Something Funny Happened at Seattle’s Best…

I needed a quiet place to finish a file (due in a few hours) so I dropped by at Seattle’s Best at MoA. It had a serene ambiance (far from the madding crowd), looked fairly quiet, and seemed like a nice spot to spend a few hours in.

After paying for my order, I settled at a table facing the walkway. Before long, I was deeply immersed in my work, and barely even looked up from my laptop screen. So, you can imagine my utter astonishment when this loud, jarring sound broke through.

It came from the direction of the main entrance, which faced the bay. Heads swiveled from all corners as startled patrons tried to focus on what caused the sound. After what seemed like a timeless pause, we saw — wait for it — that this sleepy-looking guy (in his 30s, I think) had walked (or rather, CRASHED) into Seattle’s Best glass door!

Apparently, the man did not realize that there was a glass wall separating Seattle’s Best from the outdoors and just walked in (or at least tried to) without breaking his stride. His momentum propelled him forward and the force of it made him bounce off the door and rattle the glass wall. For a moment there, he looked supremely alert and a look of utter astonishment settled on his face like a mask.

It was a scene right out of a comedy film or a cartoon feature. I could feel the laughter rippling through my throat, but I managed to gulp it back. Yes, it was pretty hilarious, but I also felt sympathy for the guy. If that had been me, I’d be probably hoping for the floor to swallow me up, and fervently wishing no one would remember my face while beating a hasty retreat from the scene.

Surprisingly, no one laughed. For a moment it seemed like we were all waiting for the first one to actually break the silence, but no one did! And despite the obvious pain he felt — as well as the slight damage to his dignity — the guy went on with his business. After claiming his coffee, he went out quietly.

Umm… it’s kind of crass for me to say this, but somebody did giggle uncontrollably the minute he was out of earshot. And before you start pointing fingers, nope it wasn’t me. By that time I had lost all my desire to laugh. (But I did laugh loudly when I got home and replayed the scene in my mind.)

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Wordplay

I love wordplay — you know, things like puns and witty punch lines and classic comebacks that wrench wry smiles and spontaneous laughter out of you.

Being hopelessly inept at it only highlights the fact that I am inordinately impressed whenever I hear somebody press home a point with a succinct, hit-the-nail-on-its-head idiomatic phrase. In gatherings or social affairs, you won’t be hard-pressed to find the life of the party or the social wit — more often than not, it’s the individual who rolls off clever remarks at a drop of a hat, and who leaves the audience chuckling, nodding in agreement, and inwardly wondering if they’ve somehow missed the point.

I am forever waiting for that opportune moment when I, too, could be blessed with such smooth, rapier-like timing and say something slick like, “The eleventh pun always gets a laugh, even if no pun in ten (10) did.” Or at least a just tiny fraction of Piers Anthony’s fertile punny concoctions for his Xanth novels (e.g., Centaur AisleAir Apparent, the perennially late character Justin Thyme).

Although it pains me to say it, I have to admit I just don’t have it. More often than not I’d be hampered by slow mental processes (umm, slow on the uptake?), sloppy timing, inarticulateness, and occasionally, consideration for certain people. Usually, by the time some sleek repartee comes to mind, the moment to make my point has already passed and everybody else has jumped on to a new topic. If ever I blurt out anything remotely clever and funny at the same time, it’s more of an accident than by design.

Sometimes it makes me wish I had Adam Sandler’s remote control (remember the movie Click?) to make time stop while I reach for my dictionary or scroll down a handy “List of Witty Things to Say for Every Occasion”. That sure would make things simpler, except that it could spoil the momentum of things (spontaneity?).

I guess that’s one reason why I take refuge in writing. Collecting witticisms and devising ways in which they can be delivered with perfect timing and the right amount of careless panache isn’t all that hard when you have full control of the situation and the characters. Moreover, when it’s your story, you can always rewrite or dispatch certain characters if you think they’re getting too big for their britches. Or too incoherent… or something.

While I’m floundering around for a nice clincher to round off this brief note (*thinking hard*) umm… uh, okay, I give up. I haven’t thought of anything yet, but I’ll get back to you on that as soon as I’ve come up with something subtle or sublimely witty.

 

Angling for a better look

I’m doing my best to spruce up the look of this blog (which hasn’t really changed much in the past 2 years), and as you can see I’m doing a piss poor job of it.

I’ve just tried using Canva (which allows you do this sort of thing for free, but it does come with a lot of restrictions). I’m still learning the ropes and I’m really not getting the hang of it yet (frankly, I don’t have much time or inclination to tinker with the controls for now). I did manage to create a header image (intended to look like the one shown below), which frankly leaves a lot to be desired (har de har har).

I know. My first reaction was “ugh!” followed by a heavy sigh.

Yup, this webpage is in serious need of major renovations, but I just don’t have the knack for this sort of thing — not while I’m half-asleep on my feet and wondering what day it is.

Still while I was trying to build my header, I accidentally made another copy. Since I wasn’t doing too well with my first attempt, I thought I’d make a few changes and see what comes out just for the heck of it (LOL).

With my current mood, this feels rather apt. Or it could have been more on point had this been posted around Thanksgiving

 

Fascinating Patterns Found in Nature

Sometimes, in our search for the next extraordinary thing to astound us, we tend to tune out what Mother Nature has to offer. I think it’s only fitting to remind ourselves from time to time that, regardless of the human tendency and compulsion to create something beautiful (and sometimes some of them can reach sublime heights), there are truly beautiful and fascinating things in nature that any human creation would be hard put to match.

These include colorful plants, fruits, flowers, fungi, and invertebrates that look commonplace at first glance but as you look closer, you will see fascinating shapes, whorls and patterns that will make you appreciate just how complex and inscrutably beautiful nature can be. Consider these few examples.

1. Romanesco broccoli (Brassica oloracea; also known as Roman cauliflower)

2. Sunflower (Helianthus from Gr. “helios” = sun). There are about 70 species in this genus.

3. Kiwifruit, or just plain kiwi (genus Actinidia; also known as Chinese gooseberry) comprising about 60 species)

4. Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus; also known as toadstool); around 14,000 mushroom species have been described

5. Cucurbitaceae flower (also called cucurbits) — a plant family comprising 95 genera (including squash, cucumber, etc.)

6. Starfish (Class Asteroida) — star-shaped echinoderms; there are roughly 1,500 starfish species around the world

7. Zebra Stripes Hosta (genus Hosta; also known as plantain lilies) — hostas are shade-tolerant foliage plants

8. Skeleton flowers (Diphylleia grayi) are actually white flowers that become transparent when they come in contact with water

9. Aloe plant (genus Aloe, of which Aloe vera is the most popular), showing fractal patterns when seen from above