The Rules of Twister or, Meaning of Whirl

One of the recent, unusual, French funnels.

Recently, there have been tornadoes in both the USA and in France (!), where they are much less common an occurrence and, mercifully for the French, much less powerful.

So in a bid to capture something of their violence and swirling destruction, I put to use the Lazarus Corporation Text Mixing Desk in conjunction with Google Translate, the internet, and my brain.

Essentially, I put the rules of Twister and definitions of tornadoes through the Mixing Desk (I’m really not sure how it works, apart from removing expletives, or swear words, and generally cutting up the text you put in).

I then alternated (ish) a line from each (the rules and the definition) and – in honour of the recent French ‘tornades’ – put this through Google Translate from English, to French, to (one of their former colonies and because it’s a symbol language), Vietnamese – then back and forth until the language got confused.

At each point, I saved the intermediary translation, then chose the ones I liked at the end and tinkered with it (to give it something of a vortex-form, too – dot dot dot…).

Sometimes when the ideas aren’t a-flowing, you’ve got to prime them. It’s a fun experiment – and perhaps captures something of a whirl of meaning and confusion in the language, as twisters/tornadoes/tornades/cơn lốc xoáy (that’s the Vietnamese) actually cause in real life…

I also like that ‘the Referee’ came up as a figure with the agency: whether that’s the Weather itself, or a God (if you’re so inclined), or Chance, is up to you…

 

The Rules of Twister

or, Meaning of Whirl

 

…the Referee can call, may, may call out:

appearance, emergence of a funnel-shaped cloud.

The colouring arrow – pointing, advancing

large progress. Great examples

power the steering wheel. Then

the Referee spins the spinner, then…

 

…someone or something turns violent

or mobile: devastating, devastating spiral

calls out to the part of the body

of winds turned violent, rotating

with action and passion. Then

the Referee must turn again

a different colour, then…

 

NaPoWriMo 23: A Triolet for Entropy

The Universe loves things to get more disordered. (So most of us fit right in – We Are Stardust!)

I’m running on a slightly altered NaPoWriMo timetable, or flexi-time, if you will: there’s a Welcome and a Blessing brewing for Sunday, from earlier prompts. But as I’ve slightly stumbled on these – and am going to return to them – I thought I’d try out a triolet from today’s NaPoWriMo prompt.

Looking around for some inspiration, I found this article about entropy and intelligence – which slightly blew my mind. In essence, this is about the idea that the Universe tends towards a more disordered state – and that by applying this idea to some models, they become analogous to what happens when ‘intelligent’ beings are involved. That we, as intelligent (supposedly) beings, are also inherently entropic. Apparently, even the evolution of walking may be relevant in this system. Roll on the bedlam!

I think that’s what it means, anyway. Although I suggest you read it yourself, as the reporter clearly knows what they’re talking about a lot more than this poet.

And to celebrate this un-knowledge of our inherent entropy, I wrote an orderly triolet…

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NaPoWriMo 14: I AM ANTI-BOTNET

An infographic of how a Botnet works…I’d like to see an infographic of my ANTI-BOTNET. Anyone?

Tasked with creating a ‘persona poem’ yesterday (with the suggestion of a superhero). So I started trolling the internet for some inspiration – and came across this story from today, which I found simultaneously interesting, amusing and alarming.

WordPress (which hosts this very site) has been ‘attacked’ by a ‘Giant Botnet’ of some thousands of linked computers since last week – and this may have been a pre-cursor to a much larger attack (a ‘Mega Botnet’?)…When thinking, then, about a superhero – I thought we (WordPress users, many of whom will be using it to share their NaPoWriMo efforts) could do with the ANTI-BOTNET.

Last month, I went to the Leeds Trinity Writers’ Festival Day and we did a workshop on the ‘Techno-Poem’. This seemed such a rich thread of techno-speak, -images and -ideas, I thought… HERE COMES THE ANTI-BOTNET (WHO ALWAYS SPEAKS IN CAPITALS).

BE WARNED, READER – THIS ONE IS VERY VERY SILLY:

 

I AM ANTI-BOTNET

or, http://www.IFEARNOTHING.infinity/forever/BAM

 

I AM ANTI-BOTNET. FROM WITHIN THE

NETWORK’S SPACES, I EMERGE: FROM THE

DARKLING ROBOT’S SHADOW, I WILL SURGE

INTO THE NETWORK PROTOCOLS

OF YOUR TECHNO-SOUL.

 

I AM ANTI-BOTNET AND NO MALICIOUS

SOFTWARE THREATENS ME. NO IRC

CAN CHAT ITS WAY THROUGH

THE INTERNET RELAY SUITE

OF MY CYBER-MIND.

 

I AM ANTI-BOTNET AND MY CAPS-LOCK

IS FOREVER ON: ZOMBIE-COMPUTERS

FEAR THE ENCRYPTION OF MY CRY;

THE SPAMDEX-NETQUAKE OF MY ROAR.

I CODE FEAR IN TO SKYNET,

YES – EVEN TERMINATOR.

 

I AM ANTI-BOTNET AND NO BOT-HERDER

USHERS ME TOWARDS DESTINY.  MY

ALMIGHTY ALGORITHMS SELF-ARISE

IN THE SILICONE-STEELY SOLIDITY

OF MY BILLION-BILLION-WEBCAM EYES.

NaPoWriMo 10: Un-love Poem for Call-Centre Conversations

The battery-farming of conversation, in the form of a call centre.

Day 10’s prompt was to write a poem of un-love; not a malediction, so much, but just a poem of ennui (that’s how I read it) about someone, or something.

It so happens that I spent quite a bit of time doing a transfer from one credit card to another today, as well as spending some time on the phone to a large mobile phone company. While the people I spoke to were perfectly polite and proficient, there is something really jarring about that stop-start scripted version of a conversation you have to have with them. Generally, I like people and enjoy meeting new humans; finding out how surprising and unusual people can be. But there’s no sponaneity when you have to speak to  (some, not all) call centres or worse, there’s very little humanity about those types of interaction.

You’re both becoming a part of a process, elements in a mechanised version of a conversation, with niceties wedged in here and there as WD-40 (that’s a type of lubricating oil for machines, non-British readers!) to make it seem less robotic…I should know, I’ve worked in call centres myself – although I don’t think it was ever going to be a long-term prospect (I tended to deviate from the script too much).

(By the way, I called it ‘Going Forward’ as one chap I spoke to said it about ten times – it’s a real politician’s phrase that, ‘Going Forward’ – as opposed to what? Going back in time? Or does it mean ‘Moving forward’, progressing, in some way? It means, I fear, very little.)

So here’s a poem about it:

 

Going Forward

or, Transference

 

** Our staff are currently both

at present engaged in

dealing with the customer

enquiries of other clients **

 

Can I just confirm your name, Mr Parkin,

Sir, Mr Parking, sir, yes, of yourself, sir?

And the 16-digit number, sir, the 3-digit figure

tattoed on your face and the date

your number is up? Going forward, Mr Parken, sir,

we just wanted to ask, before the transfer

some questions about your circumstances, if we may,

if I may, on behalf of ourselves, to yourself?

 

We’d like, Mr Perkin, to discuss

the finer points and repercuss-

ions of your over-

spending, Mr Parkan,

sir,

we’d like it if we

could just go over

a few things,

for yourself,

from ourselves,

to perform the script

tautologically,

repeatedly, with

zero per cent

interest,

to say nothing

for fifty years,

to  itemise the

Terms and

Conditioning.

The Proper Science Behind “The Angry Birds”

How lovely: a fellow science and poetry blogger (but one who writes about the science behind poetry, rather than poetry based on science) has written a piece which references my poem ‘The Angry Birds’.

You can read Jessie Rack’s post, explaining (with proper scientific rigour) the true extent of wild bird’s plight, here.

It’s great that there is such a synergy between our bloggings – I love scientific ideas and writing about them and Jessie loves poetry and unpacking the science therein.

Such symmetry! The internet can be a lovely place, can’t it?