Musings Without Parallel

Musings Without Parallel

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When I saw today’s prompt, I heard a Voice.

Not just any voice … but the Voice of my primary school math teacher intoning #32 of his Math-isms: Parallel Lines Never Meet.

Which got me thinking about all the “parallels” that have crossed my path: there’s the mighty 38th Parallel, parallel sequences in music, parallel plots, parallel imports, parallel bars, parallel circuits … There are parallel universes, parallels in history – though there are, of course, events and circumstances that remain unparalleled.

Which then triggered the memory of Tom, the boy at the back of the class, who had raised a fascinating question: “If parallel lines never meet, how come we got squares on waffles?” My unparalleled memory (in the worst way) prevents me from recalling the teacher’s response, but I do believe Tom received detention.

Which leads me to the one thing I have never liked about parallels – the parallelogram. I’ve never understood it. If it’s nice and straight and right angled, call it a square or a rectangle or an oblong. If it’s all slanty, with weird angles that students are eternally condemned to calculate the external angles of, call it a rhombus or a diamond or a kite or something other than a parallelogram. I even had to check its spelling and pronounciation before plonking it in this post. If you have a spare moment, try saying ‘parallelogram’ three times fast.

I have no idea what the point of this post is, beyond establishing that parallel lines can intersect other parallel lines and then we get the points. And angles. And waffles.

—————-

DAILY PROMPT ~ PARALLEL

Family Man ~ Act of Kindness #17

Family Man ~ Act of Kindness #17

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April is the month of my father’s birthday, so I’ve decided to post one or two stories about him. I can’t verify any of these, but folks still talk about his exploits. He, on the other hand, pretends they never happened.

Years ago, when he was considerably younger, my father cycled to work. On this particular evening, he was cycling home when he heard an almighty crash behind him, and felt a warmish whoosh. He remembers panicking because he had no idea what had happened. He thought if he moved, whatever it was might happen to him too.

It was the scream and the thud that made him alight and turn around.

In the uncovered drain that still runs alongside the road, lay a young girl who had been hit by a car. The car, which had been travelling in the opposite direction, had been hit by a bus (the crash my father heard). The impact sent it across three lanes to hit the girl, who had been walking on the pavement, just steps behind my father. The car was upside down several metres away.

My father has never said much about what happened next, only that others checked on the driver and the passengers in the bus. The terrified girl (let’s call her Anne) kept crying and asking him to call her mum, so he got the number and went knocking on the doors of nearby houses (cell phones were a rarity then). He’s referred to this as the hardest call he’s ever made because he didn’t know how to soften the news, and he felt the mum’s anguish down the phone.

The emergency vehicles arrived and the casualties were attended to. Because Anne’s mum had yet to arrive, my father rode in the ambulance with Anne, after ensuring that the police officers would update her mum. I remember my father calling home from the hospital, then being really late for dinner. He was also missing his bicycle which, to this day, no one knows where it went.

I remember coming home from school about three weeks later and finding a family of five in the living room. It was Anne, her parents and siblings. She had a cast and healing bruises but was recovering well.

Turns out, the family had returned to the accident site to talk to the homeowners in order to locate my father because all they had was his name. Eventually someone told them where they thought he lived.

Anne revealed how he’d climbed into the drain to sit beside her after making that call, and kept her calm by telling stories about nothing in particular. It had meant the world to a frightened young girl, and the parents had wanted to thank him personally. His reply? Anne needed someone and she reminded him of me.

Today, our families still get together on festive occasions. There are grandkids now, and Anne’s mum still tells the story of how Anne first met the kind uncle.

O Happy Day

O Happy Day

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photo credit: arshad pooloo

It was just one of those days where the sun glowed from its perch on cloud nine and the clear blue sky proclaimed itself to be the seventh heaven. The palm leaves whispered their joy while the sea waved its blessings to the crowd on the beach.

The mum twinkled in her diamonds, the dad delighted with the turn out. The in-laws-to-be beamed with pride at their new status-to-be.

The string quartet joyously heralded the bride’s arrival. The attendees rose, peering, peeking, and then thrilled at incandescence of a young woman in love.

She floated to the dais and smiled, flushed and radiant.

And the groom turned green.

—————-

DAILY PROMPT ~ RADIANT

Three Days, Three Quotes Challenge ~ Day 3

Three Days, Three Quotes Challenge ~ Day 3

Here I am at Day 3 of the challenge!

It would have been so easy to download three quotes and present them as a fait accompli. But I realised this little task has made me think about words that have made a difference in how I live my life. So I do thank the incomparably hilarious An Irish Procrastinator for this opportunity for some overdue personal reflection.

To participate, I had to:

– thank the nominator

– post one quote each day for three consecutive days

– nominate three bloggers each day to continue the challenge.

This is my quote for Day #3:

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picture credit: sharon mccutcheon

I’m nominating the following bloggers to participate:

~  Beckie’s Mental Mess

Mad Cap Dog

saRitzy

Please don’t feel compelled in any way to participate if you’d rather not.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Three Days, Three Quotes Challenge ~ Day 2

Three Days, Three Quotes Challenge ~ Day 2

Yesterday, the fabulously funny Irish Procrastinator zinged a challenge my way to participate in this Three Days, Three Quotes challenge. I was to:

– thank the person who nominated me;

– post three quotes, one a day, for three consecutive days;

– nominate three others to do the same each day.

Being in a spectacularly zen mood (long weekend ahead and all) I accepted. Thank you so much, Irish Procrastinator, for getting me off my butt to do something fun and meaningful … wait, I’m on my butt writing this. Hmmm.

Today is Day 2, and here is my quote:

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picture credit: 1982wh1982

I’m inviting the following three bloggers to participate:

~ Repeat After Me

~ mydaisydaze

~ forgottenmeadows

If you’d prefer not to take part, that’s completely ok. Enjoy this quote.

Have a blessed weekend, everyone!

Hard To Swallow

Hard To Swallow

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picture credit: kenky

I’ve swallowed pills and tablets of every colour chemistry can conjure up.

I’ve swallowed gruesome liquids in colours that defy description.

I’ve swallowed food the wrong way.

I’ve swallowed my pride.

I’ve swallowed my words.

I’ve even swallowed a tall tale or two.

But I absolutely, totally, 100% refuse to swallow Bird’s Nest Soup.

Why? Because it is, literally, the nest of a species of the swift (Aerodramus fuciphagus). A swift is not the same as a swallow, but as the Chinese word for the swift and the swallow is yen (燕), I’m taking the liberty of dove-tailing the two.

Back to the nest. Yes, nest – a bird’s home for laying eggs and bringing up baby birds. This nest, unfortunately for this particular swift, is made of its saliva and shaped like if you cupped one hand, and sized about 8cm across.

The nests can be found high up in caves in parts of Malaysia, Thailand and even Bali. Once it was discovered that these nests were edible, hunters climbed up to pry the nests loose; if harvested before eggs are laid or hatched, they were clean and easy enough to prep for sale. Because it is a lucrative business, artificial nesting boxes are now used to farm even more nests.

It is believed that consuming the nests is good for health, beauty and longevity. Indeed, it is a delicacy served at auspicious occasions like birthdays and Mother’s Day. I’m not sure anyone realises the supreme irony of destroying a mother’s home in order to gift it to another mother.

Today, the nests can be bought in bottles and gift packs, ready-cooked in rock sugar, honey or any variation of sweet or savoury preparations. The biggest importers are said to be the US, China and Hong Kong, where a bowl of Bird’s Nest Soup can cost up to US$100.

I was offered this soup while on a tour in Thailand and did think it looked intriguing. It resembled a bowl of translucent jelly-like oatmeal. Then I asked what it was …

Nope, didn’t touch it then, and still not touching it now. It’s not the saliva that I find hard to swallow; it’s the fact that it’s somebody’s home.

———-

DAILY PROMPT ~ SWALLOW

Punny Haha ~ Act of Kindness #16

Punny Haha ~ Act of Kindness #16

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photo credit: annie spratt

I came across some posts describing the use of Tearable Puns a few weeks ago. Inspired by what these writers had done, I thought I’d try something similar at my workplace.

I typed out some puns I liked, printed them on coloured paper, cut them up and pasted them on contrasting coloured cards. I figured I would pin one pun each week.

On a Monday morning in early February, I pinned a punny card at the corner of my cubicle.

Don’t believe everything you hear about parasites, fleas and ticks – they’re all lice!

I waited. I had no idea if anyone would notice, much less react. In the meantime, there were emails to clear and reports to read.

Then footsteps slowed … stopped … silence … was that a snort? A head bobbed over the divider. “Aargh! That’s so … aargh! But good one!”

O-kaaay!

In the course of the week, colleagues stopped to giggle or groan. I was even presented with an eye roll by the boss – a considered honour. I knew I’d have to pin another pun the following Monday.

The same thing happened. Better yet: someone asked if I had more of where those came from. Sure I had; I put another one up the next Monday … and the next.

Fast forward to this week. A colleague stopped by to say: “You know, I was so fed up with the whole meeting! Then I saw your pun on my way to my desk and I just had to laugh. I tell you, my mood did a one-eighty. Keep putting those things up!”

Bakers share their secrets on a knead-to-know basis.

So there you go. An idea from bloggers is bringing some light hearted moments to a workplace in another part of the world.

To Laura Randazzo and Reading While Eating, thank you for the inspiration. To Through Open Lens, thank you for posting jokes with your pictures. A bunch of people now get a little sparkle of joy each week because of your kindness and generosity in sharing something witty.

Book ‘Em ~ Act of Kindness #15

Book ‘Em ~ Act of Kindness #15

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photo credit: pavan trikutam

I dislike making calls to customer services.

Don’t get me wrong – I realise they are critical. Where else could we go if something’s gone wrong and we need to consult somebody?

But, really, do I have to tap this many numbers to establish my identity, my language preference, the type of service I require … after listening to lists of options where I’ve forgotten what Option 2 was because I’m trying to decide if Option 7 is more appropriate?

Then I hold, and listen to scratchy 80s music on a never-ending loop, interrupted by recorded messages announcing how the customer service officers are all busily engaged but I will be attended to shortly. I’m lucky if I get to speak to an actual person within 22 minutes, despite my call being of utmost importance.

So I dreaded this call to my library. You see, my phone died on me. Despite valiant resuscitation efforts, it became clear I needed a new phone. Fortunately, I’d backed up the old phone fairly recently so I was able to transfer data back from the computer, except for the ebooks I’d borrowed via the OverDrive app. Those books completely disappeared.

I reinstalled the app, logged back in, registered myself all over again … nothing. Now, I wouldn’t have minded if I’d lost my own ebooks. But these were library ebooks – would I now be liable for eternal e-fines because they would be forever overdue?

Life, as I’ve learnt, always has surprises.

A lady answered after five rings (yes, I counted). She was polite, cheerful and supremely apologetic that she was unable to help because she wasn’t familiar with OverDrive. If I would please hold, she’d transfer me to someone who could help.

Lionel Ritchie barely sang three bars before another lady answered. She patiently walked me through what I’d done, making encouraging noises along the way. Then she explained where I’d erred. I won’t bore anybody with the details but I understood her explanations, followed her subsequent instructions and – behold! – the ebooks were back in my new phone.

But she wasn’t done. She suggested I logged out and repeated the steps so I’d remember what to do “next time, just in case”. That done, she asked that I borrowed another book, just to check that the app was working fine. It was. She wished me well and said to call back if I had further problems.

It was the most pleasant conversation I’ve ever had with anyone from customer services. Cynics might interpret this as, ‘well, it’s a library, not the ABC Store with 250 call-ins a day’ but I don’t think it changes how pleasant and helpful the ladies were. The second lady, in particular, was unbelievably kind enough to go the extra mile: she could have hung up after my books were downloaded.

Thank you, ladies.