Monday, December 28, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I decided to try my hand at photoshopping to make an award. So here it is. Hope you like the image.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Hannah watched with excitement, curiosity, and a little bit of melancholy. She had waited for this. She wasn’t entirely sure she was ready to take it all in, but was determined to do her best.
The embalmer, when Hannah first saw his face, looked very hollow. His face was a mixture between wrinkles and wrinkles that wanted to come out. They were barely held back by some invisible force. His eyes were clear, though he had barely any eyelashes. When he blinked at her, she saw a newborn’s eyes in the head of a bloated man. Still, he had done what he could with his appearance. He wore expensive slacks and a suit coat. When he removed it, she could see he already had on an apron underneath.
“I come to work prepared. Saves time.” He explained. Hannah wondered if he kept a box of disposable aprons near the front door or if he took the used ones home and washed them then brought them back. She didn’t ask. All in all, he was a sad man who seemed to slump forward from years of slow melancholy weighing him down. Hannah regarded him as a man who had probably faced death one too many times and was gradually succumbing to a sad truth about the human race. Is this how I will become? She wondered.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The linguist in me was aroused this morning so I bring you a word of the week. The following is based mostly from information I gleaned off of online dictionaries that had shortened etymological facts at the end of the definition.
Note: I’m an EMERGENCY metaphor technician. The person who administers first aid before the real paramedics can get to the scene. If you don’t want to take my word for it, feel free to visit your own etymological sources. I just hope I point people down the right path.
Word for the week: demure
One of my family’s favorite movies is The Court Jester. It’s kind of an old movie but very funny, starring Danny Kaye and a very young Angela Lansbury. In it, the guy who’s been plotting from the beginning uncovers in front of the king the true identity (though he gets it somewhat wrong) of the Court Jester. While speaking of the Jester’s accomplice, he says “And this demure maid…”
The phrase bugged me because he spoke in an obvious fashion of dislike and disgust that I had to find out what demure meant. As it turns out, he was speaking very correctly by calling her demure, but incorrectly at the same time, and none of it was derogatory (though I’m sure his character thought it was).
Demure has many aspects of different languages and differing ages woven into it so that its original meaning is conjecture at best (at least by me. Any historical linguists who want to weigh in on this?)
In our language today, it means reserved, modest or shy, usually said of a woman or of clothing.
First there was the Latin sense of maturus, to ripen or mature. Then there was the Old French word mur meaning grave. This gave way to another old French word demoure, meaning remain or stay. This made its way into Middle English as demure meaning sober, serious, or reserved.
The maid in question is definitely mature, serious, sober, reserved and dedicated. But she is by no means shy, nor does she wear clothing that looks serious or sober.
She is not reserved. She’s a spy in the castle of her enemy, steals the King’s key, and hits people over the head with wooden beams. She is modest in her own way, that is, she doesn’t flaunt her beauty purposefully, though others do it for her and give her compliments.
Anyways, I just found it funny that the bad guy, who up until that line was doing a pretty good job at being a bad guy, suddenly uses what might be a compliment and might be simply a misplaced description to give his enemy’s accomplice a bad reputation. In the setting of the story, I assume it would have been seen as correct and right for a woman to be demure: a little woman who stays at home and is dedicated to running the household while being shy and modest.
In essence, he wasn’t insulting her. He was simply pointing out that she was a commoner and shouldn’t be sitting next to the king.
I find this fascinating. It’s amazing how many different shades of meaning there are for words. It’s like looking at paint samples. (Oh yes, here comes the metaphor.) If I look at a wall in a room, I might call it white. But if I go to a paint store and try to pick out the exact color, I will come away with 100 samples of white, off-white, egg shell white, cloud white, chalk white, etc. And they will all look incredibly different when next to each other. The wall I was looking at might even have been yellow in comparison and I just didn’t know it.
This is why it’s useful and fun to know the exact meaning of words and to distinguish between words of similar meaning that have different emphasis.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Here's a list of the books I've read recently:
1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas (In progress)
4. Seventh Son Book One by J.C. Hutchins (In progress)
5. The Shack by William P. Young (In progress)
6. Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer
7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle (In progress)
8. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (In progress)
9. The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett (In progress)
10. All but the last of the Harry Potter series
11. Murder at Avedon Hill by P.G. Holyfield
Books I plan to read next:
1. Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
2. Redwall by Brian Jacques
3. Saint, Sinner, Showdown, etc. by Ted Dekker
4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
5. The Godfather by Mario Puzo, Robert Thompson, and Peter Bart
6. 1984 by George Orwell
7. 'Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
8. The Silmarilion by J.R.R. Tolkien
9. The Legend of Sigud and Gudrun by J.R.R. Tolkien
I can't believe it. I actually have a spot open for a book! I'm sure I could fill it with a quick search at my favorite book stores, but I'd much rather have someone recommend books to me. Anyone have an idea what I could fill that last slot with? I was tempted to put Stardust by Neil Gaiman there but I already have two of his books on my list and I like to be varied. I suppose I could put down the second book of Pratchett's disc world series, but that goes without saying since I'm reading the first one.
By the way, congrats to Neil Gaiman on winnnig the Hugo award for Best Novel!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
I was thinking today about what draws audiences to Sci-Fi and/or Fantasy genres in the media. After seeing G.I. Joe this weekend with my fiance, we had a discussion about it.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
People started using MySpace. Then it got clogged with spammers and add-happy users who wanted to increase their friend count. People who truly wanted to social network online moved to facebook. Then facebook got adds, and while there is little commercially induced spam, the constant self-promotion has forced those who are truly reaching out for synergy to move to yet another social networking site: twitter. Twenty years from now, I wonder if the same people will just keep drifting from one social networking site to the next as each becomes corrupted. This will mean connections must be made anew and it kind of resets the hierarchy every time we move. There will, of course, always be change ups with those who remain stuck on a slowly diminishing website and those who jump fresh into social networking online for the first time using the current site.
There should be a name for this phenomenon. I predict once there's a name for it, articles will start to be written about it. Then Apple will come up with a brilliant app to transfer connections between networking sites. Then networking sites will get even more creative and beat the app so you can't do that. Then a new job field will spring up calling for creators of social networking sites which will hire a ton of people to create a bunch of sites, and then lay a bunch of them off because they only need a few people to maintain the massive sites that have grown.
We are the true networkers. We travel from site to site, seeking connection and productivity first and entertainment second. We find havens here and there for half a decade before moving on. The advertising paparazzi follows us around, always conveniently 5 years behind.
In a sense, we are destroying the sites that we love with nuclear fall outs of spam and ads. Once the PR people find it because they want to reach out to us, it will be tainted forever. But the good news is we can constantly create new worlds, resetting the social hierarchies every 5 years. This means if I get rejected by an agent over twitter now, 5 years from now I might get accepted by that same agent on the future networking site, but neither of us will know this happened because we will both have different screen names and probably different IP addresses (unless we both use Macs, of course).
So here's to all my twitter friends, who I talk with regularly, who I used to talk with on facebook, who I used to see on myspace. Once these electronic sidewalks get crowded and we move to other places where we can bump into people, I will see you again in 5 years and I look forward to meeting you at the new alpha site again for the first time. Sorry if you don't make it. I would really have liked to see that other screen name of yours. You know, the one you only bring out once you realize you only have to live with it for 5 years. I personally am going to have my next half-decade identity be PrincessoftheAmazon. I think I can live with all the hits I get from misdirected jungle dwellers and book buyers for half a decade, especially if they're nice and have lived former lives on twitter alongside me.
All social networking sites have a half life, my friends. Don't get stuck as a worm next time around! Build up your karma personality and typing skills and for goodness' sake, weed out all the stuff that makes you sound like a moron. The force of the internet does not look kindly on rebirthing people who will kill the new network with their stupidity more quickly than an add for genital wart cures appearing next to posts about rainbows and puppies.
Drift on, true connectors. Drift on.
Side note: If two people who God made to be together are lucky enough to find each other, what happens if one of them gets stuck on myspace while the other one moves to twitter?
Other side note: I laugh when I see movies and tv shows trying to act current and cool by talking about social networking sites or incorporating them into a crime somehow. It's so obvious they're not trying to bring us entertainment by being relevant to our lives. They're desperately trying to fool us into thinking they are up with the times. It's so cheesy, it works. Every time the chief of whatever-law-enforcement-guild strolls onto the screen shooting personality out his butt and asks, "What's a blog?" (actually, they will probably name a social networking site from three cycles ago that no one uses anymore) and its supposed to be funny that the old guy isn't up with the times, I am entertained by it. I clap and say "Excellent metaphor for yourself, tv show. I'm surprised you're that self-aware." Of course, this is mean of me. I don't really want them to be up with the times because then networking sites would only last one to two years instead of five. But I still enjoy laughing at them because they are not.
And the metaphor that got me started on all this:
Using the word 'post' to describe new information that appears on a website. Kind of interesting to think that long ago, it meant to actually tack a piece of paper to a hitching post or the post of a saloon, etc. Using already existing objects that have a purpose to convey information. Fascinating to think of that as a metaphor for our electronic posts today.
MDA: I used several metaphors in this post without even trying (well, I sort of tried. I like metaphors). Pick your favorite and turn it into an extended metaphor.
Note: an extended metaphor is a metaphor that is not contained or explained in one sentence, but more like a paragraph or two. They're usually used to slow the reader down and make them focus on the metaphor to get it through their thick skulls that the tenure and vehicle are really, REALLY alike.
Or just write an extended metaphor on your own. You don't have to use mine.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
There are two aspects to a dead metaphor:
1. A dead metaphor can be a metaphor in which the speaker and probably most of the listeners/readers no longer know its meaning.
Example: He dialed her phone number.
This is not a true example, since most of us know what it used to mean to dial a phone. Even though we no longer use dials to call someone, the phrase occassional still pops up. In order for this example to become a dead metaphor, it would take, say, a couple generations down the road when all but a few odd people have forgotten where the phrase comes from.
2. Another type of dead metaphor is a metaphor in which there never was a link from the tenure to the vehicle to begin with. I am reminded of a few lines from the movie Chicken Run.
"Like a fish" doesn't have any obvious connection to being all quiet like. It's a dead metaphor.
1. Find a dead metaphor used in every day life.
2. Come up with a metaphor replacement for the rodents' dead metaphor.
We were quiet as......
..........like a fish.
(Hey, that's another choice. Cool.)
Example: We were quiet as the calm before a storm.
We slipped in and out of there like a fish.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
I usually like to put explanations on my metaphors because it's a great tool for delivering an extra punch or to make a conceit metaphor understandable.
But there are every day expressions that use implicit metaphors. I find I use implicit metaphors without even thinking about it and they are usually made up on the spot without really thinking. This leads me to believe that implicit metaphors are also the more natural metaphors: the tenure and vehicle are very closely related and our minds naturally link them together in certain ways.
If I say "Zip your fly" it is an implicit metaphor because I have not specified what the vehicle "fly" stands for, and yet you will (hopefully) be able to figure it out with no further explanation.
Find examples of everyday usages of implicit metaphors or make one up.
The Bank has many branches.
Monday, June 1, 2009
So, for the MDA, maybe a metaphor about love, romance, or couples?
It seems when love is involved in writing, the author usually either treats it with epic-sounding words and fantastic situations, endowing on it the height of human happiness, or he/she treats it like a joke, uses it for humor, etc. Sometimes they do both.
I found this site contains hillarious metaphors written by high school students about love. Though there is some discussion about whether these are actually metaphors or similes, they still made me smile and gave me a little inspiration for writing.
Write a metaphor about romance or love. It can either be epic or humorous, or both, or anything in between.
The two lovers were determined to stick with each other like white on rice.
Btw, thanks to JP and Aranel and an annonymous off-site comment poster (my younger brother) for the comments.
I get to go to a Twin's game tonight with my fiance. Yay!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Still working on that continuum of different kinds of metaphors. It's like pulling teeth to find time to work on it and I'm no dentist. But I'll figure it out.
Compare an emotion with an element of nature, or vice versa. Classic metaphor formula.
Her cold pride needed some room to thaw out. It was like a tomato: best ripened in the dark.
The waterfall angrily swept over the cliff.
Question on that last one: Do you consider it to be a metaphor or merely a description? Feel free to vote in the comments!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The Vehicle of a metaphor is the object you are comparing the tenure with.
Metaphor of the Day Assignment (MDA):
Use these tenures and vehicles to make a metaphor.
Vehicle: Bread Crumbs
Example: The clouds were like bread crumbs.
This is rather simplistic, as it does not explain why the clouds are like bread crumbs or what particular aspect of clouds resemble bread crumbs.
There is sometimes a third part to metaphors: the explanation (or the tie). This part comes after the tenure and vehicle and explains how the vehicle is like the tenure. This becomes more important with advanced forms of the metaphor but I’ll post that later.
Example: The clouds were like bread crumbs soaking up the last rays of gravy from the sun.
The other day a friend of the family came up to me and said his daughter had told him I talk differently than other people.
“Oh, really?” I asked.
“Yes. She said you never,...um...use extra words,...like....you know.....like....” And then he smiled. “You don’t use the word ‘like’ except when it’s actually called for.”
I appreciated his daughters observations. Few people would recognize that.
It got me thinking about the word ‘like’ and how people misuse it. I had assumed before that people who use the word ‘like’ in an excessive way are ignorant of the finer points of English. But I soon realized, they are actually using one of the more powerful tools of the English language: the metaphor.
Next time someone uses ‘like’ in a sentence, stop and think what it means. If my friend says, “I, like, totally assumed there was going to be cake.” my friend is not saying, in the technical sense, that she actually assumed there was going to be cake. She’s saying her actions of thinking were very close to assuming there was going to be cake, but never quite made it there.
Sometimes when I come across a metaphor in literature or poetry, I wish I could ask the writer what they meant and connect the dots a little more for me. So next time someone says ‘like’ in a sentence, catch them off balance and ask “What do you mean? How is your thinking like assuming there would be cake and how is it not like?”
Note: This will drive you insane.
Since this is my first post, I won’t bother with the metaphor of the day assignment because I first want to explain what a metaphor is and how to use it. I also want to detail instructions for the MDA and am not sure what they will be yet.