goodness, martial arts, work

Creepy and awesome

Kids are amazing.  The stuff that comes out of their minds is so free form and astonishing sometimes.  I recently got a drawing from a girl I teach at Karate Job of a T-rex on a blimp.  That’s right: a dinosaur riding on a blimp, which also had teeth and eyes, and fire coming out the back of it.

I pointed out the amazing art of David Devries, who turned children’s drawings of nightmares into horrible, incredible works of art.  Now there’s a company doing something similar, but far more friendly (and profitable, I hope): they’re taking children’s drawings and turning them into toys.  What a fantastic idea!  It also serves as a reminder of the kind of nightmare fuel that kids think of all my themselves.  Creepy and awesome.

my favorite

badness, humor, work

Haiku distraction: Murphy’s law

The kind of haikus I write are either spawned from boredom, disappointment, or a severe dislike of the situation in which I’ve (usually forcibly) been placed.  I went to another late-night meeting, and naturally another set of haikus resulted because everything that could have gone wrong during this meeting did go wrong.  The AV wasn’t set up like it was supposed to be, and when it was set up it buzzed the whole time, and then it stopped working.  The man in charge treated me like his own personal servant…again.  There weren’t enough chairs, so my coworkers and I had to sit outside and eat at the check-in table.  The meeting could have easily been half as long as it was, but the people in charge couldn’t stop plugging their shit to make money for their organization.

Unlease the haiku beast!

"i'm really excited about this year's numbers."

Cheshire cat lady,
smile and grin and never frown;
whose trust do you have?

The woman in charge never stops smiling, even when discussing unpleasant topics.  It’s super creepy.  My coworker noticed and made a comment about how she never knew what to think of what she was saying.

Poor athletics guy.
Your report encourages,
but why are you here?

The guy from athletics gave his update about how the university teams are doing really well and he kept it short.  Then he sat down and looked neglected and bored for the rest of the next hour and a half.  Poor bastard.

Little disasters
know me by name.  “Be our friend,”
they say.  No thank you.

My office was not in charge of this event, but when things went wrong, we were the ones who worked to make it right because the people in charge were too busy milling around feeling important, not realizing that hosting means making sure things go smoothly, and not acting like the lord and lady of the land, greeting subjects and making long-winded speeches.

Stop talking, ladies
and gentlemen.  Eight o’clock,
and I miss my boy.

Around eight I realized that I could be snuggled up on the couch in my pajamas with Boyfriend watching Star Trek: The Next Generation instead of hearing reports on adorable new merchandise the hosting organization hoped to overcharge the population for.  My poems broke out of their calm haiku exterior, and became more biting.

There once was a man who would speak.
His speech is what made our ears leak.
It started alright,
but later that night,
he kept speaking and made us all shriek!

When I get bored, I can literally feel some kind of invisible plasma slipping out of my ears, making me stupider somehow.  I’m not bored very often; I usually find some way to entertain myself, but my stamina drains away at these meetings, and I can only play in Imaginationland so long without looking like a space cadet.

Marching cult of the Fluffy Hat,
you’re crazier than my roommate’s cat.

It’s clear why you’re so proud of yourselves:
you make earplugs fly right off their shelves!
Your drums go ‘thump,’ your horns go ‘splat.’
You sound just like my roommate’s cat.

You prance around like little ponies,
and act like musicians, you little phonies.
You’re rude and untalented and smelly and fat,
you’re nowhere near as cute as my roommate’s cat.

My coworker loves my haikus and requested that I write about the band, which we all agree is like a creepy religious cult.  Diminutive Roommate has a pretty severe dislike of the band; I was so excited to show her this poem, I called her on my way home last night to recite it to her.

I don’t know anyone who thinks these four-hour meetings are helpful.  It’s like elevator music: If everyone hates it, why play it at all?

badness, goodness, life

Nightmare on paper

There’s an artist named David Devries who takes children’s drawings of monsters and redraws them to look more realistic.  It’s a super cool idea, and I like the execution.  I almost feel like he’s too true to the kids’ drawings, though.  Kids draw ideas, representations of what they see in their minds.  They can’t draw exactly what they see, but when something is tall, they draw it thin and long, that kind of thing.  I think a little artistic license would be fun for this guy’s project.

I had a recurring nightmare growing up in which I would hide at the end of a narrow outdoor hallway.  There’s nowhere to hide though, so I just crouched down on the floor and made myself as small as possible while keeping my feet under me and my eyes up in case I needed to run (to where?  I was trapped).  I usually dreamed vividly, so the fact that this dream was always in black and white is probably why it stuck with me.  At the end of this hall/alleyway, is a street where people are walking by, going about their day.  But of course, they’re not really people.  They’re long, gangly, black figures with long snout-faces.  They were indistinguishable from each other.

Being a Communist state or whatever, everyone had to conform.  I was clearly not conforming, because I wasn’t a Snout-Face, which is why I had to hide.  Naturally one of them spotted me and came after me.  And he brought friends.  They came marching down the alley with a swift, chilling grace that made panic set fire to my insides, and woke me up.

There really is no way to describe how purely fear is felt in a nightmare.  It’s just terrifying.  Luckily, we’ve all had that experience, so we don’t need to find the words to explain it.

goodness, life

My old friend, science fiction

I love Science Fiction as a genre for the same reason I love anime: There are no limits.  Anything is possible.  Who wouldn’t love that?  It’s not just for science/computer/gamer geeks and nerds.  Science tears down the walls within our minds and builds roads to the horizon.

I love you, too, Isaac Asimov

A few of my favorites:

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card- Kids!  It’s about kids!  Show it to your kid!  It’s an amazing book for adults, but it’s about kids, so kids eat it up.  Synopsis: In a world where the Earth is at war with an alien race of “buggers,” our last hope is the children bred to have the qualities of great military leaders.  One boy, Ender, is clever and reluctant to fight, but shows promise…

The Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein- My first trip to Mars, courtesy of one of the pioneers of novel-length science fiction.

Dune by Frank Herbert- Such a fantastic book.  I re-read it a few years ago, and I’ll read it again soon.  A strange new world where water is scarce means constant skirmishes with the natives who turn out to have more secrets and power than anyone dared imagine.  It falls to a young prince to follow his father’s example of generosity and strength to lead the people, prevent war, and rule an entire planet, or perish. (also, this)

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle- This book was a must-read by kids in my elementary school, and it messed with our brains.  For example, it featured fantastic creatures who gave visions of twelve-dimensional shapes to children, then explained how time travel was achieved by “wrinkling” the fabric of space/time, stepping across the wrinkle, then smoothing out the fabric.  At age ten, I was thoroughly impressed.  I need to re-read this; it’s been too long.

Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein- I like the ideas in this (a human raised on Mars as a Martian, brought back to Earth with fantastic abilities), but can’t get over the lack of strong female characters, and the way the women are treated, as caretakers and comforters.  Women aren’t made of moms and blankets, we’re people.  It’s the era in which it was written… very hippy-driven, free love, which means the men get laid all the time, and the women too, but the women tend not to have any power.  But he was strongly against racism, and wrote minority characters often, which is awesome.

goodness, humor, life

Imaginationland, Ford edition

apparently I have paws

I’m currently driving a 1998 Ford Explorer, a car that was caught in the pocket between a time when CDs were the shiniest music-storage format, and when the iPod bulldozed the market.  There is no tape deck and no mp3 connectivity.  I’m not about to lug all my CDs down from my apartment (one whole flight of stairs!), and the car might just eat them anyway.  So I’ve been listening to the radio, which in Los Angeles means I change the station from rap, to hip hop, to top 40, to more hip hop, to classical (always on commercials), to top 40 before I give up with a loud, “Ugh, spare me!”  The on/off button often gets stuck, so sometimes I’m forced to turn the volume all the way down and endure the ongoing disaster that is Los Angeles FM radio at the level of a whisper.  It’s maddening.

Most of the time I do manage to turn the fucking radio off, and I end up driving in silence as a result, which leaves me with only my own pulsing brain to entertain myself.  Often I sing songs that would shame me to sing in front of others (Mariah Carey, The Dixie Chicks, N’Sync, etc).  Mostly though, I talk to myself… constantly.  Rather, I talk to whomever I imagine to be there.  Here’s how it breaks down:

Ex-boyfriend– It’s so weird how you needed a ride from the airport and none of your friends could pick you up!  No, I’m not sorry we broke up, are you?  Wow, really?  No, I don’t want to give us another shot.  My life is beautiful now, and you’re fatter than ever.  Here, let me remind you why I was always right about everything…


That one jerk– Things are good for me, actually, thanks for asking.  I’m working really hard, having fun with the kids, getting my Master’s, learning Kung Fu, dating a great guy, everything’s going right!  Oh yeah, you have lost a lot of hair.  I wasn’t going to say anything.  Maybe it’s because you’re so depressed over your totally foreseeable divorce.  You’re right, it was your fault.

Family member– Look, you can’t expect me to give you all my lottery winnings.  I have charities to donate to, trust funds to set up, and I think half a million is more than enough to get you out of debt and on your feet.  No, I don’t think a nanny would be a good idea.  What will I do with all my free time?  I’m thinking of doing watercolors and finishing my zobo novel.

Member of the press– Y’know, I saw the gun and I just reacted.  There was no time to think.  My natural instinct has always been to help others, it’s no surprise that I would move toward danger instead of away from it, especially with the kids around.  I mean, that guy was already shooting, I had nothing to lose.  Don’t get me wrong, a bullet to the shoulder hurts, but it’s a small price to pay for paralyzing some maniac with a semi-automatic.  Yes, a flying side kick is something I learned to do over years of training, but I never thought I’d use it, especially on someone’s neck.  I mean, what are the odds?  No, I don’t plan to keep all the reward money for his capture.  Most of it will go toward my parents’ mortgage, and my sister’s school costs.  I’m a giver.

I’m not making this shit up.  This is how my brain works.  I’m a hero, a savior, the one that got away (and sometimes a superhero!).  The car has become my fantasy pod.  Car-travel has become a magical state that allows me to transform into a glowing, powerful, courageous ball of wealth-shedding light.  And if all that fails to entertain me, or if traffic is especially stressful, I look at my rearview mirror and pretend that all the cars behind me are my armada, and we’re traveling in formation toward our future conquest!  Yes, we may die, but the battle will be glorious.  Stand tall, comrades!  They will sing our songs and call us patriots of the motherland for a thousand generations!

the imaginary navy approaches!