
Briwei: If a man rhymes in a haiku and he didn't mean it, does it make a sound?

At last, a breakthrough. Chuck has found the proof that is bound to sway Brian:

CSeggelin: Harold Henderson, writing in 1967, observed that only one rhymed haiku had won any prize in the journal American Haiku (in vol. 2, no. 2), the following one by Ethel Freeman:

Brown mimosa seed
where blossoms once invited
hummingbirds to feed.

CSeggelin: Isn't that beautiful?
CSeggelin: I love it.
Briwei: It'd be better if it didn't rhyme. :)
CSeggelin: Purist.

Chuck felt that proved that haiku are allowed to rhyme. I think it proves that Americans are not good at haiku. Or following directions.

CSeggelin: As far as I'm concerned there is no hard and fast rule requiring that Haiku have an ABC rhyme scheme. But perhaps we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.
Briwei: In that case, I'm going to start writing Haikus in a different meter and call them Haikus. ;)
CSeggelin: Meter <> rhyme
CSeggelin: In fact
CSeggelin: Meter > rhyme
Briwei: Depends on the format.
CSeggelin: On the poetic animal, rhyme is fur color and meter is number of legs
Briwei: LOL
CSeggelin: If it doesn't have 8 legs it is not a spider.
CSeggelin: If it's pink... well MAYYYBE it's not a spider.
Chuck is mad
I changed the meter
Is this haiku?

CSeggelin: Probably not.
Briwei: I just used poetic license.
Briwei: Maybe you can't change meter on a poetic learner's permit, but I have a license. :-D
CSeggelin: But this is:
My dear friend Brian--
A literalist is he--
At least he's tryin'.

dirt dirt dirt dirt dirt
dirt dirt dirt dirt dirt dirt dirt
dirt dirt dirt dirt mud

Briwei: I call it "Ode to the first rain of Spring"
CSeggelin: Hey
CSeggelin: the first two lines rhyme
CSeggelin: you suck
CSeggelin: LOL
Briwei: But the syllables are all correct. So, I must be a frickin' genius!
Briwei: And it's about nature. So, I get bonus points.
CSeggelin: With respect to poetic license and meter, I would probably take the position that poetic license generally allows one to muck with the meter when the format doesn't call for a specific meter. If you set yourself up with iambic pentameter, and then you throw an odd syllable into a line, poetic license covers your ass. It doesn't let you write a 3 line sonnet or a 38 beat haiku.
CSeggelin: Because meter > rhyme.
CSeggelin: Depending on format of course
Briwei: Iambic pentameter does call for a specific meter!
CSeggelin: You are missing the point
CSeggelin: You can come up with a name for any meter
CSeggelin: And then violate the meter for poetic license
CSeggelin: That's different than saying, this is a sonnet, and then violating the meter.
CSeggelin: Or that's a haiku and violating the meter.
CSeggelin: And really it would depend on the haiku in quiestion
Briwei: But whereas "unrhymed" is in the definition of Haiku, it is clearly as important as the meter.
Briwei: So, by defying that, you are defying the format.
CSeggelin: "the" definition?
Briwei: And in that case, meter is not greater.
CSeggelin: Everywhere I look I see "rarely rhyming", "usually not rhyming", and so forth. Popular usage wins.

Well, not everywhere. As I pointed out, I found several sources that call out the lack of rhyme. But we'd be there all day if I kept on that tack. I decided that I would use poetic license as well.

Briwei: I'm going to start a 3-5-3 Haiku movement.
CSeggelin: I would argue that in Haiku meter>rhyme requirements, since haikus do not have rhyme requirements
Briwei: Get it into popular usage.
CSeggelin: If you were talking about limericks, which must be AABBA, then you could start making a strong case for rhyme of equal importance to meter.
Briwei: What if I wanted to make a free verse limerick?
Dictionaries play
Catch up because popular
Usage wins. Always.

CSeggelin: Then it would not be a limerick, because limericks require AABBA scheme
Briwei: If I say it's a limerick and get other people to do the same, then it is a limerick.
There was a young man from Kentucky,
Who ate a large quantity of chicken,
Then went to the crapper,
And pooped out some feathers,
And decided that perhaps he shouldn't have eaten them whole.

Briwei: LOL
Briwei: See!
Briwei: That's good stuff.
CSeggelin: Brian, yes, if you and a large number of other people started making limericks with no rhyme scheme, and calling them limericks, to the point where it became accepted into popular usage you would be correct.
CSeggelin: Good luck with that.
Briwei: The meter on the last line is a bit clunky, but otherwise, I like it.
Briwei: This is the age of the internet. Never understimate the power of one man and a stupid idea.
CSeggelin: But as far as I'm concerned "unrhymed" <> "rhyme scheme ABC". "unrhymed" = "no set rhyme scheme".
CSeggelin: Which means the occasional rhyme is on.
Briwei: I'll call my site
Briwei: And I'll obliterate all formats as oppressive.
Briwei: I'll use your usage equals fact argument and start a movement.
Briwei: :)
CSeggelin: Well, your movement <> usage until popular culture buys into it.
CSeggelin: I would say that an occasional 6-7-5 or 5-8-5 would still be a haiku, whereas a set of 7-9-7's would not.
CSeggelin: Depends.
Briwei: Right. But by becoming a trendy counterculture, I virtually guarantee that people will want to buy into it.
Briwei: Academians will pan it, thus swelling my ranks.
CSeggelin: I think you're a little too swollen in the ranks today as it is.

Things got a bit sillier from there...

Evidence gains mass
But Bri can't cast off his chains
The pain in the ass.

CSeggelin: Anxiously awaiting more Bri-ku
CSeggelin: Make sure it doesnt rhyme!!!
That's not a Haiku
Your rhymes were intentional
Quit being a prat

Suddenly, inspiration hits Chuck. He will derail my counterculture by giving a name to my new meter.

CSeggelin: Hey!
CSeggelin: That's what you can call your 3-5-3 stuffr
CSeggelin: BRIKU
Not Haiku
But Briku, but can
It rhyme?

Briwei: Absolutely NOT!
After all
It's YOUR format--
Up to you.

Briwei: But I will not let vanity dissuade me from my quest.
Rhyme scheme only please
Are we clear?

Briwei: Are you going to form a counterculture group to compete and try to prevent my format from gaining acceptance as Haiku?
CSeggelin: YES!
CSeggelin: And I will do it by making the worst Brikus I can think of!
Briwei: Excellent!
what the fuck
is this shite supposed
to be, huh?

Briwei: Dueling countercultures!
Umm, what? Damn.
Shit I forgot what
To do here.

Briwei: Stop. You're killing me!
CSeggelin: LOL
Briwei: That's damn funny.
My work here
Is done. See you on
The flip side.

Briwei the Dancing Fool:
I must pee
You are too funny!
Thanks a lot.

CSeggelin: HEY
CSeggelin: LOL
Briwei: But it loses the imagery if I change "pee" to "whizz"

Here is the definition from Merriam-Webster

One entry found for haiku.
Main Entry: hai·ku
Pronunciation: 'hI-(")kü
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural haiku

Etymology: Japanese : an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively; also : a poem in this form usually having a seasonal reference. also supports the "unrhymed" detail. So does Lynnea's teacher credential examination. The study guide highlighted the fact that haiku don't rhyme. She actually had to pick out the correct haiku from a group of four. Two had the correct syllables. One rhymed and the other didn't.

Here is yet another link that talks about the lack of rhyme in haiku.

But is that ALL the evidence? No! I found something else! Of course, it doesn't support my original point. But it does poke holes in the meter > rhyme argument. Check out The Definition of Haiku. It's a really good site that talks about the conventions surrounding the haiku.

According to this site, when translated to Russian,haiku are more often twenty syllables. In English, they are better at 12! That's practically 3-5-3. Briku anyone? :) According to this author, rhyme is not prohibited. However, neither is the number of syllables or lines!

I also saw an article (though I lost the link) that says that the original rule was 5-7-5 units. Someone arbitrarily decided that a unit was a syllable. But the effect of a syllable is not the same in English as in Japanese So, perhaps there is fluidity in the meter after all.

Either way, neither Chuck nor I can claim a complete victory here. If haiku can rhyme, than they can be flexed in all manner of ways.

I may be on to something with the counter culture thing, though. That could be fun!

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Me so smaht!

Your IQ Is 140

Your Logical Intelligence is Genius
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius
Your General Knowledge is Genius

I don't believe the test to be an accurate predictor at 4-6 questions per area. But some of the questions were interesting. Hat tip to Kerri for the link.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Blunt Head Trauma vs. The Sunny Attitude

I am having an internal struggle right now. I've been employing my new positive attitude since my move to California and the effects have been astounding. Or rather, I assume they have using some nonscientific analysis. I've felt better in general than I have in years. I'm sure it's not all attributable to my new attitude. The fact that I have more days of sunshine than ever before in my life likely helps as well. These are counterbalanced from distance to loved ones. Yet, I am still at a net mood positive. Too many factors to attribute it to one thing, but I believe the positive attitude helps...

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. I have a colossal headache this morning. I think it borders on a mild concussion, but Lynnea disagrees. This headache is at war with my upbeat nature. People ask how I am. I want to say "In pain!", but that's negative. And negative thoughts help perpetuate a negative mood. But "doing great!" isn't quite true, either. What's a ray of sunshine to do?

I can't even laugh about the reason for the headache, which is the titular "Blunt Head Trauma". I didn't do it in a particularly funny way. Josh had sandwiched himself between the ladder and the bunk bed. He has this cool fort/bunk bed with a ladder at one end and a slide running parallel at the other. So, his arms were on the ladder, behind his head. His feet were on the bed. His body was in that small space in between, folded in half. He was calling for help. Daddy to the rescue!

The unfortunate part is that he was in his room for a time out. He was just about to be released when he started yelling at me to let him out. I poked my head in to explain to him that yelling was not the best way to show me he had calmed down. I had a little trouble opening the door. I made the mistaken assumption that the banging which had been keeping him in timeout was made by the combination of various body parts and the door. It turns out that each bang was a series of books. Two shelves with, to be exact. They had made a series of bangs in ones and twos and now created an unstable layer on the floor. You see where this is going, don't you. So, do I. It might be getting a little funny after all.

So, I informed him that he could come out after he picked up all the books and then I closed the door. More yelling. More banging. I realized that I had probably backed him into a corner that was too much for him to get out of this late in the day. I checked with L. and she agreed that I could go back in and tell him we would clean it up together. I delivered my benevolent proclamation as I opened the door. That's when I found him doing his imitation of the human kraftmatic bed.

I moved to plan B. Extricate the child and then do the cleanup. The problem was the angle. I had to twist a bit and could only reach in with my bad hand. The one with the slow to heal hyper extended thumb. I pushed him up by his butt and had him on the bed when I started to lose my balance and he started to slip back. I gave him an extra forceful nudge with my hand. There was an equal and opposite reaction, thank you Mr. Newton. I was ready for it. I caught myself on the ladder which was conveniently within reach. It was also, somewhat less conveniently, not anchored to the ground. The moment arm of the ladder carried my momentum up and at an angle, instead of down and at an angle. The equal and opposite force? My feet and the floor. Or rather, it would have been the floor if not for the thin and unstable layer of paperback kids books. The books, and my feet, slid. The force carried me away from the ladder and I let go. At least I'll land on the soft rug. Whack! Well, except for the base of my skull. That landed on the edge of the slide.

Fortunately, I was crouching when I helped Josh. The force of a three foot fall onto unyielding wood is much nicer than a six foot fall.

I iced it and went to bed at eight last night. I woke a few times during the night, but in general slept until 6:15. I'm still tired. It's sensitive to the touch. There doesn't seem to be a lump. But the pain is radiating outward to my eyes.

Bleah! I mean, Woo hoo!

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Masshole and proud!

Got this quiz from James' blog. Most of the readership is duplicate, but for the few that aren't, I thought the quiz would be fun. And it would be interesting to see how folks who don't or haven't lived there do. :)

Townie!Wicked cool!
You scored 35!
Wicked awesome! You're a true Masshole with the know-how to prove it. Book it to your nearest Friendly's and have a frappe.
My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 71% on wickedpoints
Link: The Are you from Massachusetts? Test written by rachel_321 on OkCupid Free Online Dating

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Friday, June 03, 2005

Where's Jesus?

This time, the heavenly apparition decided to pop into an ultrasound. The mother says it's a clear sign that her baby is special. I think it's a clear sign that she's "special". I think it looks more like Groucho Marx wearing a hooded sweatshirt myslef.

And while we're on the subject of Jesus, I must confess a little disappointment in St. Matthew's Churches. You remember them. They're the peddlers of Screaming Purple Jesus. Well, I got a letter from them. Woo hoo! The second coming. I felt I had squandered my last one and wanted a chance to send them all kinds of crap and a chance to send SPJ on to a more deserving source. I opened it. No Jesus. No peace. Just a stupid paper prayer mat. Grrrrrrr.

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Brain fitness tips

I picked up this link from a site James turned me on to. The site is called 43 Folders. It is so named for a particular filing system wherein you make a perpetual planner system using 43 folders, 31 for the days of the month and 12 for the different months. They have lots of good stuff on organizational habits and such, but they linked to this story that caught my eye. The article discusses a number of different approaches to improving your memory and brain power. The article doesn't offer detailed exercises, but it does point you in the right direction.

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You know you use the internet a lot when...

You are having a dream, and, as the scene in your dream changes, you get a 404 error. I don't remember anything else about the dream.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A picture paints a thousand words

But I only need three or four from you. What is the first word or phrase that comes to your mind when you think of me? Ok. Now take that word or phrase and plug it in over at Google Image Search. Select one of the images from there and include a link to it in the comments section. Don't hotlink unless you really don't like the host of the image. :) Let me know if you decide to do it on your blog so I can comment there! Thanks to Kerri for the idea.
Edit: Don't tell me the word!

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Curse you, Red Baron!

Ok. This post actually has nothing to do with the Red Baron. Or Snoopy. Or Charles Schultz. I'm just cursing my friend Steve for tagging me with a book meme on the same day my friend Kerri tagged me with an image meme. I saw Steve first, so I'll tackle his first. With trackbacky goodness!

# of books I own
Well, that's a tough one. We used to own more, but have moved twice in the last few years. The first move was a simplification move. We went from a bigger house to a smaller one. The second move was to California. Both times we pared down our stuff. The books were always hard to pare down. Let's see. We have a large bookcase each in the office and both kids' rooms. We have two small ones in our bedroom andI have a small one at work. I'd say we are around 800 books or so.

Last book I bought
Hmmmm. When was the last time I BOUGHT a book. I've been making extensive use of the library. Usually, books we buy are education oriented either for the kids of for work for one of us. Or for presents. The last book I bought for me (unless you count audio books) was Object Oriented Perl by Damian Conway. The last audiobook I bought was C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The last audiobook I bought for ME was The Narrows by Michael Connelly.

Last book I read
Sourcery by Terry Pratchett. I still have a long way to go in this series, but I really enjoy the Discworld. Pratchett is one of those authors that actually makes me laugh out loud. I particularly enjoyed Mort wherein Death was a central character.

Five books that mean a lot to me
1. Impro - by Keith Johnstone
2. Last Chance to See - by Douglas Adams
3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - by Steven Covey
4. The Hobbit - by J.R.R. Tolkien
5. The Case of the Sordid Affairs - by Kevin Dahm and Brian Weissman

I figure James will tap Chuck and Mike, so I'll ping Kerri, NM, Jocelyn, and Robin.

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