Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Webs for Other Bugs That are Good

My son will soon be three. He still loves animals and books, but he recently moved onto the gold standard for boys his age: construction vehicles. Most nights before bath time, he's more dirt than boy.

Here are some more tidbits from the past few months:

We're setting the table for dinner.
Him: "That's my barracuda!"
Me: "These are my salad tongs."
Him: "That's my barracuda!"
"I watched a beetle with Wyatt and Narayan. But not DJ and Arav and Lily. They were mad."
"They were mad at you? Why?"
"I had a hammer and hit the floor. They were mad. And I said 'No thank you!' to the kids who were mad at daycare."
"No, Daddy, you don't sing."
"Why not?"
"I'm going to sing better songs. You sing silly songs."
Along with many recognizable characters from Seuss, Disney, Henson, and Milne, there are other imaginary creatures my son talks about as if they're real and everyone knows what they are. A partial list: the Backson (from this), the Snatchabook (from this), the Gulper, Grabular, Undersnatch, Spiny-Backed Guzzler, and Saber-Toothed Yumper (all from this), and Santa Claus.

I'm kidding about that last one, of course. He never mentions Santa Claus.
He is looking at a drawing of two chipmunks.
"What are they doing?" he asks.
"They're playing croquet."
"No, they're playing hockey."
"They're playing croquet."
"No, they're playing hockey."
"Nooo, they're playing hockey."
"Noooo, they're playing hockey."
"Okay, they're playing hockey."
"I think they're playing chess."

We're on a walk, and I've been carrying him for a while. I ask if he'd like to walk some more.
"Are your arms tired, Daddy?"
"Yes, they are."
"That means you have to carry me all the way home."
"I want to eat bulgogi."
"We don't have any. We're having pasta tonight."
"Put it in the bowl, mix it up, it becomes bulgogi."

(Note: He's never tried bulgogi. He's only heard of it thanks to this book.)
"Spider-Man makes webs for other bugs that are good."

(Note: He's never watched any Spider-Man. He's only seen him on clothes. Oh, and on one refrigerator magnet.)
And what would a summary of a 2-year-old's activities be without a mention of poop?

Grandma: "Let's go change your diaper."
Him: "No. I didn't poop."
Grandma: "You stink. If it's not poop in your diaper, what is it?"
Him: "It's..." (pauses to think, then looks down at the furniture he's leaning on) "...stool."

He is so much smarter than he has any right to be.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Winners of the Shamu Haiku Contest!

Clearly, you people consider the ocean a solemn place. For the first time in any of my haiku contests — nay, for the first time in any of my contests, period — the number of serious entries outnumbered the humorous. After all, the ocean is dark and mysterious... much like the criteria by which I judged your haiku.

Thanks to everyone who entered! Your fantastic submissions made it tough to settle on the winners. I wish I could give awards to you all, but alas, that's not in the rules. I checked.

So, despair not if your entry doesn't get highlighted below; it barely missed the cut. And if you haven't done so already, make sure to check out all the entries.

Honorable Mention

Dan Yungk waited until one minute past the deadline before posting a comment. It's written all in one line and has nothing to do with the ocean. So why does he get a mention? Because I always reward cleverness. (Just not necessarily with gift cards.)
Every single year, I plan to participate, then run out of time...
Marian Allen, as soon as you posted this question, the answer was always going to be one. Yours.
How many entries
Will use the words, "I think we
Need a bigger boat"?
This one of Tara Tyler R's gets the nod (barely over her "Poles baited") because every time I read it I hear my 2-year-old son's pronunciation of barracuda. (That's what he calls the salad tongs.)
A lurking monster,
hidden in coral...attacks!
Boss barracuda!
Matthew MacNish had me at "cthulhu."
Dagon in the depths
la Cthulhu f'taghn
shadows of the past
J. Grace Penningon swayed me with the force of her imagery.
anemones sway
but not from force of current
back and forth alone
And this one from Juliet Lauser is beautiful, even though I must admit I'm not entirely sure what the tiger represents. (I think I've got it, but who knows.)
That tiger curls round
Two thirds of earth so we play
With his velvet toes.

First Place - Humorous

Matt Pelletier, take a bow. Just don't do it near the bow of the boat...
Frigid salty depths
Waist deep... OHGODWHATWASTHAT!?!?

First Place - Traditional

And Li takes the crown with this entry, titled "Pearls."
life's irritations
transformed by patient bivalves
jewelry from torment

And that does it for this year's contest. Thanks again to all who entered, stopped by, retweeted, shared, mocked, etc. Matt and Li, please send me a note so I'll have your email addresses and can get you the Amazon gift cards.

And before you leave,
Here's a haiku just for you.
(It's not very good.)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Haiku Contest: Under the Sea!

**This contest is closed. Check out the winners!**

Announcing the launch of The Wheel’s 5th Annual Haiku Contest!

We've previously honored ninja, pirates, robots, and space. This year, in honor of my son's current infatuation with sharks (or rather, shark puppets), we're taking on water. Specifically, the Ocean.

It's not difficult.
All you do is write haiku.
(Also, submit them.)

Just follow the standard haiku structure (5 syllables, 7 syllables, then 5 again) and make it something to do with the ocean. I'd stay away from pirates, but otherwise, however you interpret the theme is entirely up to you.

To enter, write your own sea-related haiku in the comments section below. Two or three lucky winners will receive 25 sand-dollars $25 Amazon gift cards.

I will be selecting the best haiku in each of two categories:
  • Humorous/Creative
  • Traditional (i.e. eloquent, evocative, etc.)
In addition, I may also reward a third entry, depending on my mood. And the mood of my wallet.

The deadline to submit a haiku is this Wednesday, May 7 at 5:00pm (Eastern Time). Official "rules" are below.

Official "Rules":
  1. To enter, post space-themed haiku in the comments section below. Multiple submissions are allowed, but if you submit more than five (5) entries, it'll be viewed as a clear attempt to pollute the waters. Any additional entries will go belly up.
  2. Standard haiku rules apply. To qualify, each entry must be a three-line poem, the first line containing exactly 5 syllables, the second line 7 syllables, and the third line 5 syllables. If you miscount, it'll throw off the balance of your submission and your chances at winning will be sunk.
  3. The contest is open until Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 5:00pm, Eastern Time. If an entry arrives after the deadline, it will not be eligible for a prize. That ship will have already sailed.
  4. Entries must be in English. (i.e. Using Japanese kanji will not help you win for best traditional haiku.) If I can't understand your entry, I'll assume your brain is addled due to lack of oxygen, and will provide medical advice instead of gift cards.
  5. Anonymous entries will not win. If you don't tell me who you are, it'll be obvious you're a top-secret government assassin with amnesia, and cannot be trusted. Your entry will be denied.
  6. Prizes will be awarded in each of two (2) categories: Humorous/Creative and Traditional. A third prize may be awarded if the mood (or a ballast) strikes me.
    • First place winners will each receive a $25 Amazon gift card.
    • An indeterminate number of Honorable Mentions will receive bragging rights over everyone who doesn’t win. Also, honor.
  7. I will act as sole judge, and select the winning haiku based on the aforementioned criteria, as well as other criteria I make up as I go along. All decisions are final, and will not be changed under any circumstances. Unless I flip-flop. I can sometimes be a bit wishy-washy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Getting Back to My Roots

Astute readers of this blog will have noticed my writing has fallen off of late. Not only am I blogging less, but my posts have become very photo-centric. And though photographs and stories of my son are fun, I think we can all agree something has been missing.

By something, of course, I mean footnotes.1

After all, footnotes are the bedrock of what makes this country blog great.2 In fact, back when I first invented The Wheel, I named it after a footnote.3

So that's my goal. Cut back on posts written solely to accompany photos. Get back to writing things of substance.4 Sprinkle in a liberal amount of footnotes.5 Bake for thirty minutes.6

Sure, I'll probably give up on this goal7 within a couple weeks, and again resort to posting cute things my son says. But the important thing is I pretended it was a goal in the first place. Because it's good to have goals.

It's fun to pretend, too.8

1 Kind of like this one. (But only kind of.)
2 Great. Now that I said bedrock I can't stop thinking about the Flintstones. You know, because their beds were made of rock. (To find out what that would feel like, find your local quarry and take your soft mattress for granite.) Note: This bad pun alert arrives a sentence too late.
3 What, you don't believe me? Come on, not everything I say needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Especially since it's such a pain to eat salt one grain at a time. Just do what I do: Down a tablespoon of the stuff before you read anything I've written. Go ahead, grab a spoonful and then read my blog's origin story.
4 Of course, my idea of substance might differ from yours. I'm talking about sarcasm. Because that totally works in print.
5 To balance things out politically, I'll ensure such footnotes are right-leaning.
6 No, that's not a reference to smoking pot. It's playing off the "sprinkle" in the previous sentence as if it was part of a recipe. Didn't you know? Cooking humor always trumps drug humor. #hashtag
7 Except the part about the footnotes.
8 I'm even pretending people will read this post when I didn't include a photo. Wow, I am so naïve.

Monday, March 31, 2014

And Then The Professor Got His Hands On A Duplicator

About a year ago, I shared some Calvin & Hobbes with my son. This included parts of Scientific Progress Goes "Boink", which has a duplicator on its cover. He was only 1½ years old at the time, so I assumed he wouldn't absorb any of it. Little did I know...

For most kids, Calvin & Hobbes is a fun comic about a boy and his stuffed tiger.

For my son, it's a How-To manual.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Egregious Egg Egression

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But a horrible winter.

This is clearly a case for the people at Mysterious Mysteries. Last week, the last of the snow finally melted in our front yard, revealing a single egg. Slightly cracked, yet not dented, its yolk remains intact inside although its white spilled out and dried to the grass.

It sat maybe halfway between our house and the street, beside our walkway. We certainly hadn't opened any egg containers on the way into the house. And there were no eggs in anyone else's yard on our street. So where did it come from? What does it mean?

Did a migrating bird lay it mid-flight?
Was it the result of a mischievous teen with atrocious aim?
Has our son's secret plant-an-egg project finally begun to bear fruit?
Is it a warning from the chicken mafia?

I have no idea. But just to be safe, I think I'll lay low for a while.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Wit and Wisdom of The Professor

The Professor has no idea he's The Professor. No one has ever called him that in real life. He may never have even heard the word. Nevertheless, as his tireless student, I watch and listen, taking notes...

Denise and he are discussing which animals have tails. The last one she asks is...
"Does Daddy have a tail?"
(long pause)
"Probably not."
Denise points to a candy cane and asks what it is.
"A reindeer stalk."
Whenever someone asks, "How are you?" he will inevitably answer: "Two." Then he'll hold up that many fingers.
"Mommy, look what I made in the living room!"
"What did you make?"
"A mess!"

He comes into the kitchen and says, "I want some more milk please."
I also want him to eat some lunch, so I ask, "Would you like some cheese, or an apple?"
He walks over to me, and taps on my leg with each word, for emphasis. "I. Want. Some. More. Milk. Please."

Clearly I have a hearing problem.
Like many parents, we began the ritual of kissing a boo-boo to make it feel better. He did us one better: While running around the living room, he banged his knee against the table. He stopped, bent down to kiss his own knee, then got right back to running.
"Hey guys! Go in the kitchen!" He then takes off for the other side of the house. His 6-year-old cousins look at each other, then get up from what they were doing and follow. Within moments, he's chasing them in circles around the house, laughing his head off.

It's good to be the king.

"I'll be right back."
He'll say this sometimes. He could be going upstairs, or across the yard, or down the sidewalk. I start to follow.
"No, you stay here. I'll be right back."
He's sitting by the front door at his grandma's house. Denise asks what he's doing.
"I'm just sitting here."
While Denise is at Target and I'm home with him, he sees a loose thread in a pillow. So of course, this is his natural thought progression:
"I have to clip this...
I have to clip this at Target...
I have to clip this at Target tomorrow...
I have to go to Target tomorrow."
He'll refer to himself in the third person when using a puppet. For instance, last week I asked what he did at daycare. The alligator on his hand told me, "He drove a police car in the village, and Marty pushed him."

He has wrapped his fork in his napkin.
"My fork doesn't like the cold."
"Let's go upstairs and I'll push Mommy's buttons!"
He has shown little interest in using the potty. Then one day he says what sounds like "Can I use the potty?"
Happy to hear it, I ask, "You want to use the potty?"
"No, you want to use the potty. I'll wait here."

Curses, foiled again. the little man with the chocolate ice cream goatee.

By the way, clicking on any of the above images will fill me with immense joy (and allow you to see the picture larger). And if you're so inclined, you can view all of his latest photos on Flickr.