Monday, March 14, 2016

Fib poems

Last week I discovered "fib poetry," a poetic form named and described by UK writer Ben Macintyre. A fib poem, he says, is "a six-line, twenty-syllable poem in which the number of syllables in each line is the sum of the syllables in the two preceding lines. This corresponds to the Fibonacci sequence, one of the most elegant patterns in mathematics, in which each successive number is the sum of the two previous numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 ....”

Nerdy, no? So, perfect for me. Here's my inaugural effort.

Daylight: Saving Time

At last
winter ends
with longer evenings
but I'd save daylight for mornings.

Like it? Hate it? Try it yourself!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Advertising error?

In a women's magazine I was reading recently, I noticed this fine print running alongside the ad (turned for ease of reading: it originally read vertically on the image).

Sorry, what is the point of advertising — or buying— this mascara if the ad doesn't show what the product actually does?!?

I know that most advertising is enhanced. This text simply made the illusion a little too illusory for me.

There is aspiration and then there is delusion. I think we've crossed a line if people will actually buy this product. I wouldn't — and obviously I looked at the ad.

Not sure why the advertisers even bothered ...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Friends & family

#TBT in recognition of my family's visit yesterday.

1. My paternal great-grandfather, early 1970s. I have no memory of this man.

2. My father with neighbours, Riverdale, mid 1940s.

3. Akemi and B, photo shoot at Earl's apartment building, summer 1998. Earl took this picture (thanks, Earl!).

4. B and me, Greg and Melody's backyard, summer 1999 or 2000.


Meanwhile, holy f*ck, Amanda Palmer's "Machete." Just go listen to it, OK?

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Book hauling

If you know me at all, you know how much I love books. Part of my sabbatical has, unexpectedly, been an education in how other people express their love of books through social media. That brought me to booktubing, which brought me to book hauls, which is my subject today.

A book haul, as the name suggests, is a booktuber's brief show-and-tell about all the books she has read and acquired in a given period — the month of January, for example. With all the books I receive for reviewing, buy for my studies and pleasure reading, rescue from various book stores, and borrow from various libraries — not to mention receive as gifts — I should be the queen of book hauls.

But I am never going to make a YouTube video about books, reading, or book hauls. Unless I could do it in costume. Say "Gorilla Professor Reads Books," a YouTube series hosted by an eccentric academic in a gorilla costume. Meh, it's probably already been done.


Here is a low-key book haul. No YouTube, no giddy spoken narration, no video editing, and only two of the amazing books I read or received in February. But with photographs!

1. The History of the Book in 100 Books

The title is fairly self-explanatory. Published in 2014, this book surveys various eras and themes in book history and print culture through individual titles. The treatments are brief but well annotated, and the text is supported by full-colour photography throughout. I'm thinking about it as a supplementary text for print culture in the future.

2. Treasures of the Library of Congress

I purchased this gently used book through ABEbooks for $7.27 US, plus $3.49 shipping — a steal! What this photo doesn't show is how gigantic this book actually is — or how heavy. Printed in 1986 (there was an earlier printing), this book is a photographic catalogue of some of the most impressive and most important objects housed in the US Library of Congress: documents, photographs, maps, artwork, and books. SO MANY BEAUTIFUL BOOKS!

So. Perhaps blogged book hauls could be a thing for me. Of course, there is the problem of storing books on the boat ... and of getting them back to Edmonton ... and of finding shelf space ...

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Time of the season

It's a warm, sunny, breezy day in Victoria, and spring is definitely here. The daffodils and crocuses have been in bloom for weeks — as were the cherry trees in mid-February — and trees are ready to leaf.

Meanwhile, in the retail world, Easter is coming. The Shoppers Drug Mart near the marina hadn't even taken down the Valentine's Day chocolate before the Easter display went up. I've been ignoring most of the sweets, but this morning at Thrifty Foods I found a treat that reminded me of home. I couldn't resist: an Easter lamb.

It was so sweet, but it hit the spot. Now, back to springing.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Poetic heroics

Found this lovely poem in a collection called Going Out with Peacocks by Ursula K. Le Guin. There are many striking poems in the collection, but this one particularly sounded for me today. 

"My Hero"

               for Caroline

Hesitant, frozen by the face
reflected in her shiny borrowed shield,
my hero stands —

and does she drop the sword?
Does she behead herself?

No. There are better things to do
with anger, with beauty,
with a headful of serpents
who can hiss wisdom; there must

be a story for my dear young hero.

It will not be the old story.

— Ursula K. Le Guin

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Yes, read

Well, hello! It's March — already! Here's another round of books that I have not recorded as "read" in my annual count but did in fact read in February. B despairs. I think I can chalk these up to research, though.

Kids' Picturebooks
Jennifer Berne, On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein
Guojing, The Only Child
Ruth Krauss, The Backward Day
Ruth Krauss, Open House for Butterflies
Ruth Krauss, Charlotte and the White Horse
Ruth Krauss, The Carrot Seed
Dennis Lee, Bubblegum Delicious
J. Patrick Lewis, The House
Barack Obama, Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
Kathryn Otoshi, Zero
Chris Raschka, Simple Gifts: A Shaker Hymn
Adam Rubin, Dragons Love Tacos
Kathy Stinson, The Man with the Violin
Joyce Sidman, This Is Just to Say
Joyce Sidman, Dark Emperor and Other Poems
Kay Thompson, Eloise in Paris
Hervé Tullet, Press Here
Ed Vero, Max the Brave
Alice Walker, There Is a Flower at the Tip of My Nose Smelling Me

Graphica et al.
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives
— and —
Kate Beaton, Step Aside, Pops (I'm a fan-girl for this series)

And the onslaught will continue this month. I'm still waiting for a few Krauss books to arrive at our branch of GVPL, I'm pursuing several writers who write poetry for children, and I'm in the queue for a couple more graphic novels. Hope they arrive by the end of the month — I'll let you know.

And for what it's worth, March arrived in Victoria like a lion, so fingers crossed it will leave like the oft-invoked lamb. Later!