Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Poetry, toilets, and other fun stuff (with footnotes)

I think in some past life our family must have done something to offend the god of plumbing*. Did we tip over too many outhouses? Blow up a Roman bath? Six weeks ago the upstairs bathroom toilet overflowed its tank and water leaked into an adjacent bedroom and through the ceiling into the living room below. We rented a blower to dry the carpet and tore out some drywall to let the ceiling dry. We redrywalled and were just about to repaint the ceiling when . . . the same toilet overflowed its bowl and water leaked into the adjacent bedroom and through the ceiling to drip through the brand new drywall. I mean, seriously?**

I was on a roll there with blog posts, but we all knew it wouldn't last. I don't have a book review for you*** so I thought I'd share a few cool things I've encountered.

April is Poetry Month, and there are lots of fun poetry challenges going on around the blogosphere. I particularly like the Progressive Poem started by Irene Latham at Live Your Poem. What a fun idea, and what a cool poem is being created.

Sarah Lewis Holmes at Read Write Believe is doing one haiku a day for the whole month. What better way to start the day than with 17 syllables of wonderful imagery. And I really liked the longer poem she wrote on Poetry Friday: Poetry Forgives. Lovely imagery, and a lovely concept. I decided it was fair to extend the idea to writing in general, and hope it's true that my writing forgives me for my faithlessness and neglect (and my "insecure, pretentious stabs" when I do get around to it).

Not related to poetry, but it brought a bit of a tear to my eye and it's worth watching the 9-minute video: Kiersten White points out that Some People Are Gay.

And to return to the original topic (sort of), there is a very cool thing called an anaerobic digester (the link has a cute little video showing how it works) that turns poop and other organic garbage into methane gas for cooking stoves and lighting. (Word for the day: putrescibility. If something can rot, it can go in the digester. The more rotten it can get, the better!) You can install one of these digesters your backyard, connect your toilet to it, throw in all your kitchen waste, and presto changeo, you've got both fuel for your stove and fertilizer for your garden. It's brilliant ideas like this that give me hope for the human race.**** They didn't say anything about powering time machines with it, though.  :-( *****

* Didn't know there was a god of plumbing, did you? Called Hudor by the Greeks, Hugh by the Norse (who didn't have plumbing as far as I know, so they worshipped him as the god of cesspits)(did the Greeks have plumbing? Hmm. I'm going to have to do more research and get back to you before further explicating this little-known deity.)

** Humans have a hard time believing that coincidences like this are actually random, hence the invention of plumbing deities. A more likely but less amusing explanation is that God noticed how well things were going in our lives and decided we needed to learn some patience and humility. Plumbing incidents are good vehicles for those kinds of lessons. Just saying.

*** I have been doing brief book reviews on Goodreads. Recent reading includes a couple of Eva Ibbotson's romance novels, which I enjoyed highly, and which led me to the idea of a blog post on how authors convey their characters' emotions. I'm still working on that post, but it requires me to reread all my favourite books looking for useful quotations to use, so it may take me a while! Other recent reading is more non-fiction about various potential disasters our shaky, non-sustainable civilization is headed towards (doing research for a post-apocalyptic novel. There are just so many apocalypses to choose from!). Apparently we're going to run out of oil, food, and water within our lifetimes, so you might want to get started on that year's supply of food! And maybe learn a useful skill, like blacksmithing.

****You may want to consider installing one as part of your preparations for the apocalypse. Just saying.

***** If you're too young to get the reference, it's from Back To The Future II, where Doc fuels his time-travelling Delorean by throwing garbage into it. Unfortunately for verisimilitude purposes, the amount of biogas generated from a banana peel and a soda can (which isn't terribly putrescent) would not be equivalent to a lightning strike, and thus would probably not be sufficient for time travel. But it's an idea worth working on!