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Daily Haiku —

Flower Beetle
(Image credit: Jens Auer)

have it all –
my empire of dirt
brings forth life


If there’s one regret I have this year, it’s that I’ve had very little involvement with the gardening at our home. Of course, we just moved in this past January, and I wanted to hang back and see what happens to grow on its own. Thankfully, Mme. Ross took charge of the vegetable garden and we’ve already harvested, and enjoyed some of, the radishes and radish greens.

As I suspected the remainder of our yard, where evidence was borne in the vestiges of last year’s growth, has become a little perennial paradise. We even have daisies! I’m enjoying that because we didn’t have any at our old home. There’s plenty of space to work with, and some tentative plans to put in a hedgerow this year or next along the west side of our property, but when exactly is that going to happen?

I suppose we shall see. It would be nice, though, because what I really miss is getting outside on a hot day and just destroying some grass. At the last house I had a ball two years in a row, building raised beds with two-by-six frames, as well as the big garden in the back. I’d take my pick mattock, raise it high over my right shoulder and swing it down with everything in me; first the pick, then the blade as the ground began to loosen.

Who needs a tractor and a plug aerator when they can just dig? Pull up chunks of grass and shake out the dirt, throw the weed into the wheelbarrow. The mantra of breaking ground — the most sacred ancient rituals of plowing, tilling, and turning over land with just hands and arms and a single tool.

It’s that connection. I miss getting my hands into the dirt — connecting with the ground and becoming one with the Earth again.

Maybe soon, I’ll get out there. Maybe it will have to be next year.

I suppose we shall see.

Good night! May the Sun shine its face upon you tomorrow and see that you are living the most worthwhile adventures.

Cartoon Craziness Challenge: Superhero (WIP)

Last week was a busy one; with my role changing at work I didn’t have so much time to get all the blogging done. One thing I really wanted to attend to, however, was the Cartoon Craziness Challenge, the theme of which last week was “superhero”.

I had an idea, a plan in mind for the picture I would draw, but because of the way I work it remains a work in progress. I’ll have to get it in later this week, but here is a snapshot of the work so far:


It looks like there are smears on the page because there’s currently something on the inside of my phone’s camera lens!

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Daily Tanka —

L'été à Hamois
(Image credit: Luc Viatour)

. . . and they’re off!
Approaching the first turn
in epic scale –

fans bloom, going wild
for Earth’s greatest race




This is it, my friends: I have resorted to finding a prompt, and now I’m going to lay the secrets of the Universe out to you — as I always do — only this time, I had to turn to another source for inspiration. I’m not merely weaving it in to legitimately qualify (in my own mind) for posting rights, as I’m wont to do with the Daily Post (by the way, I’ve figured out my issue with them; chances are the only fault I can attribute to them is lousy communication,) but I had this tanka mostly figured out earlier. Then at the punch press I had a post idea, and then somewhere between there and here I lost it.

I just lost it.

Not like I used to lose it when things didn’t go my way; I didn’t lose it like Tonya Harding lost it right before she decided to pay someone to cripple her rival. It vanished right out of my head. Did I mention that my memory palace was foreclosed upon more than twenty years ago? I must have forgotten to make a payment at some point . . .

Holy $#!+, where does all that time go? Twenty years?  Back then, I never would have imagined that I would have a blog with 530 followers, people who may or may not (and I know some that do religiously) read it on a regular basis (about sixty of you are at this level of “oh my gosh, he came out of his hole!”) Part of the reason I couldn’t see this coming has a lot to do with the fact that blogs didn’t exist; part was because back then the most challenging thing I did was try to figure out how to play Sim City so my citizens wouldn’t fire me (I know, I’m just terrible at public policy) and part was because I didn’t know I could just write about stuff and people would like that.

By the way, you guys are great.

So about this prompt — it’s a great idea and all, but I might have to address it at a later date.

In the meantime, just live your adventure and remember what I said:

Something, something something, somethingsomethingsomething.

Goodnight and godspeed, America.

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Daily Haiku —

Teardrop on Fire
(Image credit: Tom Blackwell)


rising light –
darkness’ secret prize



This morning at four o’clock my daughter woke up suddenly with a high-pitched squeal that woke both myself and Mme. Ross; bad dreams was the diagnosis. She’s little more than two years old, so she’s at the point where all she can say about it is “scary. Mama scary, Dada scary.” I’m beginning to suspect she’s also at this point where the fear of the unknown becomes a cognitive snowball; we talk about children being helpless in a dangerous world, but now I’m seeing that this begins to come to their own attention at some point and makes them very anxious.

I remember the anxiety dreams — being chased by something that wants to kill or eat me; falling from a great height into water that becomes the fizzling sensation you get when you wake suddenly and your brain is scrambling to turn your body on, lest you awaken paralyzed, thinking that some evil beast is sitting on your chest.

The reality is that everything is scary; living a life full of unknowns is an unnerving proposition, and while the older we get the more we appear to have it covered, the fact remains that we really don’t have control over much of anything. We learn as we mature to live fearlessly in a world that defies control by telling ourselves that we in fact can control it . . . and so that fearlessness might be at best a tenuous act — a brave face, if you will.

“Keep calm and carry on,” they said as the bombs fell.

Even the strongest people live with fear. They carry on with lives that float on an ocean of dread, and while some people believe in ghosts, aliens, supernatural creatures, and lizard men living in the center of the planet (yes, some people believe that;) most of us have to go forward knowing that there is always a z-variable that can knock us out of whack and put our adventure on a very unpleasant path.

Remember that fearlessness is key, for what is unknown has no basis in reality. We bring our light to the table, and so we can choose to spurn the darkness, forgive the unknown, and move on with our myriad lives.

Good night, and epic dreams.

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Daily Haiku —

Ladybird on a sunflower leaf
(Image credit: Carmen Eisbär)

one creature
treads the hairy edge
of another



We live, we breathe, and we feed off of the living products of this incredible planet. We host life that hosts life in turn, while we are ourselves hosted. We walk the edges and cross boundaries, going from being one person to another, and we strive; but for what? For our own benefit, or that of others?

The answer to that may raise even more questions. Are we okay? Are we quite satisfied? Can we live with the reality that we exist in a world where increasingly everything and everyone we interact with on more than a casual basis is eyeing us with parasitic intent? I fear one day even the walls will collect information about us as the heat of our touch fades.

But is this a bad thing — as bad as it might sound — or is it just more progression into the hyper-connected world that has us craving to disconnect because it’s just too much, too fast? Even as we rail against it we grow more complacent; this battle falls by the wayside as that issue is raised and calls for attention, and before we know it both are a fact of life.

It’s when I reflect upon this very idea that I always realize that you cannot fight a world on fire if you’re not willing to live in darkness. The only solution may be to let go, and let the mother burn.

Take some time to live and breathe, already.


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Daily Haiku —

The Race Track
(Image credit: Eric Bryan)

“Death Valley” –
yet even the stones




What a busy day! Even as I attempted to get a little blogging in edgewise, the Earth kept shifting under me, leaving me slipping along my path like Tarzan on a branch. Filling in here, doing double-duty there; getting unpleasant news and then a little flash of hope, this is how the day rolls for me — a Monday, no less.

With my last post I said I’d post a photo gallery of some doodads and thingamajiggers that I surround myself with, and I’m not about to disappoint you, Intrepid Reader, so feast your eyes on just a few of my gems in my Flickr album “Keepers”. It’s just a dozen photos for now, but who knows? I might be moved to add more and see who comes by to see them.

In other news, I was proud to be interviewed this week by the hosts of the Kenny and Kylie show, a podcast all about bloggers. Listen to this week’s episode here. Ken Justice is the Culture Monk at culturemonk.com, while Kylie is the chronicler of her very own journeyofkylie.com. I listened to the podcast over lunch, and I have to say I sound a little better than I thought I would, though my recorded voice always sounds nasally and I tend to hem and haw at times.

Oh well, the world keeps moving under my feet!

At the end of the day, I had the haiku but no attendant message. I was nearing the finish line — within fifteen minutes of clocking out — when I was told to put the forks on the floor and leave because there was a storm coming; this is the kind of late-breaking news you get in a place with no windows! Call it a singular opportunity: leave without finishing clean-up? Why not!!

It was a whopper, too; I could see through the exit as I was clocking out and people were leaving before me. It made perfect sense, since it had been one of those days that was so hot and humid that there was no level of comfort in a manufacturing plant that lacks proper air conditioning. The sky was like charcoal; the tall grass bent nearly horizontal first this way, then that; then as I got to my car the rain started.

It poured torrents. My jeep, light as a feather and broad on a side as a frigate sail, was buffeted by seventy-plus mile an hour winds, and I even hydroplaned once!

I had it all under control though. I’m a surfer, remember? It’s just the world moving under my feet; all I have to do is find my groove and live my adventure.


(P.S. If you don’t know about the sailing stones of Death Valley, you can read the Wikipedia article here.)

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Daily Haiku —

Ruins by Nicholas A. Tonelli
(Image credit: Nicholas A. Tonelli)

past lives’ touch
reclaimed by the wild –


Master of the monomyth Joseph Campbell said that “[l]ife is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.”

Rubik's Cube scrambled
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the ways that we create meaning in our lives is by surrounding ourselves with meaningful objects, things that imbue our lives with a unique sort of character. We have so many of these that it’s hard to count, but I’m compelled by this line of thought to consider the things I have which gain the least amount of use, yet I choose to hold on to them anyway: metal lunch boxes, 3D glasses, binoculars, Legos, Rubik’s Cubes, typewriters, safety razors, small glass bottles — utilitarian elements of times past; some were made even before my father was born, although the Legos are, for the most part, newer.

I remember the visions of the future we were brought by the late 20th century media, how everything was so austere; clean, white surfaces, friendly rounded corners and flowing edges, curved elements. Clutter was a thing of the past, presumably because everything we used was either hidden behind clever wall panels or consolidated into a single device. It was a vision of delight, if you like boring sterility in a world where everyone wears jumpsuits and latex gloves.

What happened to those spartan environments? Where are they now — all those post-modern living spaces reminiscent of Kubrik’s A Clockwork Orange? I don’t know a single person so devoid of culture and character as to want to live in a place like that.

We surround ourselves with stories in the form of physical items: mementos and tchotchkes, nicknacks and bric-a-brac, the flotsam and jetsam of a life worth its spice — a unique, real-world memory palace. We cast them against a backdrop of richly stained wood and painted colors from nature — because where else would colors come from? Note that we traditionally named the shades and hues after flowers and birds, elements like the sky and the sea. Without even thinking, we make our living places an extension of the natural world that has hosted our presence since time out of mind, because we could never divorce ourselves from it. How could we live in these bastions of sensory deprivation?

If I were asked what object my friends would most closely associate with me, I would find it hard to answer because as far as I know, I have no signature accessory. When I polled Facebook via status, I got answers ranging from my Jeep to my mohawk. Obvious answers, and perhaps telling because I couldn’t finish the phrase “he never goes anywhere without that dang _______!” Things like my car, my hair, my keys, my wallet, and my phone just don’t count.

But hey, how many people can you only associate with their phones, am I right?

What do these items I’ve collected and surrounded myself with say about me? Well, maybe they say that I’m a man of fine distinction with a penchant for not letting go of a fading past; or maybe — just maybe — I’m someone who misses a world where everyone’s nose is not buried in a smartphone.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll post a photo gallery of all my cool stuff.


Where the closest ocean is all in my mind


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