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Moving

Life is busy, and I am exhausted. I'm half-killing this journal - not because I don't like it, but because there's so much with my name out there and I need a break, a space I can write without worrying that my semi-professional life isn't crowding me. That said, I actually have another, personal journal, here.  It's mostly friends-only, but if you're interested, come find me. I'm hoping I can update it more, and catch up with everyone more often.

Update and Contest Link

It's been a long, long time! I'm sorry I haven't been saying much or answering emails - pregnancy really took it out of me, and I had a lot of trouble in the latter trimesters, ending up on bed rest. But I have had my little baby now (pictures to come)!

His name is Mir, and he's 1 month old today (which means I'm slowly managing to get back to work). He's also 9 lbs and 7.6 oz of today, a whole 2 lbs and 7.6 oz more than his birth weight! I'm getting triceps now, people!

Anyway, since it's been so long since I posted, here's something useful for all the fiction writers out there - there are submission guidelines over at Robert Swartwood's blog, for a hint fiction anthology. If you're interested, check it out here.

And now, off to attend to Mir's bleating - it's feeding time.

As I said, pictures to come (hopefully by tomorrow), and a nice proper update. (This one is just to let you know we're still alive!)

Happy Wednesday, people!

Vegetarian Children?

KFCImage via Wikipedia

Joe and I are both vegetarians, and happy about it. Granted, it wasn't very easy at first, especially for Joe (I've never been a big fan of meat - it was a seafood habit I had to kick). But, now that we're expecting (six months along on Wednesday), we've been considering the ramifications of our vegetarianism.

Sure, I have to be a little extra careful with my diet while pregnant, but what about after I've had our little Pikachu? Will he grow up to be a vegetarian? Will we say no to meat products at grandparents' places? Will he always order vegetarian meals at restaurants? What about fast food? McDonald's, Burger King, KFC - many childhood "treat foods" are brimming with meat.

That's when I stumbled across this article on Slate.com. Granted, it doesn't exactly address our situtation - neither of us eat meat - but it does raise a few interesting questions. What do you think?

From "Daddy Eats Dead Cows", by Mark Oppenheimer:
My wife, Cyd, is an unlikely vegetarian. Her mother is a genius with a chicken or a pot roast, and their small apartment in New York remains a kosher carnivore's delight. For nights out, her family could walk to temples of meat like Sammy's Roumanian Steak House and the Second Avenue Deli. But as a young girl, Cyd decided that eating meat was unethical, and she resolved that someday she would become a vegetarian. The summer before college, she worked to acquire a taste for eggplant, chickpeas, and other staples of the meat-free diet. She became a fine vegetarian cook; today she can do indescribable things with lentils.

From the time we met, I admired Cyd's commitment to vegetarianism. I had taken baby-steps toward vegetarianism myself: After reading Peter Singer'sAnimal Liberation in my mid-20s, I had given up chicken, which seemed to me the most cruelly abused of all the factory-farmed animals. Yet when, during our courtship, Cyd said that having a vegetarian household, and doing our best to raise vegetarian children, was important to her, I hesitated (or, rather, picked a long, loud fight). I didn't object to the meat-free household, and she was not asking me to abstain from meat in restaurants or at friends' houses. But trying to raise vegetarian children seemed to be buying trouble. I immediately generated a list of potential problems: Would it be healthy? What would our parents think when we asked them not to serve the grandchildren tuna fish? Would our children feel left out, abstaining from hot dogs at ballgames and birthday parties? Most important: Would they seem like freaks?




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Decimate


Joe's sitting next to me watching Battlestar Galactica. Now, though I'm not a fan of the show - I've never successfully stayed awake during an episode before, I've been asking questions on and off throughout this one. And what I've learned so far is this: Joe can't misuse the word "decimated".

Part of me rejoices at this - I'm married to a man as pedantic as me. And part of me just finds it funny, especially since "decimated" is not one of my trigger words; even though I'm aware of the way it should be used, and the way it's usually used, I don't make the distinction (a very rare thing for me!).

So, what does "decimated" actually mean? Interestingly, "decimated" has two meanings - the original, and a created one (the first definition) that's grown out of general misusage (other examples of this include "irregardless" and "inflammable"). So, in the words of my trusty OED:

1 kill, destroy, or remove a large percentage or part of : the project would decimate the fragile wetland wilderness | the American chestnut, a species decimated by blight.

• drastically reduce the strength or effectiveness of (something) : plant viruses that can decimate yields.

2
historical kill one in every ten of (a group of soldiers or others) as a punishment for the whole group.

USAGE Historically, the meaning of the word decimate is ‘kill one in every ten of (a group of people).’ This sense has been superseded by the later, more general sense ‘kill or destroy a large percentage or part of,’ as in : the virus has decimated the population. Some traditionalists argue that this and other later senses are incorrect, but it is clear that these extended senses are now part of
standard English. It is sometimes also argued that decimate should refer to people and not to things or animals such as weeds or insects. It is generally agreed that decimate should not be used to mean 'defeat utterly.'
And the result? Joe is a traditionalist, and I can say whatever I want (with only the tiniest twinge of guilt).
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Title page from the first edition of Pride and...



For any Jane Austen fans out there - Learn Out Loud has been putting Pride and Prejudice up, chapter by chapter, as an audio book. The reader, Catherine Byers, is very good, though, thanks to the BBC, Ms. Byers Mrs. Bennett makes me think a little more of Lady Catherine than the flighty, nervous woman I'm used to.

Download or listen online here, and be sure to check out the rest of Learn Out Loud's excellent library!

Edit: I'm listening to this now, and I think Ms. Byers may have Miss Bingley and Donald Duck a little mixed up...

Girl & Castle in the Sky

I've spent a lot of time sketching lately - I find it relaxing, and I enjoy seeing something take shape on the page. Unlike reading (I'm still having pregnancy-induced reading trouble), it doesn't hurt my eyes. And unlike piano practice, I don't have to sit up in a specific position (pregnancy is tough on the joints, people!). But, perhaps most of all, I like it because I'm learning how to do it. One of my greatest character faults is that I hate not knowing how to do a thing; sketching every day makes me happy because I'm slowly filling in a gap.

In the past, I've done a lot of freehand-see-where-it-takes-me things. I still do those from time to time, but, since I'm attempting to learn a bit about how to draw sans a class, I've started doing copies of things. The copies rarely end up being exact - once I have an idea of the lines, I tend to let my own hands take over. This first image (creatively titled "girl") began life as a copy of a bookcover - one of Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic books, in fact. And, though I had planned to get around to reading that series at the time, I have to admit, I bought the book more because of the cover than anything else. Unfortunately, because the book is a UK edition I picked up in Australia, it's been difficult to track down an original image. The best I can do is the tiny one below, and a link to the original illustrator, Liselotte Watkins.

Liselotte's original

My copy

Somewhere along the way, the girl became a lot more middle eastern, and the hair grew into a veil. I'm not sure why, but I think I like it. I'm never quite sure!

The next picture began as a copy of a book I recieved for Christmas, The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrarult, illustrated by Sally Holmes. Although I can't put up the original illustration, if you page through the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon, you'll get an idea of the wonderful illustrations throughout the book.

In the original picture, from Bluebeard, the castle is atop a well-treed hill, with riders racing through the forest, and haystacks in the foreground. I went for a more castle in the sky feel, changing the trees and adding in clouds, some extra castle, and the pines.

(Please forgive the strange line; the scanner doesn't cope very well with my sketchbook!)

Castle in the Sky


Before doing this sketch, I had an idea of how castles and individual trees worked, but I'd not really understood how to draw a forest. Now, though, I'm much more comfortable with the idea, and I think I'll try a few general foresty sketches soon.



Reading: Dingo, by Charles de Lint




High school senior Miguel’s life is turned upside down when he meets new girl Lainey, whose family has just moved from Australia. With her tumbled red-gold hair, her instant understanding of who he is, and her unusual dog—a real Australian dingo—she’s unforgettable. And, as he quickly learns, she is on the run from an ancient bargain made by her ancestors. There’s no question that Miguel will do whatever he can to help her—but what price will each of them have to pay? Dingo is quintessential Charles de Lint, set close to his beloved, invented city of Newford—a mixture of darkness and hope, humor and mystery, and the friendship within love.


The cover of Dingo immediately caught my eye - the title was arresting (many Americans are completely unaware of the dingo, so hearing/seeing the word is rare), and the colours were bright without being garish. So I added the book to my already overflowing arms, paid, and carted it home, where it sat on the shelf for a month (my reading list is long, my time is short, and pregnancy-induced migraines are making life difficult). This weekend, I picked it up.

And was surprised.

Now, I read the inside jacket when I bought the book - I always read the synopsis, the author biography, and anything else that looks vaguely informative before taking a book home - but I forgot the exact details somewhere between buying and reading. So, thanks to the the cover, I spent the first few pages thinking I was reading a teen girl's voice.

From the first page of chapter one:

No one lies to think it of their father, but there are days when I can't help but feel that somehow I got stuck with the biggest loser of all loser dads. It's mostly on days like this when he's off on a house call to buy new stock and I'm stuck minding the store.

MIKE'S USED COMICS AND RECORDS, the sign says above the door in paint that's chipped and starting to fade.

Okay, so he's not a deadbeat, because ever since Mom died, he's always made sure we had food on the table and a roof over our heads. And some kids might think it was cool to have a dad so into comics and music. But try living with it, day in and day out. It's Superman this, and Spider-Man that, and wow, a Grateful Dead boot with a version of some song that they only ever played live one or two times and never recorded officially.


It was another two paragraphs, when the narrator begins to talk about hand-me-down clothes, before I realised I was reading a teen boy's voice.

So, what do you think?
  • How does a book's cover affect our perception of the main character?
  • Do you find the excerpt above leans toward the voice of a particular gender? Is it ambiguous?
  • Do the mentions of comics and superheroes tip your perception of voice either way?

Tiredness & Voting Time Again

It's that time in therealljidol again - voting. If you'd like to vote for me, you can do so here; I'm in the second tribe, tribe rm, and not doing so well. Which is also true on the home front - sometime late Saturday night, I started coughing.

I'm still coughing, which is limiting my computer time. Why? Loud, dry, hacking coughs have a tendency to make the head spin...

Finally - a couple of folks from therealljidol with great entries this week - intrepia  and edith_jones . Mind, there are a lot of very good entries, but these two really stuck with me this week.

Tomorrow, coughing stay willing, I'm going to post a couple of book reviews, and catch up on general work. 'Til then.

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Ranting...

Since ranting has been on my mind this week (thanks totherealljidol ), I did a search in the global OED (thanks, Harvard) for the meaning of "rant". Below is what it turned up. I find it interesting that several of the results are for languages other than English. I also quite like the idea of a rant being a jig. Hurrah for dancing!

Finally--before I let you get your rant on--the LiveJournal voting is now up here. I'm still in the second tribe, tirbe rm.

1. rant
Old Eng. 17th‐cent. dance of the jig variety. It originated in Scotland and N. England. Four examples occur in Playford's The Dancing Master ( 1657 and 1665 revisions).

2. rant
†be uproariously merry; declaim in an extravagant manner. XVI . — Du. † ranten talk foolishly, rave.
(From The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology in English Language Reference)

3. rant
• ant , Brabant, Brandt, brant, cant, enceinte, extant, gallant, Kant, levant, pant, pointe, pointes, rant, scant • confidant • commandant • hierophant • Rembrandt • Amirante • gallivant • aren't , aslant, aunt, can't, chant, courante, détente, ...
despotricar*

5. rant vi
~ [and rave] inveire ; what's he ~ing on about? cosa sta blaterando?
(From The Pocket Oxford Italian Dictionary (English-Italian) in Bilingual Dictionaries)

6. rant
intransitive verb ~ [and rave] wettern ugs. ( about über + Akk. ); ~ at anschnauzen ugs.
(From The Concise Oxford German Dictionary (English-German) in Bilingual Dictionaries)
déclamer; to ~ and rave tempêter ( at contre ); to ~ on divaguer ( about sur ).
to rant about something bheith ag radaireacht faoi rud .

9. rant vi
superbe loquor [3] ; bacchor [1]
(From The Pocket Oxford Latin Dictionary (English-Latin) in Classics)

10. RANTES
abbr. for regulated upon activation, normal T‐cell expressed and secreted chemokine; other names : small inducible cytokine A5; a chemokine secreted by T cells and macrophages on stimulation by mitogens, that acts as a chemoattractant, and stimulates ...



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LJ Idol
Week Eight
Topic Eight: Ranting LJ Style

1. Select a rant topic.

A. Human rights
B. Religious rights
C. Animal rights
D. Use of idiotic phrases
E. Incorrect use of one or many parts of speech
F. Political events
G. Family events
H. Incorrect understanding of a created universe
I. Health limitations
J. Financial limitations
K. Parental limitations
L. Alien limitations

2. Select language options

A. PG
B. Damn skippy I’ll swear if I damned well feel like it.
C. Does not compute

3. Select keyboard style

A. CAPS LOCK
B. Standard
C. A MixTure of CAps loCK anD StAnDarD
D. Random selection as determined by analysis of the dialect known as LOlCatz.

4. Select audience

A. Friends.
B. Parents.
C. Strangers
D. Blagosphere
E. Craigslist
F. The teacher who was really mean to you and always got your name wrong in 8th grade.

5. Select rant style

A. Sarcastic
B. Ironic
C. Literary
D. Straight-forward
E. Metaphorical/Allegory
F. Plagiarised
G. Verbatim
H. Succinct

Examples


C. Example Rant: Literary —————


He crunched his popcorn loudly, rolling the kernels about his lips before flipping them into his oversized jaws. His motions were slow and deliberate, calculated to irritate, calculated to distract me from the enormity of his wrongitude. My brother has always been like that, a wizard at the politician’s verbal sleight of hand. Today, though, the topic was too important for me to let it go—nobody, no, Nobody, can insult The Hulk (as if the She-Hulk could Take Him Down) within my immediate radius of hearing and be left unscathed.

I took a deep breath, preparing myself for the torrential flow of words locked behind my until-recently closed lips. How would I tell him? Would I say, “You are a moron of the first class, so moronic that, in fact, you could be a Colonel in a Space Opera?” Would I explain that “The Hulk is a far greater creature than yourself with powers even now yet to be revealed?” Would I simply paint myself green, bellow, and tackle him and his annoying popcorn crunching arse?

I glanced at the picture on the mantelpiece—my parents smiled back, their faces glowing despite being hidden beneath six or seven coats of Kabuki-style face paint. Yes. Face paint. Radioactive green face paint. Excusing myself, I went in search of my mother's make-up case.


E. Example Rant: Metaphorical/Allegory —————


Yesterday afternoon, my brother showed me his new WWSJD bracelet over a very early pre-movie dinner.

“It stands for What Would She-Jesus Do,” he told me proudly. “My girlfriend gave it to me. She said it’s a statement about gender equality and recognition of how much better women are at surviving in desert-like conditions.”

Desert-like conditions? I thought. Really? I mean, I like the desert--on TV. But hanging out in it definitely did not appeal. *sigh* Obviously, my dear sweet brother had yet again gotten himself mixed up with yet another group of crazy people. Like the time he’d decided that Chocolate Garlictarianism was the One True Path because a colleague had told him about the special chocolate and garlic only diet. Or the time he’d replaced all of the furniture in his house with paper contsructed equivalents because he’d read they were more environmentally friendly (also more fun if you actually want to fall to the floor every time you sit down). But She-Jesus? I shook my head.

“She-Jesus would never beat He-Jesus in a fight. He-Jesus would just convert some water into a wine cooler then laugh as she got too tipsy to fight.”

“She-Jesus is a master—no, mistress—of Drunken Kung Fu.”

“Drunken Kung-fu wasn’t even invented yet! Besides, the meaner you are to him, the greater the He-Jesus gets. Have you even read the Bible?”


G. Example Rant: Verbatim —————

Me: You’re wrong.

Him: You’re wrong.

Me: You’re so wrong you could be a professor of wrong at This Is So Wrong University.

Him: Yeah, well, you’re so wrong you couldn’t be more wrong if your mother had dipped you in a vat of He-Will-Always-Be Wrong tea.

Me: She-Hulk is never, never, not ever, not even in a thousand million years, going to beat The Hulk - THE HULK - in a throw down.

Him: Brains over brawn, every time, man. And haven’t you heard, the pen is mightier than the sword.

Me: There are no pens involved!

Him: The pen is a metaphor for intelligence. The sword is a metaphor for brawn. You do the math, man.

Me: Well, The Hulk - THE HULK - is better drawn than She-Hulk any day, so he wins in that, too.

Him: Sore loser.

Me: Arse.

Him: You’re wrong.

Me: You’re so wrong your dinosaur name is Doyouthinkhecouldbeanymorewrong-Rex.

Him: Okay, that’s funny. But you’re still wrong.

Me: All right, I’m going to lay it all on the line here. Take The Hulk - THE HULK - and think. What’s his power?

Him: Like der, hulking out!

Me: What makes him hulk out?

Him: Getting angry.

Me: Right. And the angrier he gets, the stronger he gets.

Him: Yeah, well, the angrier She-Hulk gets, the stronger her intellect gets.

Me: That is complete and utter crapola.

Him: You’re complete and utter crapola.

Me: Your mother is complete and utter crapola.

Him: I’d rather have a crapola mother than be so fundamentally wrong about how the Marvel Universe works.


6. Post

A. To personal filter
B. To friends filter
C. To locked journal
D. To everyone
E. To EVERYONE, via LiveJournal, Facebook, Twitter, and email

Written for therealljidol </lj> week eight, "Ranting LJ Style".
Note: this entry does not reflect my real brother in any way.
Edit: you can now vote here.

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