2015 St. Valentine’s Day Limerick Contest

2015 metamorphosism.com St. Valentine's day Limerick contest

We here at metamorphosism.com have the distinct pleasure to announce the opening of this year’s St. Valentine’s Day Limerick contest. This could possibly be the contest’s 14th year, if you can believe that.

Time flies.

You may be wondering whether there is a prize this year. So far, no. But that could change.

Before entering the contest, please read the following rules. As last year, to encourage you to read the rules, instructions on how to enter the contest are hidden within the rules.

  1. No fighting.
  2. The three most important things: Scansion, scansion, scansion.
  3. Enter as often as you like. The more often you enter, the better your chances of winning. But read the other rules first.
  4. Violation of any of the following rules may hurt your chances, so please read them carefully.
  5. Also please note that any of the following rules are subject to change without notice, at the whim of the contest organizers and judge(s). This is a feature, not a bug. By entering you accept this fact, and all of the rules, and even proactively accept future rules the current rules may change to at any time.
  6. Entries must be limericks. (This rule never changes, promise.)
  7. Entries should be artful and delight the reader’s artistic sensibilities.
  8. Being limericks, entries may of course be humorous, bawdy, shocking, obscene, etc., but this is not required. All that is required is that the entry be a limerick (A-A-B-B-A rhyme scheme, etc, look it up). The wikipedia article on limericks, for example, is here.
  9. Points are subtracted for violation of any of these rules.
  10. Points are also subtracted arbitrarily in accordance with the application of the algorithm of unfairness.
  11. Bonus points are awarded for incorporation of one or more bonus themes, listed below.
  12. Bonus themes: capitalism, Ayn Rand, sex dolls, historical articles of clothing, B-movie tropes, television detective dramas.
  13. Bonus themes are subject to change during the contest, possibly rendering entries previously eligible for bonus points suddenly ineligible.
  14. But don’t worry, it’s all good.
  15. Entries should be submitted in the comments to this post.
  16. Deadline is 14 February, winners will be announced 14 February.
  17. Judging and other procedures in the conduct of this contest pretend to be crooked, but they are actually pretty fair, but there is never any guarantee this will be the case this time. Just assume the contest is crooked and unfair and you won’t be disappointed.
  18. Complaints will be deleted.
  19. There is no right to, nor avenue of, appeal.
  20. You may enter as often as you like. So check back often to read all the new entries and see if the rules have changed, or the bonus themes.
  21. By entering the contest, you grant metamorphosism.com permission to publish your entry (here in the comments where you enter it, and possibly on facebook or twitter, to publicize the contest) but you retain all rights to your entries.
  22. Feel free to email me at metamorphosist@gmail.com if you have any questions or find one particular limerick especially great or whatever.
  23. Please have fun.
  24. Last, but not least: my deep thanks to my talented friend Bran Fox for designing the logo for this year’s contest, as in so many years past.

 

 

So I bought a tuxedo.

The tuxedo, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, was invented by, or for, the Prince of Wales (Albert Edward, later known as King Edward VII), in 1865 because he wanted a comfortable, yet fashionable, dinner jacket he could wear instead of the coat and tails everyone wore in the evening back then.

Prince Albert Edward of the tuxedo is not the same person as Prince Albert (Albert, Prince Consort) after whom something else is named.

At the time, smoking jackets were popular – after dinner, men would gather in the smoking room to smoke, one supposes, and because they didn’t want to disturb women with the smell of smoke on their clothes they wore special smoking jackets. The tuxedo, also called a dinner jacket in the UK, is known as a smoking in many European languages, including German (in Spanish: esmoquin).

It is called a tuxedo in the United States because James Brown Potter’s wife was a famous beauty Prince Albert was chasing. Prince Albert convinced Mr. Potter to order a dinner jacket. The articles I have read were unclear on whether it was something he communicated to him before Mr. and Mrs. Potter arrived at the Prince’s place, so he would be properly dressed, or if it was more like, Hey Potter old boy, head on down to Henry Poole & Co. and pick yourself up one of these, there’s a good chap. And a short case of Mickey’s Big Mouth. I’ll keep an eye on the missus for ya.

At any rate, Potter introduced the tailless single-breasted dinner jacket, with a shawl collar, at the Tuxedo Club, an elite social club in Orange County, N.Y. in 1886. It caused an uproar. The establishment frowned upon the new style. The local newspaper wrote that those who wore it, “ought to have been put in strait-jackets long ago.”

But by 1888 it had become popular for formal and formalish evening events and that’s all I have to say about the history of the tuxedo.

Longer introduction than I originally planned, but I wanted to get that in about the original tux having a shawl collar and being single-breasted. Pointed lapels and more buttons are later variations, details imported from regular business suits, which sucks.

The tuxedo was originally revolutionary and casual, worn by dandies in the evening, and should absolutely have as little as possible in common with the day-time business suit.

So this week I was at a department store looking at tuxedos (alternate spelling tuxedoes, if you are Dan Quayle) because my wife and I are going to a ball for the kid’s school (they rent a palais in Vienna and it is listed in the formal list of actual balls in Vienna, and not just a prom, okay). We went to the ball once before, a few years ago, and I wore just a black suit and was woefully underdressed, everyone else had on a tux.

And as I wandered around in the formal wear section, I noticed three things: tails are awfully stuffy and over-formal, I have an irrational hatred of lapels on tuxedos, and the sales staff were ignoring me.

I was most surprised to discover that I had such strong opinions about the shawl collar/single-breasted style. I had never thought about it before but there it was, non-negotiable, some mysterious attribute that had always slumbered in me similar, but not exactly the same as, the attributes Tibetans are sometimes said to use to discover the reincarnations of lamas.

It seemed logical and unsurprising, on the other hand, that the salespeople were avoiding me, because it was close to closing time, I had had an exhausting day, my hair was crazy and who wants to deal with a crazy white-haired guy at closing time? I had to physically grab a salesman, who helped me find a suit to try on, but the outlook was grim because it is ball season and everything in my size was either sold out or really expensive.

I tried one on, it didn’t fit, the light in the changing room was too harsh and I looked awful, and when I came back out the guy had vanished back into the woodwork.

The following day I had more luck. I asked an older woman, who works in my office, for advice. She called all over town for me, which was fortunate because the next place I had planned to visit did have suits in my size, but only in purple, and I was looking for black. Instead, she sent me to a rental shop on my lunch break.

It was a nice place. It was small, full from floor to ceiling with rows of tuxedos and ball gowns, and had mostly natural light (more flattering). It was quiet, because it was actually closed for lunch, just me and the seamstresses and the manager; so no pressure. The manager and I discussed surnames, and Celtic names, and tartans, and the best way to select a shop in Edinburgh to buy a kilt (google it, he advised).

The first tux jacket I tried on fit fine. They fixed me up with a shirt, bowtie and cummerbund (Kummerbund in German, so I initially found it interesting that the suit is called a Smoking in German, but we call a Kummerbund a “cummerbund” in English, as if there were a little linguistic trading back and forth going on, but no, it turns out to be even more interesting than that, Kummerbund is also imported to German from English, which itself borrowed cummerbund from the Indian subcontinent, adapting kamarband, from the Persian compound kamar (waist) and bund (closed)) and matching shoes and I was good to go.

You can rent or buy the tux at this shop. The suit was nearly new, yet nicely broken in, so I bought it. They did the alterations, I picked it up today on my lunch break (along with some fruit and vegetables at the nearby market, which my wife called and asked me to get) and it’s hanging out in my car right now. I can’t wait to get home and put it on and let the cats rub themselves all over the trousers.

Sometimes you are the hammer

Sometimes you are the hammer, and sometimes you are the nail
Sometimes you are the nail, and sometimes you are the two-by-four
Sometimes you are the two-by-four and sometimes you are the saw
Sometimes you are the saw, and sometimes you are the sawdust
Sometimes you are the sawdust, and sometimes you are the janitor
Sometimes you are the janitor, and sometimes you are the student
Sometimes you are the student, and sometimes you are the guru
Sometimes you are the guru, and sometimes you are the Beatles
Sometimes you are the Beatles, and sometimes you are the Rolling Stones
Sometimes you are the Rolling Stones, and sometimes you are the moss
Sometimes you are the moss, and sometimes you are the bark
Sometimes you are the bark, and sometimes you are the bite
Sometimes you are the bite, and sometimes you are the hand
Sometimes you are the hand, and sometimes you are the arm
Sometimes you are the arm, and sometimes you are the shoulder
Sometimes you are the shoulder, and sometimes you are the head
Sometimes you are the head, and sometimes you are the body
Sometimes you are the body, and sometimes you are the forensic pathologist who has odd, but endearing traits, such as eating lunch while working, or listening to music by modern composers
Sometimes you are the forensic pathologist, and sometimes you are the detective who should stop smoking
Sometimes you are the detective, and sometimes you are the hunch
Sometimes you are the hunch, and sometimes you are the hunchback
Sometimes you are the hunchback, and sometimes you are the bell
Sometimes you are the bell, and sometimes you are the clapper
Sometimes you are the clapper, and sometimes you are the performer
Sometimes you are the performer, and sometimes you are the killer in the wings waiting for the right moment to cut the rope/pull the trigger/light the fuse
Sometimes you are the killer, and sometimes you are the plot
Sometimes you are the plot, and sometimes you are the exposition
Sometimes you are the exposition, and sometimes you are the bored student taking tickets
Sometimes you are the bored student taking tickets, and sometimes you are the person they are thinking about
Sometimes you are the person the bored student is thinking about, and sometimes you are the person who had the nerve to ask the person the bored student is only thinking about on a date
Sometimes you are a person who asked the student’s crush out on a date, and sometimes you are the person stalking the person who asked the student’s crush on a date
Sometimes you are the stalker, and sometimes you are the campus security officer taking the complaint about the stalker but your hands are tied
Sometimes your hands are tied, and sometimes your hands and feet are tied
Sometimes your hands and feet are tied, and sometimes you are tying someone else’s hands and feet
Sometimes you are tying someone’s hands and feet, and sometimes you can’t because you forgot how to tie the right knot
Sometimes you forget how to tie a knot and give up, and sometimes you consult the Boy Scout Manual
Sometimes you consult the Boy Scout Manual, and it makes you nostalgic about your childhood
Sometimes you are nostalgic about your childhood, and can smell wet grass, and see the dew or feel the cold night air on your face, running around in the middle of the night, even now, almost fifty years later
Sometimes you are nostalgic about your childhood and puzzled that you could forget so much of it while remembering certain bits in such detail and you feel like an archaeologist reconstructing a behemoth from a tooth and a bone from the inner ear
Sometimes you are a bone from the inner ear, and sometimes you are the foot bone
Sometimes you are the foot bone, and sometimes you are the foot
Sometimes you are the foot, and sometimes you are the ball
Sometimes you are the ball, and sometimes you are the princess
Sometimes you are the princess, and sometimes you are the witch
Sometimes you are the witch, and sometimes you are the Wiccan who would like to be a witch
Sometimes you are the Wiccan who would like to be a witch, and sometimes you are their office-mate who likes reading because then you don’t have to look at people
Sometimes you are the Wiccan’s office-mate, and sometimes you are their bookshelf
Sometimes you are the Wiccan’s office-mate’s bookshelf, and sometimes you are the book
Sometimes you are the book, and sometimes you are the librarian who found a hammer in the book-return chute
Sometimes you are the librarian who found a hammer in the book-return chute, and sometimes you are the hammer

Tess (wet plate collodion)

tess wet plate collodion

Tess, taken 23 12 2014 on aluminum plate, 8 second exposure f3.5. Old Workhorse collodion.

You remind me of somebody

The god of the office goes to the advent market between the two big museums, across the street from more museums (on the one side) and a palace on the other, because it has a Christmas post office and his wife wants to mail Christmas cards with pretty holiday-themed stamps rather than the ugly printed stickers all the post offices have now. He is in a hurry because he only has an hour for lunch and it takes an estimated 30 minutes to get there from his office, unless there is heavy traffic, like today, in which case it takes 45 minutes to get there, meaning he will be at least half an hour late getting back to the office today. The god of the office reminds himself that everyone else at the office habitually comes back to work between 15 and 60 minutes late after lunch, everyone but him, and he decides to relax.

In this relaxed state, the god of the office searches the advent market for the Christmas post office but following a meticulous search determines there is none. There is a photo booth where it was last year. So he walks back to the parking garage to fetch his car and return to the office.

On his way there he notices a couple standing at one of the high, round tables people stand at at the advent market to drink their mulled wine and hot punch. The couple are looking at him with recognition.

What, thinks the god of the office, who considers himself invisible and therefore is uncomfortable being noticed.

There are four possibilities, he reckons. These are, in order of diminishing likelihood,

  1. They are wondering what a hobo is doing with so many Christmas cards;
  2. They are wondering if they have seen him somewhere before and if so, Where.
  3. They are wondering if he is some sort of artist, because who else has long white hair?
  4. They have him confused with some specific person.
  5. They actually know him and are insulted that he doesn’t recognize them.
  6. They find him attractive. Anything is possible, the god of the office reminds himself. There was a guy on the teevee on the science channel who was in (erotic, not platonic) love with a power plant, he reminds himself. So who knows?

Six things.

The god of the office, having changed his appearance, has grown used to not being recognized by people he hasn’t seen for a couple years, so being recognized, or “recognized”, feels weird.

He can’t stop wondering about the people.

They had that look you get when you see someone famous and want to be discreet. He had it himself when he was walking through town one night and saw Michael Haneke and his beautiful wife swaying drunk down the sidewalk, laughing, that look where you’re thinking, OMG MICHAEL HANEKE AND SPOUSE! ACT NORMAL!

Maybe they thought he was Michael Haneke, the god of the office thinks. Long white hair, white beard, beautiful wife.

What is Michael Haneke doing with all those Christmas cards, they might have asked each other.

And why is he wearing that shabby coat?

P.S. he is only 20 minutes late to work, and is the first one back.

Roses, 29 November 2014 (2)

roses_2_29112014

This is the second plate I took of the same red-and-white roses that day – in a glass vase on a table in front of a wooden fence. Outdoors, drizzling and wintry and starting to get dark, so the exposure on this one was 90 seconds. Same wooden German travel camera from sometime in the early 20th century, Carl Zeiss lens. (I guess I can stop writing that since this is the only camera/lens I currently have.)

f3.5, 90 seconds. Lea’s Portrait collodion #2, ordered from Mamut in Prague, and the first time using homemade developer (I spilled the last dose of store-bought developer I had). Black aluminum plate 13x18cm (5×7″).

This picture is a lot softer than the previous one, which is largely due to the different collodion recipes used, I think. It has a lot of streaks on it, which I am assuming are from the new developer I am using – maybe a different formula? Could also have something to do with the temperature, it was getting cold and although I poured everything indoors, the plates were outside for a minute or so each.

Roses, 29 November 2014 (1)

roses_1_29112014

Weather is grey and drizzly and no one in the family wants to sit still for the minute or so it currently takes for an exposure in those conditions. These are some dried red/white roses in a vase on a table in front of a wooden fence. Taken with a wooden German travel camera from sometime in the early 20th century, Carl Zeiss lens. f3.5, 75 seconds. Old Workhorse collodion (IIRC), and the second-to-last dose of developer I ordered from Mamut in Prague. Black aluminum plate 13x18cm (5×7″).