Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Sick to death of haiku

What is the modern obsession with haiku, dammit? Everywhere I turn, someone's writing a haiku. Is it the only form of poetry anyone can remember? Why can't they remember cinquains or quatrains, sonnets or acrostics? Why doesn't anyone ever write elegies any more? Even limericks are more interesting than haiku, for heaven's sake.

Project Rungay recently had a contest. (I didn't enter, I swear.) It was for a bag of hair product swag. Even that contest was haiku, and the winner had (a) nothing to do with classical haiku except the syllable count and (b) nothing to do with Project Runway at all. Very confusing. And disappointing.

And as I surf through blogs, I find post after post filled with improperly metered "haiku." I think people are beginning to think that if it has three lines, it's haiku.

It ain't.

But that's OK, because if it's wrong, then it's no longer haiku, and maybe we'll see the end of this popular haiku obsession in my lifetime.

Please, please, please.

Can I write an epitaph to haiku? Heh!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'm a lazy bum

I've been in Las Vegas since Friday, June 20th, and I've even been writing up my trip report for my friends. Yet I haven't posted here on my official travel blog.

I'm a lazy bum.

I've also been having a simply marvelous time. I'll try to post now.

And I saw Bette Midler last night. She's the best.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Cobbler prep

I was going to blog about why I love Friday the 13ths, but I got carried away and wrote half a book. I'll save the story for another Friday the 13th.

In the meantime, I know where I'll be picking blackberries in July. And I really can't wait.

Emily has gone to the geek fest in Knoxville -- er, I mean, AdventureCon. She was dressed up and really looking forward to seeing a lot of her geeky friends. I saw a couple of guys dressed as Ghostbusters and a ninja/SWAT team guy when I dropped her off at the convention center. I also saw a little boy dressed as Indiana Jones. I think I kinda get the whole comic-con thing when you factor in the costumes. Everyone loves Halloween, after all.

But the best part of my day took place after I left the World's Fair park and went to the Old City. I finally found MagPies, Knoxville's most glorious and glamorous gourmet bakery. I've been hearing about it for years -- I even saw owner Peggy on a Food Network challenge some time ago -- but I somehow never ended up in the Old City at the right time to stop in and make a purchase.

Oh. My. God.

I should have found time before now.

Those cupcakes are far better than advertised. June's Super Deluxe flavors are Strawberry Basket, Ginger Peach, and Devil's Food. I got a mixed dozen of the minis for about $13.

The Strawberry Basket is my and Woodrow's favorite, but the Devil's Food and Ginger Peach are very closely tied for second. The Devil's Food had *dark* chocolate frosting. Pardon me while I pick my tongue up off the floor -- I keep dropping it while thinking about these cupcakes. Ginger Peach is refreshingly light and almost cleanses the palate all by itself -- it's just divine. But that Strawberry Basket defies description. Go get yourself one before June is finished.

I do not know how I'm going to keep myself from going back to MagPies over and over again. It's too far away to drive to on a whim, but, oh, I feel a whim coming on, anyway. How can I resist any business whose tagline is, "All Butter -- all the time"? I can't! I'm just not that strong.

Thank heaven!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Tennessee state bird calls!

I just listened to my recording of the mockingbird in the middle of the night again, and I do not know enough bird songs to identify everything in this four-minute snippet. I can make out blackbirds, a cricket, and what sounds to me like a lawn mower starting, if a bird were to sing the sound a lawn mower makes when it isn't starting. I counted 21 different calls, but it was hard to keep track because he repeats some calls before he moves on to new ones.

If you know anyone who's an expert, I would appreciate some help identifying more bird calls.

Emily heard the recording and said, "My gosh, that mockingbird is lonesome!" Dang, I never thought of it that way, but she's right!

Big thank you to Amy for hosting the sound clip on the Grits to Glitz website. Someday I hope to be able to return, like, a fraction of the favors she's done for me.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

It's a sin to what?

Two o'clock in the mornin', and the mockingbird in my pecan tree across the street is trying desperately to prove that he's the manliest man in the tiny Philadelphia treetops.

Seriously, that bird has an impressive vocabulary. I recorded a couple of minutes of it on the nifty little recorder thingie that Amy sent me. He belts out a couple of measures of song, and then he repeats that motif three or four times. Then he moves on to another call, which is repeated three or four times. And so on, and so forth. When he gets around to sounding like a mockingbird, he starts all over again.

It's amazing.

And I'm glad I don't sleep with my windows open, or I would not get any sleep at all.

Summertime. And the livin' is... air conditioned, thank heaven.

Friday, June 06, 2008


This little bird is Emily's latest cockatiel. We tend to go through cockatiels rapidly. It's not intentional. We've had a few that weren't healthy. We've had some that stuck around for years. This one just happens to be new. Her name is Sylvia, and she shows a great deal of promise for being a great cockatiel.

Seems like just a couple of days since I was complaining about too much silence around the house. Boy, that changed quick.

Emily and Woodrow came home Wednesday afternoon, earlier than expected because of a death in the family with whom they'd been staying. I've never been so happy to see them!

Well, OK, there were some other times. But I can't remember them at the moment.

So Wednesday evening when I went for my walk at the gorgeous community park -- y'know, the one with the hawk's nest and all the forest and the wildlife abounding and all that stuff -- I was very surprised to find abandoned puppies at the top corner of the soccer field.

Surprised and, well, overemotional. Wesley and Woodrow and I scooped up the two girl puppies who looked an awful lot like pit bull puppies to me, and we brought them home overnight.

Yes, I'm shocked that there are still people out there who don't spay or neuter their animals. That's shocking enough. But then they dump the unwanted progeny? What is that about? Aren't they aware of the perfectly fine animal shelter just up the road?

Dis-gusting. Yeah. I love people.

Anyway. I got very little sleep because the puppies whined most of the night long.

Then when I got up, and I sent Emily to the nearest convenience store for a half gallon of milk, she decided to have her first fender bender.


Yes. Quiet would be really nice right about now.

Emily's fine. The Prius is fine. The other car needs a new bumper. No one was hurt. And we took the puppies to the animal shelter this afternoon, after naming them Coffee and Toast.

Just a crazy Thursday, that's all.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Quiet house

He is Hector the Magnifico. A thread on the Club Scrap message board called for pictures of our pets, so for the first time in years, I have gone to lengths to make sure I get some good pictures of the animals while they're still, well, alive.

Hector is now almost 11 years old and is considered a "senior" cat, so the last time we took him to the vet, he got some extra tests and a little more care. He's in great shape for a giant, 20-pound cat who doesn't move more than twenty minutes a day.

My wild children went off to Tellico Plains to spend a few days with friends. The moment they walked out of the house, silence as dense as fog descended. Even the birds seem subdued. I do not like this loneliness. If this is what retirement is going to be like, I would rather adopt some kids. Or at least a pack of dogs.

Heh! A pack of dogs. That would get Hector moving, wouldn't it?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Almost Monday

Just a few days ago, I thought Woodrow's budgie Orlando was on her last legs. She had become obsessed with one of her toys, and she spent most of her time hunched over it, gazing non-stop into one of the mirrors. She didn't stop eating or drinking, and her poo seemed normal. But she just wasn't moving much from one perch, and sometimes she looked haggard from hunching over one mirror.

Orlando is five or six years old. I forget which. And budgies don't live more than 15 years if they're common yellow-and-green varieties. The ones that have been bred for exotic colors like Orlando's near-white pale yellow? They don't last nearly as long.

However, Orlando is by far the smartest and most entertaining and lovable bird we have in the flock. I love Cosmo, and he's great, but he's also really profoundly bitey. That's a normal yellow-naped Amazon trait. I don't hold it against Cosmo, but it makes it really hard to just enjoy his company sometimes.

Orlando is also a pretty grumpy, bitey bird sometimes, but she's got a much smaller beak. That makes for a more sanguine approach even when she's at her most hacked off state.

Anyway, Orlando got all obsessed with this one toy, and I thought she was going into a decline in general and would die any day. I started waking up earlier than Woodrow and purposefully uncovering Orlando's cage because if she was gonna kick the bucket during the night, I didn't want anyone else to have to deal with the trauma of finding a dead budgie.

Finally, I decided to take the toy that she was perched on for hours at a time -- out of the cage.

And lo! And behold! Orlando perked right up and started behaving normally!

Dang. I wish all potentially fatal problems were as easily fixed as Orlando's deadly toy fixation!