My daughter: artist, Nintendo fan, Rickroller

I looked at Maya’s picture of Nintendo’s Luigi, drawn in the style of a cartoon dog, and totally got rickrolled.

no word on whether LuigiDog will turn around and desert you

I asked her where she learned those lyrics, and she basically retorted: “You, all right? I learned it by watching you!

Okay, now you’re just messing with me

I have a message for America’s most powerful oldster interest group: This ain’t funny anymore.

$16?! i’m not made of money! gold bond powder doesn’t grow on trees, you know

Hmmm… Maybe I should go ahead and keep that membership card. It’s like having a fake ID for the VIP section at Golden Corral.

Soon I will be dead… apparently

I realize that I’m no spring chicken. It’s fair to say that I’m past the point of summer game hen. Yes, I’m about to turn 40 and I look every day of it. But could the AARP hold off for maybe another year or two before their skeletal death’s-head looms ominously behind me? First this, now this:

If this had arrived 22 years ago it might have made sense 

I’m sure the company is offering a useful product for the kind of people that would buy insurance based on a junk mail solicitation (though the scare quotes around “FREE” do give one pause). The copy’s a mite bland, though. Let’s punch it up a little for today’s modern, “with-it” geriatric set.

When you inevitably die–and at your age, it’s gonna be sooner rather than later–properly disposing of your empty, withered husk won’t come cheap. Don’t let crippling funeral debt foster bitter, post-mortem resentment in those left behind! We’ll take care of paying ruinous sums to the corrupt and exploitative funeral industry, leaving your family free to deal with the deep emotional scars that are the sole legacy of your angry, joyless life.

This is a “FREE” service to you.

Actually, now that you put it that way… SOLD!

Actual work conversation

From a meeting early in the life of a project…

PROJECT MANAGER: So, Price, how many hours do you estimate it will take to get the documentation done for this project?

ME: I have no idea. We haven’t discussed documentation at all up to this point. I don’t know what you want, who will use it, or what form it should take. I can’t give you an estimate until I know what I’m going to be creating.

PROJECT MANAGER: (brief pause) So… how many hours do you think that will take?

All I want for Christmas is a diminutive robotic steed

It’s that time of the year… time for the kids to start badgering Saint Nick for goodies. Yes, it’s still sunny and 75 degrees outside, but why wait ’til the last minute? Anyway, Maya is very specific about her Christmas wishes:

P.P.S. and snap to it, for pete’s sake

Dear Santa,

I want a stuffed pony that’s mechanical and has a off & on butten. And it has to be an baby.

Love,

Maya

P.S. It’s has to [be] beautiful.

And don’t go for the cheap mechanical stuffed pony, either, Santa, because she’ll know.

Crappy High School Poetry: The Final Chapter

That’s right, this is the final… thing. Apparently in high school I went through a poetry phase that was exactly seven poems long. Given the quality of the poems I’ve previously featured, I suppose that’s a blessing. Why so few? I don’t know… maybe I wrote more, I can’t remember, but these were the ones I deemed worth saving for posterity. Do you understand the implications? These were the cream of the crop, the best of the best. Can you imagine–do you even dare imagine–the ones I tossed aside? Best not go down that road; that way lies madness.

And so we come to the end of my Poetic Crimes Against Humanity with my magnum opus, an untitled poem about something or other. This one is pretty long, and I’m sure I thought it was wicked profound at the time not to give it a title, but now I see it for what it is: sheer laziness.

Enjoy!

untitled and untalented 

One day when flying
I met a little man who was
Very old. The lines on
His face formed a
Maze –
One of such complexity I
Doubt even Daedalus could ever
Escape.
     His eyes seemed older than did he –
     Inward looking,
     Not mindful of me.
I asked the man
About himself and the days
Which created him.
He looked
At me with his
Rusty eyes — and I saw, in
Those two mirrors, a
Stagnant depth, one of age,
Age that was the man, but
     His eyes seemed older than did he –
     Inward looking,
     Not mindful of me.
Large, colorless tears fell from
Those two cloudy orbs –
To be lost in the
Maze.
His cracked mouth cracked a little
More, and his dry throat
Got a little drier. Though there was
No sound, his eyes spoke, for
     His eyes seemed older than did he –
     Inward looking,
     Not mindful of me.
The next day when flying
The clouds cried about
Nothing, and I saw the
Same.
I encountered a lake — alive,
Brilliant, full of reflections –
Truth and illusion. But as I
Dived, the images I lived rose
Pictures of an old man,
Very old. And
My eyes saw themselves as they were –
     They seemed much older than did I –
     Outward looking,
     Reflections of Sky.  

Thoughts/comments:

  • Let me just get this out of the way, first thing: I actually kind of like this poem. Parts of it rhyme, and rhyme = real poetry.
  • That said, what a pile of self-indulgent, nonsensical garbage.
  • In the poem, I establish in the very first line that I’m flying.
  • Let me just repeat that: I’m flying.
  • No, I don’t know why, either.
  • The reference to Daedalus is absolutely unnecessary, but at the time I apparently believed that mythological references automatically gave the verse a nice sheen of class.
  • They didn’t then, and they don’t now.
  • “Inward looking” needs a hyphen. Sorry, but the Grammar Police don’t take a day off.
  • Rusty eyes? How did his eyes get rusty? Wait a minute… the old guy’s eyes are metal. He’s totally a robot! This poem is totally about a robot senior citizen! Too, too awesome.
  • Wait, how can they be rusty if they’re mirrors?
  • Eyes as mirrors? Hack move, Horn.
  • How did I know the old guy’s throat got drier? I think it’s possible–nay, probable–that I am some kind of flying ear-nose-and-throat guy. If they ever make a movie titled “Winged Otolaryngologist Meets Robotic Septugenarian,” it will basically be a license to print money. Guaranteed hit. You heard it here first.
  • Clouds crying? Again: hack move, Horn.
  • “Outward looking” needs a hyphen, as well. Was I paying no attention during English class?
  • No, I wasn’t. I was too busy writing terrible poetry.
  • At the end, am I suggesting that I’m the old guy?
  • Somehow?
  • So, basically… a flying throat doctor meets his older self who’s a robot and then he falls in a lake? Dude.
  • Best.
  • Poem.
  • Ever.

Yet Another Example of My Crappy High School Poetry

Well, whoop-de-do, everybody! It’s time to indulge that most American of pastimes, ridiculing things we don’t understand. And trust me: no one understood me in high school.

No one, that is, except David Letterman. I discovered his Late Night with David Letterman when I was around 12 or so, and thereafter I watched it whenever I could. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe now, but seriously: David Letterman used to be funny. I’m not kidding! Anyway, David Letterman had such an impact on me that I penned this clumsy ode to his show, “Meditations on a Late Night.”

Hey, my high school days weren’t all about pining for unattainable cheerleaders with mall bangs. They were also, apparently, about embarassing devotion to a gap-toothed goofball on the television.

I can’t decide which is worse.

worst. zen koans. ever.

Meditations on a Late Night

A journey through New York can be
A tiring thing, for I — I –
I don’t know. Kevin. should we do that one?
One?
One hour in Paradise, transported
Two thousand miles away in no time –
Do we have time for this one?
One?
Letter number one begins: Dear Dave. I — I –
I sense the presence of things unreal –
Real –
And if they weren’t real, would I be able to do this?
This time, people unseen will laugh.
Next time, maybe no - -
Paul. you really should have come to rehearsal.
Sense makes no sense here, in a
World with no direction –
Uh Dave, that’s Gurnee.
A chorus of broken glass beats in rhythm –
ANTON!! WILL!! SID!!
Signaling the end of an era of an hour –
Late at Night.

Thoughts/comments:

  • Let’s just come right out and say it: This poem is so terrible it makes me wish I had written “She #6″ instead. It’s just a bunch of stuff that Dave used to say and do on his show, crudely strung together with non-sequiturs. It’s horribly dated–unless you were reading this in 1987 and you were also a Letterman fan at the time, it can’t possibly make a lick of sense.
  • Meditations, eh? Could you imagine meditating on this to try to achieve nirvana or inner peace or whatever it is those weirdos do? I imagine it would leave you the metaphysical equivalent of Larry “Bud” Melman.
  • Wait a minute… I didn’t mention Larry “Bud” Melman. Not even once. I wrote a “poem” musing on ’80s-era David Letterman and I didn’t bring up Larry “Bud” Melman?! What the heck was wrong with me?
  • Don’t answer that.
  • Anyway: RIP CALVERT DEFOREST 1921 – 2007
  • See how I repeated that “One?” line? Yep, I sure did that for some reason.
  • I grew up in Arkansas, so excuse my geographical ignorance. The distance from Little Rock to New York City is roughly 1200 miles, not 2000.
  • “Sense makes no sense here” — you said it, brother.

Return of Crappy High School Poetry

Welcome, one and all, to this, the latest entry in our recurring review of rhythmic ridiculousness that is Crappy High School Poetry. The pageantry! The overwrought metaphors! The predictably regular references to my “soul”! I do have some good news: this is the final entry in the romantic and wearisome “She” series.

Now for the bad news: I wrote other non-”She” poems, too, so… this ride ain’t over yet.

Okay, let’s do this thing. This one is a monster, and like all monsters, it is frightening and it haunts the dreams of little children. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the terrifying finale to the terrifying “She” series: “She #5.”

more quantity if not quality

She #5

Pyramids of memory and
Teardrops of desire. waiting –
Dreaming constantly — of
A whisper: a brush of lips.
A touch.
Her.
Windows glisten with the
Soul’s own rain, and outside
Clouds sympathize. With
Warm breath of winds they speak:
     A love unseen is still love.
Her eyes speak in brilliant
Shades of Sky, to an eager
Soul –
To the last faded
Glimpses of Rainbow.
A look launches
A thousand gallant ships of
Fiery passion into the stormy sea of
My Soul. And with
Whitened waves of fury it speaks:
     A love forbidden is still love.
Forgotten pasts dissipate as Storms with
Muted Thunder, and a
Dream continues — hands clasped,
Eyes captive, souls touching,
Loving,
Her.
Soft whispers wind their way
Into my being, and her
Delicate magenta touch somehow speaks:
     A love held captive is still love.

     Webs of emotion covered
     With morning dew stretch between
     Us — and a spirit touch
     Sends us soaring into Sky.
     A Soul whispers:

     I love you.

Where to begin? Thoughts/comments:

  • The “soul” count stands at five. The title of the poem: “She #5.” Coincidence?!
  • Yes.
  • I admit to being impressed by the nonstandard units of measure. Memory, for example, is measured in units called “pyramids,” while desire is doled out in “teardrops.”
  • The line about windows glistening with the soul’s own rain… this was clearly an attempt to sound clever.
  • As such, it was a spectacular failure.
  • Apparently I was beginning to find “she” so restrictive that I had to branch to the much more mellifluous “her.”
  • “With warm breath of winds they speak…” Wait a minute… who speaks? The windows? Am I getting this right? The windows are speaking?
  • Wait, “windows” are clearly a metaphor for my eyes, so… my eyes are speaking. With wind. Somehow?
  • I literally cannot imagine a universe in which that line makes any kind of sense.
  • Oh, she launched a thousand ships, did she? This was clearly an attempt to shoe-horn in a pointless reference from classical mythology.
  • As such, it was a spectacular failure.
  • Read the line about her soft whispers winding their way into my… sigh… soul, and then add in her “magenta touch.” Sound familiar? It should.
  • This poem marked the beginning of a new poetic crutch: “Sky.” Her eyes speak in brilliant shades of “Sky,” we later soar into “Sky.” Keep that sky thing in mind, because you’re going to see it again in a later installment of Crappy High School Poetry. So, you know… stay tuned or whatever.
  • No, I don’t know why I capitalized “Sky.”
  • And “Sky” is not the only Word I subjected to Random Capitalization: I capitalized “Soul” (most of the time). “Rainbow” for some reason. And “Muted Thunder.”
  • By the way, Muted Thunder was my favorite band in high school.
  • The line about webs of emotion covered with morning dew is incredibly suggestive of… forget it, I’m not going there.
  • Remember: a love poorly portrayed in an amateurish adolescent poem is still love.
  • Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Again with the Crappy High School Poetry

Lord help us, they just keep coming! That’s right, just when you dared to hope that the parade of execrable verse would end… “She #4″ rears its ugly head to give you an open-handed literary slap to your metaphorical mouth.

Now that’s some wicked awesome wordsmithing. Oh yeah… I still got it.

Okay, we’ve put this off long enough. To the crappy poem I wrote in high school, ol’ chum!

let’s see… there’s gotta be a reference to the “soul” in there somewhere… 

She #4

Through a night ever reaching
For an unattainable day
I found myself weeping, held captive by
The thoughts that fell slowly from my mind
To fill my empty heart with her.

In a faintly bitter morning
Of an indistinguishable day
I found myself walking, one with
The unfeeling streets, the hidden sun
Reminding me of her

In a hazy dusk, softly descending,
Of an imperceptible day
I found myself wondering, my continuous daydreams
Replaying shared feelings of both
Love and pain, a monument to her.

Through a night swiftly moving
Towards the next inevitable day
I found myself wishing, a slave
To memory, crying for an end to my world.
A world without her.

Thoughts and comments:

  • As you can see, this was a valiant attempt at… something or other. I was apparently trying to impose some kind of structure on the thing, but the structure is completely arbitrary, adds nothing to the meaning, and relies on adjectives that end with -able.
  • Just like all the best poetry!
  • My description of the next day as “unattainable” clearly doesn’t hold water, as the very next stanza takes place in an obviously attained morning.
  • Thoughts falling from the mind to heart… Not an anatomical genius, was young Price. 
  • Shall I compare thee to a depressing, cloudy day? Apparently so, since “the hidden sun” reminds me of her.
  • “Imperceptible” day? Imperceptible? Okay, it’s pretty obvious that I’m reaching here, just trying to shoe-horn in a word that kind of sounds like words I’ve used before. But… not only does the word “imperceptible” not make a lick of sense–how can you fail to perceive a day?–but it also breaks from the ironclad -able rule to run with the simliar but inarguably inferior -ible suffix. Bad form, sir. Bad form.
  • Did I just walk around and pine all day? ALL DAY? No school, no job? I’ve just got all the time in the world to wander aimlessly and mope. What a life!
  • To be fair, maybe it was the weekend.
  • At the end of this latest outing, I’m “crying for an end to my world, a world without her.” If you weren’t clued in before that this was a crappy high school poem, you are now. It’s just a fancy way of saying, “Oh, she’s gone… somewhere… and I wish I was dead.” So far, this has been the general subject of… hmm, let me check the numbers… approximately 104.6% of my high school poems.
  • I may have allowed a rounding error into my figuring.
  • I’m weeping, I’m walking, I’m wondering, I’m wishing. If I could encapsulate the whole lame cycle into a single w-word, it would have to be whining.
  • So is she dead? Sure. Why not? I mean, who knows what I was thinking when I penned this drivel? I don’t think it was about any one girl in particular. Maybe it’s about a girl that just wouldn’t go out with me… in which case, it could conceivably be about every single girl at my high school.

Even More Crappy High School Poetry

The humiliation continues, verse by verse, as we sift through the poetic detritus of my high school years. For this installment, I subject you to yet another entry in an excruciating series of hacky romantic poems. That’s right, it’s another ridiculous “She” poem. As the third link in the seemingly unending chain of love bleats, it is uncreatively but rhymingly titled “She #3.” Take it away, much younger and slightly stupider me!

finally, some rhyming! in the title, at least

She #3

I run She walks We live
Alone – Behind – Apart –
A man A girl Two souls –
Afraid Of strength Two lives –
Of life And depth She walks
And death Of mind Behind –
And in- And soul I run
Between. Within. Alone.

My thoughts:

  • The major problem with this poem… how the heck do you read it? I mean, you can read it top-to-bottom, then left-to-right, as in “I run alone—a man afraid of life yada yada yada.” Or, you could also read it left-to-right, then top-to-bottom, as in “I run she walks we live alone—behind—apart—yada yada yada,” and it makes just as much sense.
  • Which is to say, none.
  • Got a little dash-happy there. Dash, young Price. Dash!
  • Oh, so I’m a man, but she’s a girl who walks behind me (subtext: where she belongs)? So not only was I a pseudo-romantic sucker, but I was also horribly sexist. And also kind of creepy. So I guess some things never change?
  • At least I portrayed myself as weak and fearful (pretty dead-on description of late-80s me), and “she” as strong and… uh… deep of soul?
  • Whatever that means?
  • Soul! Again with the soul! I just couldn’t let a poem go without referencing the soul, man.
  • The Soul Maneuver was such a hack move I did it twice: “Two souls.” Stay tuned for She #476: “Soul soul soul/Soul soul soul soul/Soul.”
  • Soul!
  • If I’m pining so hard for her, why do I keep running away? It seems that, back in the day, I fundamentally misunderstood how the whole thing was supposed to work.
  • What is between life and death, exactly? A coma? So this is a poem about being afraid of comas? Maybe she’s a deadly hit-girl working for the mob, and she’s going to put me in a coma? Somehow?
  • Actually, a poem about a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a coma-inducing mafiosa… I have to say, that would be pretty friggin’ awesome.

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