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Folly of the Faithful Canine
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in deckardcanine's LiveJournal:

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Saturday, September 24th, 2016
10:38 pm
A Prequel You’ll Never See
A long time ago lived a handsome young man,
Who knew he had looks to kill,
But he also knew that the passage of time
Could take them against his will.
He searched for a remedy far and wide
And finally learned of a force
That could grant him tremendous powers to use
To delay nature taking its course.
Unfortunately, in a while, he found
That his body continued to age.
He’d live a long time, but he wouldn’t look young.
In fact, he would reach a new stage,
When his body would change as he couldn’t predict,
For no man had lived so long.
He wasn’t surprised to lose much of his height,
But his ears and skin tone seemed wrong.
Eventually, he no longer looked human,
And others thus simply forgot.
But he told them if nine hundred years they should reach,
Then look as good they would not.
Sunday, September 18th, 2016
11:25 pm
A Super Sonnet
I think I’ll set the stage beneath the sea,
With caterpillars coming out in force.
You’ll have to be as fast as you can be
And hit a switch to activate the doors.
Feel free to grab the coins along the way,
But watch your head: They point to hidden bricks,
Which may contain a star to clear the way —
Or enemies I put there just for kicks.
Ascend a pipe that empties underground,
Where ghosts with wings bear fire-spitting plants.
You’ll need their help to light the bombs around
And open up the walls — your only chance
To stop that good-for-nothing princess taker.
Now thanks for playing Super Mario Maker.
Monday, September 5th, 2016
10:18 pm
Book Review: Berserker
This is one of those books I wouldn't have heard of if not for forums. Nor would I likely have heard of author Fred Saberhagen. But if it's nearly 50 years old, the first of 17 volumes (the last of which came out in 2005, a couple years before Saberhagen's death), and still talked about sometimes, I figured it's worth a look. Once again, my folks bought an old copy for my gift.

Cut for lengthCollapse )

Now I've started Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson. I credit Nefaria for getting me interested in the start of the Thomas Covenant series.
Sunday, September 4th, 2016
11:21 pm
The Dog
You say that the dog ate your homework…
Not your dog but “The” Dog, you say?
That sounds like a terrible creature.
I’ll try to stay out of its way.
It might be the king of all canines,
Existing for thousands of years
And larger than all of the others.
The one thing allaying my fears:
Its diet consisting of paper,
Especially homework, it seems.
Regardless, I don’t want to meet it.
It’s sure to start haunting my dreams.
Saturday, August 27th, 2016
5:24 pm
Space Is Dark
For me, the pattern started with a “bullying” report:
Black hole strikes neighbor galaxy with “punching” of a sort.
Within a few months afterward, a galaxy had died.
That didn’t sound dramatic, so they called it “suicide.”
And then there came a “cannibal” as galaxies combined.
By now I had concluded they had darkness on the mind.
I know they want to simplify for readership, but ugh!
I have to ask astronomers, “Do you guys need a hug?”
Saturday, August 20th, 2016
9:41 pm
...And Statistics About Lies
The study of lies isn’t easy.
Who knows just how often it’s done?
Depends if you count writing fiction
Or kidding around just for fun.
And what of nonverbal deception,
Like wearing a sort of disguise?
The estimates further are hindered
By people who lie about lies.
For my part, I don’t think that babies
Are lying before they can speak.
So what if they cry by volition?
They don’t know another technique.
It’s all about saying, “I want stuff!”
I’m certain that’s perfectly true.
The researchers prob’ly aren’t lying
But think they know more than they do.
Sunday, August 14th, 2016
11:54 pm
PC: Planetary Contact
Some extraterrestrial life forms arrived,
Got onto the airwaves, and then
Announced to the listening people of Earth,
“Do NOT call us ‘little green men.’”
The speakers in question were smaller than us,
But “little” seems rather degrading.
Their skin was much greener, but they didn’t like
Identification by shading.
Their humanoid shapes meant that some could be “men,”
But others were women or kids.
It soon became clear that the terms they don’t like,
Our PC decorum forbids.
Saturday, August 13th, 2016
10:11 pm
Book Review: Eragon
When I reported receiving this book as a gift, one forumite replied, "Ouch." It's a pretty polarizing book, tho not on the same level as Twilight. Author Christopher Paolini was only a teen, and his parents ran the publishing, which would call the quality into question. So what if he did great in school? He still has a lot to learn, right? But I was still curious, and the unpopular screen adaptation wouldn't do.

Read more...Collapse )

But I've learned not to mind low originality or even predictability when enough else goes right. At no point in the nearly 500 pages did I feel like giving up; it was always at least adequate in entertainment. That's more than I can say for a lot of fantasies I've reviewed here. Had I been Paolini's age, I'd probably love it. I won't pick up volume 2 any time soon, but I'll keep it in mind if I ever want to return to the basics that got me into the genre in the first place.

Now I've started on a short sci-fi novel, Fred Saberhagen's Berserker. Not sure how long it can sustain its opening level of intensity.
Monday, August 8th, 2016
12:11 am
Regarding My Sister
My sister is two years my junior,
And thus I can partly recall
Her life as a baby or toddler,
Tho not from before she could crawl.

She used to take me as a model,
Advancing much sooner than I’d,
And later outdid me at talents
In which I had taken much pride.

It caused me some real consternation,
And so I would push her around,
Yet Mom says we got along nicely
Compared to the norm that she’d found.

We did enjoy playing together.
There came a predictable trend.
By college, I’d lost all resentment;
My sister was simply a friend.

Last year, when she called up and told me
Her boyfriend proposed, I said, “Wow!”
(That’s one way she’s light-years beyond me.
I doubt I’ll be catching up now.)

The wedding is finally over.
Her life as a wife has begun.
I look back and think how she’s blossomed
And wish her the best with her hon.
Sunday, July 31st, 2016
10:43 pm
I know some folks have little use
For drinking any kind of juice.
They note that fruit has more nutrition.
Sure, but please hear my position:
Fruit is food and juice is drink.
You don’t quench thirst with food, I’d think.
What else to drink? There’s coffee, tea,
Some drinks for sports and energy,
Then soda (pop), then alcohol;
But juice provides more health than all
Of those, from what I understand.
That just leaves milk and water, man.
Some folks can’t take the former one,
And water soon stops being fun.
It’s no surprise I like to stock
My fridge with juice, so don’t you mock.
Sunday, July 24th, 2016
10:51 pm
This Poem Will Not Be Remade
We’ve gotten used to sequels,
Which are sometimes more than equals
To their semi-classic predecessor fare;
But remakes get us groaning,
‘Cause the writers must be phoning
In their work to use a plot already there.
It’s really not essential,
Even with untapped potential
In the sources, as with up-to-date effects
Or modern all-star casting
(Actors want a role that’s lasting)
Or more violence, profanity and sex.
When people see a menu
Of what’s coming to their venue,
They may ask, “Is their idea well running dry?”
Me, I find the question funny:
If you followed all the money,
Then you wouldn’t have to ask the reason why.
Wednesday, July 20th, 2016
3:16 pm
Some weeks ago, the Red Cross sent me a letter saying that I had tested positive for syphilis, but a follow-up test said otherwise. That was my second false positive this calendar year, and they will not allow a third. I didn't take the notice seriously until my dad tried to schedule another appointment, whereupon the system said I'd be eligible to donate blood or platelets in 2290.

I know for a fact that I don't have syphilis. Not only do I exhibit no symptoms, but I've done nothing that could spread it to me. I could get a doctor to back me up on this. But reps on the phone have assured me that it would make no difference. The Red Cross knowingly uses an extra-sensitive test prone to false positives. They're not taking any chances.

For this reason, I'm declining my parents' suggestion to write to a higher-up in the organization. I accept that they will never accept my blood or platelets again, barring a policy change. Hope they don't run dry any time soon.

My folks' next suggestion is to get more actively...activist in another way. I think I'll increase my financial donations to the Red Cross instead.

The other thing I can do is encourage others to give blood in my stead. If you don't have a blood-injection-injury phobia or another disqualifying factor, please consider.

Perhaps it'll help if I describe my experience.

Cut for lengthCollapse )

Maybe that honest testimony just reinforces your dread, but I like to think it makes the scenario less alien to newcomers. It should help prepare you.

And if you need one more incentive, it was the pet cause of Robert Heinlein.
Monday, July 18th, 2016
12:21 am
Watch Where You Stretch
A jogger put hands on a pillar,
Extending his leg for a stretch.
An onlooker thought he was trying
To topple the building, that wretch!
Another supposed he was lending
His strength to support it erect.
But the phrases “hold up” and “knock over”
Can mean the same thing in effect,
And so, as an officer heard it,
Two witnesses spoke of a thief.
The jogger was swiftly arrested,
All thanks to mistaken belief.
Sunday, July 10th, 2016
10:13 pm
Hard to Figure out the Angles
Here's something hard to get about a comic work of art:
If everybody's dumb in it, then how can it be smart?
I have in mind a certain strip of malapropic fools,
Who frequently confuse themselves and break a lot of rules.
The bulk of them, as lousy friends, don't treat each other fairly,
Yet sins are soon forgotten; lasting changes happen rarely.
I feel as if I ought to call the comic strip a no-go,
But I can't hate cute animals, especially not Pogo.
Wednesday, July 6th, 2016
4:47 pm
Book Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things
While the main trilogy volumes of The Kingkiller Chronicle are tomes, this spinoff is an unusually slim circa-150-pager with larger print and some B&W drawings. That doesn't make it geared toward a younger audience; after all, Patrick Rothfuss himself advises us in the foreword not to start here. Actually, he warns us that even preexisting fans may not want to read it, because it's missing a lot of what we'd expect. In the afterword, he describes how he almost didn't submit it for publication -- and much of the feedback is along the lines of "I like it, but I don't know who else would." I tentatively parrot that sentiment.

Find out how it"s strangeCollapse )

Feeling ready for a tome once again, I've picked up Christopher Paolini's Eragon. I've heard mixed reviews of it, but so far it's no worse than cliche.
Sunday, July 3rd, 2016
1:23 pm
By popular demand (sort of), I've submitted another entry to the poem contest. Once again, I chose the limerick format, because it seems conducive to humor.

A lady atop a tourelle
Lost her balance and frightfully fell,
But she didn’t land hard,
Falling half of a yard.
(The emphasis goes on the “-elle.”)
Saturday, July 2nd, 2016
2:24 pm
In the last few weeks, I've been reading my LJ in reverse. I started out just looking for my old poems and their dates, but the further back I went, the more I felt like reading other entries and comments in detail. (Note that after a certain point, you can't get a whole page with multiple posts; you have to click thru them individually.) Eventually I made it to my debut on February 25, 2004, more than a third of my life ago. My last semester in college.

It interested me to see how much I did and did not remember. Some people and events had completely slipped my mind. Some amusing observations amused me anew. Sometimes I surprised my present self, like when I'd resolved not to rent video games anymore. (When the last local video store closed, I missed the option.) Most of my predictions have failed to come true.

I knew I used to be both more religious and further to the political left. What I'd forgotten was how uncertain I acted. Nervous to the point of wimpy, even. And I kept feeling guilty, often for reasons beyond my control. So as usual, I like my present self better than my past self.

Sometimes I'd written something badly enough that I considered editing, but at this point, who else is going to look back that far? Besides, it feels like a retcon. I kinda want to keep the imperfections as a reminder of how I used to be.
Tuesday, June 28th, 2016
4:32 pm
Book Review: The Martian Chronicles
My past exposure to Ray Bradbury consisted of the 1966 film of Fahrenheit 451, which I saw in high school; and the short story "Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed," which I read in sixth grade.* The latter did not impress young me as a thriller: So what if the immigrants to Mars gradually change beyond recognition, as long as they're healthy? It turns out that Bradbury envisioned even the native Martians as dark and golden-eyed -- assuming they weren't actually supposed to have descended from humans. Given some of the other weirdness in this book, I can't rule that out.

Cut for lengthCollapse )

Wishing for a more feminine focus, I've picked up The Slow Regard of Silent Things, a sort of spinoff to The Kingkiller Chronicle. I won't forget about Auri anymore.
Sunday, June 26th, 2016
2:33 pm
At my mom's suggestion, I wrote today's poem for the latest Style Invitational contest. It involves a short poem using a 2016 National Spelling Bee word. I figure the limerick format's a good bet:

There once was a fellow named Zachary,
Who woke up one morn in a vaccary,
At the sound of a moo.
At that moment, he knew
That he shouldn’t have had that last daiquiri.
Sunday, June 19th, 2016
12:24 am
A Father's Day Tie
One Father’s Day, my father got a tie,
But not the sort you likely had in mind;
In fact, my statement borders on a lie:
It wasn’t of the neck-encircling kind.
He saw it and he started getting tense.
He knew the tie would not persist for long,
But none of us could confidently sense
If he would find the upshot right or wrong.
Mere minutes later, Dad stood up and raved:
His day had come up roses after all!
The tie now broken, victory was saved
By Orioles remaining “on the ball.”
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