Thursday, February 08, 2007

Life in the Country - Just close your mouth when you fall asleep

I offer up to you a brief alternative to the Anna Nicole Smith story. I have been watching for the last 30 minutes and already I have had an "entertainment specialist" a medical doctor, a psychologist and a judge wax philosophic on the subject of this woman's life and death. I am already almost bored. So as the media spin this story, I will talk about another kind of spinning...

One of the first things I noticed when I started living in the cottage was the swarms of bees that lived in the gutters. Tons and tons of bees. It is a short hop to a healthy fushia bush and their hive (I guess, I haven't seen the hive) so the commute for them is terrific. I have had numerous conversations over the years about what to do with the bees. Many are willing just to come in and kill them all for me. I am not comfortable with that at all. One guy said he would come and see what kind of bees they were, if they could be put into hives, etc. I would like that. He also told me that one house where he removed bees had a honeycomb that was 10 feet long and went up the entire lenght of the roof. He said he wouldn't be surprised if it was the same case in my house. I said "so you mean I could have honey dripping through the ceiling". He said, "yes, you could." If I had honey dripping through my ceiling, I am not sure how I would react. I would have a serious Willy Wonka moment just before I freaked out.

The second thing that I noticed was that, despite all the insect life just outside the front door, the buzzing, crawling, flying and generally being alive in the insect world, there was absolute silence and stillness in the house. No flies. No bees. Nothing. Eerie really. Then I started to look in the corners and by the fireplace, over the keyholes and the skylight. Webs like bedsheets. Webs like surgical gauze. Webs made by spiders which at first looked like this...

Well, not that big. More like this...

The spiders in the house are talented. If I hear a fly, I listen for about 15 minutes and I don't hear it anymore. I saw a spider the size of my pinky toe nail eat a bug the size of Mothra. I am not kidding. These spiders are so good at their job that I am afraid they may get ideas about the dog. Creepy.

I have had everything fly into the house at this point. I left the back door open at twilight for 3 minutes and I got 2 bats. During a storm, I got a little bird that we netted in the lace curtains and let out. It sat on the window looking in for a while before he flew away. But the fliers are nothing compared to the scurriers.

Next Episode of Life in the Country: "We can't trap them, they are too cute"

Monday, February 05, 2007

Life in the Country - Where is my Jeep when I really could use it?

After being inspired by my pal Dim's great success in purchasing a house, I thought to maybe share my experiences in the experiment that is sometimes called, "Returning to Nature or Living the Simple Life".

Some years ago, I bought a wee stone cottage in rural Ireland. Let's first get our definition of "rural" down so we get some perspective on this. This place is so rural, Google Earth doesn't really pick it up, it just gives some kind of relief map thing that looks like ones that we had in school where the Rocky Mountains looked like scars. This place is so rural that the road that runs in front of my cottage has grass growing in the middle of it. My driveway is about 1/4 of a mile up a cow path that is dirt and rocks (with a waterfall if it rains too much) and, cows! Go figure. How rural is this place Pog, you ask? This place is so rural that it is 8 miles to the nearest store (in off road conditions)...but only 2 miles to a really good Guinness. The killer thing about this is that when I lived in Boston and only needed a car to go the length of the Mass Pike to Framingham, I had a 4x4 Jeep Cherokee that was so high off the ground, I got nose bleeds. Now that I have no asphalt in my life anymore... I am driving a bottom heavy VW (see yesterday's post). The mud flaps are totally gone.

So here I am, in the middle of nowhere, enjoying my surroundings and not regretting a single minute, believe me, but my education about everything - animal, vegetable and mineral - was about to begin in earnest.

Next installment ... The Birds and the Bees ... and Spiders.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Pog's Regrets and Mistakes

Thanks to everyone who put in their 2 cents about my poetry anthology. I got the damn thing in, realized on the day, when I saw everyone else's, that I got the assignment totally wrong. By that time it was too late, and I couldn't give a monkey's ass. So, its in and I haven't received a grade for it but that is not the point of me doing this class anyway, for the grades I mean. I am hoping to be discovered, if you must know why I am putting myself through this annoyance of weekly classes and homework assignments. So far, I haven't been discovered. I live in hope.

But what I really want to talk about are regrets and mistakes. It is an unfortunate segway, lest you think that one of my mistakes was going back to school. It isn't. I don't think furthering an education is ever truly a mistake...unless of course you are going for you MBA or to be a certified accountant. :-) Friends don't let friends become certified accountants. Here is my list thus far:

1. Buying a white, berber carpet - Oh man! What a nightmare. The professional cleaner is coming on Tuesday to try to sort out some of this mess. I can't totally blame the state it is in on the dog, although he certainly had his part to play. This carpet is the reason that I started thinking about regrets and mistakes. Everytime I step on it, I think of my folly.

2. Buying a volkswagon and using it for off roading - say what you will about German engineering. Praise them to Mount Olympus if you want to. Fine. All I can say is that if you drive them anywhere other than the Autobahn, you are going to pay. And pay big! Stuff is just falling off this car and I never get out of the shop for under $1000.

3. Getting my hair cut on Monday - I know, I know, it will grow back but I have to live with it until then.

4. Wasting 7 euro and 50 cents to see Babel - I don't know about the rest of you but it had to be one of the worst, pretentious, yet said nothing about anything, movies I have seen in a while. Can anyone explain to me, and give me a plausable explanation please, why they just didn't take the tour bus to the nearest hospital? Could it have been more dangerous to drive 4 hours in a bus that have a Moroccon vet sew her up with a burnt needle and black thread - without anestesia? And why did we have the Tokyo story at all? What was the point? I think it was supposed to say something about the collective human condition and it just failed miserably. In my humble opinion.

5. The moment of lapsed sanity when I said, "No, don't call a cab. I'll drive you." - Now I have to do it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Poetry Anthology - the saga continues

I gave a shout out for your favorite poems, and while the response was a little light, it was impressive. The weirdest thing for me is that of all the poets in the world who have created all the poetry in the world, you who have commented, have pegged some of my very favorite. It's a bit creepy - or we all had the same high school english curriculae.

Boo - thanks for tuning me into your other blog. It has some great stuff on it. For those who don't know, Boo is hiding another blog Check it out.

Jenny - I am trying to do my damnest to get e.e cummings into this anthology of mine because I love him and I like Stephen Crane. I decided to go with the theme of the apocalypse - poetry written after wars which foresee the terrible transformation of civilization as we know it.

Dim - Coleridge is perfect. One of my absolute favs. The romantic era turning into Gothic- thank God! I was sick of those anemic, opium addicts like Shelley and Keats going on about skylarks and Grecian urns. Thanks to God Coleridge got some bad absenth and went weird. Over-sexed exotic people or raving, salt-water drinking sailors are much more fun!!! Kubla Khan and Rime of the Ancient Mariner are the reasons I picked the theme - that and the Second Coming by W.B Yeats.

Sage - This is why we need your voice! When's your next post??? I really love Wallace Stephens and the poem you chose was great. Do you think I can stretch its meaning into some kind of wider, apocalyptic meaning and the ruination of society out a really sad poem about a lady who died and people at her funeral hardly care?

To all of you who did not have a hand in this yet ... get cracking. The theme is the Apocalyse in whatever form you and your poet sees it happening. No hope for the future - or even worse - a future whose prospects are almost intolerable.

And since this needs to be done "tout suite" as they say in Haiti, I probably will have very little else on my mind and my postings are sure to be reflective of this. The more you help, the less I nag!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

My Poetry Anthology - HELP!!!

So, I have had over a month and a half to put together a collection of poems - not my own mind you - into a collection and then write a 3000 word introduction to the collection making an argument for why I a)selected these poems b)think they go together and are important to be in my selected anthology.

Let me make a confession - and this is significant as a creative writer - poetry bores the shite out of me. I have to go to endless poetry reading and pretend that I understand and appreciate it. I don't really, sometimes, but it is the exception and not the rule. I have to discuss it, ponder it, analyse it, deal with it and it just doesn't flick my bic if you know what I mean.

Here is my idea - you guys help me. Surely, some of you have a favorite poem. I mean, I have a favorite poem, usually people who read do even if they don't regularly buy volumes of poems, but I am interested in your picks. I will put some of them into my anthology and write my introduction about how these poems hang together because they have come from a common, grassroots upswelling that is blog land or some such blah blah like that!

So please! Comment away! I need up to 30 poems for this thing!!!!


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The First List of 2007

When I was working at a certain medical software company more years then I can to remember, one of the things that I looked forward to after we came back to work in the new year, was the annual death poll. I wonder if they still do that? For anyone who doesn’t know what the death poll is, it is a very morbid practice of guessing which public figures are going to bite it during the upcoming year. Associated with the accurate picking of the poor sot, was the bookies odds that were deemed appropriate for the choice. For example, everyone had George Burns on their list before he actually died at like 1:2 odds – not very good. Chris Farley at the time was not a big surprise – maybe he was like 1:3. I don’t really get the whole taking book thing so bear with me. If someone got a windfall – like Phil Hartman, God rest his soul 1:100 – who knew his wife would blow him away? I told you this was a morbid little game. I am bringing it to you. Here is my list of my top 5, no odds, gambling is a sin ;-)

1. Pete Doherty – singer of lousy band called Babyshambles. Most noted for his horrible heroine addiction and his relationship with Kate Moss. Maybe when he goes, he will take Kate with him. I wouldn’t shed a tear. I hate her.

2. Lindsey Lohan – party girl. I have also heard she is an actress. I peg her for a botched suicide attempt. Botched to the extent that she stages a “cry for help” and actually succeeds in topping herself.

3. David Blaine – magician and all around waste of time. You know, I liked David Blaine when he was doing card tricks and levitating on the streets of New York. Now I just am waiting for him to try to get back into the limelight with some other physical feat of utter stupidity. He will have to kill himself to do it though – like that episode of Bugs Bunny when Daffy Duck blows himself up to tops Bugs – remember that one?

4. Ted Kennedy – senior senator from Massachusetts. Because it is time.

5. Peter O’Toole – actor. ‘Cause his best buddies, Burton and Harris are gone, who is he going to drink with?

Anyone else with a list out there?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy New Year Everyone!

I am going to be the first post for New Year's Resolutions. I only have one ...

Do a better job at communicating.

This means a better job at keeping in touch with friends, saying the important things that are on my mind, not letting those moments pass by unacknowledged. It means reading your blogs and writing my own! I have not given up on this nasty little habit of mine, I like it too much!

Annoyed and Ms. O'D from Dublin, you have inquired to my long silence - thanks! Consider it over. I am getting verbal again ;-)

See you next year!