Virgil Who?

I noted last month that there was a short story competition being conducted by my local library. I dusted off The Power and printed it ready to submit. I printed the entry form to include as a cover sheet. As I was filling in the form a thought struck me. Do I sign the declaration of authorship with my real name or my pseudonym? I haven't practised signing my pseudonym - I've only ever typed it. When the form asks for name and address, do I put my real name or my pseudonym? If I should happen to win, they will want to publish the story on the library website complete with the author's name.
I rang the number quoted for competition enquiries to ask for clarification. The thought of any writer not wanting to publish under his/her own name seemed completely foreign to the competition organiser. She took at least a minute to grasp that I was serious about wanting to enter a story under a pseudonym. Maybe it's just me. Maybe pseudonyms are pretentious masks reserved for famous authors. I still don't think it was an unreasonable question to ask. I'll just have to make a special note on the form and hope I'm not bucking their system too much.


There are two computers. Each has a monitor. One of them is about two years old and still had a bright sharp picture. The other - old and cheap and fuzzy. Guess which one died this morning.

Have you seen: The Furry Pillow ?

New Toy

I gained a new talisman today. It is small enough to fit within the palm of my hand and it glows with a blue light. As I move my fingers over the small protuberances on its surface I see tiny black runes change on its face. It is truly a thing of marvel.
It is a Tune Stone - forged in a mighty silicon foundry. Some call it "The Player of MP3", but it is more than that. It can remember the runes written in other stones. When I insert it into a slot in my standing stone, it transforms itself into a removable disc. With simple incantations I command the Tune Stone to learn the runes from my standing stone, or teach my standing stone the runes stored on the Tune Stone.
This wondrous artefact shall be my new means of transferring arcane lore between home and work. Begone foul floppies! Out, damned CD burner! Avaunt ye vulture-watched company web-connection! I am the master of the Tune Stone and it sings to me as I walk the ever receding Paths of Treadmill.

Little Bits

Today is just little bits of lots of things. Discussing, managing, fixing, reading, planning, eating, writing, farewelling, solving, resolving, more eating, exercising, browsing, chatting... After having a busy day, I can look back and ask "where did the day go?"
What have I got to say for what I have achieved? What is there to talk about? An interesting person would find something small yet quirky in one of the day's obscure moments, then reflect on the microcosm of human experience revealed in it. The boring analyst simply writes about that approach in an abstract sense, realising that his readers will recognise the meta-journaling process that is happening as they read. Some will see this mind game as very Virge. Some will say it's a cheap blog filler. Some may even see hints of self-doubt creeping out of the sub-text and into the subject matter as the process itself becomes its own subject matter. They are all correct (except for those who already got bored or confused and gave up before reaching this point - those people are losers - aren't you glad you're not one of them).


Whenever I am tempted to say "nobody could be that stupid", I force myself to think again.

Model Citizens

Nothing much happened at work today.
Move along please. Move along.

A work colleague drew my attention to the animaniacs "I am the very model of a cartoon individual". One of the most filked songs ever in the history of filking is Gilbert & Sullivan's "I am the very model of a modern major-general" from The Pirates of Penzance.
See here for one list. Don't read them all at once. They are better sampled at intervals otherwise the rhythm gets too hypnotic.


There is a lot to be said for silliness - most of it pretty silly. Today's journal entry doesn't pretend to be anything other than completely silly. The subject is "pants". You have been warned.

Pantomime (Pants Ex Machina)

Folks, spare a thought for vain, young Lance,
(with teenage dreams of wild romance)
as he invests in underpants
to buoy his frail ego.

He eye's shop mannequins askance,
and wonders if penile implants
could boost his trousers' occupants
and stud-status bestow.

Those y-fronts smack of tight finance --
of childhood spent with grim, cheap aunts.
They'd surely stymie his advance
on love's presidio.

The tight butt-hugging jockette pants
in titillating circumstance
could bode a stressful comeuppance,
constraining his blood flow.

The silken boxers draw his glance.
He wonders if he'll take the chance
that cute, pink panthers may enhance
his luckless libido.

Observing the superior stance
and mirthful smirks of assistants
who guard the changing-room entrance,
a fitting he'll forego.

Once home he dons his new-bought pants
and, for the mirror, twirls a dance.
But, *gasp* what's that? A huge expanse
of butt-crack left on show!

He rips them off. He yells. He rants.
He huffs and puffs and snorts and pants,
grabs bag and docket...
then recants --
no one need ever know.

He locks the door, then Lance decants
the mystic blood. He murmurs chants
to his fell lord -- the one who grants
him favours here below.

Now we his viewers, rapt in trance,
look on his rite as from a pantheon
of gods whose supplicants
like ants run to and fro.

We hear his prayer. The change is slow.
The silk pink panthers start to glow.
Lance, trembling, tugs them on...
but whoa!
They won't come off again. Oh no!
His voice is strange; he's grown a mo --
we've turned him into Jacques Clouseau!

Self Reference

Virge: "This is where I put thoughts, snippets of verse, memories of what has happened during the day etc. It is not a public outpouring of my deepest secrets. It is the stuff that I would discuss with anyone interested enough to ask. Since you are reading this journal, you fit this description."
Reader: "Aren't you worried that people you write about might read this?"
Virge: "I would be very pleased if they did. It would mean they were taking an interest in what I write."
Reader: "What? No sordid secrets? No juicy exposés?"
Virge: "Afraid not. Well, not unless you ask nicely."


"As you go through life make this your goal:
Watch the donut, not the hole.

Old songs like this are good for teaching certain approaches to life. Look at what you have rather than what you lack. Look at the positive not the negative. I know my glass has always been above half full. It's been filled pretty close to the brim, but never overflowing.
The subject of optimism is not what I wanted to write about. Watching the donut and not the hole is a form of systemic blindness. Most people look only at the obvious "thing" and not the space around that "thing". They look at a silhouette of a black vase and miss seeing the white faces.
When one listens to a politician, one should always listen to what he/she doesn't say as well as what was said. This seems to be impossible since there are an infinite number of things that are left unspoken. One can't take mental notes of all of them. However, there are usually a small number of things that need to be said. Omission of these can speak volumes.
Most people look for certainty in unscientific ways. When they search for proof, they only gather evidence that supports their case rather than searching for alternate or conflicting evidence. I have seen this thought pattern hundreds of times in applicants' answers to a clear thinking problem (one specifically designed to test how the applicant looks to prove a simple assertion). It's not just in religious groups where people value what they know so highly that they never search for ways to disprove it. It pervades our human thought processes and relationships. When people argue and get upset with one another, there are very few people I know who will start out assuming that the other person is completely justified and consistent in their thought processes.
Maybe ignoring the hole is the best way to think. Maybe focusing on the subject is the way to avoid suffering under the weight of unanswered questions. I don't think so. Creative solutions come from people who are prepared to say "What if this solution wasn't available? How would the problem-space look?"
I plan to keep looking at the whole - both the donut and the space it occupies. In life, you need to have some idea where your next donut is coming from.

Not so random problem:

What is the next number in the sequence:
1, 3, 7, 12, 18, 26, 35, 45, 56, 69, ...


There was no journal entry yesterday. I decided to finish reading HP5. I finished at about 3:45am this morning. I wasn't too worried about being zombied-out at work today because we are doing a stocktake. The amount of coherent thought required is a bare minimum. Unfortunately the amount of coherent thought available for writing a journal is just a little on the low-side.
I tried to watch the first Charlie's Angels movie on TV last night. I managed about 15 minutes before the cheesy superhero-mocking humour lost its sparkle and became too dull to make me endure the tired dialogue. I would probably have held out longer in hope of some kick-ass action scenes if not for the call of the book.

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