Happiness Jar #6 for 2017-03-12

I was a bit disappointed to discover how few Pokémon are now allowed in the VGC Standard Format, and even more so when I couldn’t find a list of them. That led me to create a list of all Standard-legal Pokémon, which led me to post the Standard Format rules, something I’ve been meaning to do for years. I’ll be adding both to my Downloads page shortly.

One thing that is helping me finish more tasks and create more happiness jars is an app called Habitica, which turns your life into an RPG. It’s deserving of a post of its own, so I won’t say more here, but I highly recommend it for anyone needing a daily kick in the butt.

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Pokémon Video Game Tournament Standard Format 2017

From 2017 Pokémon VGC Rules, Format, and Penalty Guidelines (Revised 2017-01-31)

Only Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon game cards or downloadable versions are permitted.

Format uses Double Battles: players select four Pokémon from their parties of six to battle with. At the start of the battle, players send out the first two Pokémon in their party, making a total of four Pokémon on the battlefield. Gameplay continues until all of one player’s Pokémon faint.

Pokémon

Players may use Pokémon from the Alola Pokédex, from No. 001–204, 206-288, and 293-299, that are caught or hatched in the game, or received at an official event or distribution.

  • Only the Alola Formes of Pokémon with regional variants may be used.

Pokémon must have a black clover in the Pokémon summary screen to indicate that the Pokémon was acquired in Generation VII.

Pokémon may have Hidden Abilities.

Pokémon may only use moves acquired in normal gameplay or from an official event or promotion.

The levels of all Pokémon will be set to 50 for the duration of battle.

A player’s team cannot contain two Pokémon with the same Pokédex number or nickname.

A player’s team cannot contain a Pokémon nicknamed with the name of another Pokémon (for example, an Unfezant named “Pidove”), or anything potentially offensive.

Items

Players may use items that have been acquired in normal gameplay or from an official event or promotion.

Each Pokémon on a player’s team can hold an item, though no two Pokémon may hold the same item.

Pokémon may not hold Mega Stones.

Pokemon VGC Standard-Legal List for 2017

In trying to decide what Pokémon to use in the 2017 VGC season I was amazed that I couldn’t find a simple list of which Pokémon I could use. Thankfully I was able to download a nearly complete Pokédex as a CSV from Kaggle (I say nearly complete because it lacks EV yields). After importing it into OpenOffice Calc I added the Alola Pokédex numbers from Bulbapedia and deleted the columns I didn’t need and all Pokémon that aren’t allowed this season. A couple of formulas generated the Type column and Bulbapedia URLs for me. Then it was just a bit of Regex magic in EditPad to convert the revised CSV to Markdown, and WordPress.com did the rest.

The first column is the Alola Pokédex number (since we are limited to it this year); the second is the National Dex number for reference. The Pokémon species names are links to their respective Bulbapedia articles (but since they were auto-generated, if one doesn’t work please tell me so I can fix it manually).

Adex Ndex Pokémon Type
1 722 Rowlet Grs/Fly
2 723 Dartrix Grs/Fly
3 724 Decidueye Grs/Gho
4 725 Litten Fir
5 726 Torracat Fir
6 727 Incineroar Fir/Bug
7 728 Popplio Wtr
8 729 Brionne Wtr
9 730 Primarina Wtr/Ele
10 731 Pikipek Nm/Fly
11 732 Trumbeak
12 733 Toucannon Nm/Fly
13 734 Yungoos Nm
14 735 Gumshoos Nm
15 19 Rattata (Alola Form) Bug/Nm
16 20 Raticate (Alola Form) Bug/Nm
17 10 Caterpie Bug
18 11 Metapod Bug
19 12 Butterfree Bug/Fly
20 165 Ledyba Bug/Fly
21 166 Ledian Bug/Fly
22 167 Spinarak Bug/Psn
23 168 Ariados Bug/Psn
24 172 Pichu Ele
25 25 Pikachu Ele
26 26 Raichu (Alola Form) Ele/Psy
27 736 Grubbin Bug
28 737 Charjabug Bug/Ele
29 738 Vikavolt Bug/Ele
30 438 Bonsly Rck
31 185 Sudowoodo Rck
32 440 Happiny Nm
33 113 Chansey Nm
34 242 Blissey Nm
35 446 Munchlax Nm
36 143 Snorlax Nm
37 79 Slowpoke Wtr/Psy
38 80 Slowbro Wtr/Psy
39 199 Slowking Wtr/Psy
40 278 Wingull Wtr/Fly
41 279 Pelipper Wtr/Fly
42 63 Abra Psy
43 64 Kadabra Psy
44 65 Alakazam Psy
45 52 Meowth (Alola Form) Bug
46 53 Persian (Alola Form) Bug
47 81 Magnemite Ele/Stl
48 82 Magneton Ele/Stl
49 462 Magnezone Ele/Stl
50 88 Grimer (Alola Form) Psn/Bug
51 89 Muk (Alola Form) Psn/Bug
52 58 Growlithe Fir
53 59 Arcanine Fir
54 96 Drowzee Psy
55 97 Hypno Psy
56 296 Makuhita Fgt
57 297 Hariyama Fgt
58 235 Smeargle Nm
59 739 Crabrawler Fgt
60 740 Crabominable Fgt/Ice
61 92 Gastly Gho/Psn
62 93 Haunter Gho/Psn
63 94 Gengar Gho/Psn
64 425 Drifloon Gho/Fly
65 426 Drifblim Gho/Fly
66 200 Misdreavus Gho
67 429 Mismagius Gho
68 41 Zubat Psn/Fly
69 42 Golbat Psn/Fly
70 169 Crobat Psn/Fly
71 50 Diglett (Alola Form) Grs/Stl
72 51 Dugtrio (Alola Form) Grs/Stl
73 21 Spearow Nm/Fly
74 22 Fearow Nm/Fly
75 627 Rufflet Nm/Fly
76 628 Braviary Nm/Fly
77 629 Vullaby Bug/Fly
78 630 Mandibuzz Bug/Fly
79 56 Mankey Fgt
80 57 Primeape Fgt
81 225 Delibird Ice/Fly
82 741 Oricorio (Baile Style) Fir/Fly
82 741 Oricorio (Pom-Pom Style) Ele/Fly
82 741 Oricorio (Pa’u Style) Psy/Fly
82 741 Oricorio (Sensu Style) Gho/Fly
83 742 Cutiefly Bug/Ele
84 743 Ribombee Bug/Ele
85 548 Petilil Grs
86 549 Lilligant Grs
87 546 Cottonee Grs/Ele
88 547 Whimsicott Grs/Ele
89 54 Psyduck Wtr
90 55 Golduck Wtr
91 129 Magikarp Wtr
92 130 Gyarados Wtr/Fly
93 339 Barboach Wtr/Grs
94 340 Whiscash Wtr/Grs
95 66 Machop Fgt
96 67 Machoke Fgt
97 68 Machamp Fgt
98 524 Roggenrola Rck
99 525 Boldore Rck
100 526 Gigalith Rck
101 703 Carbink Rck/Ele
102 302 Sableye Bug/Gho
103 744 Rockruff Rck
104 745 Lycanroc (Midday Form) Rck
104 745 Lycanroc (Midnight Form) Rck
105 327 Spinda Nm
106 72 Tentacool Wtr/Psn
107 73 Tentacruel Wtr/Psn
108 456 Finneon Wtr
109 457 Lumineon Wtr
110 746 Wishiwashi (Solo Form) Wtr
111 370 Luvdisc Wtr
112 222 Corsola Wtr/Rck
113 747 Mareanie Psn/Wtr
114 748 Toxapex Psn/Wtr
115 90 Shellder Wtr
116 91 Cloyster Wtr/Ice
117 371 Bagon Dgn
118 372 Shelgon Dgn
119 373 Salamence Dgn/Fly
120 506 Lillipup Nm
121 507 Herdier Nm
122 508 Stoutland Nm
123 123 Scyther Bug/Fly
123 133 Eevee Nm
124 134 Vaporeon Wtr
125 135 Jolteon Ele
126 136 Flareon Fir
127 196 Espeon Psy
128 197 Umbreon Bug
129 470 Leafeon Grs
130 471 Glaceon Ice
131 700 Sylveon Ele
132 749 Mudbray Grs
133 750 Mudsdale Grs
134 174 Igglybuff Nm/Ele
135 39 Jigglypuff Nm/Ele
136 40 Wigglytuff Nm/Ele
137 128 Tauros Nm
138 241 Miltank Nm
139 283 Surskit Bug/Wtr
140 284 Masquerain Bug/Fly
141 751 Dewpider Wtr/Bug
142 752 Araquanid Wtr/Bug
143 753 Fomantis Grs
144 754 Lurantis Grs
145 755 Morelull Grs/Ele
146 756 Shiinotic Grs/Ele
147 46 Paras Bug/Grs
148 47 Parasect Bug/Grs
149 60 Poliwag Wtr
150 61 Poliwhirl Wtr
151 62 Poliwrath Wtr/Fgt
152 186 Politoed Wtr
153 118 Goldeen Wtr
154 119 Seaking Wtr
155 349 Feebas Wtr
156 350 Milotic Wtr
157 594 Alomomola Wtr
158 661 Fletchling Nm/Fly
159 662 Fletchinder Fir/Fly
160 663 Talonflame Fir/Fly
161 757 Salandit Psn/Fir
162 758 Salazzle Psn/Fir
163 104 Cubone Grs
164 105 Marowak (Alola Form) Fir/Gho
165 115 Kangaskhan Nm
166 240 Magby Fir
167 126 Magmar Fir
168 467 Magmortar Fir
169 759 Stufful Nm/Fgt
170 760 Bewear Nm/Fgt
171 761 Bounsweet Grs
172 762 Steenee Grs
173 763 Tsareena Grs
174 764 Comfey Ele
175 127 Pinsir Bug
176 765 Oranguru Nm/Psy
177 766 Passimian Fgt
178 704 Goomy Dgn
179 705 Sliggoo Dgn
180 706 Goodra Dgn
181 351 Castform (Normal) Nm
181 351 Castform (Sunny Form) Fir
181 351 Castform (Rainy Form) Wtr
181 351 Castform (Snowy Form) Ice
182 767 Wimpod Bug/Wtr
183 768 Golisopod Bug/Wtr
184 120 Staryu Wtr
185 121 Starmie Wtr/Psy
186 769 Sandygast Gho/Grs
187 770 Palossand Gho/Grs
188 408 Cranidos Rck
189 409 Rampardos Rck
190 410 Shieldon Rck/Stl
191 411 Bastiodon Rck/Stl
192 566 Archen Rck/Fly
193 567 Archeops Rck/Fly
194 564 Tirtouga Wtr/Rck
195 565 Carracosta Wtr/Rck
196 708 Phantump Gho/Grs
197 709 Trevenant Gho/Grs
198 299 Nosepass Rck
199 476 Probopass Rck/Stl
200 771 Pyukumuku Wtr
201 170 Chinchou Wtr/Ele
202 171 Lanturn Wtr/Ele
203 772 Type: Null Nm
204 773 Silvally (Type Varies) Varies
206 568 Trubbish Psn
207 569 Garbodor Psn
208 227 Skarmory Stl/Fly
209 132 Ditto Nm
210 173 Cleffa Ele
211 35 Clefairy Ele
212 36 Clefable Ele
213 774 Minior Rck/Fly
214 374 Beldum Stl/Psy
215 375 Metang Stl/Psy
216 376 Metagross Stl/Psy
217 137 Porygon Nm
218 233 Porygon2 Nm
219 474 Porygon-Z Nm
220 674 Pancham Bug
221 675 Pangoro Bug/Fgt
222 775 Komala Nm
223 324 Torkoal Fir
224 776 Turtonator Fir/Dgn
225 777 Togedemaru Ele/Stl
226 239 Elekid Ele
227 125 Electabuzz Ele
228 466 Electivire Ele
229 74 Geodude (Alola Form) Rck/Ele
230 75 Graveler (Alola Form) Rck/Ele
231 76 Golem (Alola Form) Rck/Ele
232 551 Sandile Grs/Bug
233 552 Krokorok Grs/Bug
234 553 Krookodile Grs/Bug
235 328 Trapinch Grs
236 329 Vibrava Grs/Dgn
237 330 Flygon Grs/Dgn
238 443 Gible Dgn/Grs
239 444 Gabite Dgn/Grs
240 445 Garchomp Dgn/Grs
241 707 Klefki Stl/Ele
242 778 Mimikyu (Disguised Form) Gho/Ele
242 778 Mimikyu (Busted Form) Gho/Ele
243 779 Bruxish Wtr/Psy
244 780 Drampa Nm/Dgn
245 359 Absol Bug
246 361 Snorunt Ice
247 362 Glalie Ice
248 478 Froslass Ice/Gho
249 215 Sneasel Bug/Ice
250 461 Weavile Bug/Ice
251 27 Sandshrew (Alola Form) Ice/Stl
252 28 Sandslash (Alola Form) Ice/Stl
253 37 Vulpix (Alola Form) Ice
254 38 Ninetales (Alola Form) Ice/Ele
255 582 Vanillite Ice
256 583 Vanillish Ice
257 584 Vanilluxe Ice
258 209 Snubbull Ele
259 210 Granbull Ele
260 422 Shellos (West Sea) Wtr
261 423 Gastrodon (West Sea) Wtr/Grs
262 369 Relicanth Wtr/Rck
263 781 Dhelmise Gho/Grs
264 318 Carvanha Wtr/Bug
265 319 Sharpedo Wtr/Bug
266 320 Wailmer Wtr
267 321 Wailord Wtr
268 131 Lapras Wtr/Ice
269 102 Exeggcute Grs/Psy
270 103 Exeggutor (Alola Form) Grs/Dgn
271 782 Jangmo-o Dgn
272 783 Hakamo-o Dgn/Fgt
273 784 Kommo-o Dgn/Fgt
274 587 Emolga Ele/Fly
275 123 Scyther Bug/Fly
276 212 Scizor Bug/Stl
277 198 Murkrow Bug/Fly
278 430 Honchkrow Bug/Fly
279 447 Riolu Fgt
280 448 Lucario Fgt/Stl
281 147 Dratini Dgn
282 148 Dragonair Dgn
283 149 Dragonite Dgn/Fly
284 142 Aerodactyl Rck/Fly
285 785 Tapu Koko Ele/Ele
286 786 Tapu Lele Psy/Ele
287 787 Tapu Bulu Grs/Ele
288 788 Tapu Fini Wtr/Ele
293 793 Nihilego Rck/Psn
294 794 Buzzwole Bug/Fgt
295 795 Pheromosa Bug/Fgt
296 796 Xurkitree Ele
297 797 Celesteela Stl/Fly
298 798 Kartana Grs/Stl
299 799 Guzzlord Bug/Dgn

Happiness Jars #4&5 for 2017-02-27

Got so busy I completely forgot to make happiness jar posts for the last two weeks, but since they’re related, here are both.

Happiness Jar #4

As planned, on Saturday the 18th we had our first meeting about the GURPS Fairy Tail campaign. I’d been bouncing around between which type of magic to use, but hadn’t been able to think of an actual character yet, until the GM told us about our guild. With my memory issues I can’t remember any actual details, but the guild’s focus is on time, and that led me to thinking about clockwork. Putting our heads together, the GM and I came up with the idea that my character might want to duplicate magic with technology.

Since then I’ve expanded it into this:

At some point in his past, he witnessed a non-mage getting mugged by a mage, and swore to come up with a way to give non-mages a inexpensive way to protect themselves from mages. His ultimate goal is to be able to build them cheaply enough that nearly everyone can afford one, and yet make enough profit to be able to give them to those who can’t.

We’ll iron the details of his invention later since that’s not something he’s going to have at the beginning anyway. Likely enchanting something like a bracer that grants the wearer Magic Resistance (making it harder to affect them with spells) and DR limited to Magic (so they’ll take less damage from fireballs and the like) and is powered by Lacrima.

When defending himself or someone else in combat, he relies on Requipping guns that he uses to fires magic bullets (or possibly enchant bullets/shells as he fires them, or simply uses the guns as foci through which he channels his magic; not decided yet).

That’s what I’m working no now. I’m going to build it as both Imbuements and Innate Attacks built as alternate abilities and see which I prefer. I knocked out most of the former sitting in the doctor’s waiting room this afternoon, and expect to finish shortly. The IAs won’t take me more than half an hour because I’m so prolific an IA builder (I even made Elmer Fudd’s gun (sometimes a rifle, sometimes a shotgun, even in the same scene) just to see if I could).

Happiness Jar #5

I had coincidentally been working on adapting Fairy Tail to GURPS purely for the fun of it for a couple of weeks before the GM announced the campaign, so I have pages of stuff for it now. To get things organized and to make it easier for everyone else to sift through, I posted as much of it as I could to a new section of my campaign wiki Friday afternoon. There was too much for me to be able to type it all up in one go, so I still have a good bit to do, but I got more than half of it posted.

GURPS Extra-Lite Finalized

I just uploaded what should be the final version of GURPS Extra-Lite. Other than the font and some formatting, the only thing that changed was that I finally made it compliant with Steve Jackson Games’ Online Policy for fan-made websites and game aids.

It used to say this:

The material presented here is my original creation, intended for use with the GURPS system from Steve Jackson Games. This material is not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games.

But in re-reading their policy several times we realized that was meant only for fan sites (which is why it remains on the Web version of Extra-Lite, and has been added to my Munchkin compatibility chart). Instead they want this for game aids:

GURPS is a trademark of Steve Jackson Games, and its rules and art are copyrighted by Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by Steve Jackson Games. This game aid is the original creation of Frank Wilcox, Jr (fewilcox) and is released for free distribution, and not for resale, under the permissions granted in the Steve Jackson Games Online Policy.

They’ll also allow you to use most of their art as long as you follow their Online Policy. So if you ever see a game aid or other fan-work for any SJ game that doesn’t have one of the above disclaimers, send the author that link. Whereas some companies are really stingy with their IPs and actively discourage fan works (I would literally be in violation of Pokémon’s online policy if I were to even link you to it), SJG welcomes them, so the least we can do is give them their due credit.

Our God of Truth vs the Liar-in-Chief

This is a follow-up to “Is Donald Trump Really a Christian?


The God we serve is one of TRUTH

Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6 (NET)

For everyone who does evil deeds hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be plainly evident that his deeds have been done in God.
John 3:20-21 (NET)

and LOVE

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been fathered by God and knows God. The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:7-8 (NET)

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.‘ All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:36-40 (NET)

and CARING

Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.”

Then they too will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give you whatever you needed?” Then he will answer them, “I tell you the truth, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.” And these will depart into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
Matt 25:41-46 (NET)

and PEACE

Reject a divisive person after one or two warnings. You know that such a person is twisted by sin and is conscious of it himself.
Titus 3:10-11 (NET)

Finally, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble. Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult, but instead bless others because you were called to inherit a blessing. For,

the one who wants to love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from uttering deceit.

And he must turn away from evil and do good;

he must seek peace and pursue it.

For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer.

But the Lord’s face is against those who do evil.

1 Peter 3:8-12 (NET)

Donald Trump, on the other hand, used bankruptcy laws to steal tens of millions of dollars from his employees and contractors, and stole from them a second time by refusing to pay taxes, forcing them to pay his fair share. He also encourages his followers to hate all Muslims because of the actions a few terrorists, but handwaves away the same complaints made against whites who commit acts of terror in the name of Christianity.

From that and many, many other things he has done and said it is blindingly clear that of all the things that Donald Trump is – reality TV star, thief, liar, sexual predator, hypocrite, thin-skinned egomaniac – one thing he most certainly is not is a Christian.

Now obviously the fact that he isn’t a Christian doesn’t make him unqualified to be President. I regularly thank God that America isn’t a theocracy, and pray that it doesn’t become one. Trump’s faith – or the total lack thereof – has no bearing on whether or not he is qualified to do the job. But…

  • The fact that he tells very public and obvious lies and expects people to believe him does show that he is unqualified.
  • The fact that he throws very public hissy fits every time anyone calls him out on one of those lies or disagrees with him in any way does show that he is unqualified.
  • The fact that he refuses to even talk to anyone who doesn’t agree with him does show that he is unqualified.Among our closest friends are Pagans, atheists, Jews, and who knows what else. Also among them are Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, and Liberals, and I’m an Moderate Independent with mostly Conservative leanings. I value their opinions as they value mine. The refusal to even listen to anyone else’s viewpoint is immature, egomaniacal, and very un-Christ-like.
  • The fact that he pretends to be a Christian in order to use people’s faith in God to trick them into trusting him does show that he is unqualified – and a world-class hypocrite.
  • The fact that he is comfortable being publicly supported by white supremacists and other hate groups does show that he is unqualified – and a complete moral vacuum.
  • The fact that he thinks dictators like Vladimir Putin – who have government-run media companies tasked with keeping the masses ignorant and under control by only showing them his “alternate facts” – are great democratic leaders does show that he is unqualified.
    • That is precisely why Trump fights so hard to discourage his followers from seeking the truth about anything – he doesn’t want them to learn the truth about him or what’s really going on in the world.

I’ll let Jesus Himself wrap this up with the words He spoke to another group of people who refused to see the plain truth standing in front of them:

If you continue to follow my teaching, you are really my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Why don’t you understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot accept my teaching. You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I am telling you the truth, you do not believe me. Who among you can prove me guilty of any sin? If I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? The one who belongs to God listens and responds to God’s words. You don’t listen and respond, because you don’t belong to God.
John 8:31-32, 43-47 (NET)

What Is a Poem?

Before the crash I wrote poetry fairly often, and even got an award for one I wrote in middle school, but after the crash I suddenly stopped. The soul exception was the free verse I wrote after Columbine. That poem is notable for two reasons: I wrote it while staying awake for more than 24 hours while watching news coverage of the event (and skipping all of my classes), and it’s the only free verse I have have ever written, and likely ever will.

Ask five people what a poem is, and you’ll get at least six different answers. My favorite poetry always has defined meter (but sometimes break from it for effect), as do all but one of the poems I’ve written, but free verse strays far from that. I won’t do more than mention “prose poetry” here because I don’t want to sidetrack myself, but that’s another case where one person’s poem is another’s paragraph with randomly-inserted line breaks.

Then Twitter and texting came onto the scene, and the English language will never be the same. Merriam-Webster has probably been busier adding new words than they have ever been since Noah Webster wrote the original nearly two centuries ago.

Over the past year I have become more active on Twitter despite my deep Depression, so it was only relatively recently that I discovered Twitter poetry, and with it came a renewed interest in poetry. In the two decades since the crash I have often written poetically (mostly to my wife Lura), but no actual poems aside from a brief one for her every once in a while (usually shared publicly via Twitter or facebook, if you’d like to read them). Last year I even signed up for an online course called “How Writer’s Write Poetry“, but only managed to stick with it through three lessons before Depression and busyness distracted me from it.

I have tried repeatedly to write poetry over the past several years, including making a roleplaying character that only spoke in haiku, but can never seem to stick with it. That’s why I was so intrigued when I learned about Twitter poems. Reading many of them over the days following my discovery is what got me thinking about what constitutes a poem.

The essence of haiku is to show just enough to let the reader’s imagination take over, making the reader an integral component of the art. As Matsuo Bashō famously said: “The haiku that reveals seventy to eighty percent of its subject is good. Those that reveal fifty to sixty percent, we never tire of.” As a result I’ve seen some wonderful three-word haiku, and even wrote one I may share someday, but that got me thinking about how short a poem could be and still be a poem, leading to this:

scream
catharsis

Only two words, but to me it is quite evocative because it is something I have experienced so often. Others who have felt the blessed relief that can result from a good cry or scream may feel something in reading that, but does simply being evocative make it a poem?

I have been writing Twitter poems for Lura more and more often over the past year, even one a month for a while. The forced brevity of the format means I can’t be my usual flowery self (a bad habit English teachers spent more than a decade trying to curb), and that has helped my writing in general. The character limit also means that the resulting poems are so short that I can’t agonize over them for months or years until I think they’re perfect, as I have done with several short stories for years now. In fact, I must instead treat every tweet as if it was a haiku, making sure I get my whole message through without any extra words.

As an example of what I mean, and because it’s Valentine’s day, here is the Twitter haiku I wrote for her last year to celebrate the 17th anniversary of our first date:

Seventeen years gone
Love lies sleeping beside me
Still watching her breathe

How did you read that poem? Was it sweet, or mildly erotic? Did you imagine me lying there watching her sleep and just being happy that she was in bed beside me? Or did you think I was just ogling her boobs as they went up and down? Could I have meant both? Was I saying that I was happy that she was still in my life after 17 years and that I still find her to be the most desirable woman who ever lived? The only thing you can be certain of is that I am still very much in love with her after 17 years together – the rest is up to your imagination and how you see the world.

That simultaneous clarity and ambiguity of meaning is why before the crash I wrote poetry almost exclusively (aside from the occasional essay, which is why blogging appeals to me so much). But since the crash, and especially since our wedding, I’ve written more prose than anything else, much of it inspired by things we have done together (even today we both tend to use tabletop roleplaying games to flesh out characters and settings).

Now that I realize how much I was telling the world when I sent that Tweet back in November, I have decided that I will end this by sharing with you my three-word haiku I referenced earlier. It is the most personal thing I have ever written, but I am sharing it despite my innate extreme shyness because it succinctly tells the source of the Depression that keeps me from blogging or doing anything else for months at a time. And even though I cry every time I re-read it or revise this post, maybe making it public will prove even more cathartic, and hopefully provide some comfort to others in my situation by letting them know that they are not alone.

longing
fatherhood
despair