Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Excellent party favors R us



Sunday 7 February 2016 I was a featured reader at a new poetry series, sponsored by Inlandia and held at Canyon Crest Winery in Riverside, California. To do us honor, or just to be really nice, the winery printed up souvenir labels and bestowed this bottle of pinot noir on me. RL Stevenson said that wine is bottled poetry, but I didn't expect to be the varietal. Thanks, Cati Porter, Judy Kronenberg, Lisa Henry, and Mark who sold the books. A pertinent poem from Napa Writers Conference last summer:


Wine is bottled poetry
–Robert Lous Stevenson

Hah says the poet
Sour grapes says the vintner


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Today is the day






For those of you who groove to such things, note:
today embodies  2=16 . In April we get another one, and then, not until 2025. Good vibrations.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

You need this word, part 4


We have nouns, single words, for things getting better:  improvement, advance. But I don't know a lone word--not an expression, not an idiom--for things getting worse, especially when the worsening is a result of making a so-called improvement, and I think we need one. I propose  d e p r o v e m e n t for the noun, d e p r o v e for the verb.


For example, I just reluctantly installed Windows 10 in my PC. I gave in because many of the programs I use were getting interrupted, which is to say disrupted. Then Microsot would inform me (rather snottily, I thought) that these programs were no longer compatible with whatever, and that my problems would be solved if I would only accept the Dark Side. I didn't and don't want most of the new features; I'm not fond of getting tracked, and I would gladly sacrifice ease to keep privacy. Well, Windows 10 is in, and I don't like it. I can't set up the appearance that I prefer, all sorts of things keep popping up when I'm trying to do the task I sat down to do, and MS keeps shouldering in with programs and pages that I don't want. For me, it's a solid deprovement.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

You need this word, part 3

 
 
You know when you go into the kitchen to get something, and you forget what it is? and you have to go back through the doorway, maybe even back to the point in the house where you started, before you recall what you were going after? and when you get into the kitchen again, you forget it again, except maybe this time you keep going in a particular direction, opening the refrigerator door, or a cupboard door, and you stare like a stoner, and you really don't know what you are looking for, and finally on the third try, by repeating to yourself silently or out loud what the thing is, you achieve the kitchen and you still know what it was, and it was vaguely in the direction you were going but not in the refrigerator nor in that particular cupboard? The word for that is Kitchenheimer's.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A long time ago, in a galaxy where all the cats are polydactyl...



Well, we saw the new Star Wars movie/episode today. I saw the original three when they first ran, when I was in my late 20s. I never bothered with the second three. Some observations from this afternoon:

1. Storm troopers still can't shoot for shizzle.
2. All tropes from the originals are here. If you wanted to play a drinking game, taking a shot every time you recognized some plot movement (never mind every time an original character shows up) you would be quite soused.
3. Despite action including fires, explosions, running through forests, and desert planets where water is scarce, no one's face ever gets smudged, no one's clothing rips or gets grimy, and everyone's fingernails stay clean.
4. Mark Hamill has no lines, but I bet he got paid a lot more than several others--and, he gets top billing, over the title.
5. There is even a reprise of the infamous bar scene, said bar run by a character who looks like a cross between ET and Edna Mode, although I have read that she is modeled on a writer's high school English teacher.
6. The new generation's evil dark lord looks like the love child of Ben Stiller and John Travolta. Also, why are all his features too big for his face?
7. They still can't get units right (e.g., parsec as a unit of time??).
8. Similarly, in this galaxy far far away, vacuum transmits sound.
9. Also, F=ma has been suspended for the duration.
10. However, this time round, there is underwear in space.
11. I didn't know light sabers could stab.
12. I'm not sure, but I thought I saw Jar Jar Binks get slaughtered in the first attack scene. (I may not have seen the second three, but, hey, I keep up.)
13. There seems to be an awful lot of burlap in space.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Distressing accident: death of a hawk

 
 


The top photo is the underside of the wing of a hawk that crashed into a window and broke its neck. The lower photo is a close-up of the delicately and fiercely articulated feet. We must not have been home, because its impact would have made a noise like a car crash--and it was, essentially, a high-speed collision. We had noticed a new hawk in the tree in our front yard the day before. This is, I think, a sharp-shinned hawk; they have a sneaky habit of zooming through our backyard and trying to pick off smaller birds from the bird feeder, which is why we moved the feeder into the patio a few years ago. This one probably mistook a plastic barrier for a clear pathway. The plastic is rather dirty and streaked with cobwebs (not proud of this) so the hawk should have been able to tell that it was not an open passageway. We try to keep the bird feeder from becoming a hawk-feeder, but I'd rather have the live hawk. Hawks maun live, after all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

All this is true

 
 


I've sung in the local Messiah sing-along for 24 years. All sorts of people show up. I have seen professional singers, former interns' former clients, church ladies, my husband's tone-deaf ex, and once...

David Lynch at the Messiah Sing-Along

I heard him fussing his way through the altos,
scraping chair after wooden chair,
demanding to sit next to someone
who knew the score.

He told me he planned
to become an Episcopal priest
when he retired from his career.
You have to know the right people, he said darkly,
remembering who had thwarted him,
and you have to spread some money around.

 He sang mostly in falsetto,
hooting on high notes as counter-tenors often do.
He damned the mezzo soloist—
no passion, no feeling at all;
I myself have sung those arias
so many times I’ve lost all count.

 His voice wasn’t half-bad, and he could hit his notes,
but he didn’t know the music as well as he thought,
and he jumped the cues for entrances,
darting in early, spooking other altos so
All They Like Sheep Did Go Astray.

 And after we’d sung, he had no pleasantries,
just handed me his glossy business card
with its blurred head-shot.
“Call me if you ever need a lawyer,” he said,
and headed up the aisle.
 
--first published in Viral Cat, 2011