Sep 30, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday

This one is short, but funny, and came to me via the son-in-law. :-)

Father Norton woke up Sunday morning and realizing it was an exceptionally beautiful and sunny early spring day, decided he just had to play golf. So...he told the Associate Pastor that he was feeling sick and persuaded him to say Mass for him that day. As soon as the Associate Pastor left the room, Father Norton headed out of town to a golf course about forty miles away. This way he knew he wouldn't accidentally meet anyone he knew from his parish.

Setting up on the first tee, he was alone. After all, it was Sunday morning and everyone else was in church!

At about this time, Saint Peter leaned over to the Lord while looking down from the heavens and exclaimed, "You're not going to let him get away with this, are you?"

The Lord sighed, and said, "No, I guess not."

Just then Father Norton hit the ball and it shot straight towards the pin, dropping just short of it, rolled up and fell into the hole. IT WAS A 420 YARD HOLE IN ONE!

St. Peter was astonished. He looked at the Lord and asked, "Why did you let him do that?"

The Lord smiled and replied, "Who's he going to tell?"

Sep 29, 2009

Really Random

First, some little facts:

Kittens can clock an amazing 31 mph at full speed and cover about 3 times their body length per leap.

The human brain continues sending out electrical wave signals for up to 37 hours following death.

An average bee hive has 30,000 to 60,000 bees living in it. This population is easily maintained by a queen laying 1,000 to 3,000 eggs per day.

Elephants and short-tailed shrews get by on only two hours of sleep a day.

Roulette was invented by the great French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal. It was a by product of his experiments with perpetual motion.

* * * * * * * * * *

How much is your body worth? You're worth more than you think!

A great number of people have spent a great deal of human and financial resources calculating the composition of, prior to the decomposition of, and the worth, or worthlessness of, the human body.

When we total the monetary value of the elements in our bodies and the value of the average person's skin, we arrive at a net worth of $4.50!

This value is, however, subject to change, due to stock market fluctuations. Since the studies leading to this conclusion were conducted by the U.S. and by Japan respectively, it might be wise to consult the New York Stock Exchange and the Nikkei Index before deciding when to sell!

The U.S. Bureau of Chemistry and Soils invested many a hard-earned tax dollar in calculating the chemical and mineral composition of the human body, which breaks down as follows:

65% Oxygen
18% Carbon
10% Hydrogen
3% Nitrogen
1.5% Calcium
1% Phosphorous
0.35% Potassium
0.25% Sulfur
0.15% Sodium
0.15% Chlorine
0.05% Magnesium
0.0004% Iron
0.00004% Iodine

Additionally, it was discovered that our bodies contain trace quantities of fluorine, silicon, manganese, zinc, copper, aluminum, and arsenic. Together, all of the above amounts to less than one dollar!

Our most valuable asset is our skin, which the Japanese invested their time and money in measuring. The method the Imperial State Institute for Nutrition at Tokyo developed for measuring the amount of a person's skin is to take a naked person, and to apply a strong, thin paper to every surface of his body. After the paper dries, they carefully remove it, cut it into small pieces, and painstakingly total the person's measurements. Cut and dried, the average person is the proud owner of fourteen to eighteen square feet of skin, with the variables in this figure being height, weight, and breast size. Basing the skin's value on the selling price of cowhide, which is approximately $.25 per square foot, the value of an average person's skin is about $3.50.

So now you know! :-)

Sep 28, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays . . .

Bah! I’m sitting here looking out my office window and the wind and rain are making it so dark that I have to have the light on to see what I’m doing. Could be worse, the power could be out like it is in the West end of town, or it could have rained yesterday while the BFF and I were at Word on the Street, which is an open air Literary festival held in Queen’s Park in Toronto.

To read more about our adventures in Toronto, go HERE

Is it just me or did last week fly by at warp speed? Every time I turned around I seemed to be down to the wire for something. First it was Tuesday, when I had to get a poem finished for my poetry group. Inspiration didn’t strike until just before supper, so I was composing while eating and printing while getting my shoes on to go.

Wednesday I found the poem for the Ottava Rima post particularly elusive, and then Thursday, just when I thought I could catch some slack, my turn for the blog chain came up so I had to get something written for that. The only thing that didn’t catch me by surprise was the chapter for Space Opera, which was all ready to go.

I wonder how much of a difference it will make now that I’m back to afternoon classes this week?


Last week’s goals were: serial and extra chapters, Ottava Rima, poemwork, poems for extra poetry posts, submission to poetry anthology, keep up with my journaling, book review, keep up to date with my writing for my writing prompt blog and reading

Did not get any extra chapters written for my serial. In fact, one may even say I regressed because I used the spare chapter I had for last week’s installment.

Poetry: got the Ottava Rima done, started the poems for the extra poetry posts, and submitted my poems for my poetry group’s anthology, although I waited until the eleventh hour to do it.

Fell off my journaling about half way through the week - I’m not really sure what happened there.

Did my writing prompts two whole days in a row :-)

Read a book and even posted a review about it this morning.

This Week’s Goals:

This week’s poetry goal is to finish the two poems I started for the extra posts and this week’s poetry form will be the Dorsimbra, which I may live to regret. :-)

Make a concentrated effort to keep up with my journal and my writing prompts.

Get that book review post ready for the book review blog chain - I know what book I’m doing, I just need to get it done.

Read at least one new book a week. No more buying books until I have at least one of my “to be read” shelves cleared off. And what I mean by one shelf is one row on one shelf - most of my shelves are doubled up now.

And did I mention we start PowerPoint at school this week and were told there'd be lots of assignments and a project due next week?

So how's your week shaping up?

Edited to add: Oops! Work on Space Opera - This week's chapter plus an extra one. :-)

Sep 25, 2009

Another Link in the Chain

Yes, that's right my friends, it's that time of month again. Time for the AW blogchain. And this means Chapter Seven of my serial is going to be pushed back to Saturday.

This month's blog chain is pretty cool. Each participant gets three words:
1. a name (of a character)
2. an action verb (eating, drinking etc)
3. a noun (knife, bag etc)
from the person before them and has to write a flash piece around those words. There has been some really awesome work so far from the following participants:

Fokker Aeroplanbau

Lost Wanderer
Claire Crossdale

My three words, given to me by FreshHell, were: Julia, jumping, and juniper. And this is the story I came up with:

* * * * * * * * * *

Sorrow Thy Name is Woman

“Julia . . .” the wind whispered her name through the trees.

Julia stumbled and broke into a run again, or at least as much of a run as she could manage. Her clothes were in tatters, arms and legs scratched from fighting her way out of a patch of juniper where she’d tripped and fallen. God only knew what happened to her pack.

“Julia . . .”

Would this nightmare never end? Her breath caught on a sob and she pushed herself harder. She’d hoped to make the ranger station before dark but sheer panic had made her disoriented and now she was hopelessly lost. All she could do was keep moving.

“Julia . . .”

They tried to warn her about this forest, warned her to stay away, but she hadn’t listened. Instead she laughed, calling them superstitious fools, and loaded up her back pack for a prolonged hike. She wasn’t laughing anymore.

“Julia . . .”

Branches seemed to pluck at her, like they were sentient and trying to hold her back. For all she knew they were. There’d been something not right about this forest from the moment she’d stepped into it. If only she’d turned back when she’d had the chance, but no, she was too stubborn for that. She didn’t believe in superstition or psychic energy, she was too level-headed.

“Julia . . .”

The voice sounded louder. Was it getting closer? Oh, God, she was going to die here. She was going to die a horrible death and no one would ever know what happened to her. No one except those people in the village. This was all their fault! They goaded her into entering the forest, they deliberately teased and taunted with their stories. And now she was going to die because of them.

“Julia . . .”

Dusk was starting to fall. It was getting harder to see where she was going. Was that a break in the trees up ahead? A flicker of hope stirred in her breast.

“Julia . . .”

The trees parted abruptly and Julia grabbed hold of a tree trunk to keep from falling. Hopelessly she stared down into the ravine. Her breath came in sobbing gasps. There might be water in the bottom of the abyss, it was too dark to tell.

“Julia . . .”

Jumping wasn’t an option. Or was it?

* * * * * * * * * *

Next link in the chain is ealexis and my three words for you are: Rafael, falling, and tombstone.

Still to come are:
Tara McClendon

Sep 24, 2009

Ottava Rima

Ottava rima [ot-ahv-a-ree-ma] was a favorite verse form of the Italian Renaissance poets. It developed out of the troubadour tradition and was first popularized by Giovanni Boccaccio. Many of the great Italian epic poems used ottava rima, including Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato, Pulci’s Morgante Maggiore, and Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso. Originally used for long poems on heroic themes, it also came to be popular in the writing of mock-heroic works.

In English, ottava rima first appeared in Elizabethan translations of Tasso and Ariosto. The form did not become popular for original works, and a section of William Browne's Britannia's Pastorals is the only known original work in the form that survives. The first English poet to write mock-heroic ottava rima was John Hookham Frere, whose 1817 poem Whistlecraft used the form to considerable effect.

Byron read Frere's work and saw the potential of the form. He quickly produced Beppo, his first poem to use the form. Shortly after this, Byron began working on his Don Juan (1819-1824), probably the best-known English poem in ottava rima. Byron also used the form for his Vision of Judgment (1822). Shelley translated the Homeric Hymns into English in ottava rima. In the 20th century, William Butler Yeats used the form, with half rhyme, in several of his best later poems, including "Sailing to Byzantium" and "Among School Children".

Outside of Italian and English, ottava rima has not been widely used, although the Spanish poets Boscan, Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga and Lope de Vega all experimented with it at one time or another. It is also the meter of several medieval Yiddish epic poems, such as the Bovo-Bukh (1507-1508), which were adaptations of Italian epics. In Russia, Pavel Katenin instigated a high-profile dispute on the proper way of translating Italian epics, which resulted in Alexander Pushkin's ottava rima poem "The Little House in Kolomna" (1830), which took its cue from Lord Byron's Beppo. Pushkin's poem opens with a lengthy tongue-in-cheek discussion of the merits of ottava rima.

The ottava rima stanza in English consists of eight lines, usually iambic pentameters. Each stanza consists of three alternate rhymes and one double rhyme, following the a-b-a-b-a-b-c-c pattern.

It takes advantage of the rhymed couplet at the conclusion of the stanza - because the final two lines rhyme, the last word of the stanza is highly anticipated. This is a perfect way to bring a long thought to a close. Often the first six lines will develop an idea which the final line will hammer home.

And now, my example:


He guards the world from his perch way up high
Remembering, perchance a simpler time
Remembering, perhaps, when he could fly
Before the magic began to decline;
The gods left, unworshiped without knowing why
And poets spent years perfecting a rhyme.
Forever he’s locked in sorrow by stone
and yet he’s done nothing for which to atone.

He remembers the Wild Hunt’s magical ride
And the dancers cavorting under the moon,
The circle of stones and the Green Man’s bride
The sacrifice made, begging a boon;
The ships that sailed with the evening tide
And the tales that would make a maiden swoon.
So much forgotten, so much that is lost.
The world still moves forward and yet at what cost?

Sep 23, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday


After three weeks in the Garden of Eden, God came to visit Eve. "So, how is everything going?" inquired God.

"It is all so beautiful, God," she replied. "The sunrises and sunsets are breathtaking, the smells, the sights, everything is wonderful, but I have just one problem."

"What is that?" God asked.

"It's these breasts You have given me. The middle one pushes the other two out and I am constantly knocking them with my arms, catching them on branches and snagging them on bushes. They're a real pain."

And Eve went on to tell God that since many other parts of her body came in pairs, such as her limbs, eyes, ears, etc. She felt that having only two breasts might leave her body more "symmetrically balanced".

"That's a fair point," replied God, "But it was My first shot at this, you know. I gave the animals six breasts, so I figured that you needed only half of those. But I see that you are right. I will fix it up right away."

And God reached down, removed the middle breast and tossed it into the bushes.

Three weeks passed and God once again visited Eve in the Garden of Eden.

" Well, Eve, how is My favorite creation?"

"Just fantastic," she replied, "But for one oversight. You see, all the animals are paired off. The ewe has a ram and the cow has her bull. All the animals have a mate except me. I feel so alone."

God thought for a moment and said, "You know, Eve, you are right. How could I have overlooked this? You do need a mate and I will immediately create a man from a part of you. Let's see....where did I put that Useless Tit?"

Now doesn't THAT make more sense than all that crap about the rib?

Sep 22, 2009

Random Math

Here is a little something someone sent me that is indisputable mathematical logic.

This is a strictly mathematical goes like this:

What Makes 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about achieving 103%? What makes up 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions:


is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.


H-A -R -D-W-O -R -K
8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%


K -N -O -W-L -E-D-G-E
= 96%

But ,

A-T -T -I -T -U -D-E
1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%


B -U -L -L -S -H-I -T
2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you.

A-S -S -K -I -S-S -I -N-G
= 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty, that While Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, its the Bullshit and Ass Kissing that will put you over the top.


Sep 21, 2009

Breaking the Pattern

This weekend was a complete bust as far as productivity went. I spent a lot of time in my office sitting in front of my computer, but other than the blogman post yesterday I didn’t really do much of anything.

Lately I seem to be doing good with my goals and progressing nicely with my writing at the beginning of the week, but as the week goes on I seem to peter out. Today I seem to be breaking the pattern because I feel motivated to do absolutely nothing. Don’t feel like updating my blogs, checking my e-mail . . . don’t even feel like reading. I guess it’s just one of those days.

I can only hope that I’ll do better as the week goes on.


Last week’s goals were: start writing ahead in my serial, do a Pantoum for the Passion for Poetry, start keeping up my journal again, make time to read.

I actually wrote two chapters of my serial last week, so chapter six was ready for posting before I even left for school on Friday. Maybe there’s hope for me for NaNo yet. :-)

Also managed to get the Pantoum post written early. I even scheduled to post at the proper time because I find I’m a little crunched for time in the mornings. I have two extra poetry forms in the can, but I don’t have poems for them yet. In other poetry news, I have had a poems accepted for a themed anthology. Not much money involved but they will be sending me a contract to sign.

I did start keeping up my journal again, I’ve written in it every night for a week.

Believe it or not, the one goal I didn’t complete was making time to read. I’m wondering if that’s why I did so well on my writing goals last week, I was in more of a writing mood than a reading mood.

This week’s goals:

Continue moving ahead with my serial. I want to have two extra chapters by the end of the week. If I do an extra chapter a week for the next few weeks I’ll have a surplus during Nano.

This week’s poetry form will be the Ottava Rima. I would also like to get the poem examples written for the two forms I have the posts done for. I also need to get my “poemwork” done for my poetry group tomorrow night and I have to make a decision on what poems I want included in their yearly anthology (the deadline is Friday).

Keep up with my journaling. I’ve been doing good so far, now I just have to keep up the momentum.

I know what book I want to review for the AW book blog chain so I’d really like to get that done before my turn comes up. The other blog chain is for a flash fiction piece so I really can’t prepare for that one - I have to wait for my prompt.

I started off strongly doing the timed writing prompts on my Random Writings blog last week, but then I missed Friday and Saturday. Let’s aim for the full seven days this week.

Read every day. It’s a sad situation when I have to make reading one of my weekly goals. I blame the start of the new season for television on my not reaching this goal last week. :-)

Sep 20, 2009


Thank you so much to Lost Wanderer, who nominated me for the Blogman Badge. As always, you don’t get to just stick this badge up on your blog without following some rules first. For this particular badge the rules are:

1. Tell us your favourite superhero and why
2. Copy the badge and post it to your blog
3. Present the badge to five other worthy bloggers
4. Post links to five people you nominate
5. Let your nominees know they've been chosen

My favorite superhero is:

The Mighty Thor!

Those chiseled features, that flowing blond hair, those mighty muscles! And check out the size of his . . . hammer! And let’s not forget he’s a god, the Norse god of thunder, to be precise. Myths and mythology have always interested me so it’s no wonder my favorite superhero is a god who’s come to Midgard to help keep the peace with his hammer Mjolnir.

I, in turn, would like to present the Blogman Badge to the following bloggers:

Gennita Low at A Low Profile
Jewel at Pink Ink
Benjamin Solah, my favorite Marxist Horror Writer
Karen at Chippy’s Pond
Bettielee at Far Seeing Fairy Tales

For those interested in the origin of this badge, it's the brain child of Eric over at Working My Muse and the original post can be found HERE

Sep 17, 2009


*I know I promised a post about my latest blog badge, but I had no internet connection at home so I'm posting this at school. I'll do my post about the badge this weekend. Promise!

I really have to stop with these complicated, convoluted poetry forms. Just trying to figure this one out gave me a headache, which speaks volumes about what writing one did to me! :-)

The pantoum is a Malay verse form that reached us via France. In this form, whole lines are repeated. In fact, every line is repeated.

The stanzas rhyme abab, with the second and fourth lines of each stanza reappearing as the first and third lines of the next. To complete the loop, the second and fourth lines of the final stanza are the same as the first and third lines of the first stanza.

Got that now? :-)

The design is actually quite simple:

Line 1
Line 2
Line 3
Line 4

Line 5 (repeat of line 2)
Line 6
Line 7 (repeat of line 4)
Line 8

Continue with as many stanzas as you wish, but the ending stanzathen repeats the second and
fourth lines of the previous stanza (as its first and third lines), and also repeats the third line of
the first stanza, as its second line, and the first line of the first stanza as its fourth. So the first
line of the poem is also the last.

Last stanza:

Line 2 of previous stanza
Line 3 of first stanza
Line 4 of previous stanza
Line 1 of first stanza

Okay, now that you’re as confused as I am, here’s my example:


There’s magic in the air tonight;
The air is thick with expectation
On such a night my soul takes flight;
my heart fills with anticipation.

The air is thick with expectation;
The moon is riding high tonight.
My soul fills with anticipation,
I have one chance to get this right

The moon is riding high tonight,
A glow lights up the ring of stone.
I have on chance to get this right,
This must be done by me alone

A glow lights up the ring of stone.
The time is growing closer still;
This must be done by me alone
I have to prove I’m strong of will.

The time is growing closer still,
I hope I live to tell the tale.
I have to prove I’m strong of will;
The die is cast, I cannot fail.

I hope I live to tell the tale;
On such a night my soul takes flight,
The die is cast, I cannot fail.
There’s magic in the air tonight.

Sep 16, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday

Wow, the week is just flying by. Wednesday already!

Everyone make sure to buy their Super 7 tickets for Friday - it's the last Super 7 draw ever and it's worth $21 million.

And if you win, remember who reminded you to buy a ticket! :-)

Just a short whimsey today, my head is killing me and I don't have the energy for something longer.

A clerk at the Post Office whose job it was to process all the mail that had illegible addresses, came across a letter one day in shaky handwriting addressed to God, with no actual address or postcode. He thought he should open it to see what it was about. The letter read:

Dear God,
I am an 83 year old widow, living on a very small pension.
Yesterday someone stole my purse. It had £100 in it, which was all the money I had until my next pension payment. Next Sunday is my birthday, and I had invited two of my friends over for dinner. Without that money, I have nothing to buy food with, have no family to turn to, and you are my only hope.
Please help me?

The postal clerk was touched. He showed the letter to all the other workers. Each one dug into his or her wallet and came up with a few pounds. By the time he made the rounds, he had collected £96, which they put into an envelope and sent to the woman. The rest of the day, all the workers felt a warm glow thinking of Edna and the dinner she would be able to share with her friends.

A few days later, another letter came addressed to God and in the same hand. All the workers gathered around while the letter was opened.
It read:

Dear God,
How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me? Because of your gift of love, I was able to fix a glorious dinner for my friends. We had a very nice day and I told my friends of your wonderful gift. By the way, there was £4 missing. I think it might have been those bastards at the post office.

Happy hump day everyone!

Sep 15, 2009

Talk About Random!

This post about Journaling is for Jamie.

When I think of keeping a journal, the first thing that springs to mind is the novel the Secret Woman, by Victoria Holt. It’s one of my all time favorite books (even thought it’s historical) and in it there are two friends who live very different lives who keep journals and when they meet they exchange their journals to give each other a glimpse into their lives.

My two sisters and I have always kept journals. It started out (I think) because we live so far apart and wrote a lot of letters to stay in touch. Having a journal really helps jog the memory of what’s been going on in your life. I also had a friend I kept in touch with through letters, and she kept a journal as well.

My one sister keeps a very detailed journal of everything she does during the day. Very mundane stuff like how many loads of laundry she did, what she made for supper, that sort of thing. It’s pretty dry reading, she really has nothing of herself in there, just the commonplace occurrences in her life. I have no idea about my other sister’s writing style, but I expect it is the same, which is a shame because they both travel extensively.

Occasionally, when feeling nostalgic, I’ll pull out some of my old journals to read. Sometimes it’s like reading about another person, sometimes it’s surprising how little things have changed, which at times can be an incentive to start changing things, like taking my writing more seriously.

A few years ago a close Aunt died and it fell to me to go through her papers. Imagine my surprise when I found journals, written in tiny notebooks, of trips she and her husband took her parents on. Apparently my Aunt and Uncle went on a lot of road trips when they were first married, and took my grandparents with them. One of these days I’d like to transcribe these notebooks and then try to fit the journal entries with the dozens of unlabeled slides of theirs.

Right now I keep two journals. First is my somewhat neglected writing journal that holds snips and snatches of ideas, the occasional entry about my writing progress, and any really interesting dreams I’ve had. The reason it’s neglected is because a lot of my writing news goes in my blog now, and I have a separate notebook for poetry related thoughts and ideas (which I don’t consider a proper journal because I don’t date the entries). My other ideas tend to go either straight into development or get written down and stuck in my idea file. As for the dreams, did you know that if you don’t recall your dream within the first minute or so of waking up it’s lost forever? Maybe I need to keep this journal on my night stand so it’s handy when I wake up in the morning.

My main journal is in a hard covered notebook. I always have to use black ink in it - I don’t know why. Here’s where I record my thoughts and feelings about what’s going on in my life. It reads like a conversation, because that’s the way I feel when I’m writing in it. Like I’m having a conversation with a friend.

You can learn a lot about me from my journals, although I don’t record any blackmail worthy thoughts in there. Yes, I have mundane day to day stuff in there, but I’m also honest with my thoughts and feelings about things. And just to give you a glimpse, here’s an excerpt from my current journal about my first day of school:

School was rather commonplace compared to getting there.

I confess, I stayed up later than I should have reading. I blame J.R. Ward and her new book for that. I woke up early, but didn’t actually get up until 9.

First thing I had to do was get ahold of U.I. - because my school start was delayed by two weeks it screwed up my unemployment payment.

It was worse than getting ahold of my doctor. It took more than two hours to even get put on hold. Then I had to talk to my contact at the Ministry of Training who doesn’t answer the phone so I had to leave her a message. I still wasn’t dressed and I had planned on colouring my hair. While I was debating the should I/shouldn’t I, CN (friend) called. It took me half an hour to get rid of her and then C (daughter) called.

All I can say is, it’s a good thing class didn’t start until 1:30 or I would have been 20 minutes late. I not only made it on time, I even managed to get my hair coloured.

It’s a full class and for orientation it’s all mixed (business management, police services, PSW).

I had a bit of a headache and a lot of a sore shoulder, so when I got home I took an Advil. There was a message for me from D, inviting me to the poetry meeting at 7. Take-out for supper!

There were about 12 of us and most of them brought poems to read (actually, only one other person besides myself didn’t read). It was a nice, friendly group and I’ll definitely be going again. I might even read a poem.

Didn’t get much done after I got home again. Relaxed and watched the season finale of Dancing With the Stars. Disappointing!

So there you have it. :-)

Sep 14, 2009

Procrastination Mode

I was in full procrastination mode when it came to chapter five of my serial. Friday at least I had the excuse of other obligations getting in the way, but Saturday . . . I checked my e-mail, checked my blog list, then decided I didn’t want to be right in the middle of something important and then have to leave for grocery shopping so while I was waiting for the husband I started cleaning out the supply cabinet my laser printer sits on (which is another story all in itself), went grocery shopping, went on a couple of errands, ran into a friend in Wal-Mart, checked three stores before finding a letter sized file holder, and even cleaned the kitty litter. Then I played a lot of spider solitaire while trying to work on the chapter.

I have discovered something important concerning writing a regular first draft as compared to writing a first draft serial - there’s no wriggle room. By that I mean when I’m writing a regular first draft if I get stuck or bogged down in one part I can just skip ahead to something else and fill in the gaps later. Sometimes it even works better if you skip ahead and then go back. You can’t do that with a serial draft.

I can’t say that I’m real happy with the way the last chapter came out. Hopefully the next one won’t be as disjointed because I need to start writing ahead in preparation for NaNo.


Got Chapter Five, such as it is, posted . . . eventually. Part of me thinks I should just move the serial posts to Saturday and be done with it, but the other part of me says that I need to start exercising some self-discipline in preparation for NaNo so for now they're staying put on Fridays.

Got this week’s poetry form up, including the two examples. Also have an extra poetry form waiting in the wings for November, although I don’t have the example written for it yet.

Discovered we are indeed taking Business Law in November, but I’ll still probably do NaNo anyway. I’m just going to have to learn to write real fast on the weekends. :-)

Not only started the letter to my sister, but finished a six-page missive that's being sent out today.

I signed up for two AW Blogchains - one which is doing book reviews and one that is writing a flash fiction piece. I made an effort to get my sadly negelected book review blog updated just so it's ready.

This Week’s Goals:

Chapter Six, and beyond. There are two advantages to writing beyond the chapter I need to post on Friday: one, it may actually get posted on Friday, and two, if I want to skip ahead in the story I can.

This week’s poetry form is the Pantoum (where do they get these names?!) which is yet another form with a strict rhyme scheme.

Start keeping up my journal again. I was doing so good with my journal, writing in it every night before I went to bed. And then stuff started happening and I started falling behind, and then I had two weeks where I got to stay up late because I had afternoon classes so then I fell off the journaling wagon.

Make time to read. Yes, that’s right, make time to read. I’ve got over 200 books on my “to-be-read” bookcase. I need to start reading more. (Yeah, I know, what a chore!)

Back to morning classes for two weeks. Yippee!

Now that I’ve got my goals set out, how about yours?

Sep 10, 2009

Counting Up & Down

Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at some serious and sometimes difficult forms of poetry. This week I offer a change of pace in the form of Counting Poetry. These are fun, ten line poems that rely on a syllable count rather than a rhyming scheme.

First is Count Down. This is a one-stanza poem titled in one word, with exactly ten lines, starting with ten syllables and losing one syllable with each line as it descends.


My cats are driving me crazy today!
I don’t know what’s the matter with them.
Could be a change in the weather
or maybe they just want to
keep me guessing about
what they’re going to
do next to keep
me on my

We also have Count Up. This titled form also consists of exactly ten lines, the first line having one syllable, each succeeding line adding a syllable, with a total count of fifty-five syllables (10 Lines).


count one
and next two,
then three and four.
The poem is half done
when we reach five, then six.
Next in line we have seven
and right on seven's heels is eight
while close behind is magical nine
and this poem will come to an end with ten.

I think the real point of the counting poems are to have fun with your poetry. Give it a try!

Sep 9, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday


The Smiths were unable to conceive children and decided to use a surrogate father to start their family. On the day the proxy father was to arrive, Mr. Smith kissed his wife goodbye and said, “Well, I'm off now. The man should be here soon.”

Half an hour later, just by chance, a door-to-door baby photographer happened to ring the doorbell, hoping to make a sale. “Good morning, Ma'am”, he said, “I've come to...”

“Oh, no need to explain,” Mrs. Smith cut in, embarrassed, “I've been expecting you.”

“Have you really?” said the photographer. “Well, that's good. Did you know babies are my specialty?”

“Well that's what my husband and I had hoped. Please come in and have a seat!”

After a moment she asked, blushing, “Well, where do we start?”

“Leave everything to me. I usually try two in the bathtub, one on the couch, and perhaps a couple on the bed. And sometimes the living room floor is fun. You can really spread out there.”

“Bathtub, living room floor? No wonder it didn't work out for Harry and me!”

“Well, Ma'am, none of us can guarantee a good one every time. But if we try several different positions and I shoot from six or seven angles, I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results.”

“My, that's a lot!” gasped Mrs. Smith.

“Ma'am, in my line of work a man has to take his time. I'd love to be In and out in five minutes, but I'm sure you'd be disappointed with that.”

“Don't I know it,” said Mrs. Smith quietly.

The photographer opened his briefcase and pulled out a portfolio of his baby pictures. “This was done on the top of a bus,” he said.

“Oh, my God!” Mrs. Smith exclaimed, grasping at her throat.

“And these twins turned out exceptionally well - when you consider their mother was so difficult to work with.”

“She was difficult?” asked Mrs. Smith.

“Yes, I'm afraid so. I finally had to take her to the park to get the job done right. People were crowding around four and five deep to get a good look.”

“Four and five deep?” said Mrs. Smith, her eyes wide with amazement.

“Yes,” the photographer replied. “And for more than three hours, too. The mother was constantly squealing and yelling - I could hardly concentrate, and when darkness approached I had to rush my shots. Finally, when the squirrels began nibbling on my equipment, I just had to pack it all in.”

Mrs. Smith leaned forward. “Do you mean they actually chewed on your,”

“It's true, Ma'am, yes. Well, if you're ready, I'll set-up my tripod and we can get to work right away.”


“Oh yes, Ma'am. I need to use a tripod to rest my Canon on. It's much too big to be held in the hand very long.”

Mrs. Smith fainted.

Sep 8, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

Fellow AW member and blogging buddy Benjamin Solah nominated me for an Honest Scrap award. He awarded it to me “. . .for being an honest blogger full of lots of interesting things on her blog” and “. . . for posting honest comments on my blog.” Aw, thank you Ben!

The rules for receiving the award are simple:

pass the award on to seven worthy blogs
list ten honest things about yourself.

Okay, first, the worthy blogs.

First I would have to give one back to Benjamin Solah, not because he gave me an award, but because his blog is young and fresh and he’s not afraid to take a stand for what he believes in. He is very secure in his view of the world and has a talent for saying what’s on his mind.

Next is Jamie, for her blog the Variety Pages. She entertains, she informs, she shares. She’s both honest and generous and I’m very grateful for her presence in the blogoverse.

The next one is also for Jamie, for her Tea On Tap" blog. I used to think I knew a lot about tea, but I was wrong. Jamie has opened up a whole new world of blends and flavours for me. Thank you Jamie!

Isaac Espriu is nominated for his unfailing goal setting and his total honesty about whether or not he reached his weekly goals. He had a dream of being a full-time writer and worked hard to make that dream come true. He’s an inspiration to us all.

Procrasting Writers deserves an award because they don’t just offer advice, they’ve actually followed it themselves so they honestly know whether it works or not.

Stacia Kane deserves an award because even though she’s a working writer she’s generous with the information she shares on her blog. Last summer she wrote a series called How To Be A Sex Writing Strumpet (which can still be accessed through her archives) and this summer she did a series on Critiques.

Lost Wanderer’s Writing Blog gets one as well. I haven’t been a follower for long, but I’ve found the Lost Wanderer to be generous in the sharing of writing tips, and she poses questions that require serious thought. She’s also an inspiration in goal setting.

Now, for the Ten Honest things:

1. I don’t hate housework as much as people think. I still think it’s a necessary evil, but I dislike a cluttered house more.

2. The more time I have on my hands, the less I get done. I work much better under pressure even though I don’t handle pressure well.

3. I’ve always wished I could play a musical instrument or had a talent for singing, and I envy people who can.

4. I’d rather dream than do.

5. I have a book buying addiction. I buy books at a far faster rate than I can read them and I rarely part with one.

6. I am the world’s biggest procrastinator. Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off ‘til the day after.

7. I have had an iPod for a year and a half and still don’t know how to use it. (see #7)

8. Whenever I find a whisker that one of my cats has shed, I save it. I have no idea why. (Yes, I know how weird this sounds, but at least it’s honest!)

9. I would rather sell a novel than win the lottery (and I play the lottery religiously).

10. If I ever won the lottery, the first thing I would do would be plan a road trip to meet as many of the friends I’ve made on AW as I can, face to face.

Sep 7, 2009

Happy Labour Day

Last week started out good, but it kinda got away from me towards the end. I was on top of things right up until Friday, which is when everything fell apart. I thought I had all the squares embroidered for the baby quilt, but once I started putting it together I realized the center piece was missing. This one needed two pictures - one at the top and one at the bottom - with a blank space in between to put the baby’s name and date of birth after the blessed event.

Went online long enough to check my e-mails and do the post about the delay of the serial, then back to slaving away over that quilt. It was well after midnight when I finished the embroidery. Sewed all the layers together and then realized I’d sewn the stuffing to the outside instead of the inside. So I had to rip it all out and re-sew it. The sun was coming up before I was done.

So Saturday I snatched a few hours of sleep before getting the house ready for the son-in-law’s birthday party, which went very well, and then napped during the Star Trek movie marathon. I managed to stay awake for my favorite line from Wrath of Khan: "From Hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spite my last breath at thee!" and the rest is just a blur. :-)


Last week's goals were chapter four of the space opera, the Sonnet poetry form, and baby quilt.

Thursday I not only managed the post about Sonnets, I wrote one too. I originally wrote my sonnet in the Shakespearean style, but I found it read better in the Italian, or Petrarchan, style. I think it made it easier for posting when I decided what form to work on earlier in the week, even though I didn’t work on the actual sonnet until late Wednesday/early Thursday.

Got the baby quilt done and it turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. :-)

Sunday I just couldn’t seem to get motivated, but I did finally write get chapter four of my serial posted.

Goals For This Week:

Chapter Five of the Space Opera, in which questions are asked and a few are even answered. :-)

This week’s poetry form is Counting Up and Down.

Start seriously thinking about NaNo. Last year I almost didn’t do it, even though I was unemployed and had nothing to do all day. I was in a creative black hole right up to November 1 when all of a sudden this full fledged novel popped into my head. Not only did I finish NaNo, I had over 6,000 words to spare.

This year I’ve got a lot more on my plate so there’s this nagging voice that tells me I would be wise to give it a pass. However, if I can get four extra chapters written, and four extra poetry form posts written, I will probably give it a go. Unless I’m taking Business Law in November, and then all bets are off. I hear it’s a really brutal course.

So added to my weekly goals is to move ahead in my serial and poetry forms, just in case I’m crazy enough to NaNo this year.

Oh, yeah. Guess I'd better get that letter started to my sister, too. :-)

Well, that takes care of my week. How about yours?

Sep 4, 2009

Post Delay

I apologize if you've come here looking for Chapter Four of my serial, but it probably won't be up until tomorrow or maybe even Sunday. I have got to get that baby quilt done for tomorrow (the squares are embroidered, I just have to sew it together) and then tomorrow we're having the son-in-law's birthday party here.
Is it just me, or does that make me sound really old, to have a son-in-law?

Anyway, just so you don't go away empty handed, I found a couple of videos from YouTube to share. If you didn't read my poem from yesterday, take a minute to do so before you watch the videos and you'll know why I picked these ones. :-)

Sep 3, 2009


Initially, the Sonnet appeared in the early thirteenth century at the Sicilian court of Frederick II (King of Sicily (1197-1250) and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (1197-1250)).

With its repetition of words rather than rhymes (in its original Sicilian form), it is thought to have descended from troubadour forms like the Sestina. Some have speculated that it may also have been influenced by the great form of Arabic culture, the Ghazal.

Since its introduction into English in the 16th century, the 14-line sonnet form has remained relatively stable, it’s long enough that its images and symbols can carry detail, but short enough that it requires some poetic thought.

For more extended poetic treatment of a single theme, some poets have written sonnet cycles, a series of sonnets on related concerns, often addressed to a single person and sonnet crowns, a sonnet series linked by repeating the last line of one sonnet in the first line of the next, until the circle is closed by using the first line of the first sonnet as the last line of the last sonnet.

There are many different forms for the sonnet, starting with the Italian or Petrarchan sonnet which has a rhyme scheme of abbaabba/cdecde. This is a relatively hard form of sonnet to write in English; it's far easier to find large numbers of words that rhyme when you're working in Italian.

The Shakespearean sonnet rhymes ababcdcd/efefgg, a rhyming scheme so much better suited to our language that the Bard was able to write 154 of them..

The Spenserian sonnet (after Edmund Spenser, who wrote the poetic epic Faerie Queene) is often claimed to be a compromise between Italian and English sonnet forms; it rhymes ababbcbc/cdcdee. This rhyming scheme is every bit as demanding as that of an Italian sonnet. Hardly anyone other than Spenser himself has ever used this form.

John Milton then returned to the original Italian form, with so much success that they renamed it after him - the Miltonian sonnet is almost exactly the same as the Petrarchan. The only change Milton made was to allow the break that normally comes after 8 lines to come a little earlier or later.

There are numerous further variations - for example, Wordsworth used abbaacca/dedede, the Sicilian sonnet uses abababab/cdcdcd, John Clare the straightforward aabbccddeeffgg.

For more information about the different forms of sonnets and how to create them, go HERE.

My example started out being a Shakespearean sonnet but I wasn’t happy with the way it turned out so I started looking for examples to compare it to. I could only find examples written by Shakespeare. Mine looked even cheesier when compared to The Bard, so I changed it. :-)

The example I ended up with is an Italian, or Petrarchan, sonnet. It's a more difficult form to follow than the Shakespearean, but since I was more or less just re-writing my original sonnet I didn't find it too bad.


The whisper of the trees tonight
spread secret tales upon the breeze.
Follow me and take your ease.
The glen is filled with glowing light
there’s magic in this rarest night
beyond your ken. Beneath the trees
they gather round in twos and threes.
The fairy glen is pure delight.

The pixies and the goblins dance
and beckon all to join their ring.
They have until the rising sun
for merriment and coy romance
and then make haste and take to wing,
and so an end to fairy fun.

Sep 2, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday

Just click on the cartoon to see a larger image

Louis L’Amour, successful author of more than one hundred western novels with more than two hundred million copies in print, received 350 rejections before he made his first sale. He later became the first American novelist to receive a special congressional gold medal in recognition of this distinguished career as an author and contributor to the nation through his historically based books.

Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected by twenty-seven publishers. The twenty-eighth publisher, Vanguard Press, sold six million copies of the book. All of Seuss’s children’s books went on to sell a total of more than one hundred million copies.

Margaret Mitchell’s classic Gone With the Wind was turned down by more than twenty-five publishers.

Mary Higgins Clark was rejected forty times before selling her first story. More than thirty million copies of her books are now in print.

Chicken Soup for the Soul was turned down by Thirty-three publishers in New York and another ninety at the American Booksellers Association convention in Anaheim, California, before Health Communications, Inc., finally agreed to publish it. All the major New York publishers said, “It is too nicey-nice” and “Nobody wants to read a book of short little stories.” Since that time, more than eight million copies of the original book have been sold. The series, which has grown to thirty-two titles, in thirty-one languages, has sold more than fifty-three million copies.

Jack London received six hundred rejection slips before he sold his first story.

Eight years after his novel Steps won the National Book Award, Jerzy Kosinski permitted a writer to change his name and the title and send a manuscript of the novel to thirteen agents and fourteen publishers to test the plight of new writers. They all rejected it, including Random House, which had published it.

Novelist Carson McCullers endured three strokes before she was twenty-nine. While she was crippled, partially paralyzed, and in constant pain, she suffered the profound shock of her husband’s suicide. Others may have surrendered to such afflictions, but she settled for writing no less than a page a day. On that unrelenting schedule, she turned out many distinguished novels, including Member of the Wedding, The Ballad of the Sad Café and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.

Sep 1, 2009

Random Tuesday

Maybe this should be my meandering day, I've been surfing around, catching up on my blog reading and coming up empty when it comes to posting something for today. I even went so far as to do a post over on my Random Writings blog, created links for the chapters for my serial, AND put up links for my poetry forms.

And still nothing.

I blame switching to afternoons at school (gotta blame something, right?) It's really thrown me off my regularly scheduled laziness. Whatever motivation I might have in the morning is tempered by the fact that I have to keep my eye on the clock so I have enough time to have lunch and get to school. And then Word is so boring that I can barely keep my eyes open. The first assignment we have (that gets handed in for marking) is to open up a pre-typed document and run the spell check. Seriously!

Then, when I get home, I'm wondering where my day has gone because I'm used to getting home from school in time for lunch, not in time for supper. Which I then have to make. Definitely not liking this new schedule!

* * * * * * * * * *

Anybody out there have a crock pot? Here’s a recipe for the best triple chocolate desert ever:

1 package chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding

1 cup chocolate chips
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1 cup water

Spray the inside of the crock pot with non-stick spray. Mix all ingredients and pour into crock pot. Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours, or until done. Serve in bowl with ice cream.

* * * * * * * * * *

"You need to buckle down." Ever heard that before? I wonder if those people telling you to buckle down are aware of what it really means.

Buckle down is when people (mostly males) have gained enough weight that their guts cause their belt buckles to point downward towards the ground instead of out as it normally would on a slim person. The role of a person's belt changes when one reaches a gut of this size. Instead of the belt preventing one's pants from falling down, it starts to hold your gut up. When one begins to Buckle Down, they have exceeded dicky doo.

And just because I know you’re curious:
Dicky doo is a term used to describe when a man's stomach sticks so far out he can no longer see his, uh, dick.

So in essence, when someone tells you that you need to buckle down, they're telling you that you need to gain weight. So take it as a compliment. :-)