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post-election journaling: America may just survive after all

Well, it seems America may just survive after all...

I had requested and received and absentee ballot, but found out almost too late that it had to be postmarked the day *before*, not the day of, the election. So I went over to the school and voted on the maybe-it-counts, maybe-it-doesn't, Diebold machine.

I had a test in my Nihongo class that afternoon, so I'm standing there in line for about 20 minutes, going over my note cards, muttering "muzukashi...difficult...omoroshii...interesting..." and hoping no one things I'm crazy...

Behind me in line, two older women, mid 60s to early 70s I'd say. Got into a little conversation, small talk, hearing an old lady at the polls tell me that they ought to kick the old guys in Congress out and let some young people in with some new ideas, well that made my day.

Zelda's exercises, November 5

More Zelda's Inferno exercises:

1) free-write on the phrase: "the time he was buried alive"

the time he was buried alive, in sand at the beach by his older sister, who then went off and left him, just his face sticking out, getting sunburned, biting flies on his cheeks, that time seemed now to have been a foreshadowing of all of his relationships with women

the time he was buried alive in rose petals, tickertape, praise, buried in adulation, stuck in it unable to move

Zelda's exercise, Oct 29

This week's Zelda's Inferno exercise was the "poetry obstacle course":

an empty bottle holds space, like the empty arms of one whose lover is gone
fire pulls in air from all sides and then pushes it upward
the river shapes its bed;
the riverbed shapes the river
books press the life out of words;
the reader breathes them back in
the waitress brought me coffee like a valkyrie taking me to Valhalla
seconds move by in a way that could be called "ticking" except that they were silent

oil and water still didn't mix
so he added an emulsifier

he pulled the planet toward him

Zelda's exercise, Oct 22

Another set of Zelda's Inferno exercises:

1) given three phrases (selected from random texts):

I remember when it was so clean
maintaining close family ties
in order to live well

connect them in a poem:

to live well, I am starting to think, is less
about the outside than about the inside -
(hardly a stunning revelation but one that in this world must be repeated over and over
antihypnotic counter-charm against advertising etcetera)

Zelda's exercise, October 15

Another Zelda's Inferno exercise. This one was a little more complicated:

1) Everyone in the group got a sheet of paper. They wrote a single line or phrase at the top, then passed the paper to the person next to them. That person wrote the "opposite", in the sense of "The Opposites Game" seen here, phrase on the next line, then folded the paper over so only their line was visibile, and passed it to the next person, who wrote an "opposite" line (which, this not being mathematics, was quite different than the first line). Each page was passed around until it had traversed the whole group. We all then looked at all the pages and each copied all the lines that we had written (one on each sheet). Those lines then provided source material for a poem.

Zelda's exercise, Oct 8

A little Zelda's Inferno exercise: freewrite on the phrase "floating at the top of the arc"

floating at the top of the arc, weightless, like an astonaut training flight, to go up and hang in the sky, and be free of the grip of the ground. floating at the top of the arc, the sweet moment in between the work and the decay, between the crushing launch and the crushing fall. floating at the top of the arc, the one perfect moment, that can only be found mathematically, not in the actual experience, a single point of inflection. floating at the top of the arc, floating at the top of the arc, rising and falling and rising and falling actions of plots.

Sometimes two buttons is one too many

Something I sent in to the RISKS Forum:

Yesterday I took a CPR class that featured training in the use of
Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs.

AEDs are truly remarkable devices. Early defibrillation raises the
probability of survival about an order of magnitude over CPR alone, and AEDs
are - supposedly - designed to be so easy to use that even child can
operate them. Watching the training video brought to mind memories of
science-fiction stories where the hero hooks his wounded buddy up to an
"autodoc" unit that monitors and medicates him, acting like a cybernetic
paramedic until their spaceship makes it back to base.

User interface confusion was never a problem in those stories.

just journaling: October already

In the past few weeks I've heard two popular covers of songs that were big when I was in high school or my freshman year of college: "Land of Confusion", originally by Genesis, and "Gone Daddy Gone", originally by the Violent Femmes.

A new generation of musicians re-interpreting songs I grew up on. Ghods that makes me feel old.


Been on the chaos train again...this, that, and the other. Two weeks ago, I got Grandma Bert and Grandpop Len's piano moved from Mom and Dad's house to my place. Dad says he thinks the thing dates to the nineteen-teens. That evening, went to see Uncle Jeff and Aunt Cindy play music at an art gallery in Hampden...sort of a whole family music legacy day.

Zelda's exercise, Oct 1

From Zelda's Inferno, another writing exercise. This time, the objective was to make up one-liners and puns (sort of along the lines of the Tom Swifty), using the following word list:

skating catch tackle boring balls base block dirt score play kick competiton fans field cheer watch

Silly, but kind of fun.

- the crackhead who should have never gotten to first base

- do you play soccer? ah, just for kicks.

- And now with the dirt on the O's new infield, here's sports reporter Heywood Yabuzzov

Zelda's exercise, September 24

Another exercise from Zelda's Inferno.

This one was inspired by a scene in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, where young John is talking with his brother, who is intently studying the Bible. His brother wants to be a preacher when he grows up, and says he has to study because if you want to help people, you have to know the right stories to tell them. This exercise: tell a story that helps.

a story from I don't know where, from I don't know when
that I come back to when I feel insignificant, inferior:

Once there was a stonecutter, who spent his days carving rocks from the side of a mountain with a hammer and chisel.


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