Virge's blog

Retrospective

Nobody expects the retrospective blog. This is a message from the future. Yesterday (4th June) was busy. I just couldn't think of anything worth blogging about.

Making Things Happen

The new project is firing up again at work. I can't talk about it on a public page. I whipped up prototype code to drive it a couple of months back. Now we get to test it. The tests are ok so far. It needs a few more changes before we let a research chemist loose on it.
I'll have to make the most of this time. Exploring new technologies and designing new products are the fun parts of my job. Managing resources and paperwork have been the norm for too long.

Seasons

This is the first pass of a poem from November 2001 that I ended up changing completely. In its final form it ended up a series of 4 haiku mapping the change of seasons to the phases of life.

I let my mind go wandering
to find new places to explore
distracted hours go flying past
never to return

I let my thoughts get out of touch
with how the world is meant to be
then abstract visions fill my head
wanting to be real

I dwell on things that I should see
to make them real in some small way
then strive to hold them for all time
never to decay

I see the sights that all have seen
and mesh them in their ordered plan
to make sense of a mixed up world
slowly growing old

Reverend Spooner

It struck me this morning that the ultimate spoonerised limerick would contain a 3-word spoonerism between lines 1, 2 and 5, and a normal spoonerism between lines 3 and 4. This would be an incredibly hard verse to contrive. Even finding sensible 2-word spoonerisms is difficult without struggling for a 3-word cycle that works in all three rotations. I wonder if there are any, and how I would go about finding them.
To find normal spoonerisms I start with a target word e.g. "bear", then get a list of rhyming words having the same number of syllables e.g. "care chair dare fair fare flair glare hair lair mare pair prayer rare scare share snare spare square stair stare swear tear their there they're we're wear where". I choose a word from the list that will be humorous by its contrast with the target word e.g. "prayer" and "bear" are rarely ever seen together in public. That was the easy part. I then have to search for two other rhyming words starting with "b" and "pr" that can be meaningfully combined with the first two. Rhyming dictionaries don't help here. It's mainly luck. I try to think of a word starting with "b" that could be associated with "prayer", then check if it is still a word when "pr" is substituted for "b".
I think I shall post a challenge on the poetry forum to see who can find a 3-word spoonerism.

Devil's Advocate

I was dredging through the dusty files again. Back in June last year I compered a camp concert dressed up as lucifer and used rhyming verse throughout to introduce acts. The concert theme was "Wish on a Star".

Good evening friends, I trust you're here for fun;
So welcome to this comedy divine;
Pray settle down, it's time we had begun.

My choice of guise will shock some, I'd opine.
Perhaps my ways of thinking are bizarre.
I trust you'll find my humour quite benign.

Though I already know well who you are,
"I'm pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name."
I am your host, I'm Luci Morningstar!

Now "I Love Luci" may not be my fame,
And in the credits my name won't appear.
I'm sure you know about me all the same.

These tours of hell are Virgil's strange idea
Because, he said, "it worked in Dante's plot"
And if this sucks, it's Virgil's fault - 's'that clear?

The acts we have for you tonight are hot:
Infernal acts of fantasy and light,
So laugh aloud, for refunds, there are not.

After that I moved to individualised quatrains for each act. e.g.

One day our Stu and Steve will take the floor.
They'll pause until the thund'rous cheer abates,
And when they're done the crowd will beg for more.
Yeah, on that day I'll head to work on skates!

Then to conclude the evening:

I thank you all for wishing on this star
From hell, heaped with my old iambic verse.
Enduring pointless poetry on a par
With searing seas of sulphur, maybe worse.
Now praise all these performers, brave they are.
Applaud their acts before you all disperse.

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: "What? No sordid secrets? No juicy exposés?"
Virge: "Afraid not. Well, not unless you ask nicely."

Winter

Today was the first day of winter. It rained.

What did I do today?
I finished reading The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett). I'm not laughing as much at his books as I used to. I am enjoying the book immensely and it's lots of fun to try to pick the allusions and obscure references. Maybe I'm just not in the mood to chuckle.
We were completely under-run by nieces and nephew tonight. 15 for dinner is a crowd, but still manageable. Happy birthday father-in-law.
I failed to get enthused enough to take any photos.

On days like today hibernation does sound like a viable option.

Reading The Wee Free Men prompted me to look at the poetry of William McGonagall - reputedly the writer of the world's worst poetry. As I read some of his poetry I am forced to agree that his reputation is well earned. e.g.

My parents were sober living, and often did pray
For their family to abstain from intoxicating drink alway;
Because they knew it would lead them astray
Which no God fearing man will dare to gainsay.

- an extract from A New Temperance Poem, in Memory of my Departed Parents, who were Sober Living & God Fearing People by William McGonagall.

Silly spoonerised limerick

It's time for another silly spoonerised animal limerick (this time with the spoonerism between lines 1 and 2).

There once was a proud priestly bear
with a horribly loud beastly prayer
which he kept on repeating
to cover the bleating
of lambs sacrificed in his lair.

View More Limericks

Why do birds?

(The things you see when you haven't got your camera.)
It is 7:45am on a crisp morning. Virge & son are in the car at the tennis court car park waiting for the rest of the boys' team to arrive.
Enter the Mudlark.
Larry (what better name for a larrikin mudlark) flutters down onto the car bonnet. He clicks up to the edge of the windscreen and hops onto the driver's-side windscreen wiper. He looks in at me, half a metre away behind my shield of toughened glass. He looks right, then left, then peck - his beak is turned aside by the smooth glass. He flaps, hovers a few centimetres above the bonnet, then lands on the wiper again. Peck - and his beak slips sideways again. How long will this continue? He seems pretty keen. One of the tennis team managers wanders over to say hello, so Larry decides to put aside his aspirations and take to the air.
Exit the Mudlark.
Isn't it great when nature provides entertainment while you wait?

Musings

Some random musings from around September last year:

The wonder of childhood is the realization that there is a gap between what we think and what they think.
The terror of teens is the realization that there is a gap between what they think and what we think they think.
The subtlety of maturity comes with the realization that there is a gap between what we think and what they think we think.



Today's thought: The challenge in any relationship is to close the gap.
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