Monday, December 17, 2012

2012.12.17 — 30k and Counting to Pi and Puke, Naming and a Coq fushigis*

On December 14, 2008 I posted my first blog with the inauspicious title 2008.12.14. That means I've been blogging for exactly four years to the week, despite my expressed concern on that blog about not having anything to say because everything that can be said has already been said.

Well, this morning, 4 years and 3.14159 days from that first blog post, my two blogs have had, combined, the 30,000th page view. Thirty thousand! When I first started, I was ecstatic with even one! Thank you everyone for making this happen, the one time hitters and especially the regulars who, with an apparent streak of masochism and/or a perverse humour, keep coming back. [I just checked the count before posting this: the official count is 30, 089.]

I was going to just post the milestone, but a small fushigi jumped in to pervert that. Okay, that and the funny fushigi that it was early in the morning 3 days after the 1 year anniversary, (3.14159… days? LoL!)

And, okay, my going back to re-read that blog created in itself a small fushigi. Doubly funny because the fushigi's genesis came from the amazingly talented Gregory Charles. (I loved his radio show, one of my all time favourites ever!) The show he broadcast on that day had as its theme Secret, during which Charles discussed that (some) ancient philosophers posited the existence in the universe of a secret melody. And why I find this doubly funny, is that my previous post, 2012.12.16 — Pi Fight it? 3.1416 Fushigis* and an Also Ran Poem, had a fushigi-connection to my current favourite CBCR2 show, The Signal and the number pi and the music of pi and a movie about a musician who falls in love with a girl named Pi.

When I looked for the musical expression of the number pi because Laurie Brown of The Signal had played it, I came across a peculiar YouTube video called The Miracle of 528 Hz Solfeggio and Fibonacci numbers. It makes the argument that certain secret 'musical' frequencies, once 'lost' (????) but now un-lost, are being used by scientists— [interrupted @ 3:30pm by ML to prep oranges and then make supper.]

Now supper is done, and the dishes too. Question: how to write this next bit? While cutting the peel off of a bag full of oranges and then cutting them into chunks, ML turned on the TV. She was watching trailers for future movies on the movie channel.
One of them was for an Alvin and the Chipmunks' movie. I wasn't paying attention so I didn't know until later that it is for something called Chipwrecked. What caught my fushigi-ear was when one of the monks, not Alvin, said "I'm going to puke". What was fushigi significant about that is that I was flipping through my stacks of fushigi stickies and near the top of the pile was one about, of all things, puke from various people and of different kinds. See image of fushigi sticky note.

@ 7:05pm I interrupted this blog write in order to write a letter to RoMA in Goodreads. He had replied to my request to post some of his Haiku, and I wanted to acknowledge his okay. While writing the letter he commented about having seen only two of my shortlisted poems. So I mentioned 'Cotton for Comfort', and that I'd recorded it. I went to SoundCloud to get him the link. In my SoundCloud list, I have two readings of Comfort. R4 didn't satisfy me and so I listened to R3, which I like better. As I was creating the link and the text in the e.mail to RoMA the next reading in the list played. And so I listened with half an ear while composing my letter to what I think is one of my better poems, What Cannot be Expressed. And as the end is coming up, I am surprised to remember that the narrator pukes! The poem's last line is .../as my body heaved its stomach wordlessly into the muck and its mud splattered books." This poem was published and originated from a photographic prompt in the Houseboat Blog, for December 19, 2012. There was created another poem from that image, which is very fine. Anyway, here is the text of:
What Cannot Be Expressed

Far from urbane strictures, while in yet another distant and impoverished land,
I was contentedly alone and self-contained in a noisy crowded decrepit bus when,
as if from a great distance, I thought I heard a kind of drumming I did not recognize.

I paused, stopped reading, marked my page. I looked out the dirty window and,
unexpectedly, I remembered the wet summer day I read on a VW van's bumper sticker
'live life as a tourist.'
I was a young man then. Because I could read, I thought I understood.
And, when I did become that well-booked tourist, I thought I was happy.

The bus slowed at a corner crowded with colourfully-dressed ebullient villagers.
Behind them my word-drunk eyes mistook the makeshift grain-bag windbreak as a soiled deconstructed yin-yang art-piece.
I laughed at how easily the eye is fooled by false appearance and because the book in my hands was the I Ching.
With a bemused shake of my head at this odd coincidence I returned to the book, where I read
Writing cannot express words completely.
Words cannot express thoughts completely.
At that moment the stony weight of verbiage I had made myself blind to fled my fluttering heart.
In an animal panic I pushed my way past the press of shoulders and jabs of elbows.
With my hands grasping my mouth and books I stumbled down the bus's step-well
and crashed though the rickety doors to splash down on the rain-soaked earth.

Now silent, the villagers' heads turned and their eyes watched my hands flail uselessly
as my body heaved its stomach wordlessly into the muck and its mud splattered books.
On the sticky note I have noted M's 'puking cat Haiku.' When I went and did the research, it turns out that that was a funny addendum, because he'd written them a couple of months before the date on the note. But the Haiku are funny, nonetheless, so here's the link to them for the curious: 2012.06.19.

2012.12.19 Addendum
I sat down after supper and turned on the TV to see if there was anything interesting being broadcast. Eventually I stop on a Sarah Jessica Parker movie I Don't Know How She Does It. The best of a poor listing! I think the movie was about halfway through. The character played by SJP has been scratching her head during some kind of sales pitch with Olivia Munn to Pierce Brosnan.
She gets a text saying her child has been found to be infected with lice. When SJP's assistant, Olivia Munn, learns that, she say's 'I think I'm going to puke.'

And, now, near the end of this post, I return to the
Gregory Charles' Secret frequencies fushigi: the claim made on the video is that particular frequencies use by Gregorian chanters can promote health and other physiological effects. They make specific reference to scientists using a frequency to heal DNA (I think). Anyway, a subtle aspect of this fushigi is that, if you haven't heard him, Charles is a musical prodigy: he, like a magical sponge, remembers every note of music he hears, it seems, and can replay it. Listening to his show was like listening to pure musical genius, musical magic, if you will.

2012.12.18 Post 17th Addendum.
I had meant to blog this yesterday, but as it was being written yesterday's post went sideways. So, here is a post post fushigi addendum, comprised of some of what I'd wanted to blog originally.

I visited my one 'secret', meaning private, Goodreads' membership, called The Boathouse, which is a collection of about 20 amazing poets, some famous, and by some weirdness in life, me. I have been so busy with work and with the WSS that I've not been a regular there. However, on the 15th, I popped in because, I guess, the WSS was slow and because I am on vacation and had some free time. So I visited a post by Ruth Bavetta.
She was looking for our response to a list of proposed titles for a book of poetry. I had a bit of fun with the list, and morphed some of the elements from the various proposals into one title, on the 15th.

The next day, I continued my perusal of Stanley Park, and was bemused to read of a series of critical path issues, i.e. a list, associated with making happen the opening of a restaurant. But that isn't what caught my fushigi-ear, originally. Only was when I was re-hashing it while doing this blog that I caught that. No, what originally caught my fushigi-ear is:
Critical Path Issue #2 had been fabrics, a half-hour discussion that evolved directly into yet another debate about suitable names. This topic had been open for days, but market research had come up with a final proposal (294-5).
And what Ruth had been doing, of course, was critical debate and market research, because the group was being polled for their opinion.

And, I've thrown this one in here,
despite the odd date, because the fushigi sticky note was attached to the cover of Stanley Park as one I hadn't got to yet. I attached it to the book yesterday, when going through my old fushigi stickies because it is about food and SP is about a chef and food and cooking. Anyway, way back, on the 29th of August I saw on the TV show Chopped one of the contestants make coq au vin.

On the 30th I was standing in line behind a man in a wheel chair. He
was having a struggle with getting his groceries attached to the back of his wheel chair: the cashier was having a hard time figuring out how to get everything hung without the bags rubbing against the wheels. During the course of the engagement he mentioned that he was going to the wine store next to get the wine he needed to make coq au vin. In 35 years of buying groceries I've never heard any mention making coq au vin.

So, a bizarre, interweaved, nonsensical story that goes nowhere, like the end of pi. And that is, I believe, a perfect celebration of my blogs' milestone.

2012.12.16 — Pi Fight it? 3.1416 Fushigis* and an Also Ran Poem

Like many fushigis this one started before I knew it was one. It began with Laurie Brown playing The Sound of Pi on her show The Signal on CBCR2. [The song I've linked to here is an interesting version on YouTube. But I'm not sure if it is the same one that was broadcast because the playlist for the weekend hasn't been posted yet.]

Well, yesterday afternoon ML turned on a British movie that had caught her eye. By happenstance I was in the living room when she turned to it, and The Oxford Murders became an engaging 104minutes. (It was lambasted — mistakingly as far as I'm concerned — every which way and sidewise on the Rotton Tomatoes review .) What initially engaged me was the early scene in which the brash young student (played by Elijah Wood), stands up to confront the bombastic professor, who has argued that truth is unknowable."I believe in the number pi." i.e. the absolute truth of numbers. The professor, played by John Hurt, with the ease of much practices, turns the argument against the brass student.

When I watched the movie I did not remember the unusual reference to pi in the previous day's musical playlist. That click didn't happen until today, when ML, after her nap, turned on the TV and stumbled into a movie called Lullaby for Pi. The female protagonist, played delightfully by Clémence Poésy, took on the name Pi. She had it tattooed around her belly button and added an additional digit past the period every time she learns something about herself.
I loved the quirkiness of this love story. I thought it was excellent from all aspects: filmography, direction, acting, writing. Co-stars include Rupert Friend and the always brilliant Forest Whitaker.

Now for some self indulgence, but one with the smallest of thematic links to the theme of this fushigi post. It is a poem I wrote that was shortlisted for December's Poetry contest on Goodreads. (Caution: some self promotion follows.) With it I had two poems two months in a row short-listed, which is remarkable. But also remarkable is that it is the first Haiku I've seen short-listed in Amy King's competition and finally, that means I had a total of three poems short-listed in 2012!

Okay, enough self-congratulations. Here's the poem:

Blinded by the light
the enlightened monks mistook
the full moon for truth.
And, if the thematic link is too obscure, it goes back to Oxford Murders and the problem of mistaking what is or is not true. In Oxford Murders, this theme is a complex overlay, being explicitly stated by the philosophy professor, and then being played out in the red herring filled murder mystery where every 'truth' is flipped around.

2012.12.17: Addendum
I have decided to close this blog with the genesis of my almost ran Haiku. It begins with the Haiku Game thread in the WSS. In the game, the Haiku is connected in some manner to the one previously written. This has become, often, extremely funny and very clever. Quite often some excellent Haiku are born. And with that, I would like to introduce you to a nascent and perhaps prodigious Haiku-er by the name of Ryan. He introduced himself into the Haiku game with an interesting and well constructed effort that was also imaginative and beautiful in its imagery. So, the birth of a nearly competition winning Haiku as team Haiku sport:
So long a-slumber
Dreaming of rhymes, from her shroud
The butterfly burst
        Ryan 2523

The chrysalises,
with eyes closed and rem twitching,
dozed by the dozens.
        egajd 2525

Eyes moved rapidly,
yet sleep fled without warning.
A new day dawning.
        Ryan 2527

With eyes on the prize
The surprised young butterflies
Slept with other guys.
        egajd 2528

Though moths are easy
and sometimes breezy, they know
only one madman.
        Ryan 2531

Blinded by the light
the enlightened moths mistook
the full moon for truth.
        egajd 2532

A solitary
note. The lone wolf's howling voice
worships the cold light.
        Ryan 2534

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2012.12.10 — Dripping Noses and Skin Colour: Two Small fushigis*

Today was a day of two weird, tiny fushigis. I guess I am feeling a bit bored, tonight, and so here I am blogging them.

The first begins with a drippy nose in the WSS game, called TPBM (The Person Bslow Me).

Post# 2295:
TPBM's nose keeps running and he/she is very annoyed with it.
Nothing special. But later that day, I heard a pre-news news announcement. The tag line was something like
"Have you had a drippy nose that doesn't seem to want to clear up? Well, a woman had a constantly dripping nose for months and wait until you learn what was finally determined to be the cause."
I didn't turn on the news to get the scoop on the drip, but it struck me as amusing enough that I noted it on one of my fushigi sticky pads.

The other began last night. I stumbled into a CNN broadcast of Defining 'Black' In America, which is a part of the series called Black in America. The host for the Sunday (2012.12.09) show was Soledad O'Brien. I haven't seen any of this series before, and I do not even clearly remember having heard of it before. I suspect that I must have, but dismissed it out of hand In part, I imagine, because I do not respect CNN very much and because I have, rightly or wrongly, been completely un-impressed by O'Brien as either a reporter or anchor (or whatever she is).

But, for whatever reason, I caught the title and the opening without being aware that I was on CNN, or watching a CNN series, while I was flipping through the stations looking for something to catch my interest. Well, what caught my eye on this show was the poetry I was seeing spoken by two young women, and then later, a university professor. I learned a new, bizarre, word: colorize, as it applies to people. (I went to find it on a google search, but came up empty.) I found the state of American social intelligence to be extremely depressing, in this show. And didn't watch it to the end, in part because I didn't find the direction of the questions and exploration of the issues to be fruitful. Perhaps it's what America needs, given that I have seen them arguing about removing Mark Twain from syllabuses because he used the word 'nigger' in his writing.

Anyway, I'm not here to critique America's racial madness, nor solve the problems of skin colour in the world. But what got me writing this fushigi blog was that this evening, December 10th, I visited Gareith's blog My Continuing Education: A Rich Jewel in an Ethiop's Ear. And it was about the lack of black images to accompany text in literature that includes black people. Gareth sites Shakespeare and Coleridge. And the painting The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch.
(It struck me as interesting that my quick look at this massive painting did not reveal to me obvious black men, just the few woman shown here, and another one elsewhere.)

Okay, the final reason for my including this as a fushigi is that the silly and inane television show, TMZ, which I guess originated as a web page, was looking at Dutch Christmas practices. In point of fact they were kind of making fun of the Dutch Christmas having something / someone called Black Peter (Zwarte Piet), who accompanies St. Nicholas to take away the bad kids. And TMZ was also poking fun at American racial hypocrisy, by pointing out that they still have a football team called 'The Redskins'.

As I said, two tiny fushigis, but ones I find amusing.

Addendum 2012.12.11 7:45pm
Well, the world continues strange. Tonight for no well defined reason and, if truth be told, in complete contradiction to what ostensibly is demanding I write and bake, I decided to re-watch the brilliant movie Groundhog Day for the first time in five or six years.

I was amused when within the film the skin fushigi was once again extended. This is what I wrote as a comment on Gareth's blog My Continuing Education:
Hello Gareth. Once again one of your posts that interested me also managed to attach itself to a tiny synchronicity in my life. I've blogged it @ Dripping Noses and Skin Colour - Two Small Fushigis.

And that got extended tonight when I watched Groundhog Day, again for maybe the 5th time. However, tonight I noticed something I hadn't before, and that is that the ER Nurse, an Afro-American, had pearl or silver earrings.

Now to your comment about finding images: I went to find an image of this scene on the web, and was unable to find any Groundhog Day images with her or that scene. Nor, as it turns out, in the movie/celebrity web sites. The name of the acrtress is Dianne B. Shaw. I did find a fuzzy image of a Diane Shaw singing Blue Moon on Youtube which has the silver/white on black skin.
Bemusing. Maybe.

2012.12.012 Sigh: Another Addendum — but stretching it!
I turned on CBCR2's The Signal, and the host, Laurie Brown introduced the next musician as: "If David Bowie were a black female, he might sound like this. This is M'shell NDEGEOCELLO and Rapid Fire.
And Brown was quite correct! Except that Ndegeocello is quite a bit better than Bowie I think. Okay, not quite good enough to fushigi, but on the off chance I wondered if there would an image of Ndegeocello with pearl or silver jewellery — maybe even earrings, to help Gareth out. And, yes! And quite an interesting ear 'ring', too. I think I've just discovered someone new to me to listen to!

And, with this beautiful image, it has been elevated into fushigi-hood. And I will go and provide the link to Gareth.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

2012.12.01 — Anna Russell and Kris Boyd and Lamb Stew: Three Tiny Fushigis*

I have no idea how to begin this fushigi blog, except with a half-hearted apology on behalf of capital 'L' Life that slaps our faces with the strangest juxtapositions. So, I'll begin with the third of the three fushigis first.

Third of Three
I walked into my favourite local shop this morning to buy bread, meat and vegetables. I moved to the meat counter at the back of the store. Talking to Oxford, the butcher, was a woman I recognized from the memorial service for Kris Boyd that the three of us went to last year.

"Hello," I said to her. She looked at me. "Hello," she said. "I remember you."

"And I remember you. We sat together with Oxford at Kris's memorial."

"That's right!" she said.

Oxford piped in to re-introduce us. "Troy, this is Bill. Bill this is Troy." And then he added, "Did you know that it is one year ago on Monday that Kris was murdered?"

And I had forgotten. When I got home I confirmed that it is noted on the flip side of my weekly day planner. I would have looked at it on Monday, when I pre-view the upcoming week's events.

What makes this meeting of the three of us again so remarkable is that I remember that Troy lives across the lane from the store and visits it kind of like it is her extended pantry. I am in that store at least once a week, but frequently two or three times in a week. And today was the first day that I saw her in the store, within a few days of the anniversary of our first meeting as strangers because of the premature death of a mutual friend who worked with Oxford. And in the store, we re-met with Oxford. Weird.

Second of Three
This fushigi began with a newspaper item that ML brought to my attention to read on 2012.11.29. Pirates stays shipshape in 21st century: Gilbert and Sullivan operetta is as fresh and funny now as it was to Victorian audiences.

Within the piece is a reference to Anna Russell.
(A recommendation for those feeling the need for a quick course in G&S, Anna Russell, the Canadian comedienne of a bygone era, has a sly turn known as A Formula for Writing a Gilbert and Sullivan Opera, which you can listen to on YouTube [@ How to Write a Gibert & Sullivan Opera]; it's just as insightful as her notorious introduction to Wagner's Ring Cycle.)
I had to pause and really stretch my memory as to why that name rang a bell. Aha! I remembered that a long time ago — more than five years anyway — one of the CBCR2 radio hosts would broadcast her operatic satires occasionally. It was long enough ago that I've forgotten who would broadcast them.

Today, 2012.12.01, while driving during chores in the morning, I started up the car to head back home, and I heard today's host of This is My Music, already well into the show, introduce Anna Russell's satire of the French art song: Schlumph" & "Je N'Ai Pas la Plume de Ma Tante. And here's the link to the
impressive bio of today's host, which I learned later, long after I got home and made time to create this blog, was Janina Fialkowska.

To be honest, the name Janina Fialkowska meant nothing to me before today. But her hosting this show has changed that because unlike many of the hosts of this series, she seemed completely grounded and down to earth.
Her hosting was easy and lacked pretension. I was impressed when she played KD Lang's Olympic Games cover of Leonard Cohen's amazing song Halleleujah.

And when I came back into the car, I'd thought my radio had lost its mind because, when I turned it on, Rush was filling the air waves. But no, Janina had included them on her playlist because she has become friends with them after they met when they were given the Governor General's Award in March of 2012. Unfortunately I'm not a big
enough fan of Rush to know which song she played — I only caught the last minute or two — but for those who don't know them, they are a hugely successful lyrical pure rock band that are ranked third in total album sales behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Here's one of their biggest hits, Tom Sawyer from 1993, with over 9 million views since being uploaded to YouTube Aug 2007.

And, since I have now become aware of Janina, here's her playing Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 21, chamber version.

First of Three
For a variety of reasons including but limited to mild food poisoning and a dysfunctional work re-organization, this was a rough week for me. And so, on Tuesday
(2012.11.27) I decided to read something lighter than Chomsky's World Orders Old and New, which has gotten particularly grim. And so I decided to resume Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor. It was given to me by my friend NR and is set in my town. On Thursday I read an innocuous food description. (The book is about a Vancouver chef.)
… But when she cooked dinner that night, it had been a stew of lamb marinated in yoghurt and lemon juice. An old recipe, an open tribute (38).
Well, for the first time in 33 years of being together, my wife had decided on Wednesday (2012.11.28) that we would cook a lamb stew. So, on Thursday we did. After reading a half dozen recipes, the recipe she made included yoghurt and lime leaves.

It was delicious, although very rich.

Addendum 2012.12.03
At 10:02 pm I posted a Haiku chain within the Haiku Game, a thread in the Weekly Short Stories group in Goodreads. it was post # 2806. The poem is a play off the previous few poems, so it is a bit out of context here:
The dead pan mourner
Lightened her lips with the taste
Of pressed apple skins.

grappa she sipped
Burned with the pain the grapes felt
at their being pressed.

The ice rink that was
Sank into the thawed mud pond
With what was once hard;

The skates that once swung
In the hands of the tall girl
became with her ghosts

Walking the knife's edge,
edging towards a wakeful
leap off the cliff's face

Hunting sunlight's ghosts,
the fragments of memory
danced like fruit flies.
Before going to bed, I did my usual fifteen to twenty minutes of pre-bed reading, and was amused to read, from, once again, Stanley Park:
… but now Jules looked over at him in a way she intended to communicate dissatisfaction, confirm she didn't find canned peaches minor.

"I have them [guinea hens] soaking in peach juice and some
grappa," he said, sounding guilty already (although he continued to lay out his phyllo). "I'm going to grill them with fennel seeds. I stole it from Umberto" (95).
Yes, this is a small one, but an amusing one.