Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"The Time of Silence" by Sleepin and Bedbunkle

Hello 5:30 frenemy
Here once again it's you I see
I truly wish that I were asleep
Yet I was woken when I heard a peep
And the dreams I had are now buried in my brain
And I remain
Awake to seek - my caffeine

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dual ACDC power supplies

CPUs, racks of blades
Liquid cooled, we've got it made
Server rooms with fiber lines
Where the gigabits keep on flowin' through the night
The website's themed blue
The service ain't free
We need banner ads to pay the fee
Hey user base
Get with the times
The perks, the features, they cost some pretty dimes
Pay wall, pay wall, login costs you money
Pay wall, pay wall, register your credit cards
Pay wall, pay wall, login costs you money
Pay wall, pay wall, register your credit cards

We run fine with quad cores
Every one's bit sixty four
We log your use, 'til you sign out
Then cookies keep tabs on web sites you've found
The website's themed blue
The service ain't free
We need banner ads to pay the fee
Hey user base
No privacy
You surf, you browse, we like what we see
Pay wall, pay wall, login costs you money
Pay wall, pay wall, register your credit cards
Pay wall, pay wall, login costs you money
Pay wall, pay wall, register your credit cards

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Too many chickens!

What happens when your kids inspire silliness? Why, I'm so glad you asked.

Friday, April 4, 2014

News Limerick: Times are changing

The sticklers for time say, "That's great!
Let's sync to it, don't hesitate.
We'll meet to discuss
How this affects us
You know that we'll smirk if you're late."

It's about time: New atomic clock is more accurate

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Space Limerick: Take this Opportunity to do some Spring cleaning

The Martian dust sunlight was screening
But now towards the sun it is leaning
As seasons there change
The winds rearrange
The rover just had some Spring cleaning

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Abbey Formerly Known as Downton

I was watching on the TV
The channel was on PBS
I cried with Lady Mary
When Carson brought booze I said,"Yes."

Lord Grantham was speechless
And Bates was hobbling everywhere
The footmen vied for screentime
The maids they just pretend to care

'Cause it's time for Downton Abbey
Gonna watch it later, how 'bout you?
Tonight I'm gonna party like it's nineteen twenty-two

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Space Limerick: Lonely Planet

A planet without any star
It seems that it isn't too far
We may change our tune
"That isn't a moon!"
The Empire strikes from in thar

Baby Free-Floating Planet Found Alone, Away From A Star

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dishward bound

Hello dishes my old friend

I've come to clean up you again
The scraps of food that I'll be scraping
While at grunge I will be gaping
And morsels that swirl slowly down the drain
Still remain
Amidst the sound of soap suds.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Space Limerick: Hubble image of comet ISON

The beauty of space is surreal
This image has got some appeal
Just look what they found
The objects abound
That star at the bottom is teal!

Stars, Galaxies, and Comet ISON Grace a New Image from Hubble

Monday, July 15, 2013

Space Limerick: Washing Your Bald Head

If washing your hair is a chore
The scrubbing and rinsing's a bore
Just try it in space!
You're bald? In that case
You won't have to worry no more

Washing Your Hair in Space, Bald Edition

Space Limerick: Star Party

Come in! It's a fine stellar party!
We hope that you're feeling quite hearty.
As upwards we gaze,
The whole cosmic maze
Won't wait for the ones who are tardy.

Virtual Star Party – July 14, 2013

News Limerick 7/15/2013

To search for a comet's not easy
You stay up at night while it's breezy
Equipment you'll need
Must work at great speed
Competing with robots feels queasy

Amateur Astronomer Discovers Comet C/2013 N4 (Borisov) During a Star Party

Friday, July 12, 2013

News Limerick 7/12/2013

A planet that looks rather blue
And orbits another star, too?
The temperature's high
And winds really fly
At least we have learned something new!

Hubble telescope discovers alien 'deep blue' planet

Thursday, July 11, 2013

News Limerick 7/11/2013

We learn that our sun has a tail
As fast through the aether we sail
Like clover-shaped leaves
From strong solar breeze
The size of it makes me turn pale

Our Solar System Has a Tail Shaped Like a Four-Leaf Clover: New Findings from IBEX

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

News Limerick 7/10/2013

An arctic explorer named GROVER?
The first set of tests is now over
It faired rather well
When temperatures fell
As there on the icepacks they drove 'er

NASA GROVER rover completes first tests in remote arctic expedition

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

There Once Was a Kingdom: Misty Castle

They rode on through the clearing, following the path that continued to stretch before them along the deer path.

Elie: What's a deer path?
Me: It's where the deer often walk through the woods to get to food or water. All the repetetive walking makes a small path that others can follow.
Elie: Did they see any deer?
Me: They may have, but deer are very shy and may have been frightened by the horses.

As they continued, the forest grew older, the trees wider and more twisted by age and elements. More and more were entirely bare of all leaves. The undergrowth disappeared and was replaced by swirling mists creeping from the surface of some long forgotten lake.

Elie: Well, who was in the back?
Me: You said it was Tiana, I believe.
Elie: I think she had a chain on her horse so she wouldn't get lost.
Me: A chain from horse to horse? Good idea - that helped them all stay together in the mist.

A gust of stale wind scattered the mist before them and they saw a large jumble of stones and rubble that may once have been a wall or gate. The horses carefully picked their way over these and into a flat open area beyond. An archway still stood to one side. There were runes carved into the top of the passage.

Alatar consisdered these for a moment and then translated:
A hallowed throneroom lies beyond, open for the world to see.
They passed through and found another note scrawled on the wall:
The one who'd take the crown deserves it not
To sit upon the throne will make you rot
Elie: Who had the throne?
Me: Well, they have four horses, who do you think?
Elie: Mandalar's horse is the strongest so it had the throne. Sarai's had the crown, and Tiana the scepter.
Me: Leaving the chest with the treasure of science for Alatar's?
Elie: Yeah.

They had to dismount their horses as the ceiling grew lower as the passage continued. Behind them, they heard the now familiar scratching, clawing noise of stone on stone.

Me: What was behind them?
Elie: The gargoyles!

Frightened, they rushed through the end of the stone hallway and into open mist. Another stiff breeze blew in, this one carrying a salty smell of a nearby sea. Alatar spun around and formed a wall of the mist at the tunnel's mouth. Mandalar drew his sword and hefted his shield before him.

Tiana turned to Sarai. With a hand on her shoulder, she spoke quickly, "Do you want me with you or here to hold them off as long as I can?"

Elie: I think Alatar and Mandalar should be partners and Sarai and Tiana should be partners.

Together, Tiana and Sarai moved led the horses on. The breeze exposed a tlarge square trellis on a large stone courtyard, supported at four corners by thick stone pillars. It was open on all sides with mist streaming through. The ceiling was a latice of wood covered over with ancient vines.

"The throne room, open for the world to see!" Sarai exclaimed. She and Tiana quickly unloaded the throne and put it at one end. The scepter leaned against it to one side, and the treasure chest they placed on the other. The crown they set in the seat.

Me: The old king's throne was covered with hand quilted blankets to make the wood a bit more comfortable. Did they have anything to put on it?
Elie: Their pillows and blankets for sleeping.

These they carefully placed in the throne and it looked almost regal.

From behind them, they could hear more of the gargoyles clawing their way over and around the castle in great numbers. Alatar and Mandalar were losing ground, trying not to get surrounded.

"Quickly Sarai, you have to do something!" Tiana's voice quavered as she glanced back at the approaching hoard.

Sarai looked at the throne. "I can't sit there. And the crown is not mine. I need... something." Casting about quickly, she found an uprooted tree stump just over the edge of the stone floor. With Tiana's help, she moved this to the middle of the trellis. She grabbed a small twisted brach and fashioned this into a circlet for a crown. Instead of a scepter, she chose a heavy broken piece of stonework from an old statue.

With the circlet on her head, she sat on the stump and help her stone. Her shield fastened tightly to her other arm, she faced the gargoyles as they came over Alatar's wall, out of reach of Mandalar's sword. The sound of steel on stone rang out again and again, yet still they came. Eddies of wind whipped from Alatar's hands, sending more spinning and flailing harmlessly away, but two came to replace each one thrown back.

Tiana hurled a dagger a the closest one but it glanced harmlessly to the side. She picked up a large stone and threw this instead, crushing the beast's head. It turned into to a fine gravel and collapsed to the floor. Another came onward and Tiana grabbed for its neck, spinning herself onto its back and out of reach of its claws. The two dissappeared into the mist as the beast bucked wildly.

Two more crept under the trellis toward Sarai.

"Sarai! We're here!" Alatar called, whirling his staff with both hands above his head. A huge cyclone errupted and flew toward the trellis. It landed right around it, clearing the mist inside and preventing any more gargoyles from approaching.  The two already in looked at one another and then back at the girl sitting before them.

"We think it's time for you to give us back our fine things," one snarled. "They've been lost to us for far too long.

Elie: No! They're not yours.

"Oh, but they are!" it retorted, rising on its hind legs. "Our father kept them from us, from us all. They were rightfully ours, as was the kingdom, but he thought us unworthy. Now, he is gone and there is no one to stop us. We will be taking them back now."

Elie: Daddy, I think there was a strong spell then that helped Sarai.
Me: There's a very powerful magic at work here, one that the gargoyles don't know or understand. They can't hurt her. They can't even touch her.

The first gargoyle lunged past Sarai and grabbed the crown. As it looked at it, it laughed and placed it on its head. The instant it did, however, it stopped moving entirely. Then, slowly, cracks appeared in its stone skin. With a thunderous crack, it simply fell to pieces and melted into the stone floor. The other gargoyle shrieked and turned to Sarai.

"You've killed him!" it shrieked. "We worked so hard and so long, casting forbidden spells on our own bodies to prolong life and give us strength. And here, in our moment of triumph, you've somehow struck down my brother? You shall pay for this."

It crept closer slowly as it talked. Unsure what to do. Sarai lept up and backwards. She landed hard next to the treasure chest. A faint line of green seemed to lead straight into it, so she lifted up the lid. The magnifying glass glowed all green at her. She grabbed it and looked through at the gargoyle.

What she saw surprised her. There was no monster there, no wings and claws and whippy tail. There was no snout or sharp teeth or fox ears. What there was instead was an old, thin, bony man with knees that wouldn't stop knocking with each slow step. He leaned on a cane and had no teeth at all.

"You siwwy widdle giwl! What hab you done!" the gargoyle continued shouting. "My poow bwotheh!"

Sarai looked closely and saw that he could barely balance. Remembering the man training himself in unarmed combat, she swung her foot low in a quick arc that landed just below his knees. Her foot connected with a snapping sound and the gargoyle collapsed in a heap. The breeze blew in another gust, and the creature turned to dust before her eyes.

A shout from outside the trellis caught her attention. She saw that the mists had lifted and her companions were struggling with dozens of the beasts all around. The cyclone around her was no longer and more of the beasts were coming fast.

Before she could think what to do, a long low blast from a horn filled the air. Everyone stopped still and listened. The call was answered by another lower one.

"Dwarf horns!" shouted Mandalar.

Goblin bugles blew a high clear melody in reply, followed by the drums of the desert tribes. A hearty shout filled the air from the side, coming up from the now visible sea. The lobster captain and his pirate fleet had landed and were rushing up the hill armed to the teeth. Fairies flew in from the other direction, dumping great buckets of magic dust. Gargoyles screamed and turned into a beautiful field of flowers as it rained down on them. Gnomes followed, throwing magic seeds of their own. A whole group of gargoyles turned into a grove of mushrooms. The gnomes squealed with glee and began gobbling them down hungrily.

The gargoyles flew into a panic and took wing. Sarai grabbed in the chest, her hand finding the telescope. She looked through it and up to them. Each gargoyle caught in her gaze screamed and exploded into a burst of glitter. She lowered the telescope and simply shouted at them, "You cannot be! You've lived far too long and it's time for you to go!"

With that, the rest looked at her, pausing for the briefest moment. Then, they burst as one into a cloud of shimmering mist, drifting away on the breeze.

The gathered creatures of all kinds cheered and shouted. "Go on! Take the throne! Wear the crown!" they shouted.

Sarai shook her head. "It's not mine to wear," she declared. "I don't want to be queen, and you don't really want me to be. But I would happily sit as... as a judge. To provide my best judgement of what to do when there's an argument. I'll serve you in that way, helping you not to fight but rather to help each other. Will you accept that?"

The cheers resounded, filling the whole of the ancient castle. Sarai found Alatar's face in the crowd and saw him nodding silently.

The goblin king made his way through the masses to Sarai. "After you left, I thought about what you were going to do and realized you might want a little more help," he beamed. "Everywhere we went, we heard about the good you were doing and everyone you were helping. Each of them wanted to join us, too, and, well, here we are! I hope we arrived in time."

"Just!" Sarai laughed. "I'm so glad you did. Thank you."

Together, all the gathered creatures began clearing out and cleaning the old castle.

"Since you won't be a queen, would you still want a castle?" the goblin king asked. "We should have some place here for people to come to."

Sarai furrowed her brow, deep in thought. "No, not a castle," she agreed. "But a place to hold court, in a sense. A house is less fancy than a castle, so maybe a 'courthouse' would do? What do you think?"

Everyone agreed and set to work. In a few days, they had built a strong stone courthouse. The dwarves carved a giant stone scale to put before the entrance, perfectly balanced to show fair judgement.

Elie: I think Alatar and Tiana stayed on to help Sarai.
Me: Like advisers? A very good idea.
Elie: Yeah, and they were going to be her mommy and daddy.
Me: That sounds lovely!
Elie: They fell in love and wanted to be married.
Me: And together they helped everyone in the kingdom to live a more peaceful and content life together.

And that's the story of how Sarai helped unite the kingdom.


Part of the "There Once Was a Kingdom" bedtime stories series.

News Limerick 7/9/2013

Because of the smog in the air
Their lives have been shaved by a hair
But doesn't that beat
To freeze without heat?
There's multiple problems out there

China pollution slashes life expectancy by over five years in north