Poetical interlude 1

October 14, 2011

so long ago and yet so yesterday
you were here and then you went away
and a little piece of me has died
i’ve lost count of all the tears i’ve cried

so long ago and yet so yesterday
i still remember what i didn’t say
all my dreams broken
by words unspoken

so long ago and yet so yesterday
i cringe to think you’ll pass my way
because life is not a theater set
there’s no easy line and no sure bet

so long ago and yet so far away
i dream a dream and come what may
we’ll get another chance
to dance

But I doubt it

(Decemeber 10, 2010)

Holiday weekend in Dial Up Land

September 2, 2011

Nothing much for posts are planned.
Instead it’s quiet time with folks
who may or may not share good jokes

So back to blogging for sure on Monday
Hope the weekend has a sun day
or three before the cold winds blow
and clouds above deliver snow

A song I made up while I was durnk

July 21, 2011

Er.. drunk.

Do you love me,
you ten foot snake?

If you love me
then show me
Please squeeze me
say you’ll devour me

be true to me
be true to you
do what you do
and squeeze me
devour me
with glee




As it happens, the microphone I thought I had with which to record this is not actually here. I don’t know if you should count your lucky stars or feel sad about that. It’s actually kind of wistful and cute when I sing it to myself, like I did on the way home from Taste of Saskatchewan tonight. CFI-Saskatoon aka Saskatoon Freethinkers held a “pub night” at the venue this evening that was pretty well attended, although not everyone stayed across the whole of it. Mostly we just hung out by the South Saskatchewan River nearish the Bessborough Hotel and watched boats and hot air balloons go by. We also talked about music, LSD – in relation to Aldous Huxley who wrote Brave New World, our next banned book – and complained about shitty ends to relationships – at least, two of us did.

A couple quotes got tossed around regarding, not specifically that, but life in general, one from a book one of the guys was reading that quoted someone named John Gay:

“Life is a jest, and all things show it; I thought so once, but now I know it.”

Which apparently was used on the man’s gravestone, according to the guy reading the book.

The other was a related quote by Elvis Costello:

“I used to be disgusted; now I try to be amused.”

Which led to some debate about whether or not that had religious overtones but by that point I was gearing up to go home and I don’t know if anything got decided either way. Not that it matters. We just like to ruminate and ponder. I don’t think actual answers need to be found and pinned down most of the time.

All in all it was a good night and I was glad I got out and hung out with my peeps. I told them tonight that I don’t know what I’d do without that group; I’d probably resort to finding another tv obsession. That got a few laughs. (This group never knew me in my Buffy the Vampire Slayer days. They don’t really get how serious I was in stating that. They really don’t…)

Also going on, tomorrow night we’re having a Skeptics organized BBQ. What’s there to be skeptical about you might ask? No idea, but I read today about a recent Google science fair project regarding carcinogens and whether or not certain marinades will make a difference in reducing them. I’m not a big BBQ fan myself but I think I can drag a few wieners and buns over and chow down with relish (both the condiment and the emotion). There’s nothing like grilled or campfired wieners to make summer feel real. Assuming the rain can stay away another day. Crazy country…

“funny headlines are serious business”

May 13, 2011

I quote an article from the Atlantic where there’s some concern over what guides an audience to an article online. In early days of paper publishing, a pithy headline was a guaranteed eye-catcher. These days, though…

Despite the fact that Crowley has won ACES’ top award for headline writing, he regularly finds that his funny headlines for the Review-Journal have been re-written by the online desk to be more search-engine-friendly. For example, when Harrah’s casino announced plans to build a new entertainment center with an observation wheel, Crowley came up with the headline “Brave new whirl.” The online desk changed it to “Harrah’s plans retail, entertainment center.”

“I understand the shift toward search optimization,” he says. “But I think we’re losing something when we take the wordplay and surprise out of headline writing.”

In a widely circulated 2010 article criticizing SEO practices, Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten made the same point by citing a Post article about Conan O’Brien’s refusal to accept a later time slot on NBC. The print headline: “Better never than late.” Online: “Conan O’Brien won’t give up ‘Tonight Show’ time slot to make room for Jay Leno.”

Off, but near topic, I search specific keywords when I look for things to write about, (usually “God news” or “Jesus news”) and I’ve noticed a predilection for some of the results to highlight a religious connection to the story, even if the story itself could be about all kinds of topics. If it’s a celebrity interview, for example, the article headline might note some comment made about that celeb’s beliefs as if that’s more important than the train wreck their career is having. (Assuming that’s actually important. Sometimes I question what qualifies as “news”.) All the Lindsay Lohan stuff comes to mind as a prime example. Between her father’s religion, his crimes, dreams of God rehab, and now forays into Scientology, it seems like religiously inspired topics get used just to keep certain people in the news, not because what they’re up to is particularly newsworthy.

Getting back to the article:

Before the session wraps up, a young copy editor raises her hand to ask Crowley about the conflict between funny headlines and SEO guidelines.

“A lot of times I’ll write something, and the online desk will rewrite it because it doesn’t work.” He crosses his arms and leans against the dry-erase board. “And that’s because Google doesn’t laugh.”

If hilarious headlines are less desirable in respected online papers, at least there are blogs to pick up the sarcastic/ironic slack. Slate gets mentioned in the article as being a site that still makes room for humour while staying true to the story because they know what their core audience wants and appreciates. They appreciate being in on the joke, for one thing. Popular bloggers (and virtual unknowns like me) might have a better shot at catching the audience eye because they aren’t under any guidelines about what makes for an “acceptable” headline. I’d joke even more than I do already in order to snag the notice of readers who might not have clicked my links otherwise. There are still people who appreciate a play on words. It’s evidence of wit, but more than that, it’s evidence that we’re trusting the audience to understand it. It’d suck to reach a point where nobody can anymore.

I missed “Poem in your pocket day”

April 17, 2011

Dagnabit. It was on April 14th.

I found out about this
through Digital Cuttlefish,
but is it now too late
to properly participate?

Alas, there is a lack
of calendars to track
this type of information.

Oh, what am I
to do to try
to make up for this abomination?

I guess I have to write it now
and hope you all forgive me.
What’s the best way to remember? How?
I’ll forget again next year, just wait, you’ll see.

Then again, it isn’t like
a day to write needs saying
Any minute, any hour
can be a time for playing.

All it takes is time,
a little drive, ambition.
It doesn’t even have to rhyme
I just tend to make that happen naturally. It’s a gift, what can I say?

So there is it, the poem from me,
this year’s late addition
to what really, seriously, ought to be
a lifelong, loved, tradition.

Anyway, the point of the day is to actually share favourite poems, not write your own necessarily.

So, now I’ll share mine. It’s hardly insightful or anything but a favourite it is and has been for 20 years or so. It’s called “Haunted” and not even Google could help me find an author for it. I’d copied it into a poetry journal I made in school. Fortunately I kept that. I never could have quoted it verbatim otherwise.

One summer day down by the lake
I threw a stone at a little snake.
I only meant to scare him some
And to relieve the tedium.
It didn’t just scare him. It killed him dead
Now his thin little ghost comes each night to my bed.

He comes every night and gives me no rest,
He curls on my pillow, he lies on my chest.
He wails in his little snake voice, so pathetic
His little snake sobbings so soft and poetic.

“Oh why did you kill me, you nasty big brute
When I was so little, and helpless, and cute?
Now I’ll never feel sun and I’ll never eat fruit
Or talk to a newt but you don’t give a hoot.
With that horrid big rock you just put me away
Now I’ll haunt you and haunt you until you are grey.”

He doesn’t pay heed to my pitiful cries.
He just lies there and stares with his little snake eyes.
His tiny snake body full of sorrow and spite.
His little snake body so see-through and white.

I can’t tell my mother. I can’t tell my dad.
For I know I’ve been wicked, I know I’ve been bad.
With this weird little ghost, I know I’ll be cursed
Till I’m old or I’m dead, whichever comes first.

I’m focusing on my oath project today

March 12, 2011

Turns out I’m presenting a week earlier than I originally thought.

Good thing I swore an oath not to procrastinate on it… Kidding. I didn’t swear an oath; I just promised myself that today would be the day I buckled down and figured out exactly what I should say and what I should print for hand outs. It’s an informal thing and I shouldn’t be stressed over it, but it’s been a while since I’ve been in front of a room full people for speech purposes. I don’t want to stand up there and feel unprepared.

edit 7:34: so far so good. Was looking up curses, as those who would swear oaths to gods had to be concerned about what would happen if they broke one. This is totally unrelated, but I ran across the Biblical Curse Generator just now.

Lost for a smart remark to see off your enemies? Unable to deliver that killer insult? Put an end to unscriptural restraint with the amazing Biblical Curse Generator, which is pre-loaded with blistering smackdowns as delivered by Elijah, Jeremiah and other monumentally angry saints. Simply click the button below, and smite your foes with a custom-made curse straight out of the Old Testament!

“I pray thou shalt go about weeping and wailing in sackcloth and ashes, thou son of a Philistine!”

“Harken, O thou who art a byword for idiocy, for you will be kicked by an incontinent camel!”

“Woe unto thee, O ye discourager of the brethren, for you will beget difficult teenagers!”

Well, maybe not verbatim quotes, but entertaining nonetheless.

9:22 – still okay but going through my history looking for a link I didn’t bookmark. Pain in the ass.

14:00 — pretty much got it written out as I’d like to present it. Probably ought to email a copy to the leader of our group so she can skim it and then later this week we’ll have to talk about whether it’ll suffice or if it needs altering in any major ways. Hopefully not, but so long as any criticism is aimed at making it better, I’ll take it.

15:25 final first draft adjustments are done and a copy’s been emailed for approval. Finally! This really put me in mind of my papers in university. At least this was only 5 pages of writing, not 25… The internet really does make research a lot easier, but I can see why people get concerned over plagiarism and quality of search content. I was careful to use real news sites and provide links and printouts of everything I was quoting.

It was also tempting to stop for a while and play Sushi Cat 2 but I was strong and resisted the urge. There’s nothing stopping me from playing now though…

To Dial-Up Land I go again

February 23, 2011

To Dial-Up Land I go again
To family not seen.
As usual my posts shall be, then,
Few and far between.

Still, I’ll write a little when
there is time or inclination.
Only one or up to ten –
depends upon determination.

Things going on at the home front– a family birthday party and a pie sale fundraiser for Telemiracle.

It’s not so much a miracle as it is a test of perseverance and stamina and generosity. It’s put on every year in Saskatchewan by the Kinsmen and Kinettes. The money they raise goes toward people in the province that need medical assistance, from operations to equipment. It’s running at TCU Place in Saskatoon this year, March 5th and 6th. I’ve never attended the thing but I’ve watched it on television. Dial-Up Land is also known for its Farmer Vision: the 2 TV channels that would each run all 36 hours of the Telemiracle broadcast when I was younger. I admit with little guilt how glad I was the year we finally got a VCR…

Anyway, Bob McGrath, much beloved from his Sesame Street history, has been a staple of the thing for years. They get other known entertainers and fill the rest of the time with local acts and requests to “Ring Those Phones!” so they can take the donations “Higher!” As annoying as that chorus gets, it still works; since its inception 35 years ago, Telemiracle has raised over 88 million dollars.


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