Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top 10 Nemeses (pt 1)

If I've learned only one thing from coexisting with "normal" humans it's that people love lists.

So I've made a list for my wondrous readers.

These are in no particular order of preference (Sorry Shakespeare, I know you want to know where you stand among your competitors for top place).

1. Andrew Jackson

If I was a bigger fan of d-baggery, then maybe Jackson and I could get along. Unfortunately, for him, I don't care for his sass and his absolute ignorance and disregard for equality among all people. While maybe he thought it was cool to slaughter hundreds, I still have to disagree. When given the chance to set things right in the seat of the presidency (no, I did not vote for him) he then took it upon himself to remove the US banking system and establish the first Depression in the United States. I still believe that each subsequent Depression can be attributed to him. Not sure why Jackson is my nemesis, other than my general distaste for the man? Consider this: it is said that Jackson's body harbored 20 bullets from various duels and it is also said that roughly 19 of those came from my own pistol.
2. Christopher Columbus

A man of limited abilities. Columbus was very proficient in miscalculations, mass murder and giving himself props. Most American children are taught that everyone in Columbus' time was convinced that the world was flat but only Columbus was smart enough to know that it was round and that he could sail to America. This is a lie, perpetuated by Columbus himself. Europeans knew the world was round since the time of Rome and no one was attempting to sail the world because the calculations told them that Asia was too far to get to (not enough supplies could be packed to make it). Columbus did his own calculations, and attempted to convince the King and Queen of Spain that he could make it to Asia, and although they knew his calculations were incorrect, they allowed funding for his trip to be awarded hoping the annoying man would fail in his voyage and sink to the bottom of the ocean. Unfortunately, instead of ridding themselves of him, he found America where he became the father of death to potentially millions of Native Americans. His ignorance and arrogance went to incite mutinies, his arrest and his subsequent banishment. On his deathbed he still held the belief that the land of the Americas was actually Asia.
3. Huey Lewis

I've razzed on Huey Lewis many, many, many, many times before on this blog. For me, there are two types of nemeses, those that I hate and those that I want to dislike but can't help to enjoy. Huey is of the second group. A master of music, Huey has crafted a plethora of tunes that he could easily use to rule the human race. While he tends not to use his music for evil, he could at any time so that's where I come in. By being his nemesis, he is reminded that there are those of us out there that will stop him if he chooses to turn rogue. Don't believe me? Consider his songs. "The Power of Love" was originally titled: "The Power of Huey". "Do You Believe In Love" was originally titled: "Do You Believe in Huey's Ability To Take Over The World. Because You Should." And lastly, "I Want a New Drug" was originally titled "I Want to Take Over the World Through Music and Drugs." Luckily, through the force of those not susceptible to his musical charms and a PR agent who thought that the songs might dissuade the general public from listening to his music Huey was forced to change his titles and his plots for world domination.
4. Grizzly Bears
I've discussed grizzly bears before and this nemesis relationship is very one sided. I generally enjoy all bears (koala, panda, gummy etc.) and grizzlies are no exception. But grizzlies don't like me. If they kept that mistrust and hatred to themselves, we'd be fine, but they often take it upon themselves to challenge me to assert their dominance and again and again I'm forced to fight them off and prove that I'm the better predator. As with any good nemesis relationship, our history is long and complicated. It all began back in the 1800s when bear wrasslin’ was a national sport in the U.S. Having a natural talent for wrasslin’, I made it a point to become the most successful bear wrassler in the world. I triumphed and was honored among humans, but dangerously feared among bears. Before long, my name and deeds became a familiar aspect of bear mythology and bear nightmares. Once bear wrasslin’ fell out of public opinion, most bear wrasslers had to put up their wrasslin’ gear and get real jobs. And while Americans forgot about the old days and the number one bear wrassler, the bears did not. So to this day, bears still attack me in the street, at work, at home and in public restrooms.

5. Geoffrey Chaucer
Chaucer and I have a long history of "nemesesery" as posted about twice previously.
The list of atrocities that Chaucer has committed against me is very lengthy. Not just limited to poking and being a general overall bother, Chaucer has insulted not just me, but the majority of the world on many occasions. He’s offensive, impotent, rude and he smells like oysters - all the time. I don't know if he thinks that oysters are magically imbued and will pass their powers on to him, I don't know where he gets these oysters and I don't know how he pays for these oysters. I do suspect that he told his many avid followers that he loves oysters, and then just like with U.S. Grant, he was belabored with millions of oysters and will subsequently make rash business decisions, become a U.S. president, and die slowly and painfully from throat cancer. Perhaps that'll make me Mark Twain in this scenario...Anyways, Chaucer and I are two fights away from a duel to the death, unfortunately when we duel it's only with those tiny plastic swords you get with fancy drinks like a Shirley Temple and it usually ends with only a few scrapes and lots of arm cramps. But these duels shall continue until I get rid of the evil that is Chaucer or I get tired of trying.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Haiku

The last haiku post was so long I decided to keep my haiku for another post. And, since I know you're all very interested in this topic. I have yet another haiku related post waiting in the wings.

So I'm writing these chapter headings for my NaNoWriMo novel. They are a wide range of written materials, and I'm utilizing haiku as one of the forms of writing for these headings. Now these haiku are dependent upon a post apocalyptic world, and the experiences of the characters. While in the last post I talked about having a human perspective in haiku, it needs to be clear that the human perspective in these haiku are based in this alternate reality, so if they seem far reaching, that is why.

Here are some of the best I've come up with, not all will be in the book and they are posted here for you to tear apart like the vicious creatures that you are. Enjoy.

Snow falls in grey flakes;
Solitude celebrated
In flesh and ashes.

I will forever
love our fingers entwined like
branches; death wakes me

With wings of fury
They take our loved ones in flight;
Brace your heart for pain

Wolves watch us tonight
Loneliness travels in packs;
We prey for safety

On the last line of the last one I couldn't decide on pray or prey, but I think prey works. I just wanted to make it clear that it's not an error on my part, but an artistic play on words.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How To Haiku!

So my NaNoWriMo novel is still rolling around in my mind and in an effort to tie the chapters and themes together, I'm working on snippets of writing as chapter headings. Some of these are in the form or poetry, lullabies, speeches or other various quotes that I've made up from characters we meet and ones we don't. In my exploration of what to write for these chapter headings I've come across a well loved but forgotten (on my part) form of writing called the Haiku.

While it's not all the rage, haiku is admirable and is quickly becoming my favorite form of poetry. In my exploration of the form, I've done some research which might be interesting to writers who read this blog so I'll share it.

People who know haiku know that the form is set in three lines. In Japan, each line has a distinct set of "moras" not to be confused with syllables. Moras are the concept that syllables pattern together according to the number and/or duration of segments in the rime (part that is lengthened or stressed when a person elongates or stresses a word in speech). That all is a bit confusing. In America, writers of the haiku often utilize syllables when determining what to write for each line of a haiku. The standard set of syllables in American haiku by line is 5, 7, 5. While I'm cheating a bit by going by the American haiku standards, I don't know kanji and therefore cannot be true to the Japanese version of the haiku.

Haiku contain several elements (other than the set number of lines, and the set number of moras) that connect all haiku as a form of writing.


The first would be a nature theme. Each haiku, should have a mention of nature. Traditionally, this reference was used to allow the reader to know what time of the year the haiku is written in, but I've seen haiku which mention animals or plants which may not be specific to a time of year (or maybe I just don't see the correlation).


This is an aspect of the haiku, utilized to divide the haiku into two distinct parts. In America, it is seen often through the use of punctuation like a comma, colon, dash or an ellipsis.

Subject Matter:
Traditionally, haiku is used to explore the human experience. By utilizing nature, cutting, and our individual experiences as human beings, we can create a haiku that shows us the world in new and interesting ways.

Two of my favorite haiku are:

No sky
no earth - but still
snowflakes fall

I just love the imagery here. It makes me think of darkness in a snowstorm when we can see nothing but snowflakes.

I kill an ant
and realize my three children
have been watching.
~Shuson Kato

This one is so powerful to me because it starts out simple but makes such a great statement. We have to be aware of the impression and examples we set for others, especially future generations.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm an Expert!

I've often had people say to me: "Jenny, just to name a few areas you're an expert on, such as everything historical, everything fantastical, everything mythical, and everything humorous. Is there anything you're not an expert on?"

I always respond with a resounding and definitive: "No."

That being said, they then want me to answer numerous questions about dozens of random topics and finally I got sick of it. I now direct people to my books:

Here are some excerpts from the 112 book series.

On Art
While I can appreciate the bright patchwork of Henri Matisse's paintings, with their strict boundaries; I often prefer the fluid images, with deeper hues in the works by Franz Marc.

On Bamboo
While a tasty treat for both humans and their panda bear counterparts, bamboo is also used in both construction and weaponry as proven in many films starring Jackie Chan.

On Carpentry
Traditionally, Amish carpentry has been regaled for it's brilliance and durability, but few know about the magic behind their artistry. The Amish, usually, do not use electricity. This means everything must be hand crafted, or at least all tools are man powered. But there is no magic in man-powered means, so how do they make these magical? Cow farts. I know it sounds gross, but when you have to finish a product and sun light is getting dim, and your candles are only so bright, how do you illuminate your work area? Cow farts in a jar. It's really just the methane gas ignited, but it sounds better when you say cow farts. And that bit of ignited gas creates a magic that can be felt and smelled in every piece of Amish carpentry.

On Dolphins
Most people see the intelligence and cute chirping as evidence that Dolphins are not only sentient but are kind as well. Those people are highly unaware of the vicious dolphin attacks perpetrated against humans on a daily basis. These under water "friends" maintain a highly active network of crime, debauchery and violence and will stop at nothing to destroy life as we know it. Also shredded bits of Dolphin in your tuna can make tuna tastier.

On Protractors
Many people know that protractors date back to ancient times and are used for building, in navigation and astronomy. Few people know that the Protractor, when sharpened is quite the weapon and was used as the initial blade in the original Guillotine. The rounded design was later ditched for an angled blade that we still see used today.

On ProTractors
Group of farmers that pushed for the invention and use of tractors at the turn of the century. Typically staunch animal rights activists who felt that a horse's or cattle's place was in the kitchen baking instead of in the field working.

Personally, I find it hard to get through any text without ample images to keep my interest intact. Therefore, I've included a plethora of photographs, diagrams and drawings similar to the one pictured below:

On fire

Frankly, it's probably too much to ask of people who want my answers to read these books instead of just using the google, but I know that when the Internet finally dies, my books will remain and be the only source of knowledge for the human race (eat that World Book Encyclopedia!)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

So NaNo Ended

I didn't break the 19k mark of typed words (I did have a bit handwritten that had yet to be typed - but no where near 50k). I guess it was too much to expect to do everything and complete a novel in a month. Such is life.
To help me feel better about it, my sister Cecy sent me this image:
Perhaps next year will be more successful and potentially more nautical.