Haiku Today 2014.12.11 –

(Image credit: Mark Stevens)


I can see
running to the edge –
daring sight


A surprising amount of life comprises the age old question, “who am I?”

Even when we think we aren’t looking for the answer, we are subconsciously feeding the question. Changes of pace, changes of routine — trying something new, moving away from old preferences and ways and things . . . These are indicative of the exploratory nature of the human creature in the never-ending struggle to define oneself.

We’ve covered the face of the planet, probing down into the depths of the ocean and branching out into space, setting foot on the Moon and sending robot scouts to Mars; and do you think we are really exploring the Universe?

Or are we exploring ourselves? Asking “who are we, what is this thing we call the human race, and how do we define it?”

Knowing this, at the same time I feel like something is wrong with me when I realize how many things I’ve started and then stopped doing, like I’m some kind of a quitter. Bookbinding? Not anymore. Knitting? Here and there, but not so much right now. Blogging? Trying to get back in the habit. Guitar? For the first time in years I can say “yes, I’m doing that,” thanks to Rocksmith 2014, the video game that lets me plug my real guitar in and then teaches me to play songs.

I feel like something of a hobby-hoarder. I think next year I ought to find new ways to define myself and new experiences with which I can put myself and the Universe in context. The ironic thing is, that puts more things in danger of being on the “done it / dropped it” list, but I don’t mind that so much.

I do this in the spirit of adventure.


Tanka Today 2014.12.08 –

(Image credit: Mathilde AUDIAU)


flame colored
trees baring their limbs –
an act of penitence
both lovely and bleak


I’m a little disappointed in myself; I was unable to get out and take wintry snow pictures this weekend as I had planned to do. You know how it goes: things caught up to me and had to be done, then I worked Saturday afternoon, then chores on Sunday until something came up at the very last second . . . and I failed. But I meant what I said, and I still mean to get out and get pictures, if I can find the time and the right place.

Here in Bismarck we’re in one of those phases right now where the snow melts some, and it’s neither white Christmas-y nor green. Patches of snow still linger in yellow brown grass, and what stands out most is all the garbage that careless, lazy people throw all over the ground, as though the medium is a dissatisfied mixture of trash and dirty snow.

I’d take a couple inches of white powder right now, or a scene like the one above.

A little superordinary adventure.


Haiku Today 2014.12.05 –

(Image credit: Mark Stevens)


shattered anvil
vouching violent skill –


So I spent all day trying to think of something on-topic to jam about, if even for a brief moment, and I think I had a couple of really good ideas.

Unfortunately, they got lost in the shuffle.

And don’t things tend to do that? So now here I am on the dead line, four walls around me. There’s a cat sleeping in the chair, a box for the basement by my foot, not nearly enough shelves for my taste, given the collection of books and Legos in this house, and yet I fear it’s a bit distracting.

I had this weird idea today: what if my office is not the optimal space for me to create in? You know, if you read about creativity and creative spaces they talk about sometimes you’re in the wrong place or going someplace that isn’t conducive and that’s why you have some block to your creativity, and here in my office I have four walls and within them my current “bedroom” feel. I don’t sleep here — not on purpose, anyway — but I have lunchboxes and Legos and Rubik cubes; a Detroit Tigers baseball, books books books, guitars, knitting crap, a trunk full of work clothes, an RC helicopter, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera . . .

(that’s what the King would say, once Julie Andrews had her way)

But I don’t think that’s right. This place is me, and yes — it could use a LOT more shelving. So maybe it’s not the place, but it’s my habits. Or maybe it’s where my head is at! Is it in a laser cutter? Lending new imagery to the phrase “rebuilding a head”? Or is it really just a matter of switching gears yet again?

Is it possible this is less a matter of “how do you solve a problem like my office?” and more like “the hills are alive with the sound of Rob Ross!”

The thought of which brought me around to my real and most current issue here: I get my images from pretty much two groups on Flickr. They are both groups for Creative Commons, which means the images there are free to use. One is pretty much a magic Santa’s bag of photos, and the other one is dedicated to nature, period. While the former has been around longer, the latter has quickly amassed a pool of photos of over six times the size of the former, and contains no picture unsuitable for haiku. My problem, though, is that nearly everyone submitting photos  to the nature group is apparently somewhere without snow, and right now I want snow.

The only natural solution, of course, is that I should beef up the winter picture count with my own photography. So I’ve decided to go shooting tomorrow morning. The great part is, I’m sure I must be meant to do so because I successfully negotiated a half day at work. THE SECOND HALF. When in life does that happen???

I smell adventure in the morning air, and I’m (almost) certain it doesn’t smell like napalm.

Here’s a task for you, though, if you are so inclined: if you like to take pictures and live in a snowy clime, wouldn’t it be great to get out and take some nice pictures and post them for public use? The Creative Commons Nature group on Flickr could really use some snowy submissions. No subject is taboo, as long as the nature is on full throttle. You can set your license, make it noncommercial, with or without modification, et cetera et cetera et cetera . . .

And hey, I’d love to use photos submitted by my blog buds. This is a community, after all, and I dig all of you.

Haiku Today 2014.12.03 –

Flakes (1) by Linda Owen
(Image credit: Linda Owen)


once applied
paint soon peels away –


People are preoccupied with Christmas so soon after being worried about Thanksgiving, but what looms beyond may already be unconsciously preying on the minds of many: a new year. It’s coming up fast, and having Christmas in the way taking up all of our attention only serves to make that New Year and its rituals more urgent when it comes into focus at that point just a few days away.

Thus some of us make hasty resolutions and we try to keep them so we might remake ourselves a little better than before, while others buck the trend by refusing to play the resolution game. Still, the common thread of both the resolvers and the non-resolvers is the desire to change.

I say, is it not better to start planning early? Isn’t the best time to plan next year’s change right now, while we still have a month to think it over?

The thing about change is that it’s all about one’s habits, and just like a fresh coat of paint those habits need to be maintained over time and occasionally freshened up in order to keep that change from peeling away. How easy is that to accomplish without a game plan? Even more important still is proper preparation of the surface before painting; ignoring that detail can cause it to peel away much faster.

Next year, I plan to amp up the adventure. I don’t know how I’m going to do that just yet, but there’s no pressure because I have a whole month to stew on it, to make lists and brainstorm. The snow falls and then melts away, leaving us ready to start over fresh.The question is, will we be entrenched in the same rituals where optimal satisfaction has not been reached, or will we be ready to seize the initiative?

Think about what you want for 2015. How would you change what you’re doing now to fit that?

(it happens to be pure coincidence that Andra Watkins has begun formulating a challenge this  very day to do something to Make a Memory in 2015 — I think it’s a worthwhile idea and while the aforelinked post is merely an effort to seek input from her readers, I would encourage anyone to give her idea a good think.)

Imagine the adventure, my friends, and be prepared to make it happen.


Haiku Today 2014.12.02 –

dragon-fly by stefans_box
(Image source: stefans_box)


life searching
dragon-fly fishing
on a wire


Have you ever wondered where the things we leave behind go? Or the people? Have you ever wondered how so much time passed before you realized that element of your life was a certain thing of the past? Like, “wow, I wonder what ever happened to X . . . “

This isn’t about blogging, not by a long shot. I’ve come to grips with the fact that I walk a road littered with the remains of my former pastimes. But sometimes . . . sometimes the road loops around and I find myself — not scratching my head in wonder at the forgotten art but throwing myself back into it as though I’d never skipped a beat. You do step one, step two, step three . . . you give it a little of your own personal dazzle, show it to the world and hope that someone would rather have it than see it committed to the artist’s secret reliquary.

Recently I became disgusted with the loss of the path I had been on. I mean, I have really come to appreciate my work, which I threw myself into at the cost of my hobbies. I love my job, but to get to that point I had to cut and run with all kinds of balls in the air. Now that I’ve got my mind right, I decided, I have to get back to figuring out myself.

Because that’s been my one steadfast quest, stretching back to the day I woke up and realized I wasn’t doing any good for anyone, least of all myself.

I could spend my entire life chasing the tail of the beast that swallowed me. I probably will, leaving all sorts of things in my wake — people, places, activities, objects — and don’t believe for a moment that I won’t appreciate each and every one of them, because you never know when the road will loop around and hook you up again.

Old friends will be made new, lost items become the finder’s fortune, and nothing you do is ever truly in vain.

That’s why they call it “adventure”.


Daily Haiku 2014.11.06 –

(Image credit: Tiny Garden by Gido)
(Image credit: Tiny Garden by Gido)


what we see
belies the extent –
hidden giants


No, this isn’t another post about massive mushrooms — if you want to read that one, check it out at my post It’s Not Magic: Mushrooms Can Change Our Experience. It’s actually quite fascinating.

This is a reminder that behind the general façade of every person who performs a function — every post office or grocery store clerk, behind every contractor, every janitor, every worker in every trade and business in the whole demesnes of this reality, lies a person of unbelievable depth and complexity. There’s a person who used to dream, very likely of being something more than what they are today. You can not understand the entire skill set of a single person, what they are capable of, or the things they once dared to dream and now aspire to achieve.

That’s all I’ve got!

Daily Tanka 2014.10.31 —

(Image credit: October Leaves by Dane Vandeputte)
(Image credit: October Leaves by Dane Vandeputte)


“trick or treat”
sloughed off mortal coils –
empty threats
like waxing winter:
hero’s quest for Spring


Here it is: Autumn, and the flagship holiday of its introduction is Halloween. I knew it this morning as I set out on a run in eighteen-degree pre-dawn darkness. It was the first morning so cold that I felt compelled to warm up my car before leaving to work. It was cold enough that the frost lingered still on the grass at 9:30 when I took my first break. Tonight will be a chilly one, perfect for the disguise I plan to wear while passing out candy:

(Photo credit: Yours truly)

My gratitude goes to the sheep and alpaca who made it possible.

In making this hat, I became irrevocably addicted to the show Supernatural. The well hadn’t run dry, though; words have flowed here and there, some of them into post drafts.

Yes, I have post drafts to work through. Some of that material is good for posting, but when you squeeze in a few minutes here and then save the remainder for a few minutes there, it’s not surprising when one day you open the dashboard and it’s drafts all the way down the first page, its insistent refrain of “Daily Haiku” straining the eyes like a mile of chain link fence.

Ticking and clicking, with silent keys and roaring thoughts: that’s how I’d like to spend my days, but I have aways and aways to go before I get there. I only hope I’ll make it in one piece.

Until then, I’m rocking this adventure the best way I can.


Daily Haiku 3014.10.30 –

Image credit: Chris Zielecki


Resurrection –
often more common
than life or death

I’ve got nothing.
No explanation, no call, no excuse.
I’ve got no words,
and I’ve been dry for a while.
In this lack, the luster is dulled –
yet somehow, the comeback calls
get stronger with time.

Daily Haiku 2014.09.11 –

(Image credit: Abaconda Management Group)

flocking sheep
seek out Apple stores
upgrade time



Well. It’s that time of year again. I find myself wrapped up in thought about the inevitable consequences of the new round of “Device Wars”. I’m taking a serious look at everything I believe, and I’m asking myself the hard questions. I have the opportunity to upgrade my phone in a month and a half, and now there’s this new iPhone that’s about to hit the stores. I told myself that I really wanted to see a bigger iPhone. The new iPhone 6 comes in two sizes, both bigger than the iPhone 5. I wanted a faster processor and better specs that I know could have been delivered with my current phone. Sure, the next iPhone 6 has them.

In fact, the iPhone 6 has stuff that will wrap people around the corners of Apple stores for weeks, congesting the most popular blocks of big cities all over the country, while each employee in the Microsoft Store next door plans his or her disguise for when they get into line after work. Because honestly, we don’t know jack about Windows Phones, and that’s typical.

I was a Zune user back in the day. I had a regular Zune, and then I had a Zune HD. I loved them both because they were fabulous devices, and yet they never seemed to be able to crawl out of Apple’s shadow. Neither, I fear, shall the Windows Phone ever see the light beyond the iPhone’s penumbral cast.

With this new iPhone, I could have it all. I could shoot HDR video at 60 frames per second. I can make videos in stop-motion and slow motion. I can make secure payments with my phone (finally!) and that one has not just customers, but vendors from Wells Fargo to McDonald’s lining up as well.

The whole gamut of improvements, as well as the feature fragmentation between the two models, rightfully warrants an upgrade from my current device, but to what — another iPhone?

Maybe. Android users like to make fun of many iPhone 6 specs, quoting similar specs that were available with the Nexus 4 phone from 2012, while ignoring those things the new iPhone is either bringing to the table or doing to keep up with the mass of Android competitors. Apple is Julius Caesar in an Android senate, but it manages to hold its own, and while I know that this discussion has me looking a little hypocritical in light of my “surveillance device in every pocket” rant, but I do think it’s time I ask myself the tough question: do I want to stick with an iPhone, or do I want to make another switch to Android? My phone is nearly two years old now. It’s dinged, and dented. It’s been nearly shut in a car door and it’s been dropped in the ocean. I’m almost certain it would kill me if it could.

Coincidentally, there’s been no mention of iPhone 6 being water-resistant, let alone waterproof. Meanwhile, there are several Android phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, that are both water-resistant and dust-proof. That sounds like a perfect fit for an outdoor enthusiast who works in an industrial environment, but is that good enough to make a switch I’ll be in bed with for two years?

And while part of me knows that I don’t have to upgrade at all, the rest of me says I’d be stupid to think that I could possibly resist . . .

This is America, after all.

Cartoon Craziness Challenge — Build-a-Burger

The current week’s prompt for the Cartoon Craziness Challenge (C³) is “build-a-burger”. I had more than one idea for this one, but here’s the one that I made:

(Copyright late last night, yours truly. Use it but don’t abuse it.)

You probably shouldn’t watch this because after a while it looks like Bach is looking right into your soul and mining your thoughts like the NSA on spice melánge. Plus it clocks in at two hours and change, but it does make some nice background music if you leave it up while you do housework or something.

Where the closest ocean is all in my mind


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