Friday, April 27, 2018

30 Days of Writing: Limericks!






So, it is said that a habit can grow after you try it for 30 days.  So, this past month, I decided to write a limerick a day. Essentially, it was a way to get me to write anything, but establishing certain rules help a lot. I probably went over 30 limericks, but that's a good thing.  Most of my limericks were based on 80's film and current pop culture that I've been into.

Limericks go something like this.  It consists of 5 lines of poetry.  Line 1, 2, and 5 are longer, and must rhyme with each other.  Line 3 and 4 are shorter, but must rhyme with each other. It is a rhyme scheme of AABBA.

Here goes:


1.
There once was a slick lawyer named Saul
Up for a quick buck, never the long haul
He worked for a dealer named Walter
A tough job, but he didn’t falter
Even with cops around him, he wouldn’t play ball

2.
I watched the flick Dead Poets Society again
It teaches what is mightier than the sword--the pen
Despite being hailed by many a critic
I still find it anti-climatic
So I just take it with a salty grain

3.
Lately, I’ve been trying to do a thing called “Kaizen”
Also called “One Minute Principle” by some men
Everyday do something for a minute
Don’t just say it, do it, and mean it
Eventually even increase that minute to a ten

4.
Here goes my amateurish attempt at making a poem
Going through my words with a fine-toothed comb
Attempting a shot but getting a brick
Trying to make rhymes with this limerick
Might as well see it through, or pack up and go home

5. 
I’ve been trying to develop a writing habit
Poetry seemed easy--taking a stab at it.
Write a limerick a day
Then go on my way
Still, I’m more a turtle than a rabbit

6.
I started off trying to make the worst pun
But after a while, even that is no fun
You make people groan
But soon you’re on your own
You had many friends but now there are none



7.
There once were cowboys named Angel Eyes, Tuco, and Blondie
One was good, one was bad, and one was ugly
Like all, made from the same mold
All they wanted was more gold
After a Mexican standoff, one fell to his grave, snugly

8.
Luke and Leia were royal siblings
They had the Force even as younglings
It became apparent when the Siths came
It was the galaxy they wanted to claim
They’re gonna need more X-Wings

9.
There was once a bounty hunter named Boba Fett
The scariest mercenary you’ve ever met
If you ever forget to pay
You can never get away
Because he’s fast, you’re slow, and he’s got a jet



10. 
“Better Call Saul” season 3 is now on Netflix
Plus other shows, I can add this to the mix
Already in so deep
There goes my sleep
Binge watching while writing poetry for kicks

11.
I’m so tired right now as I write this now
I’m a bit sleepy, grumpy, about to have a cow
I should go to sleep
Start counting some sheep
And with that, I’m off as I take my bow

12.
Here I am playing another round of Overwatch
Took down a DPS, and SR going up a notch
My MEKA suit’s  ready
With Gold Kills already
Here’s to another game hoping I don’t botch
                                                                  
13.
It’s my sixth day attempt at creating yet another rhyme
Trying to keep a daily consistency until my 30th time
True, it’s more of an experiment
Yet it does bring some bit of merriment
Still beats vegging away with Netflix and Amazon Prime                  





14.
Here I am binging on Better Call Saul
It’s a slow burn but I’m having a ball
Jimmy is really funny
And always out of money
It’s a treasure trove of dry humor in the banal

15.
Daniel got beaten by a bully named Johnny
He couldn’t fight and was a bit scrawny
Then he met Miyagi
Who taught him karate
He’s good now, but he’s no Jackie or Donnie



16.
Tuco was a dealer in all things narcotic
Killing his friends, he was quite the neurotic
Then things got quite messy
He kidnapped Walter and Jessie
And finally got shot for being too psychotic

17.
Jack was a producer who thought he’d never lose
Until he met the Don who specialized in booze
Left a dead horse on his bed
With only its head
He had made him an offer he couldn’t refuse

18.
David was a hacker too good for his own good
He can crack any system—he was quite shrewd
Until one day
He started Doomsday
With everyone after him, he was quite screwed

19.
Billy learned three rules about his pet that night
Keep him away from water and sunlight
But he felt like a fool
For not following that rule--
Never feed him after midnight!

20.
Peter Parker had the hots for Mary Jane
Lacked style even if he had a brain
He received no pay
While saving the day
Great responsibility comes with great gain

21.
Sledge always carried a giant handgun
To him, the only way to get things done
He shot first, asked later
Not quite the best investigator
Not just crooks but civilians were on the run

22.
Ferris always got his way for he was shrewd
Many adults thought he was quite rude
He ditched one day
To Ed Rooney’s dismay
But kids think he’s a righteous dude

23.
Flynn was thrown into a virtual computer
Now he was stuck in a first person shooter
He had no say
But was forced to play
Now he wished he had never bought that router

24.
Mikey found an old map in his attic
Seeking treasure, he got quite dramatic
He went underground
With friends and Short Round
But had to be careful, as he was asthmatic

25.
Three scientists worked hard to find a ghost
But one of them was more like a talk show host
He was a bit of a poseur
Till he was attacked by Gozer
This was his last straw--this chick was toast!





26.
Three stars had lived in a Hollywood bubble
Till they found a Mexican town in trouble
Bandits were burning and shooting,
Pillaging and looting
That El Guapo could turn a town into a rubble

27.
He had no qualms putting androids to sleep
Just part of the job, no need to weep
But in his aggression
Never asked the question
Do androids dream of electric sheep?

28.
He was a fine pilot, but recklessness was his vice
A bit of a maverick, he never played nice
Played fast and loose
When he flew with Goose
No surprise he was too dangerous for Ice

29.
Helping to start a war wasn’t his original plan
Just a way to earn money the best way he can
Since the Man in Black
Had now joined his pack
He could now look for the six fingered man

30.
Marty only wanted to sing and play the guitar
Stuck in Hill Valley, he wasn’t going very far
One day, he drove very fast
Until he went to the past
Who knew his DeLorean was a time traveling car?

31.
I went to go see “Ready Player One” today
Fun flick, even if CG felt a tad Michael Bay
More rounded than the book
80’s nods were not its only hook
More accomplished than “A.I.”, I would say

32.
There was once a tough-talking driver named Jack
Who only just wanted to get his truck back
Then came Lo Pan
With an evil plan
And the Three Storms who were on the attack



33.
I just saw all of ‘Aggretsuko’ season one on Netflix
A bizarre and furry anime about office politics
10 mini-episodes that features
Sanrio-type creatures
With brown pandas and death metal—it’s quite a mix

34.
Murphy was a cop killed by Boddicker and his gang
Came back a cyborg, threw Clarence ‘round until he sang
He said no line
While blowing up Ed-209
With the Cobra Assault Cannon, state-of-the-art, bang-bang

35.
He was a problem solver for the Phoenix Foundation
Using his mind, he could escape almost every situation
His Swiss army knife
Often saved his life
With duct tape, there was always room for improvisation

36.
Time travel wasn’t Reese’s preferred way of travel
But had to before the civilization could unravel
Preventing Skynet
The A.I. threat
And a nuclear war that would turn humanity into gravel

37.

Finally finished my 30 days of rhyming
It was challenging--the hardest part was timing
Could’ve been breezier
But Internet made it easier
Habitual writing—just another form of priming



Here are the limerick subjects tackled above:

1. Breaking Bad
2. Dead Poets Society
3. Random
4. Random
5. Random
6. Random
7. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
8. Star Wars
9. Empire Strikes Back
10. Random
11. Random
12. Overwatch
13. Random
14. Better Call Saul
15. The Karate Kid
16. Breaking Bad
17. The Godfather
18. WarGames
19. Gremlins
20. Spider-Man
21. Sledge Hammer!
22. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
23. Tron
24. The Goonies
25. Ghostbusters
26. The Three Amigos
27. Blade Runner
28. Top Gun
29. The Princess Bride
30. Back to the Future
31. Random
32. Big Trouble in Little China
33. Aggretsuko
34. Robocop
35. MacGyver
36. The Terminator
37. Random





Wednesday, March 14, 2018

3/14, Pie Day. Sometimes I forget that I had a blog.

Pie Day

So, I realized today...  Sometimes that I forget that I had a blog.  Today is Pie Day.  This meme picture pretty much sums it up for me:





I love Pie Day, especially at my work.  They usually provide pie to share with us.  If you're in the education or math/science field (I create art for an educational game called "The Foos"), Pie Day is somewhat more significant. Today, we had free pizza at work (it's still pie).  Huge pizza.



I honestly did not know they made pizzas that big. It was pretty good pizza.  


Hawking

Speaking of Pie...or Pi, for that matter, physicist Stephen Hawking passed away yesterday in England also on Pie Day (a day is earlier there).  I have yet to read his A Brief History of Time, but I do have the book on the shelf somewhere, perhaps at my parents' place. 

I'm reminded of the Star Trek episode where Stephen Hawking appeared, playing poker.  Quite an amusing moment for the show.  





Poker

One can make a lot of interesting allusions using poker as a metaphor for life.  Someday, I will write something about it.  Generally, it's about making the most of the cards you've been dealt, and how it both relates to free will and destiny at the same time.  The cards are usually always partly hidden, otherwise we would never try to play it.  The mystery is supposed to be a good thing, sort of.  Perhaps related to the same reason that we don't tell our kids everything...until a proper time.  One can go on and on...  I will bore you later with it.  



Cupcakes

Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of the company I work at.  Thus, we had some awesome cupcakes based on the characters of our game:




It was pretty sweet.  Literally.  Yeah, I can't eat sweet things too much.  Luckily I had some milk to go with it.  It made the cupcakes so much better.  Also made me a tad hyper.


Getting Back Into Designing

Lately, I've gotten back into T-shirt design.  I'm creating a design for a coworker who is moving to Texas.  Been trying to do a parody T-shirt again, once again based on The Foos.  The upcoming one will be a parody of the old LucasArts game called "Full Throttle", except it'll be called "Foo Throttle."  Yeah, me and my puns.

The last one I did was based on He-Man.  Except....it was called "Masters of the Fooniverse":





I still occasionally do the Daily Drawing Challenge... but not daily.  The challenge is to basically draw using the photos that get posted on the Daily Drawing Challenge facebook page every day.  This is what I drew this week:





Until next time...




Wednesday, January 10, 2018

My December Trip, part 2 -- India's Golden Triangle: New Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur



Continuing on about my trip... I was in South Korea the previous week (see previous post).

My second part of the December trip, as mentioned, was in India. Simply put, India was both insane and awesome.

New Delhi, India (Evening 1)

We got to New Delhi, India (about 7 hour flight from Incheon)  on Sunday night, right at Christmas.  The drive to our hotel was a fascinating one.  The streets had a surreal orange glow that did not make it look friendly at night, plus there was a perpetual fog.   We saw policemen with their AK-47's.  And, every car we drove by was a near-miss.  It became pretty obvious that the usual rules of the road did not apply in these streets.  The car lanes were more a "suggestion" than a rule here.

I felt a little safer once we got to the hotel, even if the surrounding neighborhood looked a bit sketchy.  Well, we wouldn't be staying here too long, as the following two days consisted of a tour to Agra (where Taj Mahal is) and Jaipur (where Amber Fort is).  It was a two-day overnight tour with the tour company Viator which I found out through Tripadvisor.


It's a good idea to have a good driver in India wherever you go.

A moment to talk about driving in India.

There's a lot of braking and honking.  Every car is about an inch away.  Our driver gave us three important rules one needs when one drives in India:  #1 You must have good brakes.  #2 You must have good horns. #3 You must have luck.

I remember experiencing this kind of driving back in the early 90's in Korea.  Things have gotten a lot better now, thankfully.


Agra, India (Day 2)

The next morning, we took a train to Agra from New Delhi, as assigned by the tour people.  Train stations can be a little confusing.  There are also different sections in the train, where you can pay more and get an assigned seat (this is recommended for foreigners) or ride along with others which may involve more pushing and pulling.  
  

Delhi Railway Station


En Route to Agra


In the train, we met a Japanese lady who was traveling with couple friends from Ukraine, who also spoke Japanese.  A man sitting in front of us was from Mumbai who had a daughter and wife with him.  It was his second time visiting the Taj Mahal.  I decided to make a little portrait drawing for him and his little daughter.  The Japanese lady made a paper crane for the kid.  An interesting reminder that art is a common language.


A little drawing for the man from Mumbai and his daughter. His wife is in the back.

Railway Station in Agra

A well-dressed gentleman named Sunny met us in Agra--he recognized us from the photo.  He introduced us to the driver and the tour guide. Throughout the day the tour guide would explain what is what at different locations, while the driver drove and got us to safety.  Given that it was Christmas vacation, the roads were particularly busy.




Like Delhi, there was a layer of haze wherever we went, but the tour guide told us that it's the norm here.  Admittedly, smog is an issue in India.  We were going to wear our masks, but decided not to so we could talk to the tour guide without muffling.


My sketches of the day

Reddish sandstone is a common motif of forts around here.

One of the Seven Wonders of the World -- Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal was breathtaking. This is probably the brightest building I've seeen in all of Agra, or India.  It is a marvel (and marble) of architecture with gorgeous details.  It is a mausoleum, which means it is a tomb, built by Mughal (Muslims who ruled parts of India at the time) emperor Shah Jahan for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth.  She had 14 kids.  Favorite wife, eh?  I guess that's pretty good proof.  

The lines to enter Taj Mahal was extremely long. However, if you get a foreigner pass (which costs a little more), it is shorter.  There is also a separate line for men and women.  Line for women tend to go on longer at the security points. They will take away certain hats and so forth.

Marble walls were embedded with semi-precious jewels to make it shine

Marble floors too

To get a better sense of the size

Interior of Taj Mahal, while beautiful, isn't as elaborate as the exterior, as the building served as a tomb, mainly.  The palace where the royalty lived  and did their daily tasks is Agra Fort, which is where we went next.

Agra Fort

Beyond the red walls is the palace itself.

Decoratively sculptured walls


Monkeys are common here


Red sandstone exterior

Palace entrace

The most interesting part of Agra Fort is probably the stories behind the walls--one of which is about a jealous son (of a different wife) who put emperor Shah Jahan under house arrest because of his elaborate spending on giant architecture like Taj Mahal.  While kept inside the palace, Shah Jahan only had a window to look at the Taj Mahal from afar.  More information about Shah Jahan can be found on Wikipedia here.


Some of the walls have been torn away by looting

This used to be a fountain. Princes lived here.

Where the king met with people

Some tasty curry buffet for lunch! 

For lunch, we ate Indian food at a restaurant, which was quite good.  Tasty buffet.  The difference between Indian food in LA and Indian food in India is probably the simpler flavor of India.  I found this also to be true in other countries.  The food tends to taste less "mixed" or overly seasoned at the respective home country.  You might even say more "pure."  If one had an American hot dog in India, one might expect it to have more seasoning, to "sell" the idea of this "exotic" country of America.  

The latter part of the day had the tour guide take us to specialty shops to buy things in India.  This is a common thing among tours, it seems.  They first try to sell you on the products by a demonstration of a product being hand-crafted.  Then they show you around the shop.  If you ask them what price something is, it is usually always the same phrase--"Not expensive!"  You can then try to barter your way with an offensive price--or they'll be offended by the offer and leave you alone.  A lot of the merchants know that you probably can afford it (compared to the regulars), but I suggest only get it if you really must have it.  You can't really barter with food products (teas, spices, etc), though, which I tend to think are better deals. 


Riding the train to Jaipur from Agra

My sketches of the day

Jaipur, India (Day 3)

The next morning was spent in the general area of Jaipur, a beautiful old city of pinkish color.  We saw many rustic, medieval villages in a mountainous area surrounded by a long stretch of walls called Amber Fort.  I was surprised by the massiveness of the walls that went up and down the mountain edges like the Great Wall of China. Driving through the old villages felt like something from a spy thriller.  Jackie Chan's "Kung Fu Yoga" was filmed at Amber Fort.  Not a good movie, though.

Stayed at KK Royal Hotel--very classic. Great breakfast

Note the walls going up the mountains in Amber Fort

Road across the rustic areas

View from Amber Fort

The city within the walls

You can see the villages below

Going up in Amber Fort

Amber Fort Interior

Amber Fort has an amber color

The elephant on the columns show Hindu influence

Garden area

I was impressed by the massiveness of Amber Fort (aka. Amer Fort).  Built by Raja Man Singh in 1592, this one had more of a Hindu influence, and a little bit of Mughal architecture. The appearance of elephants in the columns indicate the Hindu influence.  Apparently, the Hindu king had a love-hate relationship with the Mughals.

After Amber Fort, we drove around and  made several stops, mostly photo-stops.

Bazaar in Jaipar

Streets of Jaipur

Streets of Jaipur

Hawal Mahal, Palace of Winds, based on a honeycomb

Streets of Jaipur

We then went to Jantar Mantar monument, which has the world's biggest stone sun dial.  Hindus have a big interest in astrology. They use it for finding a marriage partner, life choices, and so forth.  There are nineteen architectural astronomical instruments in this area.

Jantar Mantar, the world's largest sun dial

Jantar Mantar, the world's largest sun dial

Some of these can be off by several minutes depending on the season

Chandra Mahal, or the City Palace, is a palace complex where Indian royalty have been residing since it was built around 1729.  It was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the head of the Kachwaha Rajput clan.  We've been told that the current young king is overseas getting an education in England.  Like the British royal family, he is more of a figurehead.


Chandra Mahal, aka.City Palace

City Palace is still a royal residence

Elaborate reddish-pink designs are common

Silver Gangajali (Ganges-water urn) which the king carried with him in England

A bit of music

Streets of Jaipur

Lunch Time! Good eats!

As we had some extra time before going back to New Delhi, our final part of the Jaipur trip was Galtaji aka. the Monkey Temple, series of temples built into a crevice of the mountains in Jaipur.  So, the tour guide tells us there are lots of monkeys that live there.


Galtaji aka. Monkey Temple

Hindus doing part of their rituals

Pool section of the Monkey Temple

As you climb up, you can get a good view of the temples below.

There is a person called "The Monkey Man" whom you pay 300 rupees (about $6) who will summon the monkeys from the mountains and as long as you are close to him, the monkeys won't attack you.  We agreed, thinking, "oh, it's just part of the tour." Pretty soon, the monkeys were all over us and eating out of our hands. Now, I'm very skittish about directly interacting with wild animals and dislike getting rabies, so this was quite a test of my threshold for acceptable contact with wild, unpredictable creatures.  Quite a surreal experience.  Here's a video of the monkeys.  The Monkey Man is holding the camera.


The Monkey Man held my iphone when he filmed this.

More of my sketches of the day


New Delhi, India (Day 4)

We got back to New Delhi, and set up a day tour with Viator.  This time, getting acquainted with this capital city of India. We visited the largest mosque in India, Jama Masjid.


Jama Masjid, the biggest mosque in India

A good view of the structure

Interior halls


Afterwards, our tour guide took us to Chandni Chowk Bazaar in Old Delhi. Old Delhi is right next to New Delhi, but many old structures and ruins can be found here.  We rode on a bicycle rickshaw puled by this old man who surprisingly had a lot of energy.  He took us through the alleyways of the old-style bazaar.

Our rickshaw bicyclist

Chandni Chowk Bazaar

A street corner in Chandni Chowk 

Other places we visited were the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, India Gate, and the Presidential Palace.  This was where we got to see the more "modern" look of India.  These areas felt a lot like many of the monuments in the U.S.  Big parks, big parking lots, and people dressed in regular shirts and jeans. Standing around here, one would not think this was India.

Mahatma Gandhi Memorial

India Gate

Presidential Palace

Qutb Minar is probably one of the tallest pillars in New Delhi.  It is surrounded by the Qutab comlex, which is a whole series of ruins.  I wish I had more time to spend here, but the sun started to set.

You can see the tower from a good distance.

Qutb Minar

Qutb Minar, closeup

Old columns here with Hindu faces broken off by the conquerors

Close-up of the columns

A close-up of the elaborate designs


New Delhi, India (Day 5): Free Day

Today, we were on our own to explore New Delhi.  No tour guides.  Upon recommendation from yesterday's tour guide, we checked out a Sikh gurdwara (Sikh house of worship) called Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Visitors of all faiths were welcome and/or encouraged, so we checked it out.  I'm going in generally as a learner (as opposed to a worshiper), since I'm Christian and all.  

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib interios has a large pool

I learned a bit about Sikhism.  According to what I could tell: They believe in one God. They believe in a formless God. They don't believe in ritualism. They say they are secular.

I'm not quite sure that they are non-ritualistic as they claim, however. You are required to wash your feet and go inside the place barefoot. You also had to cover your head (they give you a scarf you can put on). I was holding my girlfriend's hand at one point, and one dude came and separated our hands. Alrighty, then.

The Sikh's "formless God" idea reminded me of the "Unknown God" that the Greeks worshiped in Athens back when St. Paul visited there (Acts 17:22-31).  Paul would then go on to say "Actually, God is quite knowable" and that anyone can actually get to know him, just by getting to know Christ a little better. Interesting stuff.

Afterwards, we checked out Connaught Place in New Delhi and ate lunch there.  Connaught Place is a bit modern version of a bazaar--sort of a swap meet.  It was mostly people pulling you over and selling things for a ridiculously cheap price.

Our next stop was Humayun's Tomb.

Humayun's Tomb

Sketching the Humayun's Tomb

Here, we relaxed a bit and took in the scenery. Humayun's Tomb is an older tomb and Taj Mahal was partly influenced by it.  Of course, Shah Jahan felt a need to outdo it, as it usually happens.

As the sun was slowly setting, we went to Lodi Gardens, a city park that contains several ancient tombs (free to get in), showing architectural works of the 15th century by Lodis, who used to rule parts of northern India.  We ate at a classy-looking restaurant here--Lodi the Garden Restaurant. Not too pricey by American standards, but not really Indian food.

Old structures at Lodi Gardens

Interior of one of the tombs


That was pretty much the end our India trip. My girlfriend, the Geologist, had to stay in India a few weeks longer as she had to do field work in the eastern part of India with her colleagues. I flew back to Incheon, South Korea, for a layover, then headed back to Los Angeles. 

I had some time to sketch during these long transfer flights:


Delhi International Airport. I guess sketching that guy.

Added more sketches while waiting for the flight. I had a beer.

Some tasty breakfast at Incheon Airport layover

Incheon Airport was probably the nicest airport.  It's like being inside a mall. Overall, this was a lovely trip.  Still recovering from jetlag, but I'm getting better.  I now wake up much earlier than I  used to, though.  But....it gives me time to write blogs like this and such. 

Until then....