First draft: elephant on a velocipede*

The entire family—except for me, and I’m really close—is taking a nap right now after an incredible buffet lunch at our favorite India restaurant. I may have overdone the saag paneer and gulab jamun just a bit, but I can still move my fingers, so I thought I’d post early today:

I posted the first bit of the first draft of something from my Possibility folder over at The Intern’s place for the International Sh!tty First Draft Week Contest. 

As I sort of explained over there, the posted bit and several of the following pages were cut from the next draft because none of it was the actual story—it was all just me trying to catch a glimpse of the elephant while, apparently, channeling Damon Runyan and Mark Twain while listening to an internal soundtrack made of circus music.

When it comes to crappy first drafts, never say I don’t deliver.

Wondermark! is the brilliant work of the genius who is David Malki ! Revere him.

*My husband:  “Second draft: Rhinos on ice!”


Happy International SysAdmin Day!

They are all too often the unsung, where-the-hell-have-you-been heroes of the digital age.

They are the reason I can publish a post on this blog and that you can read it and comment on it (ahem).  They are the reason you can send an e-mail to someone, or receive it.  Or play WOW.  Or google.

They’re that good.

They are the reason you can access what you need when you need it—and\or the reason you can miraculously access it this morning when everything went blue-screen belly-up yesterday because of something you don’t even know you did.

Retrievers of files, repairpersons of abused workstations, destroyers of malware, and the one group of people (besides administrative assistants) with whom it behooves you to be on friendly terms. 

Most of them are way cooler than you are anyway.

These are the people who can reset passwords, figure out why your sharepoint documents just disappeared, and fit you out with a keyboard that doesn’t eject the Alt key when you hit the spacebar (true story). 

They may even ‘forget’ to tell Admin that you’re the one sucking all the bandwidth watching Miley Cyrus’s latest pole dance on YouTube while you’re supposed to be doing spreadsheets.  You know who you are.

Remember:  The SysAdmin pluggeth and the SysAdmin can unpluggeth.

So go hug your IT people today.  If you prefer to hug metaphorically, bring them doughnuts and their caffeine source of choice.  A bottle of Excedrin may also be appreciated.  So is more budget and a lot more respect . . . but Excedrin helps.

Or just don’t  open any attachments today.  Or access anything.  Or break anything .  No ID-10-T errors today, please.  Go completely analog if you have to.  This is their day.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the Network trenches!  We really, truly appreciate everything you do. 

And all the things you could do . . . but don’t.

Random Thursday: Cleaning the fridge with jazz hands

This random Thursday is going to be  relatively brief and even more scattershot than usual, since my parents will be arriving in two hours, and I still need to clean the kitchen and memorize yesterday’s poem.*


One of our branch libraries is revamping their children’s area.  They just added an alphabet mural and a new bench, both created by local artists:

How amazing is that?  All the letters are animals– O is for Octopus, P is for Parrot .  . . Not sure about N . . .


funny pictures - You realize it's just the same 26 letters being rearranged, don't you?
Yes.  Yes I do—but I’m still putting one letter in front of the other.  You?

By the by, I may be posting a short sample of one of my crappy first drafts—perhaps from Pigeon, perhaps not—in the comments over at The Intern’s place tomorrow, in honor of International Sh!tty First Draft Week.

I haven’t quite decided if I’m channeling enough of Ben Jonson’s chutzpah to actually do it . . .


My kids have decided that they want to room together.

Anyone else hearing the theme from Jaws?  Or is that Fight Club?

Sunny’s current bedroom, which is smaller, but closer to the bathroom, will be for sleeping, and Janie’s current bedroom, which is where they usually spend most of their time, anyway, will be the playroom.  The idea is that Sunny will sleep better, and the majority of the mess will be confined behind one door.

We’ve laid some basic ground rules:

No one will be able to say, This is really my room, so you have to/can’t/won’t/will/etc.;
No one will refuse to allow her sister in or out of either room;
Both children are responsible for tidying both rooms, which will be half an hour minimum per week;  and
If it doesn’t work out, we’ll change it back—but only once.

(Psst:  Am I missing anything obvious?)

This will give me a chance to organize all the toys and books and miscellaneous stuff—and perhaps make some of it disappear—without interference.

It helps that Janie is going back home with my folks for a week . . . we should have it all sorted by then.


And finally, someone else’s version of jazz hands!




*What, you thought I was kidding?

see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Poetry Wednesday: Hymn to the Belly

My parents are visiting this weekend, and since there’s no possibility of losing half my body weight before my mother arrives tomorrow evening, I decided the hell with it and turned to good ol’ Ben Jonson for some reassurance.

Ben Jonson (1572-1637) wrote poems I want to memorize and recite—no, orate*—while standing before a table of my good friends and lifting a mug of something suitably alcoholic in salute.

Whatever you might say about the man—does anyone still say anything about this man?  ‘Cause they should—he  had the 17th Century equivalent of chutzpah. In spades.

Hymn to the Belly
(Ben Jonson)

Room! Room! Make room for the bouncing Belly,
First father of sauce and deviser of jelly;
Prime master of arts and the giver of wit,
That found out the excellent engine, the spit,
The plough and the flail, the mill and the hopper,
The hutch and the boulter, the furnace and copper,
The oven, the bavin, the mawkin, the peel,
The hearth and the range, the dog and the wheel.
He, he first invented the hogshead and tun,
The gimlet and vice too, and taught ’em to run;
And since, with the funnel and hippocras bag,
He’s made of himself that now he cries swag;
Which shows, though the pleasure be but of four inches,
Yet he is a weasel, the gullet that pinches
Of any delight, and not spares from his back
Whatever to make of the belly a sack.
Hail, hail, plump paunch! O the founder of taste,
For fresh meats or powdered, or pickle or paste!
Devourer of broiled, baked, roasted or sod!
And emptier of cups, be they even or odd!
All which have now made thee so wide i’ the waist,
As scarce with no pudding thou art to be laced;
But eating and drinking until thou dost nod,
Thou break’st all thy girdles and break’st forth a god.

I might just have time to get this word perfect—with jazz hands, naturally—before tomorrow evening.

Jonson also had a bit to say about poetry itself, or at least the stuff that wasn’t up to his standards:

A Fit of Rhyme Against Rhyme
(Ben Jonson)

Rhyme, the rack of finest wits,
That expresseth but by fits
True conceit,

Spoiling senses of their treasure,
Cozening judgment with a measure,
But false weight ;

Wresting words from their true calling,
Propping verse for fear of falling
To the ground ;

Jointing syllables, drowning letters,
Fast’ning vowels as with fetters
They were bound !

Soon as lazy thou wert known,
All good poetry hence was flown,
And are banished.

For a thousand years together
All Parnassus’ green did wither,
And wit vanished.

Pegasus did fly away,
At the wells no Muse did stay,
But bewailed

So to see the fountain dry,
And Apollo’s music die,
All light failed !

Starveling rhymes did fill the stage ;
Not a poet in an age
Worth crowning ;

Not a work deserving bays,
Not a line deserving praise,
Pallas frowning ;

Greek was free from rhyme’s infection,
Happy Greek by this protection
Was not spoiled.

Whilst the Latin, queen of tongues,
Is not yet free from rhyme’s wrongs,
But rests foiled.

Scarce the hill again doth flourish,
Scarce the world a wit doth nourish
To restore

Phoebus to his crown again,
And the Muses to their brain,
As before.

Vulgar languages that want
Words and sweetness, and be scant
Of true measure,

Tyrant rhyme hath so abusëd,
That they long since have refusëd
Other cæsure.

He that first invented thee,
May his joints tormented be,
Cramped forever.

Still may syllables jar with time,
Still may reason war with rhyme,
Resting never.

May his sense when it would meet
The cold tumor in his feet,
Grow unsounder ;

And his title be long fool,
That in rearing such a school
Was the founder.


Roman Warrior by Fernando Botero.

*No.  Stop it.