Zanti Misfits

What was I doing in the yard this morning? I went out for some reason.
I remember: I had my shoes on already and needed to turn off the pool filter, so I went through the cellar door rather than take my shoes off and go through the house.
There were slugs all over the grass. Four-inch brown ones.
It’s a good thing I had my shoes on.
The air smelled briefly of toast, a neighbor was making breakfast.
The sky was blue.
The flowers were tall.
The ants were scarce.
I sprinkled some cinnamon along their trail to fuck with them. Don’t know if it will help – I hear it does – but the house sure smells nice.
When I battle ants I have to think of the “Zanti Misfits” episode of The Outer Limits.
My wife is in southern Austria researching her family history.
My daughters are in Vietnam. They are posting beautiful pictures to Instagram and Facebook.
This amazes me in a couple ways.
When I was their age, or a little younger, you might go to Vietnam but you didn’t go for tourism.
When I was their age, when you went on a trip, your parents just worried for a couple weeks, or months, until you got back. They couldn’t see the awesome things you were doing by checking their social media feeds.
Also it amazes me that they are such travelers, because I dislike traveling.
I like staying where I am.
That’s the secret reason I live in Europe. I couldn’t be arsed to go home.
They are all traveling, so I find myself alone this week.
Except for pets and vermin.
Theoretically it’s the perfect time to be alone, summer. No better time to go out and get into trouble.
Get up to no good.
Commit shenanigans.
Instead, I go for walks or sit around on a lawn chair and stare into space and watch the sun go down because going out is too much work.
But that’s okay. A week of introspection could be a good thing. I’ve been really sick of myself lately, as one is at times. This would be a good chance to figure things out, if one knew what things needed to be figured out.
What have I learned?
I can hold my breath for two minutes and 40 seconds with minimal hyperventilation.
That’s all, so far.
Someone asked me how I was, recently, as one does.
I’m not depressed or sad.
I’m just sick of myself.
A little isolated and creepy, the way one gets when one neglects friendships.
(That’s one thing that gets easier as you get older – creeping people out).
Still amazed at the beauty of the world and stuff.
Need a haircut. This alone would tell me I am not depressed: I called the haircut place and made an appointment, despite my hatred of talking on the phone.
Also, just forced myself to finish a book that had lots of great reviews, although it sucked. A little angry that sucky books get good reviews.
Do you ever wonder how your train of thought brought you somewhere? Like, you start out wondering how to be a good person, or more charming, or how making art functions, and suddenly you’re wondering if anyone wrote a science fiction story about an invasion of alien life forms that people don’t realize are alien life forms because the aliens have no physical bodies: they are ideas.
Such as, for example, Neoliberal Capitalism. Destroying the world, but people assume it was their own idea so they just shrug and think, There Is No Alternative.
Or you wonder if anyone wrote a story about a planet that was terraformed by taking the excess carbon out of the atmosphere (to make the climate and rest of the environment pleasant) and hiding it deep, deep down in the ground where no one would ever find it, in the form of petroleum and coal.
Maybe you don’t.

7 things

At the window in Connemara
I see seven things my father loved:
a brand new sunrise in a rainy sky
ponies in a grassy pasture
trees bending in wind
a white shed
heavy machinery (a red backhoe)
a wood plank corral
his granddaughter, still asleep
me, reflected
8 things

metamorphosism.com 2016 St. Valentine’s Day Limerick Contest

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This year’s contest is finished!
Thanks to everyone who entered.
Here are the winners (I was going to leave them in the comments, but they’re not working for me. Are they broken for you too? Did anyone try to enter and find it impossible? Dang.)
Anyhow.

Third place: Tomas Green
Second place: Tim Rebstock
First place: KayO

Congratulations, everyone and thanks for entering!!

Welcome to the 2016 edition of the metamorphosism.com International Limerick Contest.
Please leave your entries in the comments to this post.
Enter as often as you like.
All participants, new and seasoned veterans, are encouraged to consult the combined FAQ/rules below BECAUSE THEY CHANGE WHILE THE CONTEST IS GOING ON.
No one knows why.
FAQ/Rules

  1. Does it have to be a limerick? YES. The judges are very strict. Google proper limerick form if you are not sure.
  2. How do I enter? POST YOUR ENTRY OR ENTRIES in the comments to this post. Click on comment, or whatever is down there, and add a new comment.
  3. When is the deadline? THE DEADLINE is 14 February 2016
  4. Do you mean 12 midnight on the night of the 13th or midnight on the night of the 14th? And which time zone shall have seisin of jurisdiction? We have had considerably confusion in the past! NINE AM (CENTRAL EUROPEAN TIME) 14 February.
  5. Oh by the way, I have a Quince tree on Cranes Lane. I think I should get a multiplier for that fact. OK, BY ALL MEANS. Secret multiplier in place.
  6. Is there a prize? NOT YET but that might change. I have 5kg of quince in my kitchen and hope to make some marmalade and some preserves tonite. UPDATE: I have tried the quince marmalade and it tastes okay so a winner could have a jar of that I guess, but only within Europe because shipping. Not sure about the quince/whisky preserves, haven’t tried that yet so no promises.
  7. Is there a limit to how often I can enter? NO. Enter as often as you like. The more often you enter, the better your chances.
  8. HOWEVER ONLY ORIGINAL ENTRIES ARE ACCEPTED. PLAGIARISM RESULTS IN DISQUALIFICATION.
  9. Can entries be bawdy? YES, absolutely. These are limericks, they can be bawdy, gross, you name it. It’s not required, but it is in the nature of the genre. ALSO: this is for St. Valentine’s Day so points awarded for love/romance/sex-related poetry.
  10. Complaints will be deleted. There is no avenue of appeal. Decisions of the judges are final. Be nice, and have fun, and don’t take this too seriously.
  11. Let’s see, what else? Oh yes.
  12. Bonus points are awarded for inclusion of themes listed below (No limit to how many themes you may include, the more the better):
  13. Limericks written in the voice/evocative of one or more of the following: Sarah Palin, William Gibson, David Foster Wallace, James Joyce, Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Philip K. Dick, Haruki Murakami, Jorge Luis Borges or George R.R. Martin
  14. Lesser-known philosophers
  15. Discredited or unpopular self-help ideas
  16. Invasive species
  17. Alternatives to neo-liberal capitalism
  18. Uncommon fetishes or obsessions
  19. Authors and/or artists with two first initials, such as H.P. Lovecraft and e.e. cummings
  20. Construction cranes
  21. Quince recipes, or other things one can do with quinces, or quince in general.
  22. NEW ADDITION—>Malheur National Forest, Malheur Wildlife Refuge, etc, including but not limited to recent events in them parts, although that might be low-hanging fruit.
  23. “The Revenant” references disguised such that they are not spoilers.
  24. By entering you grant metamorphosism.com permission to publish your entry electronically on metamorphosism.com, in social media (including but not limited to twitter.com, facebook.com and anything else) as well as in book form, although the latter is REALLY unlikely, without compensation (this is a non-profit venture, and any possible, although unlikely, book would be, you know, for charity most likely).
  25. AS ALWAYS, RULES ARE SUBJECT TO CONSTANT CHANGE DURING THE CONTEST, SO CHECK BACK OFTEN.

Now, get cracking.

Trumpauguration Trump

Trumpways trumpwards-looking, I humbly trumpmit this trumpaguration trump, in the trumps of trumponstrating my trumpfication for the new trumpice of Trumpetary of Trumplish, the trump of which will be to trumpify the Trumplish trumpuage by, where trumpible, trumplacing the first trump of every trump of any trumportance with the trump “trump”.

“My trumplow Trumpericans! Trumpday is a trumpous trump. Trumping here trumpfore you, trumping to you from the trump trumpden of the Trumphouse, I trump to you this: we trumpebrate a trumperful trumptory trumpday. We have trumped those who trumped us, trumpocracy has trumpvailed. And this is trumply the trumpginning. With the trumpport of our trumplies, as soon as we have some, and by trumpselves trumptil then, we shall teach our trumpemies a trumpson, we will trump over there in our trumpforce and trump them back to the Trump Age and they will trump that the Trumpited Trumps of Trump are a trump to be trumpened with. From Trumpifornia to Trump York, Trumpaska, Trumpwaii and Trumpington to Trumpida, the Trumpified Trumps have a single trump: to trump every trump in this sad little trump that we will trump them in the trumping trump, that we will trump them, as the trumpneck said in the trump “Trumpiverance”, “trump like a trump.” Now get back to trump.”

Bifurcation

I woke up, fed the cats, and (here is the innovation) went back to bed for another hour.
Here is one theory of multiple universes: every time you select one of two (or more) alternatives, new universes are created: one in which you did the other thing.
One in which I did not go back to bed, but instead moped around the kitchen for an hour, or went down into my room to write something in a journal.
Or this one: I was standing in front of the Vienna Observatory park making a movie of a tree. A young man nearby waited until I had finished and said, You’re a professor, right? Unfortunately not, I said sadly. (Although we just created an alternate universe in which I am, I did not add.)Undaunted, he asked me if this was the entrance to the Vienna Observatory. I said I believed it was. However it is locked although past opening time, he pointed out (creating an unlocked-gate alternate universe).
I sometimes go for walks in this park, I said, and this is not the first time the gate is locked past opening time. IIRC, there may be another gate up the hill at the other corner, I said.
The young man told me he was to attend an internship for school. Good luck, I said. He left and walked uphill. When I got there (I was dinking around with filters, uploading the film to Instagram) he was nowhere to be seen, and I assumed he had gone in the gate (which was open).
Or this one: in one universe you donate furniture to the Red Cross for refugees, in another you take the furniture apart and drive it to some refugees a friend knows and give it to them personally and you and the refugees and your friends who introduced you carry it up to their apartment (luckily the elevator is working in this universe because they live on the 5th floor) and there you sit amidst a pile of pieces of desk and wardrobe in their living room and realize that, in this universe, you did not think to label the pieces, trusting your memory.
A family of six people watch your every move. Plus two friends and their little boy. ‘No pressure, Mig,’ says one friend.
I took pictures, luckily, you say, unlocking your phone and scrolling through pictures until you find them. In another universe the pictures are really helpful.
You eventually get the desk assembled, or almost – when you are nearly done your wife calls you and informs you you forgot a piece at home. Luckily it is the last piece, so you assemble everything but that, and bring that by the following day.
Also luckily, the refugees are intelligent and observant, and watch you closely, handing you screws right when you need them, or pulling a drawer out so you can tighten a bolt right when you need the drawer pulled out, without you having to say anything.
Forking and forking, good old reality.

The top google result for “voice control” is “how do you turn off voice control?”

Anonymous man: Exits shower, dries off, sits down on toilet, looks at telephone.
Anonymous man: “Let’s see how many people liked that shakey picture of trees I ran through that brown filter.”
Anonymous man: Presses home button on phone.
Phone: Activates voice control.
Anonymous man: “No thank you I don’t want effing voice control.” Presses random buttons.
Anonymous man: “Christ how do you turn off voice control?”
Phone: “INITIATING FACETIME WITH RENEE DAVIS.”
Anonymous man: “Wut?”
Anonymous man: “No, Jesus, this is the worst of all possible times to facetime anyone. I don’t want to facetime anyone.” Pushes more buttons.
Phone: “INITIATING…”
Anonymous man: “Nononono.” Finds off button. Wonders if it worked. Puts phone into cabinet just in case.

Thistles

I had been kind of worried about these thistles this summer. I had meant to shoot them last year but never managed; this year we are having a heat wave and I was afraid it would happen again. Made time this morning though and did a few.

I really like these thistles. I planted them several years ago after someone at the nursery told me local bugs like them. They are popular with wasps and some black and yellow hornet-looking guys; I was surprised no one stung me when I cut a few to put into the vase.

Thistles, F8, 10 seconds, shade, hot day. Reh's new generation collodion

Thistles, F8, 10 seconds, shade, hot day. Reh’s new generation collodion

Thistles. F11, 20 seconds, Reh's new generation collodion, shade, hot day.

Thistles. F11, 20 seconds, Reh’s new generation collodion, shade, hot day.

Thistles. F11, 20 seconds, Reh's new generation collodion, shade, hot day.

Thistles. F11, 20 seconds, Reh’s new generation collodion, shade, hot day.

Thistles. F3.5, 1 second, Lea's portrait collodion, shade, hot day.

Thistles. F3.5, 1 second, Lea’s portrait collodion, shade, hot day.

Thistles. F32, 80 seconds, Lea's portrait collodion, shade, hot day.

Thistles. F32, 80 seconds, Lea’s portrait collodion, shade, hot day. In the top-right corner you can see where the collodion started to dry out – it was thinnest at this spot, and the 80-second exposure was cutting it close in such hot weather. In the lower-left corner is a smudgy area – the plate got dirty before I poured collodion and I tried to clean it off with a paper towel that already had other chemicals on it – developer and silver solution, mostly…