I ATE’NT DEAD!

I just missed a couple of posts, and then I missed a couple more. And I realised the world didn’t come to an end so I skipped a couple weeks, and still the Earth did not fall off its axis. But it’s a dangerous road to get on to start thinking this way. It gets much too easy to convince oneself that it would be okay to quit entirely.

Thing is, I did get to thinking, and questioning why I do this (blog, that is). Of late blogging has become a bit…mechanical for me. I got into a schedule (which is not of itself a bad thing) and all of a sudden blogging consisted only of figuring out the next review, or song title challenge, or whatever, and I never just write a post anymore because I read something or saw something or thought or felt something and I wanted to write about it.

So I thought some more, and I decided to change things a bit. For the foreseeable future I’ll be taking a step back. I’ll try to still post at least once a week, but I’m not making any promises. I’m going to allow myself to only post when I feel like it, just for a while.

I’m suspending the Song Title Challenge for the rest of the year – I’ll decide in January whether it’s coming back or not. Meanwhile, comments on all old challenges are still open, so you’re welcome to participate in any one of those. As for reviews and Percussive Etymology… You’ll see ‘em when you see ‘em.

Anyhow, I need to focus on NaNoWriMo now. I’m still figuring out the ins and outs of the new novel, but I’ll let you know once the synopsis is up and I’ll be posting excerpts as well as the month (and word count) progresses.

I hope the uncertainty does not drive you bonkers. Thanks for understanding.

(P.S. Bonus points if you got the title reference.)

Hopping Blogs

So, there I was, casually strolling through the blogosphere, when a ruthless predator pounced on me. He claimed that he wasn’t pouncing, but hopping, and that it was actually a good thing, and now I have to pounce hop on other people as well. I tried to explain that I don’t hop, only hit stuff with hammers, but he just giggled like a maniac and hopped further, oblivious to the mayhem and destruction left in his wake.

So now I have to hop; blog-hop, that is. As today is Heritage Day in South Africa, I suppose it’s only proper that I tip the hat to my countryman, 23thorns, for conning nominating me to participate in what’s apparently called a World Blog Hop. This one specifically is for creative types (didn’t know I was one of those), and 23thorns has no shortage of creativity. Not many people, for example, can write a thoughtful post on parenting inspired by Jeremih’s song Birthday Sex (I very nearly used that song for the Song Title Challenge birthday edition) that also has you rolling on the floor from laughter.

As is customary with these things, there are questions that need be answered:

1. Include a quote that you like.

The pen is mightier than the sword

Okay, okay. That’s way too easy, isn’t it? Actually my favourite writing-related quote is from the novel Snuff by Mr Terry Pratchett:

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Song Title Challenge #65: Spoonman by Soundgarden

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.

Stuff are supposed to come in threes, they say, so I’m giving you the third and final children’s story suggested by bumblepuppies: Spoonman by Soundgarden. Read at own risk.

Spoonman

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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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