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Archive for February 5th, 2008

Making His Own Bed

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Making His Own BedI don’t think Kitty is going to want to doze off in his bathroom sink bed this evening.

He knocked a glass into the sink and it shattered into tiny shards that took quite a bit of patience to carefully clean up.

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Written by macheide

5 February 2008 at 10:05 pm

Posted in monarda

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Chicken Spaghetti

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Chicken SpaghettiSusan says she used a little too much cheese for tonight’s chicken spaghetti, giving almost a full recipe’s worth to a smaller pan. Nat and I don’t mind at all – this is the best chicken spaghetti we’ve ever had! Nat has seconds, while I hope for enough to be leftover to give me a great lunch working from the house tomorrow.

That salad here came from me deciding to spice up what little bit of lettuce I wanted. Chopped up with the lettuce and a little salad dressing is half of a leftover deviled egg from Sunday’s lunch. Tasty, yum.

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Written by macheide

5 February 2008 at 6:30 pm

Posted in termite

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8-Second Attention Span

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OK, I’ll ‘fess up: I have been turning into a bullriding fan.

I do have a ready excuse: Susan won’t let me actually ride the beasts, so the best I can do is spectate. Or hope that someday they’ll have alpaca-riding events.

My recent “interest” was a combo of having nothing else worth watching on TV as I’m settling down toward sleep, having some fun playing with the new satellite dish that gives me more control over scheduling programs to come on automatically, finding out that we have a station that regularly delivers bullriding almost every night at 10pm, teasing Susan by continually having our TV switch to that, and pretending that watching enough of such fun might make a cowboy of me. Now the joke’s on me: not only do I know the difference between a sub-80 ride and a 90-plus ride, but I can usually score within a point of where the judges will put it. And I’m even starting to be able to identify my favorite bulls. (Yes, I cheer for the bulls, not for the cowboys.)

Tonight, though, I won’t need to have the television switch over. There will be more than enough bull on the screen all night long, what with all the candidates and commentators telling us what Super Tuesday means to our own rough rides into the future.

Except in this case, I have no favorite bull. All of it is plain old country-variety crap.

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Written by macheide

5 February 2008 at 5:17 pm

Posted in jourbeau, television

Gas Stop

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Written by macheide

5 February 2008 at 2:45 pm

Posted in abelian

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pickled poetry

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at the noontime close of th final morning session, i came up to th stage to get set up for my own presentation, which was scheduled to be th first session at 2pm after a long lunch break. i was scheduled to speak on th technique and practice of writing poetry

up on th stage, several school administrators were huddled together, discussing a small booklet, contemplating requesting me to use th booklet as th basis for composing an impromptu poem during th lunch break, using that to illustrate my topic. before they even formally presented th request to me, i stepped up to accept based on what i had overheard, since th idea sounded great. for some reason, i had gotten th impression that th booklet was a student handbook, such as basic rules on conduct and such, so figured that doing a quick poem on so random a topic would help distance th poem’s theme sufficiently from my own current experience to separate out poetic technique versus personal style

but rather than hand th booklet directly to me, th administrators followed protocol, passing it to a senior member of my conference guest speakers’ team to approve for my attention. he quickly became engrossed in it, smiling over what he thought i might be able to do with th material. turns out th booklet was not a student handbook, but rather was a confiscated spiral-bound set of 5×7 index cards with writings of a genius renegade student, one whom nobody understood at all and who was on th outside of every side th school had and always at odds with authority of any kind, yet somehow had always eluded being sufficiently defined to actually get into any trouble or be befriended or have any other tie or constraint placed on him. i became more intrigued, but began also getting mildly frustrated: already it was five minutes past noon, th time starting to evaporate for me to review what now was turning out to be potentially cryptic complex material, make something of it, formulate some idea for a poem, and complete that poem in time to incorporate into my speech scheduled less than two hours away. my senior colleague brushed aside my concern, observing that i normally spent lunch times on last-minute preparations on my speech anyway, so he’d just use that time to preview th booklet, then still leave me sufficient time. i responded that although yes i did always rework my speeches up until th last minute, i also knew my material well enough to go with it as it was, and i protested that i would need at least an hour with this poem challenge, no less

in some mild exasperation, my colleague tore out th first 4 cards from th booklet and handed them to me, walking off with th rest, which he promised to hand over to me no later than one o’clock. i walked off with th cards, now already immersed in an internal solitude despite lunch-bound students still milling nearby

a very strange handwriting filled every space of each card, not a single spot left free of some note. there would be an observation blurted out like an announcement, then very carefully lettered biblical passages filling in like clouds around that statement or connecting to th next statement, th words almost drawn on each card more like art than language, like th kid had been trying to map out his thoughts yet keep them hidden from any eavesdroppers, a rant barely teetering on th edge of one insanity before dashing off to th next

on th first card, one sentence leapt out at me: “our superintendent is a pickle.” i decided that consistent with my plan to find a distance from subject matter that would permit me to illustrate poetic technique without becoming strangled with meaning or personal experience, this line would serve me well as th foundation for my poem

almost in a flash i decided to rhyme th “pickle” rather than leave it internal in a line or go with any freer form, particularly liking th light touch i’d be able to lend my poem via th feminine rhyme. quickly i had half a dozen candidate rhyming words that began to lead me to a concrete line to take with th poem’s subject matter, adding several close rhymes to th mix and then even deciding to go with one made-up word, just for jest

early on in starting to compose an idea for my poem, i’d instinctively gravitated toward a sonnet, but th early wealth of rhymes and pseudo-rhymes with “pickle” turned my head: i settled on villanelle

and instantly filled out th form with almost no editing: th form laughed with its repetitions like a dr. seuss book, playing around with this picklish superintendent. without even going past th first of th 4 cards i held, i quickly had a good villanelle, good not only for illustrating my speech material, but good enough to even stand on its own, and all this just as my colleague came back to me with th rest of th booklet

and suddenly i blushed, feeling as though i had somehow grossly violated th thoughts of th author of these notes. we had ripped 4 of th cards out of his confiscated booklet as though it did not matter whether th pages remained together or not, and i was angry for being a part of it as i put th 4 cards back into th spiral binder and tried to make th paper’s threads come together enough to hold sufficiently in place. and i realized that although i had toyed with his “pickle” statement as though i could choose that thought out of th air at random and then give it any meaning i felt like giving it driven only by a chance choosing of rhyme and independently selected form, i had actually wound up writing a villanelle which when read, actually showed itself as a serious revelation of what th renegade kid had been trying to say in th first place, something to do with how th school principal’s “public secret” alcoholism had been adversely influencing futures of those he had been entrusted to guide; and i knew that if i were to read this villanelle during my speech, that even if i did not reveal th inspiration or how it had been created, everyone would know exactly what was being said

i had a perfectly good villanelle, yet suddenly it was two o’clock and they were getting ready to introduce me to th school assembly, and i knew that for a host of very serious concerns, i could not read out loud what i had composed

[i woke on this thought. and had i turned exactly at that moment with a pen and paper and scribbled out a few of th lines, i know i could have remembered most if not all of th exact wording of th poem. even knowing what i did with th key line and its rhymes, i can still recreate most of th villanelle. i’ve got to start relaxing more in my dreams, i think: writing out a full poem in a dream has its element of fun, but doesn’t make for a very restful sleep]

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Written by macheide

5 February 2008 at 4:04 am

Posted in oneirra