Saturday, April 26, 2014

Book Vending Machines

I read a recent article about book vending machines, and I thought what a great idea! If I can buy earphones and iPods in vending machines, why shouldn't I be able to buy a book? It seems, however, that this is not a new-fangled idea but one that has been around for awhile. Here is a model from 1947, the Book-O-Matic.

Recent models can be found in airports and in subways. I have even heard of libraries having versions where you take an old  book that someone left in the machine and in exchange you leave one of your own books.

And at the 2013 WORD book festival in British Columbia there were vending machines that dispensed poems. Read about the Poetry Project here:

A Toronto bookshop, Monkey's Paw, created the BIBLIO-MAT. As the world's first vending machine to dole out randomly selected used books for the cost of a toonie, Stephen Fowler (the owner of the store) calls the BIBLIO-MAT an "antiquarian book randomizer."
What fun!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Font / Cat humour

This still makes me laugh: cats imagined as fonts.

"Here are 20 fonts and the cats that clearly inspired them. This is a rare and important opportunity for cat fanciers and typophiles to find some common ground."

These are my favorites:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Review of Muse

A review of Muse:

"Dawn Marie Kresan starts her collection Muse by offering us a brief biographical sketch of Elizabeth Siddal — and then Siddal becomes the central character in Kresan's opus...  Kresan doesn't limit the party to Pre-Raphaelite's like her husband and his crew, no, this discussion is opened up to a stove-weary Sylvia Plath and the ever loquacious Marilyn Monroe. Kresan is dead serious in her playfulness... Princess Diana, Anne Sexton and a score of other strong, dead, women of legend and passion pop up as Kresan hop-scotches her way through the culture of women and men, muse and mis-used. Kresan provides numerous and quite useful notes (something I generally highly disapprove of — but in this case it works and it is helpful) as well as a bibliography of source materials. And that may lead you to think that these works, this book, is academic in nature. It's not. The life of Elizabeth Siddal is re-imagined and given a new vocabulary by Dawn Marie Kresan. Siddal is a muse and vehicle for Kresan. The engaging conversation Kresan creates out of the mouths of these many female icons is as amusing as it is intelligent."

Read the entire review with some poem excerpts here: 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Funny Metaphors used by High School Students

I don't know where I found this, but I had it saved on my computer and thought it too funny not to share. Delighting in the spirit of bad writing and youth, I throw my own high school writing into the mix. It doesn't contain a metaphor but it is ridiculous and cheeky. I wrote a lot of satire in my youth, and I always amused myself (if no one else).

From Dawn's high school story:

"He is a talented artist. Working with simple gardening tools he is able to sculpt the most brilliant forms. When I first saw his work I nearly broke down in tears. He has the genius of Warhol combined with the depth and insight of Freud. In one of his most disturbing pieces, he uses the Garden Weasel as a representation of early childhood potty trauma."

Metaphors used by high school students: 

"Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two other sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master."

"His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free."

"He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it."

"The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't."

"McBride fell twelve stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup."

"The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and
Jeopardy comes on at 7:00p.m. instead of 7:30p.m."

"Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze."

"Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever."

"He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree."

"Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 pm, traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19pm, at a speed of 35 mph."

"The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can."

"John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met."

 "The thunder was ominous sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play."

"Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut."

"The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work."

"The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while."

"Oh, Jason, take me!" she panted, her breasts heaving like a college freshman on $1-a-beer night."

"He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something."

"Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from I Can't Believe It's Not Butter."

"She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up."

"It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before."

"The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant."

"The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium."

"It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools."

"He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up."

"She was as easy as the TV Guide crossword."

 "Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser."

"She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef."

"It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall."

"Cogito ergo spud: I think, therefore I yam"

Saturday, April 5, 2014

On Being an Introvert

I thought this was funny and mostly true. I especially have a hard time explaining to family that social engagements are exhausting for me and I need time to prepare for them (and recover afterwards). They simply wear me out. I sometimes need a nap after. One thing not mentioned here, and (I think) most introverts are the same — I am hyper sensitive to sound and light. I also don't like people standing behind me. So a noisy place with bright lights and people running amok is pretty much a nightmare for me. I do it sometimes because I have to, but find it really annoying when people assume I am being difficult on purpose and I need to just "buck up." Trust me, the energy drain is real and I have felt it my entire life. As I have gotten older I go into protection mode more and more, recently going to great lengths to reduce the stress in my life. So if at a social gathering you see me with my back against the wall by myself, please leave me there for a few minutes and I'll come out and play when the energy in the room feels right to me. Either that, or bring me a strong drink.