A Piratical Tale

Ahoy there ye lily-livered, yellow-bellied landlubbers! It be International Talk Like A Pirate Day. To celebrate, I’ve laid aside me hammer and me cutlass and took up the weapon said ter be mightier than either and penned ye a tale of a pirate lass with a heart so black, ole’ Blackbeard himself was afeared o’ her.

Piqued yer curiosity? Then read on, matey!

Percussive Etymology – Rule of Thumb

It’s time again for Percussive Etymology (now sporting its very own header, courtesy of the wife). In this fortnightly feature my trusty hammer and I will explore the origins of one of the many quirky phrases contained in the English language.

Percussive EtymologyThe continued positive response to this feature truly warms my heart. Following the brass monkey shenanigans I have been inundated with suggestions of other phrases to mutilate explain, and even a specific request to once more debunk a popular fallacy regarding the origins of a particular expression. While mythbusting was not part of my initial plan for this feature, I acknowledge that I can provide a valuable service to the linguistic sciences by making this small addition.

In that vein we will today address the expression “rule of thumb”, suggested by Misha Burnett. (By the way, Misha recently published the final instalment in his Book of Lost Doors trilogy, The Worms of Heaven. Why don’t you stop by his blog and give it a look?)

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Song Title Challenge #64: The Magician’s Birthday by Uriah Heep

It’s time for this week’s Song Title Challenge.

Write a short piece of fiction, around 300 words, using the song title as your story title but don’t listen to the song.  You can pick your own genre or use the one suggested to me.  Remember to link back to this post so I can find yours.

If you would like to suggest a song title for a future post, you can do so from the challenge page.  You can also leave a suggestion on the Facebook page.

As I’m celebrating another year I’ve managed to not join the choir invisible (you can congratulate me in the comments, though if you really want to make my day, take part in today’s challenge) I’ve picked my own song. I googled song titles containing the word “birthday” and settled on The Magician’s Birthday by Uriah Heep. Given the occasion I allowed myself a few extra words.

Enjoy.

The Magician’s Birthday

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Coming up…

Aside

Tomorrow I celebrate the thirty-third year of managing to not join the great majority, so watch this space for an extra special birthday edition of the Song Title Challenge. It’s dealer’s choice, and I’m feeling excited about this one.

Tomorrow is also Felt Hat Day, so dust off your fedora or pretend you’re a time lord and don your fez. And if you don’t have a felt hat, no problem, for tomorrow is also Make A Hat Day, so make your own hat, as long as it’s from felt. I’ll be taking down three birds with one stone by making myself a pirate hat. Confused? Read on.

Wednesday will bring another edition of Percussive Etymology. This week I’m taking my hammer to the expression “rule of thumb”. That’s allowed, as long as the hammer’s handle is no thicker than one’s thumb (or is it?)

An’ on Friday it again be International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Sharpen yer cutlasses an’ load the cannons (no brass monkeys on this ship), cause there be ships ter plunder, towns ter sack, an’ wenches ter…yer know ;-) I’ll be sharin’ with you a special tale as had ne’er been told ’bout one o’ the black heartedest pirates ter ever sail the seven seas.

KokkieH Reviews A Knight of the Word by Terry Brooks

A Knight of the Word - Terry Brooks

Cover illustration by Brom
Publisher: http://www.randomhouse.com/delrey/

A Knight of the Word, the second instalment or Terry Brooks‘s Word and Void trilogy, takes place several years after the events of Running With the Demon. Nest Freemark is now in college. Her grandfather has recently passed away and she’s thinking of leaving Hopewell, and the park and Pick along with it for good. She hasn’t used her magic in years and is not even sure that she still has it, especially since Wraith, her mysterious protector, also seems to have disappeared.

Then she is visited by a tatterdemalion, a messenger of the Word. John Ross, the Knight of the Word who had helped her defeat her father years ago, is in trouble. He has forsaken his calling as a Knight of the Word, and the servants of the Void are trying to turn him and his magic to their ends. He is already being subverted by a demon and it may already be too late. Nest must go to Seattle and confront him, give him one more chance to take up the black staff again. Should she fail, his life will be forfeit, and possibly hers as well.

Read the rest of the review here. Some minor spoilers, but no details.

Gmail Password Leak Update

KokkieH:

In case any of you missed this, now might be a good time to update your WordPress and Gmail passwords (and Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, and Amazon…I should make a list of all my online accounts, methinks.)

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

This week, a group of hackers released a list of about 5 million Gmail addresses and passwords. This list was not generated as a result of an exploit of WordPress.com, but since a number of emails on the list matched email addresses associated with WordPress.com accounts, we took steps to protect our users.

We downloaded the list, compared it to our user database, and proactively reset over 100,000 accounts for which the password given in the list matched the WordPress.com password. We also sent email notification of the password reset containing instructions for regaining access to the account. Users who received the email were instructed to follow these steps:

  1. Go to WordPress.com.
  2. Click the “Login” button on the homepage.
  3. Click on the link “Lost your password?”
  4. Enter your WordPress.com username.
  5. Click the “Get New Password” button.

In general, it’s very important that passwords be unique for each account. Using the same…

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Song Title Challenge #63: From Russia With Love by Matt Monro

It’s time for this week’s Song Title Challenge.

Write a short piece of fiction, around 300 words, using the song title as your story title but don’t listen to the song.  You can pick your own genre or use the one suggested to me.  Remember to link back to this post so I can find yours.

If you would like to suggest a song title for a future post, you can do so from the challenge page.  You can also leave a suggestion on the Facebook page.

This week’s song is From Russia With Love by Matt Monro. It was suggested by a blogger who will no longer be named until he learns to behave himself. He who shall not be named again ignored my genre options, expecting me to write a Latvian Folk Tale. For a brief moment I entertained the idea and tried looking up a few Latvian folk tales online. However, folk tales are not a literary genre as such, but a cultural artefact originating in the oral traditions of a culture, and I’ve had exactly zero exposure to Latvian culture in my lifetime (I even had to consult an atlas to just know where Latvia is). I did compromise by working some Latvian aspects into my story (though I just know that won’t be good enough for the nameless one…good thing this is my blog).

From Russia With Love

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On Bucket Lists

A couple of weeks ago raincoaster wrote about bucket lists, and bemoaned the fact that people don’t seem to be aiming very high with said lists. (Apparently an inordinate number of people want to visit a place called Six Flags. I googled it. I’m with raincoaster. An amusement park? Really?)

bucket in sandI’ve never written a bucket list, but raincoaster‘s plea resonated with me (and she wrote one kickass list herself), so here is my attempt to aim higher.

Before I kick the bucket, before that future day of global mourning when I will throw in the towel hammer (if I have to go I’m taking someone with me), I want to…

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Spring is in the air…

…and I’m feeling strangely optimistic. I suppose it’s because spring signifies a new start in more ways than one where I’m concerned – I was born in September, after all.

Spring in SA has arrived right on cue. Friday still we had terribly cold weather and even snow in some parts of the country, but on Monday the sun shone warm and bright in the sky. The nights are still chilly, but during the day it’s already warm enough to make one believe summer is on its way.

Green shoots are peeking out all over the place, courtesy of some unseasonal winter rain two weeks ago, and my neighbour’s clivia is in full bloom on our communal porch.

Clivia

One can’t help but feel positive in circumstances like this. I’ve even dropped my winter laziness and started exercising again. Here’s hoping I can keep it up (not just the exercise, but the attitude as well).

Percussive Etymology – Cold enough to freeze something off a brass monkey

It’s time for the second instalment of Percussive Etymology. In this fortnightly feature my trusty hammer and I will explore the origins of one of the many quirky phrases contained in the English language.

Percussive EtymologyAfter the resounding success of my post on “gumming up the works” it’s a bit intimidating to write another one of these. What if people don’t like it as much? What if I get no comments at all? What if I unwittingly offend my readers and they all unfollow this blog at once? (Do bestselling authors live with this pressure each time they submit a new novel to their publishers?)

However, let no man person call me a coward. Today’s phrase (and pardon the French), “Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey”. Thanks to Matthew Wright for the suggestion.

(By the way, the best part of today’s post is at the very end, below the line.)

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